After the extensive throat-clearing, I understand that Obama may use the upcoming Passover holiday -- which appears to be his favorite holiday (he holds a seder in the White House every year) -- to begin to raise questions about Israel's overall direction. (He will praise the Passover story, of course, and mention both its universality -- and especially its resonance among African-Americans -- but also its particularity, which is to say, that it is the story of a specific group's liberation in a specific place.) But what interests Obama a great deal about Passover is the questioning that is embedded in the Haggadah, the retelling of the Passover story that is read during the seder.
Questioning, and doubting, are integral to the Jewish tradition, and it would certainly be clever of Obama to use this tradition to his advantage. He has been trying for years, without success, to encourage Israelis to ask themselves how exactly the West Bank settlement project squares with their desire to maintain Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy. This speech, this visit, and this holiday, ally provide him with the opportunity to raise the question again.
This article available online at: