Blindly In Support Of Israel
Yglesias makes a few good points:
Most Americans with strong feelings about Israel don't actually have strong feelings about the details of Israeli policy. Had the Israeli government chosen to talk rather than start bombing back in December, Americans would have supported them. Had the Israeli government bombed for a few days and then agreed to a cease-fire, Americans would have supported that. But instead the bombing was followed up by a land invasion, so they supported that instead. And politicians follow a similar lead. As France and Egypt were working on a cease-fire proposal Wednesday, Rep. Steny Hoyer was "scrambling to push out" a nonbinding resolution in support of Israeli policy, hoping to avoid being "out hawked" by House Republicans.
While this sort of politically motivated deference is understandable, it's also incredibly counterproductive.
The parties to the conflict aren't really in need of any brilliant new substantive ideas from the United States -- the basic shape of what an agreement would look like is well understood. Nor are our services as mediators really needed -- the Norwegians have proven capable of playing that role when asked, and no doubt others could do the same. What's needed is something that changes the Israeli domestic calculation -- a sense that the nature of the Israel-U.S. relationship will depend, in part, on the nature of Israeli policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians. Any administration willing to publicly chastise an Israeli government will inevitably wind up ruffling some feathers and taking political heat for it, but it will almost certainly be for the Israelis' own good.