Firming Up The Friendship

Joe Klein agrees with Aluf Benn that Obama needs to do more to talk directly to Israelis. Money quote:

If you believe Obama's policy is the right one, as I do, the latest public opinion surveys from Israel are disappointing--but not insurmountable. Obama needs to explain his policy to the Israeli public. He also needs some front-end concessions from the Arab states who will benefit from a Middle East peace deal, starting with Saudi Arabia. Given the recent events in Iran, the election results in Lebanon, Syria's renewed cooperation and a softer tone from Hamas (and the cessation of missiles fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians), this is a promising moment. But progress will only be made if Israelis understand that a settlement freeze (and, ultimately, a retrenchment) and the peace process that follows are in their long-term best interests. The President needs to address that, especially since Benjamin Netanyahu won't.

Update: I'm told that Obama is already planning to make this sort of effort--Israeli television interviews etc.--in the coming weeks.