Starting Over

Steve Clemons thinks it's time for Obama to make his own weather in the Israel-Palestine question:

My hunch is that people around the President like Tom Donilon, Denis McDonough, Ben Rhodes, Jon Favreau, and Adam Frankel are collectively the Ted Sorensens of today -- though not quite the irreplacable him. They have faith in President Obama, and they need to guide him into what will eventually be a collision with Netanyahu that will both be part unstoppable assertion of America's power combined with sensible restraint. But there is no doubt that the President now must put his imprint on the deal he wants and no longer depend on the illusion that the two primary parties have the maturity or sense of their long term national security interests to do a deal on their own.

The question is whether he can get away with it domestically, even though it's clearly in the national interest. I think he can if he places the argument firmly within the contours of the broader goals of American foreign policy, and of rescuing Israel from a descent into apartheid-style international isolation. He will be opposed of course. AIPAC helped destroy the Obama promise to reset relations with the moderate Muslim world in 2008/2009; Eric Cantor will no doubt do whatever he can to give Israel as many weapons, goodies and cover for war that he can; candidates in 2012 who dare to suggest the US adopt its own foreign policy in the Middle East, rather than the Israeli government's, will be ruthlessly targeted by AIPAC and its donors.

But the end-point of this same old pattern will be the destruction of Israel in the near or distant future. And at some point, surely, even AIPAC will want some kind of two-state solution.