Passive To A Fault

Continuing a theme…

A delicate diplomatic maneuver by President Barack Obama to smooth frayed relations with Israel without alienating America’s Arab allies may have been blown out of the water Monday morning by Israel’s botched attempt to enforce the Gaza blockade — and by the lack of condemnation from Washington that followed it.

For while much about the incident remains unclear, a day of carefully parsed statements from the White House and State Department left at least one irrefutable aftershock: With much of the world expressing fury over the raid, the contrast with Washington’s muted response could not have been more striking.

“The situation is that they’re so isolated right now that it’s not only that we’re the only ones who will stick up for them,” said an American official. “We’re the only ones who believe them — and what they’re saying is true.”

The official was referring to Israeli protestations — backed by Israel Defense Forces video — that their solders were attacked by passengers on a ship headed for Gaza with humanitarian aid, when they boarded the ship in what the Israelis concede were international waters.

via ‘We’re the only ones who believe them’ – Ben Smith – POLITICO.com.

“…that the burglar was attacked by a homeowner after entering through a smashed a window of what he concedes was ‘a private residence.’ ”

The mental gymnastics here are breathtaking. Yeah, the civilians attacked first — with what level of force? Based on what understanding of the IDF’s awesome track record of proportional response? On whose boat, in waters controlled by who, with one side having the benefit of what intelligence, etc etc etc?

I get that to a certain extent our hands are tied by the diplomatic process, but at what point does Obama become known as the Sit Back And Watch president? It seems like his hands are tied by every circumstance that comes up. Such a predicament! If only someone could’ve predicted how hard presidenting would be.

Not that being full of shit on this is an exclusive characteristic of the Israelis. The flotilla people get in on the action:

Organizers of the flotilla, meanwhile, insisted that participants were unarmed

…yeah, that’s false.

And Ben Smith just can’t help himself.

Obama spent this spring damping down concern among American friends of Israel that his seeming feud with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had brought the administration to the verge of fundamentally altering the historic U.S. alliance with the Jewish state.

Artificial distinction between “Obama” and “friend of Israel” — check.

Usage of meaninglessly simplistic, self-assignable labels ie “friend of Israel” — check.

Implying that the Obama admin is responsible for any damage to the US-Israel relationship — check. (“the administration … fundamentally altering the historic U.S. alliance”)

I might be parsing the last one wrong as I guess he could technically be blaming “the feud” for the act of “bringing.” At the very least it’s a pussy-ass hedge that — to me — seems designed to technically protect Smith from charges that he claimed xyz even though that’s what he, yknow, did.

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