Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama Updates His Echo Chamber Of Anti-Israel Advisors

At night in the family residence, an adviser said, Mr. Obama often surfs the blogs of experts on Arab affairs or regional news sites to get a local flavor for events. He has sounded out prominent journalists like Fareed Zakaria of Time magazine and CNN and Thomas L. Friedman, a columnist at The New York Times, regarding their visits to the region. “He is searching for a way to pull back and weave a larger picture,” Mr. Zakaria said.
Obama Seeks Reset in Arab World, New York Times, May 11, 2012

What a difference a year makes.

Now it looks like Obama is pulling even further back to get a perspective on Israel--back, and to the left.

According to Dylan Byers at Politico, Obama had an off-the-record foreign policy meeting with 9 editors and columnists:
The New Yorker's David Remnick and Jane Mayer, Time Magazine's Joe Klein, Newsweek's Peter Beinart, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, The New York Times's Carla Robbins, The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib, The Los Angeles Times's Doyle McManus, and David Ignatius of the Washington Post.
While Byers writes that the group reflected an "inclusion of writers with radically different views on the Israel debate," it may be more accurate to describe them as radical views on Israel from different people.

In The Washington Free Beacon, Adam Kredo notes that The Shadow Cabinet: Obama Meets With Left-Wing Critics of Israel To Plot Next Moves--and gives some background on how hostile some of these people are to Israel:
Liberal author Peter Beinart—who has compared Israel to the segregated South and advocates boycotting areas of the country that he deems “non-democratic”—is reported to have joined forces with several other Israel bashers, such as the New Yorker‘s David Remnick and Time magazine’s Joe Klein, for a powwow with the president. Left-wing activist Jane Mayer of the New Yorker also attended the meeting.

“The group is also notable for the inclusion of writers with radically different views on the Israel debate,” observed Politico’s Dylan Byers.

Remnick has described Israel as undemocratic and akin to Syria and Egypt, while Klein is known for penning a series of misleading articles chastising the Jewish state. He also has expressed sympathy for Iran, a country run by Holocaust-denying anti-Semites who are intent on developing a nuclear weapon.

Bienart, however, might be the most surprising name on the list given his outspoken and vociferous criticism of Israeli policies. Those viewpoints place him far outside the mainstream of Jewish public opinion.

The former TNR editor recently advocated divestment from Israel at a J Street event, a technique employed by activists who aim to destroy Israel’s economy and thereby the tiny state.
Apparently Obama is considering what he will do about Israel should he be granted "space" following the November 2012 elections.

Byer writes
Sources would not discuss the specific details of the conversation, as it was off the record, but did indicate that Obama looked to the group for messaging advice on the aforementioned foreign policy matters in the run-up to the 2012 election.
On that point, White House National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor emailed him a clarification that all Obama asked for is that get back to him for more information instead of writing that the Obama administration hasn't offered enough 'specifics'.

Nice idea, but if that is all there was to it, you'd expect Obama to be making that request to a whole lot more of the media.

Maybe Obama could start by giving us more 'specifics' about just why he picked these anti-Israel voices for advice?

Hat tip: DG

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