This article in Newsweek was circling the webs yesterday (via @JStreetdotorg, @attackerman, et al) but I just got a chance to read it today. It’s Gregory Levey writing that Obama should appoint George W. Bush his special envoy to the Middle East. It’s a ridiculous premise but what do you expect from a guy who wrote a book called Shut Up, I’m Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government? It’s meant to be funny and provocative.
But the piece does inadvertently cast an unfortunate light on Israeli political opinion. Levey writes:
Neither Obama nor his proxies enjoy anywhere near the same level of faith [as former President George W. Bush]. In a recent Pew Research survey of global attitudes, Israel was the only country where the population’s confidence in Obama’s foreign-policy judgment was lower now than it was in Bush’s judgment at the end of his presidency. (It was only 1 percent lower, but the rise in confidence elsewhere ranged from 6 percent in Pakistan to 79 percent in Germany, with most countries toward the upper half of that spectrum.) Even more striking: a recent poll found that only 6 percent of Jewish Israelis consider Obama a “friend.”
Oy. That’s just a little embarrassing for the Israelis. Bush ended his term as one of the least popular presidents in American history. He is despised around the world. And still Israelis love him? That makes Israel sound like some sort of “rogue” state. I hope that it doesn’t bespeak anything too significant about the direction of Israeli politics.