Another Via Meadia intern has somehow escaped the tight institutional surveillance program we run to publish a piece under his own name. This time it is recent Harvard and Crimson veteran Yair Rosenberg, who has an article in Tablet that does exactly what we try to do here: substitute a little light and reason for partisan heat.Yair looks at some of the rhetoric on both sides of the US-Israel relationship. He discomfits those on the right who’ve tried to label President Obama the “most anti-Israel president ever” by looking at what prominent people said about, for example, President Reagan back in 1981. Writes Yair:
“The policy of publicly humiliating our traditional ally has made us no new friends in the Arab world and removed the trust needed to encourage Israel to take risks for peace,” argues a prominent conservative columnist. In his piece, he castigates the American administration for its policy toward Israel: “You’d think the heaviest cross [the President] had to bear was the Star of David.”You could be forgiven for thinking the above was clipped from a column penned by William Kristol about President Barack Obama. But in fact, those are the words of William Safire criticizing Ronald Reagan in 1981.
On the other hand, Yair notes, criticism of the Netanyahu government as launching some kind of radical new direction in Israeli policy needs to be reconsidered. Earlier Israeli prime ministers (like Begin and Shamir) elicited criticism from papers like the New York Times as harsh as anything meted out to the current incumbent.Read the whole thing. And congratulations to Yair on a job well done.