Arriving in Israel today, President Obama spent the first moments of his first visit since taking office to assure Israel of America’s slavish commitment to Israeli interests, promising “unwavering” and “eternal” support for the nation of Israel irrespective of that nation’s policies or of the situation around them.
“It is forever,” Obama said to the applause of those who visited, a chance for people to forget the somewhat surly attitude of the Israeli public toward Obama’s visit, with a strong perception on the Israeli right that Obama is insufficiently pro-Israel. This is seemingly left-over from the time in his first term when supporting a peace deal with the Palestinians was actually something to be brought up, as opposed to being ignored as it is during this visit.
Thousands rallied to protest President Obama yesterday, demanding the immediate release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. This topic has been the focus for the past week for much of Israel, with former hostage Gilad Shalit likening Pollard’s conviction by the US to his own capture by militants, and likening both to biblical Jewish enslavement by the Egyptian pharaoh in comments yesterday.
Obama’s own position on the Pollard matter is unlikely to come up during the visit, being carefully shuffled aside along with anything else even remotely controversial as he shakes hands and gives lip service to attacking Iran and/or Syria.
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