Years ago, Michael Wolff wrote a terrific column for New York magazine about why Israel and the Vatican were congenitally disposed to blowing hasbara. (I can’t find it on Google.) It had to do with two cultures inured to brooking criticism.
He’s at Newser now (he tried to buy New York — it didn’t work out). And he says that when it comes to an Obama-Israel showdown, American Jews are going to side with Obama.
Part of understanding what’s happening in the US-Israel relationship is understanding who is saying what to whom. Because the language here is so ritualized and proscribed, the entire conversation takes place in subtext. The president will never say we’re cutting off Israel; we’re dumping them; we’re finished — but, on the other hand, he will.
The two Times stories were both pieces of this real-fake conversation. The one from Israel said: “Don’t screw with us.” The one from the president: “Don’t fuck with me.”