This week in White House-land (as I’ve noted) it’s a Middle East policy fest:
President Obama meets with Jordanian King Abdullah tomorrow, and then hosts Jewish American Heritage month festivities; gives a Middle East policy speech Thursday; meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday; has a possible AIPAC appearance Sunday.
Previewing the week, Shmuel Rosner, writing in Hebrew at NRG (Ma’ariv’s web affiliate) tells Israelis Obama wants them, and says they need to ask themselves two questions about how to respond (and if there’s clumsiness, it’s in my translation, and not in Rosner’s fluid prose):
The president does not need you to win the 2012 elections — that will happen, in all probability, without you.
But Obama needs you — needs you a little — to improve his standing among Jewish voters and more importantly among Jewish donors. More than that, he needs you to improve his chances to arrive at something, to achieve something in the never-ending saga called the peace process. Obama understands that without your trust, it won’t happen, so he won’t lay down a detailed plan this week, and will instead concentrate on the mating dance.
The interesting question is whether all this will suffice, if there are those in Israel who will buy the new model Obama. If there are those willing to leave behind the the worn-out premise that the president is an "enemy of Israel," "dangerously naive," an "extreme liberal " — and exchange it for an understanding that Obama is after all yet another president who made the same mistakes on the way to the same goal sought by his predecessors; another president who thought he knew better than anyone else, but the reality taught him a different lesson; or another president with a definitive agenda, until he discovered that things look different from the Oval Office.
And another no-less interesting question: Which Obama will settle into Washington in November 2012, the day after the next elections. In most cases, the answer you give this question is also the answer you give the other question.