Kishke Watch

Making Friends

06.19.12 7:00 PM ET

Obama’s Israel policy is epitomized by the fact that he’s never visited Israel as president. How can someone truly be your friend if he won’t come over?

The President has dedicated much of his tenure to Israel since his election four years ago; he has spoken to Jewish leaders, reconciled a tenuous friendship with Netanyahu, and weighed the option of attacking Iran in Israel’s defense. But he has committed one fatal sin. A sin that has, according to Commentary, rendered him Israelis’ “least-liked American president in recent memory.”

Obama must have crafted his Israel policy pretty hastily. As Commentary points out, even Vladimir Putin knows that when it comes to making friends with Israel, showing up is half the battle. Who cares if Putin has used Russia’s veto power in the UN Security Council to weaken and obstruct sanctions against Iran? What does it matter that he said in 2009 that “We have no information that Iran is working on the creation of a nuclear weapon”? Or that he supports a peaceful Iranian nuclear program? He’s visiting Israel in a few weeks (he was busy with Obama yesterday), and that’s the truest show of friendship.

Obama and Netanyahu—whose relationship is notoriously strained—could learn a thing or two about making friends from Putin. Putin is friends with everyone! And a good one too. In spite of widespread condemnations of Assad’s massacres in Syria, Putin has stood by his BFF and ensured that Assad doesn’t come under attack from the international community. And he’s not averse to PDA with his friend Ahmadinejad. Putin even “endured” a photo shoot with his sort-of friend Obama.

Imagine what Obama could have gotten away with if he’d only visited Israel.

CORRECTION: The original article stated that Obama had never visited Israel; this is not true, as he has visited before becoming President. The article has been corrected to reflect this.