Finally, a poll says 3 out of 4 Israelis dislike Obama more than cholent or dafina

In his post ” ‘Epidemic of not watching’ ctd,” the Dish quotes a press release from Pechter, a polling firm, which surveyed Israelis after the Flotilla incident. Based on their poll, Andrew writes that Israelis back “the assault on the Mavi Marmara” and

More revealing is the attitude toward the reaction of the US government. Washington, almost alone among capitals, declined to render judgment. That didn’t cut any ice:

Seventy one percent (71%) disliked U.S. President Barack Obama with forty seven percent (47%) expressing a strong dislike. In all, sixty three percent (63%) of those polled were dissatisfied with the American government’s reaction to the incident.

Israelis view Obama the way Sarah Palin does. And this even after he rolled over completely.

The polling firm has put out a press release but they haven’t made public, online at least, their actual poll. That doesn’t stop Andrew from communicating his confidence and citing support for conclusions he’s already made — that so far have no statistical support, i.e., the idea that Israelis hate and even “virulently hate” Obama.

In fact, Andrew wanted so much for readers to have insight into Israeli hatred of Obama, he decided not to quote the sentence just before, which would cast doubt on what he knows to be true. Here’s the whole paragraph from Pechter’s press release — bold print mine:

Political leaders fared differently in the poll. Fifty three percent (53%) were satisfied with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s job performance while only forty one percent (41%) were satisfied with Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s job performance. Seventy one percent (71%) disliked U.S. President Barack Obama with forty seven percent (47%) expressing a strong dislike.

Note the language in the Pechter release. Switching from the discussion of Netanyahu’s and Barak’s actions to discussion of Obama, period. It makes you think that the summary might be a tad sloppy. It’s possible that they asked people about Obama’s handling of the situation instead of the quality of his vibes.

It’s also possible that this press release ( — for a poll that Sullivan cannot wait to not actually read — ) does not contain any mistakes and is simply a tantalizing reflection of Sullivan’s wet nightmare. But compare it to Foreign Policy’s write-up of the poll story, which the Pechter website links to — bold print mine:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s job-approval rating has now climbed into positive territory: 53 percent of respondents were satisfied with his performance, while 40 percent were dissatisfied. By contrast, 71 percent voiced dissatisfaction with U.S. President Barack Obama, and a clear majority, 63 percent, are also dissatisfied with the overall U.S. reaction to the Gaza flotilla controversy so far.

Instead of “like-dislike,” Foreign Policy says the poll is recording “satisfaction-dissatisfaction,” and is using the same terms for the answers about Barak, Netanyahu and Obama. I want to see the actual poll when/if it shows up on Pechter’s website, but until then, I think is doubtful that the Israelis questioned were referring to their general affection for Obama in the immediate wake of the Flotilla mess.

And “rolled over”? Sorry, what Obama did wouldn’t qualify. No other Western-esque country would/has subjected itself to an international inquiry of an alleged military mistake. Israelis know their country is being asked to submit themselves to a kind of inquiry (either monitored or done by other parties) that neither the United States nor Britain wouldn’t submit to. And Obama isn’t stopping an internationally monitored inquiry, however wise his course of action might be.

Here’s Obama on Larry King:

KING:  Couple of other things.  Former President Carter has condemned the Israeli raid against those ships in the flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza.

Where do you stand in that?  A former American president has condemned it.

OBAMA:  The United States, with the other members of the U.N. Security Council said very clearly that we condemned all the acts that led up to this violence.  It was a tragic situation.  You’ve got loss of life that was unnecessary.  So we are calling for an effective investigation of everything that happened.  I think the Israelis are going to agree to that — an investigation of international standards — because they recognize that this can’t be good for Israel’s long-term security.

I’m not sure whether condemning “all the acts” that led up to violence, or implying that the deaths of people who might be militants is automatically a tragedy, constitutes “declining to render judgment.” Furthermore, the administration fit the deaths of 9 possible militants into the the narrative of a “cycle of violence” that must be broken, a status quo for which Israel is part responsible.

On the balance, I’m not unhappy with Obama’s approach. In fact, I’d tell a pollster that I’m “satisfied” with it. Even if Israelis wanted direct moral support from Obama (instead of indirectly through Biden), Israel has to make do with his triangulation in order to not make waves at this time for the U.S. and other allies.

When Tony Blair forthrightly defended Israel’s right to inspect the ships, Andrew wouldn’t have called it “rolling over.” So what makes Obama’s comparatively cool response seem to qualify as “rolling over”? I’m guessing it’s because the President hasn’t done as much as the Daily Dish wants in condemning/critiquing Israel, or maybe getting it into more hot water at the UN.

Obama is depriving Andrew the satisfaction of a good scolding of the New (“arrogant”) Israel that he somehow thinks is the U.S.’s job according to requirements of realism and moralism. For Obama should be acting in a way consistent with what the Dish has been telling his readers is essential: the saving of U.S. interests from the actions of Israel — or from an Israel which is run not only by Netanyahu (whom the Dish compares to Cheney) and a religious fanatics in his coalition, but also by “the radicalism of the current Israeli center.”

Because whatever Obama does, the Dish has told us that the Israelis will be fighting against his administration’s objectives for U.S. interests and interest in social justice. As Andrew wrote about a week ago:

From the very beginning of Obama’s election, it seems to me that the prime objective of the Israeli government – both Kadima [through Operation Cast Lead] and now Netanyahu – was to use Gaza to destroy the U.S.’s attempt to reach out to the Muslim world. This is a chance to fight back – for the sake of broader American interests.

Yes, their “prime objective” had to be — not stopping rockets on Israeli citizens, but — stopping the American President’s rocket to the stars. And what of the formal supporters of these decisions in the United States? —

It’s a strategic goal. AIPAC is just waiting for president Palin to back an acceleration of settlements and a full-scale war, subsidized by Americans, against Iran.”

We have to respect Andrew’s selfless labor on this front. At the same time he is devoting his rhetorical resources to helping protect America from Israel and an amorphous “wing” of its supporters — which may include Jon Chait ( “why should we believe this positioning is more than positioning, when it always ends up backing Israel?”) — Andrew is also expending a great deal of effort in trying to help save Israel from itself. He’s following the example of Jesus of Nazareth or Beezus of Ramona or something.

But then again, to borrow some pungent words from Andrew, “this analysis [might be] a function of a mindset warped by paranoia, enabled by utter arrogance, fueled by a sense of impunity.”

And a hell of a lot of other things might be involved, including a clinical level of narcissism and too much coffee.

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