A few days ago, I wondered in print whether the Obama administration would blink first or stand firm on a settlement freeze. So far, the adminstration is standing quite firm.
Ehud Barak has tried to convince the world that his meeting on the issue with George Mitchell led to a shift in the administration stance. Examine all the reports carefully: You’ll find no evidence of a change in the U.S. position. Which is good news.
A key reason that President Obama can avoid blinking is that Congress has his back.
I spoke this morning with Rep. Robert Wexler, one of Israel’s most dependable supporters in Congress. “The level of Congressional support for the president’s policies is substantial, and that’s reflected by public statements of prominent members of Congress,” he told me.
I also spoke this week with a foreign policy aide to a key senator. He gave the same assessment: “The president has a great deal of confidence and support from Congress.”
What that means, as I read it, is that members of Congress who care deeply about Israel’s future understand that settlement is hurting Israel. It also means they have reason to believe that the rank and file of American Jewry supports Obama on this. It’s important that they continue to get that message.