My new article is up at The American Prospect:
Dear Mr. Obama,
A clever person succeeds in climbing out of the hole that a wise one avoids falling into. So says a Hebrew adage often applied to national leaders. To my great sorrow, you have already missed the chance to respond wisely to the upcoming Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition. You still have a few days left to be clever. I desperately hope you use them.
You strode into a foreign-policy hole during your Middle East speech last May when you dismissed Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas’s plan to ask for U.N. membership an attempt “to isolate Israel at the United Nations.” If anyone missed your implied threat, a State Department spokesperson made it explicit last week, explaining that if “something comes to a vote in the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. will veto.”
This is a mistake several times over. Despite the habitually panicked tones from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian statehood is a gain for Israel. By promising a Security Council veto, you’ve tied your own hands in shaping a resolution that looks certain to pass in the General Assembly, and have harmed America’s ability to broker Israeli-Arab diplomacy. …
Read the rest here.