Obama seems set to, finally, make a visit to Israel in March.
President Barack Obama will visit Israel “in the Spring” for the first time since taking office in January 2009, the White House said Tuesday. Israeli media reports said the trip was set for March 20 . Possible military action against Iran and the crisis in Syria seem sure to top the agenda.
Obama and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the possibility of a visit during a January 28 telephone call, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Carney said Obama would also visit Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and make a stop in Jordan, and that dates would be released later.
Obama visited Israel in July 2008, when he was running for office, but has not been back since. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign — and Republicans in general — have sought to use that as a political weapon, suggesting it shows that he is willing to short-change the staunchest U.S. ally in the region. But both of George W. Bush visits to Israel came in 2008, when his second term was nearly up. And Republican icon Ronald Reagan never went.
I appreciate the reporter’s attempt to boost Obama’s Israel bona fides, but the timing of the visit in no way bears on Obama’s “Israel problem”. He clearly sees Israel as a problem in the region and no amount of visits will remedy that unless he opens his mind.