By Florence Stahl ~
Dr. Jay Bergman’s analysis of the now-infamous “private” conversation between Presidents Sarkozy and Obama (Jewish Ledger, Nov. 12, 2011), is spot-on. Except, that is, for his conclusion.
Bergman rightly determines that Obama could not possibly have meant that he literally “deals with” Netanyahu every day. That would be ridiculous given the knowledge and experience of the person to whom he was speaking. They both know better. But he then closes his argument convinced that “the president is obsessed with Netanyahu and, by extension, with Israel.” Perhaps. But I don’t think our composed President is obsessed with any one foreign issue, vexing as this one may be.
What is so burdensome to our President that he instantly “one-ups” Sarkozy? Why does he feel more beleaguered than Sarkozy? Uncharacteristically, Obama reacts on a gut level and overstates when he says “I have to deal with him every day.” The “him” is neither Netanyahu nor Israel. Both words are metaphors for Jews. In his mind, it’s Jews and their influence as a constituency that envelop Obama…daily. He intuitively seeks Sarkozy’s sympathy. Jews who evaluate his performance. Jews who pressure him. That’s his constant burden. That’s what weighs on his mind. Even as he unconsciously mangles his real meaning, he knows Sarkozy will understand.
Is this necessarily hostile? We don’t know, but it’s honest.