Speed Reads


Obama is reportedly making moves on Israel to preempt Donald Trump — and his ambassador to Israel

When Secretary of State John Kerry laid out the Obama administration's vision for Israel and Palestine on Wednesday, he did so somewhat in vain. "It is unclear what Mr. Kerry hopes to achieve from the speech, other than to leave a set of principles that he believes will one day emerge as the basis for talks, if and when they resume," The New York Times wrote. After all, as President-elect Donald Trump put it: "Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!"

But The New Yorker reports that it might just be that fast-approaching date that spurred President Obama's sudden moves on Israel:

The President-elect's appointment of David Friedman, a pro-settlement bankruptcy lawyer, as the next U.S. ambassador to Israel "had a lot of weight in the president's thinking" about what to do next, one senior administration official told me. The official told me that the administration had been "alarmed" by many of Trump's appointments to his national-security team — notably the appointment of Michael Flynn as national-security adviser — but the selection of Friedman was "over the top."

"The last thing you want to do as you leave office is to pick a fight with the organized Jewish community, but Friedman is so beyond the pale," the adviser said. "He put his political and charitable support directly into the settlements; he compares Jews on the left to the kapos in the concentration camps — it just put it over the top." [The New Yorker]

Trump has vowed not to let "Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect" and reportedly once bragged he could solve the Arab-Israeli conflict in "two weeks."