Letters

Letters | a new push for mideast progress?

After sitting on the sidelines, now it’s too late for Obama to influence Israel

ALAN BERGER raises an important subject (“Obama ought to meddle in Israeli vote,” Op-ed, Jan. 4). Every past US president since Jimmy Carter has at one point or another sought to interfere in an Israeli election or comparable leadership struggle.

Berger is correct that President Obama appears unlikely to intervene in Israel’s upcoming elections set for Jan. 22. He is also correct that carefully crafted gestures by Obama, such as a timely visit to Israel, could have helped moderate Israel’s next government by nudging a few extra coalition seats toward the center-left and away from the far-right.

However, this ship may have already sailed. Perhaps intentionally, Obama missed his window of opportunity to influence the election by avoiding the issue until now and keeping a low profile of late on the peace process in general.

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Announcing isolated American gestures now, so close to the Israeli vote, would probably be too transparent to have the sort of impact that Berger hopes to see.

David Andrew
Weinberg

Silver Spring, Md.

The author is a non-resident fellow at the UCLA Center for Middle East Development.