Apparently, all it took was a speech.
After Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations last week, in which he spent approximately two minutes telling the Israeli narrative in a way that satisfied certain Jewish ears (and, of course, opposing Palestinian statehood), he is suddenly in the good graces of the Israeli population for really the first time since his election. The man who once had an abysmal 4% approval rating, is now, according to a new Jerusalem Post poll thought by 54 percent of Jewish Israelis to have policies that are favorable to Israel, while 19 percent said they are pro-Palestinian. In the sad, zero-sum logic of the conflict, this means they like him.
But you didn’t need the polls. The whole tone of the way the mainstream Israeli media has covered Obama seems to have changed. Nahum Barnea, the country’s most respected columnist, mockingly called the president “Israel’s ambassador to the UN.”
And then there was the cover of Maariv’s weekend magazine. Enough said.
Gal Beckerman is the Forward’s Opinion Editor. He was previously an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review where he wrote essays and media criticism. His book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Bookforum. Beckerman was also the New York bureau chief of the Jerusalem Post during the Lebanon War of 2006. He spent 2008 living in Berlin on an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship. His history of the movement to free Jews from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry,” was published in the fall of 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone” was named the 2010 Jewish Book of the Year, receiving a National Jewish Book Award from the by Jewish Book Council. In 2012, he won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. Contact Gal Beckerman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @galbeckerman