Posted by: sean | April 15, 2008

Israel’s designated driver

If this Reuters report is accurate, then the Israelis have got some explaining to do:

JERUSALEM, April 14 (Reuters) – Israeli leaders shunned former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit because of his plans to meet Hamas and Israel’s secret service declined to assist U.S. agents guarding him, U.S. sources said on Monday.

“They’re not getting support from local security,” one of the sources said, on condition of anonymity.

An American source described as “unprecedented” the lack of Shin Bet cooperation with the U.S. Secret Service, which protects all current and former U.S. presidents, as well as Israeli leaders when they visit the United States.

…American sources close to the matter said the Shin Bet, which helps protect visiting dignitaries and is overseen by Olmert’s office, declined to meet the head of Carter’s Secret Service detail or provide his team with assistance as is customary during such visits.

Jimmy Carter has the thankless job of being the best friend Israel’s ever had. He reminds me of those public service/beer commercials in which some drunken asshole keeps trying to crawl into his truck but his buddy refuses to give him his keys back: Friends don’t let friends drink and drive.

The Israelis are spitting on the man who is responsible for brokering the peace deal with Egypt and is now telling Israel some truths that it doesn’t want to hear. I suppose it’s normal to expect the Israelis to be unhappy about being told not to drive, but I somehow never expected Israeli foolishness to go so far as to refuse to protect Carter.

What would people say if the secret service refused to protect and Barack Obama refused to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu during a future trip to the US? Or better yet, imagine if the Egyptian or Pakistani governments refused to provide security for a former US president. Americans would be up in arms, and it would be a bipartisan contest to see who could yell the loudest for suspending aid to Cairo or Islamabad. This should be a huge scandal in the US, but if I know America at all, reactions will range from disgusted sighs to total silence to rants that Carter is an antisemite and is getting the treatment he deserves.

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