It was not surprising that President Obama took the opportunity to say kind things about Israel during Monday’s debate — which after all was held in Boca Raton, the Mecca (if you will) of Jewish retirement communities.
It was surprising that he brought up Israel a second time. And a third. And a fourth. And a fifth. Indeed, he brought up Israel so often, you might have thought he actually liked the place.
How he really feels about Israel isn’t the point. The point is the president wants people in the United States to think he likes it. He wants them to think it very much. Very, very, very much.
He wants them to think he believes Israel is “our greatest ally in the region” when only a few months ago he had described it merely as “one of our allies in the region.” He wants them to think he’s responsible for “unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation” with Israel when in fact he’s merely continued his predecessor’s policies.
He wanted to let them know Israel and the United States are going to be engaging any day now in the largest joint military exercise ever—which led the Obamaphilic but puckish journalist Jeffrey Goldberg to tweet, “What a coincidence that the joint Israel-US exercise is taking place this very week.”