Like most people who follow the Arab-Israel conflict, I am still in the early stages of processing the fact that the least friendly president to the Jewish State of Israel in American history has now condescended to drop in.
Many of you may have noticed that I am not exactly a fan of president Obama when it comes to Israel or the well-being of the Jewish people. (Shocking, I know!)
But here he is planting a tree in Israel and how sweet is that? Is that Shimon Peres standing beside him? I think that it is.
I do not know, but there is something so exceedingly plastic about the image above that it caught my attention and imagination as soon as I saw it, which was all of about five minutes ago.
The notion of planting a tree in Israel is an old cliche that came out of the kibbutznik-socialist project of building up Eretz Yisrael. I have respect for that tradition because it was the tradition out of which Israel was born. It's the tradition of Ben Gurion and Dayan and Meir.
And while one should not be harsh toward a president of the United States merely for planting a tree in Israel as a photo opportunity, given Obama's general unfriendliness it still rankles a tad. I assume that at some point in the last couple of weeks Obama was conferring with his advisers on his upcoming trip to the Holy Land and someone said something to the effect of, "Oh, and be sure to plant a tree. They like that kind of thing for some reason."
The real test, of course, though, will come when Obama opens his mouth. He will speak to Netanyahu personally, and that's the conversation that counts, but he will also give a speech to the Israeli people, bypassing their elected representatives. That speech will largely consist of hokum and trumpery, as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. might have said.
I still very much hope that the Israelis do not take this trip too seriously, as they seem not to be doing.
The guy is simply not worth it.