According to Nathan Thrall, three types of officials can take the lead on U.S. policy with Israel: “skeptics,” “reproachers,” and “embracers”. His piece does a great job of assessing the current situation in the Middle East Peace Process–or what still exists of it.
The third type appears to have the upper hand:
Embracers are popular with presidents because they tell them precisely what they want to hear: that you can achieve your goals by closely allying the administration with Israel, improving relations with it in the process, making Palestinians happy since your cradling of Israel will lead to the peace they desire, and all while winning plaudits from Israel’s supporters in the U.S., thus paying no domestic political price. So far this dream has not come true, but the words have been too sweet to be resisted.
Obama, who fell under their spell quite early in his first term, adopted a strategy toward the peace process not unlike that of Goldilocks toward porridge. He entered office thinking the Bush Skeptics were too warm toward Israel, telling a group of Jewish leaders in 2009, “During those eight years [of Bush], there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that?” But Obama soon concluded that his Reproachers were too cold. So he handed responsibility to the Embracers, whom he believed would be just right.