And yet there are reasons why things are as they are. What you want to see happen must be realistic or else it can turn out very badly. In 1979--I remember this vividly--the idea seemed undeniable to most people that the fall of Iran's shah had to produce a better outcome. That theme of revolution welcomed and then becoming a bloodbath goes back as far as the French Revolution.
Even within Israel itself, Obama was heckled by an Israeli Arab college student who was horrified by his "pro-Israel" statements and told interviewers later that he wanted Israel as a state to disappear. Guess he wasn't one of those young people. Would all Palestinians ready to live in their Arab Muslim state alongside Israel as a Jewish state please raise their hands?
How has Israel been rewarded for the risks already taken? With even more risks and international criticism.
Who is pushing in Palestinian politics? The only force that counts is that which wants an even more radical and violent strategy. Can you imagine a peace group being formed on any Palestinian campus? The idea is ridiculous. Obama cannot deliver the other side for peace--he can't even get them to negotiate at all--the president puts the job on someone else.
Where? A lone Egyptian blogger who speaks for peace with Israel after 30 years of a peace agreement and faces serious threats and harassment? Let's have the names of such young people. They are almost entirely, I'm sad to say, imaginary.
On what basis does Obama suggest that things can change? Strength, the very factor he downplays in other circumstances.
Yet I see no risk in what Obama said. First, it is standard U.S. policy. Second, Israel is now immunized by experience against taking foolish risks and making unrequited concessions. Third, because it does reflect Israeli preferences. If Obama wants to be patronizing that's more acceptable if he is ready to be Israel's patron rather than distancing himself.