Obama Offers Lukewarm Endorsement of Linkage

Earlier today, President Barack Obama told a group of Jewish leaders that resolving tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors would increase Iran’s isolation.

The comments, which were written up by Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin, would suggest that neoconservatives who have been pushing a “reverse linkage” narrative—in which they say that destroying Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program will bring peace between Israel and its neighbors—have made very little headway in convincing the White House that “the road to peace runs through Tehran.”

Josh Rogin writes:

While the peace talks and the Iran threat are not necessarily linked, Obama told the rabbis that resolving Israel’s disputes with its neighboring Arab states would increase Iran’s isolation.

Obama also delivered a message of urgency regarding the peace talks.  “If that window closes, it’s going to be hard to reopen for years to come,” he said. “We’re not going to get that many more opportunities.”

While recent days have seen a growing number of voices repeating the pre-Iraq war argument that “the road to peace leads through [Muslim capital],” Obama’s comments today would seem to suggest that the president is endorsing a road to peace that runs through Jerusalem.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. B.O. is plenty smart enough to realize that “reverse linkage” is a canard. The road to peace in Palestine does NOT go through (a bombed-out) Tehran. Fight Iran and you postpone an I-P resolution indefinitely. Unless of course you believe in a “Sunni-Israeli” alliance against Iran (and Iraq?). I don’t. The quickest way for the Saudi Royal family or the Mubaraks to lose their heads is by allying with Israel against the Shia.

  2. Actually bombing Iran might well lead to peace between Israel/Palestine. That is because it would cause the US to withdraw from the entire theater. I don’t know if it would be due to war weariness or the economic distress it would tip off. It might well also result in Americans seriously reconsidering our support of Israel. Perhaps we should start fanning the flames–only that’s too cynical a game for me.

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