There is of course another simple, effective and relatively painless way to put pressure on the Israeli government without going to such extremes: The Obama administration merely needs to make the Israeli government understand that the strategic interests of the two countries no longer necessarily converge. It should then leave the Israelis out of the negotiations with Iran, informing them neither of the status of discussions nor of their content.
In so doing, U.S. negotiators would convey directly to the Israeli authorities the message that not all the issues of concern to Israel necessarily dominate Washington’s agenda and should not jeopardize the outcome of negotiations as a whole. This is guaranteed to make Jerusalem edgy.
Mr. Netanyahu’s anger at Mr. Obama’s refusal to give him advance notification of his Cairo address is sufficient illustration of the potential impact of this strategy of indirect leverage, which appears to be all the more effective since no act of aggression is committed and since it does not affect Israel’s security. Thus it cannot be exploited to orchestrate lobby pressure on Congress. Whether Mr. Obama is prepared to go that far to force Israel to compromise remains to be seen.