Andrew Sullivan finds Barack Obama's "new" wording on 1967 borders -- you know, the wording that throws Israel under a bus or some other such nonsense -- in a six month old joint statement from Secretary Clinton and....Prime Minister Netanyahu.
I do think that there's something real at stake in the latest flap; I'm not sure that Matt Yglesias is completely correct that Netanyahu and other Israelis simply want to keep all the land they seized in 1967, but I do think that there are real differences in what the Israeli government wants and what the United States wants, and that those are reflected in bickering over meaningless words. But, yeah, the specifics of this latest business is just a typical Fox News phony scandal (with Bibi showing that if nothing else, he knows how to play that game).
By the way, I haven't had an item that gives me a chance to link to an excellent point Jonathan Chait made last week about Israel's security and the 1967 borders: that the old idea of "defensible" borders is basically obsolete in the present context. I hadn't heard that before, and it's very smart. I'd add that prospect here is only of a demilitarized Palestine, which makes the "columns of troops" idea even less likely to happen (and, unlike the Brits and French of the 1930s, the Israelis would surely move quickly, and with considerable muscle, if Palestine obtained even a single tank). Now, under the Yglesias way of looking at things, that's irrelevant; the old rhetoric about defensible borders is essentially a cover for Israel keeping what it considers its own territory. Could be! However, I think it's just as likely, at least for many involved in this debate, that they're just trapped within the old way of thinking -- since the defensible borders thing really was a major issue for twenty years (and, while I don't remember pre-1967, I certainly do remember honest concern about a conventional military defeat for Israel in the 1970s, and the perceived value of the 1967 victory as providing a very useful buffer against that).