During his first term, President Obama spent considerable energy trying to build America’s relationship with the Muslim world. He never visited Israel, and repeatedly showed hostility toward the Jewish state. His reelection seemed to vindicate this approach.
This made his decision to take his first-ever visit to Israel this past week intriguing. It took place against a backdrop of increasing radicalism in the Arab world, a rise in Islamist authoritarianism, growing anti-Americanism among Muslims—and American retreat from the Middle East.