Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 6:06 AM
Nobody in his right mind doubts that President Obama fully appreciates the existential threat Israel faces by having Iran, which seems hell-bent on building nuclear weapons, continually threaten to wipe it off the map. In point of fact, he has repeatedly vowed that the United States will not allow Iran to build those weapons, let alone allow it to launch them at Israel. And, as the few surviving members of al-Qaeda can attest, this is not a president who makes hollow threats.
This is why I am simply stupefied by the way Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has been publicly goading Obama – almost from day one of his presidency – to stop Iran before it enters some amorphous “zone of immunity” (presumably where North Korea resides).
The world tells Israel: ‘Wait. There’s still time.’ And I say: ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.
(Netanyahu, The Washington Post, September 11, 2011)
The problem, of course, is that Netanyahu’s woe-is-Israel schtick is belied by the record of Obama repeatedly endorsing Israel’s absolute right to act whenever and however it sees fit. In other words, all of his talk about red lines and red lights is just a red herring. If Netanyahu wants to attack Iran today, nobody’s stopping him.
Except that this arrogant SOB would rather sit on his moral high-horse (playing the Holocaust card) and declaim falsely about Obama dictating when and how he should act to defend Israel’s national security interests, while presuming to dictate to Obama when and how he should act to defend America’s national security interests with respect to Iran: talk about brass ones….
Mind you, it’s not as if Netanyahu is privy to intelligence about the nature/progress of Iran’s nuclear program that Obama is not. He just thinks that he has some divine dispensation to treat Obama like his lapdog the way Bush treated UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Apropos of this, it is noteworthy that Netanyahu is being supported in his rhetorical misadventure by the same coalition of crusading dunces (namely, Zionists, Christian fundamentalists, and new-world-order neo-cons) who goaded Bush into attacking Iraq. Not to mention that they have all been issuing Chicken-Little warnings about Iran being just months away from going nuclear since the late 1990s….
Thank God Obama is made of sterner stuff. He demonstrated this just yesterday when he rebuffed Netanyahu’s attempt to bully his way into a meeting with Obama during his one-day visit to New York City later this month for the UN Annual General Assembly.
But Netanyahu got the media spin he wanted when virtually every news reporter and political pundit began parroting the line about Obama dissing Netanyahu … again. None of these saps even bothered to question why this Israeli prime minister feels entitled to impose on this U.S. president in this imperious manner.
Anyway, screaming headlines about Obama refusing to meet with Netanyahu forced Obama’s spokesman to plead the obvious: that there is and has been no lack of communication between these two leaders on strategies for dealing with Iran; that, for these occasions, everybody knows that every minute of the U.S. president’s time is scheduled months in advance; and that it would not be in America’s national interest for Obama to blow off a meeting with another world leader just to hold a non-emergency meeting with Netanyahu.
All of which makes one question why Netanyahu would make such a stink about Obama not granting his last-minute request for what could only have been a meaningless photo-op? I submit, in a word: politics.
Foremost, if Netanyahu were truly interested in meeting with Obama, the media would never have known about his request and it would have been scheduled through the normal diplomatic channels.
On the other hand, it is no secret that Netanyahu and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney are close personal friends. Indeed they both went out of their way to broadcast this fact during Romney’s visit to Israel last month.
Which is why this manufactured media conflict seems far more about Netanyahu’s desire to get his friend Mitt elected president of the United States than about any need to defend Israel. In fact, a cynical, reckless and hopelessly misguided Republican strategy holds that the more anti-Israel Romney makes Obama look, the better his chances are of winning the election.
In this light, it seems clear that Netanyahu is just providing fodder for Romney to continue perpetrating his big lie about Obama being the first president in U.S. history who would sooner “throw Israel under the bus” than help defend it. Never mind that this big lie has already been debunked not just by Israeli President Shimon Peres, but also by no less a person than Netanyahu’s own defense minister, Ehud Barack:
I am saying very clearly that this administration in regard to Israel’s security – and we are traditionally supported by each and every American president in our generation – but under this administration we went even further into a clear, deep, deep commitment to the security of Israel. And beyond. I see the administration is ready to veto steps which are somewhat go against (sic) or perceived by us as being against the interests of Israel.
(Charlie Rose, March 24, 2010)
Not to mention that top military officials in Israel seem more in synch with the geo-strategic steps Obama is taking towards military confrontation with Iran than with the war-mongering steps Netanyahu is urging him to take: Obama maintains that the sanctions regime in place is having the desired effect. Netanyahu wants to draw red lines that trigger certain war – except that getting him to state where those lines should be drawn is rather like getting Romney to state what deductions he would subtract so that his tax policy adds up.
The United States will always have Israel’s back… Loose talk of war” only plays into Iran’s hands. Now is not the time for bluster. Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in.
(Obama, Associated Press, March 5, 2012)
What more could any Israeli prime minister (in his right mind) want?!
Frankly, I suspect there are many more Israelis who are embarrassed by Netanyahu’s tail-wagging-the-dog impudence than there are Americans who believe Obama is dissing (or has ever dissed) him.
Then, of course, there’s the irony of the Mormon Romney and Jew Netanyahu being bonded by the self-loathing fact that they have sold their political souls to Christian fundamentalists who believe that Netanyahu and Romney have to deny their religion, respectively, to make it into heaven: schmucks.
Despite drumbeat, Israel will never attack Iran