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U.S. Envoy Calls Bibi’s Speech ‘Inadequate’ Before He Delivers It

Man, George Mitchell is all over Bibi Netanyahu like white on rice (can you still say that?).  The poor Israeli PM hasn’t even delivered his much-touted speech setting out his vision for the Palestinians, when Mitchell’s folks have already shot it down:

The proposals to be outlined in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on Sunday will not be enough to satisfy the Obama administration, a senior U.S. official was quoted as saying on Friday.

The official said Netanyahu told U.S. envoy George Mitchell this week what he planned to say in the speech and that it was “not adequate” to satisfy Washington, who is pushing for an immediate resumption of talks on Palestinian statehood.

Bibi’s ill-conceived speech originated in his supporters fit of pique at the glorious reception afforded Pres. Obama’s Cairo speech.  They realized that Obama had stolen a march on them and set the terms of the debate in ways that Israel could not escape.  The PM’s counter-speech was the result.  But no speech that Bibi delivers can provide the boost he’s looking for because he doesn’t have a viable vision of how to make peace with the Palestinians.  Hence, Mitchell’s a priori rejection of it.

Another thing to point out about this…Mitchell has shed the prior politesse the U.S. used to observe with Israel.  In the past, no U.S. president would’ve dissed an Israeli PM in the way the U.S. envoy has, with such a dismissal of his speech.  I keep saying this–but we’re in a new day.  Bibi keeps digging that hole and eventually he’s going to fall in.  And then maybe we can make some real progress if Israel can formulate a more pragmatic government.

I was humored by the statement I read from the PM after his grueling White House session with the president: “What does he want?  That my government should fall?”  Imagine the chutzpah for him to think that Obama gives a flying f(^k about whether his government falls or not.  In fact, the only one who cares is Bibi himself and his rightist cohorts.

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Alex Stein June 13, 2009, 4:00 AM

    Leaving aside the unnecessarily caustic tone (flying fuck etc), which doesn’t seem to fit in with your rhetoric about tikkun olam, we can imagine how you would react if someone wrote, for example, “Imagine the chutzpah for him [lets say Khaled Meshal] to think that Obama gives a flying f*** about whether the Hamas government falls or not.” Interesting you quick you are to abandon fundamental principles of not interfering in another country’s democratic decisions when the guy on the receiving end is Benyamin Netanyahu.

    Thankfully, Obama’s far cleverer than that and Bibi’s whining is mostly bluster. If Bibi were to fall and the electorate thought it was a result of excessive American pressure (electorates don’t like outside interference in their voting, even if they are concerned about maintaining the American alliance), I’d expect another turn to the right. Another more likely alternative is that Bibi is forced to alter his coalition, which would possibly be a good thing, unless you want the ‘true face’ of Israel to be exposed.

    In sum, though, contradictions and double standards at every turn.

    • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2009, 12:46 AM

      If Bibi were to fall and the electorate thought it was a result of excessive American pressure (electorates don’t like outside interference in their voting, even if they are concerned about maintaining the American alliance), I’d expect another turn to the right.

      You’re being incredibly naive. Shamir was voted out when he bucked Bush Sr. Bibi himself was voted out of office last time because he bucked Clinton. Israelis don’t want a divide with the U.S. & they punish candidates who create schisms with Uncle Sam. Although you may be an Anglo-Israeli, you don’t understand the relationship with the U.S..

  • Stacy June 13, 2009, 8:26 AM

    A bit off topic, but I can’t help but remark on the fact that the American media has not been covering one very important story about the Iranian elections- how American neoconservatives want the current Israel-hating President to win re-election, for obvious reasons:

    http://www.corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NTY2NzFmYzQ0NTM2YWI2ZDNkNWZmOTNiMTI3YWE3N2I=

    And it looks like they got their wish- they [and Israel] may still get their war. Or perhaps I should say, “we”?

  • Suzanne June 13, 2009, 2:31 PM

    Bibi N does have a vision though- it’s totally unacceptable, a fantasy, and and insult to believe it would be acceptable to anyone in the ME outside of Israel. The endpoint for the Palestinians, from what I just heard, would be autonomy within Israel. No state. This would be the Gaza prison writ larger. He does not get it, it seems, that Palestinians do not trust ( based on experience) any more than Israeli’s do.

    Bibi is wasting time which in my view, Israeli’s do not have.

  • bar_kochba132 June 13, 2009, 8:04 PM

    Gee, Richard, isn’t interfering in the democratic process in other countries considered “imperialism”?

    You wrote:
    —————————————————–
    I was humored by the statement I read from the PM after his grueling White House session with the president: “What does he want? That my government should fall?” Imagine the chutzpah for him to think that Obama gives a flying f(^k about whether his government falls or not. In fact, the only one who cares is Bibi himself and his rightist cohorts.

    —————————————————–

    You are saying, in other words, that Obama shouldn’t care who the people of Israel vote for. After all, it is the people of Israel who put Netanyahu in power, not just “his rightist cohorts”.

    • kylebisme June 13, 2009, 8:17 PM

      Perhaps you don’t realise that Kadima got more votes than Likud?

    • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2009, 12:42 AM

      Israel interferes in “democratic processes” here in the U.S. virtually every day. Where do you think the Iran sanctions bills are strategized & devised? As much in the Israeli embassy, Mossad and Aipac offices as they are in Congress. Don’t talk to me about the U.S. not interfering in Israel’s democratic process.

      It is in U.S. interest to see a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nations pursue their interests. Israel does this too btw. It interferes in the affairs of virtually all of its neighbors to varying degrees in order to advance its own.

      I have no problem with Barack Obama putting pressure on Israel’s government to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians.

  • richard01 June 13, 2009, 9:03 PM

    @kylebisme

    So what? Gore got 500,000 more votes in 2000 than Bush, and Hezbollah’s side got 100,000 votes more than the opposition just only last week.

    Democracy is a game played by the rule makers.

    Israel is a piddling little Levantine country that has had to set up an electoral system to accomodate its varying colonial settlers, and, in doing so, is no different than the US or Lebanon.

  • Jeremiah Newman June 14, 2009, 1:11 AM

    [comment deleted for violating comment rules]

  • ron June 15, 2009, 7:47 AM
  • Warren June 15, 2009, 3:50 PM

    Aah, this change in tone on the part of the U.S. is so pleasing to the ears. I just want to give George Mitchell a big hug and thank him for actually behaving like an official of a sovereign nation (and the supposed giant world superpower at that). I hope this signals a real shift in the longstanding habit of the American government of kowtowing and genuflecting to Israeli whims and delusions, rhetorically at least. The bigger issue I see down the road at the American end of the “special relationship” is dealing with our utterly useless ingrate U.S. Congress, surely one of the most pathetic collections of people ever to walk this beautiful, green Earth. I don’t believe that most of these men and women could think for themselves, or ethically evaluate, to save their Grand-nannas, so in thrall are our senators and representatives to big money and the marching orders of the powerful. The notion that Congress is actually there to represent, ya know, the American people, you’ve maybe heard of that little concept called “democracy”, seems to be lost on them—so vast is the gulf between the expressed wishes of most Americans (via polls, all sorts of indicators) and the actions of our government. Obama and Mitchell are going to have to whip out some serious knuckle-grease politicking, expend some of that substantial Obamian political capital, to get those bought-off patsies in line. Good luck. As much as I loathe Darth Cheney and all that he stands for, I painfully admit sharing some of his disdain for (most of) the denizens of the legislative branch. (The difference of course is that his hostility is structural, mine isn’t.)

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