As I mentioned in an earlier post today, Mahmoud Abbas spoke of Palestine’s campaign for statehood as a Palestinian Spring. Bibi responded that it might result in an Iranian winter. But I see Bibi’s trip as the winter of his discontent, or perhaps the September of his discontent.
Barak Ravid covers Bibi’s New York UN residency (Hebrew) and notes the poor prime minister’s anger at Tom Friedman, that otherwise impeccable servant of Israel’s interests, who wrote a double-barrel blast of a column lambasting Bibi and calling him the worst, most incompetent prime minister in Israel’s history. In Bibi’s eyes that makes Tom the Great Satan, perhaps even greater than Ahmadinejad. Ravid says that this passage in Bibi’s speech was an implicit swipe at Friedman:
Better a bad press than a good eulogy, and better still would be a fair press whose sense of history extends beyond breakfast, and which recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
Imagine the ungratefulness of Tom Friedman not understanding that Israel’s security needs as defined by the Likud, trump regional peace and stability. All this attention from Bibi is unfortunate in a way since it will likely further inflate Friedman’s rather large ego to know a prime minister took out after him in a speech before the entire UN.
And Bibi has other nemeses as well such as Bill Clinton, who threw a decent sized bucket of cold water on Bibi in the former president’s remarks which also placed blame for the current logjam squarely on Bibi. It gives you a measure of Bibi that, according to Ravid, he demanded that his staff call the White House and request a demur from the Obama administration regarding Clinton’s remarks. Can you imagine the leader of a foreign country insisting that a sitting president criticize a past president. The guys has balls. When such a rebuff wasn’t forthcoming, Bibi contacted reporters in his entourage and gave them the White House spokesperson’s phone number and asked them to call for a comment.
Ravid describes the reception of Netanyahu’s UN speech as a sorry affair. Many of the delegates had left and the minutes-long applause that greeted Abu Mazen’s speech was withheld from the Israeli leader. The only applause he received was mainly from his own delegation and other Jews who were in the hall at the time. Ravid even says of Bibi: he refused to ask himself why it is that people throughout the world don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth. After comparing the warmth and effusiveness of the reception that greeted Abbas and the coldness that Bibi experienced, Ravid closes by saying:
For anyone who had any further doubt: this [Abbas’ reception] is how a political tsunami looks and that [Bibi’s] is how international isolation feels.