Bibi’s Bilious Rebuke of Obama for Abandoning Israel
Today’s development in which Bibi Netanyahu harshly and publicly rebuked the Obama administration for refusing to draw red lines and set a deadline by which it would attack Iran if it didn’t renounce its nuclear program, represents a new nadir in Israel-U.S. relations:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel inserted himself into the most contentious foreign policy issue of the American presidential campaign on Tuesday, criticizing the Obama administration for refusing to set clear “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear progress that would prompt the United States to undertake a military strike. As a result, he said, the administration has no “moral right” to restrain Israel from taking military action of its own.
…“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.”
Bibi has laid bare his calculations in that last sentence. Iran is not a political issue, but a moral one. The problem with turning purely political disputes into moral crusades is that reason and logic are often replaced by fervor and self-righteousness. Thus stopping Iran becomes a moral obligation and U.S. reluctance to join the campaign is dismissed as cowardice or worse.
Having studied ancient Israelite history in college and graduate school, I’m brought to mind of the powerful empires like ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Assyria and Persia which had scores of vassal states whose leaders would make a pilgrimage bearing tribute to the sovereign. The lesser figure would supplicate himself at the more powerful leader’s feet.
Our relationship with Israel upends this model. Israel is the “weaker” state, but appears to lead us by the nose. When we don’t do what it wants, it embarrasses or blackmails us. In the ancient era, there were ways of dealing with such obstreperousness. A satellite state that became troublesome could be suppressed by threats or force. The thought that a vassal could plot to overthrow the sovereign without paying any price would’ve been unthinkable.
But that’s precisely what’s happening with Israel. Bibi, who was told the president would not meet with him at the UN General Assembly, is irked he’s being dissed by Barack. Bibi wants his war and the U.S. won’t give it to him. As a result, Bibi’s not going to take his marbles and go home. He’s going to fling them in Obama’s face. In today’s world, with so many Jewish votes up for grabs in a close election, Obama can’t afford to blink when those marbles are coming at him.
Bibi is the leader of the equivalent of a vassal state who thinks he’s a potentate. Obama doesn’t have the guts or heart to tell him. As a result, the U.S. gets tossed hither and yon by the vagaries of the political winds blowing off the Mediterranean coast. We don’t chart our own course. Rather, we tack our sails in response to what Israel does. This causes us to take our eyes off the real object of the race: Iran. Thus, U.S. policy can’t address the real issues but has to manage the prima donna that is Bibi.
What is most unpardonable about Bibi’s antics is his gross intervention in the U.S. presidential race. Joe Klein rakes the Israeli leader over the coals for this in his MSNBC piece:
“I don’t think I’ve ever, in the 40 years I’ve been doing this, have heard of another example of an American ally trying to push us into war as blatantly and trying to influence an American election as blatantly as Bibi Netanyahu and the Likud party in Israel
In the past, Israeli premiers may’ve had distinct favorites but they never expressed such views publicly. They always kept a careful distance from partisan politics. Bibi, as he has with so many other democratic niceties in his own country, has thrown such precedents to the winds. He’s not going to pretend he doesn’t have a dog in this fight. He does and it’s Mitt Romney’s Irish setter (the one he tied to the roof of his family car on the way to their summer vacation).
Bibi’s move is naked political aggrandizement. It’s the way the Likud plays the game in Israel. Winner takes all and leaves no spoils to the losers. What astonishes me is that previous presidents would make sure, for the sake of their own prestige and stature, that they put such chutzpah in its place. Not this president. He sits back and takes it out of fear of a Jewish electoral backlash. His apparently laid back demeanor only emboldens Bibi further.
My only hope is that the American electorate, perhaps even some Republicans, will rebuke this brazen attempt to insert pro-Israel politics into a presidential race. I know this isn’t the issue that’s foremost on the minds of most voters. But anyone who gives this any degree of attention will be shocked by Bibi’s chutzpah. Instead of helping Romney, the Israeli PM may hurt him. The Republican is so desperate for any small advantage in what he knows will be an uphill race, he won’t call off the dogs. He may find, however, that the dogs turn around and bite his presidential chances and a certain portion of his anatomy.
22 thoughts on “Bibi’s Bilious Rebuke of Obama for Abandoning Israel – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Benjamin Netanyahu is a megalomaniac messianic madman with 400+ nuclear weapons, a clandestine and military faction in love with war, and a US veto, plus domestically installed interests in America, like Joe Lieberman and the rest of the Neocons, to echo his very thoughts and sentiments.
He will stop at nothing to have American young die for his unjustified and unsupported cause. After 9 years of threatening Iran with illegal and unjustified “pre-emptive strikes” (aka a euphemism for an attack or first offensive), lying about Iran’s intentions, Israel has served up precisely ZERO evidence to support their contentions.
Instead, the world has watched country after country capitulate to Israel’s fraudulent demands, in order to appease loose cannon Israel, while also putting up widespread economic sanctions against Iran without any support whatsoever — the same kind that starved Iraq’s young by the millions preceding our final invasion.
What is wrong with this picture? Consider, over the past six years alone:
1- Israel has used cluster bombs on civilians. Iran has not;
2- Israel has used white phosphorus weapons on civilians, Iran has not;
3- Israel has planted extensive numbers of land mines in neighboring nations, Iran has not;
4- Israel has targeted and killed UN observers, Iran has not;
5- Israel has conducted assassinations in foreign nations, Iran has not;
6- Israel has exploited alliances to forge passports, Iran has not;
7- Israel has killed thousands of civilians since 2006, Iran has not; and,
8- Israel has been allowed to hold a large undeclared nuclear arsenal for decades, Iran has not even come close to wanting them; finally,
9- Israel has, beyond a reasonable doubt, significant influence as to what appears them in the Western media, Iran does not.
Spread the list – prevent the war!
We know who is the real enemy of peace and stability.
[threatening anyone in these threads is cause for immediate banning]
It will be interesting to see if the American Jewish community comes down on Bibi as it should. I think it can happen: Iran is a cancer for Americans and the more Bibi pushes, the more irritated we become. Iran could bust Bibi and AIPAC.
(Is it true that Romney tied his dog to the roof of the car? It seems so bizarre and callous.)
romney sped down the highway with his family dog caged to roof of the car and losing control of his bowels do to fright.
romney stopped at a gas station and hosed down the car and continued on.
Off-topic BUT the dog in a cage on the roof of the car? This guy is frighteningly shallow.
obama has always appeared weak.
its impossible to know if its an act.
some say he gets pushed around by the republicans but it seems to me he has no issue with their politics and by claiming bipartisanship he gets the benefit of appearing as the “adult in the room”.
bibi certainly appears to be out of control.
we know he has been rebuked by France and Germany in the last few weeks regarding his war against Iran.
but this also shows he may not be getting the support behind the scenes he has expected or even been used to in the past.
the only place jewish voters MAY harm obama in a close election would be in Florida.
but there is little evidense to suggest that scenario even exists let alone would come to pass.
sometimes people see things as they really are and act accordingly.
in this case its hard to assume bibi is not being viewed by everyone else exactly as you see him.
and thats a good thing.
It’s Jewish money, not Jewish voters, who will harm Obama.
As with money everywhere, Jewish money is controlled by rather fewer people than Jewish votes.
“He sits back and takes it out of fear of a Jewish electoral backlash”.
i WAS RESponding to that.
your point is a different issue.
It looks to me like Obama’s giving Netanyahu all the the rope he needs while basically ignoring him. I get the feeling Netanyahu is simply talking too much. So much that he’s getting tuned out, is losing relevance, is beginning to actually LOOK like the loon so many claim him to be. He’s not leading anyone by the nose anymore (except of Canada’s Stephen Harper!). He just hasn’t yet understood that he has lost. Or maybe he does but it’s still sinking in and he’s going for broke – after all, his behaviour amounts to a infantile temper tantrum over not getting what he wants.
Canada no longer has an industrial policy. It no longer has a social policy. It no longer has a foreign policy that anyone understands. It has dedicated itself to serving Albertan Conservatives, Israel Likudnics, and American Republicans.
It may own F-35s at some point down the road, but it won’t build them, nor will it use them in self-defense. It buys them like Saudi Arabia buys weapons, to support the American military corporations aligned to the foreign bosses that decide policy.
Netanyahu has failed to hurt Obama. Encouraged by his past excesses, Bibi thinks he can take this additional stpe of carelessly insulting the American President without consequences. I think he is very wrong. Even Machiavelli cautions that if you attack the prince, you must kill him…and Bibi has not finished off Obama. Now is the time to ring the tocsins, set off the alarms about the excessive support for this “ally” who takes American money and arms and then insults America claiming that the US is in no position to draw a “red line.” Now is the time to make cutting “aid” a priority for Americans. And it is ripe also to blame AIPAC for Nedtanyahu: After all, Bibi gets his info from these agents.
It’s not a good look, is it?
Bibi has been pushing, pushing, pushing the Americans to draw a Red Line beyond which it will attack Iran, presumably so he can then get Mossad to concoct the intel that “proves” Iran has crossed that line. Attack! Attack! Damn you, Attack!
Hillary Clinton then acts like a responsible adult i.e. the USA has no intention of drawing Red Lines or setting Deadline.
It is a responsethat is as diplomatic as it is effective:
She says *only* what the USA will and won’t do.
She doesn’t diss anyone else.
She doesn’t pretend to tell anyone else what to do.
She just says what the USA’s policy is: nothing more, no less.
And in reply? Bibi spits the dummy as he jumps the shark.
It is as nauseating as it is ludicrous, and made all the more laughable by the fact that mere months ago Time magazing was calling his the King of Israeli Politics.
Says it all, really: Bibi is the best they have, and he’s nothing but a clown in a tailored suit.
Netanyahu has no moral right to demand that the US go to war with Iran, or any other country. Barack Obama is President of the United States. Netanyahu did not appear on the ballot in 2008.
We have lost too many troops and spent too much money rambling around Iraq and Afghanistan. We should do it all again, but this time in a country three times as big as Iraq???
Bibi fits it to a T.
“There’s no fool like an old fool”
Definition: The most extreme fools are people whose age should have made them wise.
Confirmed Israel-right-or-wrong supporter Senator Barbara Boxer expressed her annoyance with Bibi:
Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
For Immediate Release:
September 12, 2012
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553
Boxer Expresses Disappointment Over Israeli Prime Minister’s Remarks
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship, sent the following letter to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu:
September 12, 2012
Prime Minister of Israel
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:
I write to you as one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress to express my deep disappointment over your remarks that call into question our country’s support for Israel and commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Your remarks are utterly contrary to the extraordinary United States-Israel alliance, evidenced by President Obama’s record and the record of Congress.
As the author of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, I know that President Obama’s support for Israel is unshakeable. I cannot tell you how proud I was to stand next to the President as he signed this important legislation into law in July, further enshrining the strong security ties and friendship between our two nations.
As you know, this law addresses many of Israel’s top security priorities, including extending loan guarantees to Israel and increasing the U.S. weapons stockpile in Israel, which is available for Israel’s use in the event of a crisis. The bill also recommits the United States to vetoing any one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations Security Council.
President Obama has made clear time and time again that he will do everything in his power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. During a speech earlier this year, he stated: “I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power,” including “a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.” Anyone who has watched our President go after al Qaeda knows that he is resolute.
President Obama has also reaffirmed that Israel has the right to make its own decisions regarding its security, stating that Iran “should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also repeated these commitments.
In addition, President Obama has worked tirelessly to enact a crushing sanctions regime against Iran. He has helped rally the international community to make difficult economic decisions regarding imports of Iranian oil in a time of severe economic crisis. Today, the European Union imports no oil from Iran and other countries are reducing their purchases every day. Iran is also completely isolated from international financial markets.
In light of this, I am stunned by the remarks that you made this week regarding U.S. support for Israel. Are you suggesting that the United States is not Israel’s closest ally and does not stand by Israel? Are you saying that Israel, under President Obama, has not received more in annual security assistance from the United States than at any time in its history, including for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System?
As other Israelis have said, it appears that you have injected politics into one of the most profound security challenges of our time – Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons.
I urge you to step back and clarify your remarks so that the world sees that there is no daylight between the United States and Israel. As you personally stated during an appearance with President Obama in March, “We are you, and you are us. We’re together. So if there’s one thing that stands out clearly in the Middle East today, it’s that Israel and America stand together.”
Thank you for that statement. I am hoping to hear that statement again.
United States Senator
“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.”
If you feel that way Bibi, feel free to return all that money you got from the American people all these years.
But after that whopper you told us about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, you will forgive us for not wanting to get used a second time in Iran.
You’re confusing two different things. Bibi Netanyahu and Israel’s leaders were essentially neutral about the Iraq war. They didn’t feel they had a dog in that fight. Iran, of course, is very different. There were American Jewish neocons who spearheaded the Iraq war of course. But their enthusiasm wasn’t shared by Israel’s leaders at the time.
I know you believe that Israel had nothing hanging in the balance with Iraq, but this leaves the instigation of the war to neo-cons and their peculiar ideas about American power to do anything it wants anywhere it wants. This notion and the fiction of WDM’s precipitated that war and I have trouble believing that’s the whole story. Certainly — Israel benefited from the destruction of Iraq and its military and I don’t know that this benefit is just incidental to the war aims. I understood Rivero to suggest that Israel was in fact behind the Iraq fiasco.
That is — Rivero could be wrong but he is not confused.
Bibi cannot fabricate false intelligence showing that Iran has crossed the line until he knows where the line is.
I suggest that he set his own line in the sand and attack Iran using Israel’s military if it is crossed.
It’s none of the USA’s business. Iran is not a threat to the USA.