As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: Binyamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu: “We Have a Voice”

Evoking the ancient fear among Jews of annihilation at the hands of their enemies, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday proclaimed “we have a voice,” saying the Jewish people will never again be passive in the face of threats to their existence.

“Those days are over,” Netanyahu said. “No more,” he declared, echoing the vow of “never again” Jews commonly use in reference to the Holocaust.

Netanyahu spoke during an appearance before AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group. His remarks are a preview of those he will make Tuesday to Congress.

Netanyahu AIPAC

“Today we have a voice, and tomorrow as prime minister of the one and only Jewish state, I plan to use that voice,” he said. “American leaders worry about the security of their country,” he said. “Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country.”

Showing a graphic he said depicted Iran’s training, arming and dispatching of terrorists on five continents, Netanyahu said Iranians’ “tentacles of terror” reached across the world.

“This is what Iran is doing now – without nuclear weapons. Imagine what Iran would do with nuclear weapons. And this same Iran vows to annihilate Israel. If it develops nuclear weapons, it would have the means to achieve that goal,” he said. “And as prime minister of Israel, I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there is still time to avert them.”

Netanyahu said his appearance in Congress, arranged without the blessing of the White House, was not intended to show President Obama disrespect.

“My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds. I have great respect for both,” he said, receiving, according to the Associated Press, a standing ovation from more than 15,000 pro-Israel supporters.

Rice Threatens U.S. Relationship with Israel

The White House is threatening the U.S. relationship with Israel, sending a clear signal that rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next week will harm ties.

This is the first time I have ever heard this or any White House suggest it is ready to do damage to the relationship with our only reliable, democratic ally in the Middle East.

Appearing on the Charlie Rose show, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next week is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” because it makes the ties less bipartisan. When the relationship “becomes injected or infused with politics, that’s a problem,” Rice said.

The comments are hardly some kind of objective, disinterested analysis. The suggestion that relations will suffer is being made by the most senior foreign policy official in a White House that is deeply opposed to and deeply offended by Netanyahu’s visit. It will be taken as a sign in Israel – as the White House fully understands – that America’s relations with the Jewish state will be downgraded because Netanyahu is being perceived as tilting toward Republicans.

Further, Rice accused Netanyahu of coming to America – and by extension dissing President Obama – to achieve his own political objectives:

What has happened over the last several weeks — by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu two weeks in advance of his election — is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunately which is not only unfortunate. I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.

Rice avowed that she wants a good relationship with Israel, but only in the context of implying that current circumstances place this in jeopardy:

We want the relationship between the Untied States and Israel to be unquestionably strong, immutable, regardless of political seasons in either country, regardless of which party may be in charge in either country.

The fact is, the ties between Israel and the United States had already completely deteriorated under Obama, as the president tried to strong arm Israel into a deal with the Palestinians, allowed Islamism to run rampant in the Middle East, and gets ready to tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.

Netanyahu clearly has made the calculation that he has nothing left to lose in trying to persuade Congress and the American people to oppose a dangerous deal with Iran that poses an existential threat to his country and, ultimately, ours.

Yes, Pre-Election Visits by Israeli Leaders do Happen

The White House says President Obama’s refusal to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month is due to a desire not to affect the Israeli elections two weeks later.

“As a matter of longstanding practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” said White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan last month.

Buhhht . . .

President Clinton in 1996 met with a world leader at the White House less than a month before his election. An ISRAELI leader. Shimon Peres. His opponent? BENJAMIN NETANYAHU.

Here they are. Meeting. As the inventor of the Internet looks on.

Clinton Peres

In fact, Netanyahu at the time complained that Peres was making a campaign stop at the White House.

“I can’t find an example of any previous Israeli government whose prime minister, on the eve of elections, made a cynical attempt to use relations between Israel and the United States as a party advertisement,” he said. “With all due respect, I want to say to Mr. Peres … that foreigners do not decide the outcome of the Israeli elections, not the American government, the king of Morocco or Yasser Arafat,” Netanyahu told parliament.

Netanyahu’s current opponents could of course lodge a similar complaint, except that Netanyahu must travel to Washington now if he wants to affect the emerging deal with Iran, and it’s not been clear that his trip will help his reelection prospects.

Everyone knows the main reason Obama won’t meet with Netanyahu is that he hates him and thinks Netanyahu is trying to undermine his Iran deal, which is true.

But by lighting such a firestorm over the whole thing, Obama has increased the publicity surrounding the appearance and given Netanyahu and even wider audience for his argument.

Why Netanyahu is Coming to Speak

Prime Mininster Netanyahu’s trip to address Congress early next month, and his open defiance of President Obama, is not the result of some kind of personality conflict between the two leaders, as the sensitive, egoistic Obama probably suspects. It is, rather, a last-ditch effort by Netanyahu to try to save his country. And ours.

Netanyahu has apparently come to the conclusion that there is little value left in trying to appease Obama, because the president is about to enter into a deal with Iran that is unacceptable to Israel. The only thing Netanyahu can do is make his case to Congress and the American people. In this regard, the controversy surrounding his visit actually helps, rather than hinders, his cause, because it will drum up inkwells of press coverage and publicity.

According to Israeli minister of intelligence Yuval Steinitz, who spoke to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, Netanyahu came to the conclusion last month that Obama’s deal would allow Iran to keep thousands of centrifuges spinning. And the agreement would be good for no more than a dozen years, which is nothing for countries like both Iran and Israel, which think in terms of millennia.

Iran, Steinetz noted, now thinks of itself as a superpower and will not easily drop its nuclear weapons aspirations.

According to Ignatius:

Netanyahu’s skepticism reached a tipping point last month when he concluded that the United States had offered so many concessions to Iran that any deal reached would be bad for Israel. He broke with Obama, first in a private phone call Jan. 12, and then in his public acceptance of an offer by GOP House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress on March 3 and, in effect, lobby against the deal.

Despite Netanyahu’s view that it was a “great mistake” to accept any Iranian enrichment, Steinitz said that “we got the impression that it might be symbolic. The initial figure [discussed by the United States and its negotiating partners] was ‘a few hundred centrifuges.’ ” Now, he said, the United States is contemplating “thousands.” According to Israeli press reports, the United States has offered to allow Iran to operate at least 6,500 centrifuges.

“The temptation [for Iran] is not now but in two or three or four years, when the West is preoccupied with other crises,” he added. Steinitz said that if Iran chose to “sneak out” at such a moment, it would take the United States and its allies months to determine the pact had been violated, and another six months to form a coalition for sanctions or other decisive action. By then, it might be too late.

Grave threats – Iran, ISIS, the U.S. debt, unfunded entitlements – have been permitted to form and fester while Obama searches America for the perfect golf course.

This our future, and that of our children and grandchildren. We only get one chance at it. I’m an optimist by nature. But Obama will leave us in a situation where the challenge we face to secure our country will be immensely daunting.

But birth control will be covered.

Democrats Risk a Jewish Backlash with Netanyahu Boycott

Vice President Biden and what is now more than a dozen Congressional Democrats are playing with political fire by refusing to attend the scheduled March 3 address by Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress.

Their absence will give Republicans a chance to showcase that which has become undeniably true but which may still be poorly understood by many American Jews: The best friends Israel has in America today are Republicans, not Democrats.

The traditional Jewish backing of Democrats is already eroding. Gallup polling shows a steady decline in Jewish support for Democrats and a corresponding increase in their support for Republicans. In just six years, identification with Democrats among Jews has dropped ten points, to 61 percent.

Gallup

But the suspicions of some Jews about Republicans, and their susceptibility to caricatures about conservatives being, well, maniacs – and latently anti-semitic – run deep. I can’t prove it, but as an American conservative Jew, I can tell you this is my experience with my co-religionists.

What Jews will see March 3 is a Republican Party united in support of Israel’s leader, and Democrats, including the vice president of the United States, willing to insult him.

What these Democrats – caught up in their own foot stomping over House Speaker Boehner’s maneuver around the White House to bring Netanyahu to Congress – don’t fully understand is the deep emotional tie many Jews, particularly those middle aged and above, have to Israel.

There is a lingering sense of insecurity among Jews stemming from the Holocaust. Older Jews either experienced the Holocaust or know about close relatives who died in it. Those in middle age have heard these stories from family. And the young have at least read about it.

Many Jews, even in the greatest haven they have ever had, the United States of America, feel they can never know for sure that they are safe. The Jews of France and the rest of Europe are finding that out right now, and immigration to Israel from Europe is starting to boom.

This is sense of peril is exactly what Netanyahu will be addressing when he speaks to Congress. He won’t be there to discuss the items on the Seder plate. He will be warning of an existential threat posed by Iranian nuclear weapons to Israel, the country that is the ultimate guarantee for Jews.

It’s not clear at all that this will help Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections. It seems pretty evident that he thinks he must speak about the danger, regardless of politics.

As Netanyahu speaks, American Jews will have to ask themselves if they really trust whatever deal President Obama is trying to work out with the Iranians, given Obama’s passivity toward threats and the lack of credibility his promises in other areas have had. And they will have to ask themselves whether they are okay with Democrats seeming so reluctant to hear Netanyahu out.

I don’t begrudge Democrats objecting to Netanyahu’s appearance. They have a right to their opinion. But to turn their back on an ally whose country is threatened with obliteration is not, shall we say, kosher.

And it may well not be kosher with Jewish voters, who may come to understand what I have experienced constantly: The sincere, abiding and even emotional commitment to Israel on the part of conservatives.

Obama Suggests Israel Wants War with Iran

President Obama today suggested Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes a peace deal over Iran’s nuclear weapons program is not possible, indicating Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress was an attempt to undermine negotiations for a nuclear agreement by drumming up support for legislation that would authorize new sanctions against Iran.

Obama spoke during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

The prime minister and I have a very real difference around Iran – Iran sanctions. I have been very clear . . . that it does not make sense to sour the negotiations a month or two before they are about to be completed. We should play that out. If, in fact, we can get a deal, then we should embrace that. If we can’t get a deal, then we’ll have to make a set of decisions and, as I’ve said to Congress, I’ll be the first to work with them to apply even stronger measures against Iran.

“But what’s the rush?” Obama asked with respect to sanctions. And then, his tone became caustic:

Unless your view is that, it’s not possible to get a deal with Iran, and it shouldn’t even be tested. And that I cannot agree with, because as the president of the United States, I’m looking at what the options are if we don’t get a diplomatic resolution. And those options are narrow, and they’re not attractive. And from the perspective of U.S. interests, and I believe from the perspective of Israel’s interests – although, I can’t speak, obviously, for the Israeli government – it is far better if we can get a diplomatic solution.

Obama is right to feel concerned about the options facing him should negotiations fail. But given the existential threat posed by Iranian nuclear weapons not just to Israel, but to the United States; the determination of Iran to get a nuclear weapon; the closeness of Iran to that goal, and the short “breakout” period it would have under any deal; its constant deceptions over the years; and the inability of the United States to reliably detect cheating, a verifiable agreement with Iran that will safeguard our country does not seem possible. At least not at this point, some six years after Obama – “whats the rush?” – embarked on this goal.

Biden to Skip Netanyahu Speech

Vice President Joe Biden will not attend Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress, Politico is reporting.

The stated reason is that Biden will be out of the country. Whether the White House arranged a trip to avoid having to send Biden is not clear. I wouldn’t put it beyond them. The White House claims planning has been underway for some time.

It’s not clear yet where he’s going.

Operatives Tied to Obama Target Arab Vote to Unseat Netanyahu

A stunning new report today in the Washington Free Beacon reveals that a U.S.-based progressive alliance will use operatives who worked on President Obama’s 2012 reelection to drum up votes among Arabs in an effort to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The group, known as Ameinu, “is in contact with experts from Obama’s reelectionContinue Reading

Cartoon of the Day || February 4, 2015

  I wouldn’t say, as the cartoon does, that President Obama is Israel’s enemy. But to the extent he’s a friend, it’s kind of in the manner of a divorced husband – civil for the sake of the children, sends checks, but is not the least bit affectionate nor particularly concerned how his relationships with other womenContinue Reading

White House Not Sure Biden Will Attend Netanyahu Speech

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today indicated it was uncertain whether Vice President Biden would attend next month’s speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress, saying, in effect, that it would depend on whether Biden can work it into his schedule. “The vice president’s schedule for that week has not yet been set,”Continue Reading

Israeli Newspaper: Obama May Not Meet with Netanyahu Again

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “toast” at the White House following his acceptance of an invitation to address Congress, and President Obama may never meet with him again, according to one of Israel’s leading newspapers. Writing in the liberal Haaretz, known as “Israel’s New York Times,” diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid paints a dire portrait of the relationship betweenContinue Reading

Obama Will Not Meet with Netanyahu

President Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when Netanyahu travels to the United States to address Congress about Iran and other matters, according to the Jerusalem Post. The White House, which was not consulted about the invitation to address Congress and which has said it was a “breach of protocol,” claimedContinue Reading