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Tag Archives: Binyamin Netanyahu

Obama Calls to Give Bibi Hell

Well, President Obama finally called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Thursday evening to “congratulate” him on his election victory, but it wasn’t your typical congratulatory call. It was congratulations, Obama style.

It’s a little like congratulating someone on their wedding by saying, I hope you get divorced soon.

During the call, according to the New York Times, Obama threatened to change – presumably not in a good way – the U.S. relationship with Israel:

In a striking indication of how bitter tensions remain between the two, Mr. Obama told Mr. Netanyahu directly that the United States would have to “re-assess our options” after the prime minister’s “new positions and comments” on the two-state solution, according to a White House official who spoke without authorization to detail the private conversation.

According to reports, Obama also brought up Netanyahu’s election day warning that left wing organizations were busing Arab voters to the polls, employing the same rhetoric Obama aides have used suggesting the statement was “cynical” – i.e., racist.

Oh, and then there was the congratulations.

What Netanyahu said about Arab voters being bused to the polls is a fact. No one argues with it. What they criticize is his motivation for saying it.

Of course, statements of uncomfortable facts these days are often adjudged by the liberal elite as racist, intolerant, sexist, whatever. No matter that they are facts.

Here’s what Netanyahu said:

The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are going en masse to the polls. Left-wing NGOs are bringing them on buses.

What I don’t understand is, how are we to know that Netanyahu intended this to energize his – by implication of the criticism – racist voters? Everyone knows that Arabs were voting against him. Could Netanyahu’s statement not also have been an attempt to clearly delineate the threat to Likud?

It was the left that was actually targeting the Arabs.

If tens of thousands of Israeli Jewish delicatessen owners opposed Likud, and the Left was offering them free, quality pastrami if they go to the polls, wouldn’t it be natural for Netanyahu to warn Likud voters that delicatessen owners were being induced to vote?

What is never mentioned is that Netanyahu actually did soon try to clarify his message. He said:

What’s wrong is not that Arab citizens are voting, but that massive funds from abroad from left-wing NGOs and foreign governments are bringing them en masse to the polls in an organized way, thus twisting the true will of all Israeli citizens who are voting, for the good of the Left.

But there was no deterring the thought police at this point, who not only want to dictate your thoughts, but who think they can deduce them as well.

One of the policemen gave Netanyahu a call last night. And he’ll be writing tickets for the next two years.

 

White House to Bibi: You Can’t Take it Back

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today declined to accept Israeli Prime Minister Netayahu’s reversal today of his earlier rejection – which had been made during the final moments of a campaign – of a two state solution, saying the White House “reevaluation” of its stance toward Israel would go forward.

Why? I’ll tell you why. Because the White House has wanted to do this for a long time, and Netanyahu’s statement rejecting a Palestinian state was the perfect pretext for moving ahead.

Under repeated questioning, Earnest’s only hint of flexibility was to say the U.S. would monitor Netanyahu’s future statements.

Earnest spoke during the daily White House briefing:

What is apparent is that in the context of the campaign and while he was the sitting Prime Minister of Israel, he walked back from commitments that Israel had previously made to a two-state solution.

So it is, as we mentioned yesterday, cause for the United States to evaluate what our path is forward, given the Prime Minister’s comments. And so we’ll have to sort of see what sort of policy and priorities the Prime Minister chooses, but we certainly are in a position to evaluate our approach to these issues, given that the Prime Minister essentially backed away from commitments that Israel had previously made to this effort.

This despite Netanyahu’s clear statement that he want a two-state solution, albeit with some reasonable caveats, according to NBC News.

“I don’t want a one-state solution,” he told NBC News in an interview. “I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution.”

But he cautioned that “circumstances have to change” for that to happen. He said that the Palestinian leader refuses to recognize Israel and has made a pact with Hamas calling for Israel’s destruction.

“And every territory that is vacated today in the Middle East is taken up by Islamist forces,” he said. “We want that to change so we can realize a vision of real, sustained peace.”

Earnest also specifically suggested that the United States, as part of its “reevaluation,” might change its policy of protecting Israel against hostile resolutions in the UN.

Why Israel Should be Very Worried

Let me tell you three things about President Obama that auger very poorly for Israel.

1. Obama is, at heart, an internationalist. It pains him to make the United States the stumbling block in front of international opinion. Now he feels he is free to join with the consensus of the other internationalists at organizations such as the UN and pressure a rogue nation into “proper” standards of behavior.

2. Israel recalls for Obama issues that are central for him – racism and oppression of minorities by a dominant culture. Obama’s default stance is with what he perceives as the aggrieved minority, not the majority, no matter the threats the majority faces. It reminds him not only of the struggle for racial justice in the United States, but one of the defining issues of his political coming-of-age during the 1980s, the fight against the Apartheid system in South Africa.

3. Obama is not lazy, but he’s not the hardest working president we’ve seen either. But he is extraordinarily competitive. When faced with competition, as during one of his political campaigns, he shelves the golf, focuses like a laser, and does everything he has to not to lose.

With his own reelection, Netanyahu has soundly humiliated and beaten Obama. He did so while upstaging and defying him in his own backyard with a grand speech to Congress. The well of the House is a stage Obama feels he owns, not some foreign interloper.

Make no mistake, Obama will strike back hard. He is furious about Netanyahu’s unexpected victory. He will not allow the Israeli leader to have the final word. He will win at all costs. And that will have grave consequences for Israel.

Obama Aides Won’t Rule Out Lessening Support for Israel

Top Obama administration officials refused Wednesday to rule out a reduction in long-time U.S. support for Israel, including refusing to fend off resolutions at the United Nations hostile toward Israel, according to Politico.

The possible – I’d say all-but-certain – change in stance comes in the wake of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reelection and his vow that he would not allow a Palestinian state during his tenure, a rejection of the two-state solution that has been the basis of Obama’s aggressive effort to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

From the Politico piece:

“The positions taken by the prime minister in the last days of the campaign have raised very significant substantive questions that go far beyond just optics,” said a senior administration official, adding that recent Israeli government actions were in keeping with Netanyahu’s rhetoric.

While saying it was “premature” to discuss Washington’s policy response, the official wouldn’t rule out a modified American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has long fended off resolutions criticizing Israeli settlement activity and demanding its withdrawal from Palestinian territories.

“We are signaling that if the Israeli government’s position is no longer to pursue a Palestinian state, we’re going to have to broaden the spectrum of options we pursue going forward,” the official said . . .

Obama has other diplomatic options. He could expend less political capital to oppose growing momentum within the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel for its settlement activity.

More provocative to Israel would be any softening of Obama’s opposition to Palestinian efforts to join the International Criminal Court, which the Palestinian Authority will formally join on April 1.

Membership in the ICC could result in the Palestinians bringing war crimes charges against Israel.

This is consistent with my analysis Wednesday that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was menacing Israel with his comments that the administration would have to “reevaluate” its positions.

U.S. To “Reevaluate” Approach to Israeli-Palestian Question

In the wake of an election that saw Israelis return President Obama’s detested foe – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – to power, the White House today said it would “reevaluate” its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

Sounds menacing to me.

Earnest, who spoke aboard Air Force One as Obama headed to Cleveland, noted that in the last days of the campaign Netanyahu reversed his support for a two-state solution, saying he wouldn’t allow a Palestinian state.

From the press pool report:

Netanyahu “indicated a change in his position” in the recent election and based on those comments, “The United States will reevaluate our approach” to the situation.

“It has been the policy of the United States for more than 20 years that a two-state solution is the goal of resolving the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Earnest said.

Going forward, a the U.S. continue to believe a two-state solution is the “best way to diffuse tensions” in the region.

“Based on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments, the United States will reevaluate our position and the path forward in this situation.”

Earnest did not apparently hint what the “reevaluation” might entail. The Palestinians are seeking, with growing international support, recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state by international bodies. In December, the United States blocked a resolution that would have otherwise passed the UN Security Council setting a deadline for a Palestinian state.

Earnest also waded directly into internal Israeli affairs, slamming Netanyahu for his pre-election warning that his opponents were bringing Arab voters to the polls in force – all but suggesting it was racist and saying it “undermines” the U.S.-Israeli relationship.”

Arabs voted overwhelmingly against Netanyahu.

The rhetoric “sought to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens,” Earnest said.

“The United States and this administration is deeply concerned about rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens. It undermines the values and Democratic ideals that have been important to our democracy and an important part of what binds the United States and Israel together.”

“Rhetoric that seeks to marginalize one segment of their population is deeply concerning and it is divisive and I can tell you that these are views the administration intends to communicate directly to the Israelis.”

Gosh, I’m trying to figure out how many Jews have the vote in Arab countries.

Earnest said Obama would not call Netanyahu to congratulate him for a few days, asserting that after previous Israeli elections Obama had waited until Netanyahu was directed by the Israeli president to form a government. Secretary of State Kerry called instead.

Netanyahu Gets a Congratulatory Call . . . From India’s PM

Now this will be very interesting, to see how the White House handles Netanyahu’s win.

It’s their worst nightmare, of course. Not only did the hated Netanyahu cruise to victory, but he did it opposing President Obama’s key Middle East policies: a nuclear deal favorable to Iran and a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.

Who will call first? Obama or Netanyahu? The answer is, apparently – the prime minister of India.

From Israel’s i24 News:

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the ranks of world leaders who congratulated Netanyahu on the victory, going one step further and delivering his message in Hebrew.

“מזל טוב ידידי Bibi @Netanyahu אני זוכר את פגישתנו הנעימה בניו יורק בספטמבר האחרון,” read the post on Modi’s official Twitter account; it translates as “Congratulations my dear friend Bibi, I remember our pleasant meeting in New York last September.”

Obama will probably call Netanyahu soon, because it will make him feel like he’s being big about things. And then he will freeze Netanyahu out as much as possible. Because if Obama thinks he can do U.S. affairs without Congress, certainly he thinks he can do the Middle East without Israel.

Senate Probes Federal Funds Used to Try to Oust Netanyahu

Fox News is reporting that the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has launched a bipartisan probe of State Department funding of a group connected to former Obama political operatives in Israel who are seeking to use the tactics they employed to elect President Obama against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau.

According to Fox:

A powerful U.S. Senate investigatory committee has launched a bipartisan probe into an American nonprofit’s funding of efforts to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the Obama administration’s State Department gave the nonprofit taxpayer-funded grants, a source with knowledge of the panel’s activities told FoxNews.com . . .

According to the source, the probe is looking into “funding” by OneVoice Movement – a Washington-based group that has received $350,000 in recent State Department grants, and until last November was headed by a veteran diplomat from the Clinton administrations.

A subsidiary of OneVoice is the Israel-based Victory 15 campaign, itself guided by top operatives of Obama’s White House runs, which seeks to “replace the government” of Israel.

“It’s confirmed that there is a bipartisan Permanent Subcommittee inquiry into OneVoice’s funding of V15,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity about the American group, which bills itself as working for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In his television interview, Netanyahu said the coalition seeking to oust him is generously funded by foreign donors who are also encouraging a high voter turnout among Israel’s Arab and left-wing voters in a bid to replace the existing leadership.

What we know is that Obama, who pretended to be so concerned about appearing to interfere in the Israeli election that he refused to meet with Netanyahu earlier this month, has not called off his dogs in Israel – which presents the same appearance. What we don’t know is the extent to which Obama or his White House have supported or even authorized the sudden presence of his former campaign aides in Israel.

Netanyahu Vows War if the Deal on the Table is Struck

Speaking before a joint session of Congress Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it unequivocally clear that if the United States strikes a deal with Iran that Israel believes is flawed – as the one currently being negotiated is – it will attack the Iranians and try to deprive them of a nuclear weapons capability. “Even… Continue Reading

Obama Ensures Top Western Leaders will Miss Netanyahu Speech

President Obama has added to his schedule an 11:30 am ET video conference with America’s top allies to discuss the situation in Ukraine, ensuring that neither he nor they will watch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plea before Congress and the world to reconsider the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu is scheduled to appear at 11:00 am.… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading