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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.

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 reelection team, which was involved in ‘similar’ operations,” according to the Beacon.

“We are already in touch with a highly talented combination of knowledgeable Israeli professionals and American experts with experience in similar recent operations, including the Obama presidential campaign,” the group stated in a strategy document obtained by the Beacon. The $3 million initiative is described in the document as “a massive, non-partisan Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign targeting selected demographic and geographic segments of Israeli society.”

From the document:

While voting levels in the ultra- orthodox, settlers and religious-Zionist communities remain high, the voting levels among young secular Israelis, non-wealthy secular Jews and the Arab community are much lower. For example, in the Arab community, voting levels in national elections have dropped to 55%, while in municipal elections, 85% of Arab citizens have voted recently.

Okay, let’s think about what’s going on here. Even as the White House protests that Obama could not possibly meet with Netanyahu when he comes to Washington next month because it might somehow affect the upcoming Israeli election, Obama’s former operatives are trying to use Arabs to get rid of Netanyahu.

Oh, but don’t worry, I’m sure the White House has no contact with any of its former campaign staff.

And what they’re doing is exactly what they did to beat Romney – drilling down with the “base” and making sure they get to the polls. Only in this case the Obama political team is trying to pump up Arab participation in an election in the Jewish state.

The Beacon notes:

The Arab Israeli community in particular is expected to play a larger role than usual in Israel’s March elections. The four major parties that represent Arab Israelis merged in January, a move that could make it easier for the left-leaning Labor Party to form a government.

If Obama is really concerned with not affecting the Israeli election, he should call off his dogs.

Boehner Sticks it Back to Obama

With President Obama about to finish what will no doubt be a dangerous new deal with Iran, House Speaker John Boehner today announced that he has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington to speak next month to Congress directly, bypassing the White House.

Obama, who mostly stuck it to Congress with a State of the Union speech that was long on flowery rhetoric about unity and cooperation and short on proposals that might unite, now finds himself on the receiving end of an insult. Boehner didn’t even consult the White House about the invitation.

It’s highly unusual for Congress to assume diplomatic powers for itself. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today whined that it was a “breach of protocol” because foreign leaders are first supposed to reach out to the White House before making plans to come to America. But with Obama writing his own legislation in the form of executive orders, the White House can hardly complain about protocols.

Everyone knows that Obama has no stomach for war with Iran. And everyone knows that the deal he will strike with Iran is likely to set Iran up to become a nuclear power on a moment’s notice. What better way to outline the dangers an Iranian bomb represents to all then to have Netanyahu come by and talk about it to the nation?

Obama has ignored Democrats and Republicans alike and treated the latter with disdain, even outright contempt. Same goes, pretty much, for his treatment of Netanyahu. What’s more, he’s on his third deadline with the Iran deal. He should not be surprised that the Republicans and the Israelis are taking matters into their own hands.

Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who backs immediate new sanctions on Iran, accused the administration of placating the Iranians by worrying about how they would react to sanctions. “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Iran,” Menendez said during a hearing at which administration officials appeared. “And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization, when they’re the ones with original sin.”

WH Non-Denial Indicates Sanctions Against Israel in Play

The White House today pointedly declined to deny reports that it is considering sanctioning Israel over its continued construction of settlements on the West Bank, all but confirming that such sanctions are in fact very much on the table. Asked by Ed Henry of Fox News today about the reports, White House Press Secretary JoshContinue Reading

Psaki Blames Israel for Gaza Civilian Casualties

With Israel under the gun for Gaza War civilian casualties, including accusations by Amnesty International that it committed war crimes, the Obama administration swept to Israel’s defense, showing the United States to be the stalwart ally it has always been as Israel defends itself against neighbors who allow children to be used as shields while theyContinue Reading

White House Throws Hissy Fit Over Netanyahu Remarks

The White House Monday lashed out furiously at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for saying U.S. opposition to a new Israeli housing project in East Jerusalem was contrary to “American values.” Now, the White House has a point in asserting that it doesn’t need a civics lesson from a foreign leader on American values. But weContinue Reading

Netanyahu: Palestinians Guilty of War Crimes

And, uniquely in the savagery of warfare – WAR CRIMES AGAINST THEIR OWN PEOPLE. There is no denying it. Except in the White House and at Foggy Bottom, where President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry companied repeatedly about Palestinian deaths with the clear suggestion that Israel was at least partially to blame for them.Continue Reading