United States President Barack Obama is a sheep, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a sheepdog. Today, despite Obama’s myopic de facto boycott, Netanyahu delivered a speech for the ages in front of a joint session of Congress on the subject of the ongoing “P5+1″ nuclear negotiations with Iran — a harrowing Chamberlain-esque capitulation to the forces of evil and fundamentalist jihadism that even the Washington Post editorial board has substantively described as having “major concerns.” In a speech that helps vindicate Zionism itself, Netanyahu spoke directly to the world about how the Jewish people are no longer stateless and passively defenseless to the threat of existential genocidal evil, and how Israel is thus prepared to act by itself if it sees America about to make a truly bad deal with the Iranian mullahs.
The contrast with Obama could not be more vivid: Netanyahu spoke with utmost moral clarity of the dangers of “Islamism,” “militant Islam,” and “jihad” — and not of amorphous “violent extremism” or of Jen Psaki-style “jobs for jihadists” underemployment. He spoke of how the West has been in a state of cold war with the Islamic Republic of Iran since the 1979 Iranian Revolution: from the Beirut barracks bombing of 1983 to the Argentinian AMIA bombing of 1994 to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa to the arming of countless Iraqis with I.E.D.s used to kill Americans during the Iraq War to the arming of Hezbollah, Hamas, and Bashar al-Assad alike to the recent plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in a tony D.C. restaurant to the repeated warnings to annihilate from the face of the Earth the mullahs’ dystopian characterization of the “little Satan” of Israel and the “great Satan” of America. He spoke of Iran’s recent role in effecting a coup in Yemen — a Western-aligned Sunni ally that has been indispensably important in the drone war against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He calmly explained how the Shia “Islamic Republic” of Iran and the Sunni “Islamic State” of ISIS are firmly rooted, despite their sectarian differences, in the common themes of jihad and anti-Western subjugation, and how “the enemy of our enemy” is thus still our “enemy.” He spoke of Iran’s consistent evading of International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear facility inspectors and of its covert Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (“ICBM”) program, and explained how the latter can only be militarily justified for planned use outside of the Middle East, once technology permits.
All the while, the speech had the distinct feel of a State of the Union Address — except less trivial and more substantive. Lawmakers arrived in the House chamber early to assure themselves aisle seats, where they might get a chance to personally shake hands with the Israeli Prime Minister. There were seemingly dozens of standing ovations, and myriad more applause lines. The Congress loves Benjamin Netanyahu, and so do the American people: he is, in fact, more popular right now with the American citizenry than is Barack Obama himself. Americans respect a leader who stands up for his nation, who stands up for his people, who speaks in unambiguous tones of moral clarity — of black versus white, of good versus evil — and who thus stands up for the West’s core values of individual liberty and representative democracy and stands fervently athwart the totalitarian threat of global jihadism. Benjamin Netanyahu is indeed the Winston Churchill of our time, and in a world in which the U.S. President serially apologizes to the Arab World for America’s ostensible sins he is indeed the de facto leader of the free world. No wonder the sheep Barack Obama cannot stand this sheepdog. Here is Dennis Prager’s simple yet eloquent encapsulation of this Manicheanism:
Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.
Category Archives: Israel
Netanyahu opened by expressing his humility for the invite, calling Congress the “most important legislative body in the world.” He then apologized for the speech itself becoming controversial. “That was never my intention,” he stated. “I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade. I know that on whichever side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.”
That clever gambit – an attempt to kill the Obama administration and the boycotting Democrats with kindness – placed President Obama’s puerile spitefulness on Israel in stark contrast. That, of course, was the point. Every time Netanyahu spelled out the ways in which the Obama administration had helped Israel – instances that were, by and large, pro forma commitments every American president makes to Israel – he forced Obama into a corner. Turning the other political cheek turned out to be a powerful weapon.
Obama is forwarding Iran’s march, despite Iran’s obvious intention to destroy the West. Many commentators have described Netanyahu as the true leader of the free world, given President Obama’s unwillingness to speak on behalf of a free world. He made that case today before Congress:
Iran’s regime is as radical as ever. Its cries of Death to America, the same nation it calls the Great Satan, are as loud as ever. This shouldn’t be surprising…[Iran’s] ideology is rooted in militant Islam. That’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.
“Militant Islam.” The two words Obama refuses to say in that order.
Netanyahu vowed, “as PM of Israel, I can promise you one more thing. Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone, I know that America stands with Israel, I know that you stand with Israel.”
More of a leader than Obama could ever hope to be. He shows a passion for his country Obama has never expressed.
Near the end of his new autobiography, David Axelrod sheds some light on President Obama’s distaste for democracy. “Obama has limited patience or understanding for officeholders whose concerns are more parochial–which would include most of Congress and many world leaders,” Axelrod writes, in noting Obama’s preference for supercilious vanity projects. Yet while Axelrod paints with a broad brush, he gives two examples, and they are telling. He writes: “Whether it’s John Boehner or Bibi Netanyahu, few practiced politicians appreciate being lectured on where their political self-interest lies.” This passage is an important preamble to the current dustup between the two administrations.
One of the regular critiques from the administration and its spokesmen in the media of tomorrow’s speech by Netanyahu is that Bibi just wants to use the speech as a prop in his own reelection campaign. As Axelrod’s book demonstrates, catering to voters and representing their interests in the government is borderline incomprehensible to Obama. His disdain for other world leaders who follow the wishes of their employers–the taxpayers–instead of doing what Obama wants is especially strange, considering its undisguised imperialist overtones.
And Netanyahu, of late, has found himself the world leader who values democratic elections far too much for Obama’s taste. When Netanyahu pressed ahead with giving the speech to a joint session of Congress, the Obama administration said they’d hit back, and suggested one way of doing so would be for them to bash Bibi through the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, as they often do when they want to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel.
It’s no surprise the recitation of history makes Obama uncomfortable. As we’ve seen, the president’s ignorance of history is comprehensive, but he is especially unknowledgeable on Israeli and Jewish history. It doesn’t seem to interest him, and it shows.
So it’s always been a bit rich for the president who thinks history started with his own presidential election to accuse others of not thinking about the big picture. What Obama means by this is actually that these other politicians and world leaders aren’t thinking enough about Obama’s legacy, which he’d like them to prioritize over the needs and wants of their citizens, Israel being no exception.
The Bethlehem-based news agency Ma’an has cited a Kuwaiti newspaper report Saturday, that US President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.
Following Obama’s threat, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reportedly forced to abort the planned Iran attack.
According to Al-Jarida, the Netanyahu government took the decision to strike Iran some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel’s back.
The report claimed that an unnamed Israeli minister who has good ties with the US administration revealed the attack plan to Secretary of State John Kerry, and that Obama then threatened to shoot down the Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.
Al-Jarida quoted “well-placed” sources as saying that Netanyahu, along with Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon, and then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, had decided to carry out airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear program after consultations with top security commanders.
According to the report, “Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army’s chief of staff, Benny Gantz, to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel’s security.”
The sources added that Gantz and his commanders prepared the requested plan and that Israeli fighter jets trained for several weeks in order to make sure the plans would work successfully. Israeli fighter jets reportedly even carried out experimental flights in Iran’s airspace after they managed to break through radars.
The crisis between the United States and Israel has been manufactured by the Obama administration. Building a crisis up or down is well within the administration’s power, and it has chosen to build it up. Why? Three reasons: to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.
First comes the personal relationship and the desire to see Netanyahu lose the election. Recall that Obama became president before Netanyahu became prime minister, and it is obvious that the dislike was both personal and political before Netanyahu had done anything. Obama does not like people on the right, period—Americans, Israelis, Australians, you name it.
Susan Rice has determined that her job is to make bilateral relations worse, and has established no relationship with her Israeli counterpart Yossi Cohen. So the problem is not just bad chemistry at the top; it is an administration that has decided to create a tense and negative relationship from the top down.
Clearly the administration worries that Israeli (not just Netanyahu, but Israeli) criticisms of the possible Iran nuclear deal might begin to reverberate. So it has adopted the tactic of personalizing the Israeli critique. The third Obama administration reason for building up this crisis is also deadly serious: it is to use the current tension to harm Israel’s support in the United States permanently.
Perhaps this manufactured crisis will diminish after Netanyahu’s speech, where he is likely to say things that many Democrats still agree with. Perhaps it will diminish if Iran rejects any deal, even on the terms the Obama administration is offering. Perhaps Netanyahu will lose his election and a new Labor Party-led government will appear in Jerusalem. But more likely, the remaining 23 months of the Obama administration will be months of continuing tension between Israel and the United States. That is because the administration desires that tension and views it as productive. The problem is not Netanyahu’s speech, which right or wrong to deliver should be a minor and passing factor in bilateral relations. The real issues are deeper and far more serious. This president has fostered a crisis in relations because it advances his own political and policy goals. That is what his subordinates and many Democrats in Congress are trying very hard, and with real success, to obfuscate.
British tax payers have been funding illegal Palestinian homes on the West Bank despite the area being under Israeli jurisdiction, a dossier of photographs has revealed.
A report by NGOs, international lawyers and MEPs say the 400 homes erected in Area C of the West Bank, break international law; specifically the Oslo Accords to which the EU is a signatory, the Daily Mail reports. British charity Oxfam is at the centre of the scandal, with Israeli officials calling for an investigation into their involvement.
The homes, which cost tens of millions of euro to build and come from a fund which British tax payers are forced to pay into, have no permits. Official EU documentation reveals the building project is also a political project by the Pro-Palestinian European Union and is intended to ‘pave the way for development and more authority of the Palestinian Authority over Area C (The Israeli Area)’.
The homes, known locally as ‘The EU Settlements’ can be found in 17 locations around the West Bank and are easily identified by the EU flag which is proudly flown, along with stickers and signs of the political bloc and other NGOs including Oxfam.
“According to international law, all building in Area C must have permission from Israel, whether it is temporary or permanent.
“The same principle applies anywhere in the world. If you want to build, you need planning permission.
“The EU is ignoring international law and taking concrete steps to influence the facts on the ground”
The Obama administration is unusually petty and sophomoric. The attacks leveled against Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, are part of a troubling pattern in which officials in the Israeli government–including and especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu–are vilified.
No world leader has been treated by President Obama and his administration with the contempt they have shown Prime Minister Netanyahu–from this snub in 2010 to being called a “coward” and “chickens*** prime minister” by senior administration officials.
But the problem goes much deeper than a personality clash. President Obama is, quite simply, anti-Israel. In every conceivable situation and circumstance, the president and his aides give the benefit of the doubt not to Israel but to its enemies. This despite the fact that Israel is among America’s longest and best allies, democratic, lawful, takes exquisite steps to prevent civilian deaths in nations committed to destroying it, and has made extraordinary sacrifices for peace. No matter; the pressure that’s applied is always applied most against Israel–even when, as in last year’s conflict with Hamas, Israel was the victim of lethal attacks.
This is morally shameful. In a world filled with despotic leaders and sadistic and ruthless regimes–North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, and on and on–which nation alone does Mr. Obama become “enraged” at? Which is the object of his disdain? Which provokes his white-hot anger?
Answer: Israel. Has it struck you, as it has struck me, that with every other nation, including the most repressive and anti-American on earth, Mr. Obama is careful never to give offense, to always extend the olive branch, and to treat their leaders with unusual deference and respect? Except for the Jewish State of Israel. It always seems to be in the Obama crosshair.
Because this attitude is so detached from objective circumstances and the actions of Israel and the actions of the adversaries of Israel, something else–and something rather disquieting–is going on here. Mr. Obama wouldn’t be the first world leader to have an irrational animus against Israel. He’s not even the first American president to have an irrational animus against Israel. (See: Jimmy Carter.) But it is fair to say, I think, that no American president has been this consistently hostile to Israel while in office or shown such palpable anger and scorn for it and for Israel’s leader.
Perhaps given President Obama’s history–including his intimate, 20-year relationship with the anti-Semitic minister Jeremiah Wright–this shouldn’t come as a surprise. But that doesn’t make it any less disturbing.
Haaretz this week broke news that an American organization called OneVoice International has joined up with an Israeli organization called V15. OneVoice has received two State Department grants in the past year, and Jeremy Bird, a former national field director for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, will be working with the effort from an office in Tel Aviv, according to Haaretz. The groups are believed to be behind the “anyone but Bibi” mantra floating around left-of-center political circles in the leadup to the election. Goodman writes:
While V15 has not endorsed any particular candidates, it is working to oppose Netanyahu in the March elections.
“We’ve formed a partnership with [V15], but it’s important to know we’re absolutely nonpartisan,” Taler told the Washington Free Beacon. “Our biggest emphasis and focus right now is just getting people out to vote.”
OneVoice said in a press release on Tuesday that it is teaming up with V15 because Israel “need[s] a prime minister and a government who will be responsive to the people.”
It is tempting to see this story in light of the ongoing feud between Obama and Netanyahu in which both men have stumbled in trying to win each news cycle devoted to the drama. But if Obama even knows who Bird is, it’s doubtful he’s taking any direction from the president. It’s not inappropriate for Bird to follow in the footsteps of numerous other campaign veterans to find some work in Israel during American off-years.
What is more interesting is that the group involved has been receiving grants from the State Department. OneVoice didn’t have a convincing rejoinder to the news, so they gave Goodman the following canned response:
Taler said the group is not using this money for its Israeli election-related efforts.
“No government funding has gone toward any of the activities we’re doing right now whatsoever,” she said.
It’s silly, because of course money is fungible. But what could she say? More concerning is that this fits into a topic we’ve covered here extensively: the peace process, especially as led by John Kerry, resembles nothing so much as a diplomatic protection racket.
The same paranoia and psychological projection seems to infect all those involved in Obama’s political campaigns: they assume American Jewish donor money is behind all opposition. It does appear to be an escalation, however, for the State Department to be pressuring Netanyahu into making concessions to the Palestinians while funding groups working to defeat him. I would say it’s a conflict of interests, but it’s more like a concert of interests—all the levers of the Obama administration’s anti-Netanyahu efforts pulling in the same direction.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address Congress on March 3, House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday — though President Obama does not plan to meet with him.
The House speaker had invited Netanyahu to speak to lawmakers about the threat from Iran. The announcement caught the president off-guard, as the invitation was not cleared first with the Obama administration; such invitations typically are coordinated with the White House and State Department.
Asked Thursday about the visit, the White House said Obama would not meet with him, citing the country’s upcoming elections. Spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said that in keeping with “long-standing practice and principle,” the president does not meet with heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meanwhile, said it was inappropriate for Boehner to invite Netanyahu to address Congress in the shadow of that election and give the appearance of endorsing the prime minister. “If that’s the purpose of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit two weeks before his own election, right in the midst of our negotiations, I just don’t think it’s appropriate and helpful,” Pelosi said.
How does it feel being out of the loop, guys?
On the eve of a deadline in nuclear talks between six world powers and Iran, Lebanon’s militant Shiite Hezbollah organization has revealed that it has acquired advanced Iranian missiles with “pinpoint accuracy” that it could use against Israel in any future war.
“They [the Israelis] are well aware that Hezbollah is in possession of missiles with pinpoint accuracy, and thanks to the equipment Hezbollah acquired, and with the Islamic Republic’s support and Hezbollah’s readiness for any future war, [the next] war will be much tougher for the Israelis,” Naim Qassem, the deputy head of Hezbollah, said in an interview with Iran’s Tasnim news agency.