Obama’s arrogant, condescending attitude towards the real threats that Israel faces is astounding. Also for him to refer to Benjamin Netanyahu as a “coward” (Netanyahu was a commando leader while Obama was a coke snorting undergrad) tells me that Obama is mentally unstable.
by Seth Mandel
The headline writers at Bloomberg knew exactly which part of Jeffrey Goldberg’s column would prove juiciest to those perusing the web today: “Obama: ‘Israel Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are’”. The quote from the president will bother Israel’s defenders for the same reason Obama is usually able to push their buttons: Obama’s lack of knowledge about Jewish history, his decision to take potshots at the Likud party as a way to win over those hostile to the Jewish state during the 2008 election, and his refusal to learn basic facts about issues before throwing temper tantrums about them make him among the least credible public officials on the issue of what is in Israel’s best interests.
Goldberg’s access to Obama’s inner circle has made him an excellent source on the Obama administration’s perspective on Israel, though stories like this don’t exactly paint the president in a particularly positive light–especially the president’s belief that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a “coward.” But childish name-calling aside, the president, according to the column, seems to have given up on Netanyahu. He can’t muster outrage at Israeli actions that elicit rage from leftist activists and cartoonishly biased and inaccurate “news” stories. (The New York Times deserves special mention here for publishing an article on the E-1 corridor around Jerusalem and then publishing a “correction” noting that the entire premise of the article was wrong, having since consulted a map.) [........]
For example, Obama thinks the only thing that can save Israel long-term is a negotiated settlement over a two-state solution with the Palestinians. But as everyone knows, Obama was the one who pulled the Palestinians away from the negotiating table. Thus, it seems Obama knows what’s in Israel’s best interests and acted against those interests anyway. [.......] Additionally, Goldberg writes:
And if Israel, a small state in an inhospitable region, becomes more of a pariah — one that alienates even the affections of the U.S., its last steadfast friend — it won’t survive. Iran poses a short-term threat to Israel’s survival; Israel’s own behavior poses a long-term one.
It’s unclear if this is Goldberg’s opinion or if he is paraphrasing Obama (or both). Of course an isolated Israel would be an increasingly threatened and weakened Israel. But Iran is only a “short-term” threat if the threat is disposed of in the near future. A nuclear Iran would probably be a long-term threat to Israel. [........] Obama promised not to allow Iran to go nuclear, but Obama isn’t exactly famous for keeping promises, to say the least, and his steadfast opposition to sanctions, which usually results in his own efforts to water them down if he’s been unable to stop them from passing, puts understandable doubts in the minds of some Israeli officials.
Additionally, if you believe Iran to be a “short-term” threat, then you believe soon Iran will not be a threat. Once that threat is removed, it would become substantially easier to move on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating track anyway, since the terrorist groups that are supplied by Iran reliably disrupt the peace process whenever they (or Iran) feel like it. [........] So if Obama’s really about to remove the Iranian threat, why should he lose patience now?
The truth is, no one knows what Obama is going to do–possibly not even Obama. But he pushed the Palestinians away from the negotiating table and has yet to figure out a way to get them back to it. And he has sent both Israel and Iran contradictory messages by promising to stop Iran but then being the primary obstacle to tougher sanctions and nominating to be his defense secretary a vocal opponent of all the tools that could be used to stop Iran. (Though Chuck Hagel has recanted in return for support from key Democrats, Obama chose Hagel before he flip-flopped.) [......]
Read the rest – Obama and Israel’s “Best Interests”
It did not take long for Benjamin Netanyahu to respond. I see the ugly face of failed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert whispering in Obama’s ear.
by Herb Keinon
A day after US columnist Jeffrey Goldberg quoted US President Barack Obama as saying that Israel under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not know what is in its own best interest, Netanyahu visited the Gaza border Wednesday, was told that December was the quietest month in the last 12 years, and essentially replied to Obama: “Yes I do.”
“I think everyone understands that only Israel’s citizens will be the ones to determine who faithfully represents Israel’s vital interests,” Netanyahu said on a visit to an army base near Gaza in his first direct response to Obama’s reported criticism. [........]
Netanyahu, who was joined on his visit by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and top IDF brass, was told that according to the security establishment’s figures, December was the quietest month in the south since January 2001.
“I am very impressed by the advanced technological means, and even more so by our young soldiers operating them here,” he said. “The IDF, Shin Bet, and security force are doing very important work here. They are maintaining the quiet which has been kept since Operation Pillar of Defense.”
Senior Likud officials had already accused Obama on Tuesday of leaking sharp criticism Netanyahu’s leadership in order to sway voters in next Tuesday’s election.
Sources close to Netanyahu responded carefully, saying that the prime minister would continue to protect the country’s vital national security interests in the coming government that he would lead. The sources noted that Obama had said Israeli-US defense and security cooperation were at unprecedented levels, which was evident in US support for Israeli missile defense systems and diplomatic backing during Operation Pillar of Defense.
But Likud officials accused Obama of “gross interference” in the Israeli election and said the president was “taking revenge” against Netanyahu for his perceived intervention in the November US election on behalf of unsuccessful Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The officials said Obama had been swayed against Netanyahu by President Shimon Peres and former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
Goldberg told The Jerusalem Post that he was amused by the reactions of Israeli politicians, especially accusations that he had conspired with the Israeli Left to maximize damage to Netanyahu. He said what he had written was consistent with statements Obama had made in the past about the need for Israel’s friends to hold up a mirror and tell the truth.
“In the administration, they saw that after Obama supported Israel in the Gaza conflict and at the UN, the next day Netanyahu wanted to build a new settlement in E1, and they threw up their hands in frustration,” Goldberg said. “I have picked up this chatter in the White House over the past two weeks, so I wrote it. I’m a journalist, writing about what’s happening, not trying to steer an Israeli election.”
Read the rest – PM hits back at Obama: I know what’s best for Israel