Some Thoughts on US-Israeli Relations and Iran

An Israeli has some. Michael Oren, lately Israeli Ambassador to the US and current Member of Knesset had this, in part, from his op-ed in Monday’s Walls Street Journal.

The abandonment of the “no daylight” and “no surprises” principles climaxed over the Iranian nuclear program. Throughout my years in Washington, I participated in intimate and frank discussions with US officials on the Iranian program. But parallel to the talks came administration statements and leaks—for example, each time Israeli warplanes reportedly struck Hezbollah-bound arms convoys in Syria—intended to deter Israel from striking Iran pre-emptively.

A Fundamental Misunderstanding

Jeffrey Goldberg drew it out of President Barack Obama in Goldberg’s interview with Obama for a piece in The Atlantic. Unfortunately, Goldberg didn’t pursue it, perhaps because he has the same misconceived notion. The misunderstanding is about Iran; here is the core of the exchange that demonstrates Obama’s error.

The Foolishness of the Left

Fareed Zakaria, writing in The Washington Post, has provided a living illustration.

Reality has changed, but look beyond the headlines. On closer examination, one can see that [the situation] has changed dramatically in Israel’s favor.

Here’s an example of how things have moved in Israel’s favor.

[T]here is the disappearance of the Arab threat. From its first day in existence, Israel has faced the danger of extinction by Arab armies. This is the threat against which the Jewish state has planned, armed and trained for most of its national life. Today, it’s gone.

Foolishness

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) said on Sunday’s CNN State of the Union about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

I wish that he would contain himself, because he has put out no real alternative[.] I don’t think it’s helpful.

It would be good if the Senator could contain herself, because there is no useful primary version: the deal under discussion permits a nation committed to the extermination of a people to obtain nuclear weapons.

It isn’t helpful, either, to attempt to suppress differing opinions about this deal that frees billions of dollars by “easing” sanctions, so that Iran will have plenty of money with which to pursue its program.

Right to Exist

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late last week that any deal with Iran regarding its nuclear weapons program must contain Iran’s explicit guarantee that Israel has the right to exist.

Our State Department has rejected that out of hand.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, in a terse response to a question about Netanyahu’s concerns, told reporters, “This is an agreement that is only about the nuclear issue”—a comment that indicates the Obama administration is not looking to enshrine Israel’s security into a final agreement.

“This is an agreement that doesn’t deal with any other issues, nor should it,”

My Irony Meter

…is pegged.

It seems that Israel spied on the US’ nuclear weapons “negotiations” with Iran. From a “senior US official:”

It is one thing for the US and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal US secrets and play them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy.

It certainly is terrible that Congress should find out from an ally what the Obama administration is doing instead of finding that out directly from the administration.

Another carefully anonymous (secretive?) US “official” added this:

It Would Be All Right if He Did

President Barack Obama, in a Huffington Post interview, had this to say about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election remarks about a Palestinian state:

We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region[.]

It would be good if Obama really did take Netanyahu at his word; this is what the PM actually said:

On Israel

Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL) gave a speech on the Senate floor. The video is here; it’s well worth the 15 minutes.

Here is the press statement that serves as transcript of that speech, from Rubio’s Senate Web site. It’s not indented and italicized like I usually do quotes because it’s the transcript of a 15 minute speech.

In advance: what he said.

State’s Cynical Distortion

The State Department accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of taking congressional testimony by Secretary of State John Kerry out of context in Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress Tuesday.

What Kerry said in Congressional testimony:

[I]f you have a civilian power plant that’s producing power legitimately and not a threat to proliferation, you could have as many as 190,000 or more centrifuges[.]

What Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

Mending Fences

President Barack Obama‘s national security adviser castigated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the Israeli leader’s plan to address a joint session of Congress next week has been “destructive” to the relationship between the two countries.

Most administrations would take advantage of the visit of a major ally’s head of state to work out programs, resolve differences (at least down to a dull roar), even to mend fences.

Not President Barack Obama and his administration.

This is fence mending ego-ridden style. Obama just can’t stand to have grown adults not saying, “Mother, may I?” to him.