The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Neglect and Derision

The drama surrounding the upcoming speech to a joint session of congress by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu continues. The Obama administration has used vicious, anonymous attacks to denigrate the leader of a staunch ally. They have called on democrats to support these attacks (some have, others have remained silent); they have recruited a sycophantic media to promote their story line and subtly undermine Netanyahu; they have encouraged political hacks from their 2012 campaign to work for Netanyahu's opposition in the upcoming Israeli election.

This, of course, is typical thuggish political behavior from the Obama White House—the most anti-Israel administration in U.S. history.

One of the recurrent memes that Obama's media hamsters discuss is their view that Netanyahu is uncooperative and unreasonable when requests for compromise are made from the White House. In the bizarro world of left wing politics, that somehow justifies vilifying an ally leader. The problem is—like virtually every narrative proposed by Obama—it's a lie.

Bret Stevens gives us a brief history lesson:
Because memories are short, let’s remind ourselves of the Ur-moment in the Bibi-Barack drama. It happened on May 18, 2009, when Mr. Netanyahu, in office for just a few weeks, arrived to a White House that was demanding that he endorse Palestinian statehood and freeze settlements, even as the administration was rebuffing Israeli requests to set a deadline for the nascent nuclear diplomacy with Iran.

The result: Within a month of that meeting, Mr. Netanyahu duly endorsed Palestinian statehood in a speech at Israel’s right-wing Bar-Ilan University—roughly the equivalent of Mr. Obama going to a meeting of the Sierra Club and urging its members to get over their opposition to fracking. By the end of the year, Mr. Netanyahu further infuriated his right-wing base by agreeing to a 10-month settlement freeze, which even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged was “unprecedented.”

What did Mr. Netanyahu get in return from Mr. Obama? While the president stuck to his refusal to set “an artificial deadline,” he did concede in a joint press conference that “we’re not going to have talks forever. We’re not going to create a situation in which talks become an excuse for inaction while Iran proceeds with developing a nuclear—and deploying a nuclear weapon.”

The promise not to “have talks forever” was made six years ago. Since then, diplomatic efforts have included the 2009 “fuel swap” proposal; the 2010 Brazil-Turkey-Iran declaration; the 2011 Russian “step-by-step proposal”; the 2012 diplomatic rounds in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow; and finally the 2013 “Joint Plan of Action,” a six-month interim deal that is now in its 13th month.
For six long years, Barack Obama has allowed Iran to continue on the path to nuclear weapons. He has never publicly criticized Iran's radical Islamist leaders, never called Iran on it's support of terror on a worldwide scale, never suggested, even once, that Iran was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. troop in Iraq, never done anything (with the exception of grudgingly imposing mild sanctions) to upset the Mullahs. And with all of that, he and his foreign policy Team of 2s have accomplished exactly—nothing. But public criticism of Bibi Netanyahu? Oh ... Obama's very good at that.

Bret Steven summarizes nicely when he writes: "Barack Obama collects hard favors from allies and repays them with neglect and derision." Obama is on a mission—the question is—is his narcissistic journey good for the country he leads?

Stevens argues that Bibi should speak:
Mr. Netanyahu needs to speak because Israel cannot expect indefinite support from the U.S. if it acts like a fretful and obedient client to a cavalier American patron. The margin of Israel’s security is measured not by anyone’s love but by the respect of friends and enemies alike. By giving this speech, Mr. Netanyahu is demanding that respect. Irritating the president is a small price to pay for doing so.
Like Stevens, I believe that Netanyahu should speak, if for no other reason than to provide a clear and realistic opposing view from a strong and respected leader in the region most threatened by a nuclear Iran. That will be a refreshing alternative to the fantasy line proposed by Barack Obama.

Marc Thiessen does a good job of summarizing the Obama administration's thuggish attempt to vilify Bibi Netanyahu:
When Netanyahu accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress in support of new sanctions on Iran, the Obama administration began a full-scale press offensive with a clear message: Netanyahu was endangering Israel by playing politics with the country’s relationship with the United States. Secretary of State John F. Kerry warned (through an anonymous aide) that “playing politics with that relationship could blunt [Kerry’s] enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender” and revealed that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency had told him that new a sanctions bill would be “like throwing a grenade” into the negotiations with Iran. A senior administration official declared ominously to Haaretz that “President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.” A member of “Obama’s inner circle” launched an attack against Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer in the New York Times, accusing him of having “repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States.” The Times noted “Such officially authorized criticisms of diplomats from major allies are unusual.” The message to Israeli voters was unmistakable: If they reelect Netanyahu, Israel will pay a “price.”

While White House officials were threatening Israel, the news broke that Obama’s 2012 national field director, Jeremy Bird, was headed to Tel Aviv to manage a grass-roots campaign to oust Netanyahu. Bird would not be working to defeat Netanyahu if he thought Obama opposed it. Can you imagine Karl Rove going to London while George W. Bush was in office to help conservatives oust Prime Minister Tony Blair? It further emerged that the group behind Bird’s anti-Netanyahu effort has received State Department funding and lists the State Department as a “partner” on its Web site. Netanyahu’s Likud Party held a news conference to accuse its opponents of accepting foreign funds in violation of Israeli election laws, and Israeli newspapers published headlines on the “Obama-Labor link .”
The outcome of Israel's election is unclear, but one thing is certain—Bibi Netanyahu is a better leader, a better thinker, and a better man than Barack Obama whether he wins the current election or not.  At the end of the day, the White House's petulance is as good a indication as any of just how small a man Barack Obama really is.