Good News Friday – Shabbat Hagadol edition

I’m having a very hard time finding some good news to post this week and I was tempted to “pass over” (geddit?) this week’s Good News Friday installment. But I really didn’t want to leave Shabbat Hagadol (“the Great Sabbath”, the last Shabbat before Pesach) and the runup to Pesach with the plethora of bad news that has been our lot this week.

So instead of some hard good news, here are a couple of great videos to get you into the mood for Pesach.

First we have the story of Pesach, together with the order of the Seder, in a way I’m sure you’ve never heard before! The Jewish A Capella group Six13 sing a Passover-themed parody of “Uptown Funk,” the massive Mark Ronson song with Bruno Mars. 

Your Seder will never be the same after this ! :-D


And here we have those ever-inventive Technion students who never let a good festival go to waste, who have come up with a brilliant Rube Goldberg-type Passover machine!

Isn’t it great to see those talented students putting their expensive education to good use? :-D

Shabbat Hagadol, the “Great Shabbat”  is called thus because the closing words of the Haftara (the portion from Nevi’im, the Prophets) from Malachi 3:4-24, which we read in shul tomorrow talk about G-d’s promise to redeem Israel and to bless them. The last verses contain G-d’s promise to send Elijah the Prophet before the “Great and Awful Day”.

May these words signify that G-d’s promise of our redemption will be fulfilled speedily, especially in these trying times.

May the coming week be one of joy despite all the Pesach cleaning still facing us.

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

Posted in Israel news, Judaism, Slice of Israeli life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ratcheting up the anti-Israel rhetoric, Obama accuses Israel of spying

(US) Spy vs. (Israel) Spy

Obama and his misadministration are absolutely determined to keep the tension with Israel simmering if not actually boiling over. Binyamin Netanyahu’s walkback of his rejection of a Palestinian State was scorned by the White House as “not sincere”, and his apology to the Arab citizens of Israel was denigrated.

And now the next level has been reached: Israel has been accused of spying on the US in its talks with Iran, and then doing the unthinkable – revealing those secrets to… which traitor could it be? … to Congress!

The story was first leaked to the Wall Street Journal: (you can access the full article via Google. Emphases are mine).

Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks.

The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said.

The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program, current and former officials said.

It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the matter.

The U.S. and Israel, longtime allies who routinely swap information on security threats, sometimes operate behind the scenes like spy-versus-spy rivals. The White House has largely tolerated Israeli snooping on U.S. policy makers—a posture Israel takes when the tables are turned.

The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.

Wait. What? The US spied on Israel? And that doesn’t elicit any outrage from Israel? Spying is a one-way street only? I’m staggered at the brazen chutzpah of the Americans.

Israeli officials denied spying directly on U.S. negotiators and said they received their information through other means, including close surveillance of Iranian leaders receiving the latest U.S. and European offers. European officials, particularly the French, also have been more transparent with Israel about the closed-door discussions than the Americans, Israeli and U.S. officials said.

Using levers of political influence unique to Israel, Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer calculated that a lobbying campaign in Congress before an announcement was made would improve the chances of killing or reshaping any deal. They knew the intervention would damage relations with the White House, Israeli officials said, but decided that was an acceptable cost.

Is the phrase I highlighted in bold above a reference to sinister Jewish influence? I’m hard put to find any other explanation for the strange wording.

The campaign may not have worked as well as hoped, Israeli officials now say, because it ended up alienating many congressional Democrats whose support Israel was counting on to block a deal.

Obama administration officials, departing from their usual description of the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, have voiced sharp criticism of Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer to describe how the relationship has changed.

The constant assurances of this unbreakable bond has been sounding hollow for quite some time now. I wish they would just stop. They’re not convincing anyone any more, least of all themselves.

“People feel personally sold out,” a senior administration official said. “That’s where the Israelis really better be careful because a lot of these people will not only be around for this administration but possibly the next one as well.”

Here we go again with the “nice little country you got there, shame if anything happened to it” syndrome.

The story takes another twist when Israel denies any and all allegations of spying against the US, but then the possibility is raised that Israel spied against the Europeans. Or the Iranians. Or both. Or all of them.  In truth, this would make for a marvellous comic thriller if it weren’t so serious.

The WSJ report continues:

A senior official in the prime minister’s office said Monday: “These allegations are utterly false. The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies. The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share.”

Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies scaled back their targeting of U.S. officials after the jailing nearly 30 years ago of American Jonathan Pollard for passing secrets to Israel.

While U.S. officials may not be direct targets, current and former officials said, Israeli intelligence agencies sweep up communications between U.S. officials and parties targeted by the Israelis, including Iran.

As secret talks with Iran progressed into 2013, U.S. intelligence agencies monitored Israel’s communications to see if the country knew of the negotiations. Mr. Obama didn’t tell Mr. Netanyahu until September 2013.

Maybe if Obama had kept Israel in the loop, Israel wouldn’t have felt the need to spy on anyone. If they did, that is… And the Americans could have then saved themselves the paranoia.

Israeli officials, who said they had already learned about the talks through their own channels, told their U.S. counterparts they were upset about being excluded. “ ‘Did the administration really believe we wouldn’t find out?’ ” Israeli officials said, according to a former U.S. official.

The U.S. routinely shares information with its European counterparts and others to coordinate negotiating positions. While U.S. intelligence officials believe secured U.S. communications are relatively safe from the Israelis, they say European communications are vulnerable.

Mr. Netanyahu and his top advisers received confidential updates on the Geneva talks from Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and other U.S. officials, who knew at the time that Israeli intelligence was working to fill in any gaps.

The White House eventually curtailed the briefings, U.S. officials said, withholding sensitive information for fear of leaks.

Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies can get much of the information they seek by targeting Iranians and others in the region who are communicating with countries in the talks.

The information that Israel received eventually led to Netanyahu delivering his speech in Congress. At the same time Ambassador Ron Dermer worked to update Congress with this information that Congress itself had not received from the Administration!

Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials over the following weeks gave lawmakers and their aides information the White House was trying to keep secret, including how the emerging deal could allow Iran to operate around 6,500 centrifuges, devices used to process nuclear material, said congressional officials who attended the briefings.

The Israeli officials told lawmakers that Iran would also be permitted to deploy advanced IR-4 centrifuges that could process fuel on a larger scale, meeting participants and administration officials said. Israeli officials said such fuel, which under the emerging deal would be intended for energy plants, could be used to one day build nuclear bombs.

The information in the briefings, Israeli officials said, was widely known among the countries participating in the negotiations.

When asked in February during one briefing where Israel got its inside information, the Israeli officials said their sources included the French and British governments, as well as their own intelligence, according to people there.

“Ambassador Dermer never shared confidential intelligence information with members of Congress,” Mr. Sagui said. “His briefings did not include specific details from the negotiations, including the length of the agreement or the number of centrifuges Iran would be able to keep.”

Besides the seriousness of the espionage allegations made by the White House, the question arises – again – why someone, Obama or one of his aides, decided to leak the story to the press instead of confronting Israel directly, whether by a phone call to Netanyahu himself or by summoning Ambassador Dermer.

Former Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said it is evident that “someone is determined to spark a dispute between Israel and the US“:

Referring to the report during a visit to Nesher, Ya’alon said, “I can tell you, as someone who knows the intelligence community from very up close for twenty years, since I was head of Military Intelligence in 1995, that there is no way, was no way, that Israel would spy on the Americans.”

Ya’alon added that a ban on spying activities against the US has been in place and enforced by all governments he has known for two decades, and that this certainly remains the case. “No Israeli intelligence organization spies on the Americans,” Ya’alon affirmed.

Ya’alon asked the intelligence community whether they received a complaint about improper conduct from the US, adding, “We did not receive any complaint. But someone apparently has an interest in stoking conflict, or bringing a negative twist to relations between us, which are strategic relations from our perspective.”

The story smells more of the petty vindictiveness which has come to characterise Barack Obama and his Administration than any serious espionage story. It can be summarized in these few (sometimes amusing) tweets:

And last, these rather sad ones:

We’re getting to the stage where I fear that the next accusation against Israel will be “poisoning the wells”.

Posted in Defence and Military, International relations, Israel news, Mideast news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Bizarro World at the UN

UN Resolutions against Israel and the rest of the world

Yesterday was the thrice-yearly Hate Israel Day at the UN, (what? only 3 times a year? I thought it was an everyday occurrence) as Hillel Neuer of UN Watch explains:

Today is Hate Israel Day at the U.N., a feature of every regular session, held in September, March and June, of the 47-nation Human Rights Council.

While all 193 countries of the world are addressed under Agenda Item 4, “Human rights situations requiring the world’s attention,” only Israel gets its own special treatment, under Agenda Item 7, “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories .”

There will be 0 reports on gross and systematic human rights abuses by countries (many of them members of the UNHRC) like China, Cuba, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey and Venezuela.

Yet tomorrow’s debate will see the presentation of seven reports targeting Israel:

And, in addition, at the end of this week, the Council will adopt four resolutions targeting Israel:

  1. Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan
  2. “Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”
  3. “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan”
  4. “Human rights situation in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

There will be 0 resolutions on gross and systematic human rights abuses by China, Cuba, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey and Venezuela.

This in itself is hardly newsworthy any more. When the UN praises Israel for its humanity, liberalism and progressiveness – THEN it will be a milestone day which will achieve headlines worldwide. Or maybe not, given how the world seems to delight in Israel’s alleged “misdeeds” while ignoring any good news about us.

Another example, if ever one were needed, was the outlandish UN resolution last week condemning Israel for being the world’s worst violator of women’s rights  !!! Yes, that Israel, the one with the highest number of women members of the Knesset, the Israel who had a female Supreme Court President, the Israel who had a female Prime Minister, the Israel where women’s rights are protected under law…

The human rights lawyer and activist Anne Bayefsky writes in the Algemeiner (emphases are mine):

Guess who is the number one violator of women’s rights in the world today? Israel. Violating the rights of Palestinian women.

At least that is the view of the UN’s top women’s rights body, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). CSW ends its annual meeting on Friday, March 20 by condemning only one of the 193 UN member states for violating women’s rights – Israel.

Not Syria. Where government forces routinely employ rape and other sexual violence and torture against women as a tactic of war. …

Not Saudi Arabia. Where women are physically punished if not wearing compulsory clothing, are almost entirely excluded from political life, cannot drive, …

Not Sudan. Where domestic violence is not prohibited. There is no minimum age for “consensual” sex. The legal age of marriage for girls is ten. 88% of women under 50 have undergone female genital mutilation….

Not Iran. Where every woman who registered as a presidential candidate in the last election was disqualified. “Adultery” is punishable by death by stoning. Women who fight back against rapists and kill their attackers are executed. …

The 2015 CSW resolution on Israel will repeat, as it does every year, that “the Israeli occupation remains the major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society…”

Not Palestinian men. Not religious edicts and traditions. Not a culture of violence. Not an educational system steeped in rejection of peaceful coexistence and of tolerance.

Instead, the fault for a UN statistic like this one – an average of 17% of Palestinian women are in the labor force as compared to 70% of Palestinian men – lies with the Jewish scapegoat.

By comparison, there was no report on Chinese women and girls, half a billion people without elementary civil and political rights, who still face the prospect of forced abortion and sterilization.

There was no report on women in Somalia, where female genital mutilation is ubiquitous,…

There was no report on women in Yemen, where the penal code goes easy on the killers of women for “immodest” or “defiant” behavior, t…

And the women’s rights scene is not the only liberal sham at the UN.

The UN’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council (HRC), will wrap up a major session next week by adopting a minimum of four times as many resolutions slamming Israel than any other country on earth.

Condemnations of Israel will include a resolution demanding Israel immediately give back the Golan Heights to Syria – the place where Syrians run from their own government for life-saving Israeli medical care.

Tallying all the resolutions and decisions condemning a specific state over the history of the Human Rights Council, one-third has been directed at Israel alone.

Remember Ukraine? In the past year, there have been at least 5,500 confirmed killed – … But the score is 67 Council resolutions and decisions attacking Israel and zero on Russia.

It is impossible to add this all up and conclude that the UN’s treatment of Israel is anything but wildly discriminatory. In the twisted language of UN rights, the means is the verbiage of equality, while the end game is prejudice.

The Obama Administration has an answer to this dilemma. Vote against the resolutions, while paying the fees to run the bodies that adopt them. Join and legitimize the institution, while consoling the delegitimized that it feels their pain.

As Secretary Kerry told the Council on March 2, 2015: “President Obama and I support the HRC…” and “the HRC’s obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization.” “Risks undermining” – as opposed to “has grossly undermined already.”

This attitude towards the UN’s demonization of Israel foreshadows the administration’s Israel policy in the days ahead – a policy unaffected by Israeli election results.

The Palestinians will continue to use the UN and the International Criminal Court to attempt to accomplish with lethal politics what they have never been able to do with lethal force. And President Obama will hold open the door.

The sole piece of relatively good news coming out of this whole fandango is that – contrary to expectations and all the dire warnings – the US stood by Israel and refused to take part in this show-trial:

Today the United States, in support of Israel, made no statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council debate on alleged Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories, otherwise known as Item 7.  Our non-participation in this debate underscores our position that Item 7 lacks legitimacy, as it did last year when we also refrained from speaking.  The United States strongly and unequivocally opposes the very existence of Agenda Item 7 and any HRC resolutions that come from it.

The United States’ approach to the Human Rights Council’s Item 7 has not changed.

We remain deeply troubled, by this Council’s stand-alone agenda item directed against Israel, and by the many repetitive and one-sided resolutions under that agenda item[1].

No other nation has an entire agenda item set aside to deal with it[2].

As was the case last year, the United States will not engage in the debate.  Neither will Israel.

Instead, we will call a vote, and vote no on Item 7 resolutions.

After which, the United States will make a statement explaining our consistent approach in opposition to Item 7.

Israel praised the US for their strong stand:

The source said that “Israel praises the United States for its decision. This is a continuation of Kerry’s speech from two weeks ago, which condemned the council for singling Israel out and reiterating American support for Israel.”

None of this prevented Reuters from getting the wrong end of the stick, leading to Hillel Neuer to fact-check them. Giving credit where it’s due, Reuters did amend their report accordingly:

A Twitter reply to Neuer encapsulates the whole sorry mess:

I’m sure more “interesting times” lie ahead for Israel in its rocky relations with the Obama Administration.

Posted in International relations, Lawfare and Delegitimization, Mideast news | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Senator John McCain tells Obama: “Get over your temper tantrum”

Following on from Senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, Republican Senator and former Presidential hopeful John McCain joined in in the Senatorial onslaught on President Obama’s petty vindictiveness against Binyamin Netanyahu in the wake of his win in the Israeli elections:

John McCain slammed President Obama on Israel on CNN’s State of the Union this morning, telling the president to “get over your temper tantrum” with Benjamin Netanyahu because “the least of your problems is what Bibi Netanyahu said during an electioncampaign.”

In an interview released yesterday, Obama said that some of Netanyahu’s pre-election rhetoric was unhelpful and contrary to Israel’s ideals, referring to Netanyahu’s pre-election opposition to a two-state solution and his comments about Arab voters turning out “in droves.”

Gloria Borger asked McCain if Obama has good reason to be annoyed with Netanyahu for rejecting what the U.S. has been working for. McCain responded, “Bibi’s rhetoric concerning an election campaign pales in comparison as to the threat, the direct threat to the United States of America of ISIS.”

Regarding Netanyahu’s statements themselves, McCain simply rolled his eyes and said “politicians make statements.” He suggested that Obama is either letting his personal feelings get in the way of sound policy or he’s “delusional.”

Who’ll be next to pile on?

Posted in International relations | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Senators Rubio, Cotton, slam Obama on his assault on Israel

At the end of my last post I promised to show how much support there is for Israel in Congress itself. Here are two fantastic videos of two senators staunchly defending Israel while slamming Obama for his disgraceful treatment of Israel.

First we have Florida Senator (R) Marco Rubio slamming Obama’s “historic mistake” on Israel:

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Thursday night delivered a powerful speech against US President Barack Obama’s increasing hostility towards Israel after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s elections victory, as the White House threatened to pull support for Israel at the UN.

Rubio began by noting “Israel is everything we want that region of the world to be,” pointing out the Jewish state’s democracy, free enterprise economy, and status as a strong American ally.

Speaking about Israel’s “unique purpose” as “the homeland for the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Second World War and of the Holocaust,” he noted his pride that America has “stood behind the Jewish state for all of these years.”

However, that support is in danger he charged, pointing that as of the time of his speech Obama had yet to call Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory – the call came later on Thursday night, a full two days after elections.

Rubio revealed the hypocrisy of the delay, given that in 2012 Obama was among the first to call and congratulate Russia’s Vladimir Putin, President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as well as Chinese Communist leaders, and in 2013 he likewise rushed to call Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

The senator provided an overview of Obama’s noted slant in bashing Israel back from his campaigning days in 2008.

Watch the whole blistering speech. It’s outstanding.

Aleister at Legal Insurrection added:

on Gabriel of Ricochet was clearly impressed by Rubio’s speech as well:

Rubio Speech Drops Hammer on Anti-Israel President

If Marco Rubio keeps talking like this, he’ll be the GOP front runner before we know it.

Two days after Benjamin Netanyahu’s big victory in Israel, one day after Obama’s peevish reaction, and on the same day the White House stated that they foresee “terrible days” for Israel ahead, Rubio spoke up. In 15 minutes, Florida’s junior senator vivisects Obama’s Israel policy before dispatching it once and for all into the depths of hell.

Rubio should be commended, it was a speech for the ages.

Indeed, it was as historic a speech as anything we have heard in recent years.

Another excellent speech in defence of Israel was delivered by Arkansas Senator (R) Tom Cotton (h/t Israellycool) who stood up for Israel, slamming Obama for his vindictive anti-Israel position:

Since those two speeches were delivered, there have been several other statements and speeches in robust defence of Israel and Netanyahu in Washington. Kol hakavod to all of them for taking this courageous stance, putting their careers and reputations on the line but standing up for decency and loyalty.

It is as important for us in Israel as it is for the US representatives to hear these stout expressions of support for Israel. Were it not for senators such as Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio we might be tempted to just curl up and give in to Obama’s whims. But with the backing of these loyal supporters we know that we have someone at our back – NOT Barack Obama who would only want our back in order to plunge in a knife – who will not allow Israel to be thrown “under the bus”.

Posted in International relations, Israel news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Obama’s spiteful reaction to Netanyahu’s winning the elections

Obama’s spiteful revenge on Netanyahu

By now everyone has heard all about Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement about a two-state solution not happening while he is Prime Minister, and also his possibly ill-advised words warning about Arabs being bussed in to vote on election day.

I call his statement about the Arabs ill-advised because someone of Netanyahu’s stature and experience should have realised the fallout that they would cause. and indeed it led to  being interpreted by the left as racism – they in effect accused him of objecting to the Arabs voting at all. However, when looking beyond the screaming headlines, it is obvious that Netanyahu was not calling for the Arabs’ disenfranchisement. He was simply pointing out that the Arabs were voting in huge numbers and was therefore calling on his own voters to come out in similar numbers to prevent being ousted. This is a legitimate call for a politician to make, although I still think he should have thought twice about the wording as he was handing ammunition to his enemies.

However the biggest fuss is being made of Netanyahu’s other “controversial” statement, about a Palestinian state not being established under his watch, in answer to a question from to the NRG Hebrew news site:

The prime minister warned in an interview with the NRG news website Monday that a Zionist Union-led government would push for relinquishing territory, a move he said was tantamount to “burying its head in the sand.”

“I think that anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state today, and evacuate areas, is giving radical Islam an area from which to attack the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “This is the true reality that has been created in past years. Those that ignore it are burying their heads in the sand. The left does this, buries its head in the sand, time and again.”

Asked directly whether no Palestinian state would be created under his leadership, the prime minister answered: “Indeed.”

It is clear that Netanyahu’s one-word answer was a simple statement of fact, not a new policy. But as if lying in wait for a statement exactly such as this, the Obama Administration seized upon Netanyahu’s words and accused him of backtracking on his pledge to establish a Palestinian state and work towards a two state solution. And when Netanyahu clarified that he meant it as a statement of fact, rather than staking out a new direction or expressing a fervent wish, Washington remained frosty while Obama snootily decided, like a headmaster chiding a naughty schoolboy, that Netanyahu was not being sincere:

WASHINGTON — The State Department said Wednesday that the US would “evaluate” its approach to the two-state solution in light of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of Palestinian statehood during his campaign for reelection

“Based on the prime minister’s comments, the US is in a position going forward in which we will be evaluating our approach with regards to how best to achieve a two-state solution,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during her press briefing.

She acknowledged that “the fact that [Netanyahu] has changed his opinion certainly has an impact” on US decision-making moving forward.

Prof. Jacobson shows how the media distorted Netanyahu’s words , thus implying he was zig-zagging when he walked them back:

If you take the actual text of Netanyahu said, he never ruled out a two-state solution and never discouraged Arab voting. But those were the headlines and the foaming-at-the mouth hyperbole, fomented by the Obama administration in numerous anonymous statements to the media.

Netanyahu expressed his clarifications in an interview on MSNBC (at the link above):

But even after Netanyahu’s clarification, the White House stood by its ungracious and unrelenting rejection of Netanyahu’s stance:

Although Netanyahu later backtracked, and reiterated a commitment in principle to a “sustainable, peeaceful two-state solution,” Obama told The Huffington Post in an interview published Saturday that his administration is now operating under the assumption that Netanyahu does not envision the creation of a Palestinian state.

“We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership,” Obama said, “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.”

Former Ambassador and spokesman Dore Gold also attempted to explain the brouhaha and tries to bring some clarity to the disagreement in an interview on CNN:

Clarifications notwithstanding, relations between the two countries have now descended to such a level that Netanyahu has been left with the strong impression that the US will not back Israel at the UN any more. There is a disturbing twist in this tale: it appears that the Administration has been waiting for an excuse to “reassess” their relationship with Israel for 4 months – four months!! – i.e. long before Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, and certainly long before the elections were even called:

Quoting unnamed Israeli sources, they said the president made clear he didn’t believe Netanyahu was genuinely supportive of a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict, and that he indicated that the US would no longer automatically support Israel at the United Nations.

According to a Channel 10 read out on the call, indeed, Obama left Netanyahu with “the impression that he intends to abandon Israel at the UN.”

The United States has actually been considering a reevaluation of ties with Israel, including its automatic support for the Jewish state at the United Nations Security Council, for at least four months, the Israeli sources also told Channel 2. Although the White House claims the reassessment was prompted by Netanyahu’s remarks on Monday in which he rejected the establishment of a Palestinian state — and which he walked back Thursday — that is not the case, according to the officials.

The White House is certainly giving every impression that it is trying its hardest to ignore any and every attempt by Netanyahu to appease them, placate them and backtrack on anything which might upset them.

Asked Friday why the White House was not taking Netanyahu at his word, White House spokesman Josh Earnest retorted, “Well I guess the question is: Which one?” Earnest said the Obama administration did take Netanyahu at his word — and understood that the prime minister does not envision a Palestinian state being established during his term in office.

“The divergent comments of the prime minister legitimately call into question his commitment to this policy principle and his lack of commitment to what has been the foundation of our policy-making in the region,” Earnest said. Netanyahu had prompted questions about his “true view” on the two-state solution, the spokesman added. “Words matter.”

Sure they do.  So do the words of promised support by the US matter to Israel. Trust is a two way street Mr. Spokesman. Nowadays Israel can’t trust a word that the Administration says, and not only Israel. Ask any Saudi, Jordanian or Egyptian how they feel about American support these days.

And then the threats:

Earnest said the administration has not decided what a reassessment in policy might mean. But he noted that in the past, the US has regularly opposed UN resolutions to create a Palestinian state by arguing that such a two-state arrangement should be negotiated between the parties. “What has now changed is that our ally in those conversations, Israel, has indicated that they are not committed to that approach anymore,” Earnest said.

Translation: “Nice little country you got there. Shame if something nasty happened to it. By accident you understand. Just a misunderstanding…”.

Charles Krauthammer aptly calls the Obama Administration’s reactions “unseemly” and “spiteful” (via Legal Insurrection):

But Israel is not alone. Stay tuned for another post on Israel’s wonderful defenders in Congress.

Posted in International relations, Israel news | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments