Obama’s revenge

We’ve come to know and not love Obama’s petulant thin-skinned persona who cannot take criticism from allies, or even disagreement on policy. Several times over the past years Israel has experienced the sharp edge of his or the Administration’s tongue, but two reports in recent days are quite stunning.

The first, via Elder of Ziyon, is that the US just declassified solely the portion concerning Israel of a 1987 report on allies’ nuclear capability.

From Courthouse News Service:

In the midst of controversy over the Israeli prime minister’s plans to address Congress next month, a researcher has won the release of a decades-old Defense Department report detailing the U.S. government’s extensive help to Israel in that nation’s development of a nuclear bomb.

The 1987 report, “Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations,” compares the key Israeli facilities developing nuclear weapons to Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the principal U.S. laboratories that developed the bomb for the United States.

Only 129 of the 386 pages were released, with anything not having to do with Israel (specifically, the programs of France, Italy, West Germany and “Other NATO Countries”) still censored. The person who requested the report under the Freedom of Information Act agreed to that redaction, because his one and only purpose was to attack Israel.

It is curious that the report was released so soon before the controversial Netanyahu visit to Congress, something that is noted in the Courthouse News article as well.

It’s not only curious. It is damned suspicious and positively outrageous. I hope that Israel will be protesting officially at this breach of trust by the US.

Another report, subsequently denied by the Administration was that the US has stopped updating Israel on the nuclear talks with Iran:

The White House and State Department denied that it had stopped updating Israel on progress in talks with Iran over its contested nuclear program, as had been reported earlier by Channel 2.

According to the TV report on Sunday, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice has cut off contact with Israeli National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen on the talks. It also quoted chief US negotiator Wendy Sherman as saying that she will no longer keep Israel informed of the attack. The channel characterized the move as revenge for Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress next month, which has raised the ire of the Obama administration.

But the US swiftly rebutted the claims, with the White House terming the report “patently false.”

…“And Secretary Kerry continues his conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu about this issue, as has always been the case,” the State Department said.

Earlier, a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel that the report was false.

The question that arises though is where did this report originate from? Was it from Channel 2 TV whose agenda is not particularly pro-Netanyahu, especially towards the upcoming elections?  Were they hoping ot discredit Bibi by such a report? On the other hand would an established TV channel just make up such a report out of whole cloth?

Or was the story true, but when it broke in the media the Administration was embarrassed enough to deny it?

I doubt the full truth will come out, but the sad thing is that the story could possibly have been true. That is the character of Obama and his Administration and that is the nature of the rickety US-Israel relationship at present.

On a related matter, former Defence Secretary Leon Panetta stated that he was “afraid of Netanyahu’s speech”.  He explained this rather startling admission thus:

Panetta told CNN, “I’m afraid what is going to happen here with what Netanyahu will do, is to make this partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans and that makes it a very dangerous trap.”

Panetta said the real focus should be on unity, not on fighting. “We need to get back to presidents and Congresses who can work together to try to confront the challenges we face,” he said.

If it’s unity that he’s worried about, and he’s right to be concerned because the divisiveness si giving the Iranians a huge morale boost, then he ought to address his concerns to the Administration, and in particular to Obama who made Netanyahu’s speech a partisan issue in the first place.

The divisiveness and partisanship is evident not on Capitol Hill but within the American Jewish community too, where many members are adamantly objecting to Netanyahu’s speech on the grounds that it will undermine the President, the deal with Iran, and/or interfere in American politics. Gabriel Eichler in the Algemeiner answers these concerns with a timely reminder of the apathy and acquiescence of American Jewish leaders during the Holocaust at a time when speaking out might have saved millions:

Jewish apathy, acquiesce, and outright collaboration that immeasurably assisted Hitler’s Nazi regime in carrying out its “Final Solution.”

Let’s look at historical facts first: on August 28, 1942, American Reform Rabbi Stephen Wise received an alarming cable from London.

…Rabbi Wise was the most well-known leader of the American Jewish community during the years of World War II, and he also officiated as president of both the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.

His shameful failure of “leadership” ended up to be a criminally disgraceful disaster when it came to making any rescue efforts on behalf of Europe’s Jews – including my entire murdered family – during the Holocaust.

On October 6, 1943, a delegation of American Orthodox rabbis arrived in Washington hoping for a personal audience with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They planned to present to the President irrefutable proof that the Nazis were conducting a wholesale annihilation of unimaginable scale of European Jews.

The rabbis understood that this was a decisive moment – the very last chance to stop the Holocaust before the last of European Jewry was extinguished.

Wise who – like a good political lackey – called President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ‘Boss’ and ‘Chief,’ advised the President not to meet with the 400 pleading Orthodox rabbis who marched on Washington.

So accordingly, the President did not make himself available to hear the pleas.

Which brings me to a recent public statement I read in a New York Jewish newspaper – a statement, that was attributed to the current leader of Reform Jewry in the US.

In the Jewish Daily Forward, a certain American Reform leader reportedly pronounced that it would be “ill-advised” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress, because it would take place two weeks before Israeli elections and also because the appearance had been organized without the knowledge of the White House.

On one hand, it could be seen as just one of many opinions expressed on Netanyahu’s stated intention of giving a dire warning to Congress regarding the dangers of a nuclear Iran. But since this is eerily similar to another Reform leader – Stephen Wise’s horrific mishandling of a truly existential threat to the Jewish people – the stunning coincidence simply cannot be ignored.

Prime Minister Netanyahu cannot be expected to sit back and leave the future of his people in the hands of a murderous, radical – and soon to be nuclear-capable – Islamic Republic, nor to the whims of naïve dilettantes in Washington who are looking for a “legacy” or to curry favor with the Administration.

Am Yisroel Chai!

The people of Israel will live only if we look after our own interests without kowtowing to well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning friends who think they know better than us how to protect us – or how to save us from ourselves.

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8 Responses to Obama’s revenge

  1. Pete says:

    If PM Netanyahu decides at some time in the future to take action against Iran, I hope that he will give a public TV briefing to the Israeli people. It would be helpful for the world to understand where this issue really lies at the current time. It is not possible for the general public (anywhere) to have a detailed knowledge of Iran’s state of readiness – regarding nuclear weapons. Considering the serious nature of what Bibi is deciding, it would be helpful to know “what he knows”. I don’t expect for one minute that Israel will reveal its true knowledge of sources in Iran. But surely someone can out together a top-level briefing that describes the threat, from the point of view of Israel’s agencies.

    I don’t think that Bibi “owes” this kind of speech to the outside world. But it is probably a good thing for Israelis to hear, if some type of future action is contemplated. Your own citizens need to be solidly aligned behind any policy – regardless of what the direction is.

    Just some thoughts.
    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      What I think you need to understand is how Israeli society works. It is such a small country that everyone knows everyone – even up to the PM himself. We all know someone, whether it’s the grocery store owner’s niece’s husband’s neighbour’s vet, or something along those lines, but sooner or later we all have a connection with the PM or some other high ranking minister and/or army general. So every Israeli knows exactly what’s going on. And every Israeli knows better than the army or gov’t what SHOULD be done. 🙂

      Speaking seriously (and I was being at least half-serious above),all Israelis know exactly what dangers await us with a nuclear Iran. Even if we don’t understand precisely every detail, we don’t need to know every intel detail in order to appreciate what Iran has been telling us themselves for years – they want to destroy our country and kill all of its residents. If and when Bibi decides to attack or take some other action, the country will be solidly behind him.

      So in this case I would respectfully disagree with you. The only people Bibi needs to persuade is the wider world, in particular the US, the UN and Europe.

      • Pete says:

        Anne – thank you! OK, let’s go with your point of view.

        If the “average Israeli” is already supportive of your government’s action, then what IS the point of PM Netanyahu’s trip to Washington DC? He may succeed in stirring controversy between America’s political parties. But what possible good does this do? Will heated discussion produce anything different in America this year? I seriously doubt it. Washington DC is gridlocked on so many important issues, that the Israel vs. Iran issue is just one more item in the lineup. If Bibi is looking for a short term reversal of US policies, he is definitely not going to get it. THEREFORE, why bother going to the USA to make this speech at all? Whatever policy that Israel decides to follow – it’s an Israeli decision.

        I DO see value in Bibi laying out a clear rationale for his actions. He can discuss things at a top level, without compromising his intelligence agencies. There is no point in making a speech at the UN. The easiest thing to do – is to simply make the speech and put it on the Global Internet. THAT’S IT!! It will be picked up by media sources. Those people who wish to watch, will do so. A global audience is available. At that point, I think that PM Netanyahu will have satisfied whatever “moral requirements” he feels are necessary – to inform the world about his actions.

        My suggestion – CANCEL the trip to Washington DC.
        There is no point in fighting a battle that you won’t win.

        Pete, USA

        • anneinpt says:

          I see your point Pete, and I might even have agreed with it if Obama hadn’t made it into such an issue. If someone had whispered into Bibi’s ear that it’s really not a good idea to antagonize the Americans at this point, I think he’s politically savvy enough to have backed off by inventing a “diplomatic illness”.

          But Obama having such a huge public tantrum has more or less backed Bibi into a corner and has practically ensured that Bibi cannot possibly back down now without losing massive face both domestically and internationally. Remember, the speech was never his idea in the first place. The invitation came from Boehner and was forwarded by Ambassador Dermer. Bibi must have seen no reason to refuse until Obama had his tantrum.

          As to why he should speak in Congress, you’ve got to admit that a speech in Congress will get him a far wider audience than just putting his speech out on YouTube where people who don’t agree with him won’t bother to watch or listen.

          But most important, it’s Congress, led by Obama, that is leading this charge towards the terrible dangerous deal with Iran, not Israel or even Europe. The Europeans themselves are quite reluctant about this deal too. So the speech needs to be made precisely in front of Congress and not just any old where on the internet.

          See my previous posts on Bibi’s speech and why it is so important.

          One thing is for sure. Obama’s tantrum has virtually ensured that the speech will get far wider coverage than anything Bibi could have hoped for on his YouTube channel! In that respect Obama has done him a huge favour by getting him all this attention.

  2. Reality says:

    Please see Netanyahus reaction to Obama in this Times of Israel article:http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-if-iran-deal-is-good-why-hide-it-from-israel/
    As Netanyahu says, if it’s such a good deal why hide things from ones’ “ally”? This is precisely the reason that Jonathon Pollard is still sitting in jail. The American administration has never really had Israels’ interests at heart. They are on Israels’ side when & only IF it suits them(& then with numerous strings attached). I sort of understand American Jews not wanting to rock the boat they live in by trying to stop Netanyahu from giving his speech, but as Anne you explained re the Reform Rabbi during 1942 ,they don’t have general Jewry ,especially Israels’ safety at heart. Their first & foremost concern (probably right) is their host country. Fine , let them say their piece & we have to be able to say ours. Otherwise G-d forbid there’s another holocaust,this time we can say we tried but were stopped.What these Reform lay leaders don’t understand(& seeing all these Islamic terror attacks around the world I cannot understand their stupidity) is that after Israel, Iran will turn its weapons against the rest of the world, as we are seeing with all that’s going on in Europe. Perhaps the American Administration thinks it’s above all that, that terror won’t reach them. They DO enjoy living in cloud cuckoo land!

    • anneinpt says:

      Precisely. As you say, one can understand the American Jews who have to live in the US with the consequences of a hostile Administration and the always threatening accusation of dual loyalty. But Israelis have to live with the existential threat of being destroyed. In the end that takes precedence even if Obama ends up being insulted.

    • Pete says:

      I will continue to offer the thought … that Bibi’s planned speech in March is counterproductive at this stage. Worse still, I definitely do NOT think that the speech should be done because of political gameanship, or diplomatic “tit for tat”. There is a high risk that the speech will produce a rancorous atmosphere in Washington DC …. to what end??

      The time window for decisions has come to a close … the clock has run out. US policies about Iran and Israel were decided long ago – the present strategies are “what exists”. Similarly, Israeli plans have been drawn up. Whatever Israel proposes to do … this is also “in play”. Or it soon will be. No words spoken in Washington DC at this stage will change the policies and preparations that been existing for the last 2-3 years. Therefore, is this really the time to trade verbal barbs?

      Bibi’s speech will not in any way change the course of events in the near term. Israelis should be mindful of that. What the speech MIGHT DO – is to set the grounds for US-Israeli cooperation AFTER the actions that are taken by Israel this year. That is the real timeline now. Does a hostile mood in Washington really help this scenario? I don’t see how.

      If Israelis see this issue – Iran Vs. Israel – as an omnipresent threat to their existence … then I think you will have to make up your own minds about how to proceed. Deal with the reality of where you are today, and make your decision on that basis. And be aware that the world may take actions against Israel, such as trade embargos, if overt action is taken against Iran.

      Simply my opinion. I have no special insight into the policies in Washington DC.

      Pete, USA

  3. Pingback: Obama strengthens Iran on its nukes and Syria while Israel and Arab nations express concern | Anne's Opinions

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