US President Barack Obama has once again opened his mouth and put his foot in it, compounding all the errors he made in his speech at the Washington synagogue last week. Certainly that is the strong impression have received from watching his interview with Ilana Dayan on Israeli TV channel 2. While I don’t always like Dayan’s style, her agenda and her leading questions – including in this interview – she also presented Netanyahu’s standpoint fairly, and it was unpleasant, if unsurprising, to hear Obama’s veiled threat against Israel. Although we’ve heard similar words and threats from Obama previously, and quite recently, it’s a different matter altogether when they are spoken to Netanyahu’s “home audience”.
Watch and listen to the video excerpt of his interview embedded in the Arutz Sheva report linked here below.
Here is Arutz Sheva’s analysis:
US President Barack Obama gave an interview with Israeli media on Tuesday, in which he threatened that an Israeli refusal to renew peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) will “make it hard” for the US to veto motions in the UN against Israel.
In an interview with Ilana Dayan for Channel 2‘s “Uvda” (Fact) TV show aired Tuesday night, Obama commented on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statements before elections in which he said that a Palestinian state won’t be founded on his watch.
Obama noted that later Netanyahu distanced from the statement and “suggested that there is the possibility of a Palestinian state. But it has so many caveats, so many conditions, that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met anytime in the near future.”
Those conditions have included the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and demilitarization, conditions that proved problematic in the last round of peace talks that Obama pushed into existence in late 2013.
The president continued, “and so the danger here, is that…Israel as a whole loses credibility. Already the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two states solution…the statement the Prime Minister made compounded that…belief that there’s not a commitment there.”
I find it fascinating in a sick sort of way that Obama makes no such demands for credibility from the Palestinians. (I mentioned this point in my earlier post on Obama’s speech to the Washington synagogue).
Describing Netanyahu, Obama said, “I think that he also is someone who has been skeptical about the capacity of Israelis and Palestinians to come together on behalf of peace. I think that he is also a politician, who’s concerned about keeping coalitions together and maintaining his office.”
Goodness me! Netanyahu is a – gasp! – politician! And behaving like one too! Who’d ever have thunk it?
“Netanyahu…is somebody who’s predisposed to think of security first. To think perhaps that peace is naive,” he continued. “To see the worst possibilities, as opposed to the best possibilities in Arab partners or Palestinian partners, and so I do think that right now, those politics, and those fears are driving the government’s response. And, I understand it, but…what may seem wise and prudent on the short-term, can actually end up being unwise over the long-term.”
Obama then issued a threat to Israel, referring to his remarks after the recent Israeli elections when he said America would have to reasses its policy towards Israel, and clarifying that at the time he was referring to something specific.
“If there are additional resolutions introduced in the United Nations…up until this point we have pushed away against European efforts for example, or other efforts. Because we’ve said, the only way this gets resolved is if the two parties worked together,” he said, referring to European moves to unilaterally recognize the PA as a state.
The president said security aid to Israel won’t cease, but warn that, “if in fact, there’s no prospect of an actual peace-process, if nobody believes there’s a peace process, then it becomes more difficult, to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction, those who are concerned about the current situation, it’s more difficult for me to say to them ‘be patient! wait! Because we have a process here.’ Because, all they need to do is to point to the statements that have been made saying there is no process.”
Obama returned to his personal image of Israel as it was in the glorious 1960s, as he referenced in his Washington synagogue speech too:
Referencing the Jewish nature of Israel, Obama said, “I am less worried about any particular disagreement that I have with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I am more worried about…an Israeli politics that’s motivated only by fear. And that then leads to a loss of those core values, that when I was young and I was admiring Israel from afar…were…the essence of this nation. There are things that you can lose, that don’t just involve rockets.”
And then we come to the main event – the existential threat faced by Israel from Iran’s nuclear weapons program – and the President is either woefully ignorant or lying through his teeth:
Turning his attention to Iran and the deal being formed with it on its nuclear program ahead of a June 30 deadline, he claimed that sanctions have caused Iran to keep its agreements in negotiations.
“I’ve said that, in exchange for some modest relief in sanctions, that Iran is going to have to freeze its nuclear program, roll back on its stockpiles of very highly enriched Uranium – the very stockpiles that Prime Minister Netanyahu had gone before the United Nations, with his picture of the bomb and said that was proof of how dangerous this was.”
“At that time, everybody said ‘this isn’t going to work! They’re going to cheat, they’re not going to abide by it.’ And yet, over a year and a half later, we know that they have abided by the letter of it,” claimed Obama.
His assertion is in fact false; Iranian nuclear fuel stockpiles grew by a massive 20% over the past 18 months of negotiations between Iran and world powers, as revealed in a report last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Arlene Kushner has more to say on the subject in her aptly titled article “Outrageous!”:
“I can, I think, demonstrate, not based on any hope but on facts and evidence and analysis, that the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable, tough agreement.
“A military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it will not eliminate it.”
It’s difficult to know where to begin.
Perhaps what is most outrageous here is that he has just announced to Iran that no matter what, the US will not be attacking.
We all knew that, of course. But the US policy, enunciated every so often, has been that all options, including the military option, were on the table.
What Obama has done here, in pulling the military option off the table, is not something that should be done when in the midst of negotiations. Not if the desire is to come out with the best possible deal: then you negotiate from strength and, at the very least, keep the your adversary guessing.
This tells us a great deal about Obama’s lack of seriousness in the negotiations.
Or perhaps this is the most outrageous aspect of what he has said: <strong>He is trying to convince the Israeli public that there is no point in attacking Iran, because a military solution won’t work.</strong>
My friends, at this point in time, <strong>a military solution is the only thing that will work</strong>!
What is more, it is not true that a military solution would only slow down Iran’s operation. Let’s parse what he said, for a moment. He didn’t refer to the US attacking Iran, but to the US “participating,” which means Israel would have the lead. This is different from a determined attack from strength directly by the US.
It is true that Israel can only set back Iran’s operation – I’ve been told by three to five years (which would be no small matter). That’s because Israel does not have the enormous 30,000 pound bunker busters – the Massive Ordnance Penetrators – that would be required to break through Iran’s underground fortifications.
But the US has them, and has the B-2 and B-52 bombers required for carrying them.
In fact, let me carry this one step further:
A mere two months ago, it was announced that the Pentagon had just upgraded and tested its bunker busters
“According to senior officials, the results show the improved bomb—when dropped one on top of the other—is now more capable of penetrating fortified nuclear facilities in Iran or in North Korea, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Pentagon also designed the bunker buster to challenge Iran’s Fordow facility, which is built into a mountain to protect it from potential airstrikes.
“It’s believed that the above mentioned measures will allow the destructive weapon to be targeted with a precision previously possible only for far smaller guided US bombs.”
Clearly, the Pentagon and the Obama administration are not of the same mind. Also not news. But in light of the Pentagon’s improvements to the bunker busters, Obama’s statement about the military option not being able to “fix” the situation is a glaring misrepresentation. In other words, it’s a lie.
So Obama is (probably) lying about the Iranians freezing their stockpile and he’s lying about the chances of success with the military option.
At the risk of repeating myself, as was pointed out in my earlier post, he’s also lying to himself or to us about the rationality and antisemitism of the Iranian regime. Even a Lebanese journalist has noted that Obama will defend antisemitism in order to spin his miserable deal with the Iranians.
Is there anything this man says that we can trust?