Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Netanyahu's Moment; Obama's Shame

Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered the speech that President Barack Obama never gave, would never have given and could never have given.

Never wishing to miss a chance to demonstrate its legendary ineptitude, the Obama administration enhanced the speech’s importance by surrounding it with what Bret Stephens called “a campaign of vilification.”

As Stephens explained yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration would never have shown the same contempt for Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan. In addition, Obama always speaks respectfully of the Muslim Brotherhood and has bent over backwards to make nice with Iran.

While showering Israel and its prime minister with contempt, Obama always speaks reverentially of the Prophet Mohammed. He even speaks reverentially about Minister Farakhan.

Administration spokespeople were oozing contempt and hostility for the Israeli Prime minister, before and after his speech. To be fair, they were attempting to have it both ways. While Susan Rice declared that the speech would have a “destructive” influence on Israeli-American relations, John Kerry said that it wouldn’t.

The administration rightly feared that Netanyahu would humiliate President Obama. Considering the immediate reaction of the more unhinged Democratic representatives, Netanyahu succeeded.

Nancy Pelosi was caterwauling about how she felt insulted that Netanyahu imagined that the Obama administration did not understand the threat posed by Iran. Other Democrats called the Israeli prime minister a child, accused him of fearmongering, and said it was all political theatre.

There is little doubt that it was orchestrated by the White House to show how Obama really, really felt about Israel.

Taking a page out of the Zionist conspiracy chapbook, commentator Chris Matthews denounced Netanyahu for trying to take over the American government. Christiane Amanpour called the speech that it was “Strangelovian.”

One expects that television talking head try to say something that will get them quoted. But, coming from Democratic members of Congress, the rudeness was grotesque. Directed against a foreign leader, who was duly invited to speak to Congress, it smacked of anti-Semitism.

In trying desperately to save Obama’s face they lost their own.

If anyone had offered the same invective about an Africa-American he would have quickly been denounced as racist and run out of town.

Such is the confidence of the Democratic party in their ability to control Jewish voters—perhaps through witchcraft—that they believe that Jewish voters will continue to vote for them, no matter what.

By giving the speech that Obama could never have given, Netanyahu exposed the administration’s failure to name Iran as the greatest threat to international peace and order.

In comparison with Netanyahu, Obama looked very bad. He looked weak. He looked cowardly. His strategy of being nice to Iran looked like appeasement. Clearly, he was humiliated, less by what Netanyahu said about him as by the way that the presence of a true leader made him look.

Peter Baker in The New York Times captured the scene and the event:

... for nearly an hour, Mr. Netanyahu seemed in command of the chamber, with his baritone voice and bracing message generating a passionate response. Glancing down occasionally at a written text, he quoted Moses and Robert Frost, introduced the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel in the gallery and displayed the colloquial English and almost American political mannerisms that have served him through three terms in office.

Mr. Netanyahu argued that Iran’s “tentacles of terror” were clutching Israel and that failing to stop it from obtaining nuclear weapons “could well threaten the survival of my country.” Tehran already dominates the capitals of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, he said, and the United States should demand that it stop aggression against its neighbors and threats to annihilate Israel before agreeing to any deal.

All you need to know is the name of the man who was running America’s foreign policy while Iran was marching across Western Asia. While Obama did nothing, a rebellion against the mullahs in Iran was crushed mercilessly. While Obama sat on the sidelines, Iran’s Syrian proxy massacred his people. When Obama pulled out of Iraq, the Iranians were more than happy to fill the vacuum. And, of course we know what happened in Yemen.

The question is not what Netanyahu said and did. By presenting himself as a leader, a man who understood the threat posed by Iran, who refused to coddle the mullahs, who was willing to call things by their names… he humiliated the president by exposing him as an incompetent poser.

Note also a Saudi columnist, Dr. Ahmad al-Faraj who declared that Barack Obama was “one of the worst American presidents,” and that he was:

… working to sign a deal with Iran at the expense of America's longtime allies in the Gulf…

The American deal with Iran does not merely threaten the state of Israel. It also threatens Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

Al-Faraj added that:

therefore Netanyahu's campaign against the deal is justified and serves the interests of the Gulf states.

He concluded, making the point that Netanyahu made when he declared that “the enemy of our enemy is our enemy:”

Since Obama is the godfather of the prefabricated revolutions in the Arab world, and since he is the ally of political Islam, [which is] the caring mother of [all] the terrorist organizations, and since he is working to sign an agreement with Iran that will come at the expense of the U.S.'s longtime allies in the Gulf, I am very glad of Netanyahu's firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress despite the Obama administration's anger and fury. I believe that Netanyahu's conduct will serve our interests, the people of the Gulf, much more than the foolish behavior of one of the worst American presidents. Do you agree with me?"

When a leader speaks clearly and forcefully, when he achieves moral clarity, other players are willing to align themselves with him.

We know that the Saudis despise Obama. They despise him for abandoning Hosni Mubarak. They despise him for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. But they despise him for helping Iran to expand its power and influence in the region.

The Saudi government is very unlikely to embrace the Israeli prime minister openly, but columns like the one I quoted must at least receive the tacit approval of the authorities in that country.

Compare it to the fact that Nancy Pelosi’s disrespect for Netanyahu led the news in Tehran.


Leo G said...

"The Saudi government is very unlikely to embrace the Israeli prime minister openly, but columns like the one I quoted must at least receive the tacit approval of the authorities in that country."

is that not called something like plausible denial?

Everyone knows that this column was written at the behest of the Saudi leadership. Everyone knows that they have no free press. Yet what can the administration do? The Saudi's will just say, "hey, it is one man's opinion Mr. President. Free press ya know. We don't agree with him at all (snicker-snicker)."

I understand the obama is on a different path then most Americans. That obama believes that all the problems in the world are from bad American policy from the past. But I cannot believe that obama is so naïve, that obama cannot see that his policies are driving the world to war.

So the question becomes, why?

Sam L. said...

He hates us; he really, really hates us.

That's why,

Recruiting Animal said...

I see you trying to make a case that Obama is nicer to to enemies than Israel because, it's a slim one because, in fact, the USA supports Israel way more than it supports the other guys.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Name me one Middle Eastern leader who has been vilified by Obama as much as Netanyahu.

When Obama chose not to intervene in the uprising in Iran in 2009, that was quite a large gesture of support.

When Obama discarded Mubarak in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, that too was a strong gesture of support.

Webutante said...

This is a beautiful assessment of a brilliant speech by a real leader who defines himself in clear, easy-to-understand terms.

Liberal politicos like Pelosi and little dirt bags like Jon Stewart (who had the tackiest, most disgusting sound byte of all) wouldn't know anything about principled leadership and taking a strong stand that it requires.

Netanyahu is the man of the hour, the day and the decade in my book. Our regressed society needs many more like him.

Ares Olympus said...

So to summarize Obama we have: ineptitude, contempt, oozing contempt and hostility, humiliate(d), grotesque rudeness, looked very bad, looked weak, humiliated, incompetent poser, worst American presidents, despise(d)

I wonder who you are trying to convince. The only people who will read this and agree are people who already agree.

Ares Olympus said...

re: Such is the confidence of the Democratic party in their ability to control Jewish voters—perhaps through witchcraft—that they believe that Jewish voters will continue to vote for them, no matter what.

So this is an internal matter of the heart of Jewish voters?

Some how the majority of Jewish Americans are center-to-left democrats, but the republicans are in support of a newcon Jewish leader, that a majority of American Jews would not vote for if they lived in Israel.

So its just an election speech afterall, but an important one, if the survival of Israel as a nation depends on the people of Israel making the "right" decision.
It is also taking place in the highly charged period before Israel’s March 17 elections and has spawned an increasingly fraught debate in Israel about the potential benefits versus the risk of damaging to the crucial Israeli-American relationship.

Ares Olympus said...

Checking the recent numbers, perhaps we are indeed watching a historic shift of the Jewish voters to the right. Time will tell.
Exit polls indicate that President Barack Obama received 69 percent of the Jewish vote Tuesday. ... On what was otherwise a dismal night for Mitt Romney, Jewish Republicans boasted they had increased their market share compared to 2008, when American Jews gave Obama either 74 percent, according to one large voter sampling, or 78 percent, as is more broadly reported.

... the fact remains that Obama, possibly the most unpopular Democrat among Jews since Jimmy Carter, won't be on the ballot in 2016, and whatever advantage Republicans enjoyed this time will be gone in the next election.

Ares Olympus said...

Strange that friedman can write about the same speech without any talk of contempt and humiliation. Although it does imply the speech was political, and senselessly partisan.
* Iran must be prevented from building a nuclear bomb, because it could be used to threaten the Jewish state and, once loaded onto a missile, Europe and the Arab states as well.
* I doubt there would have been the sanctions and negotiations we have today with Iran had Bibi not threatened to go full “Dr. Strangelove” on Tehran.
* Bibi argues that any deal should eliminate all of Iran’s centrifuges and related components that can enrich material for a bomb. I don’t begrudge him that wish.
* Netanyahu never made a convincing argument as to why walking away from Obama’s draft deal with Iran would result in either a better deal, more sanctions or an Iranian capitulation — and not a situation where Iran would continue to build toward a bomb and our only two choices would be to live with it or bomb it, with all the mess that could entail.
* The U.S. position — Given that Iran has already mastered the techniques to make a bomb and managed to import all the components to do so, despite sanctions, it is impossible to eliminate Iran’s bomb-making capabilities. What is possible is to demand that Iran roll back its enrichment and other technologies so that if Iran decided one day to make a bomb, it would take it a year — more than enough time for the U.S. and its allies to destroy it.
* Bibi’s message was that there is nothing more important than deterring Iran. O.K. But, if that were my top priority, would I engineer an invitation to speak to Congress by leveraging only the Republican Party and do it without even informing the president, who is running the Iran talks? And would I do it two weeks before Israeli elections, where it looks as though I am using the American Congress as a backdrop for a campaign ad, raising the question of whether my opposition to Iran is partly a political pose?
* Bibi is Churchill when it comes to isolating Iran, but he is AWOL when it comes to risking his own political future to make it happen. I have a problem with that. I still don’t know if I will support this Iran deal, but I also have a problem with my own Congress howling in support of a flawed foreign leader trying to scuttle the negotiations by my own government before they’re done. Rubs me the wrong way.

priss rules said...

This is an interesting take.

"Republicans have outsourced patriotism to Israel."

Ares Olympus said...

I was curious how Minnesota's (libera;) Jewish Senator Al Franken reacted.
Franken said Monday he would skip the speech because he was worried it would be a “partisan spectacle,” and afterward he said he didn’t regret sitting it out.

“In that chamber, things get to be a little bit of a theater,” he said. “The way it was done was too partisan for me, and I just felt uncomfortable being a part of a partisan spectacle.”

Franken was one of about 10 senators to sit down with Netanyahu after the speech, and Franken said he asked him how he and the Obama administration, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, could have such divergent views on Iran.

“He basically said they had different perspectives because America is in a safer neighborhood than Israel,” Franken said. “It wasn’t as responsive to my question as I would have liked, but that’s ok.”