Tuesday, September 11, 2012
End Game: Obama Declines Meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu
It surfaced today that when Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu requested a meeting with President Obama on Iran during a UN conference in New York at the end of the month, President Obama snubbed him and declined.
Meanwhile,President Obama found time for much more pressing matters, like a appearance this morning on 106.7 FM with DJ Laz AKA “the pimp with the limp.” And then, of course, there's golf. And David Letterman.
This ended in an interesting fashion which we'll get to later. But first, let's analyze what this meant.
The Obama Administration has already signaled to Iran that America no longer supports Israel in the conflict between the two countries and in the event of hostilities, as long as Iran refrains from attacking U.S. interests and facilities in the Persian Gulf such as bases and ships, Israel is on its own.
The Israelis had been starting to openly question the president's non-policy on Iran, which consists of diplomacy that goes nowhere and ineffectual, watered down sanctions that the Obama State Department has cheerfully given waivers from compliance to anyone who's asked for them. Russia, China, and Turkey haven't even bothered asking, and even the Islamist Egyptian government is using part of the aid money the Obama Administration has given them to buy Iranian oil.
The Israelis, who had complied with the Obama Administration's wishes to hold off and give sanctions and diplomacy a chance to work had always assumed that the U.S. and Israel were basically on the same page when it came to Iran's illegal nuclear weapons program.
At this point, they realize they've been lied to and that nothing to Obama Administration is doing is going to stop Iran developing a nuclear weapon. It was never intended to. As a last desperate measure they asked for some kind of actual deadline, a red line the U.S.would consider as a signal to take action to stop Iran from going nuclear, something President Obama has often at least told everyone he wouldn't allow to happen.
The Israelis got their response earlier this week from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when she stated publicly that deadlines on Iran were not on the agenda and that business as usual was just fine...no matter how long it took. The message to the Israelis was that Iran obtaining nuclear weapons was not a priority for the president, and that it was Israel's problem anyway.
Netanyahu's response was predictable.
“The world tells Israel, `Wait. There’s still time,’” Netanyahu said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. “And I say: `Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”
At that point PM Netanyahu called the White House and asked to meet with President Obama , and was turned down flat.
President Obama's response was probably based on a number of calculations. The primary one, of course, is that he has little understanding, sympathy, or liking for Israel, as he's made clear since the beginning of his administration. President Obama has directly said in so many words that his objective was to improve America's relations with the Islamic world and especially the Islamists he so fond of by creating what he called daylight between the U.S. and its ally Israel. Rather than an important ally, President Obama considers Israel a problem to be managed.
Virtually all his advisers and cabinet picks share this view.As such, there is noway he plans to stop the Iranians from obtaining nuclear weapons unless its a wag the dog situation where he needs a boost in the polls come October.
His feelings about PM Netanyahu are also well known, and the intense dislike between the two men is no secret. President Obama is noted for avoiding difficult situations, and there's no way he wants to be in a room with Benyamin Netanyahu trying to get a commitment out of him on Iran. So he'll vote present.
For that matter, President Obama little charm offensive to try and convince America's Jews to vote for him is pretty much at an end as well.
Anyone paying attention to the Democrat's convention in Charlotte should have noted that every bit of pro-Israel language from the 2008 platform was deleted from the 2012 platform, and according to Democrat spokespeople it was done expressly to bring the platform in line with President Obama's views.
Most of that language, with the exception of a pro forma plank on the status of Jerusalem inserted under dubious circumstances is still there.
President Obama at this point likely feels that he no longer cares that much about the Jewish vote. If he did, a meeting with Netanyahu would have been a perfect opportunity to reassure them and shore up his support. But the president probably reasons he's already raised what money he can raise from America's Jews, and that no matter what, he can probably count on something around 60 percent of the Jewish vote. That drop will hurt, but the president likely figures the Jews will do what they're going to do, and in any event, he's looking forward to showing Putin and Russia some of that flexibility he was talking about to Dmitri Medvedev on that hot mic when it comes to Israel.
Of course, as news of the snub to Israel went viral,the White House went into damage control mode. The president called Netanyahu, they reportedly talked for an hour and according to the White Hose, there never was any snub.
I don't mind telling you that I'd bet my dollar to your dime this is bogus. The reason I delayed writing about this story was because I was waiting for communication from a trusted source on the Israeli side with an excellent track record who is in a position to know exactly what he or she is taking about.
According to my source, not only was the initial snub real, but it was done in an especially insulting manner through a minor White House functionary. The only reason President Obama bothered calling PM Netanyahu is because this story went viral and embarrassed the White House.
The phone call itself was not for an hour, but less than half that time and although specific details were obviously not revealed to me, I was told that overall it was not a pleasant conversation. It was conveyed to me that most of it, contrary to PM Netanyahu's wishes, apparently dealt with future overtures to the Palestinians so dear to President Obama's heart, rather than Iran.
Israel is faced with an existential dilemma that more and more resembles the situation prior to the Six Day War. Its major ally hasn't exactly cut Israel loose as France did in 1967, because most of congress and indeed the American people remain pro-Israel. But President Obama still has a 50% chance of a re-election and a second term during which he won't be responsible to the American electorate, and if he receives that second term the distancing with Israel will accelerate rapidly.
Meanwhile,Iran is progressing towards a nuclear weapon amid threats of a second Holocaust, and the Israelis know that they are on their own and that the world isn't going to intervene.
They are going to have to make some hard choices quite soon, and Bibi Netanyahu knows it.