Netanyahu’s sacred unintended consequence

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Flag of the State of Israel

Flag of the State of Israel

Flag of the State of Israel

On an Israel-Bonding event in Florida last weekend, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer pointed to Iran as the reason Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepted John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress just before the Israeli elections in March. The visit was “intended for one purpose: To speak up while there is still time to speak up. To speak up when there is still time to make a difference.” It was, the envoy said, his boss’s “most sacred duty to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.”

Well, no one’s ever accused Netanyahu of failing to speak up. In Israel, he’s notorious for doing so loudly while carrying a small stick. In this case, however, that occasionally useful practice has backfired. As Sen. Harry Reid told the New York Times yesterday, the speech, arranged behind the Obama Administration’s back, had “become such a problem that some Democratic senators had backed off their support of the quick imposition of new sanctions on Iran.” That’s some miscalculation, especially for a prime minister whose many years living in America has gained him a reputation as a great expert on the country and its politics.

Actually it’s Dermer, a sometime Netanyahu speechwriter known as “Bibi’s brain,” who’s being blamed for the mental meltdown. A native of Miami Beach, he began his career as a Republican political operative before emigrating to Israel, and has done little to prove wrong the critics who thought him too partisan to serve as ambassador to the U.S. when he was appointed a year and a half ago. Last week, indeed, he was reprimanded by the Israeli Civil Service Commission for violating its rules by campaigning for Netanyahu in interviews with the American press.

Of course, it’s the Israeli elections, not the need to tell Congress about Iran, that explains the speech. But at this point, any electoral advantage Netanyahu might have hoped to gain from giving it seems more than negated by concern in Israel that he has traded his country’s virtually unanimous congressional support for a mess of rancid political pottage.

This unintended consequence is actually a good thing. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and it’s up to Israel’s friends in Congress to let an Israeli leader know when he (or she) is wrong. This is the first time they’ve done so in a long time. Let us hope it signals the new beginning of a beautiful friendship.

  • Larry

    Lets be honest, neither party wants to do squat about Iran. Conservatives have embraced spineless isolationism (when convenient and not in power) as of late and Liberals are usually too timid for overt actions.

    But there is another factor here. Iran is bluffing. Everyone knows about it and nobody wants to let the cat out of the bag. It is politically useful for all involved.

    No country developing nuclear weapons acts so brazenly as Iran to announce their efforts when they are at the most critical and expensive stages of fissile material enrichment. It is the period when outside efforts to stop production are most effective.

    Countries with sincere efforts to develop nukes keep the efforts at that stage as far underground as possible. Out of prying eyes. Especially since it is rather easy to do and does little to hinder speed of production. The world did not know of the enrichment efforts of Russia, Israel, Pakistan, India, South Africa, China, or even France, until long after the fact. Iran is playing up its efforts in international press to appear more threatening than reality is permitting. To be honest, their funding of Shia proxy forces is far more dangerous and destructive to the world at large than their nuclear efforts.

    Contrast that with North Korea which crowed about its efforts in efforts to extort cash from the US, South Korea and Japan. When the Norks finally had full scale tests, it was underwhelming. The first was a fizzle, the second was still within the level of a conventional explosion. The world no longer takes North Korea’s nuclear threat seriously. Now the emphasis is on keeping their slapdash reactor from an East Asian Chernoybyl

  • Glenn Harrell

    Really Mark?

    There’s a wacko-nut-job who wants to put a stink bomb in the local City rose garden.
    He plans to set it off as soon as I have the general populace close enough to smell the burnt roses.
    I am president of the local Rose club and the best way I could discover to expose this dude is to scramble like crazy to keep my position as president. Right?

    What is your unintended consequence of writing such cretinous hogwash?
    Herzog points?

    We’d better all believe that Iran will do exactly as they say, and sooner than later. If you believe there will ever be be peace between a Sunni and a Shia, then you certainly can be in the “Iran will behave and not hate Israel to the death” camp.

  • yoty topy

    Majority of the Jewish community voted overwhelmingly for President Obama, twice! When he insults the presidency , he is insulting the Jewish community. I do not believe Obama will do anything drastic because that would be stooping to BN’s level but I think the Jewish lobbying group should rebuke him.

  • Larry

    If Iran’s goal is international blackmail or trying to create a conflict, then their efforts make sense. But if their goal is the production of nukes, it definitely does not.

    No country with real intentions of building nuclear weapons is as public about their uranium enrichment/plutonium creation process as Iran has been. It is slow, expensive process and dependent on a great deal of supplies and technology Iran has to import.

    Every country which has developed usable nuclear weapons handles this process in as much secrecy as possible. It is easy to hide such efforts and far more politically advantageous. Once a nation tests its weapons or reveals them there is nothing one can do.

  • Ravtodot

    The Israeli PM has expertise about Iran and about jihadism that Americans need the benefit of, since the administration isn’t supplying it. What they learn will help them rightly evaluate the Obama administration’s efforts to make a deal with Iran. The administration recognizes that too, which explains its opposition to the PM’s speech.

  • Glenn Harrell

    Wow Stephen.
    How is it they don’t have you on the Obama Staff offering such wisdom where it can really pay off? Wait a minute–it’s you that has been calling them. They are listening to you. thanks a lot.

    Take away every gun, bomb and weapon of destruction from every nation surrounding Israel and you have pseudo peace in the Middle East. You don’t have Israel dangling nukes over their neighbors heads, raping, beheading, murdering and the like.

    Take away Israels means of self-defense and you are correct–They are annihilated. (seemingly to your approval) And if you think Iran would not use a Nuke on Israel, you need to go back to the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood school of rude behavior and get your money back.

    And which are you? Cowboy, Indian… ??? Be careful here–the answer goes to the quality and duration of your life and mine as an American-
    Not just Israel. (I am assuming you are an American)

    Further, if Israel folds to your approval, then several other nations who have adopted forms of Democracy will be right behind in their destruction as well.
    These madmen, murderers and religious fanatics in that part of the world are not stopping there either. The USA is the grand prize in their eyes. Their operatives are with us as we speak. This is perhaps a tad bit worse that the tripe the Zionists are pedaling–aye?

    I guess you’re OK with that too? By the way, since you are opinionated on a countries right to existence, how about the USA? How legit are we?

  • Larry

    While it is highly likely that Iran would use a nuke against Israel if they could get away with it. I sincerely doubt they are close to having one or even the capability of doing more than causing mayhem. The Iranian air force and missile capacity are pretty much a joke in comparison to Israel.

    That being said, they are a far more credible threat in using a terrorist launched “dirty bomb”. Iran has the resources and connections in the area between what is left of Assad’s Syria,, Hamas and Hezbollah. They have radioactive material. One does not need fission grade materials for a dirty bomb.

  • Larry

    That would be a relevant argument to make if the following were not true:
    1. That arguments against the existence of Israel were not useless post-facto nonsense. Israel exists. Deal with it

    2. That the Arab world rejected any UN agreement concerning the foundation of Israel and decided to wipe the country out at birth. Whatever agreements were made at foundation were rendered null and void by subsequent war and Israel’s existence at the end of it. Israel’s recognition by the UN after the war of independence ratified whatever conditions the nation was in after the fact.

    Stephen you have no clue what you are talking about.

  • Susan

    Why is it that when Israel is discussed the discussion always becomes a discussion about whether Israel should exist? You are wrong that Jews are not indigenous people of the Middle East. They are not European converts who have no connection to the ancient state of Israel. If you believe that Jesus existed you have to acknowledge that he was a Jew.

    Zionist were not European colonizers. They were European Jews who were trying to save Jews from a catastrophe. They wanted Jews to survive and thrive because they were being attacked in Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe and this was before the Holocaust. German Jews thought they had found their new promised land in Germany, but it was all wishful thinking. A Jewish country has proved to be necessary for the survival of the Jewish people. I can live in America because Israel exists.

    About half of Israel’s population is made up of Jews from Arab countries. There are more Jewish refugees from Arab countries than Palestinian refugees from Israel.

  • Glenn Harrell

    I am recommending you to replace the Quartet.
    For goodness sake, has the PLO heard of you?
    They, like you abhor racism and like you, their ethics are glittering with white and shiny luminescence of purity.
    My–I’m all vaclempt just thinking of what could happen if we could…it’s just too emotional for me.

    How correct you are, “Racism is ugly and evil no matter whose doing it.”
    Thank you for correcting us all. We (the people who need ethics) are humbled.

    Where have you been all our lives?

  • Susan

    Stephen, that is just not true. The idea that 92% of Jews were Ashkenazi after the Holocaust is just ridiculous.

    The Jews are also indigenous people returning to their homeland. Palestinians and Jews can share the land.

  • Susan

    You are assuming that Zionist are capable of lying and hiding the truth from everyone but you. You know that many Zionists are atheists and don’t base their Zionism on the Biblical promises. I don’t whether Abraham was real, but there was a Jewish state in what you call Palestine. Genetically Jews from Europe are genetically closer to Palestinians than to other Europeans. If you have Sephardic ancestry, you have Palestinian ancestry. You just refuse to acknowledge it. You say the Bible is a lie, but you say God has given you a vision. I don’t know why your vision should be more or less acceptable than anyone else’s, including the Prophets.

  • Susan

    Larry, if you’re Sephardi or Ashkenazi, you are a Semite. Deal with it!

    Semites are part of a group of people who speak a variety of Semitic language and Hebrew is a Semitic language.

  • Susan

    “Except God has secretly embedded the Celestial Torah within the earthly Judeo-Christian Scriptures that hasn’t been noticed much before by historians. Oh a few have noted the astro-theology, the mythicists now going that way, but as atheists and as atheists not finding the Celestial Torah. That took a Jewish prophesy bearer to find under God’s guidance. But it has been found now and changes everything about the Christian path as it confirms it to be far older than Judaism and far more universal in application. God’s balancing the spiritual scales now with the New World chiming in and the Old World’s religious warfare history being abandoned as it must be.”

    Any you’re talking about science and genetics? This makes no sense and I’ve studied mysticism in various forms, including Kabbalah and Buddhism.

  • Larry

    Susan, I apologize for the misunderstanding. I agree with your points entirely. I just don’t feel like addressing Stephen’s obvious insane trollery. I salute your efforts.

    What I meant when I said “Israel exists, deal with it” to Stephen was that there is no rhetorical argument which will make Israel go away. Arguments against the existence of Israel are stupid and pointless.

    It is a nation in existence with people living there. No matter what Stephen says, that will not change. I should have been clearer about it. My fault.

  • Susan

    I think there should be 2 states and I don’t approve of settlements, but the rest of you post is just not true. You are the one using genetics for your own political purposes. I think a 2 state solution is still possible.

  • Susan

    Shlomo Sand is not a scientist or a geneticist. There are some Palestinians who want to deny Jews any connection to Israel. There are Palestinians that say that the Temple never existed. The are not the majority, but they exist. You are ignoring history and archeology. Genetics has actually proven that European Jews are genetically closer to Palestinians than to other Europeans.

  • Larry

    Stephen lets just skip the whole recruiting acolytes, force them to do profitable menial work stage and just go straight to the wannabe cult leader takes his own life with various pharmaceuticals or self-immolation.

  • Larry

    “I’m here only to Point to the Way formerly lost to history but now returned, identified finally as the Celestial Torah.”

    Will there be free coffee and donuts at your little revival meetings? That is sure t draw in the crowd you are looking for.

  • Susan

    Actually I read it on the BBC Science web site. The BBC is not pro-Israel. Jewish geneticists are scientists and are not trying to prove a political point. It is offensive and wrong to pick them out from the rest of geneticists.

    Pretending that Jews are not from Israel does nothing to help Palestinians or to end the occupation. Neither does ignoring the Jews from Arab countries in Israel.

    I suppose you want every Israeli Jew to be forced to give a genetic sample and then you will decide if they have what you believe is enough Palestinian DNA to stay.

    Zionists were not there for conquest. They wanted to save the Jews of Europe in the early 1900s from the Eastern Europeans and the Russians. The German Jews thought they had found a new promised land in Germany. They were wrong. All the alternatives to Zionism have failed. I can live in America because Israel exists.

  • Susan

    “No one on earth can tell another how to worship God” You mean no one but you. I will not further dignify this with an argument. You have shown who you truly are and it’s ugly.