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January 27, 2015 4:26 pm

Watch the Children at Play

avatar by Jerold Auerbach

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Wikimedia.

Once again the children are racing around the media playground in a frantic attempt to dissuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from addressing Congress in March. The last such brouhaha occurred in October when journalist Jeffrey Goldberg reported that a “senior White House official” (probably President Obama) labeled the Israeli leader “chicken shit.”  This time around, however, rascals in Israel and the United States have united to lacerate the Israeli leader they love to hate, even when his only transgression is to accept a speaking invitation from House Speaker John Boehner. Didn’t Bibi learn in second grade that you don’t diss the principal?

Responding with appropriate grade-school petulance to Netanyahu’s refusal to rescind his acceptance, the American president and his Secretary of State stamped their feet and announced their refusal to meet with him during his forthcoming Washington visit. Perhaps they  need more uninterrupted time to work out the cozy deal in process with Iran that will lift sanctions and turn the other cheek to its accelerated nuclear weapons development. How dare the prime minister of the only democratic (and, by the way, Jewish) state in the new Middle East that President Obama proudly proclaimed in Cairo nearly six years ago – now comprising Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Yemen, along with ISIS, ISIl, al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, among other exemplary Islamist (oops) terrorist groups – complain about a nuclear Iran?

It is indeed a strange alliance of political urchins who pelted the Israeli Prime minister with verbal insults. Leading the pack was Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel and special envoy for the failed Israel-Palestinian negotiations, who accused Netanyahu of “using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign.” It was Indyk who repeatedly maneuvered behind the scenes to sabotage right-wing Israeli prime ministers for elevating the best interests of their besieged country over his “peace now” fantasies. Indyk even managed to persuade two gullible Fox News anchors to wave the American flag in Netanyahu’s face. Last week Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith built their own sand castle on Indyk’s allegation that Netanyahu was “using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign and the Republicans are using [him] for their campaign against Obama.” Wallace, agreeing that Boehner’s invitation was “wicked,” claimed to be “shocked” (as Captain Renault memorably responded in Casablanca). Smith concurred:  “It seems like [Israelis] think we don’t pay attention and that we’re just a bunch of complete morons.” Channel 2 dutifully reported the words of an unnamed senior American official who announced that “It will be difficult to trust Netanyahu in the future” – as if the Obama administration had ever trusted him in the past.

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Similarly unnamed American officials found a welcome forum for complaints in – no surprise – Ha’aretz.  Natanyahu, they griped to the Israeli daily repository of left-wing wisdom, had “spat” in Obama’s face by accepting Speaker Boehner’s invitation without submitting it for White House approval.  And Secretary of State Kerry was “insulted.” “That’s no way to behave,” declared American monitors of classroom decorum. The idea that the Prime Minister of a sovereign nation might not raise his hand to request permission to speak seemed both incomprehensible and reprehensible. But what about an American president who wouldn’t journey to Paris on merely three days notice to join a public demonstration by world leaders against Islamic terrorism (words that he cannot bring himself to utter), but managed to abort a visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia on one day’s notice to express his condolences to the King’s mourning entourage.

To be sure, politics make strange bedfellows. Criticism of Netanyahu’s planned speech from Indyk, Ha’aretz and The New York Times was bolstered by Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States under Netanyahu. Oren, now with political ambitions of his own in a rival party, described it as “a cynical political move.” He suggested that Netanyahu cancel his speech to avoid “a rift with the American government.” More predictably, Israeli politicians Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, recently dismissed from Netanyahu’s Cabinet, complained about the damage that Netanyahu was inflicting on relations with the United States, to say nothing of their own political opportunities.

In President Obama’s outreach speech in Cairo he attributed Jewish statehood to the Holocaust, not to millennia of yearning and decades of effort by Jews to return to their ancient homeland. From Cairo, revealingly, he avoided a stopover in Israel on his way to Germany. His message of indifference, evolving into hostility, to the Jewish state has not moderated. Nor has Prime Minister Netanyahu’s determination to protect Israel abated. Responding bluntly to his critics, he recently informed Cabinet ministers: “As prime minister of Israel, I am obliged to make every effort to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons which it will aim at the State of Israel. I go wherever I am invited to make Israel’s position heard and to protect its future and its existence.” The constitutional lawyer in the White House surely understands res ipsa loquitur.

Jerold S. Auerbach is a frequent contributor to The Algemeiner

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  • Jonathan

    Yet another nutty article from Mr. Auerbach. At least this time he doesn’t aim all his venom at the New York Times. This time he goes after that notoriously anti-Zionist rag, Ha’aretz, almost all of whose reporters served in the IDF, Martin Indyk, and the two newest members of the left wing anti-Israel crowd, Michael Oren and Fox News. Wow, that’s quite a large tent. And let’s not forget those extreme anti Zionists, the Mossad and the Shin Bet. They also disagree w/ Netanyahu.

    Here is what Auerbach fails to address.

    1. Of course the Israeli prime minister has a right to speak about whatever he wants to wherever he can find a podium. But unlike writers, he is not rewarded on a per word basis, he is rewarded on a metric of effectiveness. And by this measure, he has failed miserably. He has brought together all the Democratic members of congress, even those who wanted to distance themselves from Obama. They have deferred any action on sanctions until the end of March. Good work, Bibi!

    2. The sad fact is that Israel has a reasonable case to make about not trusting the Iranians. But the actions of Bibi, Boehner, and Dermer have stepped all over this message. Too bad.

    3. At no point does Auerbach dispute that this “speech” was all about Israeli politics and had nothing to do with the Iran negotiations. Not once. All politicians have a right to fight for their survival. But Israel will potentially pay a large cost in influence (in Washington and in Europe) for this. And let’s not kid ourselves, with what’s going on in The Hague, the UN, Iran and Syria, Israel needs friends.

  • Jonathan

    Yet another nutty article from Mr. Auerbach. At least this time he doesn’t aim all his venom at the New York Times. This time he goes after that notoriously anti-Zionist rag, Ha’aretz, almost all of whose reporters served in the IDF, Martin Indyk, and the two newest members of the left wing anti-Israel crowd, Michael Oren and Fox News. Wow, that’s quite a large tent. And let’s not forget those extreme anti Zionists, the Mossad and the Shin Bet. They also disagree w/ Netanyahu.

    Here is what Auerbach fails to address.

    1. Of course the Israeli prime minister has a right to speak about whatever he wants to wherever he can find a podium. But unlike writers, he is not rewarded on a per word basis, he is rewarded on a metric of effectiveness. And by this measure, he has failed miserably. He has brought together all the Democratic members of congress, even those who wanted to distance themselves from Obama. They have deferred any action on sanctions until the end of March. Good work, Bibi!

    2. The sad fact is that Israel has a reasonable case to make about not trusting the Iranians. But the actions of Bibi, Boehner, and Dermer have stepped all over this message. Too bad.

    3. At no point does Auerbach dispute that this “speech” was all about Israeli politics and had nothing to do with the Iran negotiations. Not once. All politicians have a right to fight for their survival. Buy Israel will potentially pay a large cost in influence (in Washington and in Europe) for this. And let’s not kid ourselves, with what’s going on in The Hague, the UN, Iran and Syria, Israel needs friends.

  • Richard Smiley

    Having lived 20 years in Israel, being fluent in Hebrew, and having also watched the politics there for decades, I am constantly in awe at the ability of supporters of Bibi to rationalize his behavior and exaggerate his qualifications.

    He is not the only, nor the best possible prime minister, nor is he the best they’ve ever had. Attributing courage to him on the basis of your own political preferences – when he isn’t the one who goes out and risks his neck (and yes, I noticed that ALL the right wing fire-eaters in our unit in the IDF suddenly and mysteriously developed physically incapacitating conditions when we had ‘night-work’ in one of the camps – that is why they are called chicken hawks.) is quite frankly both unjustified and unacceptable.

    Secondly, with my first degree being in political science, I saw more articles written by “Bibi Netanyahu, whose brother was killed at Entebe” than I did by Henry Kissinger. You may not like Henry – I never did – but to give Bibi a pass for making a career on his brother’s corpse seems a bit much. A Masters in poli sci and a very wealthy family shouldn’t count for that much… and generally doesn’t.

    Good luck on the cows, Robin, but you’ve been working on that for what, 20 years that I know of. With little or no success. You should know better by now.

  • Straightshooter

    As the inimitable Yogi Berra said, which could certainly be applied to Obama/Kerry: “it’s deja-vu all over again.

  • Paul

    The writer belittles and besmirches EVERYONE who disagrees with BIBI or with the right-wing shortsighted politics that are bringing the country to its knees. If the right-wing are so wise, how come we are doing so badly on all fronts ?
    BIBI may want to protect Israel from a Nuclear IRAN – but does the author of this slanted article claim that any other political figure in Israel is in favor of a nuclear Iran ?
    Is antagonizing the US president the best way to get support for Israel ?
    Being against a nuclear Iran does NOT imply that BIBI is not making cynical use of the visit as an election ploy – the type of action that works beautifully on the mind-set of the right wing, to which the author so obviously belongs.
    This is a typical BIBI transgression – like when he was overheard whispering “The left are not really jews” into the easr of Rav. Kadouri. Typical BIBI. He will do ANYTHING to reamin the Prime Minister.
    Some quote Begin’s bombing of the Iraqi Nuclear Plant as an example to justify BIBI’s decision – and forget that Begin was so eager to gain political leverage from the bombing that he announced what we had done while the aircraft were still in the air over Saudi Arabia returning from the attack, placing the pilots in grave danger. Typical right-wing irresponsible behaviour. Claiming National Security as a fig-leaf to cover irresponsible election tricky-dicky.

    • Shalom-Hillel

      Bibi’s actions are first and foremost in defense of Israel. He is popular among the Israeli electorate because they see that first and foremost he defends Israel. It is clear and direct. Your sour analysis, meant to undermine, is the clearest reason why the Left is today despised and on the fringes in Israel. That day is coming to the US, as well. The stakes are becoming too high for further leftist delusions.

    • Emmett

      What qualifies BB as “right wing”? What has he done to qualify? Words & lip service are just that. Does him giving away Israeli land count? Does destroying Jewish homes without due process count? Does allowing terrorism to run rampant count? Does the repeated violations of Jews’ basic human rights, while giving Arabs free reign count? Does financing the terrrorists & supporting them in every way with Jewish tax payer money count? If BB is “right wing”, then the Labor party has every right to call themselves “zionists”.

  • judithg

    obama, is a mentally unstable grifter with a faux resume. his quid pro quo with the worst of the arab world, his support for the muslim brotherhood, and now securing the mad mullahs with nuclear bombs is a manifestation of his psycopathy. he is an anti-semite first and foremost and his pathological antipathy for Netanyhu is merely symbolic of his hatred for the Jewish state of Israel.

  • Efram

    And we all know how Obama respects other foreign leaders. I mean, it’s not like he kept Netanyahu waiting while he went to dinner, or has been overheard denouncing Bibi and Israel in general. Obama is really attuned towards diplomacy. Unless, of course, it involves Jews.

    Obama is 100% in favor of any Islamist terrorist regime and its actions, except for ISIS. ISIS is, of course, his excuse to give Iran nuclear weapons.

  • In inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress in March 2015, Speaker Boehner is likely following the playbook of Barack Obama. The President himself is addicted to the acid politics of confrontation, provocation and division.

    Recently in Baltimore, President Obama told a group of Democrats that he is going to play “offense” during his last two years in office. And for sure, the proposals later detailed in his “State of the Union” speech were partly intended to provoke Republicans to make intemperate statements that might harm them with the electorate.

    But, now Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu has successfully provoked the White House into embarrassing anti-Netanyahu remarks that reveal fundamental anti-Israelism. This is a significant political liability for President Obama. Make no mistake, left-liberal prejudice against Israel does not play well with the American people. They consistently mistrust Iran; and stubbornly support Israel, circa 62% across the last ten years of public-opinion polling.

    Speaker Boehner shrewdly understands that Barack Obama is significantly vulnerable on these two related issues of irrational, ideology-driven discrimination against Israel, and accommodation of Iran’s race to ICBMs and nuclear weapons.

    Within the context of domestic politics, Speaker Boehner sees Prime Minister Netanyahu as a major figure who embodies both issues; a man uniquely placed to ignite a popular firestorm over USA national security, including both Israel policy and the President’s bizarre conduct of the nuclear-weapons negotiations with Iran.

    Opposition to President Obama’s policies toward Iran and Israel may or may not reach bipartisan levels needed for override in both Houses of Congress. Nonetheless, the Republicans literally own Congress right up to January 2017. Significantly, Republicans now control every committee in both the Senate and the House. And with each succeeding week, they will increasingly make more effective use of Congressional powers to educate Americans about President Obama’s serial misrepresentations and stunning policy failures.

    And in this regard, the most convincing witnesses will likely be whistle blowers and subject-area experts, i.e. honest, experienced, and intelligent Americans from a variety of places, including the military.

    So, perhaps we ought to understand Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coming address to Congress, as part of a much larger, continuing effort to dialogue with ordinary Americans about the strange peculiarities and stark failures of the Obama presidency.

    • Actually , the Israeli PM is very Churchillian. Before WW2 Churchill spoke out about the evils of Hitler. The world didn’t want to hear it then any more than they want to hear it now. Natinyahu is a very brave man. The man stands tall, Rey Churchillian . Bravo!!!!!

  • steven L

    A super-rich Saudi has a significant financial ownership in FNC!

  • frank maris

    Your comments convince me that algemeiner is not for me.

  • art

    Does any Jew or any person with any intelligence think that Obama/Kerry are not anti Israel. How soon people forget about the ambushes Obama set for Netanyahu, the intentional slights and humiliations,going to dinner with Michele in the midst of a meeting with Netanyahu, Obama is silent when abbas, nasrallah or the iranians out and out insult him and call him a liar or publicly refute his statements. Obama has already silenced the media, no use of “islamic terror etc now he wants to silence Israel. By the way did either Obama or Kerry participate or speak about the Holocaust or do they agree with the BBC that it is an old story to be forgotten. Lapid and livni should grow up and put their personal agendas aside and provide a united front for a safer Israel, do either of them remember Begins joining Ben Gurions for governments of unity during times of crisis

  • Emanuel

    Here is a comparison of the level of representativeness of these actors: Bibi speaks for no less then 75% of Jews worldwide across the board, O represents literally nobody, not his own party and not black people maybe bankers that’s it, Indyk represents confused Turkeys because he is one but he thinks he’s a human.

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    Texas Longhorns will decrease losses due to predators such as jackals and wolves simply by threatening them with their sharp horns. Texas Longhorn babysits each other’s calves.

    Texas Longhorns are desert cattle; they eat many of the shrubs that create a fire problem for our forests.

    I can get the embryos to Israel within a week to ten days with your help.

    We need a nominal donation of $250 from 1200 generous supporters to reach our goal of $290,000. So please help and spread the word. I cannot do this alone.

    I would like to help secure Israel’s food production in this conflict of Civilizations between good and evil.

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    The Israel Longhorn Project
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  • He has More Courage then many others.

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