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March 2, 2015 10:19 pm

Opinion: Why Netanyahu Will Trump Obama in the Iran Nuclear Deal Showdown

avatar by Dovid Efune

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.

The prophets of doom are out in full force predicting the great harm that will befall Israel as a result of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat.

Forgive me, but I just don’t see it that way. Israel and Netanyahu have everything to gain from the speech and relatively little to lose. And, as in the past when Obama and Netanyahu have publicly gone head to head, the Israeli premier will emerge the diplomatic victor.

Firstly, all the talk about the “fabric” of the US-Israel relationship being undermined, or the claim that support for Israel is becoming partisan is hardly credible. The pitifully small number of lawmakers who have said they will skip Netanyahu’s talk serves as testament to that. Recent polls show that the American public supports the Jewish State’s right to express its concerns about Iran and the mostly full attendance at the speech is a reflection of that.

Additionally, the bulk of US-Israel cooperation, including the extensive shared military, intelligence and research ventures as well as US aid to Israel, is overseen by Congress and the Pentagon.

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A legitimate cause for concern is that Netanyahu’s speech risks inviting some act of vengeance from a spiteful Administration that views Netanyahu’s talk as a slight. The comments coming from John Kerry, Susan Rice and unnamed officials should be viewed as threats, not as observations.

But what steps can the White House consider that would be worse for Israel to countenance than a nuclear armed Iran? The White House may refrain from vetoing a Palestinian Authority move for recognition at the United Nations Security Council, but, if faced with a choice, I imagine Israel would rather take the opportunity to convince Congress to impose its oversight on Iranian negotiations, which would likely serve as the final barrier to the implementation of a bad deal.

Additionally, with the Administration’s foreign policy increasingly maligned domestically, further drastic steps against Israel are liable to further isolate the White House.

On top of all this, it might be recalled that before President Obama’s reelection in 2012, it was widely alleged that Prime Minister Netanyahu, in his perceived backing of Obama’s rival Mitt Romney, had invited fire and brimstone upon the Jewish State. But it seems clear that Obama’s attitude towards Israel is no product of any one particular action taken by any Israeli leader, only a result of his innate worldview that harbors far less sympathy for Israel’s unique challenges than his predecessors have expressed.

The truth is that there is no thin skin epidemic at the White House, which had nothing to say about Iranian foreign minister Zarif’s shouting episodes during negotiations with John Kerry. The “crisis” with Israel has been manufactured because the White House doesn’t like what Netanyahu has to say, and so they are working diligently to undermine it.

Another argument against the speech was made by Robert Kagan in the Washingon Post, who said, that “bringing a foreign leader before Congress to challenge a US president’s policies is unprecedented.”

But Netanyahu is not just any foreign leader; he is the leader of a closely allied state that has a profound interest in the outcome of the talks with Iran, especially since they have effectively tied his hands with respect to other actions that Israel may have been considering against the Islamic Republic. Israel is repeatedly singled out as Iran’s first target for destruction, so before the American administration takes control of Israel’s fate in a way that leaves it feeling vulnerable, surely Israel must be allowed to state its case to the American people.

In an interview on Friday on PBS, New York Times columnist David Brooks said, “I think it’s political disaster for Bibi Netanyahu back home, because they’re — most Israelis are really worried about the state of the relationship.”

This argument may have stood up in the past, but in the case of President Obama, the opposite is true. He is so hated in Israel that standing up to him can only help Netanyahu electorally.

There have been times in his presidency that the number of people in Israel who considered Obama to be pro-Israel hovered around 4%, a figure that is traditionally within a poll’s margin of error.

In the Israeli elections of early 2013, the two political parties that aligned themselves with Obama’s criticism of Netanyahu on the Iranian issue, the Labor party, at the time headed by Shelly Yachimovich, and Hatnuah led by Tzipi Livni, underperformed considerably.

In terms of what will be gained from the speech, firstly, it is clear that Netanyahu, known for his cautious, consensus based leadership style, and criticized at home for lacking a backbone, believed he had no choice but to seize the opportunity to address Congress.

Had he stayed at home, his timidity may have been viewed by the Iranians and others as a de-facto acquiescence to Obama’s deal making with Iran. His other option, to talk less and take military action if the need arose – as his domestic political opponent Avigdor Lieberman has reportedly advised, would likely bring about far greater friction with Obama’s White House and other countries around the world, not to mention the potential loss of life that would likely follow the inevitable Iranian blowback.

In his recent comments, Netanyahu has focused strictly on the issues and has remained supremely deferential and even supplicatory in references to both the US-Israel relationship and to President Obama.

“I would like to take this opportunity to say that I respect US President Barack Obama,” he said before leaving Israel for the US. “I believe in the strength of the relationship between Israel and the US and in their strength to overcome differences of opinion, those that have been and those that will yet be.”

There was no reciprocity from the US President. The White House has expressed little sympathy over what the looming threat of a nuclear Iran means to the lives of millions of Israelis, as well as Jews around the world who have been targeted by Iranian terror proxies. Where is the understanding for Israeli concerns? All we have yet seen is snide dismissals from Obama’s lackeys.

But the main reason why Netanyahu’s calculated gamble will ultimately pay off is because he is backed by popular opinion both in the US and in Israel. In both countries, there is great unease over the direction the Iranian nuclear talks have taken, and Americans are less concerned by perceived slights of the president then they are by the nuclear threat that a recent Gallup poll showed to be the most significant security concern of a full 77% of US citizens.

Obama’s obvious capitulation to the ayatollahs is so thorough that many efforts to justify it have been met with raised eyebrows including from some of Obama’s traditional allies like the Washington Post and The Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg.

Amazingly, the controversy that has accompanied the Obama administration’s frenzied response to the engagement at Congress has moved the issue of Iran to the center of the world’s diplomatic focus, right where Israel needs it to be.

The last time Obama addressed the AIPAC conference now in full swing in the US capital, he vowed to a skeptical audience that “when the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.”

Now the chips are down and Prime Minister Netanyahu has arrived in Washington to cash in on that pledge. Surely he deserves the backing of all Israelis and all Americans.

The author is the Editor-in-Chief of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at editor@algemeiner.com.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Manny

    NICE TO SEE A WRITER SO WRONG. Yesterday Obama triumphantly came away with a deal, not agreed to only by the US, but FIVE OTHER NATIONS TOGETHER. BIBI LOOKS HORRIBLY WRONG AND ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THINGS AGAIN. It has all backfired on him. Hope this writer and the other Bibi supporters ask themselves what ALTERNATE PLAN Bibi has proposed instead of advocating BOMBING IRAN. IT SEEMS BIBI AND HIS SUPPORTERS HERE ONLY HAVE WAR ON THEIR MINDS – A WAR THAT WILL HAVE TO BE FOUGHT BY AMERICANS USING AMERICAN RESOURCES – NOT A SINGLE ISRAELI LIFE WILL BE RISKED FOR THE WARS IDIOTS PROPOSE.

  • susan

    I just wish he had so much support from the Israeli voters. This is a very close race, one week away from election day. No guarantee that Bibi will be re-elected or that his party will receive a majority in the Knesset. Sad to say.

  • Thank you Editor Efune.

    The analysis you presented is solid and to the point.

    The hysteria produced before PM Netanyahu’s speech has been proven to be way overblown.

    The responses to his speech offered by Administration officials and Ms. Pelosi et al are all weak and unconvincing and rather pathetic to put it kindly.

    Their attempt to allowing a very dangerous Iran to obtain nuclear bombs is bringing forth a short term gain -Iran fighting ISIS – versus a long term pain of Iran threatening Israel and the world.

    It is not Netanyahu’s responsibility to tell America what to do in in Congress with Iran. His job was to sound the alarm!

    It is America’s responsibility to figure out what to do with Iran.

    I think the alternative to a bad deal is no deal with Iran for now and the foreseeable future.

    Pitting Iran against ISIS is a short term gain and long term pain by giving Iran the power and prestige it seeks for domination and conquest.

    So what exactly are Ms. Pelosi and the Administration not understanding

    I believe Netanyahu was diplomatic, gracious, and correct in his talk to Congress.

    The Administration and Democrats are cherry-picking and finding few if any chinks in the forthright thinking and logic presented by PM Netanyahu.

    In closing, it was a good moment for the Jewish people and a good moment for America.

  • victoria brandeis

    AIPAC 2012: ‘I have Israel’s back,’ Obama insists…..I HAD TO BRING THIS FOREFRONT AS THE EDITOR DID…SUCH A GOOD JOB AND SUCH HORROR TO DIGEST IF BUT ONE WISH OF THIS EVIL MAN COMES TRUE.

    WILL HE STATE HE RUNS A THIRD TERM OR WILL HE BE LED AWAY IN CHAINS…..SUCH A DREAM IS A WASTE OF TIME BUT TRUSTING AND HOPING BEYOND ALL THAT MONIES FOR WARS BECOMES MONIES FOR GROWTH, MONIES TO CHANGE HORRORS OF SURVIVAL FOR NECESSITIES WILL NO LONGER BE GUNS, ‘WEAPONS OF MASS PRODUCTION’…..ANOTHER WASTE ‘BUSH’

    CHANGE, MR. OBAMA…..WE WILL ‘NEVER AGAIN’ ACCEPT OR PURCHASE THIS LIMB AS THE ONLY ONE AVAILABLE.

    THANK YOU MR. EDITOR AGAIN FOR SUCH WONDERFUL WORDS.
    AND, FOR UNCOVERING THE TRUE FACE OF AMERICAN’S AND PUPPET MONSTERS….

    EACH DAY A MIRACLE….HAPPY PURIM…AND WHAT A SIMILARITY…….HAMAN DESTROYED…..PERHAPS OBAMA NEXT SUCH A DRAWING MEASURE OF EVIL VS GOODNESS

  • DrTCSilver

    President Obama owes America’s fully defending/arming/ or DOING all necessary to protect and help the State of Israel ‘to pro-actively deny assistance to Israel’s foes….not ONLY because Israel is our ally and the ONLY Democracy in the Middle-East; yet for two other Valid Reasons: 1- ISIS is also a foe to All Americans; 2- It is the ‘American Way and morally right; Israel is a great asset to our World; 3-The Islamic Terrorist Groups are unstable, and destructive! 4-Public decapitation Groups ought be nationally Ego-Alien to Any American ‘Head of State; and 5-Six Million Souls deserve this,irrespective of Mr.Obama’s personal feelings about Mr. Netanyahu! America OWES Israel to cover its Back and Front!

  • The more Obama does, the more obvious it becomes that he has subservience to the Quran and not to the US Constitution.
    Obama is a Muslim and as such is the enemy of Democracy and world peace. It needs to be said and now It has been said but why his lackeys support this is beyond understanding.

  • steven L

    David Brooks misread totally the Israeli people. Perhaps because he is drinking too much NYT kool-aid.
    Jeffrey Goldberg, trying to be the NYT Thomas Friedman will pass. Way too much on the left.

  • Efram

    It is Israel’s last chance and, unfortunately, a poor one. Unless congress is willing to overrule Obama on his sweetheart deal with Iran, it will stand. Unfortunately, nothing will convince the Democrats that they need to do this. They have genuflected to Obama for so long, regardless of facts, that I have little hope they will finally rise to the occasion. The disastrous 2014 elections should have sent a clear message to Democrats that they need to distance themselves from our terrorist president, but they are still unwilling to do so. The elections are particularly pertinent in that, just the previous year, the GOP shut down the government, and put the US credit rating at extreme risk, over a tantrum. Even as horrible as GOP actions have been, they received more support than the Democrats in 2014. Does this mean the country loves the GOP? Hardly. But the Democrats provide no alternative. if ever this has been the case, it is with Iran.

    If congress does not stop Obama from approving this suicidal deal, many nations will be threatened with nuclear war in the near future. And, yes, it is for that Obama will be remembered, and rightly so.

  • rachel robinson

    If you just look at the agreement Obama is willing to sign he will let Iran wait ten years to actually build a bomb with everything in place until then. In ten years Obama will be 63 years old, his children will probably be married and all will be living in Hawaii probably far from N Y or Washington. Why make an agreement that is good for only ten years, after which Iran will be free from the agreement to do as they please. This is no solution at all and gives the Mullahs most of what they want, and the American public does not agree to this as well as Congress.

  • Iran the destabilizing factor in the Middle East and beyond.

    Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and seeks one of the world’s most terrifying weapons: a nuclear bomb.

    Iran also has developed the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East, which poses a growing threat to U.S. bases, U.S. allies, and numerous other countries in the region.

    The rogue regimes in Iran pose some of the most dangerous threats to U.S. national security interests. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and is rapidly expanding its nuclear program and ballistic missile force plus other offensive weapons and methods of terror. Regrettably, the Obama Administration has failed to formulate effective policies to address the challenges posed by the rising power of Iran and its unpredictable regime.
    Iran has been hostile to the United States since 1979, when a revolution brought to power a cadre of anti-Western Shia Islamist revolutionaries who dubbed the United States the “Great Satan.” Iran has tried to export its Islamist revolution violently to Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Gaza and Saudi Arabia by supporting Shia radical Islamists in each of these countries. Tehran helped to create the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon and has supported a wide variety of terrorist and revolutionary groups throughout the Middle East. It became the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to advance its foreign policy goals and punish its enemies.
    In recent years, Iran’s hostile regime has been one of the chief beneficiaries of the political turmoil that convulsed the Middle East during the “Arab Spring,” which distracted the United States and other countries from the ongoing standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. The dramatic events diverted international attention from Tehran’s stubborn defiance of four rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions on the nuclear issue. The political upheaval in the Arab world also has toppled a government in Egypt, and recreated a new government headed by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Iran undermined governments in Jordan, Bahrain, and elsewhere, that firmly opposed Iran. Although Bashar al-Assad’s pro-Iranian regime in Syria also has been weakened, strong support from Iran appears for the moment to have evened the balance of power in Syria’s civil war fueled by Assad.
    Some of the consequences has been the growth of ISIS and its goal for a Caliphate Dominion. The horrific pictures of beheadings and atrocities that defy human comprehension, only awaken our resolve to stop terror and violence before it engulfs the whole world and threaten our own survival.

    U.S must force the halt of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Washington must do a better job of enforcing its red line against an Iranian nuclear weapon than it did in enforcing the Obama Administration’s ill-considered red line against Syrian chemical weapons. Tehran must be forced by additional sanctions to comply with its non-proliferation obligations. The U.S. must demonstrate the willingness and capacity to defend its vital interests in the region. The U.S. should not agree to lift or ease anymore sanctions until Iran has taken concrete and irreversible actions to stop uranium enrichment, ship medium-enriched uranium stocks out of the country, close the uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, and halt work on the heavy water reactor at Arak and other location in Iran or its accomplices.

    Imagine Iran with nuclear capability and some terrorists getting a hold off a backpack with a nuclear device or dirty bomb and detonating it in the middle of Times Square in New York or any other congested area with hundreds of thousands in casualties. Do you think the American people will tolerate such a potential threat.
    I think 9-11 has shown to the American people that threats and weapons of mass destruction in the possession of terrorists is a national threat to America and the rest of the free world.
    It is time for the free world to take the gloves off and treat the threat with utmost force and cleanse the terrorists and its sponsors from existence.

  • Yale

    This issue brings the nature of Obama’s character to the fore. Even back in 2008, it was obvious that he was a narcissist — he wrote two autobiographies before he had achieved anything — and the discerning would have recognized that he was also paranoid. Even then, it was also obvious that he craved power, and his conduct of the office has been one long effort to amass ever more power, the Constitution be damned. The result is we have a president who regards anyone who disagrees with his policies as an enemy to be destroyed.

    What makes the Iran nuclear deal so dangerous is that through it Obama has the ability to actually destroy a thorn in side, a state he has been unable to turn into the puppet he desires.

    What Obama is missing is that “Death to America” remains Iran’s long-term strategic goal, and using nuclear weapons against Israel could make it impossible for Iran to build enough weapons to seriously threaten the US. This leads me to believe Iran’s first use of such weapons would be an EMP attack on the US, leading to 250-300 million dead. This will not only be Obama’s foreign policy legacy, it will be the only thing anyone will remember about him.

    • steven L

      Death to America: that would be a radical transformation!!!

  • Michael

    At the last AIPAC meeting attended by President Obama,his comment “When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back” was never completed, “with a knife.”

    There is no doubt a major shift in foreign policy towards the Middle East coming out of this White House. Friends have been thrown under the bus and previous enemies are now elevated to playing a new role in relations with the Obama White House. The Middle East is on fire. Obama struck the match and now and the flames.

    • ms Bo Salsberg

      This is definitely a latent slap in the face for all Jews. It didn’t take long for our Presidential administration(s) to send American troops into other parts of the world over the years, Vietnam, Korea, and of course other parts of the vast wastelands of the Middle East to show support. We had their back, so to speak then in the name of peace. So what’s the difference now… All talk and a stab in the back to Jews world wide… Israeli blood will be on our hands if we do nothing to help.

  • why does the algemeiner feel the need to mislead klal yisroel by cherry picking primary sources to release to the klal? why not inform kal yisroel fully? why fear publishing the transcript and video of Obama’s full interview with Reuters simply because it is a primary source and is the longest comprehensive communication directly from Obama in a long time on this matter…so why hide it from the klal? after you fully print it top from center and keep it there for a week, you can then print a thousand articles criticizing him and calling him deranged and an anti-Israel president…but your first responsibility it to do what Rav Shach called for with a frum press…something that informs them of Torah opinion on secular matters…but if the klal can’t see the SECULAR MATTER in the first place how can they be informed to see the Torah opinion on it ever!

    TRANSCRIPT: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/02/us-usa-obama-transcript-idUSKBN0LY2J820150302

    VIDEO:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/02/us-usa-obama-idUSKBN0LY2GA20150302

    • victoria brandeis

      THANKS FOR ALL THE INFO YOU PLACED IN YOUR NOTE

      I WILL STORE AND READ IT AGAIN AND AGAIN.

      I HAVE BEEN SHOMER MITZVOS FOR MANY MANY YEARS AND I SENSE THAT ONLY THE SECULAR HAVE LITTLE KNOWLEDGE OF TORAH….EQUALLY THE SECULAR DEPARTMENT OF THE WORLD HAS NO KNOWLEDGE AT ALL.

      IT WOULD NOT FIT IN WITH THEIR LIFESTYLE OF ‘AFLUENZA’

      HAPPY PURIM……

    • brenrod

      do you have any comment on the speech which you have posted?

    • brenrod

      I saw the video you posted but see nothing that I did not know already. Furthermore, if you are relying on the assertions and underrtakings of Obama you are sadly in error. This is a president who has engaged in deception from the outset. He is willing to abuse authority(e.g. irs, fast and furious, obamacare,etc.) He make untnrue assertions in the speech regarding the interinm agreement already breached. The reason congress invited BB is becuase Obama is doing and end run around them as well as israel. The intenational unity is rubbish, the euros and the gulf are both unhappy. You should be specific in your complaint as you infer there is missing info that exonerates him in his speech. It is because he has lied and already betrayed Israel, congress and the american people that he is being called out now. The US prevented Israel from attacking Iran on the basis they would deal with it. He has already admitted to settling for a bad deal which Israel cannot safely live with. They should have let Israel attack Iran when it was feasible.

    • David Matar

      Mr. Moscowitz,

      As a charter member of klal yisroel, I read the Reuters
      interview, and I fail to see any good tidings there that were suppressed by Algemeiner.What do you think Mr. Moscowitz? Is Obama Haman, or Achashverosh, or maybe Charvona?
      And what the heck is a “Torah opinion”? Was Rav Schach’s political opinion more valid than mine, or that of my cleaning lady?
      Talmidei chachamim have been wrong bigtime on major issues concerning the klal, so spare us your pious platitudes.
      Don’t ever forget the Daas torah of famous rabbis who told their flocks to stay in Europe in the thirties.
      Enough already!!

      • len

        very well said,sometimes i just wonder what are peoples real aims when they post things.

  • SPKTRUTH200

    your DELUSIONAL. Sen Tom Carper and other democrats are skipping the speech.. almost 60 at this point. bibi is the laughing stock of the country. His ridiculous little presentation today, is in total opposition to Mossad reports, and 16 US intell agencies. AIPAC is now scrambling to fill seats with bodies to make the dumbed down think it was filled with people who matter…lol.

    • len

      yes my orwellian spktruth friend-does it give you some sort of satisfaction to believe that what you think or write actually is reality?are you hailing congressmen and congresswomen who are puppets of the executive branch and follow their master hook,line and sinker.how about them doing their jobs,trying to get the most information they can about a very dangerous and vitally serious issue and listen to a man who only knows too well the dangers of this terrible iranian regime.maybe just as yourself they just dont want to be confused with the facts.maybe if they ignore this man the whole issue will just go away the way they wish bibi will just go away.so do all the lol you can now because when iran has the bomb and you come out of your delusional state you wont be LOL-ing for long if you really love america.

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