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March 5, 2015 11:37 am

How J Street Misled Obama Into Netanyahu Speech Debacle

avatar by Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn

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President Barack Obama. Photo: White House.

Who misled President Obama into his losing showdown over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s blockbuster speech to Congress?

And how much of this week’s setback to the President should be blamed on the “progressive” Israel lobbying group J Street?

When J Street was established, its leaders chose a football metaphor to describe their purpose: they said they would serve as “President Obama’s blocking back.” In other words, they would charge into the defensive line, pushing aside critics so that Obama would be able to dictate terms to Israel. But as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress demonstrates, J Street has instead misled the president–and the White House should draw a lesson from the experience.

J Street officials make no secret of their access to the White House. There can be no doubt that when the president and his aides were considering how to respond to John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress, they consulted the J Streeters. And this is where the bad advice began.

Clearly, President Obama came to the conclusion that sufficient pressure on Netanyahu would cause the Israeli leader to cave, and to cancel his speech. It defies logic to think that the president would have forged ahead with such a nasty anti-Netanyahu campaign if he thought the effort was likely to fail. He would not want to risk all the damage to his relationship with American Jewish voters, not to mention the millions of others of Israel supporters, if he didn’t feel sure he was going to win. He would not want to risk turning the speech into a much bigger deal than it would otherwise have been.

It is not hard to imagine the arguments that J Street’s leaders must have made to White House officials. “We know Bibi–he always caves into pressure” …”We’re Jews–we understand the American Jewish community” … “Some of us have lived in Israel–we know how the Israeli psyche works” … “Netanyahu has given in before –he froze settlements, he said he would accept some version of a Palestinian state–he’ll give in again.”

And so began a carefully calibrated campaign of gradually ratcheting up the pressure on Israel’s prime minister.

First, accusations that Netanyahu had “insulted” the president and “breached protocol.” Neither of those claims were true, but pretending to be a victim is often a useful tactic.

Then, a flurry of attacks on Israel’s ambassador in Washington, featuring brutish comments from prominent current or former State Department officials who happen to be Jewish, such as Daniel Kurtzer and Martin Indyk.

Next: comments from Democrat congressional leaders, such as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, hinting that they might boycott the speech. In the end, neither Reid nor Pelosi did boycott, but their early comments sowed seeds of tension.

When these attacks didn’t seem to gain traction, the assault intensified. They trotted out National Security Adviser Susan Rice to accuse Netanyahu of “destroying” American-Israeli relations.

But Rice’s over-the-top remarks didn’t resonate, either. So they began rounding up minor Democratic congressmen to pledge they would boycott Israel’s prime minister. Although each new addition to the list generated a headline or two, in the end, the boycott was a complete flop, and more than 90% of senators, and more than 90% of House members, attended.

J Street tried one last, desperate gambit: they invested large sums of money in a series of television ads that claimed Prime Minister Netanyahu would use footage of his speech in Israeli election campaign commercials. It was a curious coincidence that simultaneously with the airing of the ads, a Minnesota congressmember, Betty McCollumm, made the exact same argument–and so did a Kentucky congressman, John Yarmuth, in his remarks on Fox TV after the speech. It sounded as if they were all reading from the same page of talking points.

Most telling, perhaps, was the fact that the ads continued to air on television throughout the afternoon after the speech. In other words, J Street was so obsessed, so filled with loathing for Israel’s leader, that they did not even have the good taste or common sense to stop the ads once the speech had taken place.

So in the end it was precisely this passion, this pathological loathing for Netanyahu, that caused J Street to so badly mislead the president, to convince him that Netanyahu would collapse or that a large part of Congressmembers would stay away. In the end, Netanyahu did not bend, and the White House could not get even more than a small minority of its own base –the Democrats in Congress– to boycott. That’s because, despite its best efforts, J Street cannot change the fact that an overwhelming number of members of Congress, and most of the American public, Jews and Christians alike, strongly support Israel and its democratically-elected leaders. That is an obstacle that J Street failed to help Obama to overcome.

The Netanyahu speech was a huge victory for Israel and its friends, and a stinging loss for the Obama administration and J Street. If the administration is wise, it will think twice before again letting J Street lead it down the road of defeat and embarrassment.

Moshe Phillips is president and Benyamin Korn is chairman of the Religious Zionists of America, Philadelphia, and both are candidates on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.

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  • אדוני ראש הממשלה
    מר ביבי נתנייהו
    האם אתה מודע על כך
    ואם כן למה אתה לא מדבר על כך….
    מאליק אובמה- אחיו למחצה של ברק חוסיין אובמה
    לפי דיווח של הטלויזיה המצרית , בית המשפט במצרים מבקש להודיע לאזרחי ארה”ב שאחיו של ברק חוסיין אובמה ×”×™×” בין הארכיטקטים המובילים בהשקעת 8 מילארד דולר של משטר אובמה בתנועת האחים המוסלמים במצרים ובעולם כולו.
    מאליק אובמה
    אח של חוסיין אובמה
    “נשיא ארצות הברית”
    קורא לחיסולה של
    מדינת ישראל. ארה”ב מתעוררת,
    שדרן הרדיו השמרני מארק לוין מזהיר: “אובמה הוא האיום הגדול ביותר על העם היהודי – מאז 1930”
    “אובמה פוגע בסיוע הצבאי הביטחוני לישראל, כולל בתחום המודיעיני. הוא מחמש את אויבי ישראל”, כך אמר מארק לוין.
    לדבריו, הגרעין האיראני, הוא האיום הגדול ביותר על העם היהודי מאז 1930, ואומר עוד שהאיום הגרעיני האיראני נוגע גם לארה”ב
    מדינות ערב , בעלות האינטרס המשותף לישראל , לא מקבלות את ההסכם , אובמה דוהר בכל מחיר להסכם >>> בדרך למלחמת הכל בהכל?
    הסנטור לינדזי גרהאם: הערבים לא יקבלו את ההסכם המתגבש. אנחנו בדרך לגוג ומגוג
    הפרטים שנחשפים בקשר לעסקה גרעינית אפשרית עם איראן מושכים ביקורת חריפה מצד מחוקקים בקונגרס משני צידי המתרס הן דמוקרטים והן רפובליקנים

  • J Street is a danger to Israel and the Jewish people world over

  • jdubow

    J Street is a creation of anti-Israeli Jews led by George Soros. They resonated with Obama because he has anti-Israeli leanings arising from his spiritual background and the general, if hypocritical, loathing of the Civil Rights movement for Jews and for Israel.

    J Street was well known to the Jewish community before Netanyahus’ speech. It is commonly known as “Shonda Street” amongst most Jews and its leader, Jeremy Ben Ami, is known as “Uncle Tom Ben Ami”.

    Why Obama or his administration thought that J Street would have much influence over Israelis or American Jews is an indicator of just how distant, insensitive, unconcerned and generally disdainful they are of them.

  • Not only do most Americans–Jews and Christians alike–support Israel they also realize the deal with Iran that Obama proposes is a bad one. Also, seeing Muslims burning people alive, beheading them, slaughtering them, killing Christians as well as other Muslims inclines most Americans towards Israel and away from any Muslim country.
    J St, in its focused hatred of Israel, can’t see the larger picture; neither can Obama.

  • Semyon Reznik

    Here is my second letter to senator Tim Kaine, one of the boykotters:

    Dear Senator Kaine,

    Thank you for your response to my letter concerning your attendance at Prime Minister Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to the U.S. Congress.

    Your answer is in sharp contrast to the responses I have received from your colleagues, Senator Warner and House Representative Connolly. Both of them responded to my letter with long treatises, describing the history of U.S.-Israeli relations, but not answering my simple question: would they be in the audience at Mr. Netanyahu’s presentation, or not. Thus, I really appreciate your direct and honest response.

    While saying that, I would like to tell you how disappointed I am with your boycott of Mr. Netanyahu’s speech. I am even more disappointed with your justification of your absence at this very important event of modern history. Your assumption that it was scheduled before – not after – Israeli elections to help Netanyahu win additional votes is absolutely baseless. There is no need for the Prime Minister of Israel to speak to his electorate from Washington, in English (which not all of his electors understand), while the podium of the Knesset, other high offices in his country, not to mention the Israeli media, are available to him. By the way, I never heard of a U.S. leader’s speech in Israel, or in any other country, being rejected or boycotted due to forthcoming elections in the U.S.A.

    Mr. Netanyahu came here to speak to us, the American people, and first of all, to our elected representatives. For this sake, he interrupted his electoral campaign at a very critical moment, two weeks before elections, because the survival and security of his country is of much higher priority for him than alleged and very questionable electoral benefits. He acted unlike President Obama in similar situations. You should remember how he promised to be the most transparent President in the history of this country, and how he secretly, just before his reelection, promised Russian President Putin to be flexible with him after his (Obama’s) reelection. You know the result of this flexibility: Crimea’s annexation and 6,000 dead bodies in Eastern Ukraine – with thousands more to come. Ukraine, as you know, gave up her nuclear arsenals as well as most of her conventional weapons in exchange for U.S. and Russia’s guaranties of her independence and territorial integrity. Defenseless Ukraine is now under Russian attack, she is asking us to give her some conventional weapon to withstand the aggression, but we have forgotten about those guaranties. Now, the administration demonstrates similar “flexibility” in talks with an Iran thirsty for nuclear warheads. Do you not think that world peace would be more secure with a nuclear Ukraine than a nuclear Iran?

    In the Munich negotiations, in 1938, the fate of Czechoslovakia was at stake, but the Czech representatives were not allowed to participate. The result is too well known. As Mr. Netanyahu reminded in the speech you ignored, the 6 million Jews exterminated by Nazis were only a fraction of the 60 million victims of World War II.

    Now President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, as well as leaders of other big countries, are negotiating the fate of Israel with Ayatollahs, but Israel is not invited. Does this fact alone not justify Mr. Netanyahu’s concern about these negotiations? Is it not his duty to warn the U.S. Congress, the White House, the United Nations, and the entire world? Is it not what he is doing constantly during his years in office – regardless of the timetable of elections in Israel, U.S., or elsewhere?

    Keeping in mind that your direct duty as Senator would be to ratify or reject the forthcoming treaty with Iran; keeping also in mind that the fate of Israel, and probably the future of our country, and the world, might depend on your vote; it is beyond my comprehension that you could ignore the Prime Minister’s speech on this vital issue.

    The boycott of the speech as well as the entire campaign against Netanyahu unleashed by President Obama and supported by a number of Democrats in Congress demonstrated to the American people, to Israelites, to all our foreign friends and foes, how small and miserable the President and all of the boycotters are – in comparison with the great statesman of our time, the Prime Minister of the small country of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.
    As a citizen of the United States of America and a resident of the state of Virginia, I feel extremely ashamed of Mr. Obama as my elected President and of you as my elected Senator.

    President Obama, Senators, and Representatives have been elected to the highest offices of this land to protect us from our enemies – not to bash our friends.

    No Munich agreement with the foes at the expense of our friends. No nuclear enrichment facilities in Iran, period. How to dismantle them is up to the Ayatollahs to decide. They will dismantle them peacefully, if they understand that we are dead serious. What is needed from us is to convince them and the world that the time of “flexibility” is over. To be sure, it would not be easy now – after so many “flexible” years. But it is still not too late. President Ronald Reagan educated us how to do it. We have to recollect his lessons. They would be good lessons for Ayatollah Putin as well.


    Semyon Reznik,
    Journalist, historian, author.

  • And there is one more personage, who was (is ) running a dirty anti-Semitic campaign against Israel, a certain Robert Naiman with his organization “Just Foreign Policy”. First he called for boycotting the speech because of it would be a trick before Israeli election (as many repeated afterwards showing their ignorance and stupidity), then demanding not to upset the President and his diplomacy with Iran; then, that Netanyahu was invited behind the backs of congressional leaders and the White House (repeated by Sen. Dianne Feinstein),- but finally, revealed the true motive of his campaign, pure antI-Israeli and of course having nothing with the speech. Here are Naiman’s words transmitted to the head of the “J.Street” Jeremy Ben-Ami: “I just put up a piece about this [coming to USA PM Netanyahu], suggesting that the thing that the Administration could do that would really rock Bibi’s world would be to withdraw U.S. diplomatic cover from Netanyahu’s controversial policies in the West Bank – demolishing Palestinian homes, stealing Palestinian land, jailing Palestinians for participating in nonviolent political protests…” it is defamation, hatred and lie, But unfortunately the famous (now infamous) ADL (Abraham Foxman) joint his nasty campaign and influenced Mass. Senator Elizabeth Warren to miss this brilliant Netanyahu speech. His campaigh brought much more harm to the President and the society: many of democrats’ supporters will stop their support, and it is clear a setback for Obama’ policy in the Middle Est. Those 58 congressmen, who boycotted the speech play no role in the audience’s admiration of the speech. I have pity on those 58. But mayby Mr. Naiman will propose to dismiss the entire Congress and leave only those 58 as extremely” loyal to President.

  • A very good article. MObama and J Street Soros are all Mad, Bad & Dangerous!

  • David from San Diego

    I had never heard of “J Street” before today, and I don’t approve of everything Israel does. That having been said, except for “settlements”, Israel is in the right 100% of the time when it comes to its relations with Islam and its Arab neighbors. Israel is right about the “security wall”. (Can WE have one?) Israel is right that most of its neighbors want to kill all of Israel’s Jewish citizens. Israel is right that the Iranian Islamofascists are behing a huge percentage of the world’s terrorism. Israel is right when it says that Iran is going nuclear, and that a nuclear Iran will start an arms race in the Arab world (because the Saudis, et al., don’t want the Persians to be dominant over them). Obama HATES Israel — almost as much as Obama HATES America, the UK, and white people. I hope Israel does an Osirak … and I hope it’s ten times as effective as Osirak. Israel should not trust the United States to defend Israel. The United States can’t — or won’t — even defends its OWN borders against invasion. I wish we had a President like Netanyahu.

  • Shimon

    This is the best Purim Shpiel I read all week ! Thanks guys for the laughs. Love the confabulation of meetings that took place where one imagines what was said by people you can’t even identify. So meta of you to make up a whole story out of full cloth and parody yourself at the same time. Kudos the Algemeiner staff this Purim. I can imagine you guys sitting around the table saying what is the craziest story we can come up with and peddle it like it’s true !

  • Elisheva

    J Street I thought was created by Obama and Soros to counter AIPAC and weaken Israel. They have shown since their inception that they are clearly not a friend of Israel. Israel is not influenced by J Street. J Street is clearly anti-Israel although it says it is the opposite. This whole scenario makes Obama sound like a victim and clueless. Either way Obama made many nasty moves and Israelis are not stupid people.

    • starr91wr

      Obama clueless? Can it be possible, when we are talking White House foreign policy?

    • starr61

      (Y) <3 <3 <3 The stink always exposes the perpetrator!

      • starr61

        I guess emoticons or the signs don’t work..I meant thumbs up (Y) and love <3.. 🙂 in other words well done

    • MObama and J Street Soros are all Mad, Bad & Dangerous!

  • It seems so odd that we cannot see for ourselves what real anti semitism is all about. We see it in the movies, and read about it online, but in real life, it is hard to imagine. J Street is an anti semitic organization. It hates the mere fact that there is a Jewish homeland called The State of Israel, and will do everything in its power to destroy that homeland. Likewise, President Obama is equally an anti semite, one who hates the thought of an independent democratically elected State of Israel. I am surprised that people cannot see these cancers for what they truly are.

    • Yale

      What J Street hates isn’t the existence of Israel but that the Israeli Left, of which it is a part, has lost any hope of running the country. J Street has sought to use the United States, and a president who shares their rejection of the legitimacy of a non-Leftist government in Israel, to seek to impose policies the voters reject. The fury of their recent campaign reflects a recognition that Netanyahu is likely to be re-elected, at least in part because Israelis agree that the deal being offered to Iran by J Street’s friend Obama is a threat to their lives.


  • Lammie

    J.Street is part of the problem – not part of the solution.

    They do not have a clue about Israel and the Arabs. Each time a Jew dies in Israel because of Arab terrorism, I hold J. Street partly responsible. They greatly encourage our enemies. The Arabs think that J. Street is their “best friend”. J. Street are an irresponsible “bunch of folks” who make things worse for us who live in Israel, and for that matter for Jews all over the world.

    The Iranian bomb hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles and the Obama administration is not going to stop it. At most they will delay it by a year or two. Then all hell will break loose in this region.

  • Richard Kirschenbaum

    I’m particularly puzzled by Nancy behavior during the speech. Perhaps her problem was having trouble with the big words.

    • Bob Girard

      Maybe she had just got her Botox shot that morning?

    • Joan Banford

      This is not a sexist comment.. men also do this..
      Poor Nancy could not make a decision to make a decision and stick with it, hence the noticeable lack of consistent criticism in her statements.. I imagine her sounding like a squawking hen as she grabbed whatever limelight she could while interjecting from time to time with contradictory comments..
      Like so many democrats who are so caught up in political games.. she does not see the joggernought that is headed towards us all.. is merely trying to keep her job..!! If an atomic bomb is dropped.. she won’t have to worry about having a future.

    • Francis Figliola

      Pelosi, in April of 2007, led a Congressional delegation to Assad in Syria. She said “The road to Damascus is the road to peace.” Her desire was to stick it to W and his Middle East policy. She’s a moron!

  • richard sherwin

    since the 1970s the israeli left (ancestors of peace now), the american left, and the american jewish left (ex labor zionists and mapam among others) have combined to present the israel government (and thru it the nation) as oppressors, occupiers, fascists, and finally together with their palestinian cohorts, slaughterers. so one could say in a generation and country where ancient history began 4 minutes ago (on television 3), it’s a grand american tradition the J-streeters belong to.

    Ive no information (and this article deals in ‘speculation’ only) if J-street in this case was involved at all… football metaphors or not. as for President Obama’s bottom line disinterest in or distaste for– all things israeli — in contrast to his continued military and UN support– i dont think we need j-street for evidence. if there is any at all.

    and –if you please– please don’t dismiss daniel kurzer as being irrelevantly jewish; i do know he has shown himself a dedicated religious jew, whatever brand of judaism and/or political beliefs he holds re israel’s present and future. i dont know martin indyk at all, so it’s not my business to comment,

    i personally do not trust j-street alone or among its cohorts, and i do admire daniel kurzer for standing up for what he knows and believes in. we can disagree with persons without casting doubt on their integrity, religious or political, if you please.

  • Harold Moskowitz

    Please no longer mention the name of that rodef, Martin Indyk, for whom no anti-Israel slander is too small or false to repeat. Abbas refuses to agree to any framework? It’s because of the Jews. The PA not making one concession? It’s the Jews and the settlements. As with Axelrod, Shanakowsky, Kurtzer, Lew, and Indyk, more important to be close to power then your co-religionists. May He yematch shamam.

  • Cynthia

    Obama doesn’t need any help from J Street to make the wrong move. He has been on his own, and unfortunately hasn’t been able to produce anything but contempt for Bibi. None of us expected to see Obama honoring such a respected man while visiting DC. The speech was brilliant and showed who was wearing the “big Boy” pants in the room. Bravo to Bibi for another wonderful example of statesmanship. Way to go….

  • rachel robinson

    This defeat could not happen to nicer people, both J Street and Obama. Obama had he not listened to them could have shown himself as a real statesmnan, a real leader, a magnanimous president who is not afraid of what the PM of a little country such as Israel has to say, he would have welcomed him and would have sat there on the top chair together with his vice President. But this is never in Obama’s nature to be generous, magnanimous or a leader. So he got what he deserved.

  • steven L

    Most of the American Jews support Israel!!!!!!!

  • R sharfman

    Excellent response to The Speech!!
    I thought the PM knocked it out of the park!

    Now is the time to reinstate the sanctions that were lifted,
    Time for talks is over
    Now is the time for action, sanctions.

  • John Glueck

    After all is said and done, it is our sincere hope that the Obama administration will rethink their approach to Iran. The spirit of Haman is alive and well. Its time to ratchet up the sanctions to the point of international banking isolation, oil embargo and shutoff of trade to our partners. The populist uprising will surely come and perhaps finally remove these genocidal madmen and return this once great people to a place among the nations.

  • nelson marans

    I have often wondered where the funding come from for J Street and its anti-Israel rhetoric. Originally it was from George Soros who can not conceal his hatred for the Jewish state. Certainly as a tax exempt organization, there should be a full disclosure of their funding sources.

    • PAthena

      J Street is a George Soros-funded group. George Soros is (was?) a Jew from Hungary who collaborated with the Nazi rulers during World War II. He is unrepentant. So it is not strange that he tries to arrange for the destruction of Israel and the millions of Jews there.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    J street is nothing more than a nest of traitors- a willing, modern-day Judenrat.

  • I wonder if the reason Netanyahu stood strong has something to do with Putin.

    Putin shares Netanyahu’s concerns about Iran – and I doubt he will be coming to speak to the US Congress about it. Putin does things his own way. And it could be that he is together with Netanyahu, and the speech was the last attempt get Obama on their side, or else Netanyahu will have no choice but to partner with someone who is decisive about preventing Iran from becoming too powerful.

  • Andrew Mark


    I’m a Jewish American Zionist. I have family living in Israel and regularly contribute to a range of Jewish and Zionist organizations.

    Your conclusion that President Netanyahu’s speech was a victory for Israel and a loss for President Obama makes me wonder: what planet have you sent your column in from?

    In case you didn’t know, President Obama…not Congress… is our ONLY voice in the room of those negotiations. The only thing that Netanyahu accomplished by becoming a willing pawn to a failing Speaker of the House was to insure that Obama had diminished interest in hearing what Netanyahu had to say.

    I think that the only aspect of Rice’s comment that was extreme was that she said it in public.

    Israel will be best off by Netanyahu losing this next election.

    Andrew Mark
    NYC/San Jose

    • Harvey Yoder

      Good to hear some balance on this thread.

    • Joe

      As a fellow American I have to let you know that you are misinformed. While Obama and his crew are negotiating a deal, per Article 2, section 2 of the US Constitution the President “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;”. He cannot make a binding treaty with Iran without the Senate.

      Also, in my opinion, Bibi came across as well informed, forceful and statesmen like. I thought his case was compelling.

    • jeff

      You leave out the Congressional powers in your posting. Even if Obama and the 5 plus 1 negotiation a weak accord, it is unlikely test Congress will vote to authenticate it. if i remember correctly, Pres. Carter singed a treaty to give the Panama Canal to Panama…but congress did not approve for several years. The accord stays in effect by Executive order but simultaneously the USA is not legally bound to it.
      Anyone remember it the same way?

    • Daniel Winter

      Wow! What planet are you from? Boehner is failing? No. Obama is a lame duck who has just effectively been relieved of his foreign policy portfolio. Have you even been paying attention to what has been happening since Tuesday? Kerry is no longer driving the Iran negotiations bus. France is. The only ones who don’t see how Obama, JStreet, and the Israeli Left just got totally schooled are Obama, JStreet and the Israeli Left.

  • J street is a terrible organization finance by the not so great Mr. Soros who think money can get everything. I don’t think he can control people who are thinking human beings. Maybe he should but out and stop heating Israel and the Jewish people.

  • EthanP

    I judge politicians by there enemies. I envy Netanyahu his.

  • Michael Fox

    You gotta love it.

    President Obama’s egoistic narcissism completely blinded him and he fell head long into the trap. He is even more livid than ever at Netanyahu who continues to push “The King Of Everything’s” buttons and play him for the fool he is.

    Obama would do himself a favor by reading the fable of the briar patch where Brer Rabbit meets up with the tar baby in Disney’s classic movie, Song Of The South. A great example of psychological manipulation.


  • Fred

    I find it extraordinary that in a time of peril, there are a group of Jews who act as Judas goats. Instead of taking pride in Netanyahu’s speech, they side 100% with the enemy. 6 million Jews have been murdered is that not enough for J Street would the annihilation of Israel make these treacherous lot happy. At least Obama & his cohorts defend Islam at every point as the first Muslim American President, why is it so difficult for J Street to stand up for Israel ???

  • brenrod

    the Jstreet kapo Jews and their Israeli kapo leftist counterpart parrots need to be purged from the tribe.

  • edible

    Only goes to prove what my mother, long ago, told me: “Sticks and stones, may break my bones, but only words can hurt me.”

    In this case the sticks and stones, and words are falling on the J street misfits. Better they should move to Tierra del Fuego.

  • john esse

    Moshe, from where we live and from what I have heard, you are considerably off of your statement that this was a big win for Netnanyahu. I am, and may others, really angry with your P M and his intrusion into our foreign policy decisions of our president. You have lost a lot of support.

    • David Marks

      America’s Middle East policies are placing Israel’s very existence in jeopardy. You, who have lived sheltered lives in America, are clueless.

      Do you even know what the inside of a bomb shelter looks like…let alone a bomb shelter filled with terrified children?

      D. Marks
      Kfar Giladi

    • Yale

      I suggest you start by evaluating the substance of what Obama is doing by conceding to Iran the right to build nuclear weapons, and make no mistake, that is what any deal with a sunset clause is.

      Obama has already announced that he would ignore any effort by Congress to enact additional sanctions and that he will not submit the deal he is making with Iran for approval by the Senate, as required by the Constitution.

      The question that needs to be posed is what are Americans to do when their president, who has little use for Congress, and no respect for the Constitution, sets off on a course that could lead to the deaths of 90% of the American people? (Iran’s best strategy for when they get nuclear weapons is an EMP attack on the United Sytates, the “Great Satan”, and then go after Israel later. Estimates of the death toll in an EMP are 250-300 million.)

      Inviting Netanyahu, who has been a passionate opponent of enabling Iran to get nuclear weapons, was one possibility, and this is what Speaker Boehner chose to do. Was it the only option? Maybe not, but Netanyahu said things that Americans need to hear.

      The hoopla against the speech was an Obama strategy to misdirect people away from what matters, the substance of the deal with Iran, to a side-show, whether Americans should listen to the leader of an ally. You seem to have fallen into Obama’s trap.

    • Esther Kaplan

      Our President deserves interference from anybody who can supply it. He had lied to us, gone back on his word, been rude to other national leaders, pretended to honor the constitution, fostered hate in the ranks and acted like a kid who owns the ball and then takes it home if he doesn’t play well. Which he doesn’t.

  • shloime

    are american politics really this shallow and simplistic? and does j-street really have that much influence, or are they just another instrument of the white house’s apparatus?

    the speech brouhaha was manufactured by the administration, presumably to cover up the real heart of the matter, obama’s cozying up to the mullahs over iraq, and the (resultant?) series of american concessions on the nuclear agreement.

    so long as the tempest in the teacup was about netanyahu and protocol, nobody was talking about iranian violations of their nnpt obligations, or their clearly not peaceful enrichment program, or their rocketry. nor were the talking heads discussing the sanctions, which should have been tightened, not loosened, in response to iranian intransigence.

    obama was throwing the game, and all eyes were on the halftime show.

  • Elise Ronan

    Why doesn’t the author actually think that the Obama WH contacted JStreet to help them and that Jstreet complied. What makes the author think that JStreet has such a hold on Obama that his people aren’t the ones pushing this stupid agenda? They are afterall the ones that also came up with the lie that Benghazi was caused by a video, instead of it being a real terror attack. We don’t have to like JStreet but they do not run the WH nor its foreign policy. Those who came out venomously against Bibi’s speech are Obama sycophants (yes funded by Jstreet) or work for the Qatar financed Brooking Institute. The egg on Obama’s face is all his own making. Stop blaming JStreet for Obama’s antipathy toward Israel. Obama is responsible for his own anti-Israel and antisemitic choices.

  • Doc

    What about the hypocrisy of Obama claiming that Netanyahu was grandstanding in a political stunt, to get re-elected…while sending his own political agents to coach and support Netanyahu’s opponents, in Israel? Obama thinks he can get away with anything. The arrogant narcissism is as pathological as his lying and denying sociopathy. Would that G-d give America a President of Netanyahu’s calibre. So say we all.

    • Sven

      Obama may not believe he can get away with anything, but he certainly believes he is entitled to do so.

  • It is odd the “breaching protocol” has become a major issue when discussing Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu. Nobody mentions this when talking about Boehner’s invitation to Pope Francis. But then, nobody knows that Pope Francis accepted the invitation and is scheduled to speak to Congress in September.

  • ben kramer

    Obama did not lose his showdown with Netanyahu. The deal will get done.

    • Ken Greenberg

      Once Iran develops the Bomb, we all lose. Clearly, Obama will not prevent this from happening. Too bad, world.

    • Forrest Chumley

      Yours is one of the very few clear-headed comments I have read on this nonsensical blog.

    • Peter T

      Now it’s August 2015, and it looks like the deal will be passing congress, with a small margin but passing nevertheless. Does anybody still think that speech was a victory for Netanyahu?

      Quoted from the article:
      accusations that Netanyahu had “insulted” the president and “breached protocol.” Neither of those claims were true,

      While “insulting” is subjective, the breach of protocol was objective and immediately noted by everyone who wasn’t blind. No advice by J Street was needed for that. Going behind the back of the President and the Secretary of State and inviting a foreign leader into congress was certainly a breach of protocol as it was seen before.