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March 24, 2015 3:47 pm

The Big Inversion: White House Soft on Khamenei, Hard on Netanyahu

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The cartoon "Split-Screen, Split-Personality and Split-Policies" depicts Obama differing attitudes towards Khamenei and Netanyahu. Photo: Nathan Moskowitz. – This week, the Obama administration had decidedly different attitudes about statements from leaders of the Jewish state of Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As the negotiations on a nuclear deal in Lausanne, Switzerland, between the P5+1 powers and Iran near their March 31 deadline, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded to a crowd in Tehran shouting “Death to America” that, “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.”

Khamenei was referencing the sanctions that have been levied on the Iranian economy and indicated an antagonistic view of the US that was clearly at odds with statements made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who recently said that “achieving a deal is possible” by the deadline.

In response to this statement by Khamenei, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that his remarks simply “underscore why it is so critically important” that the US and other world powers “succeed in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

The White House clearly found it easy to downplay Khamenei’s threat. But the matter at hand is not whether this attitude was right or wrong, but instead, how Earnest’s response contrasts with the White House’s recent statements about re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A day before the March 17 election, Netanyahu declared that a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch. Days after the election, Netanyahu clarified his position, telling NBC News he supports a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state if specific circumstances make that a realistic possibility.

“I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution,” Netanyahu said.

On Monday, Netanyahu also apologized for election-day comments in which he warned that Israeli Arabs were putting his government “in danger” by coming out “en masse” to vote.

President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, at the J Street conference called Netanyahu’s pre-election remarks on a Palestinian state “very troubling” and said that his subsequent “contradictory comments call into question his commitment to a two-state solution.” McDonough added, “we cannot simply pretend that these [pre-election] comments were never made.” Earnest, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, and Obama himself all issued similar comments about their mistrust of Netanyahu’s stated stance on a two-state solution.

These varied responses by the Obama administration—one soft, the other strongly critical—to the behavior of Iranian and Israeli leaders, respectively, highlights the severity of the current rift between Obama and Netanyahu. That rift must be fairly wide if the U.S. is willing to overlook the threatening rhetoric emanating from Iran just days before the nuclear deadline, but take such a hard line against Netanyahu’s comments, which might have been merely campaign rhetoric followed by damage control on the prime minister’s part. Is election rhetoric really all that different in the US? Is this the first time a politician apparently made conflicting statements in order to get votes?

On Tuesday, the US government also accused Israel of spying on closed-door Iranian nuclear talks and sharing that information with American lawmakers.

“It is one thing for the US and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal US secrets and play them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy,” a senior US official said, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon immediately denied the spying allegation, saying “there is no way” that the report is true. “Apparently someone has an interest in sparking a dispute, or creating a bad atmosphere in our relations,” he said.

But even if the report is true, giving the US the right to be angry at Israel, it’s worth asking: Why would the Israeli government feel the need to spy on the nuclear talks?

Perhaps it has something to do with the unease Israel feels amid the White House’s ongoing criticism of the Jewish state. After all, based on recent events, why should the Israeli government trust the US to keep Israel’s security in mind during nuclear talks with Iran?

For better or for worse, which country is America’s ally in the Middle East? Deal or no deal, and internal disagreements between the governments aside, the answer is definitely not Iran.

But these days, judging by the White House’s rhetoric, maybe that’s not so clear.

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  • Why Muslims hate Israel?
    (priceless honesty in 1 minute 29 second video from MEMRI TV dot org)

  • “Since the left lost control of Israel,
    it has been hell-bent on destroying it.”
    SOURCE: Israel’s Leftist Losers by Daniel Greenfield, 2015 March 19

    • Pierre Elie Mamou

      acording to Freud, because the fear castration oe they felle like castrated. And maybe for this reason, the califa of th so called islamic state ordered to mutilate genitally 2 millons little girls: it’s happening now when you reed these lines

  • Mickey Oberman

    I do not think there was much of an inversion.

    Obama was always anti Israel and pro Islam.

    He was just waiting for an excuse – any excuse.

    Now he has made one up and has pounced like a wolf on a lamb.

    He may find this lamb has teeth.

  • Obama is not to be trusted and neither is the White House. Putin on the other hand told Iran to shut its mouth and stop telling the world they want to destroy Israel. Obama the puppet of the world banking criminals don’t care about humanity, Israel or any other country. They and their Nazi allies want to murder 7billion people and enslave the other 500miliion.
    One day in the near future they will attack Israel and their armies will be swallowed up by an Earthquake as predicted by the Russian prophet Soloviev.

  • BooBots

    Finally, now that Obama can’t be voted out, he shows his vicious, petty, anti-Israel face. Twenty years under Rev. Wright has borne its toxic fruit.

  • Virginia Apple

    Obama is a muslim. Period. He stated himself that, push come to shove, he would back the muslims. People were still enthralled with him and didn’t listen, or comprehend what he said. Now we believe!

  • steven L

    It is possible that the administration is leaking (unverifiable) FALSE information to break the alliance congress-American citizens and IL.
    Obama being FULLY aware of the fact that a full Palestinian state implies the elimination of Israel, leads to the conclusion that he prefers a Judenrein Palestinian state to a Jewish state with an Arab minority.

  • Alice

    That’s the way things are here in Wonderland.

  • Julian Tepper

    What does one call the friend of one’s enemy?

    Julian Tepper
    Brooklyn, NY

  • art

    can anyone with an iota of intelligence deny that Obama is anti Jew?
    Abbas walks away from Kerry , the iranians call Obama a liar and stupid and Obama says nothing.