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August 12, 2015 5:52 pm

Dershowitz: Netanyahu Emulates Churchill in Trying to Influence US Policy to Protect His People

avatar by Alan Dershowitz

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President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House, on September 30, 2013. Photo: Screenshot.

President Obama is acting improperly in accusing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu of interfering in American foreign policy, Dershowitz argues. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is acting properly in lobbying against the Iran deal. And President Obama is acting improperly in accusing him of interfering in American foreign policy and suggesting that no other foreign leader has ever tried to do so: “I do not recall a similar example.”

President Obama is as wrong about American history as he is about policy. Many foreign leaders have tried to influence U.S. foreign policy when their national interests are involved. Lafayette tried to get the United States involved in the French Revolution, as the early colonists sought support from France in their own revolution. Winston Churchill appeared in front of Congress and lobbied heavily to have America change its isolationist policy during the run up to the Second World War. Nor can President Obama claim ignorance about recent events, when he himself sent David Cameron, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, to lobby Congress in favor of the Iran deal. Recently, Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, lobbied us with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s nation has a far greater stake in the Iran deal than most of the countries that negotiated it. But Israel was excluded from the negotiations. Any leader of Israel would and should try to exercise whatever influence he might have in the ongoing debate over the deal.  

There can be no question that Israel is the primary intended target of Iran’s quest for a nuclear arsenal. Recall that Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former prime minister of Iran, has described Israel as a one bomb state that could be destroyed instantaneously, and that even if Israel retaliated, it would not destroy Iran or Islam. No similar threats have been made against Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia or China. Although the United States is still regarded by Iran as the “Great Satan,” it has less to fear from an Iranian nuclear arsenal than does Israel.

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Does President Obama really believe that Israeli leaders are required to remain silent and simply accept the consequences of a deal that puts its population at risk? As Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly said, Israel is not Czechoslovakia, Czechoslovakia too was excluded from the negotiations that led to its dismemberment, but it had no ability to influence the policies of the negotiating nations. Nor did it have the ability to defend itself militarily, as Israel does.

The United States would surely not accept a deal negotiated by other nations that put its citizens at risk. No American leader would remain silent in the face of such a deal. Israel has every right to express its concern about a deal that has crossed not only its own red lines but the red lines originally proposed by President Obama.

President Obama’s attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu for doing exactly what he would be doing if the shoe were on the other foot has encouraged Israel bashers to accuse opponents of the deal of dual loyalty. Nothing could be further from the truth. I and the deal’s other opponents are as loyal to our country as is President Obama and the supporters of the deal. I am a liberal Democrat who opposed the invasion of Iraq and who twice supported President Obama when he ran for president. Many of the deal’s strongest opponents also cannot be accused of being warmongers because we believe that the deal actually increases the likelihood of war.

The President should stop attacking both the domestic and international critics of the deal and engage us on the merits. That is why I have issued a challenge to the Obama administration to debate its critics on national television. This is a wonderful occasion for Lincoln-Douglas type debates over this important foreign policy issue. At this point in time the majority of Americans are against the deal, as are the majority of both Houses of Congress. The President has the burden of changing the public’s mind. This is, after all, a democracy. And the President should not be empowered to impose his will on the American public based on one-third plus one of one house of Congress, when a majority of Americans have expressed opposition. So let the name calling stop and let the debates begin.  

*Dershowitz is a lawyer, constitutional scholar, commentator and author. His new book is The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran From Getting Nukes? (Rosetta Books, August 11, 2015).

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  • Stuart Karu

    The President has been against Israel from the beginning when, out of ignorance or anti-Israel sentiment, he wanted Palestinian negotiations to begin at the 1967 borders. The President has surrounded himself with light weights. Name one member of his staff who is an accomplished diplomat. Mediocre leaders are afraid to have quality people around them. Obama hates Netanyahu because Netanyahu challenges him and weak leaders hate to be challenged. Obama is a pathological liar. He has lied about Obamacare, about 247 inspection and now characterizes every one who disagrees with hin by saying the only alternative is war. I’ve never heard anyone say war was the alternative. Obama couldn’t care less what the American people want. This is to be the legacy of a man whose self interest is more important than our interest. I’ll never understand how any Jew could vote for Obama supporters or give them financial help.

  • Henryk B Zaleski

    I could not agree more, Prime Minister Netanyahu has to ensure that Israel lives while President Obama is convinced that Islam is a peaceful religion and lays the ills of the world on the entire Judea-Christian foundation and peoples. How wrong can one be is beyond comprehension. The story of how one man with power can nearly destroy a way of life goes on. It is scary but we have the US Congress and majority of USA population against the Iran deal while Obama’s clock towards end of this madness keeps on going in the right direction.

  • OBAMA is just like concrete: “ALL MIXED UP AND PERMANENTLY SET”!!!!
    He is just like an Ostrich: His head is buried in the sand!!!
    He only looks after the Muslims world interests, which is to eliminate all the Infidels and then he will be written the books of History that he is the one who paved the way!!!
    KILL THE DEAL!!!!

  • Joseph Feld

    Sir Winston Churchill did his best to influence American foreign policy, to the extent that he brought the King and Queen of Britain to the USA and Canada. Churchill himself addressed both Houses of Congress. One of Obama’s first acts in the White House was to remove the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office. Obama may be having his Woodrow Wilson moment. Wilson fought for the League of Nations, only to have Congress vote against joining.

  • ted

    Once Iran has nuclear weapons it will have the world by the throat No one will risk a nuclear war to attack her
    By pushing this deal Obama is a conspirator in this Iranian hegemony That is a fact

  • Mr Obama seems singularly ill-read on history.

    • What do you mean ill read?
      He is the serpent Medusa remaking history before your eyes, the executor of the New World Order, or so he must think.

  • Robert.Weintraub

    Israel is severely handicapped in making its case in the United States in view of the strong support given by Jews
    to Obama and the Democratic Party. Polls show more American Jews oppose Netanyahu than support him. The president feels he can pressure Israel and still retain the loyal support of the majority of American Jews.

    All this is reminiscent of FDR’s failure to support the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust. FDR found he could ignore the massacre of Jews in Europe and still retain the support of 90% of the American Jewish population.

    It is probably too late to defeat the promised Obama veto of the resolution denouncing the Iran agreement. Thirteen Democratic Senators are needed for the override. So far only Menendez and Schumer have announced their support for opposing the agreement. Among Jewish Senators three Sanders, Boxer and Feinstein are supporting the President while the rest have not yet spoken.

  • C.S. Goldstein

    The historical record, also, shows, time and again, when a leader, or tyrant, or dictator, blames the Jews for disloyalty, or an economic downturn, or societal ills,
    soon after murdering the Jews to eradicate the problems follows. Obama must turn this around, immediately, and, yes, apologize. The Jews did not negotiate this agreement
    on behalf of republic. Obama, Sherman, Kerry, and Munis did. Kerry reportedly secretly met with the Iranians in 2013, I believe, telling Iran it could work on their nuclear program. It was a secret meeting as have been all of those meetings for two years prior to the public knowing.
    One more question remains unanswered. Why would Obama sign an agreement
    that imperils the US- our country-for which he is responsible for protecting and defending ?

  • C.S. Goldstein

    The historical record, also, shows, time and again, when a leader, or tyrant, or dictator, blames the Jews for disloyalty, or an economic downturn, or societal ills,
    soon after murdering the Jews to eradicate the problems follows. Obama must turn this around, immediately, and, yes, apologize. The Jews did not negotiate this agreement
    on behalf of republic. Obama, Sherman, Kerry, and Munis did. Kerry reportedly secretly met with the Iranians in 2013, I believe, that it could work on their nuclear program. It was a secret meeting as have been all of those meetings for two years prior to the public knowing.
    One more question remains unanswered. Why would Obama sign an agreement
    that imperils the US- our country-for which he is responsible for protecting and defending ?

  • After the promotion of yoga in the united nations now it advocates mass suicide to the jews as Gandhi advocated the jews during the HItlers holocaust

  • Michael Mayben

    As usual Obama tells lies that fit his agenda and not what history has recorded. Obama will go down in the history of America as the biggest disappointment and embarrassment as American’s first Black president.

  • Dr Jack Zeller

    The imperial Presidency which is growing cancer to american democracy and the balance of powers is the underlying problem. The Supreme Court, political parties, and a Congress, so disabled that it can’t read or understand legislation before votes, makes a bad situation worse.
    Name calling by either Trump or Obama is more the same than different. As long as the voting public tolerates the demise of debate and democracy, the future is uncertain.

  • Please add my e-mail adress to my reply :

    holtrophans@gmail.com

  • Dear Mr. Dershowitz,

    The marxist muslim Barak Hoesseini Obama is a radical muslim.
    With a radical muslim agenda.
    And on that agenda there’s no place for Jewish Israel…
    10 Tisjri 5776 (wednesday september 23, 2015) Yom Kipur,
    the black (Jesuïte) Pope from Rome will visit the White House.
    On Rome’s agenda there’s also no place for Jewish Israel…

    If there’ll be in Congress a two/third majority against his Iran-deal, then loomes Martial Law.
    You heard Mr. Obama saying : he’ll do everything to pass his Iran-deal.
    What’s going on with “Jade Helm” in America ?
    Home Security with an army inside America ?
    Working together with local authorities ?
    FEMA-concentration camps ?

    Yours,

    Berachot,

    Hans Holtrop MSc, publicist
    Born in The Hague, The Netherlands, November 28, 1941

  • You have no credibility, Alan. You voted for Obama twice. You reap what you sow Alan. You voted for him twice even though he spent his life surrender by antisemitic vermin. He is your guy Alan.

    • Wow that Nebbisj Dershowitz, some kahones he has. Apparently he has now studied which way the (Harvard) wind blows!
      Nice try Alan but alas NO CREDIBILITY ANY MORE

  • Sara Springer

    Dershowitz wants Obama to participate in a Lincoln-Douglas debate over the Iran deal? He is suppose to be a smart man yet he voted for Obama TWICE and now he wants Obama to debate a deal that Obama has been working on since he entered office along with Valerie Jarrett. Remember how he let the student revolt die without even a word of encouragement? Obama didn’t negotiate with Iran. He is in cahoots with Iran. For all his brilliance Dershowitz didn’t know who Obama was or his true intentions. His support for Obama through two elections is unforgivable. If it wasn’t so serious his desire for a debate would be laughable. It’s actually an embarrassment.

  • yitzchok lebovics

    Prof. Dershowitz is a calm, knowledgeable and wise commentator but his neshama knows where to draw the line. Bravo!

  • Bravo to the law professor. Obama is supposed to be a student of history – what revisionist texts is he reading.

    His condescending and arrogant treatment of the leader of another democracy is shameful. And if this deal his week-kneed Sec’y of State negotiated is so great, why are the attacks from the administration directed against the messengers, not the message? Ad hominen and derogatory personal attacks should be beneath the leader of the USA – unless he has no defense of what he has ‘accomplished”

  • Richard L. Wahl

    I agree with the author. Mr. Netanyahu has the absolute right to lobby for his people Israeal. If other countries can lobby Congress why not Israel. Israel should never been excluded from the Iran negotions. They have the most to lose if the treaty goes through. Mr. Obama’s big is problem has been talking to the American people.

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