Right before Monday’s meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, the two leaders gave perfunctory opening statements to the press.
Due to their famously strained relations, which hit rock bottom when Netanyahu addressed Congress in March, the much-touted tete-a-tete has been leading the news in Israel for reasons beyond the aid package and Palestinians.
To sweeten the pot for Netanyahu detractors gleefully awaiting another Obama hissy fit, a pre-trip scandal erupted over the appointment of Ran Baratz as public diplomacy czar. Netanyahu’s selection of Baratz to fill this role caused an international stir when it emerged that the person about to make Israel’s case to the world had spent years posting very undiplomatic diatribes on Facebook against both U.S. and Israeli officials.
So, when Obama and Netanyahu exchanged pleasantries and spoke a few scripted lines prior to meeting privately, everyone — myself included — was hanging on their every nuance for clues. And leave it to Obama to provide a whopper of a glimpse into the workings of his mind.
Raising the key bone of contention between his administration and Jerusalem, Obama said he and Netanyahu will “have a chance to talk about how implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement is going. It’s no secret that the prime minister and I have had a strong disagreement on this narrow issue, but we don’t have a disagreement on the need to making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, and we don’t have a disagreement about the importance of us blunting destabilizing activities that Iran may be taking place.”
The most revealing thing about this remark culminates in two words: “implementation” and “narrow.”
Indeed, to refer to the Iran deal as a “narrow issue” of disagreement is shocking in and of itself. When the West spends years begging the repressive mullah-led regime in Tehran — backers of global jihad who threaten Israel with extinction — to agree to curb the very program that would seal its status as a power to be reckoned with, the process is already one of capitulation.
Netanyahu’s repeated shouting from the rooftops that a deal under such conditions would be a grave mistake, and Obama’s continued erasure of all “red lines,” made the divide a very wide one.
Far more delusional, however, was Obama’s reference to how the deal’s “implementation is going.” As it happens, Iran never actually approved the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action concluded with the P5+1 powers in Vienna on July 14.
According to an Oct. 30 article by Middle East Media Research Institute President Yigal Carmon titled “The Emperor Has No Clothes” — and a subsequent interview I conducted with him for The Algemeiner — not a single authorized body in the Islamic republic has consented to the terms of the JCPOA.
This, says Carmon, is because it “includes elements that [Supreme Leader of Iran Ali] Khamenei rejects hands down, such as keeping sanctions suspended, rather than lifted, which is like a sword hanging over his head.”
One can debate the significance of this farce, but there is no disputing the fact that Iran is not going to suspend its nuclear weapons program, with or without a document calling itself a deal. That the West is in a weaker position as result of the illusion of an agreement, the signing of which was enough to award Iran massive amounts of money, is clear.
Netanyahu’s recent claim that he and Obama would be “moving forward” now that the deal is done may mean he realizes that it will never actually be implemented. He certainly knows that either way Iran’s centrifuges are furiously spinning, and its hegemonic aims are as fierce as ever. But Obama seems not to be aware that his Iranian partners never even accepted the “historic agreement.”
Biding his time until he leaves office in just over a year, the most poisonous president in American history will leave his successors with a radioactive mess to handle.
When Netanyahu’s Washington visit concludes, after talking with Secretary of State John Kerry about another “narrow issue” — the knife-wielding Palestinians’ “just aspirations” — hopefully he will be returning home with an enhanced defense package. One hopes that part of it will be invested in a military operation against Iran, with the help of a Republican administration at the helm of what used to be known proudly, not ironically, as the free world.
Ruthie Blum is the web editor of The Algemeiner. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.