Obama and Netanyahu: The Long Overdue Goodbye
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US President Barack Obama at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, on the sidelines of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Having just signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the “largest-ever” military-aid package granted to Israel by an American administration, Netanyahu had no choice but to grin and bear it when Obama issued a typical, not-so-veiled threat to the Jewish state.
Though the precise words that were exchanged between the two behind closed doors are not known, Netanyahu was well aware of what to expect ahead of the tete-a-tete — likely, and thankfully, the last he needs to have with the hostile American president. And if he had harbored any illusions about being spared yet another of Obama’s tiresome lectures on the plight of the Palestinians, Obama dispelled them while talking to reporters, just before the meeting.
“There is great danger of terrorism and flare-ups of violence, and we also have concerns about settlement activity,” Obama said, creating moral parity between evil deeds and benign ones. “We want to see how Israel sees the next few years … because we want to make sure that we keep alive this possibility of a stable, secure Israel at peace with its neighbors, and a Palestinian homeland that meets the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
What Obama meant to say — and surely did iterate behind closed doors — was that Israelis living in any areas that the Palestinian Authority wants cleansed of Jews are the cause of the stabbing attacks, shootings, car-rammings, Molotov cocktail-throwing and bombings to which they have been subjected for decades. And now that he has given them a pile of money with which to protect themselves over the next decade, Netanyahu had better start capitulating to any and every Palestinian demand. You know, just as Obama did last year with the mullah-led regime in Tehran.
Netanyahu, too, spoke in code prior to the meeting. “The greatest challenge is, of course, the unremitting fanaticism,” he said. “The greatest opportunity is to advance peace. That’s a goal that I and the people of Israel will never give up on. We’ve been fortunate that in pursuing these two tasks, Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America.”
Netanyahu was actually conveying that Israel — a liberal democracy like America — has never been at fault for its enemies’ extremism. The trouble with this assertion is that Obama believes the United States is just as much to blame for the wrath of those bent on its destruction as Israel.
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, a senior US official said that during the meeting, Obama raised “profound concerns about the corrosive effect that settlement activity, which continues as the occupation enters its 50th year, is having on the prospect of a two-state solution.”
An Israeli official indicated that this was not the key topic of conversation. But, he hinted, Netanyahu did repeat what he has been telling Obama for years — that the real problem is the refusal on the part of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state, regardless of its borders.
What Netanyahu might have pointed out to the US president is that the Islamic terrorist attacks that took place over the weekend in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey were no different in nature from those perpetrated by Arabs against Israelis. And “settlement activity” in the West Bank had nothing whatsoever to do with them or the other assaults committed by radical Muslims around the world, including in places where nary a Jew can be found.
But he probably didn’t bring this up, figuring it would fall on deaf ears.
There almost certainly was a deafening silence during the chat surrounding the 10-year period covered by the defense aid package to Israel, which ends just around the time the nuclear deal with Iran expires. The coincidence is one that Netanyahu could not afford, literally or figuratively, to underscore. Instead, he thanked Obama for the monetary assistance and bid him farewell, muttering on behalf of all of us a heartfelt “good riddance” under his breath.
Let us hope and pray he puts the cash, which Israel needs now more than ever, to good use.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.