Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mi) confirms Netanyahu-Shapiro shouting matchHouse Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mi) has confirmed that a shouting match took place between Prime Minister Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro at a meeting at which Rogers was present (Hat Tip: JPost).
Rogers description of the meeting directly contradicts repeated Administration assertions that there is "no daylight" on the Iran issue with the Israeli government. Shortly after the meeting took place, Israeli press reports appeared suggesting that Netanyahu and Shapiro had engaged in an argument, but Shapiro soon dismissed those reports, calling them "silly" and saying, "The published account of that meeting did not reflect what actually occurred in the meeting. The conversations were entirely friendly and professional."So now we can add Dan Shapiro to the list of Democratic liars.
Rogers, speaking to WJR radio host Frank Beckmann, painted a very different picture. He said the meeting, originally scheduled to be a discussion of intelligence and technical issues between himself and the prime minister, spun out of control when Netanyahu began lambasting Shapiro over the Administration's Iran policy. When Beckmann asked Rogers to describe the tenor of the meeting, he said: "Very tense. Some very sharp... exchanges and it was very, very clear the Israelis had lost their patience with the (Obama) Administration." He went on, "There was no doubt. You could not walk out of that meeting and think that they had not lost their patience with this Administration."
Rogers said Israeli frustration grows from what they see -- and he sees -- as a refusal by the Obama Administration to outline an endgame: "(I)t was very clear the overarching policy has been frustrating mainly because I think it's not very clear. What we walked out of that meeting knowing is that the Administration was trying to defend itself." By the end, he said, there was a "sharp exchange between the Administration's representative there, our ambassador there, and Mr. Netanyahu, which was unusual to say the least, but I thought at the end of the day maybe productive."
Beckmann then asked: "Is it inaccurate to say it was a shouting match?" Rogers answered: "can say that there were elevated concerns on behalf of the Israelis." When asked if he had "ever seen that sort of thing before," Rogers answered: "No not that directly. We've had sharp exchanges with other heads of state and in intelligence services and other things, but nothing at that level that I've seen in all my time where people were clearly that agitated, clearly that worked up about a particular issue where there was a very sharp exchange."
And Rogers had harsh words for the Administration, which he says has made it very clear to the Israelis what they shouldn't do, but hasn't delivered a message to the Iranians with the same clarity: "There's a lot of pieces in play on this. But I think again, their frustration is that the Administration hasn't made it very clea -- they've made it very clear to Israel in a public way that they shouldn't do it, but haven't made it very clear to Iran in a public way that there will be tougher action, which could include -- and I argue peace through strength, so you just need to let them understand that that's an option so we can deter them from their program. And right now the Israelis don't' believe that the Administration is serious when they say that all options are on the table, and more importantly neither do the Iranians. That's why the program is progressing."
PART II: When asked by Beckmann at what he believes the Israelis willl say "enough is enough," Rogers answered: "Certainly when you walk out of that meeting you get the feeling that they are finally at wits' end, and that's what concerned me about the meeting."
He went on, "I will say that as a part of their decision point or data point when they go through the process of should we or shouldn't we, it was clear that our American elections have worked its way into one of those data points. I thought, well, maybe that hedges their response until maybe after the election. But what I got out of that, walking out of that, wa,s yeah they're considering it, but at this point they're very frustrated because they don't' know what happens after the election, and their window for impacting the program they believe is starting to close."
The Israelis are upset because that dash question seems to be shortening and they already believe they have enough enrichment for more than one nuclear bomb. That's why their anxiety is high and the United States position isn't all that clear." Beckmann then asked Rogers how close the Israelis believe that dash period to be. Rogers: "The Israelis believe it's short. I mean, Netanyahu made it very clear he thought it was a matter of weeks. If they decide to do the dash it could be four weeks to eight weeks, which is a month or two months. Our intelligence analysts believe it would be a little longer than that. But the problem is, nobody really knows for sure. But we do know, and I think everyone agrees, including, you know, our European intelligence allies and other things that they are clearly marching down this road."
By the way, you will recall that Goldberg wrote a long piece in the Atlantic a year and a half ago arguing that Israel would attack Iran. Hmmm.