Chickensh*t: Ditching Israel, embracing Iran
On Friday, US Secretary of State John FN Kerry called Prime Minister Netanyahu
to apologize for calling him a chickensh*t
. This is from the first link.
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday phoned Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, and apologized to him in the name of the Obama
administration for the comments made by an anonymous US official who
called the prime minister “a chickenshit.”
One reason behind Kerry's call might have been this scathing editorial
in the Washington Post, which came out shortly after the call.
Ugly jibes between the two governments are not new: Secretary of State
John F. Kerry has been on the receiving end of several from senior
Israeli officials. But the crudeness of this one — Mr. Netanyahu was
called “a chickens---” by someone speaking to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg,
a frequent recipient of high-level White House communications — raised
the question of why the Israeli leader provokes such passionate animus
from an administration that coolly shrugs off insults from the likes of
Some analysts conjecture
that dissing Mr. Netanyahu may be part of the administration’s
groundwork for the deal it hopes to strike with Iran on its nuclear
program this month. The Israeli leader is almost certain to oppose any
accord, just as he denounced the interim arrangement struck last year;
he can be expected to lobby Israel’s allies in Congress to oppose any
lifting of sanctions. The “chickens---” label applied to Mr. Netanyahu,
who served as an elite paratrooper, was linked to an assessment that,
out of caution, he missed Israel’s opportunity to carry out a military
strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Presumably Mr. Obama welcomed
that prudence. But the administration, said the speculators, wanted to signal to both Tehran and Jerusalem that it would not be hesitant to do battle with Mr. Netanyahu over an Iran deal.
Lee Smith says that's exactly why Obama went after Netanyahu
. And it's part of an ongoing pattern.
In other words, the White House is openly boasting that it
bought the Iranians enough time to get across the finish line. Obama
has insisted for five years that his policy is to prevent a nuclear Iran
from emerging. In reality, his policy all along was to deter Israel
from striking Iranian nuclear facilities. The way Obama sees it, an
Iranian bomb may not be desirable, but it’s clearly preferable to an
Israeli attack. Not only would an Israeli strike unleash a wave of
Iranian terror throughout the region—and perhaps across Europe and the
United States as well—it would also alienate what the White House sees
as a potential partner.
The negotiations with Iran were only the most obvious part
of the administration’s policy of pressuring Israel. The White House
knew the Israelis would have difficulty striking Iranian nuclear
facilities so long as there was a chance of a deal. Jerusalem couldn’t
risk making itself the enemy of peace and an international pariah. All
Netanyahu could do was warn against the bad deal Obama was intent on
The White House used plenty of other tools to pressure
Jerusalem. For instance, leaks. Virtually every time Israel struck an
Iranian arms depot in Syria or a convoy destined for Hezbollah, an
administration official leaked it to the press. The White House
understood that publicizing these strikes would embarrass Bashar
al-Assad or Hassan Nasrallah and thereby push them to retaliate against
Israel. That was the point of the leaks: to keep Israel tentative and
afraid of taking matters into its own hands.
Another instrument of pressure was military and security
cooperation between Israel and the White House—the strongest and closest
the two countries have ever enjoyed, say Obama advocates. It allowed
administration officials to keep even closer watch on what the Israelis
were up to, while trying to make Jerusalem ever more dependent on the
administration for its own security.
Don’t worry, Obama told Israel: I’ve got your back. I
don’t bluff. The Iranians won’t get a bomb. And besides, the real
problem in the region, the White House said time and again, is Israeli
settlements. It’s the lack of progress between Jerusalem and Ramallah
that destabilizes the region. As John Kerry said recently, the stalled
Arab-Israeli peace process is what gave rise to the Islamic State.
The Post disagrees, but calls on Obama to 're-set' relations with Netanyahu. It's way too late for that. The only chance for a 're-set' of US-Israel relations will be after Obama is gone.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, John Kerry, US-Israel relationship