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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bibi 'botched the relationship with Clinton'?

Ben Smith repeats what has become a mantra in the United States and in certain circles in Israel.
In today's briefing, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Secretary Clinton had chided the Israeli prime minister:
Secretary Clinton also spoke this morning with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to reiterate the United States’ strong objections to Tuesday’s announcement, not just in terms of timing, but also in its substance; to make clear that the United States considers the announcement a deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship — and counter to the spirit of the Vice President’s trip; and to reinforce that this action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process, and in America’s interests. The Secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States’ strong commitment to Israel’s security. And she made clear that the Israeli Government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process.
Netanyahu's first premiership foundered amid the impression that, among other things, he'd botched the relationship with Clinton, and this is a political shot across his bow.
Except that what Smith and others forget is what Bibi remembers: His premiership fell because the parties on the Right who put him in power were angry at him for the concessions that he made to Clinton at Wye. While it's true that once Bibi was 'in play' Clinton did everything he could to defeat him (including sending James Carville to advise Ehud Barak), Bibi wasn't brought down by the Left. He was brought down by the Right.

If anything, the Right today is much stronger than it was in 1999. Tempered by the 'second intifada' and by the results of the Gaza expulsion, much fewer Israeli Jews believe in the 'peace process' today than believed in it in 1999. The Right has gotten stronger. Bibi is under threat within his own party from Moshe Feiglin, who is well to his Right. The Left here is reeling.

Additionally, Clinton was a very popular President here. People saw him as being very much on our side (even though he wasn't, but that's a separate story). Obama is viewed here with hostility and venom. 4%! 4%! Need I say more? Bibi scored points here last year when he stood up to Obama on building in 'east' Jerusalem. And while no one in Israel was very happy with the way the Ramat Shlomo announcement played out this past week, you will also notice that there is no indication that the approval for the housing units there will be canceled.

So if you're looking for Netanyahu's government to fold because he has problems getting along with Obama, I'd say it's unlikely. Bibi is far more likely to get into hot water by cowering to Obama.


At 8:30 AM, Blogger Lawrence said...

too few are pointing out the obvious, this is a Jew-hate administration by the very fact that it is all upset tha the Jooooos are building homes in the Jewish capital in the Jewish state, while Iran steps ever closer to the bomb. It needs to be said loud and clear, the Obama admin is a Jew-hate admin and they are clueless. Bibi needs to say this, you may say we can't afford the political fall-out, truth is we can't afford not to. America is not an ally, thinking that this nation that stabs us in the back while saying they are our friends (and they have always been like this) is going to finish us. Let us have the courage to call the Obama admin the stupid know-nothing Jew-haters that they are, whatever the costs. The costs of not doing so will be even greater.

And let us not forget 80% of American Jews voted for Jew-haters, this is not only a travesty, but we have let them get away with it by not telling them loud and clear all the time that they are very very stupid and don't have a clue, and that they have betrayed us.

We have our backs against the wall, we have no friends, not America and not American Jews. Bibi does not seem to understand and most Israelis don't understand, we have nothing to lose by speaking truth to power. Very very few (even Jews who get the realities of the Middle-East) realise how desperate our situation is.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Great post, here is a more concise overview though: http://albawaba.com/en/news/262656

At 3:41 AM, Blogger cindy said...

LAWRENCE--You DO have friends in the US. (See article on Christian zionists in today's Post). I agree that Obama is no friend of Israel (or the US, for that matter-he seems to despise our country as much as he does yours);but what I don't understand is how the liberal Jewish bloc in the US supports him zealously, and voted for him almost unanimously. This I just don't get.


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