Pretty much everyone knows by now that the President of the United States went on Israeli TV on Tuesday night and made a total ass of himself. His comments do not seem to have been as well received in Israel as they were when he spoke at Beltway Congregation Adas Israel. There isn’t very much that I can add to the many excellent commentaries already written, but in case you missed one or more, I’ve put together excerpts from some of the better ones.
Here’s John Podhoretz, writing in the New York Post:
[Obama] scoffs at the value of a military strike because he says it would only “temporarily slow down” Iran’s ambition. But that is also entirely true of the deal he’s desperately trying to sell.
Assuming Iran obeys every last jot and tittle of the agreement, which its behavior up to now assures us it would not, Obama himself envisions an Iran gone nuclear 13 years from now. If that’s not “temporary,” then what is?
Look: If your choice is (a) Iran goes nuclear or (b) Iran goes nuclear, then obviously a military option is a bad one and a diplomatic solution is better.
But the president has spent his entire time in office assuring the American people that Iran going nuclear was not a choice at all.
Indeed, David Rutz of the Washington Free Beacon counted 28 separate occasions on which the president has made exactly the vow he made to the Washington, DC, synagogue-goers.
Only now he’s amending it a little bit. Last month, he said Iran wouldn’t go nuclear “on my watch.” Of course, his “watch” ends in 18 months. So long, suckers! Après Obama, le déluge.
Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary:
Obama’s focus on Israel’s lack of enthusiasm for more territorial withdrawals must be considered to border on an obsession. The Palestinians have shown no interest in negotiating with Israel on any terms and still won’t recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. As Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah reiterated in an interview this past weekend in the Washington Post, the PA is solely interested in making an end-run around U.S.-led negotiations and getting the international community to recognize Palestinian independence without requiring them to make peace with Israel first.
After repeated Palestinian rejections of peace offers that included statehood and control of almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem, and more terrorism, support for the peace process among the Israeli people evaporated. Though most would back a two-state solution if it led to real peace, they understand that the PA leadership in the West Bank can’t make peace even if it wanted to and the Hamas rulers of Gaza only want war to the death.
Under the circumstances, quibbling about what Prime Minister Netanyahu says about two states is irrelevant to the problems of a region rightly more about the threat from an Iran that is being boosted by Obama than Israel’s failure to make another futile peace offer. Yet, Obama continues to have hardly a word of criticism for a Palestinian political culture promoted by the PA that glorifies death and terrorism while claiming to be disappointed in an Israel that isn’t living up to his expectations. In the interview, he continued to implicitly compare the Palestinian struggle to wipe Israel off the map to the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Contrary to Obama’s specious charge, Israel hasn’t succumbed to “the politics of fear” but has instead embraced the politics of realism. Thus, the point isn’t so much that Obama’s view of the conflict continues to tilt in the direction of the Palestinians as he is completely disconnected from the reality on the ground that Israelis must confront.
The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz:
Have you truly internalized the fact that five years ago, Israel was contemplating relinquishing the Golan Heights, the high strategic ground, for a peace deal with Bashar Assad. Where would that have left us now? Utterly vulnerable to the brutal spillover of anarchic violence across that border.
Have you really, truly internalized that Israel left southern Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005, to the applause and reassurance of the international community, only to see the vicious terrorist armies of Hezbollah and Hamas fill the respective vacuums? Have you really, honestly, utterly internalized that Hamas booted out the forces of the relatively moderate Mahmoud Abbas from Gaza in a matter of hours in 2007, and that there is every reason to believe that Hamas would seek to do the same in the West Bank were Israel to do as you wish, and pull out? And Hamas in the West Bank would entirely paralyze this country. A single Hamas rocket that landed a mile from the airport last summer prompted two-thirds of foreign airlines to stop flying to Israel for a day and a half — including all the major US airlines. A single rocket. Hamas rule in the West Bank would close down our entire country.
Finally, in this facebook post, Melanie Phillips asks, “Which is worse – that Obama is a cynical, malevolent politician who in his arrogance knowingly plays fast and loose with reality because he doesn’t care if anyone notices; or that he actually believes these lethal imbecilities?”
After all of that, I have just one small point to add. It’s a point the importance of which pales in comparison to his confirming what everyone already knew, that he will never use military force to stop Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb, or to his complete and utter disconnect from recent history of Israeli-Palestinian relations. I think it is worth noting, though, because it is part of Obama’s ongoing efforts to scapegoat Netanyahu for the toxic atmosphere that Obama himself has created. It illustrates, moreover, just how deceptive Obama is being.
According to the Times of Israel report on the interview, Obama still can’t stop harping on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress in March (again — obsessive, much?). “If I turned up at the Knesset without checking with the prime minister first, or negotiated with Mr. [Isaac] Herzog [leader of the Israeli opposition], there would be certain protocols breached,” Obama is reported to have said.
There’s just one problem. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu to address Congress, is not the leader of the opposition. The President understands full well that Boehner is the leader of a branch of government that is equal to, not subservient to, the Presidency. Not only does any American high school student who has taken a civics class understand this, let alone a former Constitutional law professor, it is on Obama’s own website. As such, Boehner was well within his rights to extend the invitation, and it would have been not only stupid but insulting for Netanyahu to have declined. Obama is clearly counting on a lack of understanding of the American system in order to deceive the Israeli public, just as he deceived the American public about the Affordable Care Act and attempted to deceive us all about his willingness to use any means necessary to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.