In a statement today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran.
"Yesterday an Iranian general brazenly declared and I quote: 'Israel's destruction is non-negotiable', but evidently giving Iran's murderous regime a clear path to the bomb is negotiable. This is unconscionable. I agree with those who have said that Iran's claim that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes doesn't square with Iran's insistence on keeping underground nuclear facilities, advanced centrifuges and a heavy water reactor. Nor does it square with Iran's insistence on developing ICBMs and its refusal to come clean with the IAEA on its past weaponization efforts. At the same time, Iran is accelerating its campaign of terror, subjugation and conquest throughout the region, most recently in Yemen," Netanyahu's statement reads.
"The concessions offered to Iran in Lausanne would ensure a bad deal that would endanger Israel, the Middle East and the peace of the world. Now is the time for the international community to insist on a better deal. A better deal would significantly roll back Iran's nuclear infrastructure. A better deal would link the eventual lifting of the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program to a change in Iran's behavior. Iran must stop its aggression in the region, stop its terrorism throughout the world and stop its threats to annihilate Israel. That should be non-negotiable and that's the deal that the world powers must insist upon."
On Tuesday I spent some time with the reelected prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. I think he was happy to take a short break from his Herculean labors of putting together a government and dealing with controversies galore. So we engaged in some small talk and exchanged compliments and stories about our parents. I particularly enjoyed his fascinating account of his father’s work with the great Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the last year of Jabotinsky’s life, and his father’s subsequent efforts to rally support in the United States during World War II for European Jewry and for the creation of the state of Israel. His failure on the first front and his success in the second is a useful reminder of the extent to which, in politics, tragedy and triumph are not alternatives but cousins.
Speaking of triumphs, I did of course congratulate the prime minister on his reelection victory. But he had no interest in dwelling on that, and, indeed, his manner was in no way triumphalist or even exuberant. The prime minister was sober, and he was alarmed.
The main cause of his alarm wasn’t the host of attacks that have recently been launched against Israel by the administration in Washington. He simply expressed confidence in the underlying strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship and refused to engage, even in this private setting, in any reciprocal attacks on his American counterparts.
No, what alarmed the prime minister was Iran. The progress of the Iranian regime toward nuclear weapons is the threat, as he sees it, to the well-being of Israel, the overall success of American foreign policy, and any hopes for peace and stability in the Middle East. The nuclear arms deal the Obama administration seeks with Iran would secure Iran’s path to nuclear weapons capability and would strengthen a regime that not only proclaims death to Israel and death to America but shows by its behavior that it means both statements. And this is to say nothing of the likelihood of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East to follow.
The prime minister made his points without hyperbole or bravado. None of them was new, as he himself stressed. After all, he has been as clear and outspoken as anyone could be about the threat of a bad deal, including in his remarks earlier this month to the United States Congress. His private arguments very much reflected his public ones, and the arguments other critics of the deal have been making. Indeed, on a couple of occasions the prime minister interrupted himself to say, “but of course you understand this point, you’ve published these arguments.” And so we and others have. It’s not as if scholars at the American Enterprise Institute and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Council on Foreign Relations and the Hudson Institute—to say nothing of senators and congressmen and former secretaries of state—haven’t explained that we are heading towards a bad deal with a bad regime.
During President Obama's tenure, religious Americans have been increasingly marginalized by an administration that can be intolerant or at least unaccomodating of beliefs that conflict with its policies, regulations, or legislative goals. Perhaps most notably, President Obama campaigned by expressing support for traditional marriage, more than once citing his Christianity as the basis for his position, a position he later "evolved" away from. This has not stopped the president, however, from invoking scripture in support of other items on his agenda.
An Iranian journalist writing about the nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran has defected. In an interview Amir Hossein Motaghi, has some harsh words for his native Iran. He also has a damning indictment of America's role in the nuclear negotiations.
On February 12, the Pentagon quietly declassified a top-secret 386-page Department of Defense document from 1987 detailing Israel's nuclear program – the first time Israel’s alleged nuclear program has ever been officially and publically referenced by the U.S. authorities.
Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier held captive in Afghanistan by Taliban-affiliated terrorists for nearly five years, will be charged with desertion. Bergdahl was returned to the United States last year in exchange for five Taliban commanders being held at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Raf Sanchez at the Telegraph reports on Twitter:
BREAKING: Bergdahl's lawyer says he's being charged w/ desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy. Says 'premature' to say how he'll plea
In an interview this evening on Fox News, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not promise that Americans would get to see the details of a nuclear deal with Iran before it's "signed, sealed, delivered."
The Wall Street Journal editorial board greets the announcement of Ted Cruz’s presidential candidacy by taking the Texas senator to task for, of all things, being too much like President Obama. The Journal notes that both men decided to launch a White House run as a 40-something first-term senator without executive experience and with some background in constitutional law (Cruz as a prominent constitutional lawyer who frequently won cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, Obama as a part-time law school instructor). The larger point of the piece, however, is to question whether Cruz could win or could govern if he did, and the comparison with Obama doesn’t help make the Journal’s case.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal released a statement Tuesday blasting President Obama as an "inept commander in chief. Jindal, who may run for the GOP nomination for president, criticized Obama's willingness to dismiss the Iranian supreme leader's "death to America" exhortations as "political rhetoric" while publicly criticizing the campaign rhetoric of Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
A spokeswoman for former Florida governor Jeb Bush says the possible Republican presidential candidate "disagrees" with one of his foreign policy advisers who spoke at a left-wing anti-Israel group this week.