Barack Obama wants us all to simmer down about Iran. He wants Senator Bob Menendez, a fellow Democrat, and the donors he represents to butt out of the sanctions debate. He wants Republicans to quit crying wolf about Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He wants the media to stop hyping terror threats. He wants the American people in the dark about the secret correspondence he’s had for years with Iran’s supreme leader. He wants John Boehner to be mindful of protocol.
Sometimes a speech is just a speech. Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech about Iran policy on March 3 will not be his first address to Congress. It will make familiar, if important, arguments. One might assume that, like the vast majority of speeches, it would soon be overtaken by events in Israel and the United States and the world.
The crisis between the United States and Israel has been manufactured by the Obama administration. Building a crisis up or down is well within the administration’s power, and it has chosen to build it up. Why? Three reasons: to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.
MNSBC's Morning Joe reported this morning that President Bill Clinton hosted an Israeli prime minister, Shimon Peres, in his election against Benjamin Netanyahu. President Obama is refusing to meet with Netanyahu next week because, he says, it's too close to Israel's election day.
Last week, outgoing chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces Benny Gantz told an American audience that it’s important the international community defeat both camps of regional extremists. The way Gantz sees it, on one side there are Sunni radicals, like the Islamic State, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Nusra Front, an al Qaeda affiliate. On the Shiite side are Iran and the Revolutionary Guards expeditionary unit, the Quds Force, as well as Hezbollah and Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militias.
More than three-quarters of likely voters say negotiations with Iran should have the goal of stopping the regime in Tehran from ever getting nuclear weapons capability. According to a new poll from Republican pollster John McLaughlin, likely voters were asked about the United States's current "secret negotiations" with Iran.
Georgia's new Republican senator David Perdue took his first foreign trip as a member of Congress to Israel. Perdue, the former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, met with Benjamin Netanyahu and appeared in a video statement with the Israeli prime minister. The Republican said he made his first trip as a sitting senator to Israel to make a statement about his personal support for the Jewish state, and thanked Netanyahu for his "hospitality."
Around 20 Democratic members of the Virginia house of delegates twice fled the chamber in Richmond earlier this month during a vote on a resolution supporting the state of Israel. The video below shows the house holding its vote on February 5. The resolution passed 70 to 2, despite there being 100 delegates seated. A few moments later, Republican member Jackson Miller asks for a second vote to be held on the resolution.
Benjamin Netanyahu is not the first Israeli prime minister to find himself at odds with Washington. In fact, several prime ministers from the Labor Party, Netanyahu's traditional rival, have suffered the wrath of an angry American president.
David Axelrod is the man who, more than any other, could be called Barack Obama’s brain (though Axelrod would be publicly horrified by the honorific, and would hasten to assure Valerie Jarrett that he has never been in communication with the editors of this magazine). In his new book, Axelrod describes a moment late in Obama’s first term where Obama acknowledges having a “Bulworth” list of “issues on which he felt he had been insufficiently forthright,” but about which he would be more candid in his second term.