Author Topic: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one  (Read 14122 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2015, 03:38:13 pm »
Netanyahu’s Visit Bringing Uninvited Problems for Jewish Democrats
By JONATHAN WEISMANMARCH 1, 2015

WASHINGTON — Speaker John A. Boehner’s unilateral invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to address Congress on Tuesday has turned a foreign policy issue that has had near unanimous support in both parties — Israel — into a bruising political showdown.

And nowhere has that transformation been more wrenching than among Jewish members of Congress — all but one of them Democratic — who seem to reflect the dismay of the nation’s larger Jewish community over the House speaker’s action.

“I went out to play golf — I never play golf — with three of my Jewish buddies,” recalled Representative Alan Lowenthal, a Jewish Democrat from Southern California who only this weekend decided he will attend Mr. Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress. “One said, ‘You must go,’ one said, ‘You definitely should not go,’ and one said, ‘I’m in the middle.’ That literally reflects the American Jewish community.”

Through foreign policy trials as difficult as the wars in Gaza and Lebanon, Israeli settlement policies, Arab terrorism, and the repeated failures of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Jews in Congress — and to a large extent, Jews in the United States — have spoken in a near-monolithic voice, always in support of the government of Israel.

But the Boehner-Netanyahu alliance has done something that larger foreign policy crises have not: It has led to the open distinction between support for the State of Israel and allegiance to politicians who lead it.

“It’s a tipping-point moment,” said Rabbi John Rosove, an outspoken liberal and head of Temple Israel of Hollywood. “It’s no longer the Israeli government, right or wrong. The highest form of patriotism and loyalty is to criticize from a place of love.”

Representative John Yarmuth, a Jewish Democrat from Kentucky, foresees the prime minister castigating the foreign policy of President Obama, playing to a raucous, supportive audience that he will not be part of.

Representative Brad Sherman, a Jewish Democrat from California, anticipates the same divisive scene, but he, like most congressional Democrats, will attend.

Mr. Lowenthal warned Sunday that if Mr. Netanyahu “crosses the line” and criticizes the president directly, he will not hesitate to speak out after the speech.

So far, 30 Democrats — four senators and 26 representatives — have said they will not attend the speech. Nearly half are African-Americans, who say they feel deeply that Mr. Netanyahu is disrespecting the president by challenging his foreign policy. But a half-dozen of those Democrats planning to stay away are Jewish, and represent 21 percent of Congress’s Jewish members.

“I stand with Israel, always have stood with Israel, and always will, but this speech is not about Israel,” said Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, who accused the prime minister of politicking in Congress with an eye on Israel’s March 17 election. “Netanyahu is not Israel just like George W. Bush wasn’t America.”

Mr. Boehner — seemingly ready to try to separate Jewish voters from the Democratic Party they have long favored — remains resolute about his decision. He is also open about his hope that Mr. Netanyahu’s address will undermine the Obama administration’s efforts to negotiate an accord with Iran that halts that nation’s nuclear program.

“What I do wonder is why the White House feels threatened because the Congress wants to support Israel and wants to hear what a trusted ally has to say,” Mr. Boehner said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And it’s been frankly remarkable to me the extent to which, over the last five or six weeks, the White House has attacked the prime minister.”

Congress’s lone Jewish Republican, freshman Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, sounded what was once a bipartisan sentiment.

“Regardless of whether you are Jewish or not Jewish, Republican or Democrat, if you greatly value having the strongest relationship possible with Israel, welcoming the Israeli prime minister to America with open arms should be something members fully embrace,” he said. “It is an opportunity to let not just the Israeli prime minister know, but the Israeli people know, that America is united in strengthening our relationship with Israel.”

To some Jews in Congress, the rupture has been a long time coming. Mr. Netanyahu’s leaning toward Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election signaled his willingness to align his conservative Likud Party with the Republican Party, yet his government’s support in Congress remained overwhelming and bipartisan.

But to many Democrats, this time Mr. Netanyahu appears to have gone out of his way to alienate them. On Feb. 13, Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, spoke with the Israeli leader, suggesting that he drop his public speech and instead meet in a closed session with both parties to discuss his misgivings about the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program. He told her that he would consider it.

“I haven’t heard from him since,” she said.

Last week, two Senate Democrats, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Dianne Feinstein of California, suggested another private meeting. Again, Mr. Netanyahu declined.

“Israel is our ally. We support the State of Israel, but these kinds of actions, coming here to speak against the president?” said Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois, who will not attend Tuesday’s speech. “There are members who feel they have to choose between John Boehner and Bibi Netanyahu on one hand and President Barack Obama. That is an unfair place to be put in.”

Ms. Feinstein, who is Jewish and one of her party’s leading voices on national security, said Sunday: “There’s a lot of broken crockery. Now the question is how much broken crockery. The country relationship is sure to stand. The people relationship, that’s a different story.”

Still, most Jewish Democrats are quicker to blame the Republican speaker for the controversy than the conservative prime minister.

“Call me naïve, but I think Netanyahu was railroaded here,” Representative Steve Israel, Democrat of New York, said.

Beyond Capitol Hill, the larger Jewish community is equally vexed. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, the pro-Israel lobby that opened its annual policy conference here on Sunday, has pressed Democrats — especially Jewish Democrats — hard to attend, openly worried about the partisanship entering American-Israeli relations.

“As I’m sure everyone knows, the invitation for this speech has been surrounded in controversy which has taken a partisan tone,” an Aipac official wrote in an email urging members to pressure Democrats to attend. “With the hyped news headlines, many of our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle are under significant pressure not to attend the speech from groups who are primarily partisan in nature and see the invitation as an offense to President Obama.”

J Street, which bills itself as the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby, has taken out full-page newspaper advertisements demanding that the speech be postponed.

The Orthodox Union, an umbrella organization for Orthodox Jewry, released a statement urging “all members of Congress and Americans who care deeply about American and global security to respectfully and carefully listen to the unique perspective of the elected leader of our key ally — Israel.”

Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the speech should be canceled.

“For some time, there has been a greater diversity of viewpoints on Israel issues within Israel than within the American Jewish community,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, a Jewish Democrat from California who will attend. “You’re now starting to see more diversity of opinion in the pro-Israel community here.”

To Mr. Israel, the New York Democrat, that is not a positive development. Jewish philanthropic organizations can channel donations from American Jews to nongovernmental organizations in Israel, but United States aid will always be predominantly government to government. Mr. Israel said the last thing Israel — or the Democratic Party — needed was political tension over American aid to Israel.

“When you separate Israel from the policies of its government, it complicates the matter for Congress,” Mr. Israel said.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2015, 03:43:33 pm »
An Israeli Insult

Benjamin Netanyahu is risking U.S.-Israeli relations on partisan politics. It’s revolting and dangerous.

By William Saletan


Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is coming to the United States. On Tuesday, he’ll address a joint session of Congress. Netanyahu wants to rally Americans against President Obama’s plan for a nuclear agreement with Iran. He’s coming here at the unilateral invitation of congressional Republicans, in defiance of warnings from the White House.

Nothing like this has ever happened before. The opposition party is convening a special session of Congress so that a foreign leader, on the floor of our national legislature, can rebuke the foreign policy of our president.

The breach is bad enough. But the story of how it happened, and the hostility and disrespect behind it, are worse. Israel negotiated the speaking engagement with aides to House Speaker John Boehner for at least 13 days without telling the White House. Not until the morning of Jan. 21—a day after the plan was sealed, and two hours before it was announced publicly—did Boehner inform the administration.

Boehner made clear that the invitation’s purpose was to counter Obama’s message and challenge his policies. He cited the president’s State of the Union address, delivered the previous evening. “I did not consult with the White House. The Congress can make this decision on its own,” the speaker declared. “There’s a serious threat that exists in the world. And the president last night kind of papered over it.”

The White House, blindsided, expressed its dismay. “The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there,” said Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest. “So this particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”

Netanyahu was undeterred. On Jan. 22, he announced that he was accepting the invitation. He claimed it had been extended “on behalf of the bipartisan leadership” in Congress.

Republicans are convening a special session of Congress so that a foreign leader can rebuke the foreign policy of our president.
Democrats corrected him. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said they hadn’t been consulted. “It’s out of the ordinary that the speaker would decide that he would be inviting people to a joint session without any bipartisan consultation,” said Pelosi. She added: “I don’t think that’s appropriate, for any country, that the head of state would come here within two weeks of his own election.”

The White House announced that if Netanyahu came, Obama wouldn’t meet with him. “The President will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his planned address to the U.S. Congress,” said a statement from the National Security Council. The State Department added that Secretary of State John Kerry wouldn’t meet with Netanyahu either. The White House noted that Obama opposed legislation—which Boehner and Netanyahu supported—to impose further sanctions on Iran. The statement explained: “The President has been clear about his opposition to Congress passing new legislation on Iran that could undermine our negotiations and divide the international community.”

Netanyahu pushed right back. On Jan. 25, Israel’s Army Radio disclosed new talking points issued by Netanyahu’s party, Likud. The talking points instructed party members to emphasize that Congress could override Obama’s veto of a sanctions bill. This was the prime minister’s objective: to marshal Congress against the president.

Boehner called Netanyahu the perfect man for the job. In interviews with CBS News on Jan. 25 and Fox News on Jan. 28, Boehner said he had invited Netanyahu to highlight threats Obama was ignoring. The speaker was asked whether the Obama administration felt “antipathy” toward Netanyahu. “Of course there is,” he replied. “They don’t even try to hide it.”

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2015, 06:40:39 pm »
OK ... so let me get this straight. The Prime Minister of an ally of the United States, Israel, gets information leading him to believe that a very bad "deal" is about to be struck with the fanatic ideologically-driven Mullahs of Iran (who have sworn to wipe the Prime Minister's country off the map). His people could face complete extermination (every man, woman and child) if the "deal" is as bad as he fears and Iran acquires nuclear weapons.  His government has no sympathetic ears in the most senior levels of the State Department.  His government's contingency plans to militarily strike the Iranian nuclear facilities are openly sabotaged by the American Administration. He is invited by Congress to express his concerns to Congress and the American People and, after the President is informed and does not initially object, accepts the invitation.

Oh ... the shame of it.  :P

If only these partisan tools could bring themselves to look at the substance of what is at stake ... not only for Israel, but for the United States as well.  Because we are literally dealing with life and death on a massive scale.  Not only in the Middle East, but potentially worldwide. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons and long-range missiles or terrorist means of delivery.

That is the real shame.

In case the authors of the above artices are unaware, a lot of the people of Israel are worried sick. For very good reason.

Given what is at stake, the partisan political blathering in the articles above seems, to me, to be inane beyond belief.  To the point that it makes me feel ill.

The only thing I can suggest here is for anyone with half an open mind to listen to what the Prime Minister has to say.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 10:51:50 pm by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2015, 09:39:38 pm »
Ironically, Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech is on March 3rd.  The evening of March 3rd this year is the 13th of Adar.  The day when the Fast of Esther commences.  This fast day commemorates the fast of the Jewish People in Ancient Persia, 2500 years ago, to avert the king's decree that every Jewish man, woman and child be exterminated.  Ancient Persia is, of course, modern Iran.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 10:54:36 am by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2015, 05:40:48 am »
If only these partisan tools could bring themselves to look at the substance of what is at stake ... not only for Israel, but for the United States as well.  Because we are literally dealing with life and death on a massive scale.  Not only in the Middle East, but potentially worldwide. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons and long-range missiles or terrorist means of delivery.

That is the real shame.

In case the authors of the above artices are unaware, a lot of the people of Israel are worried sick. For very good reason.

Given what is at stake, the partisan political blathering in the articles above seems, to me, to be inane beyond belief.  To the point that it makes me feel ill.

The only thing I can suggest here is for anyone with half an open mind to listen to what the Prime Minister has to say.

You left out the Republican congressional leadership who created this situation for partisan reasons. I don't actually blame Netanyahu for accepting the invitation but make no mistake, he is being drawn into US domestic politics.

Today is the day. We'll hear what he has to say.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2015, 07:46:47 am »
A song of ascents by David. Were it not for the Lord who was with us - let Israel declare - were it not for the Lord who was with us when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive in their burning rage against us.  Then the waters would have inundated us, the torrent would have swept over our soul; then the raging waters would have surged over our soul. Blessed is the Lord who did not permit us to be prey to their teeth. Our soul is like a bird which has escaped from the fowler's snare; the snare broke and we escaped. Our help is in the Name of the Lord, the Maker of the heaven and the earth.

Psalm 124

May it be His Will.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2015, 09:29:40 pm »
Americans Rally Around The President As Obama Approval Jumps 5 Points Thanks To Netanyahu

By: Jason Easleymore from Jason Easley
Tuesday, March, 3rd, 2015, 8:00 pm

Since Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived in the U.S., President Obama’s approval rating has increased by 5 points in the Gallup poll.

From February 26-28, President Obama’s approval rating was 44% in the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll. The president’s disapproval rating was 51%. Once Netanyahu’s arrived in the United States, President Obama’s approval rating jumped to 49%, and his disapproval rating fell to 47%.

There were signs that the Republican handling of the Netanyahu invitation was not playing well with many Americans. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released yesterday found that by a margin of 48%-30%, registered voters said that John Boehner should have talked to President Obama before inviting Netanyahu.
 
A February 17, CNN poll found overwhelming opposition to the way that Speaker Boehner handled the invitation. Sixty-three percent of respondents felt that it was a bad move for Boehner to invite Netanyahu without giving Obama a head’s up, and only 52% of Republicans supported Boehner not notifying Obama first before inviting Netanyahu.

The Netanyahu speech has not worked out the way that Republicans had hoped it would. Speaker Boehner invited Netanyahu as a power play that was designed to get congressional Republicans back on track after a disastrous first few months in the majority. It appears that the speech has done the exact opposite.

Instead of making Obama look weak, the Republican behavior has helped to solidify some support behind the president. Bringing in the leader of a foreign country, even one with such broad support as Israel, to attack the President Of The United States doesn’t appear to sit well with many Americans.

The intensity of the Republican dislike of this president will always hold down his poll numbers, but the last thing that Republicans expected when they invited Netanyahu to speak is that his presence in the U.S. would boost the president’s popularity.

The Netanyahu speech is quickly becoming another Republican attempt to humiliate this president that is blowing up in their faces.

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2015, 09:56:31 pm »
More idiotic politics.

"Blowing up in their faces" is an apt metaphor, but not for the reason the myopic author thinks.

As the old saying goes: "Man plans, and God laughs."

I can only hope that there is a Greater Purpose to what is inevitably going to happen.

Hope ... and pray.

Tomorrow is a fast day. 
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 06:00:19 am by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2015, 05:22:17 am »
GUARDIAN:

Israeli papers react to Netanyahu speech with shrugs and cynicism
Warning to US Congress is more about his re-election than about arms control, say some commentators

Israeli opposition figures and columnists reacted to Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress with a combination of shrugs and cynicism. Some suggested it had more served his desire for re-election than for stopping Iran’s nuclear programme.

In his fiery speech on Tuesday, Netanyahu urged Congress to resist an emerging deal to contain Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. “The foremost sponsor of international terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons – and this with full international legitimacy,” he said. “That’s why this deal is so bad: it doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”


Iran nuclear deal 'will be a farewell to arms control', Netanyahu tells Congress
 Read more
Responding to suggestions by Barack Obama that the deal may initially only be in place for the next 10 years, Netanyahu said: “A decade may seem a long time in political world but it’s a blink of an eye in the life of a nation.”

As Netanyahu flew home from Washington, the opposition leader Isaac Herzog derided the Israeli prime minister’s claim to know what was going on in the US-led nuclear negotiations with Iran, accusing him of estranging the world powers involved in the talks and making an Iranian bomb more likely.

“The issue of the Iranian nuclear programme is complicated,” said Herzog. “I also do not have any idea what is going on there, but the prime minister’s policy is driving them to a bomb.

“Over the past two years, all the speeches notwithstanding, Iran has succeeded in becoming a country on the brink of nuclear capabilities. Because, those very leaders of the world powers are no longer listening to the position that he represents and this speech has only exacerbated the estrangement.”

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A number of Israeli columnists in the Hebrew media asked what – despite the standing ovations in Congress and flights of rhetoric – Netanyahu had achieved, with some suggesting that the PM had done serious damage to US-Israeli relations.

Among them was Shlomo Shamir, in the daily tabloid Maariv, who wrote: “Not only will his speech in Congress not slow down or delay the negotiations between the US and Iran, it will accelerate them.

“His performance was also not exactly in keeping with his declaration two days ago, to wit, that he had great respect for the president and the office of the presidency. To heap praise on Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador in Washington, in front of the thousands of listeners, is not exactly an act of respect and admiration towards the White House. Dermer is the figure most despised by the upper-echelon White House staff.”

In an editorial on the speech, the leftwing Haaretz accused Netanyahu of ignoring the greatest threat to Israeli democracy: the continued occupation of Palestinian land.

Even in the rightwing Jerusalem Post, the response was to wonder about the fuss, with the political analyst Herb Keinon opining: “Netanyahu’s speech came and went. The negotiations with Iran will continue. The US-Israel relationship will remain strong. The sun will come up tomorrow.

“The true questions and tests will arise when and if an Israeli prime minister ever finds his back to the wall and feels compelled to do more against Iran’s nuclear programme than ‘just’ address the US Congress.”

Others wondered what the impact of the speech would be on Israel’s elections in two weeks’ time, with some suggesting that it might be short-lived. Perhaps most damning was the assessment of Nahum Barnea, in Yedioth Ahronoth – a mass-circulation daily regarded as largely hostile to Netanyahu – which said he had alienated the very Democrats that Israel would need if it wanted tougher sanctions on Iran.

“Netanyahu’s speech yesterday did not enlist the Democrats, rather it pushed them away: for example, take the reaction of [Democratic House minority leader, Nancy] Pelosi, a prominent supporter of Israel. The conclusion: it was not the Iranian centrifuges that Netanyahu had in mind yesterday, but rather the polling stations in Israel.”

Predicting that the speech would be a flash in the pan, Barnea concluded: “Snow still covers the edges of the sidewalks in Washington. Winter refuses to end. The impression of the speech, it seems, will melt much faster than the snow.”

On Wednesday the US and Iranian foreign ministers began a third day of talks over Iran’s nuclear programme. John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif resumed their discussions in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux, hoping to work out a framework deal by late March.

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2015, 06:11:18 am »
Shocking that a newspaper like the Guardian, historically anti-Israel, would cherry pick quotes from Netanyahu's political opponents and opposition newspapers, and even cherry-pick quotes out of context from other newspapers.  With a focus on politics.

Politics, not substance.

The truly interesting point is that the Guardian article does not substantively challenge anything that Prime Minister Netanyahu said before Congress.

The substance of what is happening and what will happen - is a reason to mourn and this day of fasting and repentence.

Here are two articles that address the substance:

Netanyahu’s speech
Opinion
By JPOST EDITORIAL \
03/03/2015 22:07

Saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the US Congress was well-received would be an understatement. Netanyahu was interrupted dozens of times with applause, many of them standing ovations. The several dozen Democratic lawmakers who decided not to attend were hardly missed. US Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who has not been well, made a special effort to attend.

Congress’s ecstatic reception of the speech was not just a function of Netanyahu’s virtuoso orating – though it was undoubtedly a contributing factor. There is also a deep recognition in Congress that the US and Israel share core values and aspirations and that the two countries stand for the same basic ideals.

A large part of Netanyahu’s speech was a reprise of what have become well-worn criticisms of the nuclear deal with Iran, whose essential contents have become known due to leaks by sources close to the Obama administration and by representatives of the P5+1 countries (the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany). As Netanyahu pointed out, apparently in response to warnings by US President Barack Obama, nothing he was stating was based on classified intelligence information shared in confidence by the US with Israel, but was readily available on Google.

Netanyahu reminded US lawmakers – who belong to what Netanyahu referred to as the world’s most important legislature – why the deal believed being offered to the Islamic Republic is bad.

First and foremost was the sunset clause, which essentially legitimates Iran’s nuclear weapons program within 10 years, with perhaps a five-year phase-out period tacked on. This, rightly noted Netanyahu, might seem like a long time in politics but is the blink of an eye in the lives of nations or for our children.

He also criticized the seeming willingness on the part of P5+1 nations to allow the Iranians to maintain a substantial uranium and plutonium enrichment infrastructure of thousands of centrifuges.

He pointed out that it was wrong not to include in the deal with Iran a ban on the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, whose only purpose is to deliver a payload of nuclear warheads – and do so as far away as America.

But more than voicing criticism of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, which would inevitably lead to nuclear proliferation in the region and most likely war, Netanyahu also provided a vision for moving forward. He did not simply trash the deal and leave no room for negotiations. He held onto the ideal of a peaceful resolution of the conflict via a negotiated deal with Iran.

No country more than Israel has a stake in seeing a peaceful resolution of the conflict with Iran, because Israel would suffer if the situation deteriorates into a military conflagration.

Since sanctions were what brought the Iranians to the bargaining table in the first place, Netanyahu proposed not lifting sanctions until the Iranians stop their aggression.

Indeed, premature lifting of sanctions would actually encourage Iranian aggression. And sanctions can be particularly effective now, as oil prices have fallen to their lowest level in decades.

Only once the Iranians have stopped supporting terrorism around the world from Buenos Aires and Burgas to Baghdad and Beirut; only once they stop threatening the annihilation of Israel; only once they stop demonstrations of aggression against the US like last week’s staged attack on a replica US aircraft carrier can the P5+1 be expected to reduce sanctions.

“If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country,” intoned Netanyahu, “it should begin acting like a normal country,” adding that the alternative to a bad deal with Iran does not have to be war, it can be an even better deal.

Still, while Netanyahu made it clear that Israelis overwhelmingly prefer a negotiated deal through diplomacy and still hold out hope for a peaceful solution, the renewal of Jewish sovereignty after nearly two millennia of longing means that Israel no longer has to rely on others to defend it.

Pointing to Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Eli Wiesel, who was sitting next to Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister noted that the man’s life and work gave new meaning to the words “never again.”

“And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned.... But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.”

Bibi to Congress: Don’t be suckers
by David Suissa
3/3/2015

As I watched from the press gallery in Congress on Tuesday morning as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu let loose with a cry of the heart, one thought kept popping up: If Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is watching this, he must be very, very happy that he’s not negotiating with this former Israeli commando.

In all the talk we’ve been hearing about “unachievable ideals” and “we don’t want another war” and “diplomacy is the best solution” and so on, we’ve lost sight of the most important and obvious thing: When you’re buying a rug in a Persian bazaar, the more eager you look, the more the price goes up.

And if there’s one thing President Barack Obama has shown from the very beginning, it is his eagerness to make a deal. While Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have played eager beavers, the wily mullahs just kept raising the price.

As a result, we’re left today with a deal Bibi and many others believe is way too expensive and that Yossi Klein Halevi told me “brings us to the edge of the abyss.” In his speech, Bibi didn’t speculate on a hypothetical deal — he quoted what is already in the public record and what Obama essentially confirmed in an interview with Reuters on Monday.

For example, he quoted this concession: “Not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.”

This means, Bibi said, that “Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.” And, as far as depending on United Nations inspectors to monitor compliance, Bibi gave some pretty dramatic examples of how Iran “not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.”

But as dangerous and risky as that first concession is, Bibi then took on the mother of all concessions: “Virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.”

At the end of that decade, he said, Iran “would be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could produce many, many nuclear bombs.”

Who did he quote to back this up? Khamenei himself: “Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount — 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.”

When your civilization goes back 5,000 years, what’s another measly 10 years?

I think you get my drift. Beyond all the fancy analyses of strategy, geopolitics and security doctrines, this is really about brass knuckles. It’s about doing whatever it takes to get the best possible deal.

It’s about looking your enemy in the eye and making him understand that you’re on to him. It’s about making it clear to that enemy that you don’t want a deal more than he does. And it’s about making your enemy believe, truly believe, that you’re not bluffing when you say that “all options are on the table.”

Seriously, is there anybody who believes that the wily mullahs are shaking in their boots when they see John Kerry? When they see President Obama threaten to veto any legislation that might give him more leverage, what are the mullahs hearing? “Please don’t walk away, because I really want this deal”?

Bibi’s speech was important not because he brought new facts to the table but because he brought timeless wisdom.

Yes, he talked about how Jews are an ancient people, and he gave me the chills when he reminded the world that the 6 million Jews living in Israel today are not the helpless 6 million Jews who were murdered in Europe seven decades ago.

His speech had all those emotional appeals that stirred my soul, but it had more than that. It had simple, timeless wisdom.

It had the wisdom that says if your enemy thinks you’re bluffing, you’ll never get a good deal, and that the alternative to a bad deal is to drive a harder bargain.

It had the wisdom expressed in this simple and powerful line: “If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.”

And, above all, it had the timeless wisdom that says when you’re negotiating with a murderous enemy who’s a cheater, never act like a sucker.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 08:23:08 am by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2015, 08:27:09 am »
I can think of four basic groups of people (which can be overlapping) who have reason to feel good at the present time with regard to the Iranian nuclear issue:

1. Friends of the Iranian Regime.
2. Enemies of the United States.
3. Enemies of Israel.
4. Jew-haters.

If you have any unreserved positive feelings regarding what is transpiring in connection with the Iranian nuclear issue, you need to do some heavy-duty soul searching.

Today is an appropriate day.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."


Offline michaelintp

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2015, 05:56:13 pm »
Would have been funnier it they had mixed it up with a few Holocaust jokes.  :P

(Comedy Central - Political Propaganda at its "Funniest" - Not Lying, Just Joking).
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Netanyahu becomes political player, so Kerry treats him like one
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2015, 06:32:42 pm »
WEDNESDAY, MAR 4, 2015 10:56 AM PST
Netanyahu blew it: How he misunderstood Congress & inadvertently ruined his own goals
Before Netanyahu's speech was announced, Congress was willing to thwart Obama's plans. Afterwards? Not so much
JIM NEWELL
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SALON:

Netanyahu blew it: How he misunderstood Congress & inadvertently ruined his own goals

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had two goals for his address to Congress. The first was to boost his chances for reelection in a couple of weeks by showing off his sway abroad. I am not enough of an expert in Israeli politics to know if this will work on net, but the controversy that it sparked might cut against whatever gains it made. The second goal, however, was to lobby Congress to use its power to sabotage a nuclear deal with Iran. On this count, he’s failed, because he critically misunderstands how American politics works.

If Netanyahu hadn’t thrown himself into the situation — perhaps that was impossible for him, given his ego — he might have gotten his desired results out of Congress. Had Netanyahu not gone so out of his way to attack the Obama administration, Congress may not have reverted to the partisan posture on two Iran-related bills that had looked like they had a decent chance of making their way into law.

Israel has a lot of friends in Congress. Have you heard? There are many, many Democrats willing to do exactly what Israel wants at any time. Perhaps the only way that Israel can screw this up is to launch a direct, overt assault on the head of the Democratic party. Israel’s hold on Congress is not so strong that Democratic members will choose Israel over their own president.

And that’s what Netanyahu has made them do: rush to the defense of President Obama, even if they had been willing to diverge from his foreign policy approach.

This first came up shortly after the speech was announced, when the Senate was on the cusp of pushing through a new round of sanctions against Iran. Despite President Obama sharp warnings that this would derail negotiations with Iran at a critical juncture, about a dozen Democratic senators, led by Sen. Bob Menendez, were moving ahead anyway.

But as soon as Netanyahu accepted Boehner’s invitation to speak, acknowledging quite openly his goal to persuade a veto-proof majority of lawmakers to vote in favor of the sanctions bill and thereby disrupt negotiations, he thwarted his own objective. Democrats who had been sitting on the fence opted to give the administration more time before bringing up the bill. They signed a a joint letter to the White House promising not to vote for a sanctions bill before March 24, the deadline for P5+1 negotiators to reach a preliminary framework on a deal with the Iranian foreign minister.

Then there’s the other bill, authored by Republican Sen. Bob Corker. This would allow Congress to approve or disapprove on any deal struck with Iran, i.e. it would let Congress kill a deal with Iran for political sport. President Obama issued a veto threat on it but, as with the sanctions bill, this one potentially had a veto-proof majority.

Now, thanks to Netanyahu and Mitch McConnell, it might not even have the support of its Democratic co-sponsors.

McConnell has announced that he’ll bypass committee and bring the Corker bill straight to full chamber for a vote. The idea is to ride whatever wave Netanyahu brought to Congress. Or, as Politico puts it, “McConnell and Senate Republicans want to show Benjamin Netanyahu that their support of his big speech to Congress wasn’t just talk.”

This decision infuriated the Democrats who had previously supported or even helped author the bill. Menendez is now saying that he’s prepared to vote against the bill if it’s brought up without first going through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (where he happens to be ranking member). Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine argues that “the effort by the Republican leadership to force the bill to the floor prior to full committee consideration is contrary to the important interests at stake.” He added that the move “disrespects the ongoing work to build a broad coalition of colleagues in support of this bill.”

And that’s the key thing here: after Netanyahu’s egregious affront to the president, Democrats who were inclined to jump on these measures are now looking for excuses to bail — at least until negotiations have played out — and McConnell just handed them a great one. Mitch McConnell is a smart guy, so he must have known that this would be the reaction. He wants to either jam Democrats into supporting the bill anyway, or at least score a few points by showing them to be “hypocrites” for turning tail.

All Congress ever needs is a light breeze for a once-bipartisan issue to descend into typical partisan gamesmanship and gridlock, and Netanyahu swooped in with a great big shove. Those who hope that negotiations can play out and a deal can be struck should thank Netanyahu for his clumsy understanding of Congress.