Fox News joins chorus of Netanyahu critics. Et tu Brutus?

TED BELMAN. Wallace and Smith are way off base. Why should Obama not be challenged on his views here? He backed “engagement” for 6 years and undermined sanctions which were working. He took great pains to restrain Israel and Israel went along. The issue here is whether to strengthen sanctions.  This is the purview of Congress and not the Presidency. Netanyahu would be derelict if he did not appeal to them. To say otherwise is to tie his hands.

It is not about following protocol, it has been breached many times and perhaps doesn’t apply in this case.  It is not about electioneering, though it may have affect on the Israeli elections, but it is unclear if it will be good for Likud. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with Netanyahu using his popularity in the US to affect his popularity in Israel. The left in Israel castigates Netanyahu for destroying his relationship with Obama, though to my mind Obama is at fault, and uses this as an election issue.  Netanyahu is right to stand up to him rather than grovel like the left does. Also there is nothing wrong with Netanyahu appealing to the American people for support and using this as an election issue. AND DON’T FORGET, THIS IS ABOUT STOPPING IRAN FROM GETTING TO THE THRESHOLD OF ACQUIRING NUCLEAR WEAPONS. DO NOT LET THE CRITICS DEFLECT YOU FROM THIS ISSUE.

Conservative outlet’s anchors say relationship with US will suffer, after New York Times, American officials slam timing of prime minister’s Congress address.

Yitzhak Benhorin, YNET

The criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over his intention to address the US Congress two weeks before the Israeli elections, has not stopped at water’s edge. And while the criticism from President Barack Obama’s administration and the editorial board of the New York Times was expected, this weekend the Likud leader was targeted by a network he once counted among his supporters – Fox News.

During a conversation between anchor Chris Wallace and presenter Shepard Smith, the two agreed that Netanyahu’s strategy an example of “dicey politics”.

The segment opened with Wallace quoting former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk in the New York Times: “Netanyahu is using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign and the Republicans are using Bibi for their campaign against Obama…”

Indyk stressed that, “Unfortunately, the US relationship will take the hit. It would be far wiser for us to stay out of their politics and for them to stay out of ours.” Wallace said he agreed with Indyk, “100 percent.”

While the two Fox correspondents backed Netanyahu’s consideration on Iran, they questioned his diplomacy in coming to Washington to line up with Obama’s opponents on Iran.

US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday that he had invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on March 3. Boehner confirmed that the invitation had been in the works for several weeks. “I did not consult the White House,” he told reporters.

A senior US political source commented on the announcement that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry would not meet with Netanyahu, saying: “The last thing we want to do is hurt Israel, but if he is able to stiff the US president like that and we still offer him a meeting – that invites him and anyone else to do that over and over.”

“Is this a smart way for them to manage the relationship?” CNN quoted a source close to Kerry as saying. “The bilateral relationship is unshakable, but playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.” Kerry’s “patience is not infinite,” the source added.

Meanwhile, yet another politician back home joined the chorus of competitors, including Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid and Hatnua Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, criticizing the investigation. Member of Kulanu and Israel’s former ambassador in Washington Michael Oren called for Netanyahu to cancel the address.

“The behavior over the last few days created the impression of a cynical political move, and it could hurt our attempts to act against Iran,” said Oren.

“It’s advisable to cancel the speech to Congress so as not to cause a rift with the American government,” he added. “Much responsibility and reasoned political behavior are needed to guard interests in the White House.”

James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, wrote in the Huffington Post, wrote in the Huffington Post: “This was one of the most ham-fisted, irresponsible, and potentially dangerous political stunts ever engineered by American and Israeli political leaders.”

The New York Times on Friday also accused Netanyahu of “playing politics with Iran” in a Friday editorial.

“Mr. Netanyahu, facing an election on March 17, apparently believes that winning the applause of Congress by rebuking Mr. Obama will bolster his standing as a leader capable of keeping Israel safe,” the New York Times’ editorial asserted.

Despite that, the paper claims, “it’s hard to see how disrespecting an American president whom even he says has significantly advanced Israel’s security can benefit his country.”

The New York Times views the planned address as “a hostile attempt to lobby Congress to enact more sanctions against Iran.” Obama has threatened to veto any such move by Congress.

While Netanyahu has expressed his contempt for negotiations with the Islamic Republic, “like his Congressional allies he has never offered a real alternative, except more sanctions (which can’t work if the rest of the world eases up on Iran) or military action,” said the editorial board.

“There is no doubt that Mr. Obama will maintain America’s security commitments to Israel, whatever the tensions over the Iran issue,” the Times says, but Obama won’t meet with Netanyahu in his upcoming relationship, and even Kerry, “who recently called almost 50 world leaders in an effort to block the Palestinians’ attempt to join the International Criminal Court, is losing patience with Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to ‘play politics.'”

The Times asserts that “this event is bound to further harm a bilateral relationship that has endured a lot of battering over the past six years” and wonders whether Netanyahu can “really afford to dismiss such allies.”

January 25, 2015 | 19 Comments »

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19 Comments / 19 Comments

  1. @ oldjerry: The Obama administration has been more accepting of Islam than of Israel, he shows it in his policies. Iran already has missiles, they probably are finalizing their abilities to arm them with nuclear bombs. I hope people understand how complacency in dealing with Islam brings greater problems. Nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatics is dangerous, I hope everyone takes this seriously. The US government helped fund the cement that went to build as many as 40 complex, fortified tunnels into Gaza. The tunnels in many cases, extended right into the middle of Israeli communities. I would say, never trust the word of the US government, they are working with Iran, they would have Israel and America disarm, but not Iran or Russia. The goals are destruction of Israel and America.

  2. Ted Belman Said:

    I didn’t say don’t attack them. I merely said its about stopping them. If going to Congress prevents a bad deal then we are free, sort of, to do what we need to do.

    I must be missing something then. I contend that Iran will get their Nukes with or without an agreement, any agreement.
    There cannot at this point be a good agreement, meaning a halt and or dismantlement of Iran’s Nuke program. They have gone to far to allow that and invested to much national treasure and prestige for that to happen.

    North Korea, Pakistan, India, Libya and even Syria worked secretly under the intelligence services of the West and Israel’s radar. Iran has for 20 years more or less been developing their program largely in the open and have gotten away with it. Nobody seems to ask why?

    Sanctions have always been in place and have not been effective. As far as Israel is concerned what does it matter in the end what kind of agreement is made with Iran if in the end it doesn’t dismantle their program. Once you have all of the component pieces and delivery systems in place assembly and deployment is a short step away. Obama and the EU have extended deadlines twice and are about to extend a third time. That suits the Mullahs. Once they breakout any agreement will be trashed anyway and Obama will have been long gone. The time to have stopped them was during the first Bush admin and he did as much or more than Obama to thwart Israel from acting alone with or without American consent and aid.

    Iran will ignore any agreement restrictions or work around them, so I don’t understand what BB has to gain to that end by speaking before congress, if it isn’t personal and politically motivated.

    My theory is that the west wants Israel destroyed and for that they need to neutralize our nuclear deterrent, first by forcing Israel to accede to Nuke non proliferation treaty.

    Obama as early as his Cairo Speech spelled out his intentions as being a Nuclear free ME. At the time he meant Israel.
    Dr. Aaron Lerner

    Note: According to various reports, over the past several years Israel has been spending around $3 billion a year on preparations to attack Iran.

    There are two schools of view regarding the “investment”:

    One view is that is that Israel has to spend the money to convince the United States that the Jewish State is serious in its warning that if it has no choice it will act alone.

    The other explanation is that Israel spends the $3 billion because it recognizes that it may genuinely reach the point that it has no choice but to act on its own.

    Either way, to the extent that the $3 billion is specifically geared to an attack against Iran rather than to general capabilities, this money is being spent by Israel because of a failure on the part of the world to rein in Iran.

    Interestingly, the %3 billion comes very close to matching the military aid the United States provides Israel.

  3. yamit82 Said:

    I disagree. The only thing at this point that can stop Iran is a massive military attack on all their sites and on all Republican Guard installations of rockets and missiles.

    I can count on you to always disagree with me.. I didn’t say don’t attack them. I merely said its about stopping them. If going to Congress prevents a bad deal then we are free, sort of, to do what we need to do.

  4. Ted is correct on what will stop Iran! All it takes for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing. I don’t know what Mr. Netanyahu will decide, but lets hope that the decision to defend Israel from Harm takes first precedence!


    I disagree. The only thing at this point that can stop Iran is a massive military attack on all their sites and on all Republican Guard installations of rockets and missiles.

    The previous sanctions regime is dead. Russia, China and the EU will never agree to impose old sanctions and Obama has no clout to persuade them or force them. BB knows this very well so his invite and his agreement must be designed to achieve another purpose. No way in hell Obama will attack Iran and BB hasn’t the guts to do it either.

    So if I am correct what is BB looking to achieve??

    Bolster for him and Likud popular support and personal image in the election run-up here? Maybe.

    BB could decline for a tradeoff of Obama not interfering in our elections on the side of Labor????

  6. SHmuel HaLevi 2 Said:

    Mr. Netanyahu, not precisely my preferred candidate, returned the lob in perfect form. So far…
    Personally I doubt he will stick to it though.

    My sentiments as well. He will somehow find a way to cave but exact some sort of price. We shall see soon enough.

  7. @ Anne: Its very troubling to me that Wallace, who is a Democrat, allows his party’s ideology to cloud his judgement. He is a newscaster and should be willing to get opinons and facts to serve the people. The News is supposed to be unpartisan. The Prime Minister of Israel should be given every opportunity to inform the American people of what he knows, which is much regarding the state of the security of the world. That should be welcomed, not shut down!

  8. @ Laura: Hussein Obama enabled the Arab Spring, he was in favor of Muhammed Morsi who took over in Egypt and then was rejected by the people to put Alsisi in power, Egypt wanted no part of Sharia law. The Arab Spring turned into the Arab Winter as AlQaeda knew when American troops would be pulled out of Iraq, the time was even announced by the administration, and then the American pull out leaving a vacuum for Isis..IsiL to grow and become an even bigger army, wreaking havoc on Christians and churches and anyone in their path. (Russia… Putin invade Ukraine) Its obvious the Middle East is in Meltdown, the Yemen government falls, and King Abdullah has passed in Saudi Arabia. The Middle East has went from Bad to worse.

  9. @ Laura: This is Wallace mostly. He has never been crazy about Bibi and he is confusing protocol and domestic American issues as more important than Iranian nukes. Most of the Fox people are openly pro Israel.

  10. Does everyone remember how Hitler lied to the German people and the world, he kept telling the big lie over and over which is what communist dictators do. I think America and all countries deserve to know what Iran has, and the timeframe in which they could use weapons. They already have ICBMS, so how long would it take to arm them with payload of nuclear weapons? Are we so politically correct, we can’t let others give opinions and facts, especially on such a vital topic as a Rogue nation getting Nuclear weapons?

  11. Bill Clinton sent James Carville to Israel in the late 1990’s to make sure Bibi Netanyahu lost the election for P.M. The problem is that Israel and the corrupt U.S. Jewish establishment always keeps quiet about U.S. treachery instead of publicly exposing these crimes.

  12. Iranian nukes is an international issue and a major security issue for Israel. This is why this tops any perceived protocol issues.

    This is not a domestic US issue, otherwise UK PM Cameron would not have lobbied US congressmen by calling them. Obama encouraged this breach of protocol because Cameron and Obama agree.

    The real issue is that Obama is letting Iran have nukes on his watch and is not stopping it. He is weak and is getting played by Iran. PM Netanyahu’s disagreements with Obama on this crucial issue highlight the error of Obama’s stance towards Iran.

    Obama and his minions are more concerned with PM Netanyahu not kowtowing to them, than actually stopping Iran in getting Nukes.

  13. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:
    This country is stuck with Obama and Israel is stuck with Netanyahu. Despite all of Bibi’s faults I’d rather be stuck with him than with Bobo. We have to play with the cards we’re given, not the cards we would have liked.So right now our hopes are with Netanyahu, not Obama.

  14. The US administration and associates, permanent or temporary have been summarily informed that their aggressive intervention in Israel’s internal activities must cease. They blatantly finance, arm and train our enemies and provide funds to internal renegades aligned to the administration. They sabotage Jewish ancestral rights to Eretz Israel and that by the hard core State Department enemies of the Jewish people and State.
    They had a choice to either eliminate their acts against Israel or face consequences. Under normal management more, even worse consequences than those in potential place could take place.
    Mr. Netanyahu, not precisely my preferred candidate, returned the lob in perfect form. So far…
    Personally I doubt he will stick to it though.