Netanyahu at AIPAC: Rebutting Obama, Affirming Israel

bibi-e1393950872492-635x357On Sunday, even before Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu had arrived in America for his current visit, President Obama was portraying him in an interview to Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg as the obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace.

At the same time, Obama lavished praised on Netanyahu’s opposite number on the Palestinian side, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, calling him “somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue.” Abbas, in another one of countless such instances, has just sent a representative to glorify a Palestinian who murdered an Israeli mother and her two children, and has also sent a wreath to honor a suicide bomber who killed eight Israelis on a bus.

But as for Netanyahu, Obama told Goldberg: “When I have a conversation with Bibi, that’s the essence of my conversation: if not now, when?” And: “where you’ve got a partner on the other side who is prepared to negotiate seriously…for us not to seize this moment I think would be a great mistake.”

And if Netanyahu were to keep failing to seize the moment and make peace with this ideal partner, Obama—as Secretary of State John Kerry did last month—foretold dire consequences. He claimed Israel was “already more isolated internationally,” and warned of an “absence of international goodwill…the condemnation of the international community,” a situation in which America’s “ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited.”

As commentators have noted, this is a direct threat to a democratic ally from a president who has great difficulty taking credible stances toward the likes of Syria, Iran, and Russia.

Netanyahu, for his part, in his speech to AIPAC on Tuesday night, took pains to depict Israel for what it is—a humane democracy radically different from its enemies. He described his recent visit to an Israeli army field hospital on the Golan Heights that treats Syrian civilians injured in that country’s civil war, and said the patients there have

discovered what you’ve always known to be true: in the Middle East, bludgeoned by butchery and barbarism, Israel is humane; Israel is compassionate; Israel is a force for good.

It should not need pointing out—but it does at a time when a U.S. president and secretary of state keep berating Israel for allegedly not even wanting peace, or not wanting it as much as that exemplar of democratic, peace-loving values, Abbas.

From there Netanyahu turned his focus to the Iranian nuclear issue. Again, his words contrasted sharply with Obama’s in his Bloomberg interview.

There, after Obama described the current Iranian regime as “capable of changing” and as “strategic…not impulsive…respon[sive] to costs and benefits,” Goldberg asked him: “If sanctions got them to the table, why wouldn’t more sanctions keep them at the table?”

The essence of Obama’s reply:

The notion that in the midst of negotiations we would then improve our position by saying, “We’re going to squeeze you even harder,” ignores the fact that [President Hassan] Rouhani and the negotiators in Iran have their own politics. They’ve got to respond to their own hardliners….

Netanyahu, not surprisingly, painted a much gloomier picture of the situation. Referring to Iran’s current purported moderates, its “smiling president and “smooth-talking foreign minister,” he said that “if you listen to their words, their soothing words, they don’t square with Iran’s aggressive actions.”

Even in the midst of the diplomatic talks, Netanyahu stressed, Iran keeps building intercontinental ballistic missiles, “whose only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads” and that “can strike, right now, or very soon, the Eastern seaboard of the United States….” And as he also noted:

It’s not only that Iran doesn’t walk the walk. In the last few weeks, they don’t even bother to talk the talk. Iran’s leaders say they won’t dismantle a single centrifuge, they won’t discuss their ballistic missile program. And guess what tune they’re singing in Tehran? It’s not “God Bless America,” it’s “death to America.” And they chant this as brazenly as ever. Some charm offensive.

As well as being effective rhetoric, this is, it should be pointed out, factually true.

On the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu reiterated his basic positions that what prevents peace is the Palestinians’ ideological negation of the Jewish people and their right to the land, with the accompanying “fantasy of flooding Israel with refugees”; and that only Israeli forces—not foreign troops—can ensure Israel’s security.

Again, the former position puts him squarely at odds with Obama’s paean to Abbas as peace angel; and the latter one is a rebuff to Kerry’s efforts to get Israel to accept foreign deployments in the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu’s last topic was the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaign against Israel. While saying it did not “mean that the BDS movement shouldn’t be vigorously opposed,” Netanyahu stated that “BDS is nothing but a farce.”

And he explained what he meant:

Beyond our traditional trading partners, countries throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America…these countries are flocking to Israel. They’re not coming to Israel; they’re flocking to Israel.

They want Israeli technology to help transform their countries as it has ours. And it’s not just the small countries that are coming to Israel, it’s also the superpowers. You know, the other superpowers: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Facebook, Yahoo. They come because they want to benefit from Israel’s unique ingenuity, dynamism and innovation.

And I could tell you the BDS boycott movement is not going to stop that anymore than the Arab boycott movement could stop Israel from becoming a global technological power. They are going to fail….

Again, this may fly in the face of Obama’s and Kerry’s admonitions about the isolation supposedly overtaking Israel, but it is factually accurate and is the reason most Israelis don’t take these warnings seriously. (For recent overviews of Israel’s thriving trade and other ties with both state and nonstate actors, see here, here, and here.)

Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech was essentially, then, a well-crafted rebuttal of the threats and delusions emanating from Washington, which does not believe Israel understands much about the region and remains blind to its insights. Israel will manage regardless.

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  • mackenzie wunderlich

    my Aunty Sienna recently got a year old
    Jaguar only from working off a home computer… Recommended Reading B­u­z­z­3­4­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Ellman48

    It’s obvious that Netanyahu and Obama are from different planets and could not see world events in a more contradictory fashion. That won’t change. Of the two, my opinion is that Binyamin is firmly rooted in reality while Obama is rooted in moronic fantasy.

    For the wrong reasons, Obama has made me realize how important the leadership of the US President is to the rest of the world, leadership which has been lacking entirely from Obama. It’s that absence that has resulted in crises in various parts of the world, some of them threatening the very stability and existence of the planet. Obama has to go before he unknowingly and unintentionally looses the dogs of war. He has no idea what he is doing and that is frightening!

    • Hans Soeplepel

      The sad thing is, Obama knows what he is doing, he has a secret agenda through collaborating with the enemies of Israel, the best way to do that: harming US policies through consistantly making wrong choices (Egypt, Syria and Ukrain), through blowing up the US economy and purposly allowing Islamic infiltration within the most essential places.

    • Myrtle Linder

      They are on the opposite sides of a coin, the good, the evil. Israel. Netanyahu comes from a background which is GODLY and will reason, the will try to a peaceful agreement. From Obama’s world it is force, my way or no way.. There is no such thing as right or wrong only my way is THE WAY., THE ONLY WAY.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYRtmMxB5yw CrossWinds

      True………he is like a doped up teenager in a mans job……..

  • Arlie

    One of Benjamin Netanyahu’s best speeches ever at AIPAC 2014. I enjoyed it greatly, viewed on youtube in full. I also warched a video of Benjamin that is on youtube of an interiview when he was 28, (1978) then a recent MIT graduate. What a handsome, brilliant young man! YHVH bless him and keep him safe. He is a treasure in this messed up world.

  • notme123

    just like Putin wants to bring back the russian empire, ussr, the muslims want the ottoman empire back, in addition to their hate of Jews(Catholics, Protestants, Buddist, and all non-muslims).Israel should never give in to these savages.

    • CaoMoo

      If they both succeeded hmmm wonder how that would play out. Ottomans, USSR, China, US (maybe) I think it would get messy.

      • carpe diem 36

        this can only happen because all those nations’ leader see that the usa has a scarecrow from president. he is a weak read, is no leader and is so afraid to lead that he actually invites the attacks on the USA. as far as Israel , the country was isolated when it was barely holding on, it was new, it had few people and had nothing but enemies on all sides. now israel is bigger, much more populous has an incredible army and is the most innovative in the world. so it should not be afraid, obama is doing nothing but pushing the PA agenda of not talking and not recognizing israel as a Jewish state. both he and Kerry never ask the PA to even come to the table without condition but israel is pushed to concede all kinds of conditions that will never be agreed to. the “peace process” is nothing but a one sided pressure on israel, and it will not and should not give in. obama is a loser in all his political endeavors, see Russia’ s Putin walk all over him. so he thinks he is a big shot against a tiny country like Israel. Israel is not more isolated than is the USA.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        Politics would be set back at least a hundred years, but we’d keep the modern weapons and technologies. It would not be good.

        • CaoMoo

          It wouldn’t be good for sure. Thats why its crazy anyone would want it to happen. But Obama seems like he does with all the muslim brotherhood support. It might make a good summer movie. Maybe wake people up a bit

          • objectivefactsmatter

            The “good” thing would be that America would be weaker and since America causes all of the problems according to many lunatics…

            Yeah, we have a problem.

  • Stephen Powell

    In a recorded interview on Al Jazeera, the lead Palestinian negotiator for the ‘peace talks’ with Israel admitted that he could never accept the legitimacy of Israel’s existence because that would require that he “change his religion”. That is a statement of official record. The so-called ‘peace talks’ are yet another attempt by Arab states and the USA to sucker Israel to make suicidal territorial concessions that will render the country militarily indefensible.

    • Ken Kelso

      Yes i saw the story too.
      The Palestinians want 2 Palestinian states and no Jewish state. They want a Palestinian state free of Jews and to flood Israel with millions of Arabs for the 2nd Pal state.

      Obama should know, Saying that is it time for the Palestinians to make concessions is the end of the peace talks. Because Palestinians and concessions don’t work together..
      This is why they always walk away from deals like Barak and Olmert offered.

      PLO will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state because it contravenes their Plan of Phases, adopted in 1974 and never revoked. The plan states that they should get any land they can by diplomatic means until Israel is eradicated.

      Fatah admits themselves they want 2 Palestinian states.

      http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/PA-says-Netanyahus-AIPAC-speech-amounts-to-declaration-of-end-of-peace-talks-344292#comment-1270749678
      PA says Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech amounts to declaration of end of peace talks By JPOST
      03/04/2014

      Fatah central committee member Nabil Shaath says diplomatic speech was “an official announcement of a unilateral end to negotiations.”

      Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech on Tuesday in Washington was “an official announcement of a unilateral end to negotiations,” AFP reported a top Palestinian official as saying.

      Fatah central committee member Nabil Shaath said Netanyahu’s comments “contravene all the rules of the peace negotiations agreed with the Americans”.

      Shaath said that Palestinians “totally reject” Israel’s demand of Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, as well as Netanyahu’s objection to refusing Palestinian refugees.

      Netanyahu, during his speech, stated that a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians would open up the possibility of establishing ties with leading countries in the Arab world.

      The prime minister said that many of these Arab countries already know that Israel is not the enemy. “Peace with the Palestinians would turn these into open and thriving relationships.”

  • Wolfthatknowsall

    If the “international community” actually meant something, Russia would be under incredible international pressure from them, over Ukraine. Netanyahu should do what is good for Israel, not what would be “good” for Obama …

    … I believe that he will.

  • Ken Kelso

    David Hornik, thanks for posting this story.
    I found another link about it.

    Fatah glorifies Kibbutz Metzer massacre terrorist who slaughtered 5 Israeli civilians and 2 children and Palestinian homicide bomber for slaughtering 8 Israeli civilians on a bus.

    Kibbutz Metzer was about the terrorist incident where a Palestinian gunmen machine gunned an Israeli mother and her 2 sons at Kibbutz Metzer in 2002. The Israeli mother tried to shield her sons, but it was to no avail, the Palestinian terrorists massacred all 3 of them.

    And the Europeans fund these Palestinian Islamo Nazis.

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/178122#.UxaUTvldXow
    Abbas Rep. at Terror Funeral Praises ‘Heroic Martyr’
    Hero’s funeral held by PA for returned body of terrorist who killed five including two children, Abbas sends his praise.
    By Ari Yashar
    3/4/2014

    The Palestinian Authority (PA) held a hero’s funeral for terrorist murderer Sarhan Sarhan last week, after his body was returned by Israel on February 23. At the event, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s representative praised the killer as “a brave, heroic fighter.”

    Sarhan murdered five Israelis, including a mother and her two four- and five-year old children, at Kibbutz Metzer in 2002. The terrorist, a member of the military wing of Abbas’s Fatah party, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, was killed in a shootout with soldiers the following year.

    At the funeral, Tulkarem District Governor Abdullah Kamil spoke on behalf of Abbas, saying “we part today from a brave, heroic fighter who fell defending Palestine, its land, its people and the land of Jerusalem.”

    Palestinian Media Watch translated and exposed the statements. Abbas’s representative added “today we escort this great heroic martyr like a bridegroom. [He] who sacrificed his life for Palestine,” and further said all terrorists’ remains still held by Israel “will be escorted as bridegrooms, as this heroic martyr was escorted.”

    Abbas’s praise of terrorism has been constant, including a ceremony in January in which he called released terrorists “heroes” multiple times. The PA also announced in February it would give an extra $46 million a year to released terrorists, which necessarily will draw on American funding.

    The mob-like procession shouted threatening slogans such as “Sarhan, rest in peace, we will continue the struggle,” “with soul and with blood we will redeem you, Sarhan,” and “millions of shahids (martyrs) are marching to Jerusalem.”

    The mob also shouted “Khaibar, Khaibar! Oh, Jews, the army of Muhammad has begun to return,” a rendition of the Muslim cry referencing the Jewish village reportedly destroyed by Islam-founder Mohammed’s army, ending the Jewish presence in Arabia in 628 C.E.

    Another PA funeral, another terrorist heroicized

    Another PA funeral was held for the suicide bomber terrorist Ragheb Jaradat, whose body was transferred on February 25. Jaradat blew himself on an Israeli bus in 2002, killing eight.

    At the ceremony, a wreath from Abbas was placed on the grave. Talal Dweikat, District Governor of Jenin, spoke at the event on behalf of the PA, saying “we are determined to honor our martyrs… Today we are gathering…to attend this martyr’s funeral.” Dweikat praised Jaradat for having “sacrificed his blood for the Palestinian nation and for the Palestinian cause.”

    A report for the official PA TV said at the procession “this is the sight at the funeral of [he] who is more noble than all of us, martyr Ragheb Jaradat. In this scene, our people our trying to express [their] highest esteem to those who sacrificed their pure souls for the homeland.

  • DontMessWithAmerica

    How I envy Netanyahu being able to get so close to Obama without guards between them. Obama is quite tall. With a guy that size you kick him in the shins and then say, “Whoops, I’m sorry.” Then when he bends down to rub the shin you bring your knee up into his nose and pretend that you were just trying to get at his knee. My gut tells me he is a physical coward. He might even bawl. I voted for that s.o.b. in 08 and now every time I see his picture I want to get physical.

    • Hass

      Rocky? d(*U*)b …is that you?

    • Lanna

      I think you are right on…and I think cowards can’t stand up to real men or soldiers..they just try to bully and intimidate people because they are protected and can get away with it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYRtmMxB5yw CrossWinds

    Netanyahu is a man……..Obama is a naïve boy………

    Psalm 121:4……..
    Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.

  • GHjo

    Barack —-Hussein—Obama must have been hypnotized by Muhammad as a
    ghost,or he is seriously mentally ill, –or both–.He is a captain who will run the
    US-ship aground at —full speed—.

  • eyesjamesq

    Israel has been in a state of continuous war with the Arabs since 1948 not because they hate Arabs but Arabs refuse to allow the Jews to exist.

  • Smoking Hamster

    Wow, the hitlerites haven’t arrived. Knock on wood.

    • Ron

      What is that supposed to mean?

      • Smoking Hamster

        Netanyahu and AIPAC? Complete neo-nazi troll bait…

  • Ron

    Benjamin Netanyahu is a strong leader and I stand with him as an American.
    Barack Obama is a total failure, liar and cheat that cannot be trusted. Obama is the biggest deficit to this country and the world. He will be remembered always as the spineless, lying little worm that he is. He belongs to his father, The Devil.

    • Hass

      And that’s just about the kindest thing you can say about this Tuck Shop Organiser.

  • Lanna

    Netanyahu is smart, polite and quite a diplomat…he looks Obammy right in the eye and can see right through his phony exclamation of wanting peace or supporting Israel.

  • tartansailor

    What are we becoming when we elect such an incompetent president?