Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Obama's Israel Tantrum
Claims of Spying: American "Chutzpah" - Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror
The claims of Israeli spying are part of an intentional American campaign to undermine Israel's standing among the American public and their elected officials, with the aim of limiting Israel's ability to argue against the bad agreement that the West, led by the U.S., is poised to sign with Iran. For Israel, this is a vital struggle focused on a highly sensitive matter of national security. The Americans know this and are still sparing no effort to undermine Israel's determination and abilities.
The ugly accusation alleging Israel was spying on the U.S. is part of this American campaign. Israel does not spy on the U.S. and they know it. Everything else is manipulation meant to undermine Israel's credibility in American public opinion. It is a shame things had to come to this, but the determination of the Americans to reach an agreement - any agreement - with the Iranians is leading to an unavoidable conflict.
The writer, former Israeli National Security Advisor and head of the National Security Council, served 36 years in senior IDF posts.
U.S. Accusations of Israeli Espionage - Why Now? - Ron Ben-Yishai
The accusations from the U.S. over Israeli espionage, published in the Wall Street Journal, are unfair and even a little ridiculous. The American administration and the government official who leaked the information are well aware that Israel is capable of obtaining this information in a completely legitimate manner from those who are party to the negotiations with Iran.
What is unacceptable for Israel should also be unacceptable for the U.S. The article specifically states that the U.S. intercepted Israeli transmissions. Is it acceptable for the Americans to spy on a Middle Eastern ally? The reports are part of a calculated campaign waged by the U.S., with a clear political purpose.
Obama's Israel Tantrum: Revenge on an Ally - Editorial
The leader of the free world is still having difficulty accepting that the Israeli people get to choose their own prime minister, never mind his preferences. In a day when the President's chief of staff invokes the lexicon of Palestinian terrorists to describe Israel's democracy, Americans and the world are left to wonder whose side the leader of the free world is on.
(Wall Street Journal)
U.S. Jewish Establishment Sounds Alarm
- Michael Wilner
Criticism of Israel from the Obama administration has intensified to such a degree that leading figures in Washington's pro-Israel community are calling on the administration to turn down the temperature. Jewish leaders are sounding the alarm after years of defending their support for President Obama and his White House.
"The fact that the outcome of a democratic election in Israel seems to be of great concern is cause for deep anxiety and puzzlement,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. "The way this is unfolding runs completely contrary to the spirit of U.S.-Israel relations," Harris said. "The U.S. appears to have a reasoned interest in prolonging the crisis."
"What we are hearing from the Obama administration raises deeper questions about their intentions and perspectives," said Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, adding that "from the beginning of the Obama years, there was a disturbing indifference to the mind-set of the Israeli public."
Rabbi William Gershon, president of the Rabbinical Assembly, said, "the prime minister has quickly made significant steps to repair the tensions that developed in the heat of Israel's election. The time is due, if not overdue, for the U.S. administration to do the same."
Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union's executive director for public policy, said the president "clearly [preferred] ongoing political confrontation over trying to work with a democratically elected Israeli leader on the critical issues facing our two nations."
Congress Totally Cool with Reports of Israel Spying - Tim Mak
Israel is spying on the U.S.-Iranian nuclear talks? No problem, key Democrats and Republicans in Congress say. "I don't look at Israel or any nation directly affected by the Iranian program wanting deeply to know what's going on in the negotiations - I just don't look at that as spying," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). "Their deep existential interest in such a deal, that they would try to figure out anything that they could, that they would have an opinion on it....I don't find any of that that controversial."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) joked that he was more concerned that Israeli intelligence hadn't shared what they learned with him. "One of my reactions was, why haven't they been coming up here sharing information with me? I mean Israel. I haven't had any of them coming up and talking with me about where the deal is, so I was kind of wondering who it was they were meeting with. I kind of feel left out."
If anything, lawmakers said they were perturbed that the Israelis were being accused of spying. Learning the details of the nuclear talk, lawmakers argued, was more like information gathering. "To use the word 'spying,' that is a pejorative accusation. That's not the phrase I would use to describe what I read," Kaine said. Several lawmakers interviewed said that the Israeli government had not told them anything they weren't already aware of in broad strokes. "No one from Israel has told me anything that I haven't already known," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
A senior congressional staffer called administration allegations of Israeli spying "deeply irresponsible innuendo and destructive hearsay," adding that "these unsubstantiated allegations are all the more galling in light of the fact that this administration has leaked, consistently and aggressively, details of Iran proposals to the front page of the New York Times and other news outlets, as well as to sympathetic think-tankers and pro-Iranian groups outside of government."
White House Risks Buoying Netanyahu - Jodi Rudoren
Israeli analysts are now suggesting that Obama and his aides might be overplaying their hand, inviting a backlash of sympathy for Netanyahu, and that they may not have clearly defined what they expected to gain diplomatically by continuing to pressure the Israeli leader. The president's harsh words have been deemed by some to be patronizing and disrespectful to the voters who rewarded Netanyahu with a resounding mandate for a fourth term.
In contrast with the White House, leading Israeli voices seem to have accepted Netanyahu's post-election clarification that current circumstances make it impossible to imagine meeting his longstanding conditions for supporting a Palestinian state.
(New York Times)
The Orwellian Obama Presidency - Bret Stephens
There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view. His administration is now on better terms with Iran...than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria.
He treats Republicans in the Senate as an enemy when it comes to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, while treating the Russian foreign ministry as a diplomatic partner. He favors the moral legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council to that of the U.S. Congress. He is facilitating Bashar Assad’s war on his own people by targeting ISIS so the Syrian dictator can train his fire on our ostensible allies in the Free Syrian Army.
He was prepared to embrace a Muslim Brother as president of Egypt but maintains an arm’s-length relationship with his popular pro-American successor.
To adapt George Orwell’s motto for Oceania: Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory.
The current victim of Mr. Obama’s moral inversions is the recently re-elected Israeli prime minister. Normally a sweeping democratic mandate reflects legitimacy, but not for Mr. Obama. Now we are treated to the astonishing spectacle in which Benjamin Netanyahu has become persona non grata for his comments doubting the current feasibility of a two-state solution. This, while his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas is in the 11th year of his four-year term, without a murmur of protest from the White House.
In 2014 Mr. Abbas agreed to a power-sharing agreement with Hamas, a deal breaker for any Israeli interested in peace. In 2010 he used the expiration of a 10-month Israeli settlement freeze as an excuse to abandon bilateral peace efforts. In 2008 he walked away from a statehood offer from then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In 2000 he was with Yasser Arafat at Camp David when the Palestinians turned down a deal from Israel’s Ehud Barak.
For continuously rejecting good-faith Israeli offers, Mr. Abbas may be about to get his wish: a U.S. vote for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. For tiring of constant Palestinian bad faith—and noting the fact—Israel will now be treated to pariah-nation status by Mr. Obama.
Here is my advice to the Israeli government, along with every other country being treated disdainfully by this crass administration: Repay contempt with contempt. Mr. Obama plays to classic bully type. He is abusive and surly only toward those he feels are either too weak, or too polite, to hit back.
The Saudis figured that out in 2013, after Mr. Obama failed to honor his promises on Syria; they turned down a seat on the Security Council, spoke openly about acquiring nuclear weapons from Pakistan and tanked the price of oil, mainly as a weapon against Iran. Now Mr. Obama is nothing if not solicitous of the Saudi highnesses.
The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance. On the Iranian nuclear deal, they may have to go rogue: Let’s hope their warnings have not been mere bluffs. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.
[The Wall Street Journal]
Obama Risks Capitol Hill Backlash - Mike Lillis
Congress is growing hostile to the emerging nuclear deal with Iran. On Friday, 367 House lawmakers - including 129 Democrats - wrote to President Obama warning that a deal must "foreclose any pathway to a bomb."
At a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Thursday, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) confronted Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, accusing him of "misleading" the panel with claims that, under the potential deal, international inspectors could keep Iran's nuclear program in check. "You've said...that, well, they can't develop a nuclear weapon because that would be illegal," Sherman said. "That's a preposterous argument. Obviously, they're willing to break the law."
An Ugly Double Standard for Israel - Lawrence J. Haas
President Barack Obama's vow to reassess U.S.-Israeli relations after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign remarks about a Palestinian state showcases his badly skewed views of Israel.
If Obama takes Netanyahu "at his [election-driven] word," one can't help wonder why he's so willing to ignore the far more explosive words of Iran's leader. "Of course, yes, death to America," Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a speech on Saturday.
The writer, former communications director for Vice President Al Gore, is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.
Revealing Israel's Nuclear Secrets - Michael Karpin
[T]he Pentagon declassified a 386-page report from 1987, exposing for the first time ever the actual depth of top-secret military cooperation between the United States and Israel — including, amazingly, information about Israel’s unacknowledged nuclear program.
In view of the caustic tension that has increased lately between Washington and Jerusalem, the timing of the publication’s declassification might raise a few eyebrows. [A]fter reading the report in question I must express my astonishment: I have never seen an official American document disclosing such extensive revelation on subjects that until now were regarded by both administrations as unspeakable secrets.
In Shocking Breach, U.S. Reveals Israel's Nuke Capabilities
- Tom Gross
On Feb. 12, the Pentagon declassified a top-secret document from 1987 detailing Israel's nuclear program, but kept sections on France, Germany, and Italy classified and blacked out.
The declassification is a serious breach of decades' old understandings concerning this issue. Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
Together with leaking incorrect allegations that Israel spies on the U.S., this "is part of a pattern of carefully controlled leaking of information which is very hard to attribute to a specific government agency or individual. Nevertheless it is clear what is happening," said an informed person connected to the government in Jerusalem.
"The failure to maintain the degree of mature and cooperative discretion that officials from several governments have exercised up to now marks a serious change in the code of conduct."