Absurd Overreaction To What Netanyahu “Expects”
Jeffrey Goldberg writes a ridiculous article expressing indignation that Bibi Netanyahu used the word “expect” in connection with U.S. policy towards Israel, Dear Mr. Netanyahu, Please Don’t Speak to My President That Way:
For whatever reason, I tend to react strongly when a foreign leader disrespects the United States, and its President. I didn’t like it when Hugo Chavez of Venezuela insulted President Bush; I don’t like listening to Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan lecture the U.S. on its sins, and I’m not happy when certain Pakistani leaders gin-up righteous indignation about American behavior when it was their country that served as a refuge for the greatest mass murderer in American history.
And so I was similarly taken aback when I read a statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday that he “expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004, which were overwhelmingly supported by both House of Congress.”
So Netanyahu “expects” to hear this from the President of the United States? And if President Obama doesn’t walk back the speech, what will Netanyahu do? Will he cut off Israeli military aid to the U.S.? Will he cease to fight for the U.S. in the United Nations, and in the many international forums that treat Israel as a pariah?
I don’t like this word, “expect.”
I’ve been tweeting about this nonsense all morning, and in response David Harsanyi pointed out that Goldberg’s reading was not correct, and “it seems to me he [Netanyahu] meant “expect” as in “likely to happen,” not as a demand.”
But what if Netanyahu did use the word “expect” as a demand. Is it so wrong for a foreign leader to “expect” that the U.S. will honor prior security assurances?
And particularly in this case, where those assurance were given as an inducement for Israel to leave Gaza (we know how that worked out), is it so outrageous for Israel to “expect” the U.S. to keep its word? I would expect nothing less from my president.
Goldberg implies that it is not patriotic — against “my president” — for supporters of Israel to abide by Netanyahu’s expectations. To the contrary, it is very patriotic for Americans to “expect” that “their president” will honor commitments made by prior presidents to allies.
Andrew Sullivan makes a good point in response to Goldberg’s article, that Obama may be trying to lure Nethanyahu into a self-destructive confrontation:
Don’t push your luck, Bibi. Others have with Obama and they have learned that he is often more canny than they are with political jujitsu. Obama’s usual tactic: gently and subtly prompting his foes to self-destruct. I just hope that in this critical juncture in the Middle East, Netanyahu doesn’t take his country with him.
If Goldberg’s hyper-reaction is any indication, Obama’s jujitsu may be working, at least on some supporters of Israel.
Update: John Guardiano at The American Spectator hearts Goldberg’s indignation:
That’s not a smart move on Bibi’s part, because disrespecting our president compels American Israeli supporters such as myself to rally to Obama’s side.
Why does an ally “expecting” us to keep our word demand that we rally to Obama’s side. I’m not seeing disrespect in an ally saying it expects us to keep our word; would it be better if our allies expected us not to keep our word? Would it be better if security assurances by an American president meant nothing?
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I really don't ever want to sound like the childish "he's not MY president" left, but I do "expect" my/our president to work in America's favor and self-interest in honorable ways.
That includes strengthening ties with our allies and supporting them. I expect that. It also includes being forceful with our enemies and our allies' enemies. Not being unfair to them, but certainly not appeasing them.
It's funny how the multilateral fetishists never seem to see Israel as an addition … they only see it as a subtraction from our interests.
The level of treatment this administration has shown the U.K., the Czech Republic, Poland, and, especially Israel, is not at all what I "expect."
I don't expect much from this administration, but I do expect them to treat our friends as friends and our enemies as enemies … and not vice-versa.
I do hope the president treats PM Netanyahu with a little more respect during this visit. Is that too much to ask?
"If I'm waking up this morning feeling that the Israeli prime minister is disrespecting the President of my country, imagine how other Americans might be feeling."
Disrespecting? After the way Obama treated Netanyaho last time … that sure is rich.
" … imagine how other Americans might be feeling."
I feel embarrassed, as I imagine most Americans, who support Israel, feel.
It just seems to me that the Obama foreign policy is to sow chaos everywhere by dislodging everyone from their perches and then hoping the pieces will magically fall in the right places for peace to break out. Or maybe peace isn't the objective here.
I'm sorry but I'm getting tired of all this Israel in the news lately. It would be entirely different if like 95% of Jews weren't socialists and democrats and vote blindly for democrats and Obama himself. As such, I see all of this as sort of a bizarre internecine war among the democrats.
Of course I'm sympathetic to the Israeli plight. They seem to be overly sensitive to the condemnations of the U.N.. If they were a bit more aggressive towards some of their nastier neighbors, I'm sure they would end up making the New York Times angry, but so what.
I support Israel as an ally, one of many allies. If Jews here don't really support Isreal (evinced by their continued support for democrats who are hostile to Isreal) what am I supposed to do?
It's not alright four our allies to have expectations of Obama? But it's perfectly fine for Obama to dictate terms to them?
In his speech, Obama even purported to speak for "the international community." Isn't that basically the whole world? But Netanyahus is the one being disrespectful for merely expecting an ally to live up to it's agreements?
As an American living overseas, I understand entirely Mr. Goldberg's feeling. I live in London, and there is a belief here that the President hates the British. I often find myself starting a conversation with the words "Look, I did not vote for him but . . . "
I think we know enough to be able to paraphrase what will take place inside the Oval Office.
O: “You must make peace with the Palestinians, allow millions of them into your country, give back Jerusalem and all other lands outside the ’67 borders, give up all of your nuclear weapons and technology, and pay every Palestinian a Living Wage backdated to when their grandparents fled your country. And give each one a kitten.”
O: “Oh come on, you have to give me something, or I’ll be viewed as a failure. Worse than Carter even.”
N: “Well, you could get the Palestinians to quit firing rockets into our country.”
O: “Won’t happen.”
N: “or get them to quit teaching their children that we are evil monsters.”
N: “or strapping bombs to their children and sending them to blow up our children.”
O: “Doubt it.”
N: “or allow Jewish refugees to go back to their homes in the surrounding countries without being persecuted.”
N: “Or we could take Hillary off your hands for a week or two, during campaign season.”
O: “No…um…well…. Can I send Biden too. And keep them both away from microphones?”
N: “Yes we can.”
Well, Mr. Goldberg's comment proves he's a man I'd never trust to do business with. One normally expects people to keep their commitments.
AS an American here in the United States *I* think he hates the British, and virtually all our traditional allies.
1. I guess you didn't get the word, Bill. America owes an apology to every single country in the world except Israel, which is worse than every single country in the world except America.
2. Per Sullivan: Obama's usual tactic: gently and subtly prompting his foes to self-destruct.
It's not gentle and subtle anymore now that we know what to watch for. E.g. giving Hillary the finger during the debate. e.g. calling for national dialogue on immigration while saying that Republicans want an alligator-filled moat on the border.
Two responses might work: mildly contemptuous mockery, and full, open but even-tempered disrespect.
3. I'm not seeing disrespect in an ally saying it expects us to keep our word…
You mean our pledge before the last election? You can't be serious!
…would it be better if our allies expected us not to keep our word?
Better for us or for our allies?
Would it be better if security assurances by an American president meant nothing?
How much do they mean now? About as much as campaign promises made to the American people?
4. Jeffrey Goldberg writes, For whatever reason, I tend to react strongly when a foreign leader disrespects the United States, and its President. He cites Chavez insulting Bush, Karzai, and the Pakistani leadership.
In the spirit of 'trust but verify', I ask Mr. Goldberg and like-minded commentators to document their prior indignation with hyperlinks.
I was filling out a survey on what I thought of Obama… I thought I should share:
I think he is among the worst Presidents to grace the office. He has embarrassed, betrayed, and belittled our allies. He has made deception an everyday affair. He has begun embracing the concepts of Marxist Lenin-Stalinist economics within the united states. He has adopted a sympathetic stance towards a political-theological group of people extremely hostile towards the the people and concept of the United states. He has demeaned the office, by showing deference to other sovereigns. He has flaunted and over-utilized the privileges that go with the office. He has/is consorting(ed) with known terrorists and violent subversive insurrectionists and separatists. He appears to be an individual that believes in black superiority, that cannot take any sort of criticism and believes the solution to racism is to exactly reverse the former situation (i.e Promote institutional racism against Caucasians ) instead of ensuring all have equality before a just law . Instead of changing law via legitimate debate and acknowledging the Will of the People as Supreme he plays King John and utilizing the rules of the land in a fast and loose manner he issues edicts and decrees. I think a declaration of independence from Obama in 2012 cannot come fast enough.
@Quiznillo: Actually, the percentage of American Jews that supported Obama is around 70%. Still way, way too high. But Israeli Jews only give him 6%. Most American Jews are Reform and therefore are Liberals first, Jews second.
The great majority (I'd put the number close to 90%) of Orthodox Jews fully support the right. I do believe that, regardless of the ADL's recent announcement of appreciation for Obama's speech, Teh Won will lose at least 25-30% of his Jewish base in the 2012 election.
While that may seem little, there are a lot of dollars in those numbers that he would lose as well. Even the ones who will still vote for him will be less likely to finance him as well as in '08.
Israel is not Obama's lackey. Israel is a country that has interest and expectations. There is nothing disrespectful about having expectations, or pointing out that it has expectations.
Obama: What's wrong with me?
Bibi: I think you're crazy
Obama: I want a second opinion.
Bibi: You're also lazy.
" … I ask Mr. Goldberg and like-minded commentators to document their prior indignation with hyperlinks."
gs, you are asking them to admit to engaging in "disproportionate response."
I wonder if this Goldberg clown was just as indignant when Obama traveled the world on his 2009 Apology Tour insulting America?
What was most interesting to me, in my opinion, was;
"Prime Minister Netanyahu needs the support of President Obama in order to confront the greatest danger Israel has ever faced: the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran. And yet he seems to go out of his way to alienate the President. Why does he do this? It's a mystery to me."
It appears that the Liberal American Journo Jews are enjoying having Israel to lord over.
How pathetic, when that nuclear weapon can annihalate the entire peoples, his peoples, off the face of the earth.
That man is sickening.
After watching this current Administration along with Europe renege on international agreements from the San Remo Convention after the 1st World War to UNSC resolutions 242 and 338, putting at risk the lives of another 6 million Jews it's rather chutzpadik of Mr Goldberg to undertake such an arrogant stance on expectations.
Presumably Obama is unhappy that Netanyahu was invited to address Congress. (Does anyone believe that Speaker Pelosi would have invited him?) Maybe the '1967' remark was intended to restore what Obama considers evenhandedness. It's working out as well as his other bright ideas.
I read Goldberg's book, Prisoners, and for a while thought he was the best expositor of Middle East problems in one person I had met, at least on the Israeli side [I am a State-Dept trained Arabist who has worked in three American embassies in the Middle East.]
Obama is simply not up to speed and lacks the perspective and the savoir-faire of previous presidents in this area—even the otherwise hapless Carter. I agree with "Barry" above and wonder if it isn't my old buddy Barry Rubin, whose wedding reception was held in my backyard in the early '80s, sending a message from Jerusalem.
I kind of look at this in another way than the nimrod who wrote that commentary. In fact, I'd like to ask the president to quit speaking to our allies as if they were unruly children. After all, since he's come into office the only unruly children I've seen on the political stage have been members the Obama administration and Obama himself.
As for his desire that negotiations take place with an eye to the 1967 borders.. too bad so sad. See.. what happens when you attack someone and they kick your behind and move into your land is, unless you negotiate to KEEP said land, that land no longer belongs to you. That's how it has been since folks have been doing things forever.
And if President Obama doesn't walk back the speech, what will Netanyahu do? Will he cut off Israeli military aid to the U.S.? Will he cease to fight for the U.S. in the United Nations, and in the many international forums that treat Israel as a pariah?
and there you have it, the de facto admission via Goldberg that making people into victims or perceive themselves as victims is the international policy of Obama.
The typical Obama MO, the middle finger shown here is that Israel has no place to go and must do as it is told.
My advice to Bibi, wait out Obama to January 2013 when a new POTUS takes office. In the meantime, at every opportunity give Obama the figurative middle finger by making him look like the incompetent boob he is. Have the Mossad get all the intelligence you can on Hamas and the PLO, Obama's new buddies, and make their plans PUBLIC. Each time Hamas is exposed, it will humiliate Obama as a bank shot as he is the one condoning their actions. This is especially true for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, that saintly group of all around nice guys who have taken vows of nonviolence which Obama's director of intelligence would have everyone believe.
Bibi, it's war by unconventional means, PR, and nothing hurts a liberal like the public exposure of bad press, corruption and inconvenient associations.
Obama may well have been trying to bait Netenyahu. The attacks on Netenyahu's comments were quite likely part of a previously arranged concerted attack here and Israel designed to oust Netenyahu.
But I doubt Obama and his allies expected the furore in Israel over Obama's speech, nor Netenyahu's reasoned defence of Israel during the press conference.
These people rely upon the lie to advance their agenda, and Netenyahu shined the smallest light on the subject.
Can someone please tell me which foes have self-destructed on Obama's canny, gentle and subtle prompting?
I'm not sure Netenyahu could say much of anything about Obama that I wouldn't already share the opinion about.
I second the above remarks of just about everybody. Obama has been a huge disappointment, a terrible mistake, and a grave danger to our allies.
You mean other than John McCain?
So McCain's inept campaign was by Obama's canny design? Right.
"So McCain's inept campaign was by Obama's canny design? Right."
Well, he did have liberals in prominent positions in his campaign, and he campaigned more against Bush than Obama.
Don't push your luck, Bibi. Others have with Obama and they have learned that he is often more canny than they are with political jujitsu. Obama's usual tactic: gently and subtly prompting his foes to self-destruct. I just hope that in this critical juncture in the Middle East, Netanyahu doesn't take his country with him.
Actually, this passage applies infinitely better to Excitable Andy than to Bibi. I guess it takes one to know one.
I'm just a retired guy in Ohio, but have long been a believer in our special bond with Israel. What scares folks like me, Christians who support Israel, is the way Obama treats the best friend we have with such complete disrespect. Is it he hates they have a Likud PM, or is he really the closet Hamas supporter some of us fear?
It'd go a long way, if Obama could just once, act like an adult and drop his childish grudges. He does it to the Brits as well,.. as if he wants to leave us no real allies when he's booted in 2012.
But that post in the Atlantic was moronic, just how much disrespect does Israel have to endure to make that guy think enough, Bibi has to respond at some point. He may be our president, but as much as it pains me as a vet, he'll be my president when he acts like he gives a crap about red state America instead of his administrations hamfisted retributions for voting GOP. He's either all our president, or he's not. For many of us, he feels like an occupying foe, we have to endure.