There is a breach of protocol, but not by Boehner and Bibi.
Claims by anonymous sources that the Obama administration is deeply offended by a “breach of protocol” in the planned appearance by Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint meeting of Congress are increasing.
The New York Times quotes an unnamed official as saying the anger goes beyond John Boehner and Netanyahu, to the Israeli Ambassador:
The Obama administration, after days of mounting tension, signaled on Wednesday how angry it is with Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Republican leaders’ invitation to address Congress on Iran without consulting the White House.
The outrage the episode has incited within President Obama’s inner circle became clear in unusually sharp criticism by a senior administration official who said that the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, who helped orchestrate the invitation, had repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States.
William Kristol argues that Obama views Netanyahu as an impediment to appeasement of Iran, much as Churchill was viewed with regard to the rise of fascism in Germany:
It is Obama’s failures that explain his anger—his failures, and his hopes that a breakthrough with Iran could erase the memories of failure and appear to vindicate his foreign policy. Israel stands in the way, he thinks, of this breakthrough. Prime Minister Netanyahu stands in the way. And so Obama lashes out.
It’s of course unseemly. But it’s also dangerous. Neville Chamberlain and the British establishment were far angrier with Winston Churchill, and much harsher in their attempts to discredit him, in the late 1930s when the dreams of appeasement were failing, than earlier, when hope for the success of appeasement was alive. When you think your policies are going to be vindicated, you ignore or dismiss critics. It’s when you suspect and fear imminent failure that you lash out.
So we have an angry president, increasingly desperate for vindication of his failed foreign policy, accelerating both his appeasement of Iran and his attacks on Israel….”
I think that’s the point.
Obama doesn’t like Netanyahu and wants him out of office. That has been clear for years, and most recently when John Kerry and others reportedly urged the Palestinian Authority not to push it’s Security Council resolution prior to the Israeli elections so as not to help the Israeli right wing. Which means Netanyahu’s coalition.
The Obama administration attempted to interfere in the Israeli elections, and continues to do so through anonymous sources, including the person who called Netanyahu a “chickenshit.”
While I do believe Obama is thin-skinned, I think there is much more here. He has found an opening to remove an obstacle to his plan to force an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice borders and to accommodate not just the Iranian nuclear program but also Iran’s role as a regional power. That is consistent with six years of Obama policy, and Netanyahu’s alleged breach of protocol changed nothing.
Obama sees an opportunity to separate Netanyahu not just from Democrats in Congress but also from Israeli voters, where the supposed damage to relations with the U.S. may help Netanyahu’s adversaries. It may be that Boehner and Bibi handed Obama just the excuse he needed.
This entire episode is about the Obama administration breaching protocol and interfering in Israeli elections, not the other way around.DONATE
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