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Wanna Know Why Bibi Netanyahu Was Grinning Like the Cat Who Swallowed the Canary Today? *updated*

November 11, 2010

Here’s why.

See my post below for the transcript, video and photos of Secretary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu prior to their meeting.

Israeli media commentators (moderate and liberal) have been basically begging this administration to stand up to their Prime Minister. Can you imagine? Clearly, the carrot and carrot approach championed by Dennis Ross (and others?) isn’t working. In fact, it seems to be backfiring and making the United States look ineffectual and weak because the whole world is watching and wondering how if Obama can’t even get Israel to temporarily stop some illegal settlements construction for a few extra weeks, how is the US going to get Israel to move forward on more contentious final status issues like borders and the status of Jerusalem?

Here’s a good article from the former Israel Consul General Alon Pinkas arguing that Netanyahu’s attempts (aided by the GOP and much of the so-called Israel Lobby) to politicize support for Israel could end up backfiring big-time. It’s also an obvious play by the GOP to start to get more Jewish Americans to vote Republican by claiming that they (the GOP) are the ONLY pro-Israel party. This is of course ridiculous, but if you read the article it becomes apparent that the “pro” and “anti” Israel label is being used for cynical political ends and it has the side effect of stifling any meaningful debate on the Mideast. Given how important Mideast peace (or lack thereof) is to US security interests around the world, and of course to the security of Israel itself, it is essential that different viewpoints be not only discussed, but encouraged. I know, radical idea!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Thain permalink
    November 11, 2010 8:33 pm

    Unfortunately it would seem people don’t really care that Hillary has worked her ass off to get both sides to make real efforts at peace. It would seem that some would rather support Israel’s arrogant, disrespectful efforts to make this administration, and by extension Secy Clinton, come begging on hands and knees to Bibi and Israel. Israel won’t do anything unless the US grovels, frees Pollard, attacks Iran, makes endless other promises and forks over even more taxpayer money, as though somehow we OWE them. Let’s be honest though- we all know why this goes on. It’s why Bibi is so cocky and gets away with it.

    You’d think more Hillary supporters would watch Hillary’s back and say “enough.”


  2. November 11, 2010 9:24 pm

    You know Thain, it’s funny b/c today I had every intention of not posting anything about Israel/the status of negotiations b/c I find the situation so frustrating and also b/c you are right- most people don’t really care all that much. Since I dont think most people who frequent this blog are interested in this topic (with one or two exceptions) I think from now on I’m not going to really post any extra coverage/info about Israel/Palestine other than to put up Secretary Clinton’s schedule, transcripts, photos etc. on days where she is doing stuff related to the Mideast. Which is all I think people really want to see anyway.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      November 11, 2010 9:34 pm

      I hope you continue. I’ve learned a lot from your coverage. It led me to rethink my own point of view.

      • Steve permalink
        November 12, 2010 8:24 am

        I agree with Carolyn- someone has to cover this stuff in a different way because others aren’t- they just repeat the party line. It is frustrating and I think most people are just happy to say “well, Israel DOES have to protect itself and the US has no right to make Israel do anything” in response to any criticism but until that view gets challenged on a regular basis- with facts- nothing will change. Sometimes we have to hold a mirror up to people with whom we usually agree.

        You were certainly one of the few bloggers that support this administration that actually took on the administration’s narrative on the Mari Manarva by providing some actual LEGAL perspective. That probably makes some people nervous, particularly if it is seen as contradicting Hillary Clinton’s stated line, but it would be dishonest and hypocritical not to do so.

        So keep blogging about Israel/Mideast. Who cares if people don’t want to hear it? Tell them anyway. Besides, your Mideast posts always get lots of comments and good discussion, if at times a bit heated 😉 Nothin’ wrong with that!

      • November 12, 2010 3:26 pm

        @ Carolyn- Thank you.

  3. rachel permalink
    November 11, 2010 10:49 pm

    I still Bibi knew he won, when when last year Hillary said the US wanted ALL settlement stops , then the white house contridicted her.

  4. Steve permalink
    November 12, 2010 6:47 am

    The meeting lasted 6 hours and what did they talk about? What Israel would get out of the US. From Haaretz:

    The main issue discussed Thursday was the package of incentives the United States will offer Israel if it extends a freeze on settlement construction.

    Why is this admin. bending over and grabbing their ankles for Israel just so they can save face and try to get the talks going? Bibi is playing BOTH Clinton and Obama like a violin. He turned down that previous package of unprecedented goodies so that he could bilk the American people for even MORE. This is the game. Thank you Israel Lobby! So what if we get a two month quasi-moratorium? Then what? Israel shakes us down every time we ask them to stop their provocative actions? They are building settlements on land the Palestinians hope to have as part of their capital!

    Why won’t this administration play hardball and tell Bibi “that was our offer, you said no, come back when you want to sit at the adult table?” Why does the US think that giving Israel more shit will make them behave? HAS IT EVER? They should play hardball and force a collapse of Bibi’s right wing coalition by taking all offers off the table. Why does the US have to give ANYTHING else to Israel in return for Israel making a gesture that is actually required under international law? Israel isn’t even stopping the settlements in east Jerusalem?!?

    This administration has no right to offer more taxpayer money and security guarantees that go on for years and years into the future in return for a whole lot of nothing from Israel.

    What are we going to give Israel later when they refuse to do something, which of course they will do because this is how the game is played? They act like spoiled brats and we reward them. I know, lets give them the state of New York! Or how about the Pentagon? Or maybe the Oval Office and then we can just call it a day, since apparently Bibi actually is our President.

    • rachel permalink
      November 12, 2010 7:15 am

      The problem is they really need congress at least some behind them in congress, and this is what Hillary and Obama are about to face,7340,L-3983543,00.htmle.

      • Steve permalink
        November 12, 2010 8:15 am

        @Rachel: Yes, and that’s really frustrating. It isn’t just about the GOP though- the Democrats in Congress never stand up to Israel either. The GOP will just be worse and of course, they’ll push for war with Iran.

        Lets be honest- Bibi’s been in the US meeting with the heads of major Jewish organizations and they have clearly told him they have his back. Not only am i disgusted with Bibi and how this admin. is allowing him to basically shake them down, but I am disgusted with my community- the Jewish community, for egging Bibi on and undermining Obama, Clinton and Sen. Mitchell’s efforts. It gives credence to the horrible stereotype that we Jews have a dual loyalty issue when it comes to Israel. If it weren’t for the Israel Lobby, Bibi would not be able to do this.

      • rachel permalink
        November 12, 2010 11:09 am

        Steve I agree with a lot of what you have said. No one in congress is willing to help the admin out on this. A big sticking point besides the settlements is that Israel keeps harping on the fact that palestinians wont recognize their right to exist. I wish they would just go ahead and do that so Israel can stop using that against them. It’s a very diffcult situation, even if there ended up beign a two state solution I really don’t think the violence would end.

  5. Thain permalink
    November 12, 2010 10:34 am

    No one would treat their toddler like we treat Israel. Can you imagine never saying “no” to a 3 year old? Can you imagine letting your kid play on a hot stove or in the middle of the street because you’re afraid to tell them the consequences of doing so are so dangerous? Tom Friedman is right, words I’ve never said out loud because I can’t stand Friedman’s elitism and faux liberalism. But he called out Israel as spoiled brats and that’s how they are acting.

    The “special relationship” is totally abusive at this point. We need a trial separation to give Israel some time to grow up.

    • JusticeLives permalink
      November 12, 2010 1:02 pm

      You are a fucking Israel hater and I can’t wait until you an your ilk get what is coming to you. HUSSEIN Obama is a antisemite as are all of you. Your not fooling anyone. The Muslims are terrorists and Israel should just round them up and send them to Jordan.

      Israel does NOT have to do what Barry HUSSEIN Obama demands of them. I can’t wait until the rest of the Jews wake up and realize the liberals are all anti-Israel and need to leave the democrat party.

  6. Steve permalink
    November 12, 2010 11:37 am

    @Rachel- Not to be nitpicky, but the Palestinians have recognized Israel’s right to exist quite a while ago. They have said, and continue to say, that Israel has a right to exist and define itself however it deems fit. They do say, however, that it is not incumbent upon them (the Palestinians) to formally recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” because they believe that a) no other country that signed peace treaties was ever required to do that b) they were never required to do that before and most importantly c) they understand that the demand by Bibi is a sneaky way of having the Palestinians give up any legal rights of return up front before negotiations even begin- the right of return is a final status issue. Also, many Jews, myself included, see this added requirement as unnecessary and it could lead to trouble legally for non-Jews in Israel, including Christians. Many believe the right in Israel want to use any formal recognition of Israel as a “Jewish” state to create a system of laws which privilege Jews over all other people in Israel. That actually is sort of what is going on now, actually, and it’s rather undemocratic. More importantly, it’s meant to be a trap.

    I know it initially doesn’t seem like a big deal- everyone knows lots of Jews live in Israel, everyone knows the predominant religion is Judaism, but the fact is, it should be enough that the Palestinians and other Arab states recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security- Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and the Palestinians have done that. If two states are created it’s likely that other Arab states will sign peace treaties with Israel too.

    • Steve permalink
      November 12, 2010 11:39 am

      I should stipulate when I say the Palestinians I mean the PA and Fatah and most Palestinians “on the street.”

  7. Able Danger permalink
    November 12, 2010 12:58 pm

    I think both Secretary Clinton and President Obama share in the blame for moving back to the totally Israeli-centric position of viewing Mideast peace. As prof. Walt points out, the ironic bit is that Israel and the US ultimately pay the price in the end. As do the Palestinians of course.

    I’d like to say I trust Secretary Clinton can be objective on this but she became so hawkishly pro-Israel that it’s hard to see how she is objective. That and Bob Woodward’s book claimed that she was one of the people encouraging Obama to go easy on Netanyahu regarding settlements right from the start. You think she would have learned that Netanyahu can’t be trusted- he treated Bill Clinton like crap and with total disrespect. She has to know Netanyahu is not serious about anything other than extorting more land, more military support, more $ and more Palestinian land from all of this. She has essentially said Israel will be rewarded for its settlement activity over the last several decades and all of Israel’s legitimate and even illegitimate security concerns will be taken into consideration. I say illegitimate because Netanyahu uses security as a cynical ploy to grab more land for Israel without compensating the Palestinians.

    I have a question for people here- if you were a Palestinian family who had farmed your olive trees for generations and then the IDF came in one day, destroyed your home, burned your olive trees and threw you out on the street homeless with no where to go and no legal right to challenge the action, what would YOU do in response?

  8. HillaryFan permalink
    November 12, 2010 1:18 pm

    Where’s Stacy? I think she could eloquently rebut just about everything JusticeLives said. Of course maybe that isn’t even necessary since it’s just one long personal attack?

    Stacy, you can’t step back from this issue- you’re too principled and you obviously care about it. Also the left needs a rational voice to articulate its position to ensure that its not simply written off as anti-Israel as JusticeLIves has tried to do above.

  9. Terry permalink
    November 12, 2010 2:10 pm

    Big stories all over the internet on how Obama is losing his charm. I expected the push back by China on the currency issue but with our long history of trade and protection in South Korea our deal with them should have been a slam dunk. I am getting the impression that countries all over the world are just spitting in our face.

    Foreign economic policy is not the State Department’s responsibility, that’s the Treasury, so things need to be shaken up there. With a weak American president this makes Hillary’s job at State just that much more difficult. It may be time for her to think about leaving soon. She is getting tainted by the president’s weakness. She is a team player but I am not seeing a lot of the rest of the team passing the ball strategically for a shot through the basket. Now Obama is vacillating on taxing the rich and down goes yet another campaign promise. It will be interesting how the liberal left will consolidate around a leader in the next few months, if Obama continues to disappoint and not stand up for anything. I am not against Obama. I know governing is hard but I am just not appreciating the atmosphere of uncertainty he is creating in almost every aspect of my life at the moment. I hate how some dems are throwing Pelosi under the bus just because she got things done and sticks to her guns.

    Last week I got my health insurance forms for 2011 representing over a ten percent price increase. As a self-employed person I pay the highest possible rates but I am also paying almost double what I did only five years ago, and getting much less value. Is this healthcare reform? It is now almost a third of my net income and that’s just the premiums… forget the yearly deductible that has to be met along with all those co-pays.

    • November 12, 2010 3:28 pm

      Hillary won’t jump ship just because the administration’s having difficulties. She’s not a quitter. She will keep working hard and try to get more concrete results in the foreign policy/diplomacy arena. Yes, her job will be more difficult but she’ll just work all the harder.

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