Friday, March 19, 2010

Netanyahu thought he could take Obama, and lost

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quite right. As he said in his speech at the Knesset on Monday while greeting Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, over the last four decades, every single Israeli government has built Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

No prime minister, from the right, left or center, has ever caved to international pressure and agreed to curtail the development of the capital east of the Green Line.

What Netanyahu did not say, but certainly alluded to, was that until last weekend, no American administration had ever openly demanded that Israel abort a housing project in East Jerusalem. This is also perfectly true.

But there is another conclusion to be drawn from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's unprecedented ultimatum - revoke the planning permit to build 1,600 new homes in Ramat Shlomo or else - and that is the simple fact that on no other Israeli prime minister's watch has Israel's most crucial international alliance been allowed to deteriorate so badly, and so quickly."
Ultimately, it is Netanyahu who is to blame, not only for appointing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai to their current positions, but also for his belief that he can take on the White House, while relying on the support for Israel in Congress and the American Jewish community to offset any damage."


  1. <span>This is a moment of truth for American Jews. Next week, Netanyahu will be in Washington to address an AIPAC event. They have the opportunity to act both as loyal American citizens and as Jews who truly care for Israel's future, there is no conflict of interests here and this is not a matter of right or left. The mainstream Jewish leadership has to make it clear, for the good of both countries, that he has overstepped a line, and that if he continues to stick his finger in the Obama administration's eye, he will not be able to continue relying on their support. Fudging this message would be a disservice to Israel and its security. </span>

  2. I will wait to see if the tough talk is followed by tough action. Already Biden and Obama have been bowing and scraping to insist that Israel's needs are "sacrosanct."

    I remain skeptical.