March 16, 2016

President Obama's Greatest Foreign Policy Achievement: No More Netanyahu Visits

Killed Bin Laden: Who cares. Ended the Iraq war: Who cares. Made peace with Iran: Who cares. Stop Netanyahu from visiting and lecturing America: Finally, President Obama has lived up to his Nobel Peace Prize.

An excerpt from, "AIPAC Is Coming to Town" By Philip Giraldi, The Unz Review, March 15, 2016:
Nothing illustrates the unbridgeable abyss between the media/talking head vision of Israel promoted by the Israel Lobby and folks like Hillary and the real thing more than the recent embarrassments and indignities being delivered by the Netanyahu government, which AIPAC really represents. Benjamin Netanyahu is, to everyone’s surprise, not coming to AIPAC this year but will instead address the conference by video link. The visit was planned but canceled at the last moment and, per Netanyahu, the fault is that of the president of the United States who had reportedly said that he would not be available for a meeting due to the upcoming trip to Cuba.

The Obama Administration was genuinely puzzled, partly due to the fact that it first learned of the cancellation through a newspaper story rather than from the Israeli Embassy or Foreign Ministry. It was also astonished by the explanation given as it had indeed set up a presidential meeting at Netanyahu’s request in spite of a very tight schedule. The White House did not complain openly about the deliberate snub, but it was clear to everyone involved that Netanyahu was yet again sending a message to the Administration regarding who was in charge.

Netanyahu benefits from the fact that his tendency to ridicule critics makes many in the media reluctant to challenge his behavior, but when it became embarrassingly clear that he had been fibbing about why he was not coming to Washington he immediately resorted to Plan B, stating that he did not want to interfere in the presidential primaries currently underway. No one believed that argument either as Netanyahu has not hesitated to interfere in American politics in the past, notably when he made clear that he would prefer a Republican president in 2012 and appeared in ads in Florida endorsing Mitt Romney.

The White House meanwhile resorted to its own Plan B when confronted by a truculent Netanyahu. It first groveled a bit about how much it loves Israel and then expressed hope that Vice President Joe Biden, who was in the air on his way to Tel Aviv, would be able to calm the situation. Indeed, the original objective of the Biden trip turned out to be the real reason for the contretemps with Netanyahu. Netanyahu was miffed because the United States has hesitated to provide him with a no-strings-attached long term agreement to give Israel at least $5 billion dollars per year in military assistance, up from the current $3 billion.