Obama needs to provide real answers to Netanyahu’s arguments – The Washington Post The White House has yet to offer a serious response to the Israeli leader’s concerns.



The Washington Post Editorial Board has completely jumped the shark with their demand that Obama provide “real answers” to the concerns raised by Netanyahu in his address to Congress yesterday.

Specifically, WaPo editors believe Netanyahu’s charges that 1) the deal being negotiated will not deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons; and 2) that the Iranian regime is inherently untrustworthy, evil and intent on destroying Israel. What the WaPo editors fail to grasp is that Netanyahu has never been a part of the talks and has only been briefed on to the extent deemed necessary by the US, Germany, France, Russia, China and UK. The really funny thing is that Israeli intelligence officials who have received the same briefings as Netanyahu seem to have a different opinion about the talks than does the Prime Minister. Now, either the intelligence officials aren’t doing their job or Netanyahu is somehow better at reading intelligence than his own intelligence services.

Surely a quick look into Netanyahu’s track record will demonstrate how deft and skilled he is in the field of predicting future conflicts and digesting intelligence. Surely his Congressional testimony concerning the Iraq War will support his position as an expert on the Middle East and the threats facing Israel. In his 2002 testimony, Netanyahu said:

“There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking and is working and is advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons – no question whatsoever, and there is no question that once he acquires it, history shifts immediately.”

There are two things to never forget when considering Netanyahu’s views of regional threats. First, he is desperately seeking his “Churchill moment”. Second, he has a record of being blinded by his own biases and is never, ever a sober analyst of a situation; he’s a politician seeking a legacy. We should always assess Netanyahu by the Dick Cheney, Sheldon Adelson, Bill Kristol company he keeps. He was an acolyte of theProject for the New American Century’s brilliant “Let’s Invade Iraq because We’ll Get Chocolates and They’ll Get Freedom” plan, and what he’s pushing right now isn’t much better. Sadly, the WaPo editors are far more forgiving of Netanyahu’s own track record of wrongdoing and mistakes, while holding Iran to a much stricter accounting.

When it comes to the character and intentions of Iran, the WaPo editors are far to accommodating of Netanyahu’s reductionist and Manichean worldview. The Israeli Prime Minister wants the world to believe that Iran is nothing more than the incendiary statements they make about Israel; a trick he plays with other regional groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. To be clear, the Iranian government has and does make absolutely unacceptable statements regarding Israel and these must be condemned without hesitation or equivocation.

Yet to simply dismiss the entire Iranian regime for the unacceptable and incendiary statements it makes is shortsighted. Within Iran there are reformist elements that are fighting against the hardliners who have long vilified Israel. At the current moment, the reformers are able to influence and direct the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Perhaps what is necessary is to – for the moment – ignore the noise created by the hardliners so as to give the reformers a chance to win the day. If you’re interested in a peaceful resolution, then this is not a significant concession to make. And, if we listen to a wide array of intelligence analysts with serious credentials – rather than the Prime Minister of Israel – then we would understand that in the time it would take for the reformers to win or lose, the Iranians could not have a breakout that results in a nuclear weapon.

Iran is not on the verge of acquiring a nuclear bomb in the next few months and Netanyahu knows that. What Iran is on the verge of is being more fully reincorporated into the international community and raising as a regional power, which threatens Israel’s dominance in the Middle East. That is what concerns Netanyahu, but the WaPo editors fail to grasp that either.

Unfortunately, for the readers of the Washington Post, they have been subjected to the illogical, uniformed and biased views of Jackson Diehl who is far more inclined to give Binyamin Netanyahu a pass for his track record of misreading regional developments, his current position as an embattled politician facing a tough electoral environment and seeking a moment that resonates with the Israeli public, and his megalomanic tendencies.

The fact of the matter is that Netanyahu cannot be a trusted source of criticism or critique of the Iran negotiations and the President of the United States, under no circumstances, is obligated to explain anything to the Prime Minister of Israel or to address his bullshit accusations.

By on .


October 18th, 2015

Mapping the Dead in the Latest Israeli-Palestinian Violence

Basma Atassi at Al-Jazeera has put together a great storymap that explores the latest violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Complete with pictures, text and place location, this resource allows you to get a good sense of where, when and how the violence is occurring. Definitely worth a look.

October 16th, 2015

Netanyahu, Context & Responsibility

At the center of this current iteration of violence in Israel and Palestine stands the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has reacted to this violence as if he was surprised that Palestinians would resort to violence when for decades he has done everything within his power to thwart the establishment and growth of a responsible Palestinian civil society, expanded settlements with the explicit aim of crippling an emerging Palestinian state, and undermining the responsible leadership of Mahmoud Abbas at every possible opportunity.

October 8th, 2015

Abbas, Netanyahu and Responsible Leadership

Abbas is demonstrating his commitment to deescalating tensions and calming the violence that is a direct result of Netanyahu’s persistent efforts to whip Israeli society into a panicked frenzy about an existential threat lurking behind every corner.

June 30th, 2015

Our Dictator in Cairo – Abdel Fatah el-Sisi

So, once again, the foreign policy of the US has chosen perceived immediate stability over the somewhat more bumpy and unpredictable evolution of democracy in the Middle East. It’s not the first time we’ve done this… it’s sort of our thing at this point… we’re pro’s out it.

June 22nd, 2015

The Many Victims at Mother Emmanuel

The problem with Gosnell and others who make these arguments is that they believe intentionality serves as some magical “Get out of Jail Free” card that absolves perpetrators of the violence they commit. Further, and in many ways far more problematic, is the realization that Gosnell and others only want to use this logical canard to absolve themselves or other like them. No such compassion regarding intentionality and the multiplicity of victims derived from violence will ever be used with the families of the 9-11 hijackers. In the end, the fundamental mistake that Gosnell and others make over and over again is that they focus on issues of intentionality rather than on issues of responsibility.

March 4th, 2015

Mr. Netanyahu Goes to Congress

There are two things to never forget when considering Netanyahu’s views of regional threats. First, he is desperately seeking his “Churchill moment”. Second, he has a record of being blinded by his own biases and is never, ever a sober analyst of a situation

February 16th, 2015

Cursed Be The Peacemakers?

This video, produced by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, has been released as part of the current Israeli political contest where the extreme right wing of Israel is attempting to maintain the rightist complexion of the Israeli government. For me, the truly offensive aspect of this video is how it makes the case that working for peace between Israelis and Palestinians or defending Palestinian and Israeli human rights somehow makes you a threat to the country.

February 14th, 2015

The Danger of Molly White’s Islamophobia

Rep. White is the new poster child for the anti-Muslim bigotry, Islamic hatred and Islamophobia that is so deeply embedded in American society that it can hide in plain sight.

July 15th, 2014

In Focus: The Gaza Strip

As Israeli bombs are dropped throughout the Gaza Strip and Hamas missiles are launched into Israel, the media coverage has focused on discussing Gaza as a known yet ill-defined entity. We are made aware of roughly where it is (next to Israel), who lives there (Hamas) and what happens there (rockets are made and launched). But this reductionist view of Gaza doesn’t provide any insights into the common, everyday lived experience of the 1.8 million Palestinians who live in the 360 sq. km that makes up the Gaza Strip.

July 14th, 2014

Middle East News Review #28

The Middle East was plagued with news of violence this week. In Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Libya, episodes of violence resulted in death and destruction. Iran continued its negotiations with the US and EU this week in the hopes of reaching an agreement over the country’s nuclear program and removing the economic sanctions that have crippled its economy. In Iraq, violence between the militant group ISIS and the Baghdad government reached new heights as 29 people were found massacred in an apartment and Human Rights Watch condemned the government for mass executions carried out earlier this year. The direct physical violence in Iraq was mirrored this week with political turmoil as the government of Nouri al-Maliki erupted into conflict with the semi-autonomous Kurdish government.