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February 5, 2015 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Boehner, Netanyahu blindside Obama with speech to Congress
Controversy has erupted in America and Israel over an upcoming speech by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress about the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, worked with Boehner to set up the speech and gave an interview where he said no disrespect was meant to Obama, although it's being called an "unprecedented diss" to Obama, who is declining to meet with Netanyahu during the visit. The speech highlights the increasing strain in the US/Israel relationship under Obama and Netanyahu. (See also, "The Netanyahu Disaster".)

Congressional turnout at the speech is in question, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she is intending to go but hopes the speech is cancelled, and although she said there will not be a formal boycott, other members may be too busy to attend. Rep. John Lewis and Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus both announced they won't attend. Key Senators are also considering skipping the speech.

In Israel, former Prime Minister Shimon Peres criticized Netanyahu's plan. Former ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, who was appointed by Netanyahu, and who is now running with a centrist party in the upcoming Israel elections, said the speech should be cancelled.

The American public's reaction is mixed on the speech, and Giuliani offered strong words of support.

Netanyahu is undeterred and believes he has a duty to speak out about the danger of a nuclear Iran, although the G.O.P.’s invitation to Netanyahu is aiding Obama’s cause on Iran.

Bernard Avishai wonders if Netanyahu may be courting Republican backing which could turn support for Israel into a partisan issue while Gershom Gorenberg shares this concern and thinks American Jewish leaders need to speak out.

Although risky, Netanyahu's speech to Congress could save his re-election when Israelis go to the polls on March 17th, two weeks after the March 3rd speech.
posted by andoatnp (235 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
If House Democrats did this to Bush it would have been declared treasonous.

The sheer gall of both Boehner trying to score political points by dragging a foreign leader into a domestic politic shitshow and the sheer gall of Netanyahu trying to influence domestic US politics.

Fuck the both of them.
posted by Talez at 12:34 PM on February 5, 2015 [142 favorites]


Well thank god we know what Rudy Giuliani thinks.
posted by Naberius at 12:36 PM on February 5, 2015 [51 favorites]


Hoooooo boy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:44 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Once upon a time, Congress left foreign policy to the president (who, albeit with the advice and consent of the Senate, has the power to negotiate treaties, appoint ambassadors, and appoint the Secretary of State; and is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces). During, and because of, the Vietnam War and various adventures since then, foreign policy got politicized. We are now seeing the ultimate politicization: a Speaker of the House pursuing his own foreign policy to make up for his ineffectiveness in domestic policy.
posted by beagle at 12:44 PM on February 5, 2015 [21 favorites]


The sheer gall of both Boehner trying to score political points by dragging a foreign leader into a domestic politic shitshow and the sheer gall of Netanyahu trying to influence domestic US politics.

And vice versa; Boehner is also letting the Republican Congress be used as a prop to influence the Likud party's performance in the upcoming election.
posted by Gelatin at 12:47 PM on February 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


What a shitshow. Let's just go all the way back to the days when states got to make their own treaties with foreign governments while we're at it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:48 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Let's just go all the way back to the days when states got to make their own treaties with foreign governments while we're at it.

I suspect that would suit Boehner and his ilk just fine.
posted by aught at 12:52 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've always wanted a foreign policy of my very own. And a standing army.
posted by jfuller at 12:54 PM on February 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


The phrase "politics stops at the water's edge" was coined by Republican senator Arthur Vandenberg in the late 1940s, as he showed solidarity with Democratic president Harry Truman.

"To me, 'bipartisan foreign policy' means a mutual effort, under our indispensable, two-party system, to unite our official voice at the water's edge so that America speaks with one voice to those who would divide and conquer us and the free world."

Vandenberg went on to say that there should be full, open and honest debate of foreign policy within the country. But the goal of such debate, he said, was not to score political points, but to reach a position of unity that could be presented to the world.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:56 PM on February 5, 2015 [34 favorites]


I wish ill on both their houses.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:57 PM on February 5, 2015


The phrase "politics stops at the water's edge" was coined by Republican senator Arthur Vanderburg in the late 1940s, as he showed solidarity with Democratic president Harry Truman.

Of course, being a Republican in the late 1940's indicated an entirely different political orientation than it does today.
posted by clockzero at 1:00 PM on February 5, 2015 [22 favorites]


Not Vandenberg et al, of course, I mean those other jerks.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:03 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know it's bad when even Jeffery Goldberg, a man who has never found a war against Muslims he didn't love, and who has never failed to lie in service of the goal of starting wars in Muslim nations, and who has never once failed to support the worst right wing loonies in Israel he can find, is ambivalent about the visit/speech.

Admittedly, his ambivalence is likely more the result of fear that Netanyahu's visit may further alienate American Jews from Israel, and in other ways undermine the goal of expanding Israel's borders and starting wars in Muslim nations.

As for Boehner and Netanyahu, I can only say I hope this backfires on both of them and Netanyahu loses to someone a little less in thrall to the far right wing and the religious fanatics. Maybe, I know this is crazy talk, someone who will actually fucking enforce the law and stop illegal settlements.
posted by sotonohito at 1:06 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't like this move at all, but I've always thought that the effort to depoliticize foreign policy was wrongheaded. Politics doesn't stop at the water's edge, so why pretend it does? I wish the Democrats had been this gutsy under Bush!

In the early days of US history, there was much disagreement about whether to cultivate the British or the French as allies. It colored much of our domestic politics, because it was tied to the question of the French Revolution and the kind of country we wanted to live in.

I do think it's telling that Israel's role in all this is sui generis. No other nation can force US politicians to make domestic moves to their disadvantage. Few other nations have enough clout domestically to pull it off, and they wouldn't want to do it if they could. But there's so much support for Israel among both Democratic and Republican constituencies that the President can't protest and Pelosi can't boycott. (It's kind of the opposite of Cuba, in a way.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:07 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


The American public's reaction is mixed on the speech

It should be noted that the main driver for opinions being mixed seems to be evangelical Christian white male Republicans. Which, as you can expect, make up a good part if not a majority of the House and Senate GOP (of whom only one identifies as Jewish after Eric Cantor lost his seat).
posted by zombieflanders at 1:09 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Gershom Gorenberg link has lots of good insight into the Israeli politics part of this minor scandal:

...using the ambassador to the Republican Party—I mean to the United States—to engineer an Israeli campaign speech that is also an attack on the Democratic president has wonderfully clarified Netanyahu's approach to understanding of relations with America...

The standard fantasy of Republican-oriented Jewish groups is that the party's ever-louder allegiance to the Israeli right will at last convince the majority of American Jews to abandon the Democratic Party. The effect of the GOP asserting its ownership of the Israel issue will probably be the opposite.


And:

The immediate payoff for Boehner appears to be zilch; for Netanyahu it's murkier. What the two have actually succeeded in doing is to present U.S. support for Israel, more than ever before, as GOP support for the Likud.

As a side note, Gorenberg is a fantastic, thoughtful Israeli commentator; his book The Unmaking of Israel is a must-read for anyone interested in Palestine-Israel issues. His blog's good, too.
posted by mediareport at 1:09 PM on February 5, 2015 [18 favorites]


anotherpanacea: Yeah, as much as I disagree with the Republicans and hope this backfires on them, I can't say I find it to be a horribly shocking and impermissible violation of decorum. Foreign policy is very much a political issue and I see nothing inherently wrong with a party being opposed to the opposition's foreign policy and being vocal about it.

I was opposed to Bush's foreign policy and I was vocal about it, so it'd be damn hypocritical of me to say it's wrong for Boehner to be vocal in his opposition to Obama's foreign policy.
posted by sotonohito at 1:10 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Does anyone really believe that any congress critter is going to have the spine to not attend a Netanyahu appearance? I remember his previous appearances received a rapturous response from the audience. Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have given the middle finger to US politicians time and time again and American politicians always come back for more. I mean, frankly, I would love it if America and Israel decoupled their politics but I don't see this being the tipping point.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:11 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, once Obama and Kerry announced that they would decline to meet with Netanyahu (the "declining to meet" link to TPM, where Josh Marshall has been doing insightful reporting on this sordid mess), that was game over for the Boehner-Bibi stunt.

Unfortunately, they're in a bind now - if the speech goes ahead, they are going to have some truly terrible optics: the US president and SecState snub you, half of Congress is otherwise busy, support for Israel is seen as a partisan political issue in the US. But they can't cancel, because that would be caving in and a loss of face to that black man.

Meanwhile, every day that the controversy continues further strengthens the hands of those who'd prefer to have a negotiated solution with Iran rather than sending in the bombers.

Couldn't happen to a nicer pair of jerks.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:11 PM on February 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


Seems like Boehner is siding with foreign officials, to hurt the U.S. Presidency.

What's the penalty for treason, again?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:12 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


mediareport: Goldberg is a lying hack who was instrumental in spreading Bush administration lies to the effect that Saddam Hussein was possessed of an active WMD program, that he was in league with Al-Qaeda, and that he was a uniquely threatening supervillain level bad guy who needed to be taken down at all costs.

He has no credibility on Middle East issues at all and I'm curious as to why you think he does.
posted by sotonohito at 1:12 PM on February 5, 2015


I was opposed to Bush's foreign policy and I was vocal about it, so it'd be damn hypocritical of me to say it's wrong for Boehner to be vocal in his opposition to Obama's foreign policy.

This isn't "opposition," this is straight-up sabotage, and it's in line with similar nigh-treasonous actions the Congressional GOP (and the House GOP in particular) has engaged in a lot over the last couple years in both domestic and international politics.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:14 PM on February 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


sotonhito: that's Gorenberg not Goldberg
posted by marxchivist at 1:15 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


sotonohito: “mediareport: Goldberg is a lying hack who was instrumental in spreading Bush administration lies to the effect that Saddam Hussein was possessed of am active WMD program, that he was in league with Al-Qaeda, and that he was a uniquely threatening supervillain level bad guy who needed to be taken down at all costs. He has no credibility on Middle East issues at all and I'm curious as to why you think he does.”

mediareport doesn't appear to mention Goldberg anywhere in his comment at all. He's talking about Gershom Gorenberg. I think maybe you misread?
posted by koeselitz at 1:16 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


What a shitshow. Let's just go all the way back to the days when states got to make their own treaties with foreign governments while we're at it.

If I understand the Alabama Attorney General, such treaties would supersede any made by the U.S.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:17 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm a total idiot, sorry mediareport. My lazy reading got the best of me and I had Goldberg on the brain.
posted by sotonohito at 1:18 PM on February 5, 2015


as much as I disagree with the Republicans and hope this backfires on them, I can't say I find it to be a horribly shocking and impermissible violation of decorum. Foreign policy is very much a political issue and I see nothing inherently wrong with a party being opposed to the opposition's foreign policy and being vocal about it.

If it was Boehner delivering a speech himself that would be one thing, but it isn't the Republicans being vocal here: it's a foreign head of state, at their invitation. That's less 'being vocally in opposition to the administration's foreign policy' and more 'actively pursuing a different foreign policy than the administration's.'
posted by cjelli at 1:20 PM on February 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


support for Israel is seen as a partisan political issue in the US

Yeah, that's the real upshot of this. It's interesting how uncalculating Netanyahu is being here. I mean, it displays such an astonishing tone-deafness to the US political scene, and you'd think the Israelis would be extremely clued in to that. Perhaps they figure that with the polarization of everything that's going on in the US, there's just no hope of keeping US/Israel policy behind the bipartisan firewall it has maintained for so long--but this really will hasten that process, which seems a massive loss for Israel's influence over US policy.

I wonder if it's just a matter of Netanyahu only listening to real right-wing nutjobs and getting a deeply skewed view of where American Jews generally stand on the issues or if it's just that he's genuinely so passionate about the Iranian nukes issue that he feels impelled to act?
posted by yoink at 1:24 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I can't say I find it to be a horribly shocking and impermissible violation of decorum...

I was opposed to Bush's foreign policy and I was vocal about it, so it'd be damn hypocritical of me to say it's wrong for Boehner to be vocal in his opposition to Obama's foreign policy.


It really is impermissible. This isn't disagreement, this is actively undermining the foreign policy of the United States by direct negotiation and collusion with a foreign leader.

This isn't like you (or a Democratic lawmaker) vocally disagreeing with Bush about Iraq. This is like a Democratic lawmaker telling a like-minded general to disobey the president's orders, or inviting the French to blockade our naval bases.
posted by spaltavian at 1:24 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


What's the penalty for treason, again?

The Logan Act seems oddly appropriate here and the penalty is a three year prison sentence.
posted by Talez at 1:26 PM on February 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


This is like a Democratic lawmaker telling a like-minded general to disobey the president's orders, or inviting the French to blockade our naval bases

That seems pushing the analogy a bit too far. It is definitely a breach of normal protocol, but it's not an active solicitation of treason.
posted by yoink at 1:26 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


@cjelli, yes, and? They're in opposition to Obama, they actively pursue all manner of policies that are different than his.

I'll agree we're looking at a fine line here, I consider Nixon's secret deal with the South Vietnamese to scuttle peace talks in order to help his elections treasonous. But I think mainly I think that way because of the fact that he kept it secret. If he'd gone on national television and said "I strongly urge the South Vietnamese government to abandon peace talks because I think I'll win the elections and I will get them a better deal than Johnson" I think it would have been legitimate.
posted by sotonohito at 1:26 PM on February 5, 2015


Yeah, that's the real upshot of this. It's interesting how uncalculating Netanyahu is being here. I mean, it displays such an astonishing tone-deafness to the US political scene, and you'd think the Israelis would be extremely clued in to that.

Netanyahu has shown no aptitude for long-term thinking. Just like the neo-cons of the Bush era, they confuse domestic political tactics with lasting strategy. Netanyahu really thinks he's going to win this just by pushing the hardest.
posted by spaltavian at 1:27 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is like a Democratic lawmaker telling a like-minded general to disobey the president's orders, or inviting the French to blockade our naval bases

That seems pushing the analogy a bit too far. It is definitely a breach of normal protocol, but it's not an active solicitation of treason.


Neither of those would be either really; you can say pretty much whatever you want.
posted by spaltavian at 1:30 PM on February 5, 2015


If he'd gone on national television and said "I strongly urge the South Vietnamese government to abandon peace talks because I think I'll win the elections and I will get them a better deal than Johnson" I think it would have been legitimate.

Okay, but what if he had done that as a sitting member of Congress? Nixon was a private citizen in 1968.
posted by spaltavian at 1:31 PM on February 5, 2015


I wonder whether Rupert Murdoch had anything to do with this.
posted by acb at 1:33 PM on February 5, 2015


sotonohito: the problem is two-fold: one is of hypocrisy: Republicans shit the bed when anyone so much as criticized Bush's plans for Iraq.
The second is that they are not just speaking, but acting, in direct opposition to the Executive. The legislative branch's role is very specifically NOT to deal with foreign powers. They're crossing politicial/social lines and they're potentially crossing legal/constitutional lines as well.
posted by mfu at 1:36 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Christ, what assholes.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:37 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know, if this does manage to turn support for Israel into a partisan, Republican, issue I think I'll stand on the sidelines and cheer until I'm horse. America's unfortunate devotion to Israel is high up on the list of horrible foreign policy mistakes, making that support purely Republican seems like a positive development to me. Maybe we can stop funding the IDF and break loose some of that foreign aid money for a truly useful cause rather than fueling an apartheid state.

spaltavian: I don't recall any members of Congress being obligated to support the policies of any politician or elected official. I wish like hell some of the Democrats in Congress had had the whatittakes to stand up to Bush's disastrous foreign adventurism. Why should anyone, whether in Congress or not, be obligated to support the foreign policy positions of the sitting President?

Treason is a matter of supporting or lending material aid to the enemies of the USA, not a matter of disagreeing with the position to be taken with regards to allied or neutral powers. Or for that matter not even a matter of disagreeing with the choice of enemy.

If someone had sent the Iraqi leadership sensitive military information that'd reasonably be treasonous. But simply saying "I think the war with Iraq is foolish, shortsighted, and a tremendous waste of resources" shouldn't be. It wasn't treason for Jane Fonda to go on North Vietnamese radio and urge American soldiers to stop fighting, it wouldn't have been treason if she'd been Rep. Jane Fonda or Sen. Jane Fonda either.

mfu: I certainly agree with the charges of Republican hypocrisy, the howls of outrage from the right if any Democrats ever did or do something similar will be truly ear splitting. But other than the sheer staggering hypocrisy of it I see no inherent problem. They aren't negotiating with foreign powers, they're simply expressing a disagreement with the President in a bold and aggressive way. I only wish the Democrats would emulate them.
posted by sotonohito at 1:42 PM on February 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


You know, if this does manage to turn support for Israel into a partisan, Republican, issue I think I'll stand on the sidelines and cheer until I'm horse. America's unfortunate devotion to Israel is high up on the list of horrible foreign policy mistakes, making that support purely Republican seems like a positive development to me. Maybe we can stop funding the IDF and break loose some of that foreign aid money for a truly useful cause rather than fueling an apartheid state.

I don't know if I agree with the rest of your post or not, but this part: oh please oh please
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:49 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately, when 75 Senators are united in condemning Abbas's attempts to get Palestine membership in the International Criminal Court, any talk of getting one party to own knee-jerk Israel apologism is futile.

Meanwhile, Bibi is doing some bizarre campaigning back home.
posted by delfin at 1:50 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


America's unfortunate devotion to Israel is high up on the list of horrible foreign policy mistakes, making that support purely Republican seems like a positive development to me.

American Jewry identifies 3:1 Democrat to Republican whilst also being strongly Zionist. If support for Israel becomes a political football, that is going to be a really unpleasant development.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:53 PM on February 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


If House Democrats did this to Bush it would have been declared treasonous.

You know, I am sick to death with humdrum political actions being called treasonous by some individuals or other who never think about treason a day in their life except for when they can point it as a finger against their political enemies.

This is especially egregious because the Constitution itself took special care to define treason, in part because treason was an easy charge by the British government against anyone who did or said shit they did not like.

"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

However much people may politically disagree with Israel, Netanyahu is not an Enemy of the Nation. Israel itself is an ally - whether people like it or not.

Words, especially that one, have motherfucking meaning and people should stop throwing them around as though they didn't.
posted by corb at 1:55 PM on February 5, 2015 [24 favorites]


"...the howls of outrage from the right if any Democrats ever did or do something similar will be truly ear splitting."

I'm not unsympathetic with your view, but switch left for right and Republicans for Democrats, and you'll have a Rush Limbaugh quote.
posted by klarck at 1:56 PM on February 5, 2015


You know, I am sick to death with humdrum political actions being called treasonous

the thing you're responding to didn't call it treason though. they said that during bush 2 electric boogaloo it would have been called treason, which seems pretty close to true. the charge wouldn't have gone anywhere, but i do think anyone who even attempted something like this at that point would be embroiled in proving their patriotism for years.
posted by nadawi at 2:03 PM on February 5, 2015 [16 favorites]


Man the storylines in this season of WWE are terrible
posted by hellojed at 2:04 PM on February 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm amused that Israel under Netanyahu allies itself with the armageddon lobby who explicitly want war in Israel. What could possibly go wrong? (See Christian Zionism).
posted by jeffburdges at 2:04 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not treason, and I don't imagine you'll be hearing that word used by Democratic politicians or mainstream political commentators, but it absolutely would be used were the parties involved reversed, there is no doubt. Congress has a role to play in foreign policy, but it has had plenty of time to involve itself in far more pressing matters (like actually declaring war instead of allowing the executive branch to keep going on AUMF authority) and has shown no interest in doing so. Now that there's a chance to needle the President, however, they're suddenly totally gung ho about hearing what Netanyahu has to say and bolstering his electoral prospects.

Craven, irresponsible, cynical. Not treasonous.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:05 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


leotrotsky, it will be interesting to see how the politics of American Jews play out here. Support for Israel isn't universal, while most (~70%) of Jews say they feel an attachment to Israel, that doesn't equate to those Jews supporting the government of Israel.

I'm not at all convinced that a huge number of currently Democratic voting Jews will switch to the Republicans or stay home if the Republicans become the cheerleaders for Israel while leaving the Democrats with a more nuanced position.

Most American Jews don't support Israel's anti-Palestinian policy, do support a two state solution, and don't trust the Israeli government to deal fairly with the Palestinians, and a large majority of American Jews oppose the settlements. Given all that I think a more nuanced Democratic position might well lead to strengthening support for the Democrats by most American Jews.

Per the polls it appears that the average American Jew tends to support Israel in the abstract, but doesn't like Israel existing as an apartheid state. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/03/8-fascinating-trends-in-how-american-jews-think-about-israel/
posted by sotonohito at 2:05 PM on February 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


So, uh, is the opposition in Israel going to issue an invite to Obama to come speak before the Knesset?
posted by edgeways at 2:07 PM on February 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'll be pretty pissed if Dermer isn't on the plane back with Netanyahu.
posted by Etrigan at 2:08 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


If House Democrats did this to Bush it would have been declared treasonous.

You know, I am sick to death with humdrum political actions being called treasonous by some individuals or other who never think about treason a day in their life except for when they can point it as a finger against their political enemies.


If House Democrats did this to Bush it would have been declared treasonous. I'm not saying it would have been treason --and I don't think it's treason now -- but it certainly would have been called that.

2004:
This week, in his Rose Garden press conference with the interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, Mr. Bush was asked about Mr. Kerry's increasingly pointed remarks on Iraq. "You can embolden an enemy by sending mixed messages," he said, going on to suggest that Mr. Kerry's criticisms dispirit the Iraqi people and American soldiers.
2006:
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio)...speculated that Democrats may be guilty of the capital crime of aiding and comforting the enemy. "I listen to my Democrat friends, and I wonder if they're more interested in protecting terrorists than in protecting the American people," he said. One of his listeners, offering Boehner the chance to rescind that charge, asked if he really meant to accuse Democrats of treason. "I said I wonder if they're more interested in protecting the terrorists," he replied, repeating more than clarifying. "They certainly don't want to take the terrorists on in the field."
And that's just for talking about foreign policy, let alone acting.
posted by cjelli at 2:11 PM on February 5, 2015 [43 favorites]


You know, I am sick to death with humdrum political actions being called treasonous by some individuals or other who never think about treason a day in their life except for when they can point it as a finger against their political enemies.

Talez didn't say Republicans were treasonous, just that Republicans would call a similar action by a Democrat treasonous.

(I wouldn't call this a humdrum political action, though, either)
posted by dirigibleman at 2:12 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


American Jewry identifies 3:1 Democrat to Republican whilst also being strongly Zionist. If support for Israel becomes a political football, that is going to be a really unpleasant development.


sotonohito : Per the polls it appears that the average American Jew tends to support Israel in the abstract, but doesn't like Israel existing as an apartheid state.

Yeah, the disconnect comes in that most Jews are happy to go along with the definition of "Zionist" as "Person who believes Israel should exist" rather than, say "Person who blindly supports the Likud party" or "Person who approves of building settlements in the West Bank".

I know plenty of young Jews who are not too happy about what Bibi's doing right now.
posted by damayanti at 2:13 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Y'know, we had GWBush as our president here in the USA, and I supported my country while vociferously opposing the party in power and almost all of their actions. I think there's plenty space to support the country of Israel and loathe Netanyahu.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:13 PM on February 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


American Jewry identifies 3:1 Democrat to Republican whilst also being strongly Zionist.

Commentary is a far-right conservative publication that aggressively pushes the idea that Jewish Americans are Zionist, but the reality is that Jewish Americans are less likely to toe that more Likud-esque line as the magazine would suggest. For instance, the same poll from Pew that they're quoting also says a minority (38%) of Jewish Americans think that Netanyahu and the current Israeli government are "making a sincere effort" to bring about a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. It also shows that the majority of so-called "Zionism" among Jewish Americans is quite soft, as sotonhito points out. Multiple polls have shown majority or plurality support among Jewish Americans for a two-state outcome, a sentiment that is at times shared by about half of Israelis (presumably the same half that seem prepared not to vote for Netanyahu in March). Neither American or Israeli Jews are as conservative as Commentary wishes them to be, so I think that their editorial opinion on attitudes of either or both is pretty suspect.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:20 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]




If House Democrats did this to Bush it would have been declared treasonous.

And I would've said that anyone shouting about treason was being a giant jackass.

Same here.
posted by jpe at 2:21 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Logan Act seems oddly appropriate here and the penalty is a three year prison sentence.

Text of the Logan Act, 18 U.S.C. § 953 (2004):
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply himself, or his agent, to any foreign government, or the agents thereof, for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.
The question is, what constitutes "authority of the United States" when the actor in question is the House Majority Leader?
posted by sallybrown at 2:22 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure that asking Netanyahu to address Congress amounts to an attempt to influence the Israeli government, which is what the Logan act would seem to address.
posted by yoink at 2:25 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


zombieflanders: “Commentary is a far-right conservative publication that aggressively pushes the idea that Jewish Americans are Zionist, but the reality is that Jewish Americans are less likely to toe that more Likud-esque line as the magazine would suggest.”

I just wanted to say: I think it should at least be controversial to refer to Zionism as "Likud-esque." That sounds a bit to my ear like saying that American Constitutionalism is "Republican-esque." But then I guess maybe you mean something else by this – if so, I apologize.
posted by koeselitz at 2:25 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I meant to put that in the same quotes as the later version. Not classical Zionism as in support for a sovereign Jewish state, but "Zionism" in the sense of support for conservatives running the Israeli government and an aggressive geopolitical stance. Which, again, is not nearly as popular either in the US or Israel as Commentary wants us to beleive.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:29 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that asking Netanyahu to address Congress amounts to an attempt to influence the Israeli government, which is what the Logan act would seem to address.

There's some tricky legal clause mumbo jumbo that makes it hard to tell, but I think it is either "with intent to influence" the Israeli government (or an officer or agent thereof) or "with intent to . . . defeat the measures of the United States."

Even if not, it would not be ridiculous to argue Boehner's invitation was an attempt to influence Netanyahu and/or the Israeli government to throw more support to the Republican party and/or against the President. I don't know that it would work, but you wouldn't be laughed out of court.
posted by sallybrown at 2:31 PM on February 5, 2015


A very weird move by Bibi, almost as odd as his efforts to endorse Mitt Romney in every way but expressly. Most Israel -supporting Jewish people are Democrats, though not monolithically. Dissing the D President, again, and essentially agreeing to a Republican speaking engagement does not seem like a good political decision.
posted by bearwife at 2:36 PM on February 5, 2015


Dissing the D President, again, and essentially agreeing to a Republican speaking engagement does not seem like a good political decision.

It does if you've deluded yourself into believing that you can use Zionism as a hammer to force American Jews to become conservative Republicans en masse.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:42 PM on February 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well thank god we know what Rudy Giuliani thinks.

I know. Mr. Judgement

If his police chief Bernard Kerik was good enough for him, and good enough for a Homeland Security nomination, despite having his house redecorated by a New Jersey waste company with ties to the mafia, and later going to prison, his is a a view I need to hear
posted by C.A.S. at 3:01 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is he going to be taking questions? If yes, then it is a worthwhile address.
posted by Renoroc at 3:11 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's amazing to me that so few in the media have mentioned what this is really all about-- an election campaign for Netanyahu. All of the rest of it is just whatever. Good move for Netanyahu though by not just coming to the USA and looking important, he also short-circuited Obama who, despite doing basically everything Israel has asked for, and saying all the right things, is reviled there.
posted by cell divide at 3:27 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Most Israel -supporting Jewish people are Democrats

But he's not running for Prime Minister of the Jewish people of the USA, he's running for PM of Israel. And this is a smart move in Israel because Obama is very unpopular there.
posted by cell divide at 3:29 PM on February 5, 2015


It's interesting how uncalculating Netanyahu is being here... I wonder if it's just a matter of Netanyahu only listening to real right-wing nutjobs and getting a deeply skewed view of where American Jews generally stand on the issues or if it's just that he's genuinely so passionate about the Iranian nukes issue that he feels impelled to act?

Neither. This isn't primarily about foreign policy at all. Bibi called an early election, freaked out when the polls showed he might actually lose*, and reached reflexively for his favorite bogeyman, Iran. It doesn't hurt that Obama isn't very popular in Israel and Bibi gets to look like a macho man by spitting in his face for the sake of national security. Insofar as he's thinking long term at all, he knows that he can piss off Obama and the Dems with practical immunity, and anyway in two years there'll be a Clinton or a Bush in the White House again and all will be well.

* He probably won't, but it's not the sure thing he seems to have been expecting.
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 3:30 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]




Will he be taking questions? Someone should ask him if his country has nuclear weapons.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:55 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes and no.
posted by clavdivs at 4:36 PM on February 5, 2015


You got that backwards, clavdivs.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:47 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's amusing to replace Netanyahu with, like, Horacio Cartes and Israel with, like, Paraguay (or your favourite non-Israel no-bigger-than-a-decent-major-metropolis country) in this story and consider how completely fucking improbable the whole thing suddenly becomes.
posted by busted_crayons at 4:49 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The State Department should deny him entry until after the Israeli election for reasons of protocol.
posted by humanfont at 4:57 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Israel has nuclear weapons, huh.
posted by clavdivs at 4:57 PM on February 5, 2015


I'd better read, on the day after the speech, that Kanye appeared, floating on a golden cloud of Dada, and did what he was born to do. That would be the best international clusterfuck of all time. Of. All. Time.
posted by busted_crayons at 5:11 PM on February 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


'Is Boehner’s Netanyahu Invite Unconstitutional?

"This isn’t about actual prosecution under the Logan Act. No one is ever actually prosecuted under the measure; it’s more a focal point for highlighting structural aspects of foreign relations."
posted by clavdivs at 5:12 PM on February 5, 2015


Jonathan Chait: Why Benjamin Netanyahu Lost His Mind
posted by homunculus at 5:21 PM on February 5, 2015


Though it may be unusual, I'm not sure why there's a problem with a sitting governor coming to speak to Congress; his state's voters elected him, after all.
posted by dhartung at 5:25 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]




that info is in the fpp, clavdivs (with less weirdly grar-y framing).
posted by nadawi at 5:34 PM on February 5, 2015


I think this was done because some of the people on Obama's campaign went to Israel to campaign for the other politician running for office.

Israel is our ally for the war on terror, why are we not supporting them and trying to derail their leader? Shouldn't we focus on derailing the governments that support terrorism? Shouldn't we focus on fighting terrorists instead of Zionists?

Everything the Obama administration has done to Netanyahu has backfired on them so far. Why try and turn him into an enemy when he wants to be an ally?
posted by Orion Blastar at 5:35 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]




"Shouldn't we focus on derailing the governments that support terrorism? Shouldn't we focus on fighting terrorists instead of Zionists?"

Good question, one I'm afraid "we" cannot answer here.
posted by clavdivs at 5:50 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why are we even still talking about Zionism? Herzellian Zionism is a 19th Century historical artifact that that bears no relationship to what's happened since it's conception, and the modern Zionist efforts have been 100% successful. There's a State of Israel, that promotes itself as a Jewish homeland and since it has nukes hidden in Mecca and Medina along with a fleet of nuclear armed submarines, it's not going anywhere.

The Zionists won. The real question is how do we move away from those with a vested interest in continuing the status quo and move towards a real democratic ideal, "One Nation, With Liberty and Justice FOR ALL".
posted by mikelieman at 5:50 PM on February 5, 2015


Israel is our ally for the war on terror

Not in any meaningful sense.

why are we not supporting them

We keep buying them a military, what more can we do?

and trying to derail their leader?

Because their leader is a) a racist psychopath and b) trying to interfere in American politics to shore up his tenuous domestic position.

Shouldn't we focus on derailing the governments that support terrorism?

Like Israel, for example?

Shouldn't we focus on fighting terrorists instead of Zionists?

We're not "fighting" Zionists in any way, and certainly not in the violent way that America has spent the last decade and a half "fighting terrorists".

Everything the Obama administration has done to Netanyahu has backfired on them so far.

In what way? In making Obama less popular in an apartheid client state of the US? Boo fuckin' hoo.

Why try and turn him into an enemy when he wants to be an ally?

Netanyahu is not an ally in any real sense. He wants the US to pay for Israel's defence and back Israel at the UN and never make any sort of demand or expect any concession or action in return for our largesse. He is an ally in name only.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:51 PM on February 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein rushed to meetings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday trying to calm a furor created by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress next month and quell a Democratic revolt that has dozens threatening a boycott.

It didn’t work.

If anything, Democrats finished the day more frustrated....If Dermer really wants to fix the problems created by the speech, goes the consensus among Democrats in Washington, he’ll need to do more than apologize: he and Netanyahu have to cancel or reschedule the speech.

posted by RedOrGreen at 5:59 PM on February 5, 2015


nukes hidden in Mecca and Medina

Say what now?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:10 PM on February 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


Yeah, I know. We're not supposed to talk about how Israel has all these nukes, and the idea that they'd use them to blackmail other countries is distasteful, but the idea that if anyone invades Israel, they'll nuke Mecca and Medina is a very powerful motivation, and I think what's keep the other nations from even thinking about re-trying 1967.
posted by mikelieman at 6:15 PM on February 5, 2015


Keep in mind, "Intel Analysis" is about "Capabilities, not intent". Israel has the capability to blackmail other countries by hiding nukes there. You don't have to credit them with the intent, but if we're going to go ape-shit about Iran's capabilities without considering the intent, well, that analysis cuts both ways, right?
posted by mikelieman at 6:17 PM on February 5, 2015


Targeting is one thing. You said they actually have nuclear weapons hidden in the two holiest cities in the Muslim world.

Gonna have to ask for a cite on that.

Israel has the capability to blackmail other countries by hiding nukes there.

And on that.

That Israel has nukes is common knowledge. Hiding them in other countries? Really?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:18 PM on February 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Can you explain why they wouldn't? They won't even publicly admit they're armed with them, so I think that assuming good-faith in their use is unwarranted.
posted by mikelieman at 6:20 PM on February 5, 2015


Because hiding nuclear weapons in another country's territory would pretty much equal "we are going to wipe you off the map, nobody's going to stop us, and to hell with the consequences."

I mean seriously, is this a thing that's ever been seriously reported anywhere by anyone even remotely credible or are you just making it up?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:22 PM on February 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Israel receives about 3 billion dollars per year in aid from the U.S. which amount to 10% of Israel's gross domestic product. Without U.S. aid, Israel's economy would quickly collapse.

Israel receives 10% of the U.S. foreign aid budget for the entire world although its population is only 0.1% of the world, roughly 1000 times the rate of aid to the rest of the humanity.
posted by JackFlash at 6:27 PM on February 5, 2015


> ... and the idea that they'd use them to blackmail other countries is distasteful, but the idea that if anyone invades Israel, they'll nuke Mecca and Medina is a very powerful motivation, and I think what's keep the other nations from even thinking about re-trying 1967. ...

Well that, to my understanding, is how having nukes works. But there's a weird ring in what you say, as if it's unfair of Israel to not let other countries have another wack at destroying it.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:27 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


[Folks, arguing about theoretical threats and blackmail is not going to make this thread go more smoothly for anyone. Please don't.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:28 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, it's unfair for Israel to complain about others doing exactly what they do, I think. They have very little ethical ground to stand on in criticizing Iran's nuclear programs.
posted by mikelieman at 6:29 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nobody who has nuclear weapons has any ethical ground to stand on when criticizing anyone else developing them, by that logic.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:35 PM on February 5, 2015


Nobody who has nuclear weapons has any ethical ground to stand on when criticizing anyone else developing them, by that logic.

Pretty much. Yeah. If you're going to pull the "we need these to strategically counter an existential threat" card, you can't complain when other people feel the same way.
posted by mikelieman at 6:36 PM on February 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I guess then that America has even less.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think Netanyahu's arguments should get any traction. I just don't think anyone's going to listen to your points when you throw out strange fantasies and don't seem to want to differentiate between Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip and the 1967 War.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:38 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Except that Israel isn't actually an existential threat to Iran unless Iran shoots first.

Iran, at the times when it's under control of rabid anti-Semites like Ahmadinejad, is absolutely an existential threat to Israel. So the comparison doesn't quite work.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:40 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


As a post-zionist proponent of a One-State Solution, I don't expect people to listen to my points. Until the Israeli Government promotes -- in good faith -- one nation, with liberty and justice for all, than as a Jewish American, and a believer that our American values -- including the separation of church and state -- make the United Stated demonstrably safer for Jews than Israel, the Israel Government does not have my support,
posted by mikelieman at 6:41 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Iran, at the times when it's under control of rabid anti-Semites like Ahmadinejad,

Can you guarantee that the Israeli Government won't be under control of radical elements? Can you guarantee that the IDF command structure won't be subverted by religious extremists with their own agenda, perhaps mirroring the Apocalyptic Christians?

This is why we only consider capabilities and not intent.
posted by mikelieman at 6:45 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've registered my views with my (Democratic) congressperson, but he's usually too chickenshit to do anything that might look even slightly anti-Israel. Sigh...

I did try to hammer home the point that he'll look like a fucking idiot if he attends though. I'm sure the staffer loved that.
posted by downtohisturtles at 6:49 PM on February 5, 2015


No, but in the real world where Israel doesn't have suitcase nukes, it's also a reasonable bet that it would be very, very difficult to actually make someone push the Big Red Button.

At the height of the Cold War, a presumably indoctrinated Soviet officer didn't do what he 'should' have done. I believe that the combination and sheer number of people required to launch a nuclear weapon--on a military basis; some asshat who built one in their garage is obviously a different problem--is most likely to not launch unless they actually see one coming for them. Even then, the chain of decision-making, I think, is very likely to be held up by someone saying "Hell no, better to die than to do that." The two post-WWII potential nuclear engagements (Bay of Pigs, which would have gone there, and the Petrov affair) that we know of seem to bear this out.

It's all well and good to be opposed to many of the actions and policies of the Israeli government--and for what it's worth, I think we largely agree there, though I don't think a one-state solution is at all tenable or desirable--but at the same time we do need to ground ourselves in reality.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:55 PM on February 5, 2015


Until the Israeli Government promotes -- in good faith -- one nation, with liberty and justice for all, than as a Jewish American, and a believer that our American values -- including the separation of church and state -- make the United Stated demonstrably safer for Jews than Israel, the Israel Government does not have my support,
...
This is why we only consider capabilities and not intent.


You said these things in consecutive comments. Do you see the contradiction there?
posted by Etrigan at 6:57 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think you're going to have to spell it out a little more explicitly, Etrigan. I don't see the contradiction; heck, I don't even see the connection.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:05 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Except that Israel isn't actually an existential threat to Iran unless Iran shoots first.

I love you fffm, and I agree with you that Iran is an existential threat to Israel, but I think Israel will fire the first shot if Netanyahu gets his way:
Did the Israeli military defy PM Netanyahu?

November 9th, 2012
12:34 PM ET
By Samuel Burke, CNN

A sensational story is rocking Israel this week – alleging that the Israeli military defied orders from its commander in chief, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Leading Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan is reporting that Netanyahu ordered his military to prepare for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities nearly two years ago. Dayan's story documents that both the army chief and the head of Mossad (Israeli intelligence) refused to comply with Netanyahu’s order.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Thursday, Dayan said the information came from officials who were in the room with Netanyahu when the conversations took place, during a meeting of Israeli ministers.

“It happened in the course of 2010 and all of a sudden, just when they are at the door, the chief of staff [of the Israel Defense Forces], then Gabi Ashkenazi, and the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, are given an order by the Prime Minister Netanyahu to step into a pre-attack alert and be ready to strike in Iran.”

Dayan told Amanpour that she believes this is the closest Israel has ever come to striking Iran, but the dramatic rift between the military and political establishments stopped it.

“You have on the one side Prime Minister Netanyahu with a deep conviction…. And on the other hand, you have the chief of staff and the head of Mossad who very courageously set off the alarms and say, ‘Guys, this is not the right thing to do now. And if we step into this pre-attack alert, this is noisy; this can lock us into war.’”

Also speaking with Amanpour on Thursday, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, would neither confirm nor deny some parts of Dayan’s report. ...
posted by jamjam at 7:16 PM on February 5, 2015


You said these things in consecutive comments. Do you see the contradiction there?

I don't see any issue with my promotion of the ideals that make me, a Jewish American safer in New York than in Israel, while saying that our analysis of other nation's capabilities should be limited to that, unless we want to go down pointless hours of debating intent.
posted by mikelieman at 7:17 PM on February 5, 2015


Orion Blastar: Everything the Obama administration has done to Netanyahu has backfired on them so far.

Actually, the opposite has been occurring. Despite challenging Netanyahu, Obama has received no substantial backlash from any constituency that would ever vote for him. Obama has pretty effectively undermined the fear that not slavishly following the Israeli's Right lead would be poison for Democrats.

If what you said was even sort of true, Netanyahu wouldn't be doing this. He is completely freaked out that Obama has not paid a substantial price for criticizing him; this speech is an desperate attempt to turn that around. It will fail.
posted by spaltavian at 7:20 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wait. Wait. Let's think about this:

I mean Boehner is doing it for a good cause. I mean it's Israel.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:26 PM on February 5, 2015


I can't believe how mean Obama is to Israel. I mean, yeah, there was the billion dollars in funding for Iron Dome and the first-of-a-kind joint operation to develop Stuxnet to destroy Iranian centrifuges, but what has he done for them lately?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:28 PM on February 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


Dayan's story documents that both the army chief and the head of Mossad (Israeli intelligence) refused to comply with Netanyahu’s order.

jamjam (respect likewise returned; I love what you have to say, and thank you very much!), that just bolsters what I'm saying, I think: people, that is the actual miners at the coalface or whatever metaphor we're using these days, shy away from those huge ridiculous actions most of the time.

I don't doubt that Israel would strike first--see, where was it, Natanz? for an object example--but I highly doubt they'd launch nukes first.

Perhaps one of the few beneficial side effects of bureaucracy and chains of command is that their very interest in self-preservation leads them to resist doing Big Bad Things, at least some of the time.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:28 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


> ...our analysis of other nation's capabilities should be limited to that, unless we want to go down pointless hours of debating intent.

By that standard, France is a greater threat to the United States than Pakistan.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:46 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


It would be hilarious if Obama did something like announcing a deal with Iran the day before the speech. He loves to pull that sort of thing.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:01 PM on February 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Like a treaty?
posted by clavdivs at 8:21 PM on February 5, 2015


No, I was thinking something more like the recent Cuba deal.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:23 PM on February 5, 2015


The correct answer is to PNG the entire Israeli Embassy for not negotiating with the State Department.
posted by eriko at 8:32 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I know plenty of young Jews who are not too happy about what Bibi's doing right now.

Most Jews that I know in a similar demographic to myself (twenties/thirties, left, urban) are to varying extents detached from mainstream Jewish culture and religion because of the extent to which the Zionist movement has hijacked these and used them as a wedge for their political purposes. The aggressive bundling of pro-Israeli politics and Jewishness is killing off the vitality, diversity, and engagement of a whole generation of American Jews.
posted by threeants at 8:44 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Unrealistic DD, that effort took years.

There is is this... No. How about something like this. Nope, expired.
Think he could get around this?
But you and I could at least Widddle this down.
posted by clavdivs at 8:44 PM on February 5, 2015


They are negotiating a deal right now, clavdivs, and have been for quite some time. That's kind of what this is all about. This would be a very interesting time for both sides to get over the final hurdles.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:33 PM on February 5, 2015


I've said this before and I'll say it again. I believe that constructing a functional "nuclear weapon" is an order of magnitude simpler than delivering that weapon to your ostensible target. Nobody in the 21st century is flying a lone "nuclear" bomber over an actual foreign state. ICBMs are way harder than atomic weapons.

Hypothetically you have this big, heavy, possibly radioactive bomb. What in the blue fuck are you going to do with it? If it's an old school "bomb" type of weapon, you're gonna have to bribe fifty dudes to load it on a train and rail that bad boy into Europe. Oh wait, that's a plan LeMay would think was stupid.

Nuclear weapons aren't magic. I'm old enough to remember TILTOWAIT, and I'm still a little put off by the association.
posted by Sphinx at 10:19 PM on February 5, 2015




Israel receives about 3 billion dollars per year in aid from the U.S. which amount to 10% of Israel's gross domestic product.

Wikipedia says you left a couple of zeroes off that figure. I happen to think this grant system causes more trouble than it's worth, particularly since it's mostly tied (see page 34 of this PDF) to US arms purchases, but I suspect people on both sides are pretty invested in it.

Incidentally, if you exclude military aid then Israel gets $25 million. The fact that it gets economic aid at all is silly, but the amount makes it sillier: in a non-military aid budget of around $10 billion it's basically a rounding error. In fact, I kinda wonder if it is ...
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:48 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


This would be a very interesting time for both sides to get over the final hurdle

It would. You mean this.
Hmmmm, maybe, just maybe the hope and change over this contentious issue will finally be over and Iran can have a bomb is that right? No?.
Ok then. Let's see what happens.
posted by clavdivs at 12:19 AM on February 6, 2015


Hmm, I've never thought or said this before, but clavdivs I'm not sure what you are saying.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:19 AM on February 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


The aggressive bundling of pro-Israeli politics and Jewishness is killing off the vitality, diversity, and engagement of a whole generation of American Jews.

Yeah, as a Jewish American, my "I'm done supporting them" was pretty much when the IDF killed 4 kids playing soccer on the beach in Gaza and no-one gave a damn.

At that point, it's clearly nothing more than collective punishment of the civilian population for the logical response to Israel abandoning them to a gang of terrorist criminals with 'disengagement'.

But again, as a Jewish American, the solution is "One State, With Liberty and Justice for all". You annex everything, give everyone a passport and institute ONE set of courts and ONE set of police to enforce ONE set of laws equally.

And if you're concerned that by giving people citizenship, you'll destroy the country due to the "Demographic issue" -- the problem with lack of 'consent of the governed' isn't the people getting passports. It's the government that doesn't enjoy "Consent of the Goverened".
posted by mikelieman at 4:48 AM on February 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


But again, as a Jewish American, the solution is "One State, With Liberty and Justice for all". You annex everything, give everyone a passport and institute ONE set of courts and ONE set of police to enforce ONE set of laws equally.

And if you're concerned that by giving people citizenship, you'll destroy the country due to the "Demographic issue" -- the problem with lack of 'consent of the governed' isn't the people getting passports. It's the government that doesn't enjoy "Consent of the Goverened".


The two-state solution solves the second problem without causing the first. Israel doesn't have to lift a finger it wants to implement a one-state solution. Without a fair settlement, that's inevitable. But that one state won't be Israel, except possibly in official name.
posted by spaltavian at 5:45 AM on February 6, 2015


"The two-state solution solves the second problem without causing the first."

Except I'd suggest that Israel unilaterally declaring Jerusalem the "eternal and undivided capitol" is clearly the Israeli Government's rejection of a two state solution, and as you suggest, by simply letting the status-quo play out, the "Palestinian Problem" solves itself. ( See also: Native Americans and "Reservations" )
posted by mikelieman at 5:53 AM on February 6, 2015


Except I'd suggest that Israel unilaterally declaring Jerusalem the "eternal and undivided capitol" is clearly the Israeli Government's rejection of a two state solution

Well, sure. Israel's government seems intent on self-destruction. But it's doesn't follow that they should then take the opposite course to the same destination. I hope an Israeli government accepts a just settlement with an independent Palestine is the way to achieve lasting security before it's too late.
posted by spaltavian at 5:59 AM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




I want Obama to reach new heights of 'fuck this shit' by challenging people to duels. And Boehner and Bibi will be all, pistols? And Obama sez, 'b-ball, bitches,' and then Obama just fouls the shit out of both of them.

That wasn't a very constructive comment, but I really want Boehner badly humiliated in some way.
posted by angrycat at 6:03 AM on February 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Wikipedia says you left a couple of zeroes off that figure.

My mistake. U.S. foreign aid is 1% of Israel's GDP.
posted by JackFlash at 8:46 AM on February 6, 2015


That wasn't a very constructive comment, but I really want Boehner badly humiliated in some way.

I'm not sure it's possible to humiliate him any more than just being that odious man is humiliating.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:17 AM on February 6, 2015


Israeli official suggests Boehner misled Netanyahu on Congress speech

Yeah, I'm gonna call bullshit on that. If that's remotely true, there's been a simple solution to this whole kerfuffle the whole time:

Bibi simply apologizes for the misunderstanding, throws Boehner under the bus, and cancels the speech. I mean the Speaker is an easy target (it's not like he can become less pro-Israel, his base would torch him).
posted by leotrotsky at 10:16 AM on February 6, 2015




" Even talking about not showing, they say, is forsaking America’s relationship with Israel."

I would suggest that those who advocate subverting the State Department should be more concerned about their own demonstrated disloyalty to America rather than concerning themselves with other people's loyalty to a foreign power.
posted by mikelieman at 11:28 AM on February 6, 2015


“We will, of course, be publicly condemning any Democrats who don’t show up for the speech—unless they have a doctor’s note,” said Mort Klein, president of the 30,000-member Zionist Organization of America. “It’s really an anti-American, anti-patriotic position to take.”

One can hope that the people who complain about calling Boehner's actions treasonous will call out Mort and Mort's language, as well.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:45 AM on February 6, 2015






homunculus: Bibi's Kids: The Netanyahu Visit Goes From Bad To Hilarious

Sayeth Pierce:
I guess the one thing that happened that neither the Israelis nor Boehner counted on -- and why would they anyway? -- was that the Democratic members of Congress would stand up together and deny Netanyahu their support for his extended campaign stop in Washington.
I, for one, welcome our new, not-quite-as-spineless Democrats. I guess the fact that they're no longer able to have any substantive influence on legislation has forced them into exerting their influence wherever they can.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:34 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


And Obama sez, 'b-ball, bitches,' and then Obama just fouls the shit out of both of them.

Its not a foul if the President does it.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:06 PM on February 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


It would be hilarious if Obama did something like announcing a deal with Iran the day before the speech. He loves to pull that sort of thing.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:01



No, I was thinking something more like the recent Cuba deal.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:23

They are negotiating a deal right now...


"Hmm, I've never thought or said this before..."

Hey, I hear you. I would have just like to have know what deal you were referring in your first comment.
Agree to disagree then.
Drinkydie.
posted by clavdivs at 2:34 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]






Wow, interesting story buried towards the end about Alberto Nisman's murder :

"In 2013, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused Iran of opening secret intelligence stations in several South American countries to plan and conduct terror attacks."

"Nisman was found dead in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head last month on the eve of a congressional hearing at which he was expected to accuse President Cristina Kirchner of covering up Iranian involvement in a 1994 bombing at a Buenos Aires Jewish centre."

"The bombing killed 85 people and wounded 300, the deadliest such attack in Argentina's history."

posted by jeffburdges at 1:41 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Nisman story is absolutely weird. It was originally supposed to be a suicide, but ... his (ten) bodyguards were all inexplicably off duty. The gunshot was behind his ear, which is apparently unusual. There was no powder residue on his hands. He was reportedly about to announce that the current President had been negotiating with Iran about dropping charges in the AMIA bombing in exchange for a deal on Iranian oil. They found a discarded bill of indictment against the President in the garbage.

A reporter who lent Nisman the gun he was (reportedly) shot with fled to Israel after being signs that he was being followed by Argentinian security forces. The President of Argentina immediately claimed he hadn't fled, that he wasn't being followed, and look! here's a photo of his travel itinerary showing that he has a return ticket. The reporter says that the itinerary was photoshopped, but that just makes thinks weirder.

She presently claims that Nisman was murdered by malicious forces working within Argentina's secret police, because they wanted to make her look guilty. If so, mission successful.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:04 AM on February 7, 2015


Oops, I misspoke. Nisman's assistant was the one who reportedly lent him the gun; the reporter who fled was the one who broke the news on Nisman's death.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:06 AM on February 7, 2015




Foxman also described the speech as having been "hijacked by politics", which is pretty laughable.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:59 PM on February 7, 2015




Dem boycott of Netanyahu speech grows
posted by andoatnp at 8:57 AM on February 10, 2015


Peter Beinart: Netanyahu’s real victim? The American Jewish establishment
[...]Outside the Orthodox community, younger American Jews are less tribal and less fearful than their elders. As a result, they are less likely to exempt Israel from the universalistic, human rights-oriented perspective they apply to their own country. And that alienates them from establishment American Jewish groups that give the Israeli government virtual blank check support.

But if generational change was already causing mainstream American Jewish groups problems, Netanyahu is making them worse. The American Jewish establishment needs to make liberal Democratic Jews feel comfortable backing the Israeli government. That’s harder when the man leading the Israeli government colludes with Republicans against a Democratic president. The more American Jews feel forced to choose between Obama and Netanyahu, the more that undermines American Jewish groups that rely on the proposition that you can support them both.

And it’s not just that Bibi himself clearly prefers Republicans. A new, GOP-dominated American Jewish infrastructure – which includes like Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization for America – is being built around him. At its center sits Bibi’s longtime patron, Sheldon Adelson. If the old American Jewish establishment tries to combine support for Israeli policy with domestic tolerance, the new American Jewish establishment is nakedly Islamophobic. Adelson, for instance, is on record as saying that “the Muslims…want to kill all Jews.” The ZOA sponsors talks by anti-Muslim bigot Pamela Geller.

If the old American Jewish establishment relies on Jewish Democrats, the new Jewish establishment alienates them. At its 2014 gala, the ZOA honored Ted Cruz. In 2013, it honored Michelle Bachmann and Mike Huckabee. It would be hard to find politicians whom American Jews dislike more. Indeed, American Jews even disapprove of Adelson himself, according to a recent J Street poll, by a margin of three to one.

The moral distinction that has long underpinned organized American Jewish life is fading. Liberal American Jews are increasingly critical of the illiberalism of Israeli policy. And the American Jews who support Israeli policy increasingly support an illiberal agenda inside the United States.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:01 AM on February 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Josh Marshall: A Tangled Web (emphasis in original)
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) has been around since 1985. But in its current, more amply funded form, it is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sheldon Adelson, who is both a major funder of Republicans in the US and - amazing how these things work - the de facto primary money backer of Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel. Adelson is in many ways the thread, the monetary backer, who weaves together the entire drama of bad-acting and partisan connivance behind the Netanyahu speech stunt. Remember, the first major controversy with Ron Dermer - the former Republican political operative turned Israeli Ambassador - came when he attended the RJC Republican presidential candidate cattle call as a featured speaker.
[...]
The RJC's executive director is Matt Brooks. And in keeping with the thrust of the Netanyahu-Boehner pact, Brooks is now stepping in to exploit the speech controversy to further use Jews and Israel as a partisan wedge in US politics. Brooks is apparently planning a major ad campaign to do just that. “We will commit whatever resources we need," said Brooks, "to make sure that people are aware of the facts, that given the choice to stand with Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu in opposition to a nuclear Iran, they chose partisan interests and to stand with President Obama.” Or, as Brooks put it even more rankly on twitter, the campaign he will run on Adelson's behalf will announce that "Dems have a choice- stand w/PM Netanyahu and the Jewish com against Iran or w/Pres Obama."

So you can stand with Netanyahu and "the Jewish community" or you can stand with President Obama. So this is a betrayal of the American Jewish community spearheaded by the leader of the Anti-Defamation League, virtually every Jewish lawmaker in Congress, the leader of Reform Judaism and various other Jewish turncoats unnamed.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:30 AM on February 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Great links, ZF. Thanks.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:43 AM on February 11, 2015


I think Liel Lebovitz's argument in this article makes a lot more sense than somewhat-convoluted idea that Netanyahu will leave Israel in the middle of an election campaign in order to allow himself to be used by Sheldon Adelson as "a partisan wedge in US politics": The ‘New York Times’ Violates My Protocol
But there is another, much more serious explanation for Bibi’s eagerness to come to Washington in the middle of an election campaign that most polls show him winning handily: March 24 is the deadline for the framework agreement in the ongoing negotiations with Iran[....] The looming March deadline and the face-off between the president and Congress—including prominent congressional Democrats—provide eminently sane and reasonable explanations for the timing of Bibi’s speech; that so many of Obama’s sycophants so aggressively promote the idea that Bibi is a re-election-crazy nutcase who doesn’t actually care much about Iran is truly baffling.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:28 PM on February 16, 2015


Each time Netanyahu speaks to Congress he aligns himself with Republicans. This is nothing new.

Since the terrorist shooting at the French kosher supermarket, all polls show Netanyahu winning by a comfortable margin. Which is to be expected, since he's running on his usual neocon platform, promoting safety through strength, and himself as Israel's only sane choice in the election lineup. He's renewed his call for "massive Jewish immigration" to Israel from Europe after someone killed a guard and wounded two police officers at a Copenhagen synagogue over the weekend.

Neocons thrive when voters fear dangerous outsiders. Especially unspecified dangers. The simple fact is, one month out, Netanyahu doesn't need the speech to win. A global platform in front of the US Congress from which he can excoriate Iran, terrorism (and probably Hamas and Hezbollah) is a win for him as well. He's already asking Israeli television to carry the speech live.
posted by zarq at 7:04 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


He's already asking Israeli television to carry the speech live.

Well, there's all the bono you need, really.
posted by mikelieman at 7:06 AM on February 17, 2015


"Israel's Central Election's Committee Declared on Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech before both houses of the U.S. Congress will not be broadcast live in Israel, but rather with a five-minute delay.

The decision came in answer to a petition filed with the committee by Meretz chairman Zehava Galon and Zionist Union candidate Eldad Yaniv, claiming that Netanyahu's speech constitutes electioneering and should not be broadcast, as it will take place two weeks before the March 17 election. Israeli law has very strict guidelines for broadcasting election materials, which could have made the Netanyahu's speech legally problematic, due to its proximity to polling day.

Central Elections Committee chairman and Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran wrote in his decision that Israel's broadcast networks would be allowed to broadcast the speech, but not live. Instead, the broadcast will be conducted with a five minute delay, while broadcasters watch the live feed to ensure that Netanyahu refrains from electioneering. Joubran also noted that the decision is binding for all of Israel's broadcast outlets, including television and radio, and that the decision will be enforced.

In his statement, Joubran wrote that he decided to include Israel's attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, in the decision, who also believed that the petition to forbid broadcasting the speech should be rejected. Last week, Weinstein said that Netanyahu's speech should be broadcast for its value as news, and that it does not constitute electioneering, which would be forbidden. The attorney general wrote then that he believed the petition filed by Galon and Yaniv should be rejected. "This is the third time that Mr. Netanyahu is speaing before the American Congress," said Weinstein, adding, "his planned speech was coordinated with the Speaker of the House. The timing of the invitation was set according to the progress of the negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program, and the desire to hear Israel's stance on that issue.""

posted by zarq at 7:09 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sngh sngh sngh sngh sngh. Watch this press conference with US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki: State Dept Gets Flustered When Asked If Kerry Will Address AIPAC (via)

Mind you, it would be even funnier if Panama had a Prime Minister.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:24 PM on February 19, 2015


Oof. The Onion, always a bit tone-deaf where I/P issues are concerned, has apparently decided to dive headlong into anti-Semitism.
posted by koeselitz at 2:02 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's.... a poor choice on The Onion's part. *sigh*
posted by zarq at 2:19 PM on March 2, 2015


Umm, why is it anti-Semitic to mock U.S. economics, military, etc. aid to Israel? Or mock Israel for seeking such aid?  

In particular, it does not violate the Yad Vashem guidelines for avoiding anti-Semitism to suggest that Israel wants more money from the U.S.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:25 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm a Jew and I'm utterly unfazed by that joke.

(Obligatory "put two Jews in a room and you'll get four opinions..." joke)
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Those guidelines - which are only guidelines, and don't pretend to be exhaustive - do say something along those lines: "Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis"

I can't believe I have to say this, but a huge amount of anti-Semitic rhetoric revolves around Jews being obsessed with money, particularly the idea that their associations with non-Jews are driven only by money. Consider Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (Act I, Scene III):
I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you,
walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat
with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.
[...]
I hate him for he is a Christian,
But more for that in low simplicity
He lends out money gratis and brings down
The rate of usance [ = rate of interest] here with us in Venice.
If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,
Even there where merchants most do congregate,
On me, my bargains and my well-won thrift,
Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe,
If I forgive him!
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:36 PM on March 2, 2015


Since the terrorist shooting at the French kosher supermarket, all polls show Netanyahu winning by a comfortable margin.

This is not necessarily true. The precedence is that the largest party will likely be given the first chance to form a coalition, and the joint Labor/Hatnuah ticket has sometimes been polling again of Likud. It gets more complicated if the President thinks that the largest party will be unable to form a coalition, and in that case they might be skipped even if they are largest and Netanyahu would get first crack at forming a coalition, but that is still up in the air.

I'm a Jew and I'm utterly unfazed by that joke.

Agreed.
posted by andoatnp at 2:42 PM on March 2, 2015


In particular, it does not violate the Yad Vashem guidelines for avoiding anti-Semitism to suggest that Israel wants more money from the U.S.

Was that was being suggested then? I'm not sure it was. But if so, there are certainly better ways to put it. One of which would not be attributing that particular quote to a prominent Jew. It personalizes and skirts the edge for me in an uncomfortable way, reading as "Jew (or Jews) happy to take American money."

I doubt the intent is to be antisemitic. They probably are trying to be edgy. And in this case, "edgy" feels like they used an anti-Jewish slur to make a point that could have been made without it.
posted by zarq at 2:50 PM on March 2, 2015


jeffburdges: “Umm, why is it anti-Semitic to mock U.S. economics, military, etc. aid to Israel? Or mock Israel for seeking such aid?”

Let me be clear: I'm not a fan of US aid to Israel, either.

But the article doesn't mock US aid to Israel. It mocks Netanyahu for being personally greedy – which is by very far not the problem with him at all, and which amounts to a cheap repetition of a hoary old stereotype. There are problems with Benjamin Netanyahu. Him being a greedy Jew is not one of them. One might as well mock Herman Cain for liking fried chicken and watermelon.
posted by koeselitz at 2:56 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


But the article doesn't mock US aid to Israel. It mocks Netanyahu for being personally greedy...
“Relations between our two countries have at times been strained, but I promise you all that the entire Israeli government, myself included, still holds a high opinion of the United States’ cash,” said Netanyahu, emphasizing that his speech to Congress was not intended to show any disrespect for American funding whatsoever. “I appreciate everything U.S. money has done for Israel. Though we come at this issue from different perspectives, I have no doubt that we can overcome this disagreement and maintain positive relations between Israel and U.S. economic aid, as we always have.”
That sounds a lot more "mock[ing] US aid to Israel" than "mock[ing] Netanyahu for being personally greedy" to me.
posted by Etrigan at 3:00 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


But the article doesn't mock US aid to Israel.

Yes it does.

“Relations between our two countries have at times been strained, but I promise you all that the entire Israeli government, myself included, still holds a high opinion of the United States’ cash,” said Netanyahu, emphasizing that his speech to Congress was not intended to show any disrespect for American funding whatsoever. “I appreciate everything U.S. money has done for Israel. Though we come at this issue from different perspectives, I have no doubt that we can overcome this disagreement and maintain positive relations between Israel and U.S. economic aid, as we always have.” Netanyahu added that he also maintained great respect for the U.S. military’s weapons.

The clear emphasis of the article is about US support (economic and military) for Israel.
posted by andoatnp at 3:01 PM on March 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'd recognize anti-Semitism if they insinuated a "Jewish [financial] conspiracy", etc., or even mocking Netanyahu for personal greed, but it did not. You might claim they mock Israel for being a "poor beggar nation", but if anything that's antithetical to all negative Jewish stereotypes.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:11 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The headline of the piece is "Netanyahu Assures Critics He Still Has Utmost Respect For U.S. Money"

The first sentence of the piece is: "In a concerted effort to ease growing tensions between the two nations, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured his critics Monday that he still has the utmost respect for U.S. money."

Not, "Netanyahu assures critics that Israel still has respect for US money."

The second sentence is: "Relations between our two countries have at times been strained, but I promise you all that the entire Israeli government, myself included, still holds a high opinion of the United States’ cash,” said Netanyahu, emphasizing that his speech to Congress was not intended to show any disrespect for American funding whatsoever."

Three sentences in and we seem to be well past the point where the article is only about Israel, and not its Jewish prime minister.

Fourth sentence: I appreciate everything U.S. money has done for Israel."

There's that "I" again.

"Though we come at this issue from different perspectives, I have no doubt that we can overcome this disagreement and maintain positive relations between Israel and U.S. economic aid, as we always have.” Netanyahu added that he also maintained great respect for the U.S. military’s weapons."
posted by zarq at 3:12 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The article never states, or even implies, that Netanyahu is personally getting any of this money. It says that Netanyahu supports and appreciates the money that Israel is getting from the US.

There's that "I" again.

He's the President of Israel. He's allowed to express the opinion of the government/state of Israel without it being anti-semitic.
posted by andoatnp at 3:17 PM on March 2, 2015


He's the President of Israel. He's allowed to express the opinion of the government/state of Israel without it being anti-semitic.

Except, Netanyahu didn't express that opinion. The Onion is a parody site, and their writers are saying a Jew and his country likes American money. Not just Israel. Netanyahu himself.
posted by zarq at 3:26 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]




We recently had a 770 comment metatalk discussion regarding the problematic way people talk about antisemitic tropes on Metafilter and often dismisss concerns about them . Worth reading.

I read it.

We've also talked on Metafilter about how it's not helpful to call things anti-semitic which aren't actually anti-semitic.
posted by andoatnp at 3:35 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bullshit, zarq. We employ the same "personal" language for heads of state routinely, both when quoting them and when mocking them.

I'd certainly encourage you to characterize the language issue more precisely becuase I'm confident the Onion would love tips on making their jibes at David Cameron, etc. more personally offensive.

There not however any insinuation that Netanyahu personally profits from U.S. aid. And across the world most U.S. aid recipients do warrant accusations of such personal corruption. Although maybe not Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s long history of crying wolf about Iran’s nuclear weapons
posted by jeffburdges at 3:37 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


We've also talked on Metafilter about how it's not helpful to call things anti-semitic which aren't actually anti-semitic.

I think this is.
posted by zarq at 3:52 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bullshit, zarq.

It's not. It's frustratingly obvious to me. More so to me because you participated in a conversation a month ago in which several people asked that our concerns be taken more seriously on this site when we pointed out such things. Not have those concerns dismissed through semantic games.

We employ the same "personal" language for heads of state routinely, both when quoting them and when mocking them.

And when that personal language about a Jew incorporates an antisemitic trope, I'll continue to call it out. Maybe. Perhaps I shouldn't bother if nothing will change.

I've said my piece and it serves no purpose for me to argue further in this thread. Each time this happens I become less and less enamored with Metafilter, and less likely to post or comment here. Congratulations.
posted by zarq at 3:57 PM on March 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


[Folks, I think it's been well-explained here how the article could easily push the "greedy" antisemitic trope button, even if that's not what the writers were aiming for, and maybe we can lay off the heated defenses of it. I'm going to ask that we drop the derail about the article, and go back to the original topic of the thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:16 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Associated Press: Kerry Defends Israel Before UN Rights Panel
But he warned, the US is “deeply concerned” about the UNHRC’s record on Israel.

“No one in this room can deny that there is an unbalanced focus on one democratic country, [Israel],” he said.

“Year after year there are five or six separate resolutions on Israel,” he said.

“This year there was a resolution sponsored by President [Bashar] Assad concerning the Golan. How? I ask, is that a sensible priority at the very moment when refugees from Syria are flooding into the Golan to escape Assad’s murderous rule and receive treatment from Israeli physicians in Israeli hospitals,” Kerry said.

“It must be said that the UNHRC’s obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization. It has the potential to limit the good that we have to do,” Kerry said.
posted by rosswald at 7:09 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, he's right on that anyway.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:36 AM on March 3, 2015


A surprising editorial from Al Arabiya's Editor-in-Chief:
President Obama, listen to Netanyahu on Iran
It is extremely rare for any reasonable person to ever agree with anything Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says or does.

However, one must admit, Bibi did get it right, at least when it came to dealing with Iran.

The Israeli PM managed to hit the nail right on the head when he said that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that “terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum” during a recent ceremony held in Tel Aviv to thank outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz for his role during “challenging” times.

In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other U.S. allies in the region.

What is absurd, however, is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayottallah Ali Khamenei. [...]
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:30 AM on March 3, 2015


A surprising editorial from Al Arabiya's Editor-in-Chief:

The Saudi-owned and run news organization is cheerleading for attacks on Iran! Why, it's so "surprising." Just this morning I was surprised by the sun coming up. Tonight I fully expect to be surprised by the sun going down again. It's a surprising old world we live in, a-yup.
posted by yoink at 11:34 AM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


It is very surprising to see a major Arab paper supporting anything an Israeli leader does or says. Very surprising indeed. Hatred for Israel is a shibboleth; media figures have been fired for even speaking to an Israeli. There were even calls to strip Miss Lebanon's title from her because she appeared in a photo with Miss Israel; she defended herself by claiming that the photo was taken against her will.

And if, as you imply, it's because Al Arabiya is a mouthpiece for Saudi Arabia - well, doesn't that make this editorial interesting in itself?
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:02 PM on March 3, 2015


The Israeli PM managed to hit the nail right on the head when he said that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that “terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum”

That "mostly" is doing a lot work there. "Mostly" except for Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Netanyahu has never been right on Iran. He's been saying Iran is six months away from a nuclear weapon since 1995. His language is cartoonish (three tentacles of evil, Persian potentate), and his ideas are non-existent. He has no plan.

Joe in Australia: And if, as you imply, it's because Al Arabiya is a mouthpiece for Saudi Arabia - well, doesn't that make this editorial interesting in itself?

No. Saudi Arabia is and Israel are very much aligned on getting the Americans to bully the Iranians for them. An editorial saying, "we hate this guy, but he's right about that other guy we both hate" is about as "surprising" as all that "at least Putin isn't a wimp like Obama" fawning we heard from Fox News this year.
posted by spaltavian at 12:06 PM on March 3, 2015


And if, as you imply, it's because Al Arabiya is a mouthpiece for Saudi Arabia - well, doesn't that make this editorial interesting in itself?

No. It makes it tediously predictable. Has anyone ever doubted that the Saudi's would cheer if Israel bombed Iranian nuclear facilities? (And let's not pretend that bombing is not where this is heading if the talks fail; no one, at all, believes that sanctions alone will deter the Iranians from completing a nuclear bomb).

And why would they cheer? For two reasons: 1) it's a black eye to Iran, the great Shiite opponent of the Sunni Saudis and 2) it will consolidate anti-Israeli sentiment even more firmly all over the Arab world.

If you think that piece is some kind of proof of a new Arab softening on Israel you're really deluding yourself.
posted by yoink at 12:13 PM on March 3, 2015


spaltavian wrote:That "mostly" is doing a lot work there. "Mostly" except for Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Surely you realise that Iraq's government is practically an extension of Iran's and that Syria is also fundamentally reliant on it. Furthermore, Syria and Iraq are the collapsing states that Netanyahu is talking about; it's nonsense to say that they're sponsoring terror organisations that are filling in the gaps of their own states! Yemen itself has just had a coup, which was won by Iranian-backed rebels.

yoink wrote: If you think that piece is some kind of proof of a new Arab softening on Israel you're really deluding yourself.

Yes, that would be a stupid thing to believe. It's nearly as stupid as thinking that the rulers of Arab nations speak with one voice, or have the same objectives, or that they are primarily motivated by principle and conviction rather than Realpolitik.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:31 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


In recent years, the Saudis have made unofficial diplomatic gestures towards normalization of a relationship with Israel, mostly based on their shared enmity of Iran. A typical stated or unstated requirement would be an Israeli / Palestinian peace agreement. (Not just a cease-fire.) The Saudis seem to want peace in the region more than destabilizing conflict.

Whatever their reasons for pushing Israeli/Palestinian peace, this much is certain: the Saudis are as worried about Iran as the Israelis are, and have been for years. There were reports (quickly denied by both parties) back in July 2009 that they would be willing to allow Israel to fly through their airspace on missions to attack Iran. Six years later, those reports are resurfacing. The timing is likely deliberate. Note that the first reports came 5 months after the 2009 Knesset election that put Netanyahu in power. This time, they're coming out weeks before another Israeli election, and will probably help give credibility to Netanyahu's effort to once again cast Iran as an imminent threat to Israelis. If Netanyahu loses power, the Saudis will lose an extremely hawkish, very vocal-to-Western-audiences opponent of Iran. Of course they want to support his re-election.

Netanyahu's posturing doesn't help his cause -- he's not a reliable narrator on the subject. I'm sure he believes what he's saying, but he's not exactly giving anyone reason to trust him, either. Yes, a nuclear-powered Iran would likely be a serious threat to Israel. When might that happen? No one knows, and anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

His speech today may prove to be a major misstep.
posted by zarq at 12:32 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thank you, Lobstermitten.
posted by zarq at 12:34 PM on March 3, 2015


It's nearly as stupid as thinking that the rulers of Arab nations speak with one voice

Er...and I'm doing that by pointing out the enmity between the Saudis and the Iranians?

Hows that, exactly?
posted by yoink at 12:40 PM on March 3, 2015




I think the Al Arabiya Op-Ed is interesting, and I do appreciate Joe linking it. The Arab states have been very careful to not publicly come out in support of Netanyahu-on-Iran generally, and more specifically they have been very cool to Netanyahu's-speech - which is why the op-ed is at least interesting. No one doubts they hold these views privately, what is interesting is that the view is being expressed, in any capacity, publicly.

Not sure how the sarcasm and anger is useful here.
posted by rosswald at 12:53 PM on March 3, 2015


Er...and I'm doing that by pointing out the enmity between the Saudis and the Iranians?

Iranians aren't Arab. I imagine there is at least one Iranian citizen who is of Arab ethnicity, fine.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:01 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


They're about 2% of the Iranian population.
posted by zarq at 1:03 PM on March 3, 2015


Joe in Australia: spaltavian That "mostly" is doing a lot work there. "Mostly" except for Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Surely you realise that Iraq's government is practically an extension of Iran's and that Syria is also fundamentally reliant on it


That has nothing whatsoever do with Netanyahu's claim. Read what I quoted again:

he said that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that “terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum”

Surely you realize the Assad government and the Iraqi Shiite regime are not the ones "filling the vacuum". He's talking about people like ISIS who are not Iranian playthings.

Yemen itself has just had a coup

Why else would I have included it in that list? The Houthis have received support from Iran, but are also opposed to al-Qaeda. They're still working with the American military against AQAP. Hardly the clear-cut picture of "terrorists" you would have us believe.
posted by spaltavian at 1:04 PM on March 3, 2015


ROU_Xenophobe: yoink: Er...and I'm doing that by pointing out the enmity between the Saudis and the Iranians?

Iranians aren't Arab.


Where did yoink say they were? He was responding to a non sequitur.
posted by spaltavian at 1:06 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Middle Eastern countries are collapsing

lol. So, L. Paul Bremer fires all the Regular Army in Iraq, creating ISIL, and now that intentional act is being used to justify this!

It might be funny if it wasn't so sad.
posted by mikelieman at 1:39 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Israel is integral in "the war on terror" (I hate that term, but whatever.) Some people think that just because we've advanced to the point of being able to fly anywhere in a matter of hours and have video conferences and nukes, etc... that geography doesn't come into play anymore when it comes to politics and warfare, but this is not the case. Geography is still an enormous influence. Whatever isreal's faults, it is extremely advantageous for the west to have the people of israel right where they are.
posted by manderin at 8:31 PM on March 3, 2015




> Israel is integral in "the war on terror" ... Geography is still an enormous influence.

American military bases near Iran
posted by benito.strauss at 12:24 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, today's polling doesn't suggest that the speech will have as much impact on the election results as Netanyahu was surely hoping.
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 12:29 PM on March 4, 2015


Unfortunately, it didn't affect him negatively. He and Likud are ahead of their opponents by a wide enough margin that it won't make that much of difference to the final outcome.
posted by zarq at 12:55 PM on March 4, 2015


Well, no one was expecting it to affect him negatively. In my view (as I said above) the main purpose of the speech was to strengthen Likud's polling by diverting attention from the economy with scaremongering about Iran. It doesn't seem to have achieved that, at this point.

Likud isn't actually ahead of its opponents, it's either neck and neck with or slightly trailing the Zionist Camp. Which doesn't mean Bibi isn't still the favorite, since his path to a coalition looks easier than Herzog's. Ultimately it'll probably come down to one or two smallish centrist parties (Yesh Atid and Kulanu) getting to play kingmaker, as often before.
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 1:08 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


One pleasing thing about this election, BTW, is that the Arab parties, which have been forced to unite into a single list because of a law raising the electoral threshold that was sponsored by the nationalist Avigdor Liberman with the more or less openly avowed aim of keeping them out of the Knesset altogether, now look set to win more seats than in any previous Knesset, while Liberman's own party has been almost destroyed by corruption scandals.
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 1:14 PM on March 4, 2015




He and Likud are ahead of their opponents by a wide enough margin that it won't make that much of difference to the final outcome.

What makes you say this? Wikipedia has six election polls so far in March. Likud is winning one, tied for first in one, and in four of the March polls Likud gets fewer seats than the Zionist Union list.
posted by andoatnp at 2:26 PM on March 4, 2015


In my view (as I said above) the main purpose of the speech was to strengthen Likud's polling by diverting attention from the economy with scaremongering about Iran.

Scaremongering? I'm sorry; this is just stupid. Iran has its own Manhattan Project underway, with literally thousands of centrifuges concentrating uranium. It's also working on ballistic missile technology. And, it refuses to allow IAEA inspectors to examine known nuclear development sites - despite being bound by treaty to do so. The IAEA has repeatedly warned that there are signs Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

We should all be alarmed, but Israel (and other countries in the region) have especially good reason. Whatever you may thing of Netanyahu's tactics, it's hardly scaremongering to point out that Iran's well on it's way to producing a nuclear arsenal, and that the USA's position on this has slipped from "under no circumstances" to "not without a change of regime" to "trust us, it would take them a few years, maybe as much as a decade". Especially since Iran is already in breach of its treaty obligations. I mean, let's say Iran ostentatiously continues to ignore its agreements. What would the USA do? Threaten to have Obama wave his finger at them?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:13 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


And thank the heavens that the United States Congress had Benjamin Netanyahu to alert them to all these facts. I'm sure it came as a total surprise to them.
posted by Etrigan at 3:29 PM on March 4, 2015


If they already know about it - which they do, obviously, then it's not scaremongering. Are they thoroughly informed, though? The White House publicly warned Netanyahu about revealing "selective details" of the forthcoming US/Iran agreement, so there's obviously something that's secret.

More generally, the fact that the Israeli PM was willing to expend so much diplomatic capital demonstrates a degree of seriousness and creates at least something of an obstacle to the US Administration's current strategy. It's a sort of performative speech: we all know that Obama doesn't care for Netanyahu, but by saying so publicly they reify it, which gives them the freedom to say and do other things without people going "but Netanyahu's your BFF! why would you even do that?" Similarly, this performance will make it a bit harder for Obama to conclude a secret deal with Iran that excludes Israel's interests.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:45 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Obama to conclude a secret deal with Iran that excludes Israel's interests.

As a Jewish-American, I know where my allegiance lies, and the would suggest that the interests of the Israeli Government are irrelevant to the Interests of the United States, and that I expect our President to look after MY interests and not those of a Foreign Nation.

And until the Israeli Government (1) reforms in good-faith as One Nation, With Liberty and Justice for All and (2) fully discloses their nuclear weapons, joins the NPT and permits inspections they can go fuck themselves.
posted by mikelieman at 4:47 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Joe in Australia: Or it indicates that the Israeli PM believes that spending so much diplomatic capital will help him with domestic issues. Using wars and foreign threats as tools to push domestic policy is a long political tradition everywhere, why should Israel be any different?

As for Iran, to be blunt I can't say I really blame Iran for seeking nukes. If there is one thing the USA has demonstrated consistently it is that America is willing and eager to go to war in any Middle Eastern nation **EXCEPT** those with nukes. Owning a nuke is like having a "Get out of random US invasions free" card. If I were Iranian I'd be in favor of Iran getting nukes no matter my opinion of the Iranian regime.

As for Israel's interests, frankly as an American I'm much more concerned with America's interests and not having yet another long, expensive, pointless war in the Middle East that ultimately makes the world situation more dangerous and increases the total misery there. If Israel believes that starting yet another long, expensive, pointless war with Muslim nations is such a great idea let Israel spend its blood and treasure carrying out the pointless evil war it wants. My country is pretty much used up as far as long pointless expensive wars go.

I think that the hawks in Israel will change their tune about how fantastic and wonderful a war against Iran would be if it was them paying the price for a change instead of America.

I don't like nuclear proliferation, frankly I'd rather no one had nukes. I'll also note that 19 years ago Netanyahu was out there beating the drums for war on the claim that Iran was less than a year away from nukes. So his credibility on this issue is pretty non-existant from my POV. Fuck him.

Also, what mikelieman said.
posted by sotonohito at 5:05 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


the interests of the Israeli Government are irrelevant to the Interests of the United State

They're not the same, but saying they're irrelevant is just isolationist bluster; are Britain's interests irrelevant? NATO's? For that matter, what about the interests of Russia? The US is part of the family of nations, and the fact that those nations have interests is extremely significant to the USA's operations. In this case I presume that the USA wants to continue having Israel as a strategic partner, which means that it needs to take Israel's interests into account. It might decide that it cannot or should not accommodate them, but calling them "irrelevant" is quite wrong.

And until the Israeli Government (1) reforms in good-faith as One Nation, With Liberty and Justice for All

That's from your Pledge of Allegiance - which I don't think is actually binding on the US government. In any event, Israel made a rather fuller set of commitments:
... it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
[source]
To be fair, the USA may one day live up to its ideals, which will put it a good part of the way towards living up to Israel's ideals.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:09 PM on March 4, 2015


Owning a nuke is like having a "Get out of random US invasions free" card. If I were Iranian I'd be in favor of Iran getting nukes no matter my opinion of the Iranian regime.

Yeah, another reason the Libyan intervention was not the best idea. Dictator completely turns over his WMD program and the next step is...get rid of him. Any other dictator watching can read the message of that pretty loud and clear.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:10 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do the Americans really have a realpolitik or strategic interest in Isreal at this point? It's entirely possible they do, I'm not an expert on any of this, but I just can't see it. It actually kind of seems like a major political albatross around our necks when what we most want is for the middle east to just stop hating us so we can all just peacefully exchange dollars for oil and otherwise ignore each other.

I kind of feel like it's more just historical momentum and moral belief in the right of Israel to exist than anything cynical or calculated at this point. And I do NOT think that moral belief is without merit, but it can be challenging to determine when a government should take a stand like that and when it shouldn't.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:17 PM on March 4, 2015


which I don't think is actually binding on the US government

"One Nation, with Liberty and Justice for All" is the guiding principle that allows me, as a Jew, to sleep well at night without fear of someone launching rockets at my children's bedroom. As such, it is not intended to be 'binding', but rather to illustrate the features that make the United States demonstrably safer for Jews than Israel.

Do you disagree?
posted by mikelieman at 5:19 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


And considering that central to "Israel's Ideals" is a policy of discrimination intended to "resolve" the "demographic issue", in the same way the US Army "resolved" the "Indian issue", I wouldn't actually be proud to stand in support of them.
posted by mikelieman at 5:23 PM on March 4, 2015


Christ on a crutch, I saluted a flag twice a day for nearly ten years and I'm still disturbed by the amount of rabid US hyper nationalism on display in this thread. There is no reason on God's green earth why Israel should be held to the fucking US pledge of allegiance, of all things. What the Hell.
posted by corb at 5:39 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


rather to illustrate the features that make the United States demonstrably safer for Jews than Israel.
posted by mikelieman


The "features" you are talking about have a lot to do with the US' unique history and geographic positioning. The US is safer for an incredibly large and diverse set of ethnic groups because it is (was) "the new world" and lacked many of the longstanding ethnic tensions that groups experienced in their native country (whether Europe, Asia, or Africa).

I am not sure how saying a Chinese activist is safer and freer in San Francisco than China, or that an Irish woman trying to have an abortion has more rights in Boston than Ireland - or that Jews in the US (generally one of the safest countries in the world) are safer in the US than Israel is a valid point.

South Africans living in America are probably statistically safer than in South Africa. Ukrainians in the US are statistically safer than those in Ukraine - not sure how much you can say this is the result in some basic fundamental flaw in their system of government.

--------

Really though, I just don't see how you think that turning every Middle Eastern country into an exact replica of the US is A) reasonable B) not extremely offensive. Honestly, every time you copy-paste your same spiel in these Israel threads I am just reminded of George W. Bush's brilliant initiative to "bring democracy to the Middle East"
posted by rosswald at 5:46 PM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Really though, I just don't see how you think that turning every Middle Eastern country into an exact replica of the US is A) reasonable B) not extremely offensive.

I don't think insisting on the principles of Due Process of Law and Equal Protection of the Laws is "turning every Middle Eastern country into an exact replica of the US". Can you help me understand why you might believe that depriving people of those inalienable rights is a legitimate governmental act?
posted by mikelieman at 6:00 PM on March 4, 2015


Mikelieman, you do bring this up every time, and it's the sort of thing that's hard to engage with because it's fundamentally incoherent. The Pledge of Allegiance isn't really binding on anyone, but I suppose it might be said to reflect the ideals of the USA. Other countries have ideals too, but in no case do they actually protect anybody from anything. Suggesting that other countries adopt the USA's Pledge of Allegiance in order to protect their citizens is weird, confused, magical thinking. It's also more than a little imperialistic, of course, which is inconsistent with the "one nation" and "liberty" bits of the pledge; that just underscores how silly it is.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:15 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am not denying there are some fundamental rights we (Americans) should promote internationally - but dude, listen to you own language

Due Process of Law
Equal Protection of the Laws
inalienable rights


Where have I heard those exact phrases before?

I don't hold Canada, Norway, and South Korea to a different standard that Egypt, Ghana, and Myanmar - but I do accept that cultural, historical, political, religious, geographic realities can explain the differences. I also accept that ultimately many of these countries will not soon (ever?) transition to a model as comprehensively liberal as that of the US and Western Europe.

Are Indonesians evil for wanting outlaw blasphemy? Does that discredit their entire political model - or perhaps is it more complex than that?
posted by rosswald at 6:19 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


[This is turning into a derail; let's drop the interrogation/explication, please. Thanks! ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:29 PM on March 4, 2015


Due Process of Law
Equal Protection of the Laws
inalienable rights

Where have I heard those exact phrases before?


Well, Due Process and Equal Protection are from the US Constitution, and Inalienable Rights is from the Declaration of Independence.

And again, I would like someone to explain to me why they aren't ideals that should be universally promoted. Why should Palestinian refugees be denied equal protection of the laws, and not have a "Right of Return" to the property they were chased off of the 1980's, while I do enjoy that privilege, despite no legitimate connection? Why shouldn't women pray on the Temple Mount? Why is it ok for the Israeli Government to give privileges to one ethnic group, yet deny another the benefits of statehood?
posted by mikelieman at 6:30 PM on March 4, 2015


I too am critical of all the things you mention. I just think that, like issues in almost all other Middle Eastern countries, the problem can't be solved by chanting American mantras.
posted by rosswald at 6:39 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why shouldn't women pray on the Temple Mount?

(Muslim) women do pray on the Temple Mount. It's Jews who can't pray there - both men and women. I agree that it's an outrage. That and a couple of dollars will pay for a letter of complaint to His Majesty the King of Jordan, who claims to be its custodian.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:53 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


And that's the whole problem with not having "One Nation", isn't it? It gives the Israeli Government cover to say, "That's not OUR problem!", when in reality everything that happens from the River to the Sea *is* their problem, and everyone living there should be a full citizen.

Of course, when you suggest that EVERYONE deserves the same treatment, what happens? That's right, the assertion that you can't give citizenship to "those people", right?

So, we have this situation where eventually Palestinians will be confined to Reservations. Maybe in 100 years they'll get some casino franchises in what remains of Gaza?
posted by mikelieman at 1:57 AM on March 5, 2015




Reuters - Kerry briefs Iran's Gulf rivals on nuclear talks
posted by rosswald at 6:00 AM on March 5, 2015


I found this Economist piece useful: American and Iran: The best of bad options

It includes a bullet-point summary of the main components of Obama's potential deal, along with this:

The Israeli prime minister’s excoriation of this as a “bad deal” is not without foundation. He is right to say that it will leave Iran as a nuclear-weapons threshold state and that Iran will quite probably continue to use that as a means to bully and intimidate its neighbours. He is also right to say that without dismantling Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, the country will continue to have a path to a bomb, which may become even more rapid after ten years, when the first stage of the deal lapses.

What he has failed to do is to propose anything better. He argues that if sanctions are maintained and even tightened, a chastened Iran will return to the negotiating table and give in to every demand made of it, no matter the degree of national humiliation that would entail. There is no evidence at all for the truth of this. In fact, people who understand Iran well or are close to the negotiations believe the exact opposite of what Mr Netanyahu claims. Iran is suffering from sanctions, but it is a proud nation that will not be brought to its knees. Mr Netanyahu accuses others of wishful thinking, but if he genuinely believes what he is saying, he is guilty of it too.

It may be that he does not. Mr Netanyahu insists that he is not advocating for war with Iran, but it is hard to draw any other logical conclusion from the position he has staked out. The trouble is that only America has the military power to deal a serious and lasting blow to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Even then, it would not wipe out enough of a vast and sprawling enterprise to set Iran back by more than a few years...

If Iran does at some point make the momentous choice to get the bomb, military action is very likely to be the consequence. But that will represent failure rather than success. Until then, what Mr Netanyahu calls a bad deal looks quite a bit better than any of the alternatives.

posted by mediareport at 7:09 AM on March 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


mikelieman: Why shouldn't women pray on the Temple Mount?

To reiterate what Joe said, Muslim women can and do. Just two weeks ago, right wingers were complaining that Congressman Ross (R-FL) was harassed by Muslim women at the Temple Mount.

Jewish men and women can ascend to, but not pray at the Temple Mount. Here's why.

Joe in Australia: That and a couple of dollars will pay for a letter of complaint to His Majesty the King of Jordan, who claims to be its custodian.

As you well know, the Jordanian waqf is not the only reason why Jews have been prohibited from praying on the Temple Mount. There are halachic issues regarding the site of the Temple, and prohibitions have been in place and disputed by various rabbis since the 19th century.
posted by zarq at 8:39 AM on March 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


It may be that he does not. Mr Netanyahu insists that he is not advocating for war with Iran, but it is hard to draw any other logical conclusion from the position he has staked out.

No, the other logical conclusion is one he's been advocating and the White House says he's pursuing, which is that Iran change its behavior, which he characterized as "aggressive," (among other things.) To Netanyahu, this ideally would mean regime change in Iran, but barring that unlikely possibility, he wants the Iranians to stop moving forward with their nuclear program, either on their own or be barred by outside forces. All of this was in his speech to Congress. And it's the same drum he's been banging for years.

Everyone involved is aware that military action would only set back Iran's nuclear program, not halt it.
posted by zarq at 11:39 AM on March 5, 2015


My personal theory is that Netanyahu's goal is to either A) tie Iranian's foreign policy against Israel (Hamas, Hezbollah - Karine A, Francop, Burgas, AMIA, etc. etc.) into the nuclear negotiations so that these issues are a part of any deal, or B) sink the deal, not to start a war, but to keep the current international sanctions in place.

I think the nuclear bomb issue is (for Israel) a red-herring - Bibi is more concerned about their support for Hezbollah and Hamas and doesn't want Iran to be able to rejoin the international community by foregoing a nuclear bomb but also continuing to support violent actions against Israel internationally.
posted by rosswald at 11:56 AM on March 5, 2015


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