web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

White House Was Foolish In Overestimating Barak’s Pull


The White House was misled by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. And that does not surprise me.

Publicly, the White House is saying that nothing in the relationship between Barak, who just this week left the Labor Party to form a new political faction, and the administration has changed. Privately, the White House is expressing disappointment, frustration and even anger.

From the early days of the Obama administration Barak had sold himself as the best, perhaps even the only, person able to guide the Israeli cabinet in the direction that most pleased the United States.

Barak was supposed to deliver Netanyahu and his government on a silver platter; he was to ensure that Israel would conform to U.S. interests and adhere – even embrace – American policy decisions.

White House aides have described the unparalleled access Barak enjoyed with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They paint a picture of a teacher/student relationship, with the Israeli as teacher. He charmed and impressed seasoned State Department honchos with his analysis and insight. He spoke and everyone listened.

Ehud Barak was accorded more respect by the U.S. as Israel’s defense minister in an opposition government than he’d been years earlier as Israel’s prime minister.

And then one day the White House realized Barak could not deliver as promised. Barak did not have the influence over Prime Minister Netanyahu that he professed to have, that the West Wing assumed he had, that he led everyone to believe he had.

The emperor was wearing no clothes.

Barak’s Labor Party was the left balance in Netanyahu’s right wing government. But the few votes he carried could hardly be considered a mainstay of the coalition. Even if Labor withdrew from that coalition, the Likud government would still remain standing – tottering a bit, but standing and solvent.

Finally the Obama administration’s blinders lifted and U.S. officials actually realized the defense minister’s party was so tiny that it wielded no power. Not only that, they realized there was a serious threat to Barak’s leadership within his own party. Other leaders within the party were calling for his resignation.

The question, of course, is why the administration was wearing blinders in the first place. Anyone who follows Israeli politics could have easily read the situation. You don’t have to be a diplomat to see what was happening – so why didn’t the diplomats see what was happening?

Yes, Ehud Barak is charming and even convincing. Barak is also self important and aggrandizing. Giving credit where it is due, his analysis is often brilliant and he is a master strategist. His tactics are well thought through and he grasps issues with ease. But he could never deliver what the White House expected. The only person who could do that was – and is – Netanyahu.

The administration began giving Barak the proverbial cold shoulder even before his decision to leave Labor. During his last visit he was allotted a short fifteen minutes with Hillary Clinton. That was the extent of his access.

Is Barak to blame for his failure to deliver? Honestly, I don’t think he is. It’s just that was always intoxicated by the power of the White House. It began while he was Israeli prime minister during the last year and a half of the Clinton administration.

The real error was made by a myopic White House in not spending any time or exerting any effort to investigate the claims Barak was making. The obvious was right there in front of them and administration officials chose to ignore it.

Barak was always simply the head of one of the coalition parties. By definition a coalition party compromises on party principles once it joins a government. Labor was no exception to that rule. Likud did what was expected – it made promises and offered its own compromises, not only to Barak’s left-leaning Labor but to right-wing parties as well. That’s how a government is cobbled together. It’s the parliamentary way.

To imagine that one man heading a small party would be able to sway a ruling government, no matter how persuasive a character that man may have been in the administration’s eyes, was a show of poor judgment and inexperienced governing.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “White House Was Foolish In Overestimating Barak’s Pull”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The three salesmen -Netanyahu, Ya'alon and Gantz
Netanyahu Tries to Sell Bill of Goods that Israel Won Goals in the War
Latest Indepth Stories
Eisenstock-082914

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Israelis in Gaza border communities need to get out; who will help them?

The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.

There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

Is Woodstock still leading the world to destruction?

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

More Articles from Micah D. Halpern
Halpern-081712

I never watched “Candid Camera” when I was a kid. We only watched The Wonderful World of Disney” and “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.”

My parents enforced strict TV rules. But as an adult, when I can watch whatever I please, I really enjoy those old shows and have made up for lost time when it comes to shows like “Candid Camera.”

Halpern-062212

The world famous economist John Kenneth Galbraith said it best:

“There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.”

It’s called the Viper. It is a computer virus. Open it once and it propagates and grows in every other file that is opened.

And last month it struck Iran.

That’s the third computer virus to hit Iran in the past eighteen months. But this one, the Viper, is different from the others.

Saudi Arabia is, to use a term the royals would, “greatly displeased” with the United States. Displeased with U.S. foreign policy regarding Iran and equally displeased with the decisions the White House is making about Syria.

The real heroes of our age are pencil-protector geeks. They sit at home, behind their keyboards, determining the rules of the game that you and I live by – and we trust them to do so. They love toys. They love games. They enjoy battle. They are at the forefront of the cyber war that is enveloping the world.

The White House was misled by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. And that does not surprise me.

Publicly, the White House is saying that nothing in the relationship between Barak, who just this week left the Labor Party to form a new political faction, and the administration has changed. Privately, the White House is expressing disappointment, frustration and even anger.

Israel, the Palestinians, the United States. Each party is banking on the other. The Palestinians and the Israelis are banking on the failure of the resumption of direct talks. The United States is banking on the talks to succeed.

I am an equal opportunity critic. Critique is one of the tools I use to ferret out the truth. I monitor the actions and pay close attention to the words, the deeds and the decrees of world leaders and when I find fault with them, I point it out to the public.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/white-house-was-foolish-in-overestimating-baraks-pull/2011/01/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: