Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s media blitz in the United States had one objective – counter the Iranian con game and to heck with the editors of The New York Times, which accused the Prime Minister of sabotaging President Obama’s attempts to “engage” Iran.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is smart enough to care less. He told Charlie Rose on PBS, “I’d rather have bad press and no eulogies, better a bad press than a good eulogy.”
An old expression in journalism about politicians is, “I don’t care what you say about me; just spell my name right.” The Times may hate Netanyahu, but it does not ignore him, and he got his message across.
It also would not be a surprise if President Barack Obama is not secretly happy that Prime Minister Netanyahu countered the “let’s be friends” act played out by the U.S. and Iranian presidents.
Obama may be blinded by the desert sun when it comes to Palestinian Authority bluff, but he is not entirely stupid on his home ground, where 9/11 still burns in America’s belly.
Netanyahu’s media blitz was a stark reminder to the American public, and the media, that rose-colored glasses don’t change reality.
Prime Minister Netanyahu knows the power of words, and his education in Philadelphia as a youngster strengthened his thorough understanding of the American mind.
In 1984, Netanyahu served as one of the country’s most effective ambassadors to the United Nations and led the effort that opened the U.N. Nazi War Crimes Archives in 1987. More important, his skills form the podium helped make Americans understand Israel’s security needs.
Two years ago, Congress wildly applauded him when it invited him to speak to both Houses, which accepted him as if he were the most popular Congressman.
Even Ehud Olmert, who turned left of the left as Prime Minister when he inherited the position from the ailing Ariel Sharon, turned to Netanyahu to defend Israel against the anti-Israel media campaign in the Second Lebanon War.
Britain’s illustrious David Frost was left with his mouth open after he challenged Netanyahu on IDF bombings that killed children in southern Lebanon.
Netanyahu warned Frost to drop the subject, but Frost insisted and fell into his interviewee’s trap, allowing Netanyahu to drop the little tidbit that the British Royal Air Force accidentally bombed and killed dozens of children in World War II. Frost quickly moved on to the next subject.
So who cares if The New York Times castigates Netanyahu for castigating Hassan Rohani? The newspaper is so heavily weighted – not by doves but by cowards – that more responsible media are a bit more objective. The Times quoted former National Security Council staff member and Iran specialist Gary Sick, as saying that Netanyahu was “was so anxious to make everything look as negative as possible he actually pushed the limits of credibility.” And Rohani did not punish the lines of credibility?
The newspaper insisted on its editorial pages, “It could be disastrous if Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters within the Congress were so blinded by distrust of Iran that they exaggerate the [nuclear] threat, block President Obama from taking advantage of new diplomatic openings and sabotage the best chance to establish a new relationship since the 1979 Iranian revolution sent American-Iranian relations into the deep freeze.”
It also noted that former White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, “Netanyahu’s speech is addressed to the Israeli public. Israel did not help itself with Netanyahu’s statement especially that the world has forgotten what happened in the twentieth century.”
If the polls are judged on their face, Gibbs is correct. Approximately three-quarters of Americans favor diplomacy over military action to solve the Iranian puzzle, but what is surprising is that the number is only three-quarters. Everyone would prefer a diplomatic solution.
Netanyahu’s message is that it won’t happen, and no one can really quarrel with him. The quarrel is over whether giving it the old college try won’t blow up in Israelis’ faces.
Leave it to The Christian Science Monitor, far from being in Israel’s corner, to write, “Netanyahu…sees himself as playing a Churchillian role to alert the world to the dangers of appeasement, just as the formidable British leader did when faced by the Nazi regime. For one who sees the Iranian nuclear issue in existential terms, being perceived as a party pooper is a small price to pay.