U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a self-declared “strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” on Wednesday sent a stern rebuke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the text of which has been dutifully copied and pasted by our friends at JTA, the Forward and the Times of Israel.
One can just imagine the senator dictating the text below while wagging a bony finger at an imaginary Netanyahu:
“I write to you as one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress to express my deep disappointment over your remarks that call into question our country’s support for Israel and commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Your remarks are utterly contrary to the extraordinary United States-Israel alliance, evidenced by President Obama’s record and the record of Congress.”
It’s the stuff of early education: “my deep disappointment” and “contrary.” The deep sense of betrayal oozing from every well chosen word makes the reader think Netanyahu was declaring, as Knesset opposition leader Shaul Mofaz accused him, that Israel had two enemies: Iran and the U.S.
The redline policy Netanyahu called for makes a lot of sense. The PM was saying to his major ally on the planet: You want to try diplomacy and sanctions – more power to you, I wish you much success. But we must, as friends and allies, agree on the point at which we will put aside those efforts and act together to stop Iran’s nuke plan through a direct military intervention.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t like it, saying last Sunday that the U.Sm is “not setting deadlines” for Iran, saying the negotiations are “by far the best approach” to preventing the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu is not seeing that the sanctions are slowing Iran’s nuclear advances “because it doesn’t see a clear red line from the international community.” We at the Jewish Press have published several articles showing how Iran has been circumventing the sanctions – both openly and clandestinely, in some cases with U.S. tacit approval.
For that, for doubting that the Administration’s approach is working, Bibi got the bony wagging finger from nursery school teacher Boxer.
Next came the heartfelt details of just how much Obama loves us:
“As the author of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, I know that President Obama’s support for Israel is unshakable. I cannot tell you how proud I was to stand next to the President as he signed this important legislation into law in July, further enshrining the strong security ties and friendship between our two nations.”
I’m not sure Barbara Boxer should be our model for loyalty. I’m a NY Democrat, and we have long memories. Back in 2008, Boxer, a “super delegate,” pledged that she would give her vote to whomever won California. Hillary won. Boxer withheld her vote.
And if we’re delving into memory lane: in 2007, Boxer voted No on designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as terrorists.
But do I wag a bony finger at her in rebuke? Well, this morning I do.
Here’s the money paragraph in the senator’s letter:
“…I am stunned by the remarks that you made this week regarding U.S. support for Israel. Are you suggesting that the United States is not Israel’s closest ally and does not stand by Israel? Are you saying that Israel, under President Obama, has not received more in annual security assistance from the United States than at any time in its history, including for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System?”
Here’s what Netanyahu said:
“The world tells Israel, ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?.’ … Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”
I understand why Senator Boxer is incensed. She really believes she and the Administration are Israel’s benevolent masters, always defending Israel even at the cost of alienating two billion Muslims. In that context, the notion that the vassal state Israel would dare to make demands about deadlines and lines in the sand and redlines is maddening to her.
This is not a debate over Israel’s security – I trust that should the time come, the IAF would perform a whole lot better than its U.S. counterparts. Of the two forces, it’s the IAF that took out one Iraqi and one Syrian nuclear plant.