Vice President Joe Biden used the “W” word – war – in a speech Thursday night that is part of a new White House charm offensive to calm down Israel’s concerns that Washington is ready to sign a “bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear program.
Biden said at his speech to the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy:
A war with Iran, if required, it will happen. It is a risk we may have to take should Iran race to a bomb….
The finest military in history remains at the ready. Don’t underestimate my friend Barack Obama. He has a spine of steel and he is willing to do what it takes to keep our allies safe.
Biden also emphasized parts of the proposed deal that Iran has thoroughly rejected in public, particularly “phased sanctions relief” and a demand that Iran take off the mask off past nuclear weapons research.
President Obama sent Biden two weeks ago to placate Israel at the annual Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration in Washington, where he began his speech by declaring, “My name is Joe Biden, and everybody knows I love Israel.”
The White House clearly is trying to mend fences after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress in March, when he warned of a “bad deal” with Iran.
Obama lost the elections in Israel two weeks later. His aides not only have given up hope that Netanyahu won’t be able to form a new coalition government, they also have finally realized it will be much more stable and more right-wing than previous governments.
The president has no choice but to play ball with Netanyahu, and Biden is his pitcher, although he showed his ignorance of Jewish self-guilt by throwing a couple of spitballs in his Yom Ha’Atzmaut speech , bragging that two of his children married Jews.
Netanyahu is reciprocating to a certain extent and laying off high-profile attacks on the proposed Iran deal.
Zalman Shoval, an adviser to Netanyahu and former ambassador to the United States, told Bloomberg News Thursday that Israel “would like to do what we can to remove the unnecessary hindrances in our relationship with the U.S.”
“Neither side want to have an open conflict, but Netanyahu will certainly continue to criticize the Iran talks and there isn’t much he can deliver on the actual peace process,” Robbie Sabel, a Hebrew University professor and a former Israeli diplomat, told Bloomberg.
Netanyahu last month suddenly released nearly half a billion dollars in tax revenues that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority, without deducting the entire sum from a large debt Ramallah owes Israel for electricity and other services.
Israel also has allowed more permits for Arabs in Judea and Samaria to travel to Jerusalem.
Obama reiterated last month he will visit Israel, but not before June 30th, the deadline for a final deal with Iran.
Tehran already has said that the deadline is not holy, so don’t expect Obama land at Ben Gurion Airport on July 1