Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

In a recent article for The Atlantic, “The Netanyahu Disaster,” Jeffrey Goldberg excoriated the Israeli PM for his decision to speak to the US Congress about Iran. Goldberg’s main argument was that the US is an enormously powerful ally while Israel is small, reliant and weak. As such Israel should respectfully listen to President Obama’s policy cues and never actively disagree with him even if his policies might seem detrimental to Israel. Goldberg concludes that by accepting speaker Boehner’s invitation, Netanyahu has insulted Obama and the United States, thus damaging Israel’s interests.

This line of thinking might be reasonable under normal circumstances, but does it really apply in a situation of existential danger? Let’s look at the facts. Iran’s leadership routinely boasts of their determination to destroy the State of Israel. Iranian sponsored terrorism is responsible for the murder of Jews around the world from Argentina to Bulgaria. Given their past behavior, Netanyahu believes that a nuclear-armed Iran poses an existential threat to Israel, and addressing this threat has been the guiding light of Netanyahu’s foreign policy.

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Back in May of 2009, President Obama made the following statement regarding nuclear diplomacy with Iran: “We’re not going to have talks forever. We’re not going to create a situation in which talks become an excuse for inaction while Iran proceeds with developing a nuclear – and deploying a nuclear weapon.” Five years later, we’re still talking while the Iranians have continued their march toward the Bomb. Throughout this period Netanyahu has tried to make Obama and the rest of the world aware of the danger posed by Iran’s nuclear program, and he has repeatedly urged action to prevent a belligerent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

To maintain a working relationship with Obama, Netanyahu has put aside his pride and swallowed the many insults and offences which have defined his treatment by the White House. On his first State visit in 2010 Netanyahu was given no reception and forced to enter the White House through a back entrance. He was left to languish in a White House conference room for over an hour after Obama unexpectedly left to have supper with his wife. In 2011 an open mike picked up some derogatory comments made by Obama who thought he was talking to French President Sarkozy off the record. To placate Obama and bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table, Netanyahu even released scores of felons who had murdered Israeli civilians. More recently, in another Jeffrey Goldberg article, Netanyahu found himself referred to as a “chicken-sh*t” by administration officials who were apparently gloating over the fact that he didn’t have the nerve to attack Iran and that now it was too late. And the list goes on.

Recognizing that the United States is the only power that can decisively deal with the Iranian threat, Netanyahu has ignored insult and injury in exchange for Obama’s pledge to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. At this point in the game, it has become clear to everyone including Netanyahu that his strategy of playing ball with Obama and eating crow on the side has clearly not gotten that results he had hoped for. After years of talks and as we enter the 13th month of a final 6-month round of negotiations, we are yielding on one issue after another to Iranian demands. In the President’s latest State of the Union speech, he has confirmed that the White House is ready to lift the sanctions on Iran in exchange for the most modest concessions. Experts differ in their estimates of how many weeks or months it would take Iran to produce a bomb, but Obama has made it clear that he is willing to accept Iran as a threshold nuclear state. In his determined quest for some semblance of a foreign policy success, Obama has displayed his eagerness to strike a deal with Iran that leaves the mullahs within sprinting distance of a bomb and permanently endangers both Israel and the free world.

Netanyahu has been forced to recognize that Obama’s pledge to stop Iran from going nuclear has turned out to be just another of his famous vanishing red lines. Hence when House Speaker Boehner invited him to address Congress on Iran, Netanyahu promptly seized the opportunity. By accepting Boehner’s invitation, Netanyahu indeed insulted the President and probably caused an irreparable fallout with the current administration. But given Obama’s politics of appeasement, Netanyahu has made the decision to turn to Congress as Israel’s last best hope for help in dismantling Iran’s nuclear program.

It is a bold and risky move, but Netanyahu deserves praise for pursuing it. Although he was often criticized domestically for not standing up to Obama, Netanyahu acted with caution and humility through the long years when there was hope that Obama would stop Iran. Now that this charade is over, Netanyahu has demonstrated that he can act decisively and assertively when it matters. He has shown that he is willing to risk confrontation, not for personal pride, but for the welfare of his nation.

The Jeffrey Goldbergs inside the beltway will continue to criticize Netanyahu severely for antagonizing the great power on whose good will Israel depends. But Netanyahu has given a no confidence notice to the present administration, and he has chosen to place his bets on Congress instead. By addressing Congress and the American people directly, there is a chance that he may inspire America to rise to occasion and stop Iran. And if this fails to materialize, there will be, at the very least, a much clearer understanding all around of why Israel will do what it must do.

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178 COMMENTS

  1. He is a humble man with wisdom, and a great strong leader, it is not weakness…..i wish he would also be president of the USA….i believe he is passionate for his people and wants to protect and do right by them, and he knows who is with him, doing it in a civilized manner.

  2. I like BIBI…I like his courage and he has his PEOPLE in his heart…everyone one of them..left/right/religious…..NEVER AGAIN….that is the bottom line here NEVER AGAIN…..so I follow Bibi….we need LIONS not pussies!! Excuse the rant but I get so emotional when it comes to our people…Israel….and so tired of antisemitism…so tired of idiots in this world who DONT get it!!!! Every festival….”They tried to kill us” but they didn’t succeed…we can’t let them succeed ever! If the 6 million were here today and their children/grandchildren…what would they say??? We are such a small world community but with so much to give to all…..look at our success….and we still have our sense of humour despite it all…..!

  3. I wish PM Netanyahu was OUR President! He is highly intelligent, extremely wise, he thinks carefully before he speaks, he loves his country deeply and will do anything to protect them. May PM Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו and the great country of Yisra’el be blessed always. Am Yisael Chai!

  4. As an American citizen I can tell you I am completely mortified at the treatment of PM Netanyahu. The vast majority of Americans stand with Israel and with the PM. We plead that you do not judge us based on the occupant in the White House.

  5. As an American citizen I can tell you I am completely mortified at the treatment of PM Netanyahu. The vast majority of Americans stand with Israel and with the PM. We plead that you do not judge us based on the occupant in the White House.

  6. It is frightening Purium was the time of the speech to congress, these words come to mind relief and deliverance will arise from another place America, but you and your father s house will have perished. Obama is playing a deadly game with Almighty God. May embarassment be upon him as he has done to Israel may it be done to him. Most Americans detest the arrogant ass. I pray for BiBi on a daily basis, he has the humility of heart to listen to the leading of Yahweh .

  7. Speaking as an American, I continue to marvel at Netanyahu’s ability to maintain some semblance of humility. The lack of respect shown him by certain highly-placed individuals in my federal government is shameful, and shows a contempt for Israel that is hard to understand. Bibi is not a perfect person. Who is? But he stands firm, regardless of the lack of respect shown him by many of my leaders. A lot of people would profit by taking a page from Mitt Romney- reaching out to Israel regardless of what others think or say. True friends don’t agree with each other all the time- but neither do they don’t back-stab or undermine each other. The treatment of Bibi by those who should know better is shameful. And tolerance for such behavior (by those on the sidelines) will only make matters worse for Israel and the United States. I pray for them all.

  8. Israel Draiman • 12 hours ago
    After World War I, all of Western Palestine was governed by Britain under a Mandate granted to it by the League of Nations. Its mandate was to develop the area as a Jewish homeland. The eastern part of Palestine was truncated and illegally turned by Britain into the independent Arab kingdom of Transjordan. The rump segment of Palestine was reserved for the Jews. None of this was earmarked for creation of yet another Arab state. The bulk of land within the Palestinian Mandate was state-owned land, governed by the British Mandatory government. It had also been state-owned land previously under the Ottoman imperial government, before Britain liberated “Palestine” from the Turks. [Before World War I, land in Palestine was owned by the Ottoman state and a feudalistic class of absentee landlords. The few “Palestinian” Arabs who lived in the country at the time seldom owned any land. They farmed it as sharecroppers.]

  9. Mr Nathanyaho is a wise peaceful man, and a man whose family have suffered as real Jews, he has come a long way and wishes to bring Israel as far as possible to safety and security, and the Lord will take over from men who have served Israel so well and his reward is great from the Lord God of Israel for it is written what God said when he was among his people in the streets of Israel, HE WHO GIVES A CUP ☕ OF COLD WATER

  10. I STAND WITH YOU ISREAL and even MORE important is that GOD stands with you and for you. it has been foretold for thousand of years that no weapon against you shall prevail, YOU ARE GODS CHOSEN. though they come at you from all sides, you shall be victorious as GOD shields you !!!! amen

  11. You will find he is very smart. There may come a time when he must speak and I am sure he won”t cower in it. When you are dealing with the mist complicated issues facing the whle world, one must count the full cost before making any move unnecessarily. Obama will be exposed by others, and amybe some of the relations with US and Iarel will be salvaged because BIBI didnt blow his stack.

  12. You will find he is very smart. There may come a time when he must speak and I am sure he won”t cower in it. When you are dealing with the mist complicated issues facing the whle world, one must count the full cost before making any move unnecessarily. Obama will be exposed by others, and amybe some of the relations with US and Iarel will be salvaged because BIBI didnt blow his stack.

  13. That is why we respect him so much. Look how Obama took offence and there was even a threat by Obama admin that there would be consequences to Bibi talking in USA. He is a humble man who will take the personal knocks for the love of his country and people.

  14. That is why we respect him so much. Look how Obama took offence and there was even a threat by Obama admin that there would be consequences to Bibi talking in USA. He is a humble man who will take the personal knocks for the love of his country and people.

  15. There is a quote out there that says, “Even a very smart man knows when to play dumb”. Also Bibi understand that his position goes above his personal feelings & emotions, he understands the mission that needs to be acomplished. God Bless you Benjamin N & God Bless Israel , <3 Shalom!

  16. Bibi, is a very good man, and his pride is not hurt– he has not had to swallow any insults- he just knows the other parity and lets all be, he moves on to do what he has to do to protect and grow his nation. and he spoke the truth to American’ —

  17. Comparing Bibi’s intellectual capabilities love for his country or any other trates with Obamas is insane. The difference between the two are immeasurable. In Bibi’s case, yes he is smart, he Loves his country and will stand up for his people…. In Obonehead’s case, he is obviously not very intelligent or doesn’t know how to use his intellectual capabilities, he has 0 leadership skills, he is a liar, and as far as love for his country, it’s greatly questionable to say the least. His latest “deal” with Iran, his past attempts to make deals with Hamas, the PA…… I would say that he Loves Muslims more than Americans.

  18. Mr. Netanyahu is smart as h-e-double hocky sticks-he is a diplomat and kick-a** poker player-always keeping his best cards very, very close to the chest. He does respect the power (and help) the US has offered, but has to tell the TRUTH when it comes to Iran's true intentions, esp.w/ regard to his country, always mindful that the enemy (as he sd. "the enemy of my enemy IS my enemy") for both Israel and the US, which is none other than Iran. We cannot trust Iran any further than we could throw the whole country into the sea (now, that's an idea?!).

  19. First let me say what a joy it is to read adult straight forward reporting. As for Obama, frankly he is just incompetent and too weak to handle Iran. Obama lives in a fairy tale world of old Persia before the rise of Islam. Appears to know nothing about contemporary history or the facts referring to Mohammed the self proclaimed prophet of Allah. Obama is no match for Mr. BBN and I don't see too many other modern men/women in power currently around the world as smart as Mr.BBN.

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