Uproar ensued after Netanyahu was invited by the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. Democrats have been furiously accusing the prime minister of crude Israeli electioneering. In Israel itself, he has come under widespread attack for putting the delicate relationship between Israel and the Obama administration at risk.
What planet are these people living on? The issue, and it could hardly be more urgent or grave, is not Netanyahu’s behavior. The issue is how to stop Iran.
It is astounding to claim that Netanyahu is putting the relationship with Obama at risk. The wholly artificial storm whipped up by the White House merely illustrates once again Obama’s sustained malice toward Israel, the invaluable bulwark of Western defenses in the Middle East, while he empowers Iran and other enemies of America and the free world.
That is what everyone should be talking about.
An article in Atlantic magazine by Jeffrey Goldberg claims Netanyahu decided to “ruin relations with Obama” through the Congress invitation which Goldberg says was cooked up with Speaker Boehner by Israel’s US ambassador, Ron Dermer.
Is it really likely that either Dermer or Netanyahu would be such reckless tactical imbeciles? Or is it more likely that they have made a strategic calculation born of desperation that Obama intends to allow Iran to get the bomb and time is running out to stop him? In his State of the Union address, Obama claimed to have “halted the progress” of Iran’s nuclear program. This is the opposite of the truth. Washington may have slowed but it has certainly not halted it.
It was evident from their interim agreement with Iran that the US-led negotiators had crossed their own previous redline. Having pledged they would never allow Iran to enrich uranium, they signed a deal that allows it to do precisely that and to become a nuclear-threshold state with the capacity to make the bomb.
In addition, thanks to Obama Iran is the one country in the Middle East that is becoming increasingly powerful as a result of the unrest in the region.
The coup in Yemen has brought an Iranian- backed Shi’ite group to power there. In Iraq, where Iran is fighting Islamic State, Shi’ite militias responsible in the past for killing US forces are giving orders to the Iraqi army under the oversight of Maj.-Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds force. Iraq is on the way to becoming an Iranian satrapy.
Last week’s Hezbollah missile attack from the Golan, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed and others wounded, followed an Israeli strike on a Hezbollah convoy which killed 12 members of the organization and an Iranian general. The seniority of those who were killed suggested Iran’s proxy army was planning to open a new front against Israel on the Syrian border.
Such an expansion of Iranian power and aggression should be sounding a loud alarm in Washington. Yet it is all but dismissed. For the Obama administration, nothing can be allowed to interfere with the US rapprochement with Iran.
The fact that Iran is fighting Islamic State seems to be driving all before it. The State Department even suggested the US would side with the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen because, over Islamic State, Iran and the West were on the same side.
This is utter madness. In the Middle East, my enemy’s enemy may nevertheless still be my mortal enemy. Iran has killed countless American personnel in Iraq and elsewhere, and has been responsible for attacks against US and Western interests over the years.
The regime constitutes the most deadly threat against the West in the world. In Iraq, it is fighting Islamic State with a view to defeating the US. Yet Obama is treating it as an ally.
No wonder Sen. Robert Menendez, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who with Republican Sen.
Mark Kirk leads the campaign to strengthen sanctions against Iran, told a Senate hearing: “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.”
In Mosaic magazine Michael Doran, a former senior director of the US National Security Council, rightly observes that from the very start Obama had a secret strategy for cozying up to Iran. The US president believes Iran can be stroked into coming in from the cold, thus rebalancing the Middle East around a new “Grand Bargain” which keeps the peace.
Instead, this has merely destabilized the region even further. So can Obama really be so blind? Yes he can. Because in liberal circles, Pollyanna habitually meets Narcissus. Liberals believe that the entire world is governed by reason – because they think the entire world is just like them.
Of course it is not. The Iranian regime is dominated by Twelvers, who believe the apocalypse will promote the return to earth of the Shia messiah, the Twelfth Imam. Liberals cannot face the truth about Iran, because this would force them to concede that with such fanatics there can be no negotiation. But that would mean a military engagement. And for the West, that prospect is now more unconscionable than Iran getting the bomb.
So nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of the Grand Bargain. But unfortunately, Israel is in the way – because tiresomely, Israel refuses to become the victim of a second genocide of the Jews as Iran never ceases to threaten.
Obama’s liberal Pollyanna/Narcissism is thus given a malevolent edge by his belief that the one impediment to the new world order he wants to create, formed in his resentful mind by evening up the score between the oppressive US and the oppressed developing world, is the State of Israel.
So for Obama, the enemy is Israel, not Iran.
As he once sourly noted: “Members of Congress are very attentive to what Israel says on its security issues.” Accordingly, Obama’s update on the “my enemy’s enemy” aphorism seems to be “Israel’s enemy is my friend.”
What we’re seeing is not just a knock-down fight with Israel. We are watching the destruction of America’s role as guarantor and protector of the free world, and the translation of the US instead into the facilitator of Islamic terror and war.
Only Congress can stop this. Which is the real reason Mr. Netanyahu is going to Washington.
Melanie Phillips is a columnist for The Times (UK).