Fading Veneer: Dispatching An Israeli Irritant
The Obama Administration Is Working To Discredit and Ultimately Unseat Bibi Netanyahu
By Steve Schippert | April 15, 2010
Israel is on its own. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has known this since January 2009. The Obama administration has known this since November 2008. And now the American public is coming to know it, for President Obama's thin veneer of plausible deniability has been wearing thin. The New York Times today reduces that veneer of words to a transparent plastic wrap over the Obama administration's deeds and actions against Israel.
We are to now believe that, because of threats to American forces in the region, America must "balance support for Israel against other American interests." From the New York Times article Obama Phrase Highlights Shift on Middle East, the first few paragraphs must be read very carefully. Not because the words are confusing or nuanced, but because they are so vitally important to grasp.
It was just a phrase at the end of President Obama's news conference on Tuesday, but it was a stark reminder of a far-reaching shift in how the United States views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how aggressively it might push for a peace agreement. When Mr. Obama declared that resolving the long-running Middle East dispute was a "vital national security interest of the United States," he was highlighting a change that has resulted from a lengthy debate among his top officials over how best to balance support for Israel against other American interests.
How aggressively might the Obama administration "push for a peace agreement"? Vice President Biden snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu by showing up 90 minutes late for a state dinner in Israel, upset that Israel decided to build and renovate homes in Jerusalem. This is how this White House conducts business. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton berated Netanyahu in a reportedly expletive-filled phone call. In a later White House visit by Netanyahu, President Obama also laid into the Israeli prime minister and then abruptly left him. After sitting for 30 minutes, Netanyahu took his team of advisors and left the White House.
A "peace process" is a very personal engagement among men and women. Peace is not brokered impersonally on typewriters and keyboards, much as labor-management disputes are much less resolved on balance sheets than they are on sidebars and coffee breaks among level heads. Understanding this, you now have a glimpse into the Obama administration's approach to the "peace process." Just as with all the administration has done domestically, the talk is of transparency and negotiation, but the action is of ramming a desired policy down the throats of subjects, whether they know what's good for them or not.
And the visions of brokering (i.e. ramming) an ethereal Arab-Israeli peace is 'historic.' Thus, it must be a wholly owned subsidiary of the Obama Presidency. Israel, generally, is in the way. Netanyahu, specifically, is in the way. And the distinction here is important. But we'll get to that later.
First, digest fully the next two paragraphs from the Times' article for proper context.
This shift, described by administration officials who did not want to be quoted by name when discussing internal discussions, is driving the White House's urgency to help broker a Middle East peace deal. It increases the likelihood that Mr. Obama, frustrated by the inability of the Israelis and the Palestinians to come to terms, will propose his own parameters for an eventual Palestinian state. Mr. Obama said conflicts like the one in the Middle East ended up "costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure" -- drawing an explicit link between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism and terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Now ask yourself, who has threatened American forces in the region? The answer is short and simple. First, al-Qaeda has threatened our forces in the region for many reasons. Among them is the opportunist piggy-backing of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a popular cause that al-Qaeda has adopted only in recent years because it plays well among Arab potential financiers and angry young Arab men al-Qaeda seeks to recruit. But it is hardly a founding cause.
Second and most importantly, Iran has threatened to launch massive missile attacks on US bases in Iraq and elsewhere in the region if the United States or Israel attacks its nuclear installations. This, loyal readers, is the threat of which President Obama principally speaks. And Iran will be nuclear-capable in short order.
So, rather than stand fast with long standing American principles, and stand fast with our closest and most free and democratic ally in the region, the Obama administration seeks to assuage the Iranians rather than support an ally. And this is an easy call for Barack Obama, because he does not personally see Israel as an ally. Rather, Israel is a problem. (Quick: Name five individuals in President Obama's circle of advisors past or present who are steadfastly pro-Israel. It's harder than you think, especially if you ask an Israeli.)
As part of the "brokering," President Obama will "propose his own parameters for an eventual Palestinian state." This will be a hard sell, especially when one considers his and his advisors' past statements of desiring a "contiguous" Palestinian state. That's next, and it means Israel giving up land to the Palestinians in order to link the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
In order to sell Americans the notion that the Obama Administration has the answers that no one else in the world has had in the history of Israel's cornered existence, it must be posed as a "vital national security interest" in order to gain the consent of the governed to proceed. Likewise, the same is also required in order to sell the intended subtle notion (that isn't so subtle) that Bibi Netanyahu is a roadblock on the road map to peace. But, as we've seen domestically, consent of the governed is simply desired but by no means required.
How can the administration best sell the bullying of Israel and the personal demonization and discrediting of Bibi Netanyahu as a "vital national security interest"? Why, link it to the safety of our deployed forces. The Left detests them, yet they do make for fantastic political props. Because, after all, who can be against the safety of the troops?
And so, in the name of the American troops in the region, it will be necessary for peace to finally be ushered into the Middle East by an infinitely wiser and fairer American administration.
But while American popular support is desired but not required for President Obama to fully apply his wrecking ball foreign policy upon Israel, it is absolutely prerequisite to first position Netanyahu as an aggressor and, ultimately, force his removal as prime minister. In short, Bibi Netanyahu must be dispatched. This meddling in Israeli domestic politics is the next scenario to be played out. This will probably go largely unnoticed and/or not understood by most Americans, but it is coming. A less assertive Israeli, ideally a far-left Israeli, is needed in the Prime Minister's seat at the "brokering" table.
While both Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank maintain the language in their charters that calls for the destruction of Israel, President Obama is crescendoing into their most powerful spokesman. And the one man they fear, a strong and popular Bibi Netanyahu, President Obama will endeavor to remove from office. All the while, the thin verbal veneer of deniability shrinks away and his actions increasingly provide the transparency he once promised Americans for so many other things.