Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unambiguous rejection of Barack Obama’s latest fantasy about the Middle East has potentially created a significant new political dynamic in the United States. By graciously but comprehensively rebutting Obama’s entire view of Arab-Israeli reality, first in the Oval Office, then before a joint meeting of Congress, Netanyahu has also exposed broader flaws in Obama’s worldview.
No Israeli leader could simply cave in immediately to Obama’s ill-disguised pressure in his uncongenial, unsympathetic State Department speech just prior to Netanyahu’s arrival in America. While Obama may have understood this limitation, he nonetheless intended to create political “facts on the ground” for Israel, pushing it into a corner difficult if not impossible to escape. While Obama did not, as some in his administration urged, lay out precise terms and conditions of, effectively, an American ultimatum, he came perilously close.
Little he said was actually new for him, including referring to Israel’s “1967 borders” (subsequently “clarified”). Nor was his tone more hostile than his past comments or those of other Administration officials. Several observers noted correctly that Obama’s speech “could have been worse,” which is unquestionably true.
Many speculated former Senator George Mitchell, Obama’s Middle East envoy, resigned precisely because his preferred approach to muscling Israel was rejected.
The critical difference this time was Netanyahu’s reaction. He ignored the advice of Obama’s fellow liberals in the Jewish community never to cross a sitting president, especially not this one.
Read More at Fox News by Ambassador John Bolton
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