UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Tuesday, March 4 2014:
*PM Netanyahu has just finished his pep talk/speech at the annual AIPAC meeting in Washington, D.C. To hear Netanyahu tell it, the lovefest and respect between Obama, Kerry, and himself is unparalleled.
The speech went on to urge Abbas to accept Israel as a Jewish state and to again discuss the dangers of Iran.
A considerable portion of the speech–indeed too much for your humble servant’s and Israeli commentators’ tastes–was spent on BDS. By devoting so much time to this unsavory group, Netanyahu undoubtedly gave BDSers cause to exult.
In yesterday’s blog, your humble servant discussed the first part of President Obama’s interview last Thursday with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg (click here for the entire interview).
In that first section, we saw a deluded Obama lavishing praise on Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians while repeating harsh words of criticism of Israel.
In section 2 of that interview, the further delusions of Obama are revealed.
*In response to a question from Goldberg concerning the permanent borders of Israel:
Obama: ” . . . And [Netanyahu] has an opportunity also to take advantage of a potential realignment of interests in the region, as many of the Arab countries see a common threat in Iran. The only reason that that potential realignment is not, and potential cooperation is not, more explicit is because of the Palestinian issue.”
Here we are back at the grand Obama delusion that the center of the universe is the so-called “Palestinian problem.” If only that could be solved, if only the Palestinians can be given everything they demand, if only the Arab countries can see more than 5,000,000 so-called Palestinian “refugees” flooding back into Israel, then there can be realignment and cooperation.
*In response to a question about what he thinks about Netanyahu:
Obama: “What I’ve said to him privately is the same thing that I say publicly, which is the situation will not improve or resolve itself. This is not a situation where you wait and the problem goes away. There are going to be more Palestinians, not fewer Palestinians, as time goes on. There are going to be more Arab-Israelis, not fewer Arab-Israelis, as time goes on . . . I have not yet heard, however, a persuasive vision of how Israel survives as a democracy and a Jewish state at peace with its neighbors in the absence of a peace deal with the Palestinians and a two-state solution. Nobody has presented me a credible scenario.”
It’s the old demographic delusion again, but with one major caveat: note that Obama suggests somehow that Arab-Israelis are now part of the discussion of Israel as a democracy. More specifically, this is Obama outrageously adopting the Palestinian argument of Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO that Israeli Arabs are Palestinians.
Note how this theme continues in Obama’s next response.
*In response to Goldberg’s observation that in effect Israel is engaging in maintenance of a chronic situation:
Obama: “Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank? Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab-Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?“
A permanent occupation of the “West Bank”? In case Mr. Obama doesn’t realize it, at least 75% of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria live in Area A under Palestinian administrative and security control. Another 15% live in Area B under Palestinian administrative control. This situation hasn’t changed for two decades.
And what in the world in Obama talking about when he says “place restrictions on Arab-Israelis”? Again, a deluded Obama has conflated Palestinians with Israeli Arabs.
*What followed were a few more questions about Israel, but then Goldberg turned to Iran and Syria and asked Obama about how he thought the Iranians perceived Obama’s lack of action in Syria:
Obama: “Let’s be very clear about what happened. I threatened kinetic strikes on Syria unless they got rid of their chemical weapons. When I made that threat, Syria denied even having chemical weapons. In the span of 10 days to two weeks, you had their patrons, the Iranians and the Russians, force or persuade Assad to come clean on his chemical weapons, inventory them for the international community, and commit to a timeline to get rid of them. And the process has moved more slowly than we would like, but it has actually moved, and we’ve now seen 15 to 20 percent of those chemical weapons on their way out of Syria with a very concrete schedule to get rid of the rest. . That would not have happened had the Iranians said, “Obama’s bluffing, he’s not actually really willing to take a strike.”
Let’s be very clear indeed about what happened. After apparently beginning to remove its chemical weapons, Syria is now stalling. The Syrian weapons that have not been buried far underground beyond the sight of international observers are being shipped into Lebanon and Iran. Everybody in the world, from the Iranians to the Russians to the French to the tiniest nation in the south Pacific, knows that Obama was bluffing.
But Obama doesn’t get it.
*In response to a Goldberg follow-up question: So just to be clear: You don’t believe the Iranian leadership now thinks that your “all options are on the table” threat as it relates to their nuclear program — you don’t think that they have stopped taking that seriously?
Obama: “I know they take it seriously.”
*In response to Goldberg’s further follow-up: “How do you know they take it seriously?”
Obama: “We have a high degree of confidence that when they look at 35,000 U.S. military personnel in the region that are engaged in constant training exercises under the direction of a president who already has shown himself willing to take military action in the past, that they should take my statements seriously. And the American people should as well, and the Israelis should as well, and the Saudis should as well.”
The depth of Obama’s delusion is simply breathtaking. No one takes Obama’s statements seriously–-not the American people, not the Israelis, and not the Saudis–and certainly not, by the way, the Russians.
*Finally, Goldberg asked a few questions about the Iranian nuclear program–and one of the final questions was “And you feel there’s a real opportunity to achieve a genuine breakthrough?”
Obama: “Here’s my view. Set aside Iranian motives. Let’s assume that Iran is not going to change. It’s a theocracy. It’s anti-Semitic. It is anti-Sunni. And the new leaders are just for show. Let’s assume all that. If we can ensure that they don’t have nuclear weapons, then we have at least prevented them from bullying their neighbors, or heaven forbid, using those weapons, and the other misbehavior they’re engaging in is manageable.
If, on the other hand, they are capable of changing; if, in fact, as a consequence of a deal on their nuclear program those voices and trends inside of Iran are strengthened, and their economy becomes more integrated into the international community, and there’s more travel and greater openness, even if that takes a decade or 15 years or 20 years, then that’s very much an outcome we should desire.
So again, there’s a parallel to the Middle East discussion we were having earlier. The only reason you would not want us to test whether or not we can resolve this nuclear program issue diplomatically would be if you thought that by a quick military exercise you could remove the threat entirely. And since I’m the commander in chief of the most powerful military on earth, I think I have pretty good judgment as to whether or not this problem can be best solved militarily.”
If. If. If. If.
We can manage their “misbehavior”? “I think I have pretty good judgment”?
We end this discussion today with the dangerously deluded Obama asking the question of what we have to lose by testing whether or not the Iranians will actually dismantle their nuclear program.
What do we have to lose indeed? Nothing more than Israel.