In an editorial Haaretz has launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent insistence that the Obama Administration should lay down "Red Lines" on Iran beyond which Iran would be subject to military attacks either by Israel supported by the United States or by both countries acting together.
Netanyahu versus Obama
A month and a half before the presidential election in the United States, Netanyahu has been picking a very public fight with the administration of President Barack Obama.
And as it happens, Netanyahu and the Republican Party's candidate for the presidency have mutual friends who are willing to dig deep into their pockets to get them elected or to keep them in power.
It's very simple and it's no great secret: Netanyahu wants to see Obama defeated on November 6. He wants Romney elected. It's possible that Netanyahu genuinely believes that Romney is good for Israel, that the new administration will be quick to attack Iran or will at least encourage Israel to do so.
But even if Netanyahu can foresee the future and even if Romney would comply with orders coming from Jerusalem, the outcome Netanyahu wants would be catastrophic. Israel would be accused of meddling in domestic American politics, perhaps even of trying to overthrow the president. And just so that the prime minister can beat the drums of war. Acquiring that kind of reputation, which would never be erased, would exact a much more painful price from Israel than would even the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.The editorial concludes with this slam at Netanyahu recent behavior.
Obama's refusal to meet with Netanyahu, coupled with Defense Minister Ehud Barak's intimation that he is not party to the onslaught against Obama, must cool Netanyahu's passion and remind him that he swore an oath to the State of Israel, not to an American patron who wants Obama to be vanquished.
Mitt and Bibi: Diplomacy as Demolition Derby.My guess is Romney will double down on his attacks on US Iran policy because he's so committed to pandering to his party's far right wing.
By Bill Keller
Netanyahu is perfectly free to send his bombers to Iran. The only problem is that Israel probably cannot do a thorough job without U.S. participation.
Whether you agree or not with the idea of using force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons (followers of this space know I do not) there is no reason to strike now. There are inspectors and monitoring devices at Iran’s enrichment facilities to alert us if Iran decides to suddenly start enriching weapons-grade fuel. The only urgency is Netanyahu’s calculation that he can use the American presidential election to pressure Obama. That leverage disappears after November 6.
Netanyahu has done his country no favor. Americans are strongly opposed to a preventive war against Iran, and are likely to resent a brazen attempt to push them into fighting one at Israel’s behest. A new survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, released Monday, finds that 70 percent of Americans oppose a unilateral military strike. Moreover, if Israel bombs Iran and ignites a war, 59 percent say the U.S. should not come to Israel’s aid.
Netanyahu’s crude intervention in our politics may – and should – embarrass his preferred candidate, Mitt Romney. Romney’s options now are to join his friend Netanyahu in attacking U.S. foreign policy (so much for politics stopping at the water’s edge), to distance himself from the foreign leader he has most enthusiastically embraced, or to shut up.
And, if Obama is reelected, the president is unlikely to forget this exercise in manipulation by an Israeli leader he already has ample reason to mistrust.
So will Bibi continue down this path of confrontation with the US President so that the Romney campaign can open up a new line of attack on Obama's Foreign Policy? Or does he hope the President will give him what he so wants just to stop Bibi from badgering him in the weeks before the election? Netanyahu's advisers should be telling him that Romney's chances are starting to fade, even if his big donors are telling him Obama is on the brink of losing.
The coming days should tell us if Bibi intends to continue his "fight" with President Obama.
I for one would urge Netanyahu to butt out!