Obama, Israel, Iran and The Spat

Context is almost everything. Events, news, actions only happen in a context and that context usually explains a lot about what will happen next. So we need to understand the context in order both to know how to interpret the significance of the given event, news or action and to understand where it may be leading. Context is usually something that one does not understand right away; it comes later, sometimes much later, sometimes much too late as well.

To further explain this point, think of the case of Muhammed Al-Dura, the little Palestinian boy that was killed during a gun battle between Israel’s IDF and Palestinian Security Forces back in 2000 when the PA governed Gaza. France 2 Television for days on end kept running video it had taken from the gun battle and claimed that the boy was shot and killed, implying deliberately, by Israeli soldiers. Israel promised an investigation, but did not immediately call this a ruse by the Palestinians. Only years later did we find out, through a protracted defamation trial in France, that the video was cut to make it appear that the IDF was nefariously the killer. The then as yet unseen remainder of the video showed that Al-Dura was not killed by the IDF. By that time, and only shortly before the trial, the IDF concluded that, based on ballistics and other data, its soldiers could not have possibly killed the child. Yet the damage to Israel’s image had already been severe and this probably single-handedly turned the world against it. This was one case, an important case, and more importantly, without the context of protracted Palestinian fabrications and also the fabrications of European media. Given more context, and magically this becomes a different story.

And context is what makes David Suissa’s article interesting; context about the brouhaha between Israel and the USA over Jerusalem. His article is below:


For one point the question arises as to how genuine this spat is? Is it possible that the Obama Administration is giving Israel a green light to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities? Bear with me because this is admittedly a bit torturous in logic. But how rational is it that VP Biden goes to Israel and suddenly, publicly and antagonistically berates Israel after a lifetime of unwavering support, then accepts Netanyahu’s apology, and then soon after Netanyahu has to deal with a dressing down by Secretary of State Clinton as well, herself after a lifetime of public support for Israel? Then Netanyahu suffers a diplomatic dressing down directly with Obama himself. And how does this happen when Rahm Emanuel, whose father was a member of the pre-1948 terrorist Israeli Irgun, and who himself served in the IDF, is Obama’s Chief of Staff? Well, rational if your intent is other than the spat itself. In my mind, the spat signals for sure that the Obama Administration is distancing itself from the Netanyahu Administration. But for what reason?

Could it be to pressure Netanyahu on negotiations with the Palestinians? Could it be to bring down the Netanyahu government in order to get a more centrist and compliant partner for negotiations with the Palestinians? Could it be to pressure Israel (actually threaten Israel) to deter them from striking at Iran unilaterally because the Obama Administration believes now that we all need to live with a nuclear Iran like a nuclear China?

This last one may be plausible because it all ties in with Obama’s general foreign policy, if there exists such a cohesive foreign policy. Which, as I can understand it, is that we are not at war with Islam, Islamists or even radical Islam, but Al Qaeda and possibly its tentacles and mirror images such as the Taliban. Our intent is to win over the Islamic World to an accommodation with the balance of the world and isolate the enemy. Continuing this line of reasoning, we have much more naturally in common with the Islamic World than not, and we can win them over to an accommodation to our Western values. The USA does not need, nor does it want, any sort of confrontational posture with Islamic States, nor with the UN. However, there exists a problem here because between the present posture, which largely continues the Bush doctrine, and the new posture Obama wants, there is indeed a classic Samuel Huntington delineated clash of civilizations. So he must turn down the heat on Islam, but simultaneously keep up the heat on Islamic radicalism, at the same time. No one ever argued that foreign policy was easy.

In this context, the spat with Israel makes sense because Israel, and specifically Netanyahu, is old school and Obama is new school. I am not saying Obama is correct, I am merely reflecting what I think may be his viewpoint. Israel stands in the way of his strategy because he sees Israel, justified or unjustified, as an irritation to the Islamic world. And the tail cannot wag the dog.

If this be the case, then Obama may indeed be willing to throw Israel under the bus to get his new accommodating posture in place. The Editor David Landau of Ha’aretz, Israel’s wannabe New York Times, once publicly invited the world to “rape” Israel in order to change her supposedly bad behavior. Obama and the left-wing political class may want to replace Netanyahu with Tzipi Livni.

From Camera’s Web Site, December 26, 2007, Ha’aretz Editor Urges U.S. to “Rape” Israel, by Andrea Levin: “At a private meeting of some 20 journalists with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in September, 2007, Ha’aretz Editor David Landau urged the U.S. to “rape” Israel — to force a settlement on the country.”

Having said this, there is another explanation.

Obama, having tried and failed to move the Iranians on the nuclear non-proliferation question, and knowing that the power of economic sanctions on Iran are at this time too little too late, is distancing himself from Netanyahu in order to allow Israel to attack Iran and minimize the blowback to his administration when that happens. This is what I mean by the possibility of a green light from Obama to Israel on Iran. Obama has decided to sub out to Israel the contract on force toward Iran. Given his foreign policy objectives, this is preferable. Iran can read the tea leaves too and can see their own heightened vulnerability to Israeli attack. Iran is really very isolated around the world and an attack by Israel would get the customary robust condemnations, and they could pinch Israel in many ways, but they do not have the capability to defeat Israel. The fact is, the world would mostly secretly welcome the blow to Iranian nuclear capacity and even the ensuing overthrow of the Iranian regime it may cause.

This is all distinctly noticeable in the heightened warnings emanating from Iran on the blowback they will inflict if any attack is made on them.

Israel can read tea leaves too.

About Stan Kreis

Stan Kreis has degrees in sociology, economics and accounting. Therefore he is wise, literate, financially sound and married to Kathryn Bernheimer (she would never marry anyone without such credentials). Grave marker: "the world was his oyster, unfortunately, he ate it and got stomach cramps."

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