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Monday, January 26, 2015

Richard Cohen, "Netanyahu’s contempt for President Obama": Suppose the Year Was 1938 and Ben Gurion Was Invited to Address Parliament

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Netanyahu’s contempt for President Obama," Richard Cohen vehemently condemns Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for accepting US Speaker of the House Boehner's invitation to address Congress in March concerning the Iranian nuclear threat. Cohen writes:

"I stand with the president on this sanctions matter. Additional sanctions may drive the Iranians from the table. The Europeans may go with them. Let’s give the talks some more time."

But Cohen is mistaken: Additional sanctions will go into effect only if a deal is not reached. If the threat of additional sanctions in the event of failure to reach an agreement will drive the Iranians and Europeans from the negotiating table, neither the Iranians nor the Europeans are serious about a deal. (In fact, they're not.)

Cohen continues:

"I stand with Netanyahu in worrying about a president who has been awfully twitchy in his foreign policy. His faux threat to take Syria to task if it used chemical weapons in its civil war — the famous 'red line' — turned out to be a red-faced embarrassment. It has cost Obama much more than it cost Bashar al-Assad."

"Awfully twitchy"? Everyone, including Tehran, knows that there has never been any substance to Obama's threats, including his declaration regarding the Iranian nuclear program that "I will take no options off the table." Obama is hell-bent to sign an agreement with Iran, no matter what the consequences to Israel. As acknowledged by deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, such a deal in Obama's second term is the equivalent of health care for the president.

Cohen's conclusion:

"Netanyahu will come and speak to Congress and make his case — the one he has made time and time again — for additional sanctions on Iran. But if, in the end, action needs to be taken against Iran, Israel will need the support of all Americans. He has, with his impetuousness and contempt, made that harder to get."

But what if the year was 1938, and David Ben Gurion was invited to address Britain's parliament and state his opposition to the signing of the Munich Agreement by Neville Chamberlain with Nazi Germany. Sure, this might have offended Chamberlain and many members of his Conservative Party, but what does this matter in the face of an existential threat?

Sorry, Richard, I don't buy it.

1 comment:

  1. Jeff, I am too angry to comment - only unprintable comes to mind. I really despise these overfed, overprivileged primitives sitting in their mansions and corner offices barking at vulnerable people under rockets. If it isn't Roger, it's Richard ...