Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’
May 26th, 2011 at 6:11 pm
Netanyahu’s “Obama Bounce”

A new Haaratz poll finds that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is enjoying a sizeable uptick in Israeli public opinion after he stood his ground against President Barack Obama’s proposal for Israel to give up land.

Netanyahu’s approval rating in Israel is 51 percent favorable, 36 percent unfavorable.  Five weeks ago it was almost reversed: 38 percent favorable, 53 percent unfavorable.

The newfound popularity puts Netanyahu in a much more powerful position to defend Israel’s interests at home and abroad.  The next time his numbers go south, maybe Netanyahu can ask Obama to create another opportunity to flex his muscles.

H/T: Political Wire

May 20th, 2011 at 3:25 pm
The Netanyahu Rejection
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Yesterday, we noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was headed to his Washington meeting with President Obama ready for confrontation after the the president unilaterally changed the proposed terms for Middle East peace.

Unlike Obama (he of the “limited engagement” in Libya), a promise from Netanyahu means something. And he made that apparent within the White House walls earlier today. Reuters reports: 


Netanyahu’s remarks after the White House talks underscored how a new U.S. push for Middle East peace had opened one of the deepest divides in years in relations between the United States and close ally Israel.

“Peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle East reality,” an unsmiling Netanyahu told Obama in the Oval Office.

Netanyahu told Obama that Israel was willing to make compromises for peace but flatly rejected the idea of going back to 1967 borders, which he described as “indefensible.”

The hubris by which Obama thought he could dictate terms for Middle East peace is breathtaking. The fact that these terms were disproportionately unfavorable to one of our closest allies even more so. But the insult added to this injury was that the Israelis apparently received no advanced notification of the policy shift and that it was announced on the eve of their prime minister’s visit to Washington. The best possible reading of the Obama Administration’s behavior is halting incompetence. The worst (and more likely) is that it was a calculated insult. Given that fact, Netanyahu was totally within his rights to return the favor.

May 19th, 2011 at 9:27 pm
How Not to Welcome a Guest
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President Obama welcomes (if that’s the word) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on Friday. Oh, to be a fly on that wall.

The president chose to spend the day before his meeting with the head of the Jewish state’s government calling on Israel to return to its 1967 borders, meaning that it would give up all claims to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Golan Heights — all of which are essential to Israeli security as long as the nation is surrounded by enemies.

Don’t expect Netanyahu to roll over. As the New York Times reports:

Mr. Netanyahu said in a pointed statement just before boarding a plane to Washington that while he appreciated Mr. Obama’s commitment to peace, he “expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of American commitments made to Israel in 2004 which were overwhelmingly supported by both Houses of Congress.”

Those commitments came in a letter from President George W. Bush which stated, among other things that “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949,” another way of describing the 1967 boundaries.

The next time Obama chooses to be so imperious with his prescriptions for Middle East peace, he’d do well to remember one of the salient differences between himself and the Israeli Prime Minister: only the latter’s consent is essential for a deal.

September 7th, 2010 at 6:37 pm
Palestinian Leader, 77% of Americans Agree: Recognition of Jewish State a Deal-Breaker

On the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s offer of an “historic compromise” Mahmoud Abbas rejected the notion of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s talk about an “historic compromise” and said there would be no compromises on core issues such as Jerusalem and borders.

Abbas also reiterated his rejection of Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. “We’re not talking about a Jewish state and we won’t talk about one,” Abbas said in an interview with the semi-official Al-Quds newspaper. “For us, there is the state of Israel and we won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

Regular news watchers in any of the last four decades will recognize this pattern.  Israel offers to negotiate a peace deal; Palestine refuses to negotiate any of the “core issues.”  You know; like borders, how to share – or not – Jersusalem, and perhaps the most important: whether one of the state parties to a “two-state” solution will be recognized as a state by the other.

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) refusal to recognize Israel seems grossly hypocritical when the biggest concession Palestinians demand is Israel’s recognition of Palestine as a state.

As for what the United States government should do about the impasse, probably nothing.  Rasmussen Reports found that 77% of Americans think any peace treaty between Israel and Palestine must include recognition of Israel’s right to exist.  So far, Abbas and the PA won’t even acknowledge that Israel as a state does exist, so it may be a while before they get around to saying it has a right to exist.

Let’s hope the Obama White House doesn’t dither on this issue while the country’s economic house continues to burn down.

August 12th, 2010 at 7:17 pm
Bibi Redux
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Back in March, after his speech to AIPAC, I offered the notion that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the last statesman left in the Western world.

Unfortunately, nearly six months later, nothing much has changed. Iran continues to develop its nuclear capacity, the United States continues to toothlessly chide the mullahs, and Israel continues to gird itself for a task that is only palatable in light of the alternative: to attack the regime in Tehran rather than to risk annihilation at its hands. Throughout all the world, only one man is treating this threat with the gravity it deserves. That man is the Prime Minister of Israel.

Netanyahu is tough, smart, and morally courageous: three things that you don’t see much of in politics these days. He deserves your respect and should gain even more of it in light of George Will’s profile of him in today’s Washington Post. From the coda of a piece that begs to be read in its entirety:

Arguably the most left-wing administration in American history is trying to knead and soften the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history. The former shows no understanding of the latter, which thinks it understands the former all too well.

The prime minister honors Churchill, who spoke of “the confirmed unteachability of mankind.” Nevertheless, a display case in Netanyahu’s office could teach the Obama administration something about this leader. It contains a small signet stone that was part of a ring found near the Western Wall. It is about 2,800 years old — 200 years younger than Jerusalem’s role as the Jewish people’s capital. The ring was the seal of a Jewish official, whose name is inscribed on it: Netanyahu.

No one is less a transnational progressive, less a post-nationalist, than Binyamin Netanyahu, whose first name is that of a son of Jacob, who lived perhaps 4,000 years ago. Netanyahu, whom no one ever called cuddly, once said to a U.S. diplomat 10 words that should warn U.S. policymakers who hope to make Netanyahu malleable: “You live in Chevy Chase. Don’t play with our future.”

March 23rd, 2010 at 2:23 pm
The Last Statesman?
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At a moment when the free world is shrinking from its heritage of limited government at home and quiet strength abroad, thank God for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In an address to AIPAC in Washington, Netanyahu gave one of the most honest reflections on the promise and peril of the Middle East ever to come from a sitting Prime Minister. The best passage:

Our soldiers and your soldiers fight against fanatic enemies that loathe our common values. In the eyes of these fanatics, we are you and you are us.

To them, the only difference is that you are big and we are small. You are the Great Satan and we are the Little Satan.

This fanaticism’s hatred of Western civilization predates Israel’s establishment by over one thousand years. Militant Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because of the West – because it sees Israel as an outpost of freedom and democracy that prevents them from overrunning the Middle East. That is why when Israel stands against its enemies, it stands against America’s enemies.

This speech is one of the most important of 2010. Read it here.