Marking a new low for President Obama’s incompetent foreign policy team, senior Obama officials have threatened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for accepting an invitation by House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress on March 3.
Obama officials are accusing Netanyahu of meddling in U.S. politics and are angry Boehner did not follow protocol by consulting with President Obama before making this invitation.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted a senior American official as saying, “We thought we’ve seen everything. But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”
An Obama official told The Washington Post, “The bilateral relationship is unshakable, but playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender. The secretary’s patience is not infinite.”
The real reason Obama officials are condemning Netanyahu and Boehner over the invitation to the prime minister to address Congress is because Netanyahu will devote his remarks to condemning the nuclear talks with Iran which he correctly believes are fatally flawed and certain to produce a final deal that will be weak and destabilizing for the Middle East.
Netanyahu’s address will come at a bad time for the president since his nuclear diplomacy with Iran is in trouble due to growing bipartisan support for sanctions against Tehran which could cause it to withdraw from the nuclear talks.
Many Members of Congress share Netanyahu’s view of the Iran talks and believe President Obama is on track to strike a bad deal with Iran without consulting Congress. The White House has said the president will not meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu because his visit is too close to upcoming Israeli elections.
This is not the first time the president’s foreign policy team has smeared the Israeli prime minister over policy differences. Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in an Atlantic article last October
, “Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.”” In October, Goldberg seemed stunned when an Obama official told him, “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickens***,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister by his nickname.
So why are Obama officials continually criticizing the prime minister of one of America’s closest friends but not the leaders of America’s enemies and adversaries? Shouldn’t this kind of invective be reserved for Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, and Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei? Why haven’t we heard Obama officials hurling these types of insults at al-Qaida and ISIS leaders?
Leslie Gelb, a former Carter administration official and New York Times columnist, recently wrote in the Daily Beast
that the Obama administration’s failure to send a senior official to the Paris unity march this month, “demonstrated beyond argument that the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct U.S. national security policy in the next two years. It's simply too dangerous to let Mr. Obama continue as is — with his current team and his way of making decisions. America, its allies, and friends could be heading into one of the most dangerous periods since the height of the Cold War.” Gelb also said in his article, “most of the president’s team can’t be trusted to conduct U.S. national security policy and must be replaced — at once.”
The petty insults, name calling, and threats against Prime Minister Netanyahu by Obama officials reflect the incompetence and lack of discipline by President Obama’s foreign policy advisers — described by Gelb. Unfortunately, there appears to be no prospect that the president will take Gelb’s advice and replace them.
Fred Fleitz followed the Iranian nuclear program for the CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee. He is now a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy. Read more report from Fred Fleitz
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