Tags: America's Forum | Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Hillary Clinton | Iran | Israel | Alan Dershowitz

Dershowitz: Obama, McDonough Acting Like 'Petulant Children'

By    |   Wednesday, 25 March 2015 10:59 AM

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough's contention this week that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing an about-face on his remarks on the eve of the Israeli elections that he opposed a Palestinian state is ludicrous, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said Wednesday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

"Both the president and his chief of staff are acting like petulant children rather than statesmen," said Dershowitz. "A statesman takes two statements – one by Netanyahu saying he opposes the two-state solution and then the second one saying he doesn't – and always the statesman will focus on the positive and say thank you so much for clarifying, let's move forward, let's emphasize what you said most recently."

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"Both the White House and the president himself have said we're going to focus on the statement we don't like, we're going to focus on the negative statement. That's just silly, it's bad statesmanship, and it shows personal pique and petulance rather than willingness to work together with an American ally," said Dershowitz, author of "Terror Tunnels: The Case for Israel's Just War With Hamas".

"Even Israel's staunchest enemies now think that the Obama administration, and particularly President Obama, is overplaying its hand, it's acting immaturely and is not producing anything that would lead in the right direction.

"Republicans are correct in pointing that out and holding the president's feet to the fire."

Netanyahu has also not changed his tune on a deal with Iran or a two-state solution with the Palestinians, but rather shown that he is an astute negotiator, according to Dershowitz.

"He already softened it when he spoke in front of Congress," Dershowitz said of accusations that Netanyahu's position is wavering. "He said there's the deal we like and then there's the deal that we, the Saudis, the Jordanians and the Egyptians could live with.

"He's now saying this is the deal we could live with, but it would require at the very least, that before the deal is over, that Iran give up its claim that it's entitled to destroy the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel, and that it's entitled to meddle in the affairs of Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, and other surrounding countries.

"There's Netanyahu's maximalist position, which is a strong one, and then there's the position that he's prepared to accept. That's been his position right through. It's likewise with the two-state solution. There's Israel's maximalist position, as there is the Palestinian maximalist position. Instead of throwing accusations, let's understand that Netanyahu is a reasonable negotiator when it comes to both Iran and the two-state solution."

Addressing reports that Israel spied on U.S talks with other world powers negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, Dershowitz said he'd expect nothing less.

The U.S. "regularly spies on Israel," and vice versa, he continued, noting that "spy vs. spy has been traditional since the beginning of time."

"I sure hope Israel and the United States are both spying on Iran," he said. "If they're not, they're not doing their job. There's only one way to make sure that Iran doesn't develop nuclear weapons and that's to spy on them. Iran is also trying to spy on us."

The U.S. – by excluding Israel from the negotiations even though "they are the primary victims of an Iranian nuclear weapon," while allowing China and Germany to participate – is only serving to encourage Israel to use whatever means it can to get details of the negotiations, according to Dershowitz.

"We should applaud Netanyahu for putting the interest of his country first and for trying to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, which would be bad not only for Israel, but for the United States and for American allies in the region," he said.

It's very telling, he added, that the Obama administration is in such an uproar over the spying allegation. If the administration has been sharing details of the negotiations with the Congress, as it purports, then anything Israel would have provided would be redundant.

"The reason the administration is worried is because they're not telling the truth about this," he charged. "They are withholding information from Congress. For example, they withheld the information about the 10-year sunset provision. Israel is absolutely entitled. If they have information which they got from public sources or other intelligence sources, that contradicts what the administration is telling Congress and they are absolutely obliged to tell Congress."

If Obama doesn't change his tack, the chances of seeing a Democrat in the White House in 2016 will be greatly diminished, Dershowitz said.

"The big loser in this whole thing potentially is Hillary Rodham Clinton," he said. "She hasn't said a word about the Iran deal, she's not said much about the two-state solution, but remember Barack Obama is not running for re-election and Hillary Clinton is running for president, and she has to make sure she holds onto both the donor base and to the voter base that's so important."

The Democrats, he added, "have a real problem that they will have to deal with before the 2016 election."

A former law professor of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during his days at Harvard, Dershowitz offered his estimation of Cruz as a presidential candidate.

Cruz is "very smart" and was an excellent student, according to Dershowitz, who cautioned that other Republican opponents "would make a mistake to underestimate him."

"He'll push all the other candidates to the right because of his views, which are fairly ideologically hard right on many issues," he said. "He will attract some pro-Israel voters. He's a force to be reckoned with, but we have to wait and see. He's very aggressive, very smart and a very principled person, so he has to be taken very seriously."

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White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough's contention that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing an about-face on his remarks on the eve of the Israeli elections that he opposed a Palestinian state is ludicrous, Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV.
Alan Dershowitz, Barack Obama, Denis McDonough, Benjamin Netanyahu
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 10:59 AM
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