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More on Netanyahu’s speech. This time from Mark Steyn.
Our leftie friends at Mother Jones put it this way:
“Benjamin Netanyahu just mansplained Iran to Obama.”
Er, okay. Glad you said that because there’d be no end to it if some rightie guy sneered that Obama was our first female president.
For what it’s worth, I prefer mansplaining to ‘Bamsplaining, where he peddles a lot of gaseous pap interrupted by cheap digs at straw men and all delivered in that set-your-watch-by-it left-right prompter-swivel. (To stick with the Mother Jones shtick, real men don’t use prompters.)
But, if this was “mansplaining”, it was a big man doing the ‘splaining. The shout-out to Harry Reid, the “my long-time friend John Kerry” schmoozeroo, all this was brilliant – not because everyone doesn’t understand how fake it is, but because the transparent fakery underlines how easy it is to be big and generous and magnaninmous and get the snippy parochial stuff out of the way to concentrate on what really matters.
Obama could have done this. He could have said yesterday, “Hey, my good friend Bibi and I don’t see eye to eye on everything, but I’d have to be an awfully thin-skinned insecure narcissistic little dweeb to make that a capital offense, wouldn’t I? So, since he’s in town anyway, I’ve asked him to swing by the White House for an hour to shoot the breeze – and maybe we can have that dinner we missed out on the last time, right, Prime Minister? Hur-hur-hur.” …
And Jennifer Rubin.
Looking over the past week, it is hard to miss how unfavorably President Obama compares to other world leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with excessive graciousness toward his tormentor, gave a powerful, important address. His clarity and presence command our attention. When Obama sneered at a press avail that there was nothing new in Netanyahu’s remarks, he looked so very small, so very petty. …
… It is not just Israel’s leader who regularly proves to be more clear-headed and inspiring than Obama. Consider Czech President Milos Zemen, who declared at AIPAC this week: “The CzechRepublic has been the single island of democracy in central Europe. And [Israel] is the single island of democracy in the Middle East. …
… Then there is Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a brave and stalwart friend of the United States and of Israel. In a speech in Israel last year, Harper had this to say about the BDS movement (recall that Secretary of State John Kerry said that if Israel didn’t make a deal with the Palestinians, there’d be nothing to stop the BDS movement’s growth.)
“Some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel. … Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that. A state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history. That is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.” …
Charles Krauthammer has more.
… It was an important moment, especially because of the libel being perpetrated by some that Netanyahu is trying to get America to go to war with Iran. This is as malicious a calumny as Charles Lindbergh’s charge on Sept. 11, 1941, that “the three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration.”
In its near-70 year history, Israel has never once asked America to fight for it. Not in 1948 when 650,000 Jews faced 40 million Arabs. Not in 1967 when Israel was being encircled and strangled by three Arab armies. Not in 1973 when Israel was on the brink of destruction. Not in the three Gaza wars or the two Lebanon wars.
Compare that to a very partial list of nations for which America has fought and for which so many Americans have fallen: Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Vietnam, Korea, and every West European country beginning with France (twice).
Change the deal, strengthen the sanctions, give Israel a free hand. Netanyahu offered a different path in his clear, bold and often moving address, Churchillian in its appeal to resist appeasement. This was not Churchill of the 1940s, but Churchill of the 1930s, the wilderness prophet. Which is why for all its sonorous strength, Netanyahu’s speech had a terrible poignancy. After all, Churchill was ignored.
Karl Rove is next.
… It is interesting that Mr. Obama’s antipathy has recently been focused not on the planet’s most evil regimes, including Iran, but on America’s most dependable ally, Israel, a vibrant nation that is a champion of liberty and human rights and a beacon of freedom in a sea of oppression.
The president’s behavior has provided ample additional evidence that he lacks the skills and patience to deal with allies with whom he disagrees. He and his team of public-relations geniuses couldn’t have bungled this affair worse had they tried.
Jonathan Tobin posts on Tom Friedman’s recycled slurs.
… Friedman concludes his piece by saying that it “rubs me the wrong way” to see a foreign leader pointing out the mistakes of an American president in front of Congress. But in that paragraph he lets us on to his real problem with the speech and the entire discussion about Iran: the existence of a solid pro-Israel coalition in Congress that thinks Netanyahu’s concerns are worth a hearing. Friedman says, “I have a problem with my own Congress howling in support of a flawed foreign leader.”
With this phrase he reminds us of his reaction to Netanyahu’s last speech to Congress in 2011. At that time, Friedman couldn’t restrain his bile and claimed that the ovations the prime minister received were “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby,” a smear that was reminiscent of the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis about a vast Jewish conspiracy controlling U.S. foreign policy to benefit Israel. The point of that thinly disguised piece of anti-Semitic invective was to delegitimize supporters of Israel who had the temerity to back Netanyahu against the Obama administration’s assault on the alliance between the two democracies.
Friedman didn’t go quite as far as that sort of libel this time though his contempt for a Congress “howling” in support of Netanyahu betrayed his animus. But he did let down his hair a bit in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2. Friedman claimed the only reason Netanyahu received tumultuous applause for his brilliant speech was that he was speaking in “Sheldon’s world” a reference to casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, a leading Jewish philanthropist and pro-Israel political donor.
Whatever you may think of Adelson’s politics, the point of that comment is to reintroduce Friedman’s 2011 slur about Congress being purchased by a ruthless Jewish minority. This is a classic anti-Semitic trope in which Jews are accused of using money to insinuate themselves into power and subverting the interests of the nation in favor of their own agenda. It is, of course, pure tripe, since support for Israel is overwhelming throughout the country and undiminished by either the media barrage against Netanyahu or the efforts of the administration to distance itself from the Jewish state.
Friedman then claimed that had Netanyahu spoken to the real America, rather than the Congress that is supposedly owned by the Jews, he would have gotten a different response. His example of a real American venue is the University of Wisconsin. It’s true that if Netanyahu or any friend of Israel were to speak at a leftist enclave such as the one in Madison, they would not be cheered. But who, other than Friedman, actually thinks that opinion there is representative of anything but the prejudices of liberal academics.
But the truth is, as a poll suggests, most Americans agree with Netanyahu on Iran, not Obama or Friedman. That’s why Friedman’s canard about Congress, Adelson and the “Israel lobby” is a lie. But like Obama’s Iran policy, Friedman is as undaunted by the prospect of repeating untruths about Israel as his newspaper is unashamed about printing them.