Bibi’s blunder

Cartoon_10The TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, violated long-standing protocol with a blatantly political move in inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu to deliver a campaign speech before the U.S. Congress in support of the Neocon’s desire for a war with Iran, just two weeks before a general election in Israel.

Remember, the Neocon architects of the Bush-Cheney regime’s unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq got their start working for Netanyahu when he was Prime Minister of Israel in 1996.  “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” was drafted by former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle, the “Study Group Leader,” but the final report included ideas from Douglas Feith, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser.

The following year, many of these Neocons joined the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan. PNAC was the principle sponsor of “regime change” and the removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq. Many of these Neocons went on to serve in the Bush-Cheney administration — and are now seeking to return to power in 2016.

Many in the conservative media entertainment complex have insinuated that being opposed to Netanyahu’s campaign speech before Congress is somehow being anti-Israel, or worse, anti-Semitic. It takes a polemicist to make such a leap in logic.

Maybe these polemicists should take it up with Israelis, who are also opposed to Netanyahu’s self-serving political move. Ex-Mossad chief: PM taking ‘intolerable’ risks with Israeli security:

Former Mossad spy agency chief Meir Dagan accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of having caused Israel “heavy strategic damage on the Iranian issue” by antagonizing the US leadership, and said the premier had brought “intolerable” risk upon the nation by endangering its ties with Washington.

[M]any of the prime minister’s Israeli and American critics say the speech has only served to further damage bilateral ties. It may have in fact had the opposite effect than that desired by Netanyahu, stymieing the possibility of Congress acting against a deal by rallying Democrats to the president’s side over the perceived offense.

“What will Netanyahu achieve in this trip? I don’t understand,” Dagan asked Yedioth Ahronoth. “What is his goal? Applause? This trip is doomed from the get-go.

“An Israeli prime minister who enters into conflict with an American administration must ask himself what are the risks,” Dagan stated.

“The veto umbrella provided by the Americans could vanish, and Israel would promptly find itself facing international sanctions. The risks in this confrontation are intolerable.”

Dagan added that Netanyahu was only giving Iran cause for celebration. “They feel they’ve managed to stick a wedge between Israel and its ally.”

For all his tough rhetoric on Iran, Dagan said Netanyahu had backed down from taking military action against Iran in the past because “all of the professional bodies were opposed.”

“He knew that the responsibility would fall on him,” Dagan added. “I’ve never in my life seen him take responsibility for anything. I’ve seen leaders who made decisions and later admitted — we were wrong. The difference between him and others is the willingness to take responsibility. He’s good with words, not actions.”

Meir Dagan is not alone in his criticism. Israeli security experts oppose Netanyahu speech:

Speaking at a Tel Aviv press conference, retired Maj. Gen. Amnon Reshef, one of the founders of Commanders for Israel’s Security, said the speech — expected to take a hard line on Iran’s nuclear ambitions — is “a terrible mistake” that will further damage the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. He also said the speech could harm Israel’s security by damaging Israel’s relationship with other countries.

On Friday, Meir Dagan, the former head of Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, told one of the leading Israeli newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth: “The person who has caused the greatest strategic damage to Israel on the Iranian issue is the prime minister.”

Even Retired Israeli veterans warn against speech:

[A] group of 180 retired Israeli generals and former top security officials warned that his upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress on Iran’s nuclear program will cause more harm than good.

It will not only damage Israel’s special relationship with the United States but also undermine military and intelligence ties, they said.

Rather than slowing down Iran’s nuclear project, the former security officials said, Netanyahu’s speech Tuesday will bring the Islamic republic closer to developing a nuclear bomb.

“When the Israeli prime minister argues that his speech will stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, he is not only misleading Israel, he is strengthening Iran,” Amnon Reshef, former head of the army’s armored corps, said at a news conference Sunday.

Reshef is a founder of Commanders for Israel’s Security, an organization of 200 retired and reserve senior officers from the Israel Defense Forces, the Mossad secret service, the Shin Bet domestic security agency and the national police force.

The organization, which claims to be apolitical, was created last year to push Netanyahu forward on a regional peace agreement aimed at ending the conflict with the Palestinians.

It is not certain how many members of Israel’s defense and intelligence establishment oppose the speech. Members of the group who spoke out Sunday said they shared Netanyahu’s fears about Tehran’s nuclear project and the pending deal to freeze and monitor the Iranian program. But they said Netanyahu was making a mistake by confronting the U.S. president before Congress.

Amiram Levin, another ex-commander and a former deputy chief of the Mossad, said that Netanyahu was playing into the hands of Iran’s hard-line clerics.

Even AIPAC, whom Netanyahu is addressing today, is opposed to his campaign speech before Congress. AIPAC objects to Netanyahu’s Congress address:

AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is the Israeli government’s long arm at the center of gravity of American power in Washington. The second most powerful lobby in the United States, AIPAC has served every Israeli government, over dozens of years, with exceptional effectiveness.

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The basic, underlying postulate of AIPAC from the day of its inception in 1951 has been simple: to represent and work on behalf of every single Israeli government, without preference for Right or Left. With regard to the US political system, AIPAC sanctifies the principle of bipartisan support for Israel. It will never focus only on one of the two major American parties; it will never try to divide and conquer; and it will never favor a Republican legislator over a Democratic counterpart or the reverse. The secret of Israel’s power in Washington over the years lies mainly in this principle, which has transformed Israel into a form of consensus on Capitol Hill, against which very few dare rebel or deviate from.

The invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before both houses of Congress March 3 was secretly cooked up by House Speaker John Boehner (Republican) and Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer (who some consider ambassador to Las Vegas because of his relationship with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson). The news struck AIPAC heads like a thunderbolt. They had not been briefed about it before or after. They didn’t know about it, and they didn’t believe such a thing could happen to them. “This is AIPAC’s Day of Atonement,” one of the heads of the organization told me in a private conversation after the invitation was publicized. “This is the lowest point we have ever reached.”

In the first few days after the announcement, AIPAC heads were in shock. They could barely digest what had happened. . . Some thought that they should directly implore Netanyahu to cancel his speech to Congress, to suggest alternatives to him. Such a move, however, would have run counter to AIPAC’s very DNA since AIPAC is Netanyahu’s lobby and not the reverse. On the other hand, almost all the organization’s higher-ups were aware and convinced of the immensity of the damage that Netanyahu’s actions would bring to Israeli-American relations in the medium- and long-terms. It was hard for them to keep silent.

AIPAC prepared a detailed presentation that was given to Netanyahu with all the negative repercussions they believe would result from the controversial invitation to Congress and the cumulative damage. On Feb. 25 behind closed doors, one of the heads of AIPAC said, to paraphrase: All the things we warned him of, are materializing. We foresaw the domino effect that took place, the boycott by more and more Democratic Congress members, the significant deterioration in relations with Democratic legislators, the talks about boycotting the AIPAC convention (that is also being held at the beginning of March) by the administration. We protested, we warned. And who wasn’t impressed? Netanyahu. He’s coming.

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Netanyahu did not involve the top echelons of the armed forces in his endeavor to speak before Congress. His position is that it is a diplomatic-political issue and does not concern them. In principle, he is right, but if he had checked, he would have learned that no one in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the intelligence unit or Mossad is enthusiastic about his sortie at the United States “over the head” of President Barack Obama.

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Therefore, it is no wonder that even the new chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, shares in the less-than-enthusiastic reactions of the other high-level officials around him in the armed forces in regard to the devastation that their boss is wreaking on its important friend, the United States. By the way, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman also expressed his opposition to the speech and in closed conversations has said that it will have a damaging effect on relations with the United States.

Top-ranking officials in Israel’s armed forces also do not share Netanyahu’s fatalistic view that Iran is a direct and existential threat. The outgoing chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, does not think so. His predecessor did not think so. Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan substantively disagrees with Netanyahu on the Iranian nuclear issue, and apparently, the current head of the Mossad feels the same way. Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, current IDF chief of staff, said in his first speech after his appointment, that Israel’s most important, burning issue is the Palestinian problem.

On the other hand, the one making the decisions, at least until elections on March 17, is Netanyahu.

Hopefully the voters of Israel will come to their senses and deny Neocon “Bibi” Netanyahu and his Likud Party enough seats to form a coalition government, and Israel will have a new Prime Minister after March 17. This campaign speech before the Congress may be remembered as “Bibi’s blunder.”

One response to “Bibi’s blunder

  1. captain*arizona

    I am surprised netanyahu was able to find the time to take off from returning israili government bottles so he could pocket their deposits to come here. Maybe boner or the neo-con found some bottles here that he could return for deposits.