The pressure is increasing on Obama over his foreign policy; and it’s time for supporters of peace to line up behind him. Today in his efforts to counter the Iran deal, Netanyahu called the US part of the “Axis,” a naked reference to Nazi Germany and its allies in World War 2. Jerusalem Post:
“After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is carrying out a pincer movement from the south to take over and occupy the entire Middle East. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity and it must be stopped,” he said.
Lausanne means the P5+1 who are trying to negotiate the deal. Netanyahu then tweeted so no one would miss the message:
» PM Netanyahu: The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous for humanity and needs to be stopped.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) March 29, 2015
Dylan Williams of J Street challenges the rightwing Israel lobby to condemn the remarks.
Netanyahu says US part of an “axis” that is a “danger to humanity.” Where is the outrage @AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] @ADL_National [Anti Defamation League] @AJCGlobal? [American Jewish Committee]
The Republicans are on Netanyahu’s side of course. Netanyahu met with Senator Mitch McConnelltoday in Jerusalem. And here’s more hate-filled rhetoric from Senator John McCain speaking on the Senate floor, five days ago, endorsing a neoconservative’s call that Obama be treated “with contempt.”
[T]here has been a lot of pressure on Israel as a result of the only free and fair election that you will see take place in that entire part of the world. There has been a harsh criticism of the things Prime Minister Netanyahu said during that campaign.
I point out to my colleagues sometimes things are said in campaigns that maybe we say in the heat of the campaign and maybe it is OK if we apologize.
Today, one of the most astute observers, in my view, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, had some advice for the Israelis. From his article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal entitled “The Orwellian Obama Presidency”:
“Here is my advice to the Israeli government, along with every other country being treated disdainfully by this crass administration: Repay contempt with contempt. Mr. Obama plays to classic bully type. He is abusive and surly only toward those he feels are either too weak, or too polite, to hit back. The Saudis figured that out in 2013, after Mr. Obama failed to honor his promises on Syria; they turned down a seat on the security council, spoke openly about acquiring nuclear weapons from Pakistan, and tanked the price of oil, mainly as a weapon against Iran. Now Mr. Obama is nothing if not solicitous of the Saudi Highnesses.”
Speaking of Nazi Germany, here is an American-Israeli rabbi likening Obama to a biblical enemy of the Jews, Haman. From the Jerusalem Post, March 29:
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat on Saturday night compared US President Barack Obama to Haman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Mordechai.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the American-born Riskin said that he could not understand what was going through Obama’s mind.
“The President of the United States is lashing out at Israel just like Haman lashed out at the Jews,” he said. “I’m not making a political statement,” he clarified, “I’m making a Jewish statement.” When a woman in the audience shouted out that Riskin was being disrespectful to the President of the United States, she was booed by the crowd. Riskin said he didn’t need any help from the audience. “I am being disrespectful because the President of the United States was disrespectful to my Prime Minister, to my country, to my future and to the future of the world.”
Efrat is an illegal settlement in the West Bank. Haman is a biblical figure from the Purim story: a Persian official who aims to exterminate Persia’s Jews, including Mordecai. Haman’s plot is foiled and he is hanged.
Riskin liked President Clinton. He wrote him this letter on behalf of the fugitive financier Marc Rich in November 2000:
Dear Mr. President,
Needless to say I have been very much impressed and even inspired by your many activities as the most powerful leader in the world and have heard only superlatives about you from two friends I believe we have in common, Rabbi Menachem Genack and Lou Weisbach. However the personality trait which has most impressed me is your very deep humanity, which was so much in evidence when I had the honor of observing your personal contact with each child you met in the residence of the President of Israel last Hanukka. It is because of your humanity that I wish to add my voice to the request that you bestow a pardon upon Marc Rich and enable him to visit and perhaps even live in the United States.
I have known Marc Rich for several decades. He has always given employ to worthy students of mine in need of occupation and in several instances has been extremely generous to their families when tragedies have struck. His philanthropy is well known: he dedicated a wing in the Israel Museum and he has subsidized many projects for American student — leadership-training in Israel as well as for immigrant rehabilitation and acculturation.
Rich was pardoned by Clinton on his last day of office in 2001. Very controversial. Rich was represented by Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who later served Dick Cheney and got in trouble in the Valerie Plame case.