The Best Of The Dish Today

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 26 2015 @ 9:15pm

To give you an idea of how far Netanyahu, Boehner and the pro-Israel right have now gone in their campaign to torpedo the critical talks with Iran, I give you two pillars of the US-Israel relationship. It’s one thing for the Clintons’ former ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, to say this:

Netanyahu is using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign … Unfortunately, the US relationship will take the hit. It would be far wiser for us to stay out of their politics and for them to stay out of ours.

It’s quite another for Michael Oren, Netanyahu‘s former ambassador to the US, to urge the prime minister to reverse course:

The behavior over the last few days created the impression of a cynical political move, and it could hurt our attempts to act against Iran. It’s advisable to cancel the speech to Congress so as not to cause a rift with the American government. Much responsibility and reasoned political behavior are needed to guard interests in the White House.”

Today, the former Israeli intelligence chief, Amos Yadlin, concluded:

I think it’s a political game, I think that makes the prime minister irresponsible.

And I hope you’re sitting down because Abe Foxman of the ADL actually chimed in as well:

This looks like a political challenge to the White House and/or a campaign effort in Israel … I certainly support the sanctions if the deal doesn’t come through but having said that, the invitation and acceptance is ill-advised for either side. It is too important an issue to politicize it.

I wonder if this could actually be part of a more general recognition of how deeply dysfunctional the US-Israel relationship has become or a moment when the pathologically pro-Israel evangelical right and neocons actually over-play their hand. Any sane lobby would wait to see if the talks with Iran can conclude with a deal – still unknowable – and then tear it apart; instead the presumption of the Israeli government that the US is simply required to follow whatever foreign policy Israel wants is driving them all into a ditch.

Remember the way in which Netanyahu lectured – yes, lectured – the president in the Oval Office in a way no other foreign leader would in front of the world press. Remember the dozens of times various neoconservatives or Republican evangelicals have gone to Israel to defend it against pressure from Obama on West Bank settlements. Remember when Republican presidential candidates, like Mike Huckabee, actually celebrate the opening of new settlements, directly against the policy of both this president and the last. This is new and it is toxic.

My hope is that this stunt either actually hurts Netanyahu in the election; or if he wins, and Obama secures an Iran deal, it allows Obama to publicly lay out the US government’s map of what a two-state solution must look like, and to reconsider the UN Security Council veto. No Wile. E. Coyote has tried to bring down Obama as doggedly as Netanyahu has. He even had a cartoon bomb at one point. Which is why a meep meep, if it ever comes, will be one of the very best. And saved till last.

Today, on the Dish, I reviewed where the Republicans are as we face the new political year; we surveyed the unlikely prospects of Chris Christie, the tragic death of Sky Mall in-flight magazine and whether Chandler on Friends was homophobic (lighten up). Plus: an atheist’s view of a week of the Dish; and a classic window view … from Ecuador.

The most popular post of the day was The GOP’s New Year; followed by The Meaning of ’90s Sitcoms, Ctd.

And a reader writes:

We’re now far beyond-the-fact, but we thought you’d enjoy seeing this pic from two devoted readers nonetheless: father surprises son with Dish tee; son surprises father with Dish mug – neither saw it coming. A nice little O. Henry, cross-generational touch to holidays.

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We only have a handful of mugs left, so get one here before they’re all gone. (Update: All gone.) You can still get your Dish t-shirt here.

See you in the morning.