Goldblog pulls his hair out over Bibi’s absurd decision to treat Obama as an adversary and try to sabotage the Iran deal:
Israeli prime ministers [have] two main tasks. The first is to protect their country from existential threats. The second: To work very hard to stay on the good side of the president and people of the United States. Success in accomplishing this first task is sometimes predicated on achieving this second task.
Israel has been, for several decades, a bipartisan cause in Washington. Bipartisan support accounts for the ease with which Israeli prime ministers have historically been heard in Washington; it accounts for the generous aid packages Israel receives; and it also explains America’s commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge. Netanyahu’s management of his relationship with Obama threatens the bipartisan nature of Israel’s American support.
Most of all, Jeffrey insists that
It is immaterial whether an Israeli prime minister finds an American president agreeable or not. A sitting president cannot be written off by a small, dependent ally, without terrible consequences.
Netanyahu is choosing sides and embracing the folks whom most American Jews oppose. He is butting into US politics and enabling the never-ending Republican campaign to undercut a president widely supported by American Jews.
That is not good for Jews in the United States or Israel. Israeli politicians have long counted on Jewish support in the United States—and support from conservative evangelicals. Yet there have been signs that non-Orthodox American Jews are not all that happy with Netanyahu’s policies. A 2013 poll found that only 38 percent of American Jews believed that his government was “making a sincere effort to bring about a peace settlement” with the Palestinians. Close to half believed Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank was a bad idea. (Only 17 percent said it helped Israeli security.) That is, Netanyahu’s right-wing approach—even if supported by AIPAC and other American Jewish establishment outfits—was not popular with many American Jews.
And now Netanyahu is partnering up with Boehner to kick Obama in the teeth and sabotage one of the president’s top diplomatic priorities. He is essentially telling American Jews to get lost: I have no regard for the president you support and no regard for your own political needs and desires.
Larison considers the Iran hawks’ calculations:
Before [Boehner’s] invitation was announced, there was never any realistic chance that the GOP could have rounded up enough Democratic votes to override a presidential veto, so losing a few Democratic votes for a new sanctions bill isn’t that important. The Republicans can still easily pass the bill, Obama will have to veto it, and then they will raise a hue and cry about the terrible “appeasement” that they are trying to prevent. They probably would have preferred to dress up the bill’s passage as a “bipartisan” effort, but that obviously doesn’t matter to them. What matters to them is staking out a maximalist position on Iran so that they can denounce the administration for being “weak,” and having Netanyahu openly taking their side in this fashion helps them do that.