Netanyahu’s ‘Red Line’ on Obama

President Obama has infuriated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by rejecting his demand for a “red line” on war with Iran if it achieves the “capability” to build a nuclear weapon. The clash has led Netanyahu to brazenly intervene in the U.S. election, but is that all that new, asks Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

Much is being made of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s involvement in the on-going American presidential campaign. His public stance has been characterized as an Israeli effort to  “openly…topple [President] Obama.”

The truth is that the only thing unusual about this meddling is its open and advertised nature. In a more discreet fashion, Zionist pressure bordering on blackmail and bribery goes on every day. I have written elsewhere about this corrupting process that I call “lobbification.“ In brief, this is how it operates:

Israeli Prime Minister and U.S. President Barack Obama during an Oval Office meeting on May 18, 2009. (Photo credit: White House)

Step One:  A lobbyist, in this case someone from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), approaches Congresspersons or Senators. At some point in time that means every single one of them has been approached:  all 435 voting members of Congress and every one of the 100 voting members of the Senate. Party affiliation is not an issue here.

Step Two: The lobbyist offers to organize financial campaign assistance, positive media coverage, briefings on situations in the Middle East, trips to Israel, etc.

Step Three: All that is asked in return is that the recipient consistently vote in a pro-Israel way. In other words, AIPAC wants the politician to surrender a part of his or her mind to the lobby — that part that might exercise critical and considered judgment on issues pertaining to Israel.

Step Four: There are several unspoken, but publicly acknowledged, consequences of turning down this offer, or alternatively, managing to get elected on your own and then voting the wrong way.

If you say no, the same offer will be made to your opponent both at the primary and general election levels. If you are elected and vote against Israel, AIPAC will do all it can, sooner or later, to see you defeated. It has a good record of turning such people out of office.

Step Five: If you sign up for this Faustian bargain and are elected, the lobby becomes your permanent partner. It is a constant presence. Its agents are always hovering about, rating your performance, letting you know they are there. Prove yourself reliable and they will underwrite you for life.

The President and Red Lines

President Obama made this bargain as solidly as have most other politicians in Washington. You can witness him affirming and reaffirming this deal in front of AIPAC conventions, while addressing the United Nations General Assembly, on those rare occasions when he addresses the press, and whenever else he feels it is politically necessary. He was even willing to debase his own national party convention (by altering the platform to say that Jerusalem must be Israel’s undivided capital) to make a point of his loyalty to the Israel lobby.

Yet all this has proven insufficient. The issue over which Obama has fallen short is Iran.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu (the deus ex machina of the Israel lobby) insists that Iran is preparing to build nuclear weapons and, taking that assumption on faith, their nuclear energy program should be stopped or placed under international control.

It should be noted that, back in 2002, Netanyahu incorrectly made the same charge against Iraq and that today, just as in 2002, there is no real evidence for his assertion about Iran’s aims. All U.S. intelligence agencies agree that the Iranians are not presently developing nuclear weapons.

Nonetheless, Netanyahu, who appears prone to OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) when it comes to other people’s nuclear programs, demands that Washington set “red lines” for Tehran which, if crossed, would trigger U.S. military action.

In other words, on the basis of unsupported Zionist fears, the Israeli government is trying to maneuver the United States into yet another Middle East war. To his credit, President Obama has refused to comply with the demand for “red lines.”

The standard retribution practiced by the Israel lobby against a recalcitrant American politician is to try to get him or her kicked out of office.  Usually this is done in a low-key way and most Americans don’t even know it is happening. But this time the act of revenge, driven by an egocentric and bellicose Israeli prime minister, is being carried out in full public view. Here are some of the ways Netanyahu is doing this:

1. Netanyahu has joined Mitt Romney in accusing Barack Obama of being too easy on Iran and too unresponsive to an ally, Israel.

2. Netanyahu has acquiesced in the use of his image and words in a blatantly false and distorted media campaign that accuses Obama of being “cozy” with the Society of Muslim Brotherhood.

3. Netanyahu has asserted that Obama has “no moral right” to pressure Israel not to attack Iran. What the Prime Minister leaves out is that such an attack would constitute aggression under international law and violate treaties to which both the U.S. and Israel are signatories. Under these circumstances it would be immoral if President Obama did not pressure Israel to hold its fire.

4. When accused of interfering in the presidential elections, Netanyahu has replied, “This is not an electoral issue. … I think there is a common interest of all Americans of all persuasions to stop Iran.”

The bit about this not being “electoral” is clearly disingenuous. If Netanyahu wants to hold an opinion about alleged common interests that is fine.  However, if as the head of a foreign government, he publicly and repeatedly asserts that opinion in ways that aid one candidate for president over another, he has certainly made both himself and his opinion, an “electoral issue.”

There is speculation that, if Mr. Obama is reelected, then Prime Minister Netanyahu’s indiscreet behavior might result in “a sea change in U.S.-Israeli relations.” Unfortunately this is highly unlikely. The system of “lobbification” is solidly in place at the national political level. When it comes to Israel, only two things are likely to change it:

1. Meaningful campaign finance reform that would free politicians from their present reliance on lobby affiliated contributions.

2. The Israel-American connection becomes a voting issue such that continued blind support for Israel hurts a politician’s chance of election.

Neither of these possibilities seem to be on the horizon. It is the way the U.S. political system is run that makes politicians so vulnerable to lobby power. The fact that there are some lobbies out there that have decent and humane goals is not sufficient to justify a system that otherwise does so much damage.

For instance, under the present circumstances it is impossible to define the national interest in an objective way. As it stands, the national interest is replaced by the parochial interests of lobbies that are successful at suborning Congress and the White House — Zionists pushing support for a racist and expansionist foreign power, Cuban-Americans carrying on a 53-year-old vendetta against the government in Havana, the NRA striving to protect the right of every American to own a submachine gun, and the like.

In large part it comes down to money and how it is used to manipulate leaders and parties. There is something age-old about this situation. It was the Roman Senator and master rhetorician Cicero (108 to 43 BCE) who said  “Nihil tam munitum quod non expugnari pecunia possit.” Translated as: “No fortification is such that it cannot be subdued with money.” That is still the rule by which lobbyists live.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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10 comments on “Netanyahu’s ‘Red Line’ on Obama

  1. Lobbying is effective because it is still legal, and that alone is reason enough for about 75% of people to sell their votes. And in the case of Congress that percentage of people who lack honesty and integrity is probably a lot higher than 75%. Anyone who voted their conscience probably eventually loses out to an opponent who does sell-out making Congress the domain of the greedy and unprincipled. I wonder how many Americans would sell their own November votes for cash? If we want to see integrity in our leaders our laws should reflect the inherent weakness of human character.

    • F. G. Sanford on said:

      I agree completely with what you mean, but not necessarily with what you say. I think it was William O. Douglass that said, “You disagree with what I said, but what you heard isn’t what I meant.” He was a Supreme Court Justice. I think he would agree that our laws PRECISELY reflect the inherent weakness of human character. That is exactly what the current Supreme Court gave us with the “Citizens United” decision: they legalized “votes for cash”.

  2. jerry gates on said:

    Lawrence Davidson tells it like it is in US politics as Bibi Netenyahu, the leader of a seven million strong nation of Jews threatens to derail President Barack Obama presidency by interfering in the American Election as a pundit against Obama.

    It is curiously one sided affair as interfering in others foreign policy directorates goes between the US and Israel. Israel has this curiously selfish relationship with other international figures directorate heads and politicians as well. American non Jewish voters arent allowed to live or lobby in Israel while the Israeli people are free to live and lobby in the USA,a double standard by any assaying, this insufficiency in relations owing to it’s one sided beneficence, while being an unspeakably intolerable situation is none the less, as Davidson offers, seemingly intractable.

    Money isnt the only lure and hook caught in US legislators mouths, the work load of AIPAC’s engineers is impressive to US lawmakers, kingmakers and organisers of campaigns in years past and that additional help for lazy minded pussy footing politicoes has them addicted, they give us money then do our work in writing Israeli friendly legislation and resolves. Deregulation of industry was and yet is a bi partisan initiative mostly due to AIPAC’s behind the scenes urging. WE the little non Jews or non zionist Jews in the US may suffer mightily with such a deregulated investment ,insurance and banking industrial complex glowering akimbo over us, but AIPAC
    s friends in high places do very well under this type of free market system. The market does whatever it wants and we the people do whatever it wants us to do, or we starve. Money is everything in the USA and elswhere and the Israeli lobby seems to have it more so than other lobbys which makes me curious…..

    Why are the Israeli zionist Jews so rich? Does bribing lawmakers for wars pay THAT well? Consider this, if these bankers buddies arent paying senior citizens interest on savings due to low interest rates and these low teaser rates arent stimulating the grass roots economy, war mongering then is the game that pays the most and whom is it were is calling for the wars and whom fighting them for a pittance of what a lawmaker makes? AIPAC has steered the US towards being the warmonger of Israel and the cash cow of central bankers and their gluttonous corporate conglomerates. Some, an estimated one percent of the population and their serfs and vassals are doing well. the resat of us arent friends of Israel and are cursed either because we have nothing to offer the zionist community or we withhold our support to maintain a claer conscience.

    The bottom line for Israel is a simplistic ranting at any possible threat to their eventual eretz Israel plan which is amping up it’s campaigns now on every front, wars included, without which the spies, massacrists and bloated egotists of Shin Beth and Mossad would be drowning in a sea of their own blood and guts and they know it, the apron strings of many nations tether Israel round it’s maypole of play. Hiding behind bullies made by AIPAC legion of pansies tells the story from a perspective which illuminates the possible path,. narrow that, to salvation from these zionist interlopers.

    AIPAC feels invincible and why not? No clear challenges have been made to it’s power or authority, not due to any consideration of it’s political correctness or righteousness but due to it’s effective threats, bribes and punishments to offenders of the realm of supremicist Jews of zion, there the best just ask them. What lowers the mocking bullying attitude of such mobsters and gamblers with other peoples lives is a reality check on their mission statements validity to their cadres/ The question must be raised by directorate haeds whose intel ops understand tactical strategics and inception of dynamic solutions; Is US national security helped or hampered by Israel, by zionism, by bribes, threats and massacres, drones and anti Muslim bigots. Is America in decline due to these folks efforts or rising as a star becon on the hill of humanity, Are we doing good or evil, winning or losing? results based outcomes matter to planetologists and anthropologists, but ask yourselves, if they matter to Zionists. If all nation become weaker in wars save for those to mealy mouthed and fearful of fighting in them, we need a market correction, do we not. Cast aside the graft and grifters, not the people who built the nation, fight the wars and teach the people right from wrong. If AIPAC and zion dont know right from wrong they dont belong in our land or need to be educated by the people who do understand what is right and what is despicably and intolerably selfishly beneficial to only a select few derelicts.

    • More or less sums it up.

      • IS ISRAELI AIPAC USING AMERICA’S $5 BILLION PER YEAR FOREIGN AID TO COME BACK TO AMERICA TO PURCHASE CONGRE$$IONAL WHORES TO VOTE THEIR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY FOR WAR YESTERDAY OR TOMORROW WITH IRAN? IS THAT NOT A SUBVERSIVE ACT AGAINST THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FIRST AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT SECONDLY? I DO NOT KNOW OF ANY FREE, UNBRIBED AMERICAN CITIZEN WHO BELIEVES THAT AMERICA MUST SEND $5 BILLION TO ISRAEL ONLY TO HAVE USA TAXPAYER’S MONEY COMING BACK TO THE USA TO BRIBE-FORCE AMERICAN CONGRE$$MEN TO OBEY AIPAC WITH A VOTE AT THEIR DEMAND. I AM DISGUSTED WITH THIS CLEVER SUBVERSION. HOW LONG BEFORE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WAKE UP TO THIS HUMILIATING FARCE? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE AVERAGE AMERICAN LEARNS THE MEANING OF THE WORD “CHUTZPAH” AND HOW IT MANAGES TO PRETTY MUCH HAVE A CONTROLLING HAND IN AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY AND THE MANY HEAVY WARS AMERICANS HAVE FOUGHT FOR ISRAELI-INSPIRED WARS THAT THEY THOUGHT WAS AN AMERICAN CAUSE FOR THEIR PATRIOTIC SACRIFICE AND BIBI NETANYAHU’S INTERFERENCE IN AMERICAN POLITICS? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE STILL SLEEPING ON THIS ISSUE AND WILL NOT LIKE WHAT THEY HAVE THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND WHEN THEY AWAKEN! WOULD IT BE SUBVERSION IF RUSSIA, CHINA OR FRANCE OR GERMANY SENT THEIR AIPAC VERSION TO AMERICA TO PLAY THE PUPPETEER GAME THAT ISRAELI ZIONISTS PLAY???? WHEN DID THIS POLICY OF FOREIGNERS FROM ISRAEL WRITING USA MIDEAST POLICY AND WHOM WE WOULD FIGHT AND WHEN? HOW LONG HAS THIS BIG-HANDED I INFLUENCE BEEN ALLOWED TO RUN WILD WITH THEIR INTERPRETATION OF WHAT IS BEST FOR AMERICA???? WHEN DID ISRAEL TAKE OVER THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT? WHEN THEY STARTED GETTING $5 BILLIONS A YEAR? WHAT IS THE CONNECTION OF AMERICAN EX-DEMOCRAT–NOW AIPAC OFFICER SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN PROCLAIM THAT HE WAS FOR ISRAEL HAVING SINGLE PAYER HEALTH INSURANCE BUT NOT FOR AMERICANS? ON WHOSE PAYROLL IS THIS DUBIOUS USA POLITICIAN WORKING AND FOR PRIMARILY WHICH NATION? ISRAEL? OR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? WHY DOES ISRAEL HAVE A CARTE BLANCHE ARRANGEMENT WITH THE USA WHERE WARMONGER BIBI NETANYAHU COMES HERE MEDDLING IN OUR INTERNAL POLITICAL ELECTIONS WHILE THE FASCIST, MONEY-BEGGING, BRIBE-TAKING WHORES IN CONGRESS TREAT THE ISRAELI WITH GREAT APPLAUSE WHILE SOME UTTERLY WEAK LIMP WRISTS CLAP FOR NETANYAHU BECAUSE THEY GET WELL COMPENSATED FOR IT. THIS HOUDINI MAGIC ACT IS NOT ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD BY THE UNANNOINTED. IT TAKES FOCUS AND SAGACITY TO GO THROUGH THE WHOLE RITUAL OF HOW MUCH AMERICANS REALLY LOVE AND WANT TO DIE OR COME HOME LEGLESS AND ARMLESS AND FOREVER SCARRED BY WAR EXPERIENCE THAT WAS DESIGNED, CREATED AND COMPELLED FROM JERUSALEM TO WASHINGTON. DID BIBI THINK PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS THE OLD FOOLISH TOY BOY GEORGIE BUSH WHO HAD NO CLEAR IDEA OF HOW TO DEAL WITH ISRAELI PRESSURE TO GO TO WAR WITH OUR MIGHTY FORCES? APPARENTLY SO. THE IDEA THAT AIPAC HAS THEIR FOOT AND FIST IN THE DOOR WITH THREATS TO THE CHASTE TO BUY THEM AS WHORE IS AN IDEA THAT WILL EXPLODE THE CONGRE$$IONAL CRIMINALS OFF THE HOUSE FLOOR AND THROUGH THE WINDOWS WHEN AND IF THEY EVER WAKE UP LONG ENOUGH TO TOTALLY REALIZE THE POLITICAL CHARADE THAT GOES ON WITH THE SCUM WE ELECT WHO LATER BEND DOWN FORWARD FOR THE ISRAELI THRUST THAT WILL MAKE THEM PO$$E$$ION$ OF A FOREIGN POWER TO WHOM AMERICAN TAXPAYERS GIVE APPROXIMATELY $26,500 PER PERSON PER YEAR TO BE A BIBLICALLY EMPOWERED THEOCRACY THAT RULES BY SCRIPTURE FICTION. THERE IS A PROFOUND SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IN THE USA BUT WHO COULD KNOW THAT FROM A NATION THAT LIVES BY MAN’S LAW? NOT MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE OR JOHN OR AUTHORS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WHO LEGAL STRENGTH RESTS ON SIGNATURES WRITTEN ON THE CLOUDS? BIBI NETANYAHU SHOULD BE ARRESTED OR DEPORTED FOR COMING TO AMERICA WITH HIS 2 CENTS OF USA CITIZENSHIP CHUTZPAH TO TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE VIA THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT THAT WE MUST DRAW RED LINES OR WORST YET, PRESIDENT OBAMA THAT HE WILL NOT BE RE-ELECTED BY USA ZIONIST JEWS IF HE DOES NOT COMMIT AMERICAN BOYS AND GIRLS, MOTHERS AND FATHERS TO ANOTHER ISRAELI-INSPIRED WAR WITH COUNTRIES IN THE MIDEAST OR THE MUSLIM WORLD. AMERICANS WITH SINGLE UNQUESTIONED PATRIOTISM ONLY MUST WRITE ALL POLICY REGARDING WAR OR DIPLOMATIC ACTION. AMERICANS CAN NEITHER LOBBY OR LIVE IN ISRAEL UNLESS THEY ARE JEWS OR ZIONISTS. PALESTINIANS ARE NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO LIVE IN PALESTINE OR RETURN ONCE THEY ARE DEPARTED OR CARRIED AWAY. HOW DID MY COUNTRY’S GOVERNMENT EVER GET TO WEAR THE BLACK COWBOY HAT OF EVIL INCARNATE??? TIME HAS COME FOR REGIME CHANGE FOR MS NETANYAHU!!! SHE HAS CROSSED THE LINE AND EMBARRASSED ISRAEL AND INSULTED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. APOLOGY NOT NECESSARY. JUST DON’T COME HERE WITH THAT ATTITUDE BECAUSE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE IT OR YOU!!! ISRAEL HAS BEEN INJURED BY YOUR UNCOUTH SUPER-INTRUSION WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD!!!! YOU HAVE SET BACK AMERICAN-ISRAELI RELATIONS THAT CAN BEST BE HEALED BY YOUR RESIGNATION OR REMOVAL! NETANYAHU DOES NOT, MUST NEVER INTERFERE IN AMERICAN POLITICS AGAIN!!! WE DO NOT, WOULD NOT, VULGARIZE KNESSET ELECTIONS. DO NOT DO IT TO US!!! RIGG KENNEDY-AMERICAN

    • And yet, if the United States had the courage to force Israel to abide by international law regarding its legal borders for the sake of its own survival and acceptance in the region, organizations like AIPAC would have only been legitimate lobby groups that would have focused on mutual interests regarding non-military trade and commerce instead of war and occupation.

      And much more than that, the United States would have credibility around the world, with its hard line against regimes like Iran and Syria instead of being criticized because of its current double standards and incoherence when it comes to foreign policy.

    • more antisemitic bullshit under the guise of criticism. It’s perfectly legitimate to criticize the Prime Minister of Israel and his stances, but as usual you medievalist regieme ass kissers have throw in the “zionist Jews so rich” Shove that crap up your miserable ass.

  3. Why pro-Israel lobby groups are so successful? I believe Joel S. Hirschhorn and Stephen Lendman have the answers.

    “The only way to accurately understand the American electorate. Americans overwhelmingly are a combination of three awful characteristics. The vast majority are dumb, distracted and delusional, whether they see themselves on the left or right, or as independent,” says Joel S. Hirschhorn.

    “US elections are farcical. Obama and Romney represent two sides of the same coin. Neither offers choice. Democracy never existed and doesn’t now. Rhetoric substitutes for reality,” says Stephen Lendman.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/09/23/us-voters-are-dumb-distracted-and-delusional/

  4. Kenny Fowler on said:

    Nety could care less who wins the election, he just wants his war with Iran. He’s throwing it all in the mix in hopes of sparking the war. He’s starting to become the theater of the absurd judging by his act at the U.N. His deft use of a cartoon drawing of a cartoon bomb straight out of Bugs Bunny is in the Monty Python league of kookiness. Sorry Nety, no war for you. Bush was stupid, Obama is not. You’re SOL on this one.

  5. ..

    Israel finance minister says Iran economy “on verge of collapse”
    Reuters – 1 hr 41 mins ago.. .
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    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Iran’s economy is edging towards collapse due to international sanctions over its controversial nuclear program, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Sunday.

    Israel regards the prospect of its arch enemy developing nuclear weapons as a threat to its existence, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that, although sanctions are taking their toll, they are not yet forcing Iran to abandon work that could soon lead to a nuclear warhead.

    However, Israeli officials appear increasingly ready to acknowledge the effect of recent American and European sanctions designed to restrict Iran’s lifeline oil exports.

    “The sanctions on Iran in the past year jumped a level,” Steinitz told Israel Radio, noting that as finance minister, he follows Iran’s economy.

    “It is not collapsing, but it is on the verge of collapse. The loss of income from oil there is approaching $45-50 billion by the year’s end,” Steinitz said.

    The United States, Israel’s main ally, says it will not allow Tehran to produce the bomb, but sanctions should be given more time to work before force is considered.

    American and Israeli commentators say a military strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear plants, which Iran says are designed only to develop a nuclear generating capacity, could trigger a regional war with unforeseeable consequences.

    In Israel too, some prominent political and military figures question Netanyahu’s warning that Iran is so close to the threshold of nuclear capability that military action will soon be the only way to stop it.

    But there has been no open split in his coalition over the issue. Steinitz praised the prime minister’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly last week in which he used graphics to underscore the perceived Iranian threat.

    SOARING INFLATION

    An Israeli Foreign Ministry document leaked last week said sanctions had caused more damage to Iran’s economy than at first thought and ordinary Iranians were suffering under soaring inflation, although this did not appear to be changing policy.

    On Saturday, the Iranian currency slumped to an historic low of about 28,400 rials to the dollar, a fall of about 57 percent since June 2011, meaning a sharp rise in the price of imports.

    “The Iranians are in great economic difficulties as a result of the sanctions,” Steinitz said.

    Parliamentary opponents of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say sanctions are not a major cause of Iran’s economic problems and accuse his government of mismanaging the economy.

    “The first approach today is that authorities accept their mistakes and failures, second, that they not blame their mistakes on others, and third, that they invite all the pundits and experts to find a way to solve the problems of the economy,” Iranian legislator Ezzatollah Yousefian was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Saturday’s Haaretz daily that he believed Iran’s Islamic theocracy would be toppled in a revolt like the one that toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak last year.

    “The opposition demonstrations that took place in Iran in June 2009 will come back in even greater force,” he told the paper. “In my view, there’s going to be an Iranian-style Tahrir revolution. The young generation are sick of being held hostage and sacrificing their future.”

    (Reporting by Ari Rabinovich in Jerusalem. Additional reporting by Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai; Writing by Douglas Hamilton; Editing by Kevin Liffey)