Dave Lindorff writes: Netanyahu blinked. That’s the takeaway from the goofy address by the right-wing, Chicago-raised, MIT-educated Israeli prime minister to the United Nations General Assembly Thursday.
Prior to that address, Netanyahu had been virtually campaigning for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, hinting repeatedly on US television interviews of a pre-election attack by Israel on Iran’s nuclear energy facilities, criticizing incumbent US President Barack Obama, and demanding that Obama and the US draw a “red line” on how far Iran could go in refining nuclear fuel before it would be considered essential for the US to join Israel in destroying Iran’s military infrastructure.
It was the most blatant attempt by a foreign leader to interfere in a US election in memory, but it was a bust.
American Jews have historically supported the Democratic Party by wide margins, and despite Netanyahu’s threats and bluster, and President Obama’s smack-down — a refusal of Netanyahu’s request for a meeting during his trip to the US –that support didn’t budge. In fact, a number of leading Jewish Democrats, including powerful Congressman Barney Frank and Henry Waxman, publicly told the Israeli leader to back off and stay out of US politics. In endorsing Obama’s refusal to meet with Netanyahu, Rep. Frank said, ”The Israelis have to consider American public opinion. America’s not ready to go to war until it’s absolutely necessary.” He added, “I think it’s a mistake from Israel’s standpoint if they give the impression they’re trying to push us into going to war. I don’t think any pressure’s going to work.”
Analysts are now suggesting that Netanyahu has backed off, even complimenting President Obama and giving him a valentine — an endorsement before election day of sorts–saying in his UN address, “I very much appreciate the president’s position, as does everyone in my country.” This was a reference to Obama’s rather tame if ambiguous warning to Iran in his own UN address that the US would “do what we must” to ensure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear bomb.
Since Iran insists that it is not trying to develop a nuclear bomb, and since the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has declared that building and stockpiling such weapons would be “a big sin,” there should be no need for the US to do anything, then.
The important point though, for the US, for Israel, and for Iran, as well as for the world at large, is that a combination of overreach by Netanyahu, a bumbling Republican presidential candidate and campaign, and a widespread weariness among most Americans over this country’s more than a decade of pointless, losing wars in the Middle East, have combined to seriously and perhaps terminally blunt the influence of the right-wing pro-Israel lobby in the US, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). [Continue reading…]