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Obama Seeks to Delegitimize Israeli Concerns over Iran

The president is attempting to undermine the legality of an Israeli strike.

by
Anne Bayefsky

Bio

March 9, 2012 - 2:34 pm
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Recall the huffing and puffing and the fuzzy shifting deadlines on Iran of the administration’s first year in office.  On July 22, 2009, Secretary Clinton said of U.S. action on Iran:  “Our president came to office with a very clear preference for talking with people. … I think there is still a lot of opportunity here, but we are not going to keep the window open forever.” On July 27, 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said: “The president is fully aware that the Iranians may simply try to run out the clock. … I think the president is hoping for some kind of response … at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session.” On October 1, 2009, the president said:  “Iran … must grant unfettered access to IAEA inspectors within two weeks. … We’re not interested in talking for the sake of talking. If Iran does not take steps in the near future to live up to its obligations, then the United States will not continue to negotiate indefinitely.” On November 29, 2009, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said:  “Time is running out for Iran to address the international community’s growing concerns about its nuclear program.”

Or compare the president himself in his first year in office to the Obama of today.  On May 18, 2009, President Obama was asked about Iran and any deadlines for his “policy of engagement.”  He responded:  “You know, I don’t want to set an artificial deadline. … We should have a fairly good sense by the end of the year as to whether they are moving in the right direction.”

Almost three years later, the president is still spinning his wheels. On March 6, 2012, after the administration announced a new round of talks with Iran, the president told a news conference in eerily similar terms:  “To resolve this issue will require Iran to come to the table and discuss in a clear and forthright way how to prove to the international community that the intentions of their nuclear program are peaceful. … They know how to do it, and the question is going to be whether in these discussions they show themselves moving clearly in that direction.”

So let’s recap.  The leading state sponsor of terrorism is poised to acquire the world’s most dangerous weapon.  The president of the United States is still pretending that Iran could prove that its intentions are peaceful and is wondering where the Iranians are headed.  And to forestall the possibility that Israel will give up on America’s commander-in-chief having his own country’s back, let alone theirs, President Obama is busy sabotaging the Jewish state’s right of self-defense.

Twenty-four centuries later and Purim is as relevant as ever.

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Anne Bayefsky is director of the Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust at Touro College. She is the author or editor of 12 books and numerous articles in the field of human rights, and a frequent contributor to newspapers in the U.S., Europe, Israel and Canada.
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