I admit the title of this article is incendiary, but these are incendiary times — not just because the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has been torched and the embassy in Cairo attacked by Islamic fanatics protesting a movie no one ever heard of, let alone saw, but because, in the midst of this, the president of the United States declined to meet with the prime minister of Israel when Benjamin Netanyahu is in the U.S. next week for the convening of the General Assembly.
Not surprisingly, the White House has branded this a false report and — mirabile dictu in this election season — Obama did speak with the Israeli prime minister for an hour Tuesday evening.
Was this a hurried arrangement to avoid a public relations debacle for the president?
Most likely. The result was a fairly bland announcement by the White House. And we all know Obama despises Netanyahu. He said as much to Sarkozy on an open mike. Our president prefers the likes of the charming Russian leadership (also available on open mike) and the quasi-Islamist prime minister of Turkey who massacres Kurdish civilians and opposes the equality of the sexes.
But Netanyahu, like him or not, has a weight on his shoulders far greater than has the president of the United States. For the prime minister of Israel, it’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the preservation of his people. In other words, it’s genocide, stupid.
At the same time as Obama is refusing or not refusing to talk with Netanyahu, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is arriving in New York for his annual pilgrimage to the UN, once more undoubtedly to spew his propaganda before the world as the centrifuges continue to whirl back in Iran, bringing the Islamic Republic closer and closer to a nuclear weapon.
As we all know, the bien pensants at the New York Times and elsewhere think that this is natural evolution, that the Third World (okay, the developing world) will all be getting the bomb soon — that we should just learn to live with it and ignore statements of racial and national extermination made on a daily basis by the mullahs. They have to be kidding, right? It’s just a pose. No one would actually do that.
Of course, people did — and they were “civilized” Europeans — not so very long ago. And for Benjamin Netanyahu to ignore that would be criminal madness. No wonder, at this point, practically every Israeli, right or left, has lined up behind him on the issue. It would be insane to do otherwise.
Barack Obama, as we also know, has not. He has refused Netanyahu’s request for a nuclear “red line” beyond which Iran cannot cross, even though, without such a line, sanctions are meaningless. (Iran clearly treats them that way.) And, at least according the Jerusalem Post, Obama has continued this refusal in his latest conversation with Netanyahu, no matter how that was arranged. The resulting statement has no reference to it.
(BTW, isn’t it odd that Obama would suddenly be having a conversation with Netanyahu in the evening in D.C.? That would make it roughly one or two AM in Jerusalem, depending on when they started.)
In any case, this refusal is not in the slightest bit surprising. Obama, after all, is the man who had no discernible feeling for the brave democracy demonstrators in Tehran, abjuring them in favor of self-serving (and ultimately useless) dialogue with Ahmadinejad. The way Obama ignored the Iranian Green Movement is the most morally and emotionally disconnected act by an American president in my lifetime. Why should Netanyahu trust a man like that?
Which leads me to the incendiary part of this article.