Clearly, Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama have a problem with each other. They disagree on most political issues, which is not surprising. After all, Netanyahu has a military background and is a staunch conservative. Also, his country is surrounded, in close proximity, by States that despise it and have sworn to “wipe [it] off the face of the earth.” On the other hand, Obama is strongly liberal and more pacifist, in nature. Furthermore, his country is further removed from the violence of the Middle East. The issues in the Middle East are serious to the US, but, for Israel, they are literally a matter of life and death. That said, there is much evidence that they also dislike each other personally. This is more problematic, because it has hindered their ability to work in concert to resolve issues of mutual importance.
For example, recently, they quarreled over Netanyahu’s addressing Congress regarding the US-Iran nuclear negotiations. Obama retaliated by delaying congratulating Netanyahu on his re-election for a couple of days. Additionally, he appointed Rob Malley, a reputed Hamas sympathizer, to a key post as special assistant to the President on Middle East affairs. Now, Obama has threatened to withdraw support of Israel in the Security Council over the two-state Palestinian issue, which would be devastating. Presumably, this is just a bluff, but the way Obama has been acting since his re-election, you never know. Since his re-election Obama has demonstrated time and again that he’ll say and do anything. It’s like he is not afraid of any consequences or thinks he is immune to them. One thing for sure is that without the US’s veto the measure would likely pass in the Security Council and the UN. These retaliatory actions seem spiteful and petty, if not downright childish, but they are merely the latest manifestations of this mutual antipathy. This has been going on for years. Jennifer Rubin, writing in the Washington Post, has opined that the “gross pettiness and rudeness [regarding Obama’s latest actions] are there for all to see.”
In my opinion, whether or not Obama agrees with Netanyahu’s reservations regarding Iran’s nuclear program or the establishment of a Palestinian state, it would be mutually advantageous for them to discuss it, not in the press but privately and respectfully. The fact of the matter is that Netanyahu has voiced valid concerns regarding Iran, which need to be addressed. Furthermore, regarding a Palestinian state on his border, he has denoted that the geopolitical situation has changed significantly since it was first proposed and agreed to, in principal. The Palestinians have now aligned themselves with Hamas. Therefore, Netanyahu feels a Palestinian state on Israel’s border would, in reality, mean a state controlled by Hamas. This, he feels, would be intolerable for Israel’s security and would threaten its very viability as a nation.
Netanyahu and Obama are trading insults and “dissing” each other like they are in the first grade. “He started it. No, he did. No, it was him.” Someone has to be the proverbial adult in the room. They both need to take a breath. It’s time they both grew up and realized the harsh reality of the current situation, which is that Israel and the US have a symbiotic relationship. They need each other’s support. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and is our staunchest ally in that extremely volatile region. Conversely, the US has always supported Israel. It is Israel’s only friend in the world, and Israel needs its continued support to continue to exist.
Let’s not lose site of the greater picture. It should not be Obama vs. Netanyahu. It should be Israel and the US working in concert as they always have. The issues facing the two countries are much bigger than any individual person. Netanyahu and Obama will be gone from the political scene soon enough. Iran, with its extremist and unstable leadership, must not be allowed to obtain nuclear capability. It’s as simple as that. At stake is not just the survival of Israel and peace in the Middle East, but the safety and security of the entire world.