Elie Jacobs
Jacobs is a public affairs consultant based in NYC.

Pen pals Bibi and Barry

Dear Mr. President-

I hope this letter finds you well and rested from your well-deserved time away from the Oval Office in Florida. I’ve no doubt you are well aware of the massive shipment of arms from Iran we recently intercepted on their way to Gaza. Even a small ship in a large ocean is difficult to find, but our intelligence and security services have done an outstanding job inhibiting the Iranian theocracy from arming their Hamas allies in the Palestinian controlled Gaza Strip. I thank God every day for the resourcefulness and tenacity of our intelligence community. They see through the wool being pulled over the world’s eyes.

I hope you recognize what this shipment means vis-à-vis your ongoing optimistic (although not blind) negotiations with the extremist Iranian regime. Bottom line, these are not honest or good people we are dealing with. I have repeatedly told you over these last 6 years, as we have gotten to know and respect one another that Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map. I do hope this latest incident cements that idea in your mind. I am all for diplomacy — after all I was a member of the diplomatic corps for many years.

I tell you this not to lecture (after all you have put the chances of a comprehensive agreement with Iran at under 50%) rather, I tell you this to remind you what I have to deal with on an hourly basis. My people live in a neighborhood of bullies. Everyone wants to kick our @$s. The closest to an ally I have is King Abdullah II, and as pleasant as he and his wife are I’m not convinced they wouldn’t side with their Arab brethren if push came to heavily armed shove.

Your wisely chosen secretary of state, John Kerry, has been a true gift to us – in spite of himself. In him we have an experienced foreign policy hand that understands the facts on the ground better than most. He has done an enviable job in his tireless attempt to keep the current round of negotiations with the Palestinians going. I see him so often, I feel he is a member of my own staff. Even my wife likes him – and that is something to brag about. His inclusion of retired Marine General John Allen to actually sit and figure out and internalize what our security requirements are has enabled us to keep the conversation going towards the “Framework” you have promised.

I read with great interest your interview with Bloomberg Views’s Jeffrey Goldberg. I too love Reb Jeff, shlit”a (May he live for many good days, amen), but despite the deliberate timing of the interview, and the clear attempt to antagonize me before our meeting, I cannot take the bait. I respect the unbreakable relationship our two countries have too much to do anything that would disturb that. I understand the only reason Iran has paused their race to the bomb is because of the sanctions that only the United States is powerful enough to impose. However, I hope what you’ve said in interviews is what you truly believe – that the Iranians cannot be trusted and you are skeptical to an excessive degree that any kind of agreement will be reached. Furthermore, and far more importantly I need to know that your “all options are on the table” threat has not changed, and is not open to addenda – as your “red-line” in Syria was. If the Iranians do not believe the United States military will blow them back to the era the Ayatollahs wish they were in, we have no hope of reaching any kind of accord.

You have to deal with the Tea Party, and I do not envy that for a moment, but I work in a coalition, and mine is troubled. My former aide, Naftali Bennet, may be planning to jump into bed with my opposite – Buji Herzog, to create a fall back coalition should our current one fail. Let me be clear, I recognize the historical moment we are in. I know we are at a precipice that has only way away from. But let me remind you that I am the ONLY one who can bring the people who have elected me to agree to peace. I talk hawkish, because I am and my people know that. If we come to an equitable agreement with the Palestinians, I will bring it to the Israeli people as a referendum. You’re not going to get this with anyone else nor are you going to be able to pass it with anyone else but me backing it. What I’m saying is that you need me as much as I need you. Mr. President, now is the time to earn your Nobel Prize. Do not undermine me.

Ze’ev Jabotinksy said: “The only way to achieve an agreement in the future is by utterly abandoning all attempts to achieve an agreement in the present.” Truer words have not been written. We will make peace with the Palestinians, but it has to be at our – both sides – pace, not a timeline forced on us. I know what is at stake. I am ready to make peace with our enemies, but I need to know our friend, the United States, and my friend, Barack Obama, has my back.

With respect, admiration and gratitude,


About the Author
Elie Jacobs is a NYC-based public affairs and public relations consultant and a political partner with the Truman National Security Project. VIEWS EXPRESSED DO NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF ANY ORGANIZATION AND ARE SOLELY HIS OWN