Despite the years of endless clashes of both personality and policy, this dramatic political saga really won't surprise you one bit. The rather lousy relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and U.S. President Obama has been the subject of much discussion in recent weeks as former Ambassador Michael Oren brought already ridiculous levels of behind-the-scenes speculation to new lows. Years of public clashes over settlement construction, peace talks, negotiations with Iran, and more, have provided endless fodder fueling public clashes between the two leaders. There is one area, however, where President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have suddenly, and perhaps…Read More... | 6 Comments
Does the former Israeli ambassador really think that an imaginative psychoanalysis of Obama can explain away Netanyahu's annexationist policies? By Aviad Kleinberg Michael Oren blames President Barack Obama for ruining relations with Israel, after the latter broke two sacrosanct rules that Oren himself came up with: that the United States and Israel should not have public disagreements, and that no steps should be taken to publicly embarrass the other side. [tmwinpost] Oren is aware, of course, of the fact that successive Israeli governments (read: Netanyahu's governments) have openly opposed U.S. policy (for instance vis-a-vis the Iranian nuclear deal), that every so often those…Read More... | 26 Comments
If Bibi, the Israel lobby and the GOP stymie this historic nuclear deal, it will be very bad for Israel, America and America’s Jews. Anybody who thinks Obama has won, that Israel and the Israel lobby and the Republicans are just going to concede the Iran nuclear deal without a fight, could not be more wrong. For the Israeli and American Jews involved, this is the supreme cause of their lives – preventing another Holocaust, as they see it. The framework agreement announced last Thursday looks to them like Munich. These are the terms they use. For the American gentile…Read More... | 14 Comments
The 'framework agreement' announced Thursday night in Lausanne is a lot better than no agreement. But an approach to Iran involving no sanctions and no hysteria would have been best of all. NOTE: This post has been changed to reflect the author's happy surprise that the framework agreement was not the dud he thought it would be - even after it was first announced - but is, according to all accounts, a very meaningful step. Remember the threat of North Korea going nuclear? The sanctions, the scare rhetoric from the United States, the specter of the craziest, cultiest nation…Read More... | 11 Comments
Obama must understand that these elections were more than just a referendum on Netanyahu — they were a referendum on Israel's character, and Israelis did not vote for democratic ideals. Many on the center-left in Israel are still trying to wrap their head around Netanyahu's victory. They simply cannot grasp that most Israelis really want another right-wing government led by Netanyahu. In Tel Aviv and Haifa, the only two of Israel's 10 largest cities where the Zionist Union got more votes than the Likud, some people seem to be rationalizing the victory with the anti-Arab, fear-mongering campaign Bibi led in…Read More... | 17 Comments
Netanyahu can backpedal all he wants, but now it is clear even to his biggest champions that he is no longer interested in the two-state solution. Now it's up to the White House to take a stand. Prime Minister Netanyahu's landslide election victory on Tuesday stunned even the biggest pessimists. What looked like a possible upset turned very quickly into an easy win for the incumbent, giving his Likud party 30 seats in the upcoming Knesset. Isaac Herzog's Zionist Camp, Netanyahu's main opposition, won only 24 seats. Like most other major political figures, Netanyahu said nothing about the occupation or the…Read More... | 25 Comments
For the first time, American Jews are getting the feeling that they might have to choose between Israel, and their loyalty to the country in which they were born and have become successful to a degree almost unprecedented in the history of the Jewish people. In remarks that shook American Jewish leaders with their bluntness, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on Tuesday that Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to address Congress on March 3 was "destructive of the fabric of the relationship" between the United States and Israel. Rice was speaking to Charlie Rose on his PBS news magazine show Tuesday…Read More... | 13 Comments
Just weeks after Jerusalem's Jewish-Arab school was attacked by arsonists, President Obama met with two students to light the Hanukkah menorah. Inbar Shaked Vardi talks about her whirlwind trip to Washington DC, and why she has decided to stay at the school despite the threat of violence. By Inbar Shaked Vardi It all started with a Hanukkah menorah. Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, asked the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School to prepare a Hanukkah menorah for a competition. The winning menorah would be lit by President Obama during the White House's ceremonial Hanukkah reception. The Jerusalem bilingual school's menorah was…Read More...
It’s in how Israel and America, especially their respective leaders, react to these cops' most outrageous crimes. Israeli police are not the only ones with a habit of getting trigger happy when they come up against members of a feared and hated ethnic minority. While many Israeli cops (and soldiers) have a tendency toward overkill with Arabs, many American cops have the same tendency with blacks. But there’s a crucial difference – not necessarily between American and Israeli police, but between the way American and Israeli society, especially their leaders, react to such killings. After police in Ferguson, Missouri killed…Read More... | 33 Comments
The FBI has found traces of sodium thiopental in several areas in the White House, causing staff to stop holding back their true feelings on Israel. Just 24 hours after a senior administration official called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickenshit,” FBI agents found traces of sodium thiopental, also known as the "truth serum," in several areas of the White House. The findings could explain the remarks given to Jeffrey Goldberg in his Atlantic interview. According to FBI agent Dana Mulder, traces of the liquid were found “in the Oval Office as well. We’re still conducting some tests, but it…Read More... | 2 Comments
The rift between Washington and Jerusalem has to do with the changing American interests in the Middle East and internal Israeli politics, not with an end to the occupation. In a story in The Atlantic Tuesday, Jewish-American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg cited a White House official calling Netanyahu "chickenshit," blaming him for lack of political vision or guts. Relations between Jerusalem and Washington have reached the lowest point he can remember, Goldberg wrote. This was the top story in the Israeli media this morning. Even the pro-Netanyahu, free tabloid Israel Hayom quoted Goldberg. In his response, Netanyahu maintained the confrontational tone, saying…Read More... | 32 Comments
The only thing odder than Netanyahu's "un-American" comment is the White House's response. Although the latest Israeli announcement of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem drew the usual verbal slap on the wrist from the U.S., the media didn’t make much of it – until, that is, when Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to call that criticism un-American on American TV. The White House of course felt compelled to respond. On Monday Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest called Netanyahu’s choice of words “odd” – another in a series of adjectives that U.S. government spokespersons pull from their thesaurus to show their dismay…Read More... | 16 Comments
The great mystery is: Why? In the Cairo ceasefire talks, Netanyahu is snatching diplomatic defeat from the jaws of military victory. I have no explanation for why he’s doing this and I have yet to hear a convincing one. There must be something Netanyahu knows that no one else does. Otherwise his concessions at the Cairo talks, after blitzing the Gaza Strip for five weeks, leaving Hamas able to do no more than fire short-range rockets over the Israeli border, and being hailed in Israel as a warrior king, make no sense at all. Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On gave an…Read More... | 19 Comments
OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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