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  • What Netanyahu Will Say About Iran - Danny Danon - POLITICO Magazine about 7 hours ago
    • Still, with the pundits in Jerusalem and Washington writing endlessly about the irreparable damage being done to the special U.S.-Israel relationship, it is important to seek some historic perspective.  In 1948, as David Ben Gurion was preparing to declare independence for a Jewish state for the first time in two thousand years, he received word from the State Department that it would be best to delay the announcement to allow time for more negotiations with the world powers and our Arab neighbors.  Ben Gurion of course declined to heed this advice.  He was later reprimanded by the Americans in 1949 for declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital.

      In May of 1967 Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran, enforcing a naval blockade on Israel, ordered the international UN peacekeepers out of the Sinai desert, and began amassing his armies on our southern border.  Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol was told by the Johnson Administration not to attack, but rather to give time for a possible diplomatic solution.  Thankfully, Eshkol did not wait too long and Israel’s preemptive attack on the Egyptian and Syrian armies ensured the very survival of the Jewish state.

      Similarly, in 1981 Prime Minister Menachem Begin warned the Reagan administration that Iraq was building a nuclear reactor southeast of Baghdad.  While Saddam Hussein contented that the reactor was only for peaceful civilian use, it was clear to Israeli intelligence that Iraq was developing a military nuclear program. Prime Minister Begin ordered air strikes to destroy the reactors and was subsequently condemned unanimously by the UN Security Council – including the American representative. 

    • none of these isolated incidents induced long-term damage to the American-Israeli relationship.
  • Obama-Netanyahu relations never promised happily-ever-after about 7 hours ago
    • When President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office early in 2009, there were plenty of reasons to expect their relationship would be difficult.


      The cerebral president and the brash prime minister have stark differences in personality, politics and world view.


      Still, few could have predicted the downward spiral of backbiting, lecturing and outright name-calling that has occurred.


      Start with the differences between Obama and Netanyahu, add in disagreements over Iran's nuclear program, a Republican-led Congress trying to assert itself and the coming Israeli elections, and it becomes "the perfect storm of potential broken crockery in the U.S.-Israeli relationship," says the Wilson Center's Aaron Miller, who was a Mideast adviser and negotiator for Republican and Democratic administrations.

  • My Way News - Netanyahu: Iran nuclear deal threatens Israel's security about 7 hours ago
    • "I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there is still time to avert them," Netanyahu said during an address to a pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington.

  • What if Netanyahu actually succeeds in sinking the Iran nuclear deal? about 7 hours ago
    • Crucial details about the pending Iran agreement have yet to be ironed out or publicized. But "the deal that seems to be taking shape right now does not fill me — or many others who support a diplomatic solution to this crisis — with confidence,"says Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic. Still, he adds, what's the alternative? "Netanyahu has no actual ideas — other than strategies that lead to endless sanctions of diminishing effectiveness and bombing runs of similarly dubious long-term effectiveness."
    • In a rosier scenario for Netanyahu, Obama is thwarted and... something happens. Maybe a new anti-Iran coalition forms in the Middle East, where deep-pocketed Sunni Arab states put aside their (at least rhetorical) concern for the Palestinians to focus on a mutual enemy with Israel. Or perhaps some cyber-espionage tool will succeed in crippling Iran's nuclear program. It could turn out that Iran is not actually interested in developing nuclear weapons, as it insists.
    • All those scenarios are possible — and unlikely. Netanyahu seems to have already hurt his chances to influence the current deal being negotiated in Switzerland. If he has a brilliant alternative plan, maybe he will share it with Congress and the world on Tuesday. If not, the large number of people who want to maintain the status quo — Israel the only nuclear-armed country in the Middle East — should wonder if they want Israel's prime minister to succeed in Washington.
  • Netanyahu Ready to Press Congress to Help Delay Iran Deal - Bloomberg Business about 7 hours ago
    • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows what’s in a potential nuclear agreement with Iran and will ask the U.S. Congress to pose questions that may delay a deal, according to an official traveling with him.


    • Obama administration officials have said an attempt by Congress to intervene would wreck chances for an accord between Iran and world powers and the president would veto such a measure. Netanyahu will tell lawmakers they should press for a delay in a deadline at the end of this month to agree on the framework for a deal and should change the agreement if they aren’t satisfied with it, the official traveling with the prime minister said.


    • “We don’t want to see this turned into some great political football,” Kerry said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program.


  • Pro-Israel Group Publicly Breaks With White House Over Iran - WSJ about 7 hours ago
    • The leadership of the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. publicly broke Sunday from the White House over the issue of Iran policy during the first of a three-day policy conference in Washington attended by 16,000 of its members.

      Leaders of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, outlined a strategy moving forward of working through Congress to disrupt any nuclear agreement with Tehran that is deemed too weak in denying the country a nuclear weapons capability.

    • Mr. Kohr and other Aipac leaders believe any final agreement with Iran must involve the complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, something                  Obama           administration officials have said is no longer on the negotiating table.

    • Aipac also is seeking to impose new sanctions on Iran if there is no agreement by a late March deadline and to legislate an up-or-down vote in Congress. The White House is opposing both legislative actions.

  • Netanyahu’s Visit Bringing Uninvited Problems for Jewish Democrats - about 7 hours ago
    • “I went out to play golf — I never play golf — with three of my Jewish buddies,” recalled Representative Alan Lowenthal, a Jewish Democrat from Southern California who only this weekend decided he will attend Mr. Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress. “One said, ‘You must go,’ one said, ‘You definitely should not go,’ and one said, ‘I’m in the middle.’ That literally reflects the American Jewish community.”
    • “It’s a tipping-point moment,” said Rabbi John Rosove, an outspoken liberal and head of Temple Israel of Hollywood. “It’s no longer the Israeli government, right or wrong. The highest form of patriotism and loyalty is to criticize from a place of love.”
    • So far, 30 Democrats — four senators and 26 representatives — have said they will not attend the speech. Nearly half are African-Americans, who say they feel deeply that Mr. Netanyahu is disrespecting the president by challenging his foreign policy. But a half-dozen of those Democrats planning to stay away are Jewish, and represent 21 percent of Congress’s Jewish members.

      “I stand with Israel, always have stood with Israel, and always will, but this speech is not about Israel,” said Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, who accused the prime minister of politicking in Congress with an eye on Israel’s March 17 election. “Netanyahu is not Israel just like George W. Bush wasn’t America.”

  • US could impose sanctions on Iran after deal -- White House | The Times of Israel about 7 hours ago
    • Earnest said Obama had laid out “a clear strategy” to stop Iran, while Netanyahu hadn’t.


    • Earnest also said he does not believe Netanyahu’s opposition to the deal “will have much of impact on the ultimate outcome.”


      He said “he doesn’t believe” Obama watched Netanyahu’s speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington, DC, earlier that day, nor did he think Obama would watch Netanyahu’s speech to Congress Tuesday.

  • WHIP LIST: 47 Democrats to skip Netanyahu speech to Congress | TheHill about 7 hours ago
    • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to deliver one of the most controversial speeches to a joint session of Congress by a foreign leader ever, and Vice President Biden and a number of top Democrats won’t be attending.

      Netanyahu is expected to criticize the White House’s negotiations on Iran's nuclear program in his March 3 speech. While Biden has cited a scheduling conflict, other Democrats are staying away from the speech to protest what they see as an attack on President Obama.
    • Democrats face a difficult decision on whether to attend the address. Many will want to show support for the White House but will be wary of snubbing the leader of an important U.S. ally.

  • Netanyahu: America and Israel are 'like a family' | about 7 hours ago
    • "America and Israel are more than friends. We're like a family. ... And we must always remember that we are family," Netanyahu told the audience of 16,000 at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, receiving one of many standing ovations.


    • "My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the state office that he holds. I have great respect for both," Netanyahu said. "The last thing I would want is for Israel to become a partisan issue. Israel has always been a bipartisan issue. Israel should always be made a bipartisan issue."


    • "American leaders worry about the security of their country. Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country," Netanyahu said. "I think that encapsulates the difference."


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