Obama and Netanyahu in Tight Spot on Iran

Analysis: Both Leaders Walk on Political Tightrope

All Smiles: Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama, shown here during a meeting last spring, are both facing tricky domestic political and diplomatic situations.
getty images
All Smiles: Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama, shown here during a meeting last spring, are both facing tricky domestic political and diplomatic situations.

By Reuters

Published September 12, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu appear to have landed in a place neither wanted to be: squabbling about Iran, in public, ahead of a U.S. presidential election.

For the Democratic U.S. president, the dispute risks alienating supporters of Israel in a campaign in which Republican nominee Mitt Romney is eager to drive a wedge between Obama and Jewish voters, and to portray the president as weak.

For Netanyahu, who prides himself on his grasp of U.S. politics, it may further underline the disconnect with his nation’s ally over the imminence of the threat from a nuclear-armed Iran and the advisability of an Israeli strike to prevent it.

The U.S.-Israeli rift, among the deepest in recent decades, has bubbled barely below the surface for over a year, but broke into the open on Tuesday.

In recent weeks, Netanyahu had begun demanding that Obama set “red lines” that Iran must not cross in its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons. Washington has made clear, in not so subtle diplomatic code, that it is not ready to take such a step - and did not appreciate the advice.

Then on Tuesday, Netanyahu went a diplomatic step further, suggesting the United States had no right to try to stop Israel from using force against Iran.

“The world tells Israel ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’” Netanyahu, speaking in English, told a news conference in Jerusalem.

“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” he added.

Hours later, an Israeli official said Obama had rejected Netanyahu’s request for a meeting in the United States later this month - a fact sure to be read as a snub in Israel. The White House disputed that version of events, saying Netanyahu never sought a meeting in Washington and it never rejected one.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.