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

(page 3 of 3)

Current and former members of the Israeli national security apparatus have publicly argued against an Israeli strike for now and a former chief of the Israel Defense Forces, Dan Halutz, rejected Netanyahu’s call for red lines.

“When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk. Don’t put red lines,” Halutz told a Washington think tank.

Haim Malka, deputy director and senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the rift comes at a moment when Netanyahu appears to be losing public support in Israel for a unilateral strike against Iran.

Speaking before the White House issued its statement, Malka said it was not surprising that Obama might not be eager for a meeting.

“Netanyahu used strong language that questioned not just the strategic judgment of the administration but its moral judgment in approaching the Iranian nuclear issue,” he said.

“It’s hard to imagine that the administration would set up a meeting between the president and Netanyahu after such a strong verbal attack,” he added.

However, it is also conceivable the White House might judge it politic to arrange a meeting, if only to quell the impression of a rift and reduce the odds of it becoming an issue ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

Accused by Republicans of showing weak support for Israel, Democrats last week resurrected language in their party platform declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel after Obama objected to its having been dropped from the document.

Negotiations between Iran and six major powers to find a diplomatic solution have gone nowhere and it is conceivable that U.S. and Israeli tensions may rise, particularly as Israel sees its window for a unilateral strike closing.

Patrick Clawson, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, said the United States could find itself in a more difficult position if Israel abandoned any thought of a strike on Iran.

“I think what would be worse for American-Israeli relations is if the Israelis say to the Americans: ‘OK, we’re not going to strike Iran. We’re going to assume you’re going to take care of this problem,’” he said.

“Then we get into a situation sometime next year when the Israelis think the Iranians are on the brink of having nuclear weapons and the Americans haven’t done anything. That’s going to be a really big crisis,” he said.


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!
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • 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.