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Netanyahu praises Obama for ... his Cairo speech to Muslim world!

For many hawkish and pro-Israel commentators, there are few events that are more infamous than Obama's speech in Cairo last summer. Though he reaffirmed in that speech that the U.S.'s bond with Israel is "unbreakable," many analysts have simply ignored this fact and pointed to Obama's outreach to the Muslim world as proof of anti-Israel intent.

So it's a bit surprising that at their joint press availability today, Netanyahu actually praised that Cairo speech, specifically citing it as proof that the President does not harbor ill will towards Israel. From the White House transcript, just out:

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: The President and I discussed concrete steps that could be done now, in the coming days and the coming weeks, to move the peace process further along in a very robust way. This is what we focused our conversation on. And when I say the next few weeks, that's what I mean. The President means that, too...

Let me make a general observation about the question you posed to the President. And here I'll have to paraphrase Mark Twain, that the reports about the demise of the special U.S.-Israel relations -- relationship aren't just premature, they're just flat wrong...

What is not told is the fact that we have an enduring bond of values, interests, beginning with security and the way that we share both information and other things to help the common defense of our common interests -- and many others in the region who don't often admit to the beneficial effect of this cooperation.

So I think there's -- the President said it best in his speech in Cairo. He said in front of the entire Islamic world, he said, the bond between Israel and the United States is unbreakable. And I can affirm that to you today.

Hard to square that with the conservative interpretation of that speech, isn't it?

Also key: Jake Tapper asks whether Netanhayu's suggestion that the two men talked about moving the peace process forward in the coming weeks means that there could be peace talks on the agenda.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 6, 2010; 3:14 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

Well then obviously Netanyahu hates Israel as much as Obama does.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 6, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I always knew Netanyahu was a self-hating Jew.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 6, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

But but but NASA!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 6, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Hard to square that with the conservative interpretation of that speech, isn't it?"

Not to worry, they'll find a way. Mankind's ability to rationalize the indefensible may well be our most plentiful resource.

Posted by: CalD | July 6, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Huh. How's this going to play back home?

I'm getting the sense that an awful lot of the cacophony surrounding the US-Israel relationship is just covering up real diplomatic work going on. Probably the way most diplomacy occurs, but it seems especially so in this instance.

The breathless reporting about Netanyahu leaving D.C. abruptly last spring really overplayed the so-called rift.

But I'm sure Liz Cheney and Karl Rove will be along shortly to explain why Netanyahu didn't mean what he actually said.

More interesting will be the reaction from Democrats.

Posted by: CTVoter | July 6, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I know how conservatives will play this. This was Bibi rightfully backing Obama into a corner--by emphasizing that special relationship---It's Bibi taking control from the naive American president, by using said President's words against him. It's Bibi being a genius, schooling the inexperienced president. Thank God Bibi was here to put his foot down.

Posted by: CTVoter | July 6, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"The bond between Israel and the United States is unbreakable."

I would think that many of Greg's readers would be unhappy to read this?

I also love Bibi's subtle dig at some other [unnamed] Arab countries that secretly benefit from the Israeli-US intelligence relationship all while decrying the special treatment in public.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 6, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"The bond between Israel and the United States is unbreakable."

I would think that many of Greg's readers would be unhappy to read this?

I also love Bibi's subtle dig at [unnamed] countries that secretly benefit from the Israeli-US intelligence relationship while those same countries decry that unbreakable bond in public.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 6, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"I would think that many of Greg's readers would be unhappy to read this?"

Typical republican to think we'd be unhappy about our partnership with Israel. Just shows how willfully ignorant your side is. I'm happy to have them as an ally, even a strong ally. But we can still criticize them for antagonizing the Palestinians by continuing settlements which benefit very few to the detriment of the entire region and even to our country's national security.

I object to US lawmakers prioritizing Israel's expansion over pretty much every other issue going on anywhere in the world and especially here at home.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 6, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Nominee for quote of the day, from the Weekly Standard...

"J Street Politicizes Support for Israel"

Cute, no? AIPAC and the ADL are, by way of stark contrast, just into tourism.

We'll also note that the two right-wing big thinkers and middle east experts quoted for the piece are Lieberman and...uh, Palin, actually.

Here's the third last graph;
"Who circulated this letter critical of the blockade of Gaza around the House? That would be J Street, of course."

The writer here probably just forgot to mention the harsh criticism of the blockade that marks almost every issue of Israel's oldest paper, Ha'aretz.

Then, the final two graphs:
"One might also note that the team behind the ad includes Meretz U.S.A. – the American arm of the hippy-dippy left-wing eco-party that holds all of three seats in the Israeli Knesset. Other members of the “Yes Community,” according to J Street, are “Congress” and “American Jews.” Funny, then, that more than 327 members of the House signed a letter to the administration this spring urging Hillary Clinton to do precisely what J Street attacks Joe Lieberman for in the ad – to settle any differences “quietly, in trust and confidence, as befits longstanding strategic allies.”

But perhaps the most despicable element of this ad is the use of an image showing General Petraeus in uniform and implying that he somehow supports J Street’s anti-Israel positions. In the past, the left has gone nuts whenever images of Petraeus were used in political ads to imply his endorsement or support -- and the Pentagon hasn’t taken kindly to it either."

Hippies. Still messing up the world. And J Street is (axiomatically) anti-Israel along with all jews and Israeli's who aren't extremist rightwing ideologues. But we new that.

And it is absolutely verbotten to use military symbolism for any other purpose than in support of those same extremist ideas and policies. Military symbolism is the property of the right.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/j-street-politicizes-israel

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"I would think that many of Greg's readers would be unhappy to read this?"

I would think that you're an idiot.

I'd be right.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 6, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Now now, Ethan - remember the bilge rule. You're not supposed to call people names!

Posted by: sbj3 | July 6, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@sdJeff: "Typical republican to think we'd be unhappy about our partnership with Israel."

Have we been reading the same blog comments?

Posted by: sbj3 | July 6, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

sbj quotes and comments: "The bond between Israel and the United States is unbreakable."

I would think that many of Greg's readers would be unhappy to read this?

****

If it implied what you seem to imagine, sure. But of course it doesn't. Not under this administration and not under any prior administration (eg James Baker threatening to cut the BIG welfare checks Israel gets from the US each month).

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

@bernie: "If it implied what you seem to imagine, sure."

Did you mean, "If it implied what many of The Plum Line's liberal commentors seem to imagine?"

Posted by: sbj3 | July 6, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan - actually, sbj is correct to call you on the personal slander.

He's taking a reading of Obama's quote as absolute support and Obama's words can be read that way. And to the degree that Obama's words were delivered for political reasons, criticism is fine. But not very important in this case in any aspect reflecting on real states of affairs. And, as we all know, the modern right takes every opportunity to suggest that only they offer real support to Israel - thus, again, this is rightwing territory and a Dem isn't allowed to inhabit it.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@sbj - which many and what was said to suggest support for Israel is absent?

Seriously. Who here has said something which you or I could not find in Ha'aretz or find in Israeli peace movement literature or find in commentary from American jews who are opposed to present Likud/Kadima policy?

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I just said that if he had that thought, I'd think he was an idiot and I'd be right. Frankly, I think mine is a factual comment and not a personal attack. It is asinine to think of America's relationship with Israel as, in any way, "breakable." Totally f-ing asinine.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 6, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

OT but noteworthy...

Sullivan has a good Pollster graph up showing the trend of Americans' support for healthcare as ascertained by cumulative polling services:
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/07/rasmussen-watch.html

As you'll see, it tells a rather different tale than is presently being propagandized.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@bernie: "Which many and what was said to suggest support for Israel is absent?"

"Who here has said something which you or I could not find in Ha'aretz ...?"

These are two different things.

It would be disingenuous to claim that no commentors here disapprove of the idea of an "unbreakable bond" between Israel and the US.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 6, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan - my notion here is that it is very important to differentiate between an idea held and the person. I know that I have held some truly idiotic ideas in my lifetime but I'm not an idiot (except as my wife might so determine, of course). Fair?

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/happy_hour_roundup_43.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 6, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

@sbj - Excuse me but it is surely disingenuous of you to pretend that YOU would sign onto a treaty that established an absolute and insoluble bond between Israel and the US.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"my notion here is that it is very important to differentiate between an idea held and the person. I know that I have held some truly idiotic ideas in my lifetime but I'm not an idiot (except as my wife might so determine, of course). Fair?"

No. Not fair.

SBJ is not in the least interested in whether or not "many of Greg's readers" think the bond between America and Israel is unbreakable.

He has proven, PROVEN, that he doesn't care about discussing issues from an objective, fact-based standpoint. This alone makes him an idiot and a domestic enemy who would rather see America fail than a democratically-elected Dem succeed.

These people, who spurn facts in favor of pointed rhetoric based on total hallucinations, are the enemy of the United States of America. Forget Al Qaeda. Americans who disregard facts to construct fantasies, which suit their own political or economic purposes, ARE the enemy.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 6, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan - I guess we'll have to disagree on this. Not a problem for me as I disagree with everybody on some thing or other. If my twin brother and I were identical, we'd still disagree on who was prettier.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

LOL!

Now I'm a domestic enemy?

Posted by: sbj3 | July 6, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"Now I'm a domestic enemy?"

On that claim/argument, I'm in accord with Ethan. At least insofar as you represent aspects of the modern conservative movement which I consider to be and have been hugely destructive to the well-being of US citizens.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

After reading ant semitic comments from liberals for months, (because they perceived Obama was ant-Israeli), it's funny as hell to see them now praising our alliance with Israel, since they now believe Obama is pro-Israel.

I guess the sheep are easy for Obama and the media to lead.

Posted by: Thozmaniac | July 7, 2010 5:58 AM | Report abuse

woebegone wrote: "Always knew Netanyahu was a self-hating Jew". This is patently absurd but it shows to what lengths people will go to spread their propaganda.

Netanyahu is playing "nette" but remains a "Yahu". His earlier response to Obama's Cairo speech looked at first glance fairly positive and seemed to offer a chance for a peace initiative. It was also selectively quoted in the US press to encourage this interpretation. Often only the first half of the speech was posted. Unfortunately the latter half of the speech was a justification for expansion of settlement and military control of the West Bank.

Again, Netanyahu reacts to Obama. And again, what seems like a "peace initiative" is nothing other than the veil before the face of Israel's nationalistic politics.

CB in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | July 7, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

..yawn..

Who cares?

Posted by: flintston | July 7, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Dear Fred Feurstein,

Obviously from your "yawn", you don't care whether 1 and 1/2 million people are trapped in a ghetto. No, I was thinking of Warsaw.

CB

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | July 7, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Dear chrisbrown12,

""Always knew Netanyahu was a self-hating Jew". This is patently absurd but it shows to what lengths people will go to spread their propaganda."

You clearly don't get snark. Not one bit.

Your response is hilarious.

Posted by: CTVoter | July 7, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The only thing significant about the Cairo speech was how he listed four or five accomplishments of Muslims in science, math and technology and most of them were false because they have so few accomplishments in those areas that Obama had to falsify some to come up with a handful.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 8, 2010 1:36 AM | Report abuse

It's perfectly consistent with the NASA chief who said Obama told him he needs to help Muslims feel good about themselves.

Just tell them in a very condescending way they made vital contributions to western science so they feel good about their self worth like the grade school gym class where everyone's a winner.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 8, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Praising the Obama Cairo speech is Netanyahu's way of laughing at Obama and reminding him of his failure to make good on his speech to the Muslim world. Netanyahu knows Obama is well aware that most in the Muslim world have lost confidence in him. Personally, i have too and will never vote for him again. Hopes he does not win a 2nd term.

Posted by: marge9 | July 8, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

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