Tag Archives: Benjamin Netanyahu


Blog 332 January 16, 2017


On this Wednesday, Jan. 18, I begin a new

radio broadcast over the internet AND

there’s been a change of address:

The correct one is




     Last week we considered the current struggle in Israel as Obama leaves and Trump enters. Big changes are still in the works!

One that has not been widely reported in US media is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being questioned by Israeli police over allegations of corruption. Netanyahu denied what he called “baseless” reports of receiving gifts from outsiders. Israel’s Channel 2 TV reported he was given and accepted “favors” from businessmen. Moreover, they reported a second investigation involving his family. Longtime friend of Netanyahu, billionaire Ronald Lauder was reportedly involved. Australian billionaire James Packer supposedly gave free trips and gifts to Netanyahu’s son, Yair.

Is this possible? Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went to jail for 19 months for the same offense. Olmert became prime minister when Sharon was felled by a stroke. Could it happen again?

As the American inauguration unfolds, new media are swamped with stories of confirmation hearings and what Trump said that contradicts all predecessors. However, the shock waves have not settled from the United Nation’s Security Council resolution (passed 14 to 0) condemning Israel’s continued expansion of settlements into what has been considered Palestinian territory.

As previously noted, journalist and contributor to USA Today, David A. Andelman has raised serious questions about the road Israel is now on that could also have serious consequences for the USA. Should Israel abandon a two-state solution to the Palestinian crisis, they would have on their hands an increasingly unruly and oppressed majority and the world would be on the Palestinian’s side.

South Africa can certainly tell them what happens when worldwide consumer boycotts and national sanctions are imposed. Like the unsinkable Titanic, the boat can be overturned. Right now momentum is pushing in that direction. Many Israeli’s fear that Netanyahu’s right-wing government is taking too big a gamble.

The glaring problem is that a one-state solution that could produce a globally blacklisted Israel would be toxic to the entire Middle East. And who might step into the leadership role once occupied by the United States? Take a look at Obama’s failed policies in Syria. Russia.

In 1984, Ronald Reagan dined with Rabbi Morris Friedman, the father of the next ambassador to Israel. Neither Rabbit Friedman or President Reagan were seduced by the idea of a one-state solution. Whether president-elect Trump now recognizes it or not, the one-state solution would probably be a disaster in many directions. Unfortunately, Trump is better at talking than listening.

We shall see what is ahead. Keep your set-belt fastened!

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Filed under America, Israel, middle east


BLOG 251 May 4, 2015

The common assumption in the West is that whatever the Prime Minister of Israel says reflects the opinion of the rest of the government. Because Israel is a democratic entity, the generals seldom disagree with the Prime Minister in public. If Netanyahu is opposed to negotiations with IRAN (NOT Israel as previously posted) , so are the generals.

This is not so.

The current disagreement over negotiations with Iran is a case in point.

The recent heated exchange in the media between Netanyahu’s speech to Congress confronting Obama’s position went off like a July 4th fireworks display but  soon subsided. The last ten days have seen little  in the media as it appears everyone has stepped back and carefully (hopefully) are assessing the actual terms of the agreement. This interim is an opportunity to notice an impasortant dynamic operating in the Israeli government.

The military and the Prime Minister are not on the same page.

In the last two years of his term, Obama will probably face growing hostility and opposition from many quarters. The politicians will provide an ample number of Obama haters and the Israeli-lovers will jump on the band wagon. There are ample reasons to be critical of many of Obama’s decision but the issue with Israel is far more complex that it is currently being portrayed.

For example, a group of American senators recently planned to meet with Mossad chief Tamir Pardo. Netanyahu knew Pardo supported the nuclear talks and canceled the meeting. When foreign affairs committee chair Bob Corker, threatened to return to the USA, Netanyahu rescinded and the meeting was held.  What the committee discovered was that Pardo didn’t agree with the Prime Minister and contented that imposing new sanctions would hurt the negotiations. As significant a leader as the head of Israel’s version of the CIA was opposed to Netanyahu’s viewpoint.

Key leaders like the ex-military intelligence chief Yalin, ex-IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, and ex-Mossad chief Efraim Halvey urged Netanyahu to back off and to work with Obama. They insisted he stop trying to scuttle the still unfinished nuclear deal. They believed Israel could not get a better deal than what was currently on the table.

And what followed? In a rare spirit of compromise, on April 14, Corker’s committee took a position that allowed Obama’s negotiations to go forward. The effect was that it split the Netanyahu-Congress alliance and sided with the Obama-Mossad position. The logic was simple. If negotiations failed, Iran would immediately go after a bomb. A US strike would only slow them down by maybe 3 years at best. The Lausanne agreement buys a decade and possibly two to stop Iran’s nuclear pursuits. A much better deal!

The point is that Netanyahu’s end around run at Congress failed at home in Israel. It helped re-elect him but revealed that his own military disagreed with his actions.

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Filed under History, middle east


BLOG 246 March 30, 2015

American-Israeli relationships have hit bottom. This week’s claim that Israel spied on the American-Iranian nuclear negotiations dumped another truck load of rocks on Netanyahu’s racist claims that barely won his re-election followed by a 24-hour flip flop on a two state resolution with the Palestinians. At the heart of the conflict is a collision between the American President and the Prime Minister of Israel.

What’s going on?

I have consistently attempted to stand above partisan politics in examining the Middle East. When it comes to explaining these two men –it’s tough! On one side are either Obama-haters or Obama-lovers pitched against multitudes who idolize everything that happens in Israel. Hopefully, I can get my readers to avoid any subjective perspectives and focus on the facts. So, why the traumatic collision?

Israelis tend to see Obama retreating from world leadership and withdrawing soldiers that ends in a vacuum filled by jihadists. Putin seized Crimea because of Obama’s failure to keep his threat in Syria that made Obama look like a paper tiger. They see Obama as a ‘80s progressive not to be trusted in handling Iran. His positions on the Middle East are seen as confused and contradictory. The Arabs are now forming their own army because they do not believe America can be trusted to stand with them against Iran.

On the other hand, Netanyahu is viewed as a liar that can’t be trusted to keep his word. In 2009 under intense American pressure, Netanyahu instigated a 10-month freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank. However, during the “freeze” 1,175 units were completed and 114 more were started. All in all, the Netanyahu government oversaw construction of 6,867 units in settlement areas, 2,622 were deep in Palestinian territory.  Critics in Israel noted that the $1 billion in illegal settlements could have been better spent to fight Israeli rising housing costs. America and Europe concluded he reneged on his promise and you don’t do that with Allies.

Behind such a “switching the checkers” deal, the Netanyahu politics have offered verbal deceit, talking of peace while torpedoing any two-state solution with the Palestinians. His stringent opposition to a nuclear arms treaty with Iran is seen as fundamentally wanting no deal on any terms with the Iranians. Regardless! His attempt to scuttle the negotiations is now suspect in Washington because he has overstated his oppositions hoping that Americans will not see through the smoke screen.

A week after the cease-fire during the Gaza war, Israel seized 1,000 acres in the West Bank for Israeli settlers. Peace Now, an Israeli group, called this the biggest land grab in over 30 years. The Netanyahu government would claim they were teaching the terrorist a lesson. The international community’s response was that’s not the legal way to teach a lesson.

The flip-flop on a two-state solution was viewed as a last minute attempt to save his election that worked in Israel and resulted in a re-evaluation in Washington of how relations between the two countries would be managed in the future. Not good for Netanyahu’s government nor Israel. A United Nations resolution would set a time table for withdrawal from Palestinians territories, a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, and East Jerusalem as their capital – all defeats for Netanyahu and Israel.

Will matters between Washington and Israel improve? Probably not until Netanyahu is gone. At this point, he probably will not be trusted again by the powers in Washington and Europe.

A most sad situation.

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Filed under America, Israel, Judaism, middle east


BLOG 245 March 23, 2015

Twenty-four hours after winning the election in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu threw the world a curve ball. Bibi snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. A dear friend of mine always says, “All politicians are liars and thieves.” Netanyahu certainly didn’t help that image.

Many thoughtful Jewish people are dismayed and angry at how this election was won. About to lose, he played the racist card. Netanyahu screamed that the Arabs are coming to the polls “in droves” and the Jews better pull together and vote. Of course, Arab citizens  have a right to vote. Such a tactic came straight out of the Jim Crow days in the Deep South. Arabs, Jews, and the White House rebuked such a tactic.

Worst of all, Netanyahu denied his support for a two-state solution and suggested the Palestinians could lump it. Certainly, there are many Jews in Israel who feel this way but the rest of the world disagrees. Netanyahu’s statements further alienated Europe that has also become a rocky road for Israel. The United States responded that they would no longer protect Israel in the United Nations debates on the Palestinians. Twenty-four hours later Netanyahu withdrew those positions after the election was over.

How bad can it get?

In his last minute attempt to win, Bibi has demonstrated it can get worse. Regardless of 47 congressional signatures on a letter to Iran, he has seriously damaged his currently shaky personal relationship with the United States. The strong Jewish voice and the right-wing unequivocal support of Israel as well as the pressure of the USA’s need of an important Middle East ally will definitely not end the diplomatic, military, and security  connection with Israel. However, the Prime Minister’s office may soon discover the line is busy when he attempts to call the United States.

Netanyahu’s trip to speak to Congress put the Obama administration on the defense. Netanyahu’s twenty-four hour flip-flop amazingly switched the chairs. Obama has come out on top because of Netanyahu’s own maneuvers. While the Prime Minister was making gains in his opposition to a treaty with Iran, he has now spent most of the capital. It appears the West will close a deal with Iran whether Bibi likes it or not.

As damaging as the foregoing is, what Netanyahu has done to his own image is no small matter. No longer does he appear to be a statesman sounding a trumpet of alarm. He has come off as a predictable politician that will say anything to win. At this point, he may even have trouble forming a government as local politicians back away, forcing him to develop a cabinet from religious and nationalistic groups. Such a result would further deepen the racist charge against his government. Moshe Kahlon, the other big winner in the election, may be pulled into the new cabinet. However, Kahlon and Netanyahu dislike each other and that tension could bring down a new government quickly.

With ISIS functioning around 20 miles from the Israeli border, the issues are super serious. Netanyahu’s next moves may be the most important in his political life with dramatic effects on the future. He’d best think carefully and be cautious in what he says this time.

Is winning at all cost worth it? History answers no.

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Filed under America, Arabs, Israel, middle east


BLOG 243 MARCH 9, 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington came at the invitation of Speaker John Boehner – not the Obama administration. With Netanyahu only weeks from a re-election vote, his visit has been protested in Israel as well as by the current administration. The Western nuclear negotiators on Iran put out leaks to the media that ran from Netanyahu is a liar to a disruptive element for the White House. On the other hand, Israel maintains publically that if a bad deal is struck in Iran, their fate will end in total annihilation.

How do we sort out these contradictions? Possibly by considering what is behind each side’s position. One of the lingering criticisms of the Obama era will be the withdrawal of America from an international leadership position. As we now know, the vacuum was not filled by “good-guys.” Putin’s march into the Crimea following Obama’s backing away from his red-line in Syria is such an example. America appears to be back-tracking from its former role of leadership in maintaining world order.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Israelis recognize that radical Islam comes into two varieties: Shi’ites and Sunnis. They worry more about the Shi’ites because they have a well-entrenched state in Iran that is hot pursuit of The Bomb. The potential capacities of this group are real. Israel lives daily with that fact.

The U.S. government continues to point to the United Nations as the enforcer of world peace. America resorts to the UN in debates and discussions of possible actions. Does anyone really believe the UN can enforce world peace? No.

Israel points to the fact that UN has repeatedly sided with the Palestinians and ignored such realities as Hezbollah shooting thousands of rockets into Israel. Study groups and committees within the UN have been labeled anti-Semitic. Israelis (as well as most of the rest of the world) see the UN as going nowhere when it comes to war and peace.

There is with Shi’ite Islam a “quietism” tradition that believes politics and religion don’t mix.  This ends up with the idea that ultimate leadership should come from the Muslim clergy. (i.e. Iran.) The Israelis certainly don’t see that system working out on their behalf.

Obama recently called the attacks in France “senseless violence.” Israel would call it “logical violence.” They see it as having definite reasoning.  For example, the New York Times refused to publish cartoons that Muslims protested while publishing cartoons that are offensive to Christians and Jews. An Islamic purpose was accomplished. This contradiction displays how what may seem pointless can mean a great deal in the Muslim world.

The bottom line is negotiations to end nuclear pursuit in Iran would be Obama’s major accomplishment in his second term. The agreement would be his legacy. On the other hand, the Israelis believe Iran has no intention of signing a treaty that halts their pursuit of The Bomb on a permanent basis. This view seems them as only stalling for time.

Does this amount to a problem between Israel and the United States? Big time.

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Filed under America, Israel, middle east, Muslims


Two significant men are key factors in much of what is currently happening in the Middle East. While it is not always easy to get a definite reading on either man, I believe it is important to access them as clearly as possible. We’re talking about Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu.
In an election year, anything said about President Obama ends up in a political context with the assumption that I’m either promoting or denigrating the candidate. Hopefully, you’ll recognize the tendency and side step the temptation to interpret me in that light. What follows is a candid attempt at an evaluation of the man. While President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize within months of his election, many observers believed the award to be questionable. In fact, Obama’s record has not been what would normally expect of a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
A brief reading of the historic record reveals the following: More military aggression than most presidents have displayed in decades. Not only was Osama Ben Laden taken out, but Al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated. Drone attacks in Pakistan have not won friends in that government, but have made it clear that Obama isn’t backing down. Effective covert wars in Yemen and Somalia along with a three-fold increase in American troops in Afghanistan made it evident that the president had no problem in waging war. Obama was the first American president to authorize the assassination of a citizen when Anwar Al-Awlaki (born in New Mexico) was hit by a drone attack in Yemen.
Liberals who worked to elect Obama probably don’t rejoice in this record. Nevertheless, when Obama accepted the Nobel Peace prize, he articulated his position on war and made it clear that he was not a pacificist. He said, “For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.”
In a similar fashion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also offers surprises. Politics in Israel can be wilder than what unfolds in America. On May 8, Netanyahu demonstrated what a clever and innovative politician he really is. Former political battles had been with Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni. Certainly Livni is a woman of significant capacity and drive. However, she had been forced from party leadership after failing to join the Netanyahu coalition following the last election. On May 8, the prime minister made a public appearance to announce that Shaul Mofaz, the current head of Kadima, had joined his government, creating a new coalition.
No one in Israel anticipated this engagement that signaled what a significant politician Netanyahu is. The prime minister’s surprise move brought enduring stability to his government, guaranteeing survival until the next scheduled election in October, 2013. Not only is perseverance and continuity guaranteed, Netanyahu has the firm grip to persue any policy he wishes sue. Say, for example, — bombing Iran. (Which Ehud Barak is itching to do!)
The point? Both men do not back away from conflict. Neither is afraid to strike and both are capable of recognizing the expedient military path. Political opponents should be weary of pushing either leader into a corner. Obama and Netanyahu now stand ready to take any road that best serves their country and their purposes without worrying about internal opposition stopping them.
Don’t let the American election environment with bizarre charges misguide you. Both men are capable, ready, and willing.

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Filed under Faith, Forgivness, History, middle east, Peace, Shrouded in Silence