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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

During his press conference today, as he vigorously defended the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama also made some subtle (or not so subtle) references to Benjamin Netanyahu — to turn the Israeli prime minister’s own words against him.

Obama stressed that other issues involving Iran had to be separated out from the central nuclear question — that this tight focus was necessary in order to establish the international cooperation needed to enforce the economic sanctions that would in turn bring Iran to the bargaining table.

“And by the way, that was not simply my priority. If you look back at all the debates that have taken place over the last five, six years, this has been a Democratic priority, this has been a Republican priority — this has been Prime Minister Netanyahu’s priority. It’s been our Gulf allies’ priority, making sure Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.”

Later on, Obama also addressed the idea that by having previously frozen money returned to them, Iran would be able to expand its presence in Syria and other hotspots. On one hand, he explained, Iran would have to spend some of that money on its own domestic infrastructure, to recover from the economic damage of the sanctions — and on the other, the United States and its allies would indeed work to counter any increased military presence.

But he also said something else that was very interesting:

The other problem with the argument that folks have been making about, oh, this is a windfall and suddenly Iran is flush with cash, and they’re going to take over the world. And I say that not tongue in cheek, because if you look at some of the statements by some of our critics, you would think that Iran is, in fact, going to take over the world as a consequence of this deal — which I think would be news to the Iranians.

That argument is also premised on the notion that if there is no deal, if Congress votes down this deal, that we’re able to keep sanctions in place with the same vigor and effectiveness as we have right now. And that, I can promise you, is not true. That is absolutely not true. I want to repeat: We’re not writing Iran a check. This is Iran’s money that we were able to block them from having access to. That required the cooperation of countries all around the world, many of whom really want to purchase oil from Iran. The imposition of sanctions — their cooperation with us — has cost them billions of dollars, made it harder for them. They’ve been willing to do that because they’ve believed we were sincere about trying to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully, and they considered that a priority — a high enough priority that they were willing to cooperate with us on sanctions.

One of those “critics” Obama spoke of, who was warning that Iran might take over the world, was…Benjamin Netanyahu, in a tweet from a few days ago:

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  • Sand_Cat

    To be generous, Netanyahoo is a Fascist who learned from the history of oppression suffered by Jews how to apply the same oppression to Arabs.

    • Independent1

      You may have seen this article before Sandy, if so, maybe some other NM readers will appreciate knowing just how underhanded Bibi (Netanyahu) can be. Note that Bill Clinton’s impression after meeting Bibi was that: Bibi thinks he’s the ‘superpower’, and we’re just here to do what he requires.

      Here’s an excerpt from an article titled: The Unbearable Rudeness of Bibi

      Secretary of State James Baker temporarily banned then-Deputy Foreign Minister Netanyahu from the State Department for his “lies and distortions comments,” while Netanyahu’s manipulation comments only prove President Clinton’s initial impression after meeting with the new Prime Minister in which he said “[h]e thinks he is the superpower, and we are here to do whatever he requires.” (Further supporting Clinton’s assessment was the recent statement of one of Netanyahu’s cabinet members who told the U.S. ambassador that Israel expects “unconditional” support “even when you think we’re wrong.”)

      Time and time again, Netanyahu has shown little respect for American presidents, institutions or interests despite the fact that we provide Israel with over $3 billion in aid annually, use our diplomatic capital to block anti-Israeli measures at the United Nations and have had to endure a devastating oil embargo and terrorist attacks at home and abroad because of our support for Israel.

      For more on how rude and intolerable Bibi can get, go here:

  • Independent1

    The Deal on Iran was for contributor PCalith of the Daily Kos, a culmination of Obama’s successes, and was all that was needed for him to write an article titled:

    Obama’s Spectacular Presidency

    Here are a few excerpts from the article which I concur with 100%:

    I just wanted this to get some air. Obama is officially the best President the U.S. has had in a long, looong time. From finally cracking the health insurance nut, to getting the Iran deal, his Presidency has been one of cool, clear headed forward thinking.

    His presidency holds massive symbolic value as proof that the reign of white men over American government can be halted and America as a whole can be represented. And while he was too slow in announcing support for same-sex marriage, he appointed two of the justices behind the Supreme Court’s historic decision legalizing it nationwide, and enlisted his Justice Department on the side of the plaintiffs.We’ve never had anyone like him – and I would be very surprised if we ever did again. No man has carried the office, through joy and struggle, as well and as dutifully as President Obama.

    There are definite points of disagreement I have with him, but it’s still a damn shame we can’t get a third term out of him.

    To read a little more on the article where PCalith sums up what he feels are some of Obama’s accomplishments, go here:

  • FireBaron

    Bibi and his predecessor, the unlamented Ariel Sharon, did more to damage US/Middle East relations than any terrorist could hope to. Both of them have played the US like a finely tuned violin – promising reforms and equal treatment for its Arab Citizens. The thing to remember is they do not consider any Arab in any of the portions of Occupied Palestine a Citizen of Israel! So, while the Arabs who live within the 1947 borders have all the same rights as any Jewish resident, those outside of those borders are treated like peoples without a country.

  • Dominick Vila

    Why have so many American Presidents catered to the wishes of Israel since its creation. Why does Israel exert so much pressure on American foreign policy making, and has such a powerful influence in American public opinion? Israel is no different from any other country. In fact, we have much closer ties to the UK, France, and a few other countries, from a historical perspective, than with Israel, a country created on the premise of religion. Most importantly, why did the current U.S. invite Bibi Netanyahu to deliver a speech, broadcasted by most media networks, to criticize an incumbent U.S. President? Should we assume there was logic behind CNN’s Rick Sanchez assertion a few years ago?
    Mr. Netanyahu should mind his own business and deal with the priorities and needs of his country, instead of promoting discord in the USA. If his paranoia is fueled by fear that our foreign and military aid to Israel may be jeopardized as a result of this agreement, he should consider the influence the Jewish community has in U.S. policy making. That aid will continue, indefinitely and regardless of who is in the White House and which party controls Congress for many years to come.

    • plc97477

      I think the USA had some quilt feelings after the second world war because we were so slow to enter. unfortunately Israel got used to the pandering and now feel it is their right. As the population of the USA has aged we have lost track of the quilt that kept us beholden to Israel.

  • yabbed

    This agreement is none of Netanyahu’s business. This agreement was negotiated by the 6 most powerful nations on earth in the best interests of the world. It’s time for America to cut Israel loose.

    • ram1020

      Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and had been an ally. By allowing Iran, a country that shouts “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”, to have nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, we have pretty much cut Israel loose. We sold them out to allow Europe to get the Iranian oil they want, and to sell them the German made industrial equipment Iran wants. It’s what one might expect from a Republican. You got your wish yabbed.

      • yabbed

        Apparently, you failed to read my avatar. I am a liberal Democrat. I have never voted for a Republican in my life.

        Israel is a war criminal state and no friend of the USA. No decent human being can support Israel’s savage attacks on the defenseless Gazans and the brutal occupation and oppression of Palestinians. Israel is the only country in the Middle East who repeatedly threatens to use nuclear weapons on another country.

        All countries have their rabid fundamentalist radicals. We have a Senator McCain who went on television singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran”.

        • ram1020

          One might wonder if retaliating in kind for the rockets the defenseless Gazans launch into Israel is criminal. For a liberal Democrat, which your avatar claims, you seem very Republican in your support of a sell-out for oil deal.

          • norah mackenzie

            who wants oil – everyone does – and if u want to talk abt gaza – ask the israelis who keep doing the same thing to the people in gaza? israel has done nothing but to add to more tension in the regime and on whose dime ? The US taxpayers mind you i dont see the great state of israel repaying any money to the us govt for the sale of military hardware etc?

          • yabbed

            Gaza has no army, no navy, no air force, no fighter jets, no attack helicopters, no drones, no tanks, no armored vehicles, no bombs, no missiles, no white phosphorus, no depleted uranium shells, nothing but rocks and a few crude unguided rockets which land with a thud to use against the mighty Israeli war machine. And you call that “retaliating in kind”?

            All occupied people have a right to resist their occupation under international law so, no, nothing Palestinians do in resistance to Israel’s brutal occupation and oppression is a crime. Think back to the Warsaw Ghetto and tell me who were the criminals: the Nazis who held the Jews in captivity in the ghetto or the Jews who resisted with whatever homemade petrol bombs and bricks they could get their hands on to use against the Nazis?

      • norah mackenzie

        last time i checked israel was there to be an ally of the usa not its master. It is the us who keeps sending billions of tax payer money to an ally whose pm has done nothing but disrespect the duly elected president of the usa – he campaigned for romney in 2012 he went and gave a speech in front of congress when pple all over asked him not to – pres obama has done the best thing he can for the USA and that is to protect US citizens from going to war – bibi has done nothing but take money and insult the president. he wants us troops to fight on behalf of israel – do u want to send your relatives or family members to fight another futile war like bush;s ? I certainly dont. This Iran deal was done with all the major powers not by pres obama or john kerry alone. Bibi is the loner here and it serves him right. him and his ambassdor to the usa are not there to dictate foreign policy – to pres obama when they cant even control their own state.

      • charleo1

        “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.” You do realize how hypocritical that statement is, right? Given that our own CIA has admitted working with the British to instigate the removal of the democratically elected government in Iran, so as to install our own friendly dictator back in ’53. You knew that right? The Iranians do, I guarantee they do. You are also aware, that we, to this day support, and protect the monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Dubai, and I’m sure several other smaller ones collectively ruling, often with an iron hand, over millions. That we also have at various times since installing the Shaw, backed, and supported with our money, weapons and defense treaties, various strong men, and military dictators in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen. Well, you get the point. If Israel really is the only democracy in the Mid East, are our hands clean? Or should we act surprised when the people chafe under the brutal regimes we helped impose? And come to resent the U.S. for it’s meddling, and the tyrannies in their Countries. And so become fed up, have a revolution, and throw out our unelected creep.
        And now, what have we? We have a mess. It’s a lot about reaping, and sowing, and about having an enemy that might once have been friend. And now of course, we’re scared they might want to develop a horrible weapon, and they might turn it on us. And so we can’t trust ’em. Right? They hold Death to America rallies, for Christ’s sake! Something the Shaw would never allow. It feels like freedom to them. Go figure, Well, at the end of the day, who would you say is responsible for a lot of that?

  • Grannysmovin

    1992: Israeli member of parliament Binyamin Netanyahu predicts that Iran was “3 to 5 years” from having a nuclear weapon. Well based on Netanyahu’s prediction they were going to have a nuclear weapon by 2007 and ere we are 8 years past that prediction and it is going to be any day now.
    1992: Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres predicts an Iranian nuclear warhead by 1999 to French TV. Well 16 years later and they are still on the verge of a nuclear
    1995: The New York Times quotes US and Israeli officials saying that Iran would have the bomb by 2000.

    Based on those three predictions Iran is either very slow, lacks the intelligence to complete the task or Israel is very bad at predicting.

    1998: Donald Rumsfeld tells Congress that Iran could have an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the US by 2003. Rumsfeld not good in predicting either.

    Testifying before the House Government Reform Committee Sept. 2002 Netanyahu said: “If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”….
    We went to war with Iraq, took out Saddam’s regime and what we got was an
    enormous negative reverberations. Instead what happened was the rise of
    terrorist groups like ISIS.

    If the Republicans with the help of some Democrats derail this agreement, what will the consequence? Will the International Community continue the sanctions? Will all the parties go back to the negotiating table? Will the U.S. be trusted in future International Negotiations? Or Will the U.S. be trusted in general? If Israel and/or the U.S. takes what they refer to as a Pre-Emptive military attack, how will Russia
    and China respond? “Congress can talk a lot about a better deal, but if they don’t want this agreement, then they own the problem,”

    • latebloomingrandma

      I’m getting a little tired of Bibi and all of his hyperbole. The reason he dislikes Obama, IMO, is that Obama didn’t kowtow to his every whim or kiss his butt. Although Israel needs to protect itself, it does nothing to promote peace.
      The Palestinians are living under horrid conditions and are refugees in what used to be their own country. I know it is complicated, but Israel is as old as I am –66 years. Who is being stubborn here?

      • Grannysmovin

        I agree – Netanyahu was never on any ballot I saw, I never voted for him and he does not speak for me. He should stay in his own lane and address Israel’s issues and let us deal with ours.

      • norah mackenzie

        the reason why he dislikes obama is because pres obama hasnt allowed him to go ahead and bomb another country like he has been wanting to do for years. Interesting to note that a lot of israeli defense pple are in favour of this iran deal and opposing their own prime minister. Why wd they do that otherwise? because they know that nobody wants war least of all israel. its easy to talk tough but unless there is another alternative this iran deal is the best at the moment. A deal that all the countries have agreed to even russia and china

      • norah mackenzie

        also he doesnt like obama because pres obama actually thinks first with his brain rather than letting an israeli pm dictate to the usa on what to do. and he also dislikes pres obama because i think that bibi looks down on him due to his colour of his skin tbh. hate to say it but it seems like it – has bibi even dared to behave like this with bush for example ?

    • plc97477

      Maybe Israel just lies a lot.

  • Whatmeworry

    In 7 years Barak has never had foreign policy success. And yet not even reading he agreement pronounces it as a great deal. Until the voters get to read It in Its entirety NO DEAL

  • CrankyToo

    Mr Netanyahu’s world must be very small indeed, because there’s no freaking way a piss-ant country like Iran is going to take over OUR world.

  • oldtack

    Aah – BIBI
    Who is BIBI? An Israeli that was born and grew up in the puppet State of Israel?
    Not quite.
    BIBI came to America as a young child and lived in a small town in Pennsylvania where he attended elementary school. He and his parents returned to the Puppet State for a short time then returned to Pennsylvania where BIBI graduated from High School. Hr then attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received two degrees. Only after he attained full adulthood and an education did BIBI return to Israel. To his dubious credit, he did return to Israel and fight in two engagement where he received wounds. Otherwise he was pure USA.
    Before we place much credence in Bibi’s rhetoric we should look at history concerning the Jews and the creation of this puppet State. Who created this state and for what purpose. They would proclaim to you that they and they alone are GODS chosen people and this is a fulfillment of Prophecy that GOD is returning them to the HOLY LAND.
    To that- I question – IF the JEWS are GODS chosen people then then should not GOD”S love protect them from all harm. Should not GOD supply their needs?
    If so, then why do the Gentiles of the European powers ans the USA expend Billions of dollars of aid and billions of dollars of armaments to sustain and protect them?