Obama White House in meltdown over Netanyahu’s proposed speech to Congress

posted at 10:01 am on January 23, 2015 by Noah Rothman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, once slandered by an unnamed White House official as a “chickens***,” does not seem so timid anymore. The White House did not feel that it was especially necessary to even investigate who made those insulting comments in an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, and they will almost certainly not investigate recent controversial statements made by another unnamed White House official. But they should. Whoever in the administration gave Haaretz their most recent set of quotes has cast this White House in a distinctly unflattering light.

Speaking to the center-left Israeli newspaper, one unnamed source said that congressional Republicans’ decision to invite Netanyahu to speak before an upcoming joint session was an affront to the dignity of the administration. When Netanyahu travels to the United States in March, he will not have the privilege of meeting with either President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden. They will have their revenge against Netanyahu by completely yielding to him control of the national stage. That ought to show him.

According to Haaretz, one official says they have more ammunition to deploy against the leader of one of America’s strongest allies, and they intend to use it.

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” a senior American official said. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.” [emphasis added]

Someone in the White House has been watching far too many episodes of House of Cards and thought that the casual casting about of petty and impotent threats makes the issuer seem tough and appear in command. In fact, it just sounds juvenile.

It’s almost like the White House has no interest in reining in supposedly rogue elements within their ranks who are more than happy to provide the press with inflammatory quotes designed to sour the president’s bilateral relationship with Netanyahu’s government.

Who benefits from this quarrelsomeness? Surely, the administration, which has taken to governing for the left from the left, seems to think that it benefits from alienating America’s Israeli allies. But if Obama really wanted to hurt Netanyahu’s electoral prospects, he would embrace the Israeli leader. As of last year, 70 percent of Israelis said they had no confidence in Obama to safeguard their national interests. For most of the president’s first term, his approval rating in Israel was persistently stuck in the single digits. Netanyahu could only benefit domestically from being seen as a figure nobly standing opposed to the hostile administration temporarily occupying a historically friendly American government.

What’s more, Obama’s decision to sideline himself during an Israeli Prime Minister’s visit to Congress does not seem to be particularly well-considered. For the day, ascendant Republicans will take hold of the reins of American statecraft and foreign policy. Optically, congressional Republicans will be elevated to global statesmen and will assume equal footing with the President of the United States. Meanwhile, Obama and his aides will nurse their wounds behind closed doors in the West Wing. The contrast between the petulant White House and bold Republican majorities in Congress will be stark.

The administration does have a point when it protests this proposed visit to Congress by an Israeli leader facing an upcoming election. Republicans abandoned protocol when they invited Netanyahu to speak without consulting the administration first, and the claim that Republicans may be interfering in Israeli politics has merit. The White House’s decision to take this affront out on the Israeli prime minister is an odd one, though, and it underscores just how little control Obama now has over the affairs of state. Contrary to all the pageantry and bluster of a supposedly emboldened and uncompromising Obama, the president is still very much a lame duck. Actions speak far louder than State of the Union addresses.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

If the tough guy White House quote didn’t come from a pencil neck pajama-boy I’ll eat my hat.

Mason on January 23, 2015 at 4:28 PM

While the US gives aid, money, military defense to the parasite nation of Israel we couldn’t even depend on Netanyahu to have our backs, the entire Western World’s back when Putin took Crimea. Israel was completely neutral on the matter. Israel brings nothing, nothing to the table.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:05 PM

How close is Israel to Russia and their ally Iran?

Star Bird on January 23, 2015 at 4:29 PM

imver on January 23, 2015 at 4:25 PM

Israel was kissing Putin’s butt for help with Iran. They already have us suckered. They can afford to take the good ole’ USA for granted.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:30 PM

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:27 PM

Ummmm, what?

A) not a preacher

B) throw her body out for the dogs at the gate a la Jezebel?

C) does this have anything to do with the price of tea in China?

D) all of the above

E) none of the above

Revelation21v3n4 on January 23, 2015 at 4:38 PM

Wow, my debating skills are completely amazing. This is not even fun anymore destroying you nit-wit neo-cons. Using your own boogeyman Putin against you! Game set match.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:40 PM

Wow, my debating skills are completely amazing. This is not even fun anymore destroying you nit-wit neo-cons. Using your own boogeyman Putin against you! Game set match.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:40 PM

How can you claim that when you have yet to answer my question?

Star Bird on January 23, 2015 at 4:42 PM

imver on January 23, 2015 at 4:25 PM

Israel was kissing Putin’s butt for help with Iran. They already have us suckered. They can afford to take the good ole’ USA for granted.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:30 P

oh, dear, just take your dumb conspiracy theories and shove it, you literally are the dumbest person I have ever seen commenting here, like literally. And btw, nobody in this whole darn world can harm this country more than Obama & his admin has already and keep doing it on a daily basis, your bizarre paranoia vis a vis Israel is just that, a sickness, and instead of using Hot Air as some form of a therapeutic tool for your mental imbalance, you should actually go get specialized help. Like seriously.

jimver on January 23, 2015 at 4:48 PM

Send some tissues to the White House, stat! Buncha crybabies there need it.

What a feckless bunch.

ProfShadow on January 23, 2015 at 4:51 PM

jimver on January 23, 2015 at 4:48 PM

The truth hurts. I forgive your impertinence. Judging by your response you know in your heart I’m right.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:53 PM

was an affront to the dignity of the administration

EXCUSE Me?

Since WHEN did this administation HAVE any dignity????????

Ole Jug Ears apparently doesn’t like being treated EXACTLY like HE treats EVERYONE ELSE.

My givva-damn-meter is pegged near absolute ZERO

Katfish on January 23, 2015 at 4:53 PM

Ohhhhh. President Petulant Child is angry.

Closet Optimist on January 23, 2015 at 4:54 PM

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:53 PM

You’re cute.

Tell us more about the parasite Joos and their Joo conspiracies to harm the noble hard-working OliverB uh, no wait boyfriend I meant United States.

Perhaps you also know of these magical shape-shifting Joos in France, yes?

Dolce Far Niente on January 23, 2015 at 5:04 PM

I’m stupid and I like it.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:53 PM

Edited for accuracy!

22044 on January 23, 2015 at 5:05 PM

jimver on January 23, 2015 at 4:48 PM

The truth hurts. I forgive your impertinence. Judging by your response you know in your heart I’m right.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:53 P

ROFLMAO, yep, it hurt so much that I had to skip lunch and take a whole hour of butthurt therapy instead. Just b*gger off, sicko, as I said, your anti-semitism and Isarel derangement syndrome should be a matter for your shrink, and not the Hot Air community to deal with.

jimver on January 23, 2015 at 5:15 PM

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:53 PM

What’s the matter? Did you get kicked out of that OWS rape tent again? Your flacid attempts to be relevant are duly noted…

lovingmyUSA on January 23, 2015 at 5:17 PM

Obviously, the last resort of a coward is to yell out anti-Semite, for you all cannot use either logos or pathos to make a rebuttal. Cowards and chickens$$$s like your hero Netanyahu.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 5:23 PM

Aww, imagine that, the antisemite in residence is back at it again. Just stop embarrassing yourself with that ‘Israel sold our secrets to China’ conspiracy idiocy, I tell you what, one of our ex-president, also known as Bubba or Clenis, openly handed our nuke tech to the Chinese, mkay? So just put a sock in it already, you’re pathetic.

jimver on January 23, 2015 at 3:17 PM

So…you didn’t read the congressional research service paper on the topic. Got it.

Why am I not surprised.

Tlaloc on January 23, 2015 at 5:26 PM

Boy, pretty embarrassing the way everyone who responded to you was open to your idea. I, too, care not what Obama decides to go and say in Jerusalem. It won’t be anything he and/or his administration hasn’t already said in a half dozen other settings.

The Schaef on January 23, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Well I see one poster calling it a bluff and one calling it a huge breach of protocol. So yeah I see that completely proving my point, thanks.

Wait… you meant embarrassing for me?

Oh. Then no. Not at all. Sorry you completely missed the point there.

Tlaloc on January 23, 2015 at 5:28 PM

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:53 PM

Perhaps you also know of these magical shape-shifting Joos in France, yes?

Dolce Far Niente on January 23, 2015 at 5:04 PM

About that :) …

jimver on January 23, 2015 at 5:29 PM

Not a chance of that invite ever happening.

One day you’ll learn that Obama has no friends outside of Valerie Jarret anywhere on the planet. Name one foreign leader with whom Juggie gets along with.

Just one.

BobMbx on January 23, 2015 at 3:56 PM

So you think say the Labor party wouldn’t be happy to invite Obama to speak? Hell, even Yesh Atid might if they thought it could undermine Netanyahu leaving them in position to grab the brass ring. And that’s to say nothing of the various fringe parties in Israel.

Tlaloc on January 23, 2015 at 5:36 PM

When a person doesn’t get what they want their true nature shows.

Rea1ityCheck on January 23, 2015 at 5:42 PM

So you think say the Labor party wouldn’t be happy to invite Obama to speak? Hell, even Yesh Atid might if they thought it could undermine Netanyahu leaving them in position to grab the brass ring. And that’s to say nothing of the various fringe parties in Israel.

Tlaloc on January 23, 2015 at 5:36 PM

yes, idiot, this is exactly what we are saying, Obama is so toxic that any public appearance next to him by any Israeli candidate, whether Labor-Hatnua, or u name it, would be complete political suicide. That’s why nobody would invite that oaf to speak to the Knesset in a million of years…oh, well, he only has 2 lame duck ones left anyways, so who cares really..

jimver on January 23, 2015 at 5:47 PM

So you think say the Labor party wouldn’t be happy to invite Obama to speak? Hell, even Yesh Atid might if they thought it could undermine Netanyahu leaving them in position to grab the brass ring. And that’s to say nothing of the various fringe parties in Israel.

Tlaloc on January 23, 2015 at 5:36 PM

Labour & Yesh Atid have 34 votes between them, which is why neither party’s leader is the Speaker. Instead, it is Yuli-Yoel Edelstein.

Resist We Much on January 23, 2015 at 5:49 PM

Obviously, the last resort of a coward is to yell out anti-Semite, for you all cannot use either logos or pathos to make a rebuttal. Cowards and chickens$$$s like your hero Netanyahu.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 5:23 PM

Brady has deflated balls, Oliver’s testes have yet to descend..

DevilsPrinciple on January 23, 2015 at 5:58 PM

You guys would be totally cool with that right? I mean it’s exactly the same thing and you’d have to be complete hypocrites to object…
Tlaloc on January 23, 2015 at 3:12 PM

This can’t be a serious question.

As nearly everyone commenting here is a US citizen we really have no say in Israeli affairs.

So whatever the Israeli Knesset wants to do is there and Israel’s business. Not ours.

Please get real.

Neitherleftorright on January 23, 2015 at 6:02 PM

Obviously, the last resort of a coward is to yell out anti-Semite, for you all cannot use either logos or pathos to make a rebuttal. Cowards and chickens$$$s like your hero Netanyahu.

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 5:23 PM

One can’t rebut crazy, one shouldn’t even try.

jimver on January 23, 2015 at 6:03 PM

Wow, my debating skills are completely amazing. This is not even fun anymore destroying you nit-wit neo-cons. Using your own boogeyman Putin against you! Game set match.
OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 4:40 PM

Nothing like being a legend in your own mind.

Neitherleftorright on January 23, 2015 at 6:10 PM

So you think say the Labor party wouldn’t be happy to invite Obama to speak?

Tlaloc on January 23, 2015 at 5:36 PM

I’m sure that the House Democrats would love to invite the dictator, Fidel Castro (or his brother), to speak before Congress, but they are in the minority…and Labour is in The Opposition in The Knesset.

Both ‘need to win some elections’, as Obama would say.

Resist We Much on January 23, 2015 at 6:13 PM

Protocol – it doesn’t mean what they think it means.

We are governed by a confederacy of dunces. Noah… what is your excuse?

Neitherleftorright on January 23, 2015 at 6:31 PM

Obama’s “hidden” Muslim has become less so over the past few months.

rlwo2008 on January 23, 2015 at 6:34 PM

It’s so pathetic that Obama takes this personally. What a narcisisstic son of a bitch.

DevilsPrinciple on January 23, 2015 at 6:40 PM

OliverB on January 23, 2015 at 5:23 PM

Big talk from another pathetically lame pajama boy, cowering in his mother’s basement, sipping hot chocolate with extra marshmallows added.

Hate, bile, bigotry, and excessive stupidity does not make a cogent or valid argument. Nor does an inflated opinion of one’s self-worth, intelligence, or manhood. And all of that is amply demonstrated by your own history of posts.

Hint: The many times people don’t respond to you, it’s not because of how ‘brilliant’ you are. It’s because you ain’t worth the time / electrons. Try duct tape. It doesn’t fix stupid, but may prevent you from posting gibberish.

Athos on January 23, 2015 at 7:00 PM

President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency

Unless he’s impeached.

talkingpoints on January 23, 2015 at 7:18 PM

Pure juvenile behavior.
It’s like the applause that greeted Obama’s ‘no more campaigning’ line at the SOTU.
Grow up.

verbaluce on January 23, 2015 at 12:15 PM

There is evidence that the applause was initiated in Michelle Obama’s box.

onlineanalyst on January 23, 2015 at 9:08 PM

Kudos Boehner for inviting Bibi here to let America hear Israel’s case.

Hey, Barry…

– We stand with Israel, and

– JE SUIS ALINSKY.

For survival, we are all Alinsky now, thanks to you, you POS. If spit in your eye we must, then spit in your eye we will. No longer will we turn the other cheek to your relentless insult and abuse.

Stand strong, Bibi, against this rogue president. Most American people are with you.

petefrt on January 23, 2015 at 9:15 PM

Obama knows as much about presidential protocol as i know about chinese algebra.

jaywemm on January 23, 2015 at 9:56 PM

“Republicans abandoned protocol when they invited Netanyahu to speak without consulting the administration first”

I think we can all agree that this administration has made a mockery of protocol, and perhaps Republicans should start setting the agenda and let Obama do the reacting and sputtering. We’ll strip the mask off this SCOAMF and let the world see him for what he is.

disa on January 23, 2015 at 10:16 PM

So…you didn’t read the congressional research service paper on the topic. Got it.

Why am I not surprised.

Tlaloc on January 23, 2015 at 5:26 PM

Otto: [superior smile] Apes don’t read philosophy.

Wanda: Yes they do, Otto, they just don’t understand it!

Star Bird on January 23, 2015 at 10:18 PM

For the day, ascendant Republicans will take hold of the reins of American statecraft and foreign policy. Optically, congressional Republicans will be elevated to global statesmen and will assume equal footing with the President of the United States.

What’s the big deal? Congress IS a co-equal branch of the government. They already have all of this wonderful status that you’re writing. I’m glad that they finally noticed that they have it, too.

ss396 on January 23, 2015 at 10:25 PM

The Administration was notified ahead of time – the State Department, to arrange the visa. Knowing the White House’s micro-managing style, there is little chance they were not informed. This is all a prepared counterattack, and will be used as an excuse for the next slight of Israel.

But since Obama already takes the Palestinian side on everything and is letting Iran build nukes, there is little else he can do besides a military attack.

Adjoran on January 24, 2015 at 2:04 AM

yes, idiot, this is exactly what we are saying,

jimver on January 23, 2015 at 5:47 PM

Well then you’re simply being foolish.

Labour & Yesh Atid have 34 votes between them, which is why neither party’s leader is the Speaker. Instead, it is Yuli-Yoel Edelstein.

Resist We Much on January 23, 2015 at 5:49 PM

Neat-o. Also irrelevant since either of them could still invite Obama to address the Knesset. Try to understand the conversation before you jump in RWM. It’ll save us these little asides where I bring you up to speed and explain just how obtuse your last post was.

Tlaloc on January 24, 2015 at 6:07 AM

Star Bird on January 23, 2015 at 10:18 PM

Good movie. Not at al relevant to the current scenario but you do get kudos on the choice of non-sequiturs.

Tlaloc on January 24, 2015 at 6:09 AM

I’m sure that the House Democrats would love to invite the dictator, Fidel Castro (or his brother), to speak before Congress, but they are in the minority…and Labour is in The Opposition in The Knesset.

Both ‘need to win some elections’, as Obama would say.

Resist We Much on January 23, 2015 at 6:13 PM

since when do you have to be in the majority to invite someone to speak?

Tlaloc on January 24, 2015 at 6:11 AM

This is all a prepared counterattack, and will be used as an excuse for the next slight of Israel.

Adjoran on January 24, 2015 at 2:04 AM

This is worrisome. Obama is a petty, vengeful little man who, as you suggest, hates Netanyahu personally and leans against Israel to start with. Who knows what he might do?

petefrt on January 24, 2015 at 7:37 AM

Tlaloc on January 24, 2015 at 6:07 AM

Are you always this obtuse and petulant so early in the day, little one?

Yes, it was rhetorical.

Alien on January 24, 2015 at 8:10 AM

Good movie. Not at al relevant to the current scenario but you do get kudos on the choice of non-sequiturs.

Tlaloc on January 24, 2015 at 6:09 AM

It’s always amusing to see drones from the Collective throw about phrases that they clearly don’t understand. Unfortunately you’re too occupied with the tall tales of Che Guevara to bother with someone like Carl Sagan.

non sequiturLatin for “It doesn’t follow” (e.g., Our nation will prevail because God is great. But nearly every nation pretends this to be true; the German formulation was “Gott mit uns”). Often those falling into the non sequitur fallacy have simply failed to recognize alternative possibilities;

My quotation of dialogue from A Fish Called Wanda, had nothing whatsoever to do with a fallacy that didn’t follow.

First let me start by saying that the notion that you had read “the congressional research service paper on the topic” stretches the imagination. Let’s put aside for the moment that you didn’t name the title of any such research service paper or link to a copy of it; the simple fact of the matter is, if the elected officials whom you approve of and who represent you weren’t willing to read bills before they passed them into law, then what motivation could one of their drones at the bottom of the Collective have to read such things?

However, what my quotation of A Fish Called Wanda was actually commenting on, was that even if you had read it, it was likely that you hadn’t understood it, as is evidenced by much of what you’ve written here.

After all, we’re talking about drones who want to F the Patriarchy, while simultaneously tossing aside their burned bras in favor of donning the hijabs of a highly patriarchal religion. We’re talking about drones who bark about a purported War on Women™, while simultaneously defending and supporting expert clitorectomists. So what possible hope could there be of any drones having any understanding of these issues, even if they did read relevant material?

Incidentally, I believe you may have missed some additional commentary in this thread.

Star Bird on January 24, 2015 at 9:37 AM

Are you always this obtuse and petulant so early in the day, little one?

Yes, it was rhetorical.

Alien on January 24, 2015 at 8:10 AM

People often type out nonsensical gibberish when they get home from the bar drunk.

Star Bird on January 24, 2015 at 10:09 AM

since when do you have to be in the majority to invite someone to speak?
Tlaloc on January 24, 2015 at 6:11 AM

Do you ever really think anything through before you type?

So now you are saying anyone can invite someone to speak to either the Knesset or the US Congress and not have it be a breach of protocol.

Thanks for clearing this all up.

Tempest meet teapot.

Neitherleftorright on January 24, 2015 at 12:31 PM

Protocol, schmotocol. The administration has worsened our relations with practically every ally since Day One. These are Obama’s insults against Israel and its leaders for just his first few years:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/on-trip-abroad-romney-turns-obama-gaffes-to-his-advantage/2012/07/30/gJQAZqeUKX_story.html

My favorite:

President Obama and then-French President Nicholas Sarkozy were overheard trash-talking Netanyahu at the G-20 summit in Cannes. Unaware reporters were listening, Sarkozy reportedly told Obama, “Netanyahu, I can’t stand him. He’s a liar,” to which Obama reportedly replied, “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.” It has long been an open secret that Obama loathes Netanyahu, but Obama inadvertently confirmed it.

And the British:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/president-obamas-biggest-british-gaffes/article/2503321

September 2009: Obama refuses private meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown during UN Summit

During a United Nations summit in New York, Obama refused five separate requests from the Prime Minister for a private meeting.

I’m too annoyed to research the ways he’s pissed off our other allies.

Paul_in_NJ on January 24, 2015 at 2:06 PM

Obama does not want to influence foreign elections?

Uh, like when he threw Hosni Mubarak under the bus so that the Muslim Brotherhood could win an election in Egypt?

Colony14 on January 24, 2015 at 8:50 PM

OliverB’s, tlaloc’s and verbaldouche’s posture towards Israel is identical to that of Stormfront and David Duke. Just sayin’

FOAF on January 25, 2015 at 12:20 AM

Our government is constructed of three CO EQUAL branches: executive, Judicial, and legislative. None of them needs the permission of the others to conduct their operations. It is deliberate that to preform their assigned tasked they need the cooperation of other branches, cooperation not permission. The Legislative branch can invite anyone to speak before them. The Executive can have speakers or consultants assist them without the permission of the Legislative branch. As to affronting the dignity of this administration, their performance over the last six years has left little, if any, dignity to be “affronted”.

TheNakedEye on January 25, 2015 at 11:28 AM

The administration does have a point when it protests this proposed visit to Congress by an Israeli leader facing an upcoming election.

Report: Top Official From Obama Campaign Team In Israel To Help Defeat Netanyahu In Upcoming Israeli Elections

Star Bird on January 26, 2015 at 2:38 PM

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