“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Netanyahu, 'durable and strong' ally that he is, but still 'insulting' to Biden

"Nobody messes with Joe' but when they do , Obama does nothing but sends a woman to do a man's job.

After the humilation of the US by Netanyahu and his crazies on the way far right, Obama didn't order Biden to get his sorry shanked-ass back to DC.

Biden remained in Israel with his stinging red face and for what? To wait a week for a five day old knish from Bibi?

Message to the Planet: Obama, that's the way he rolls, easy, real real easy.


Netanyahu voices regret in settlement row with U.S.
Jeffrey Heller
Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:45am EDT
Related News
(Reuters) -
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced regret Sunday for the announcement of a Jewish settlement plan that has strained ties with Washington and threatens the revival of Middle East peace talks.

In his first public remarks on what Israeli commentators called his most serious crisis with Washington since taking office a year ago, he gave no sign he would meet Palestinian demands to cancel a project for 1,600 new settler homes.

"I suggest not to get carried away and to calm down," Netanyahu told his cabinet at its weekly meeting, after a reprimand by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"There was a regrettable incident here, that occurred innocently," Netanyahu said, referring to an announcement by a government ministry during a visit last week by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, of planned construction in an area of the West Bank that Israel has annexed to Jerusalem.

The timing of the disclosure deeply embarrassed Biden, whose visit coincided with Palestinian agreement to restart peace talks suspended since December 2008 in the form of indirect, U.S.-mediated negotiations with Israel.

"It was hurtful and certainly it should not have happened," Netanyahu said of the announcement by the Interior Ministry, controlled by the pro-settler, ultraorthodox Shas party, a partner in his governing coalition.

Netanyahu said he had appointed a team of senior officials "to pinpoint the sequence of events, to ensure procedures will be in place to prevent these kinds of incidents in the future."


A senior U.S. official forecast "a dicey period here in the next couple days to a couple of weeks" as Palestinians demanded the reversal of the settlement plan.

Palestinians fear settlements on land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war will deny them a viable state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In unusually blunt remarks, Clinton called Israel's behavior "insulting" after it approved the project while hosting Biden.

Although she stressed Washington's ties with the Jewish state were "durable and strong," she told Netanyahu in a telephone call Friday he must act to repair the relationship.

Clinton accepted that Netanyahu was taken by surprise by the settlement housing approval. However, her spokesman said she told him it was a "deeply negative signal about Israel's approach to the bilateral relationship ... and had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process."

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was summoned to the State Department Friday to meet Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg in a further sign of U.S. displeasure, a senior U.S. official said.

U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking better U.S. relations with the Arab world, which backs the Palestinians, as he seeks to bolster alliances in the oil-producing region, notably against Iran as it develops nuclear technology and against Islamist enemies such as al Qaeda.

Aides to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was waiting to meet Obama's peace envoy, George Mitchell, when he returns to the region in the coming days before deciding whether to go ahead with the "proximity talks."

A senior U.S. official indicated that Washington might focus on playing down the significance of the past week's approval for future house building -- "this was a year away at minimum," he said -- and expressing understanding for Netanyahu's difficulties.

The official described the prime minister's position as "perilous" because of his coalition's dependence on pro-settler groups.

(Additional reporting by Adam Entous and Arshad Mohammed in Washington, Ori Lewis in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; editing by Andrew Dobbie)


  1. Livni to PM: Don't leave Israel in Yishai's hands

    Opposition leader Tzipi Livni slams prime minister Netanyahu's policies following crisis in Israel-US ties. Livni says there is need for a 'prime minister with a path, vision, who does not leave national security in Eli Yishai's hands'

    The serious crisis with the United States has led opposition leader Tzipi Livni to speak out against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies on Sunday: "You cannot leave national security in the hands of coalition partners, with all due respect."

    President Shimon Peres also commented on the affair, saying, "The announcement of the construction of 1,600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo during (US Vice President) Biden's visit, was a mistake."

    Speaking at an IDF Disabled Veterans Association conference in Tel Aviv, the opposition leader said, "The coalition agreement is no substitute for a vision and a path. We have here a prime minister who does not know what he wants and this weakness is leading to a political landslide.

    "Not just this week. Israel is paying for its government's failure to make decisions and will continue to pay for it. I will not allow anyone, and anyone who wants to come out on top must not make an enemy of the United States. An international relationship means reliability first and foremost."

  2. From the LA Times:

    Beginning as a spat over a single housing project, a dispute this week between the Obama administration and Israel has ballooned into the biggest U.S.-Israeli clash in 20 years, adding to months of strain between Washington and one of its closest allies.

    Israel's decision to move ahead with 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, announced during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, drew criticism from Washington in language rarely directed at even Iran or North Korea.

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Israel's announcement "was an insult to the United States."

    In a 45-minute telephone call Friday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton upbraided him and demanded that he take more steps to show his nation's commitment to peace.

    A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in the midst of the diplomatic friction, described the administration's objection to the project as "the first time the U.S. has really pushed back hard."

    The Israeli government, stunned and perplexed by the U.S. assault, tried to regroup this weekend. Netanyahu convened seven members of his Cabinet on Saturday to consider their response, and his office said a committee would investigate the timing of the housing announcement.

  3. I'm sick of Israel, and I'm sick of the Middle East. Time to bring our troops, and money back home.

    Buy Ethanol.

  4. same article:

    ...Experts questioned whether the blow-up would have a long-term effect on U.S.-Israeli ties.

    Daniel Levy, a former Mideast peace negotiator, said the administration is trying to "lay down a marker with [Netanyahu] that they will not allow him to make them look weak."

    The administration is "bleeding credibility with the Arab world" because Arabs believe Netanyahu is being "handled with kid gloves," he said.

    The flare-up recalled the period of 1991-'92, when the administration of President George H.W. Bush held up financial aid to pressure Israel. By comparison, Levy said, the United States has used tough language in the latest controversy but has not yet taken steps "creating consequences" for Israel.

    "Question is: What do they do next, assuming that Bibi continues to act up?" he said, using Netanyahu's nickname.

    "This is more than a tempest in a teapot, but less than a strategic crisis," said Ziad Asali, president of the American Task Force on Palestine, an advocacy group in Washington.

  5. Here is what it is all about:

    ...The Obama administration, facing midterm elections this year, cannot afford to alienate Jewish Americans who support Israel. Israel's advocates in the U.S. called Clinton's words Friday "a gross overreaction."

    "We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States," said Abraham Foxman, president of the staunchly pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League

  6. A rouge and criminal nation, is Israel.

    Operating in violation of its' Treaty Agreements, for over forty years.

    Nothing new here, move along please.

  7. The Middle East, just one great big box of chocolates.

  8. They're overlooking the fact that the reason it was embarrassing to Biden is, It Was Wrong To Start With.

    Whether it was announced last week, or Next Week, It Was Wrong.

    Israel is going to keep the pot stirred up Forever. There will Never be any "peace" in the Levant. If the Palestinians don't stir it up, the Israelis will.

    Fuck'em All. Let'em Fight, and let the "Gods" sort out the Winner.

    Sixty Years of this shit is enough.

  9. The thing that is wrong is US politicians feeling it necessary to make expressions about Israel that are not made between democracies. It always comes down to :

    "My ally, right or wrong, my ally."

    US politicians, elected, not annointed, are sworn to The US Constitution. All of them should be sceptical of foreign politicians representing the interests of their foreign constituents. No one can serve two masters.

  10. "My Campaign Contributions, Right or Wrong, My Campaign Contributions"

    There, fixed it for you.

  11. It is not just Israel. The US should not have special deals with anyone.

    Mutual defense pacts exist between close allies like Canada and the US and at the same time Canada goes its own way with Cuba.

    Certainly the English did it with China. There is no nation that has been closer to the US than Australia. It has been a balanced relationsip with Austrailians shedding blood side by side with US troops.

    There were no Israeli troops in Viet Nam, because it was not considered to be in Israeli interests.

    Some day, the Australians may go there own way with China. That's how it goes.

  12. I have to point out that after VP Biden was embarassed by the settlements announcement, he showed up 90 minutes late for dinner with Bibi.

  13. rufus said...
    I'm sick of Israel, and I'm sick of the Middle East. Time to bring our troops, and money back home.

    Buy Ethanol.

    Thanks Rufus, your lack of support for Israel duly noted. How about we agree on this:

    No American troops for Israel, ever.

    And while we are at it, how about this:

    America should stop all economic aid for all nations in the middle east.

    And while we are at it.

    America should stop buying OPEC oil.

    Are we on the same page?

    If so, let''s get our fact in agreement.

    No American troops for Israel, THERE ARE NONE.

    No more economic aid to anyone. THERE IS NO ECONOMIC AID TO ISRAEL, there is military aid, but that's a completely different argument and wasn't part of your statement.

    And finally we agree on using alternative fuels (fossil included) that are AMERICA produced.

    So if we agree, why should AMERICA stick it's nose into Israel BUILDING HOMES (when in America we built millions of homes for even illegals to live in) in Jewish area of jerusalem, that displaces NO ONE?

    Yep I am sick of Israel too, they should have told America to piss off when it comes to taking American suburban planning advise.

    I am sick of the idea that America shows down the throats of Israel that No Jews should not be allowed to buy & build homes in Jerusalem.

    What an IDEA.

    Going to ban the rights of American Indians to live off reservations?


  14. I think maybe the Obama administration is kicking the dog:

    Asked about recent strains in relations with Washington, he (Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao)said: "The responsibility for the serious disruption in US-China ties does not lie with the Chinese side, but with the US."

    In January Washington approved a $6.4bn (£4.2bn) arms sale to Taiwan that former President George W Bush had initiated.

    President Barack Obama then met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House.

    Both moves "violated China's sovereignty," Mr Wen said.

  15. desert rat said...
    A rouge and criminal nation, is Israel.
    Operating in violation of its' Treaty Agreements, for over forty years.
    Nothing new here, move along please.

    Spoken by the resident israel hater...

    Only ONE nation held to this standard that Rat's describes. No other to be judged or compared to. Rat's bias against Israel is long and wicked.

    Nothing with Rat is new here, move along please.

  16. Moving on:

    Taliban giving up on their COIN?

    Saturday's bomb attacks in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar were a warning to US and Nato forces, the Taliban say.

    A Taliban spokesman said the attacks were in response to a planned major offensive by international forces against militants in the region.

    At least 35 people were killed and some 57 injured in the blasts in Kandahar, Afghanistan's third largest city.

    The main target appeared to be Kandahar's prison, officials said, though no prisoners escaped.

    Other reports said that during yesterdays attack, as many as 300 Taliban attacked a local prison in an attempt to liberate their Commanders.

  17. Agree with everything you said, WIO - except for the "Military" Aid. I wouldn't even mind that if they'd do it quietly, and keep our Ambassadorship out of it.

    No more "Peace-maker." No more "Butting In." If they want to Go To War, let them Go To War.

    We could invest the money we blow on OPEC Oil, and, really, and truly, be energy independent in five years.

    If they offered to give me one percent of the profit, but the guillotine if I fail, I'd take the deal.

    We're "Playing Ourselves" for Suckers.

  18. More international observations:

    Oh, the joy of diversity.

    BBC News - South Asian 'slave brides' causing concern in UK

    We see the consequences of dumbass, multi-culti immigration policy.

    Meanwhile, there are ever increasing news stories of radicalized US citizens involved in terror plots....Reports of Christian missionaries being kicked out of Lebanon and Morroco. Coptics harassed in Eqypt. Christians murdered in Africa. Rumors of another war in the Levant and a bomb in Iran.

    What does it all mean?

  19. Build up Missile Defense, and buy ethanol.

  20. rufus said...
    Agree with everything you said, WIO - except for the "Military" Aid. I wouldn't even mind that if they'd do it quietly, and keep our Ambassadorship out of it.

    No more "Peace-maker." No more "Butting In." If they want to Go To War, let them Go To War.

    We could invest the money we blow on OPEC Oil, and, really, and truly, be energy independent in five years.

    If they offered to give me one percent of the profit, but the guillotine if I fail, I'd take the deal.

    We're "Playing Ourselves" for Suckers.

    Rufus, if we were serious we KNEW since 1973 the oil embargo to do something and we have not been serious.

    The military aid issue is complex but simply put:

    To paraphrase James Woolsey Jr.,

    Make oil worthless and we will solve 99% of the worlds conflicts

    Israel needs military aid as long as the world pumps trillions into the hands of radicals for oil. That is spent trying to destroy Israel.

  21. buy ethanol.

    rufus, what do you know about ethanol fuel converters for gas using cars and trucks? i see the option for buying regular ethanol along side gas at the gas (fuel) station viable.

  22. "Operating in violation of its' Treaty Agreements, for over forty years."

    A political argument, but one which in reality carries little weight.

    Resoloutions passed in the UN General Assembly are all non-binding. Only those passed through the SC are considered binding. That being the case it is hard to make the case that Israel is illegally occupying the land.

    Likewise, the only countries that takes UN resolutions seriously (other than to make a political point on any given matter) are those in the EU and other, smaller countries who have no other recourse. Given a choice between abiding by UN resolutions or following their own national interests, most countries including China, Russia, Iran, Israel, and yes, the US would follow actions that support what they perceive to be in their own national interests.

    Ignoring the legality issue, one can still argue about the legitimacy of the actions the Israelis take. But again these fall into the political and moral realms not the legal. There are arguments on both sides and it is unlikely any minds will be changed.

    All that being said, the latest incident (announcing new settlements during Biden's visit) was in my opinion pretty stupid and I'm not sure what political advantage it provides to anyone in Israel. Havn't seen recent opinion polls on the settlements issue but a year ago the polls indicated three quarters of US Jews and two-thirds of the Israeli Jews opposed further settlements. They viewed them as a hindrance to the negotiation of any two-state solution.

    Most people, from what I've seen, seem to believe that if there is a two-state solution, most of the settlements will end up either being given back or transferred to the new Palistinean entity.


  23. quirk: but a year ago the polls indicated three quarters of US Jews and two-thirds of the Israeli Jews opposed further settlements. They viewed them as a hindrance to the negotiation of any two-state solution.

    Most of Israel has proven it's willing to make drastic compromise for peace. israel has withdrawn from the Sinai, Gaza, Lebanon and MOST of the West Bank already. The ONLY reason it has gone back into the west bank was to stop major terrorist attacks.

    The land that Israel is ADDing apartments too had been previously agreed to by the "palestinians" never to be part of any Palestinian state, Obama, once again has RAISED NEW issues that the palestinians, in fact did not object to.

    But for a more important point. The Palestinians were to have named a public square after the female terrorist that murdered 37 israelis, this was to be done WHILE good ole Joe was wishing and not a peep was said by Obama, Hillary or Biden.

    Nor was a peep made by the 3 stooges last week when Abbas called a member of Fatah who murdered an Israeli a "martyr" and honored him..

    What is insulting is that the Obama administration can call it insulting and untrust building that Jews are building apartments in Jerusalem all the while HUNDREDs of NEW arab settlements have been going up both in Israel and in the west bank.

    Why should the USA advocate illegality of Jews buying lands anywhere?

    Maybe Blacks should not be allowed to live in white town like Boston, that will solve the crime issue...

    Let's build trust, no Blacks allowed...

    Yea that's the ticket....

  24. It was a hard winter in some places. The sun came up this morning. Rufus tells us he's sick and tired of Israel.

    Some things never change.