WORTH REPEATING: The Trouble With Bibi


TIME: It may be, as Jeff Goldberg asserts, that Bibi Netanyahu is just frustrated over President Obama’s refusal to approve an Israeli attack on Iran. Or it may be something else: an unprecedented attempt by a putative American ally to influence a U.S. presidential campaign. Either way, Netanyahu’s recent behavior is outrageous. He is trying push us into a war that is not in our national interest, a war that would only further destabilize a region that is already teetering near chaos. He is trying to get us to damage our relations with the rest of the world–especially the Russians and Chinese, whom we spent great diplomatic effort luring into the Iranian economic sanctions–so that he can pursue a strategy that even the Israeli military and intelligence communities find questionable. President Obama will not yield to this pressure, nor should he–and every American should know the implications of what Netanyahu and his American neoconservative allies, including Mitt Romney, are proposing. […]

The truth is, Iran is a political issue more than a national security challenge. It has achieved the prominence in the current debate that it was because Bibi Netanyahu and his neoconservative pals have made it an issue, because twisted American zillionaires like Sheldon Adelson have bought politicians to promote it, because Jewish organizations like AIPAC and the ADL and the AJC have conflated Israel’s national security with our own–and their perceptions of Israel’s long-term national security are, I believe, grievously flawed.

But think about it: What if David Cameron was pushing us to go to war with Argentina over the Falklands? What if India was interfering with the American presidential campaign in order to promote an attack on Pakistan? When was the last time a foreign leader tried to influence an American political campaign? Oh, I remember–Osama bin Laden, in 2004. He was our mortal enemy, of course, not a beloved ally like Israel. It goes without saying that there’s zero moral equivalence between Israel and the terrorists. But Netanyahu is doing two things that should be intolerable for any patriotic American: he is a foreigner trying to influence our presidential campaign and he is a foreigner trying to shove us into a war of choice in a region where far too many Americans have already died needlessly. MORE