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The Most Important Phone Call Obama Blocks is the One Netanyahu Won't Make

On Sunday, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported that U.S. President Barack Obama is no longer accepting phone calls from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following Netanyahu's public criticism of the terms of a nuclear deal with Iran that Secretary of State John Kerry was to have signed last week in Geneva.

Netanyahu's office was quick to deny the claim--as expected. Being snubbed by the Obama administration provides fodder to the Israeli opposition, and also diminishes Netanyahu on the world stage at the very moment when he is trying to play an outsized role at a decisive moment for the region's strategic balance.

If the report is true, it not only confirms that the U.S. is determined to press ahead with a deal on Iran, regardless of its potential repercussions for Israeli security (or the security of Arab states like Saudi Arabia), but also suggests that relations between Obama and Netanyahu have broken down irretrievably.

If so, the most important telephone call Obama will block is the one Netanyahu won't make: the call that would have informed him that Israel was about to strike at military and political targets inside Iran. Like so much else in his dysfunctional administration, Obama will have to learn that from the press the next day.


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