Less than a year ago, Barack Obama surprised Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu with a call for a total freeze on Jewish building in Judea and Samaria after the annual AIPAC conference. In turn, Netanyahu unloaded on Obama with a dissertation why Israel will never return to the 1948 “Auschwitz” borders.
This year, the two weren’t as belligerent, but still Bibi was unwilling to give an inch where Israel’s security was concerned. While Obama talked about the unbreakable bond between the two countries and how, in the end, America has Israel’s back, he also saw fit, in the midst of a discussion on the Iranian threat, to bring up the non-existent talks with the Palestinians.More worrying was Obama’s insistence on a nuanced approach to dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He claimed that this isn’t only Israel’s problem, but America’s as well.
The president went on to say that there is still time to pursue diplomatic options, but that “all” options are still on the table. This comes in front of the backdrop of the UN’s IAEA suddenly being “concerned” that Iran’s nuclear program isn’t strictly for non-military use.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, on the other hand, minced no words in his rebuke of the need for nuance. Iran wants to destroy Israel; they see it as the Great Satan and America as the Little Satan. Bibi also made sure to let it be known that, in the overall scheme of things, Israel and America are together in this. With that, Netanyahu left no room for ambiguity. Israel is a sovereign nation. The only country responsible for Israel’s defense is, when all is said and done, Israel. While Obama might say everything is on the table, Netanyahu said Israel will act, alone if it must.