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“Bibi? It’s Barack.”

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have a chat

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Those two in September.(Aaron Showalter-Pool/Getty Images)

“Today, as a part of their regular communication and cooperation on bilateral and regional issues, President Obama spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. They reviewed the recent meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Amman and the President reaffirmed his commitment to the goal of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the region. The two leaders also discussed recent Iran-related developments, including the international community’s efforts to hold Iran accountable for its failures to meet its international obligations. The President reiterated his unshakable commitment to Israel’s security, and the President and the Prime Minister promised to stay in touch in the coming weeks on these and other issues of mutual concern.”—White House readout.

“Bibi? It’s Barack.”

“Hey, whassup? It’s been, like, forever. Did you see that crazy shit about the Iranian physicist getting offed?”

“Yeah, actually that’s what I was calling you about. I mean, I, uh, I don’t know if you were involved, or anything, but if you were, I mean, it would be nice to get a heads up about it, you know? Given the unshakable bond and deep friendship between our two countries.”

“Oh, totally. I mean, no, it wasn’t us, but yeah, I get you, I get you, man! We’d totally tell you if we were gonna pull anything that obvious.”

“I mean, because it just makes it harder for us to do some things in the Strait of Hormuz and—I know this is delicate, but—those negotiations in Turkey.”

“Oof. Yeah, man. You sure you wanna bring that crap up?”

“Sorry. But there are other things, as you know. And we had such a good week with the rescues at sea and the Times coverage—”

“Oh, the Times, man, I can’t even believe you read them any more after what they said about your wife and all.”

“Yeah, I know, we’ve got that covered. Anyway, I was just trying to say that, like, if you were gonna do anything more, you know, serious—”

“Like what do you mean? What’s more serious than offing several fuckers in daylight in Tehran?”

“ … ”

“Which isn’t something we did or anything, just asking.”

“Well, you know, anything military … ”

“OHHH. You were … I got it! Yeah I get you, yeah, I totally feel you. No, we aren’t even. Don’t worry about it.”

“OK, OK, cool. Thanks, Pr— Bibi. All right, well, that was it. I guess I’ll see you in March?”

“Totally, totally. Take it easy, dude.”

“OK. Bye.”

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This will be just be another empty exercise in fruitless futility if Israel does not end its constant colonization and stop settling East Jerusalem and the West Bank and just have the common humane decency and grace to allow the Palestinians a little share of peace and some small sliver of space.

For the sake of argument, you could assume that the U.S. didn’t know anything about this prior to its being carried out. But it is hard to credit the notion that our government is surprised that an Iranian nuclear scientist was targeted, again, particularly one who was almost certainly on its intelligence radar, given his status as an expert at one of the main enrichment facilities.

Far more likely, it seems to me, is that the U.S. is taking this opportunity to act as a foil to Israel’s presumed bad cop, offering lip service to the notion that it opposes this kind of clandestine action, all the while dispatching drones to kill Taliban militants, civilian casualties be damned. In this respect, the assassination might induce the Iranian regime to be receptive to a renewed diplomatic overture, and it plays into American diplomatic strategy.

Incidentally, if removing the Iranian government’s arch adversary, Saddam Hussein, a man responsible for the deaths of countless thousands of Iranians, did nothing to moderate its hostility to the U.S., I’m skeptical that symbolic gestures, like rescuing a few sailors, are going to have any traction in this regard. We have been over this ground many times before, and it has always proven fruitless, notably during the Iran Contra episode, when Israel was deputized by the U.S. to sell the Iranians arms in exchange for the release of Americans held hostage by Hezbollah. At that time, the U.S. believed there was a moderate clique within the government with whom it could do business.

I think an attack on Iran would be a mistake, but that doesn’t mean we should substitute historically ill-informed naivete for out and out belligerency. This is a long game, and frankly one that Obama is playing as well as could be expected of anyone.

Lou Adams says:

Posted distortion and misrepresentation of anti Semitism here with Jules providing a clear example of their hatred and intensity.

sharon says:

Did anyone think that maybe there are people in Iran who are frightened that Iran may be in over its head with their weapons and want to take out the scientists. Of course, they know the blame would go to the Israelis. So its a win win for the “greens” in Iran.

Morris Alkes says:

Marc Tracy must be drinking some cool ade and so was the person publishing that trash into the Tablet .

Lou, I see only your empty indignations in evidence, not as you term it “anti Semitism.” Would you really care to point directly to where this anti Semitism is?


For Zlota says:

Interesting learning about the self hating Jew phenomenon by reading talkbacks– however much one can know from essentially anonymous posts anyway. Can one surmise that all self hating Jews prefer left wing politics and appear to have OCD? Is this a true expression of Judaism? because I’m sort of having trouble with it.

This some kind of barbaric language and does it show leadership? I don’t care for the actions of obama, but find it hare to believe that he would address the wonderful, Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, this discussting way. I feel, as a citizen of America, embarashed and in deep sadness at what has and is happening to our Country. I would rather in these last days be tied to Israel and live there. If I could afford to move there and live it would be a wonderful Blessing in my life. I would love to live in Israel when the Mesiah comes back, and I believe with all my being that it will be really soon. I do a lot of Bible study and see the times, just before the horrible 7 years happening today. I pray for and love the Israel people and pray there will be a great number in the Resurection. God Bless Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, and all the Jewish people, not only in Israel, but in all the world.

Beatrix says:

I loved this article, Marc. It’s nice not to have to take ourselves seriously all the time.

Like, totally, dude. Totally. Like, yeah. Like.


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“Bibi? It’s Barack.”

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have a chat

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