MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
If you were superstitious about all the poll trending showing Obama on a surge in the key swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Florida, it's official now: the race is over. How do we know: the right wing Neo-con prime minister of Israel, American-educated (MIT) Benjamin Netanyahu, used a UN speech yesterday to end his flirtation with Mitt Romney and compliment Barack Obama at the same time.
Netanyahu had been using a "red line" against Iran's nuclear program to make it seem like Obama would not support an Israeli strike on the nation's nuclear facilities this autumn, while tilting toward Romney.
But his September 27th speech to the UN, complete with a blow-up of a Rocky and Bullwinkle type of fuse bomb, was a message to Mitt that the courtship is over. Perhaps it was the polling trends that scared off Netanyahu from trying to assist Romney with the Jewish vote; perhaps it was just the never-ending Romney bumbling that got Mr. Neo-con of the Jewish State nervous.
Photo by Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
But as the New York Times (NYT) reported:
The substance of his speech suggested a softening of what had been a difficult dispute with the Obama administration on how to confront Iran over its nuclear program.
Only two weeks after that dispute broke into the open, Mr. Netanyahu on Thursday praised the warning Mr. Obama gave Iran in his own General Assembly speech on Tuesday.
“I very much appreciate the president’s position, as does everyone in my country,” he said. The Israeli leader’s speech also suggested that his deadline for a military strike was well past the American presidential election and into 2013 — perhaps as late as next summer.
So, although some (including many former heads of the Mossad and the most recent head of the Israeli Defense Forces) question the ability of Israel to take out Iran's nuclear capabilities without Iran destroying much of Israel in a conventional missile warhead counterattack, Netanyahu has stopped using a pre-election attack as a cudgel that Romney could use to try and pry Jewish voters in the US away from Obama.
As the NYT adds,
Mr. Netanyahu’s softened tone may also have also reflected Israel’s reading of the American presidential polls, which have shown Mr. Obama’s lead widening somewhat since the prime minister’s harsh words in mid-September, when he said the United States had no “moral right” to hold back Israel from taking action against Iran because the Obama administration refused to set its own red line.
“It seems that Netanyahu’s Iran policy is becoming more Obama-friendly,” Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzilya, Israel, said in an e-mailed reaction to Mr. Netanyahu’s speech.
“What was most impressive was that he drew a red line, without committing himself to it,” Mr. Javedanfar said. “He also did it in a way which takes the pressure off Obama, illustrated by the fact that he pushed back the timelines to next year."
Netanyahu gambled with Romney's visit to Israel that was used to try and promote him as a supporter of letting Netanyahu do whatever he wants (although Romney bumbled that foreign policy attempt too).
But it's just a few weeks from the election, and the prime minister of Israel can read the writing on the wall. The surest sign yet of Romney's imperiled electoral situation is that even Israel is expecting that they are going to be dealing with President Obama for the next four years, not the Dagwood Bumstead of the Mormon wing of the Christian Zionist movement.
The message was clear as Reuters headlined its story, "Israelis see no Iran war this year after Netanyahu's speech."
When the king of the Israeli Neo-cons abandons you Mitt, it's all over. You'll have plenty of time, however, to count the money in your offshore accounts.