What’s Behind The ‘Israel Spying On The US’ Story?

Speaker John Boehner (Flickr)

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Israel has spied on the United States to get information about the ongoing negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The paper cited unnamed officials in the Obama administration who said that the White House was upset that Israel used the obtained information to lobby Congress to try to sink the emerging deal with Iran.

“It’s one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Israeli government denied the story. A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office said: “These allegations are utterly false. The State of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies. The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share.”

Commentators in Israel suspect the Obama administration leaked the story to the Wall Street Journal in order to increase the pressure on Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. They pointed to the timing of the publication of the story a week after Netanyahu booked a resounding victory in the Israeli election and a couple of days after Obama escalated the conflict with Netanyahu over his pre-election comment about the impossibility of establishing a Palestinian state anytime soon.

Middle-East expert Tzvi Yechezkieli commented on the affair during an interview with TV channel Arutz 10. He said that it is fair to assume Israel did spy on the nuclear talks with Iran, but that everybody knows that the Mossad obtains its information via sources in Iran. So Israel has been spying on Iran, he said.

Others pointed to the fact that the administration didn’t say a word when Iranian FM Zarif leaked details about Obama’s Security Council gambit.

The White House didn’t protest either when Zarif revealed that the Obama administration had repeatedly given ground on the centrifuge count and has now agreed to allow Iran to operate 6000 centrifuges.

The Israeli pundits also said that the Wall Street Journal story is replete with references to how US spying on Israel is how the Obama administration learned about it. The administration discovered the Israeli operation when U.S. intelligence services spying on Israel intercepted communication among Israeli officials, WSJ reported.

This was not the first time U.S. intelligence services were caught spying on Israel. In 2013, Time Magazine revealed that the United States and Great Britain had been monitoring e-mail from former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. This spying scandal also ignited a spat between the strategically allied countries.

The leaking of stories about Israel spying on the United States has been a tool to pressure Israel for the last 40 years whenever relations were bad between the governments of the two countries.  But now, the Obama administration accuses Israel of delivering classified information to U.S. lawmakers in order to influence the  political dispute on Iran between the President and Congress.

The same Israeli commentators say that this shows that the administration admits that the reason the U.S. was classifying details of the negotiations was to keep Congress out of the loop. Furthermore, they say, if Israel needed to spy on the U.S. to get information about a deal that is of enormous importance for the future of the country and the Middle East as a whole, what does that say about the special relationship between the countries and Israel’s status as a true and trustworthy ally?

Analyst Ron Yishai wrote on the Ynet news site that the reports of alleged Israeli espionage are part of a campaign waged by the United States, with a clear political purpose.

Yishai: “This is not just a political vendetta against Benjamin Netanyahu, but a calculated political move by the Obama administration that was planned long before the Israeli elections, in case Netanyahu won.

Netanyahu is facing a media blitz against him being managed by the White House.

Behind this media campaign, the administration is hiding deep concerns regarding two issues: the danger that Israel will torpedo the nuclear agreement with Iran and the fear that a narrow right-wing government in Israel will lead to an even larger and more violent conflict with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza.

The Americans want to lower the flames of the steadily developing conflict between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. To achieve this, the US administration wants to influence the composition of the next Israeli government.

In Washington they are saying that if possible, they will prevent the establishment of a narrow right-wing government, and if such a government is formed, ensure that the key ministerial posts are given to relative “moderates”.

In addition, the Obama administration is trying to influence the political platform of the next Israeli government,” Yishai wrote

He continued:”The accusations of spying made against Israel are primarily designed to limit the ability of Republican lawmakers in Congress to act against the agreement with Iran. Any member of Congress, Republican or Democratic, who uses the information received from Israel to vote against the agreement with Iran, is actually guilty of a form of treason as he or she made use of material obtained through alleged espionage against the United States.

In the battle for hearts and minds, Obama is waging war on Netanyahu not only out of revenge, but also as a way of setting a strategic policy, before the Israeli government is formed and before it is too late,” he concluded.

Yishai is probably right; the WSJ journalist who wrote the story about the spy scandal told Israeli News Show Mabat that he started to work on the story after the U.S. administration threatened Netanyahu not to divulge any secrets during his speech to Congress.

Netanyahu heeded that warning and told Congress all details of the emerging deal he discussed during the address could be googled. But Obama’s threat showed that the administration knew that Israel obtained secret details of the emerging deal.

The question now is what Obama’s administration will achieve.

Israeli analysts think that the administration might be overplaying its hand, inviting a backlash of sympathy for Netanyahu. Obama’s words and actions are regarded as patronizing and as disrespectful not only to Netanyahu, but to the Israeli public as well.

Obama seems to forget that Netanyahu just won an impressive victory in the Israeli election and that the President’s standing in Israel has sunk to an all time low. He should have learned something about Israeli politics and the spirit of the Israeli people after his interference in the Israeli election backfired.

His interference in the composition of the new Israeli government will only lead to more resistance in Israel against his politics on Iran and on the conflict with the Palestinians.

Bret Stephens, who was once the editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, probably got it right in his analysis about Obama’s Middle-East policies and Israel in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

Stephens concluded his article as follows: “The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance. On the Iranian nuclear deal, they may have to go rogue: Let’s hope their warnings have not been mere bluffs. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

White House Chief Of Staff Calls For End To Israel’s 50 Year ‘Occupation’ Of Palestine

USAID U.S. Agency for International Development (Flickr)

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough delivered a strong message to the annual J-Street Israel conference in Washington on Monday, stating, “An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state.”

McDonough’s word choice of “occupation” is among the most strident language the Obama administration has used in the week since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won re-election. Obama’s chief of staff added, “The borders of Israel and an independent Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps. Each state needs secure and recognized borders, and there must be robust provisions that safeguard Israel’s security.”

President Obama used the same language to describe the current governing relationship between Israel and the Arab citizens living in the West Bank. In a joint appearance with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in 2013, Obama said, “The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it.”

Israel gained control of the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula during the Six Day War in 1967. The conflict ignited when Egypt amassed forces on the Jewish nation’s southern border and allied with Jordan and Syria, which struck Israel on multiple fronts. Israel prevailed in the war.

Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1979 following the Camp David Peace Accords, and withdrew from the Gaza Strip, relinquishing local control to the Palestinian Authority in 2005. The Gaza Strip had been part of Egypt prior to 1967. Israel retained control of the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank from Jordan for security and territorial reasons. There was no Palestinian state prior to the 1967 War. Though Israel has turned over local control of communities in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, as a result of the 1993 Oslo Accords, it has not been willing to cede complete governance of the territory to establish a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has stated on multiple occasions that the pre-‘67 borders are indefensible. Previous Israeli prime ministers have held the same view. When Jordan controlled the West Bank, the distance between its border through Israel to the Mediterranean Sea at its narrowest point was nine miles.

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Netanyahu has walked back a statement made the day before his election last week indicating there would be no independent Palestinian state on his watch, but has maintained the current leadership of the Palestinian Authority, which is allied with the terrorist group Hamas, dictates that the climate is not right for a peace deal at this time. President Obama reportedly told Netanyahu that the United States would still “need to re-assess our options following the Prime Minister’s new positions and comments regarding the two state solution.”

McDonough’s remarks at the J-Street conference, coupled with other statements by White House officials, indicate one aspect of the administration’s re-assessment may be to pull support for Israel at the United Nations, potentially paving the way for a U.N. imposed two-state solution.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

U.S. House’s Lone Jew Pens Devastating Letter To Obama Over Israel Position

Facebook/Lee Zeldin

In a recent editorial published on The Journal, New York Rep. Lee Zeldin took Barack Obama to task for his position regarding America’s closest Middle Eastern ally, Israel. Zeldin’s perspective is particularly relevant given his status as the only Jew currently serving in the U.S. Congress.

The military veteran began by pointing out that threats against Israel are also an inherent threat against the U.S.

“If a nation like Iran was to receive nuclear capability,” he wrote, “America’s security would be immediately weakened. That’s why we must do everything possible to stop Iran from ever having nuclear capabilities.”

It is that Iranian threat, Zeldin pointed out, that prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to America to share his concerns in an address before Congress.

During the speech, he explained, Netanyahu affirmed that “he does not oppose an agreement with Iran; he opposes a bad agreement.”

Zeldin echoed Netanyahu’s remarks, writing that a “bad deal with Iran is worse than no deal at all” and lambasting the idea that America would be best served by “making a slew of permanent concessions on our side in return for temporary concessions on the part of Iran.”

It is incumbent upon legislators, he wrote, to “work together to strengthen our relationship with Israel and protect both of our nations against those who want to harm us.”

In his concluding sentence, Zeldin addressed the Obama administration’s reluctance to join in that effort.

“It is my hope,” he stated, “that the Obama administration will start standing with our allies in Israel and stop protecting our enemies.”

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Obama Says Don’t Worry About Iran’s Supreme Leader Saying ‘Death To America’–He Didn’t Really Mean It

Twitter/Doyle Industries

Recently, the Obama administration had egg on their faces regarding its dealings with Iran. While Obama and Kerry feverishly worked to allow Iran to get the bomb and threaten Israel, America, and the rest of the developed world, inconvenient truths have been raising their ugly heads and putting barriers in the administration’s quest to appease the mullahs.

For example, 47 members of the United States Senate wrote an open letter to Iran and explained the workings of our Constitutional system where an agreement with a foreign power that is not approved by the Senate will have no standing and can be immediately repealed with the election of a new president. This greatly angered the administration and those on the appeasing left, but it had the fortunate quality that it was the truth.

Another issue has risen its ugly head over the last few days; Iran’s Supreme Leader, while speaking to a group in-country, chanted “Death to America!” This was immediately after our Dear Leader had pleaded with the Iranian people to give him a deal. The five or six people outside of the government who actually heard Obama’s address, since they don’t have an independent media, probably were unimpressed.

However, the Ayatollah’s comments made the world press–and I’m sure were heard by most Iranians.

Breitbart reports:

On Monday, the White House dismissed Ayatollah Khamenei’s “Death to America” rhetoric, telling CNN that it was “intended for a domestic political audience.” That comment came on the heels of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explaining that such rhetoric provided even more reason for negotiating a deal with the Iranian regime.

You can’t make this stuff up!

I suppose if we suddenly found out about secret Iranian bomb-making facilities (which in all likelihood exist), the administration would find a way to shrug this off as well.

Obama’s agenda is to allow Iran to get the bomb to counter Israel. There is no other explanation for his behavior.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Jeb Bush Responds To Criticism Over His Anti-Israel Foreign Policy Adviser

Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush earned widespread criticism this week regarding a speech planned by his foreign policy adviser, former Secretary of State James Baker. As Baker geared up to deliver an address Monday evening before a gathering of the left-leaning lobbying organization J Street, a number of conservative sources skewered him for his perceived anti-Israel position.

Radio host Mark Levin, for one, cited a “well-documented” pattern of “antipathy toward Israel” regarding Baker, adding both he and Obama share similar hatred toward the Jewish nation.

“This is they guy,” Levin continued, “the leading adviser to Jeb Bush on foreign policy, who Jeb Bush asked to be his leading adviser, and now he’s the keynote speaker to this left-wing hate group J Street.”

Even before Baker’s speech, Bush spokesman Tim Miller attempted to distance the former Florida governor from the actions of his adviser.

Bush, Miller said, “firmly opposes lobbying groups whose actions undermine Israel’s efforts to defend itself.”

The backtracking continued Tuesday when another Bush spokesperson, Kristy Campbell, sent out a statement indicating that Bush “respects Secretary Baker” but “disagrees with the sentiments he expressed last night and opposes J Street’s advocacy.”

She went on to cite Bush’s “unwavering” support both for Israel and its presumptively reelected prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Bush camp’s attempts to assuage misgivings have apparently been insufficient, as evidenced by the comments left by several readers of a Politico article on the topic.

One commenter declared Bush a “political coward” while several asserted he is lying about his purported stance on Israel.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom