President Obama’s Mixed-Up Alliances: Israel V. Iran

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The Obama Administration, it seems, is very sensitive to criticism. At least, when Israelis make light of (one of) them.

In the beginning of 2014, President Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, were fuming that Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaa’lon dared to deride an earlier American peace plan proposal and to ridicule Secretary Kerry in an off-the-record comment to the media:

(T)he American security plan that was presented to us is not worth the paper it was written on. It contains neither security nor peace. Only our continued presence in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan River will guarantee that Ben Gurion Airport and (the northern city of) Netanya do not become targets for missiles from every direction.  Secretary of State John Kerry – who came here very determined, and operates based upon an unfathomable obsession and a messianic feeling – cannot teach me anything about the Palestinians…The only thing that can ‘save’ us is that John Kerry will get a Nobel peace prize and leave us alone.

As a result of Secretary Kerry’s hurt feelings, Minister Ya’alon was (presumably) forced to apologize for his private comments soon after the statement came to light.

But, apparently, this was not the end of the matter for the Obama Administration.

We know this thanks to a report from Israel Defense News, which states that during the Hamas terrorist initiated war against Israel, the Obama administration stopped resupplying Israel with many military items “because Israel had ignored the initiatives of Secretary of State John Kerry (the ‘Palestinian Peace Process’) and preferred to end the operation (the conflict with Hamas) through a direct channel with the Egyptians. (But also because) The State Department had been annoyed with Israel for several months, since it was revealed that Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had referred to Kerry as ‘Messianic’ in closed sessions.”

Also, Ynet reported that an October 2014 request by Defense Minister Ya’alon to meet with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice during his visit to Washington was denied by the Obama administration.  The stated reason for this was because “the administration was settling scores with Ya’alon for statements he made in January in which he called Kerry ‘obsessive’ and ‘messianic’ about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.” 

However, while Yaalon’s isolated, off-the-record statement – since apologized for – continues to provoke hostility against Israel from the Obama Administration, much more hostile and ridiculing, on-the-record statements or actions by Iranian government officials and Iranian-regime-controlled organs don’t seem to have a similar effect on the Obama Administration. This is quite strange, especially since Iran, in contrast to Israel, a democratic ally of the U.S., is an Islamist theocratic dictatorship that is currently at war with the U.S. In fact, Iran has a thirty-year record as a state sponsor of terrorism, and has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of American soldiers.

Here are some notable Iranian statements and actions showing hostility toward or the ridiculing of the U.S., President Obama, and member(s) of the Obama Administration in 2014.

  • Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei laughed at Obama Administration official’s statements on fighting ISIS, and called Secretary Kerry a liar.
  • Iranian President Rouhani mocked President Obama’s use of “red lines” in Syria by declaring, when it comes to the Iranian nuclear program, “When we say the red line we mean the red line.”
  • Khamenei also said: “We had announced previously that on certain issues, if we feel it is expedient, we would negotiate with the Satan (the United States) to deter its evil.” 
  • Khamenei also threatened, “Jihad will only end when society can get rid of America.”
  • Ali Younesi, senior advisor to Iranian President Rouhani, stated that “Obama is the weakest of U.S. presidents, he had humiliating defeats in the region” and “that is why they (the U.S.) want to compromise with Iran.”
  • Iranian state TV ran a documentary featuring a computerized video of Iran’s drones and missiles bombing Tel Aviv and carrying out simulated strikes on the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
  • Iranian General Jazzayeri said, “The low-IQ US president and his country’s Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of ‘the US options on the table’ on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, specially the children.”
  • The Iranian regime held rallies to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, during which they set up a booth where people could “throw a shoe at (a picture of) Obama.”  

But it does not seem that any of these statements or actions impacted the Obama Administration-led P5+1 negotiations with Iran.  The latest news on that front is that the U.S. is prepared to cave even more to garner a deal with the Iranians:

A recent proposal would reportedly allow Iran to keep roughly 300% more centrifuges operating than under a previous scenario capping operating machines at 1,300 centrifuges – which was itself a fallback from long-standing international demands, codified in half a dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions, that Tehran halt its enrichment activities. (The Daily TIP, October 23, 2014)

Recently, after the Obama Administration directed its own string of off-the-recordcomplaints and insults towards Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner was quoted as saying: “When the president discusses Israel and Iran, it is sometimes hard to tell who he thinks is America’s friend and who he thinks is America’s enemy.” 

With all due respect to Speaker Boehner, I believe he is dead wrong. It is not hard at all to tell which nation President Obama prefers to align himself with – Iran. 

Adam Turner serves as general counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth(EMET).  He is a former counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.

Article originally appeared at

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