Photo, Globe and Mail
Less than two months before the U.S. presidential election and there's Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu going on yesterday's Sunday morning political talk show circuit again pushing Obama to establish "red lines" against Iran's nuclear program that would commit the U.S. to act militarily if these "lines" were breached.
Of course the President had openly rejected Netanyahu's idea of any "red lines " in the sand and told him directly in a reported phone call earlier last week.
Meanwhile over in Iran, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Mohammad Ali Jafari held a news conference in Tehran yesterday warning "nothing will remain" in Israel if his country is attacked by Israel or any other nation". Further he went on to say, "Given Israel's small land area and its vulnerability to a massive volume of Iran's missiles, I don't think any spot in Israel will remain safe".
Such a caustic verbal response and threat of retaliation by Iran to Netanyahu's unrelenting drumbeat for war against Iran should be seen as a reminder that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would lead to disastrous consequences not only for Israel, the U.S. and the world.
Yet Netanyahu persists in roiling the waters over Iran's nuclear development implying the U.S. president is not doing enough to stem Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
Netanyahu maintains he is not attempting to influence the U.S. election but his going on the airwaves less than a week after Obama rejected his "red line" in the sand argument says otherwise.
From here, even though Netanyahu's appearances on these Sunday political talk shows (NBC's "Meet the Press" and CNN"s "State of the Union") are perfectly legal it is unseemly for another country's top political leader to be voicing his opinions in the U.S. and to a U.S. audience in clear defiance of a U.S. president's stated position so close to the presidential election.
On can talk about the U.S./Israeli "special arrangement" as unshakeable allies in defense of Israel but it is unimaginable for a U.S. president to be in Israel six weeks before an Israeli election openly advocating a position that opposes the Israeli Prime Minister and his party up for re-election.
The Israeli media would be up in arms condemning that U.S. president for having the audacity to directly influence the Israeli election outcome. Yet is that not precisely Netanyahu's intention, contrary to what he says to the media?
As for the U.S. media it takes a neutral position and apparently sees no presidential influence peddling by allowing Netanyahu to spout his critical opinions of the president before millions of American voters six weeks before the election.
Although the current controversy over foreign money influencing the outcome of U.S. elections has been the primary focus and banned by law (though obviously circumscribed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other so called nonprofit social organizations that can legally avoid disclosure of their donors), are we going to be so naÃ¯ve and believe Netanyahu's appearances on U.S. political talk shows are not meant to influence American voters to vote against Obama?
Though it may be technically legal, it is irresponsible for the MSM to allow such blatant foreign influence peddling into U.S. elections.