The real reason Obama and Bibi can’t just get along

Bibi’s speech at the UN is making headlines because of his spot-on impression of – depending on whom you ask – Wile E. Coyote, or Adolf S. Hitler [see above]. Drawing considerably less attention were his attempts to make amends with the Obama administration:

Two days ago President Obama reiterated that the threat of a nuclear Iran cannot be contained… We thank and support President Obama for his position. I believe Democrats and Republicans alike share his position, and it is shared by leaders around the world … Israel is in discussions with the United States on this issue, and I am confident that we can chart a path forward together.

The comments came the same day as a ‘leaked’ Israeli memo indicated that current sanctions against Iran are working, and that the approach might pay dividends and obviate the need for a pre-emptive strike on pre-nuclear Iran. Prior to Netanyahu’s speech, the New York Times speculated as to the source of the leak:

The timing of the leak to Haaretz raised questions among Israelis. It was unclear whether the Foreign Ministry, led by Avigdor Lieberman, was sending a pointed message of its own to counter the usually belligerent tone of Mr. Netanyahu, or whether the leak was coordinated with the prime minister and intended to send a more conciliatory message from Israel to Washington.

I would imagine that – especially given the implausibility of Avigdorrrr serving as any sort of moderating influence – following Bibi’s remarks, the latter possibility appears more likely.

That said, one day of speeches won’t erase all of the tension that has bubbled up between the two administrations in recent weeks. If you’re familiar with the history, you can skip this excerpt:

In both tone and words, it was a departure from recent statements by the Prime Minister, who is said to have an icy relationship with Obama. At a Sept. 11 press conference, Netanyahu angrily declared: “The world tells Israel, ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put redlines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

That came after Netanyahu reportedly dressed down U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro over America’s Iran policy in front of visiting members of Congress — and then leaked the episode days before the Democratic National Convention. And in the lead-up to the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu’s administration leaked word that Obama had declined to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister in New York — an allegation the Obama Administration denied, saying the two men weren’t even scheduled to be in the city at the same time.

And while I’ve previously expressed some sympathy for Obama in this situation, I have to say that upon further consideration, it’s easier for me to understand why Bibi might feel Obama is not entirely on his side.

All this time, everybody’s thought Obama is running against Mitt Romney, when in reality he’s so far up in the polls, he’s actually found it more worth his while to run against Bibi — or more specifically on behalf of Bibi’s political opposition, Kadima [pictured below in both English and Hebrew]:

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You might feel the need to point out: “This looks shopped. I can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time.” Well, you’d be wrong. This was GIMPed.

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