Friday, September 28, 2012
To angry Obama supporters about red lines
27 September '12..
A note from Aaron Lerner to angry Obama supporters about red lines
I appreciate how passionate your support is for President Obama and his re-election.
I can assure you that the "red lines-deadlines" campaign was in no way and is in no way intended as a move to either help Romney or hurt Mr. Obama. And frankly speaking I think that if you step back for a moment and consider the circumstances you can at least concede that there's logic behind it even if you do not agree:
#1. It was genuinely believed that at some point – possibly at the address to the UN General Assembly – President Obama was going to adopt some version of red lines – deadlines with Netanyahu then praising him for doing it. In fact, don't rule out the possibility that when President Obama has his telephone call with Netanyahu that he endorses a form of the red line Netanyahu set in his address to the UN General Assembly today.
#2. If anything the expectation was that this would play out to hurt Romney since – again – the purpose of the exercise was and is not to make some negative point about Mr. Obama but instead to stop Iran from building nukes via a red line for Iran on nukes – just as the US set a red line with Iran when Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormouz. .
Again. We aren't pushing red lines deadlines because of the presidential elections. We are doing it despite the elections. And we are doing this because of the situation with Iran: That they are moving at breakneck speed towards getting nukes and that sanctions aren't going to stop them but an ultimatum would.
This isn't the first time that there are disagreements between Washington and Jerusalem.
I am not saying we are happy to have disagreements.
But these things happen.
And when the disagreement is over something extremely important then we are not a slave who must bow to his master.
1. We bombed the Iraqi nuclear plant and were punished by America for the move. Decades later we were thanked.
2. We took out the Syrian nuclear weapons plant though America said not to. A few months later the president decided we had done the right thing.
3. The U.S. opposed literally every move we made in eastern Jerusalem – even clearing out a plaza area for prayer in front of the Western Wall – but today when American officials visit us they almost always include a photo op at the same location whose creation they condemned.
The U.S. isn't "Israel's bitch". We can have honest disagreements.
And sometimes they go public.
America speaks loud and clear in Israel to the Israeli public about its disagreements and at times Israel does the same in the States.
And this serves America's interests as well.
Because thanks to this open give and take other nations know that not everything Israel says or does either represents American policy or even has America's consent.
And without going into details, suffice it to say that sometimes we may do things that the White House wants us to do – but that Washington doesn't want to be associated with.
It certainly has been interesting receiving your very angry replies.
I haven't spent much time in America in the last decades. Most of the time was on the annual "pilgrimage" to Disney World in Florida when our kids were growing up, so I don't have a chance that much to get a taste of America circa 2012.
It certainly isn't the America I remember as a child in terms of the implied or openly expressed de-legitimacy attributed to political rivals. I daresay that in our rough and tumble Israeli politics today that we have more acceptance of the legitimacy of rival camps within the democratic process than I see expressed in the messages I have received from Americans about their elections.
But I am not here to give you a civics lecture. This is most definitely something that a few words from Israel is not going to change...
But hopefully, despite your rage, this explanation will help you to understand that the "red lines" campaign wasn't meant to either help Romney or drag the U.S. into an unnecessary war.
"Red lines" are meant to stop Iran and avoid war.
It is my fervent hope that after the Obama-Netanyahu phone call that this entire issue will be dead as President Obama uses the opportunity to endorse PM Netanyahu's red line.