Editors' Blog

Grand Illusion

Jeff Goldberg walks through the Boehner/Netanyahu Pact on every conceivable path and can't find one where it's not a disaster. Too true. Painfully true. To be clear, he's talking about a disaster for Israel and its security - not necessarily Netanyahu's electoral fortunes. He doesn't address that. Jeff also sees the move - or at least does so in this article - exclusively through the lens of Netanyahu's Iran fixation. I tend to think domestic politics plays a very large role as well. I would find the nature of the Iranian threat to Israel more convincing if the leaders of Israel's defense establishment saw it the way Netanyahu does. And they do not. Unlike Rabin, Barak or Sharon, he is no military man, though he served in one of the IDF's elite units as a young man. But that question is almost secondary to the key point Jeff makes, which is that in a fight he almost certainly cannot win (coercing Obama into abandoning his Iran policy) he is directly and immediately threatening - and more than threatening, concretely damaging - a lynchpin of Israeli security: the US alliance. The damage is not just with this President, who after all will be out of office in less than two years, but with Democrats and even American Jewry.

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Check This Out

With everything that has happened over the last six-odd months, we wanted to do a story on African-American and Hispanic police officers - how they're reacting, what they're thinking in the aftermath of Ferguson and Garner. As you'd expect, getting people to talk was extremely difficult. But Aurin Squire did get people to talk. And what he heard was fascinating and in many cases not what you'd likely expect. Check it out. A must-read piece I'm very proud of.

Okay, All Good. Crisis Averted.

As you've no doubt seen, a stretch of the Northeast, from New York to Boston, is bundling down for a mammoth blizzard that may be anywhere from a historic storm to just a big storm. Our New York City staff is going to be working remotely tomorrow; our headquarters will be closed. But personally the major crisis was that I had let this epic storm coincide with our getting perilously low on my supply of Grady's Cold Brew Ice Coffee. And in case you think I'm kidding, I'm not.

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Will It Matter?

I've been reading through your responses to my earlier post on the Netanyahu/Boehner Pact and the speech imbroglio. The question many of you are asking is, Will it matter? Will it have an effect? The simple answer is, I don't know. Unfortunately, that's the complicated answer too: I don't know. With anything to do with Israeli politics in the last quarter century, an important first rule of thumb is: do not underestimate Benjamin Netanyahu. The man is a scoundrel and deeply damaging to Israel's future. But as I noted earlier, he is a master of manipulating the pliable and broken parliamentary dynamics of the Israeli state and he repeatedly made himself as necessary and he is disliked. It is amazing how many things the guy has come back from.

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A Step Too Far

There seems to be a growing backlash to the Netanyahu-Boehner speech stunt, both in the United States and Israel. As you can see from our current feature story, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has said the speech threatens a rift with the US and should be canceled. I want to say more about Oren's remarks and their context. But before getting to that, a few other developments.

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Quote of the Day

"Senior American official" as quoted by Haaretz: "We thought we've seen everything. But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don't do. He spat in our face publicly and that's no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price."

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's office has tried to paper over the confrontation by calling the congressional invitation bipartisan. But Democrats were quick to note that is not true. Even American Jewish groups who seldom allow any daylight between themselves and the Israeli government appear shocked by Netanyahu's move and are having difficulty defended it.

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