Report: Netanyahu in shouting match with US ambassador Shapiro over Iran
Prime Minister Netanyahu had a shouting match with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro in front of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mi) last week according to a number of reports. The subject was Iran.A source that participated in the meeting said that a particularly angry and stressed Netanyahu began a tirade against the US president, attacking him for not doing enough on Iran. “Instead of pressuring Iran in an effective way, Obama and his people are pressuring us not to attack the nuclear facilities,” the source quoted Netanyahu as saying.
Angered about continued US rhetoric that diplomacy needs more time to work, Netanyahu said flatly: “Time has run out,” Yediot reported.
The American ambassador is said to have responded politely but firmly, telling Netanyahu that he was distorting Obama’s position. Obama promised not to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, he explained, and left all options on the table, including military options.
At that point, diplomatic sources told the paper, “sparks flew” in an escalating shouting match between Netanyahu and Shapiro as the stunned congressman watched.
Al-Monitor’s Shimon Shiffer adds:The next round between Netanyahu and the Obama administration is slated to take place after Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. However, that meeting is likely to be more low-keyed or, as better known in military jargon, “low intensity.” Netanyahu is likely to meet with President Obama, who will be on the last leg of his reelection campaign and would need an all-smiles photo with the Israeli premier.
Obama is likely to reiterate the things he has said before about his resolve to stop Iran. Netanyahu, for his part, will tell reporters that he has been able to get an American promise that will allow Israel to postpone the decision to launch an independent, unilateral strike in Iran.
This, however, is not the end of the story. For every smiley meeting before the elections comes the day after the US vote. Advised of the exchange between Netanyahu and Shapiro, one official opined that if on Nov. 6 Obama remains in the Oval Office, “Netanyahu will have to seek shelter against the revenge of the American President in his second term.” [Emphasis mine. CiJ].
Meanwhile, on the sidelines and in the back rooms of this scuffle between Obama and Netanyahu, the prime minister has decided to extend the term of Israel’s ambassador to the US Michael Oren by one year. The original plan to dispatch Ron Dermer, Netanyahu’s closest political adviser, has been put on hold. This appointment will have to wait for the prime minister’s optimistic scenario to materialize – to see the Republican nominee Mitt Romney becoming the next president. After the “brawl” between Netanyahu and Shapiro, it seems that the prime minister has another reason to hope for this scenario to come true.
The US Embassy would not comment.
But the majority of American Jewry will still pull the lever for Obama on November 6. I guess they think they have no need to worry.
Regardless, Israel has no choice. Unless it is clear that Romney is going to win the election (even if Romney wins, it’s not likely to become clear that he will do so soon enough), Israel will have to attack Iran before the US elections. It may be our only chance to do so.