Washington Post: PM Arguments 'Deserve a Response'

Even if, as in President Obama's words, there was nothing “new” about the Prime Minister's Iran views, they still deserve to be considered.

Yaakov Levi ,

Binyamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama
Binyamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama
Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash 90

In its editorial view of Binyamin Netanyahu's speech on Iran, the Washington Post said that even if, as in President Barack H. Obama's words, there was nothing “new” about what the Israeli Prime Minister said, it would still behoove the administration to pay attention to what he said. “Mr. Netanyahu’s arguments deserve a serious response from the Obama administration — one it has yet to provide,” the Post said.

Instead of doing so, “the White House has sought to dismiss the Israeli leader as a politician seeking reelection; has said that he was wrong in his support for the Iraq war and in his opposition to an interim agreement with Iran; and has claimed that he offers no alternative to President Obama’s policy.” In other words, the paper said, Obama has been doing everything but address the concerns Netanyahu brought up, which were well-known to him even before the speech.

Obama, the editorial said, “appears to be betting that detente can better control Iran’s nuclear ambitions and, perhaps, produce better behavior over time,” a sharp contrast to U.S. policy since 1979. Those who do not embrace his policies, aides say, are advocating for war – but the Post is convinced that Netanyahu's approach provides a third way.

“Netanyahu,” the editorial said, “strongly disputed that point. 'Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime,' he said. Is that wrong? For that matter, is it acceptable to free Iran from sanctions within a decade and allow it unlimited nuclear capacity? Rather than continuing its political attacks on Mr. Netanyahu, the administration ought to explain why the deal it is contemplating is justified — or reconsider it.”

In its own editorial, the New York Times panned the speech, saying that it made for great “exploitative political theater” rarely seen in Washington, but it “offered nothing of substance that was new” in what to do about the Iran nuclear issue, the New York Times Editorial Board said Thursday. Netanyahu “offered no new insight on Iran and no new reasons to reject the agreement being negotiated with Iran by the United States and five other major powers to constrain Iran’s nuclear program,” the editorial said.