On November 20th, Iran and the P5+1 group are scheduled to meet in Geneva again to pick up after their intense negotiations that ended without an agreement. The delay gave breathing room to hardliners in both Tehran and Washington, with Israel banging the drums for tougher sanctions. Although a final deal is months away, tensions are building between Tel Aviv and Washington, although the ” American public—though strongly pro-Israel—seems either not to have noticed or not to care much.” Nevertheless, Netanyahu has not missed any opportunity to attack the American President and his Secretary of State John Kerry. He has “more or less called the American president and his envoys naive to the point of imperiling Israel’s survival.” The Editorial Board of the New York Times blasted Netanyahu for his endless confrontation, saying “If Iran talks fail now, Mr. Netanyahu will own the failure, the rest of us will pay the price.”
Netanyahu is making a huge strategic mistake. Even though he has lived in the United States and claims knowledge of American politics, he is woefully ignorant of how far he can push the United States into a corner. He made a major mistake in 2012 when he openly backed Mitt Romney for President. “It was a terrible mistake by the prime minister of Israel to involve himself in American politics,” former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview. When the news of Obama victory reached Israel, Eli Yishai, Deputy Prime Minister said “this has not been a very good morning for Netanyahu,” and an Israeli political strategist put it this way: “Netanyahu backed the wrong horse.”
With a potential deal with Iran on the horizon, it is Netanyahu who is putting Israel in danger by jeopardizing its relationship with the United States.
As the Economist of London put it, “in the struggle with Iran, Mr Netanyahu is stuck with Mr Obama. They may disagree profoundly on tactics, but there is little support in America for what Israel’s premier has in mind.”