BigMo’s Blog

Politics and Economics in Israel

The Press Conference – Translated

Press conferences are highly choreographed maneuvers, even when the participants are sitting. Here are some of the excerpts from the PC President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu had on Monday.  In parentheses, are what they were really saying . . .

OBAMA: Well, listen, I first of all want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for making this visit (DC’s a lot better than one of those settlements, huh?).  I think we had an extraordinarily productive series of conversations, not only between the two of us but also at the staff and agency levels (sorry Rahm Emanual called your chief of staff a “motherf*cker.”)

Obviously, this reflects the extraordinary relationship (you don’t call just anybody a “motherf*cker), the special relationship between the United States and Israel (It’s amazing what $4 billion a year will buy!)  We have historical ties, emotional ties (I’ll trade you Rahm Emanual for two generals who know how to win a war)

One of the areas that we discussed is the deepening concern around the potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon by Iran (yeah, I’m still playing the diplomatic card).  I indicated to him the view of our administration, that Iran is a country of extraordinary history and extraordinary potential (they have enough money to buy me and whatever America still actually makes).

We also had an extensive discussion about the possibilities of restarting serious negotiations on the issue of Israel and the Palestinians (they’re not very likely).  I have said before and I will repeat again (because it’s easier to repeat a lie than to explain the truth) that it is I believe in the interest not only of the Palestinians, but also the Israelis and the United States and the international community to achieve a two-state solution (let’s just flip a coin: loser gets Arizona, you won’t even notice the difference).

NETANYAHU: President Obama, thank you. Thank you for your friendship to Israel and your friendship to me.  (Wow, you’re right! $4 billion a year does buy a lot).  You’re a great leader — a great leader of the United States, a great leader of the world, a great friend of Israel (you better up it to $5 billion), and someone who is acutely cognizant of our security concerns (and the 250 nuclear warheads we have).  And the entire people of Israel appreciate it, and I speak on their behalf (or at least on behalf of the 25% who voted for me).

Iran openly calls for our destruction, which is unacceptable by any standard (we kicked Nasser’s ass for that).  It threatens the moderate Arab regimes in the Middle East (moderate by Arab standards, anyway).  It threatens U.S. interests worldwide (which might cut into our $4 billion).

I want to make it clear that we don’t want to govern the Palestinians.  We want to live in peace with them (a piece of Nablus, a piece of Jericho, a piece of Hebron).  We want them to govern themselves (it should be entertaining), absent a handful of powers (an army, a police force, an economy) that could endanger the state of Israel.

OBAMA:  Thank you. We’re going to take a couple of questions. We’re going to start with Steve (the short white guy in the front row).

Q:  Mr. President, you spoke at length, as did the Prime Minister, about Iran’s nuclear program. Your program of engagement, policy of engagement, how long is that going to last? Is there a deadline?

OBAMA:  You know, I don’t want to set an artificial deadline (like I did with Hillary conceding the primaries or withdrawing US troops from Iraq).  Their elections will be completed in June (ballots were counted last week, and the candidates will be selected next week), and we are hopeful that, at that point, there is going to be a serious process of engagement, first through the P5-plus-one process (what the f*ck? Is this trigonometry?).

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. Aren’t you concerned that your outstretched hand has been interpreted by extremists, especially Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, Meshal, as weakness? And since my colleague (Steve, the short white guy in the front row) already asked about the deadline, if engagement fails, what then, Mr. President?

OBAMA: Well, it’s not clear to me why my outstretched hand would be interpreted as weakness (my handshake does that for me).

Q: Qatar, an example.

OBAMA: I’m sorry (did you just call me queer)?

Q: The example of Qatar. They would have preferred to be on your side and then moved to the extremists, to Iran.

OBAMA: Oh, I think — yes, I’m not sure about that interpretation (we can have 120,000 heavily armed troops there by morning).

Q:  Mr. President, the Israeli Prime Minister and the Israeli administration have said on many occasions that only if the Iranian threat will be solved, they can achieve real progress on the Palestinian threat. Do you agree with that kind of linkage? And to the Israeli Prime Minister, you were speaking about the political track. Are you willing to get into final status issues?

OBAMA: Well, let me say this (first of all, you asked two questions, that’s breaking the rules). There’s no doubt that it is difficult for any Israeli government to negotiate in a situation in which they feel under immediate threat (it didn’t stop Olmert, though). And as I’ve said before, I recognize Israel’s legitimate concerns about the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon when they have a president who has in the past said that Israel should not exist. That would give any leader of any country pause (I’m amazed they have already nuked the sonofabitch).

NETANYAHU: There isn’t a policy linkage, and that’s what I hear the President saying (at least, that’s what I’d like to think I heard him say), and that’s what I’m saying too (or at least, it’s what I’d like him to hear me saying). So I think the terminology will take care of itself if we have the substantive understanding (settlements are henceforth to be called “residential developments”). I have great confidence in your leadership, Mr. President (mental note: build deeper bomb shelters), and in your friendship to my country (we’ve just renamed Rosh HaShana – it’s now Shana HaObama) and in your championing of peace and security (as unlikely as your policies are to achieve these).

OBAMA: Thank you, everybody (do you think they bought any of that bullsh*t?)

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Israel, Middle East, Obama | , , , | Leave a comment