WHAT HAPPENED BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE OBAMA-NETANYAHU MEETINGS THIS WEEK? NETANYAHU STOOD HIS GROUND.
* Show your support for Israel. Register for 2010 Epicenter Conference in June. Details at http://www.epicenterconference.com
By Joel C. Rosenberg
(Washington, D.C., March 25, 2010) — The Obama administration this week applied intense and unprecedented pressure on the Netanyahu government to make huge unilateral concessions to the Palestinians even before direct peace talks begin.
One advisor who has been briefed on the talks told me: “President Obama is insisting that Israel sign a document that specifies Israel’s commitment to a peace deal with the Palestinians that will be based on 1967 lines. This means no building in Jerusalem, and a time table to address other core issues, like the ‘right of return.'” The source, one that I trust a great deal, also noted that President Obama spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to make sure each of them are on board with pressuring the Israelis to make such unprecedented unilateral concessions. [ON THE WEBLOG: MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS, INCLUDING THE PROPHETIC IMPLICATIONS OF ALL THIS]
The good news: Netanyahu had a very good week. He looked strong and principled. He was gracious and diplomatic. And he stood his ground. He did not cave into the intense pressure from the White House and State Department. He refused to divide Jerusalem. In a masterful AIPAC speech, he calmly and clearly explained why Israel would never give up the right to build homes in her capital. He sent the U.S. and the world a straightforward and sobering message that if they don’t move quickly and decisively to stop Iran from getting the Bomb, then Israel will do it herself. He didn’t threaten. He didn’t swagger. He simply stated the facts, in their historic context, and nobody does it better than Netanyahu. What’s more, he did all this with Defense Minister Ehud Barak standing in solidarity at his side, which was important because it sent the White House – and his critics back in Israel, and enemies back in Iran — the message that the Israeli government is united. No small thing. Barak came to Camp David with Yasser Arafat in 2000 willing carve up Jerusalem and give away the West Bank. God bless Netanyahu for opposing this approach in principle, and for having and (thus far, at least) maintaining Barak’s support in the process.
The AIPAC speech, plus the warm and engaging meetings with Members of Congress significantly strengthened Netanyahu’s hand. It reconnected him in a very important way with grassroots pro-Israel activists from all over the U.S., Jews and Christians alike. It also significantly strengthened his alliance with Congress, which continues to prove itself as the pro-Israel end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Both are critical in counter-balancing the hostile Obama administration.
My wife, Lynn and I, and the incoming chairman of The Joshua Fund and his wife, were at the AIPAC dinner on Monday night and heard Netanyahu’s speech in person. It was exceptional. Our favorite moment at the dinner: an evening with Orthodox Jews at our table who were deeply moved and profoundly grateful for the support of Christians. “You Christians are the best friends Israel has. You’re the only friends we really have.” [FULL TEXT AND DETAILED ANALYSIS OF NETANYAHU’S MUST-READ/MUST WATCH SPEECH ON THE WEBLOG]
Given the tensions in U.S.-Israel relations, I would like to invite you as well as Jewish and Israeli leaders to attend the 2010 Epicenter Conference this summer in Philadelphia (June 25-26). We need to work together to bless Israel amidst the growing Iran threat. For more details, please go to http://www.epicenterconference.com.
HELP US BLESS NEEDY ISRAELIS THIS PASSOVER: With Passover coming up soon, and the prospect for war in the epicenter growing, please consider helping The Joshua Fund provide food and cooking supplies for Israeli families living below the poverty line, and helping us stock our new warehouse with food supplies ahead of the next war. Thanks so much. Later this week, I’ll have an exciting report on the warehouse and The Joshua Fund’s latest relief efforts. (www.joshuafund.net)
HELP US BLESS IRAN WITH THE GOSPEL THIS NEW YEAR: Iranians just celebrated the Persian new year. President Ahmadinejad marked the celebration by urging Muslims to prepare for the coming of the Twelfth Imam and the annihilation of Israel. On Tuesday, April 13, I will be speaking at a fund-raising dinner in San Jose, California for the ministry of Hormoz Shariat, “the Billy Graham of Iran.” Hormoz reaches seven to nine million Iranian Muslims each weekday night with the gospel of Jesus Christ through his satellite TV programs. Please register to come to the dinner. Hormoz and I will be sharing the remarkable things God is doing in Iran right now, and I would love for you to be a part of it. You can learn more at http://www.cityteam.org/joelrosenberg/ or on my weblog. Thanks and God bless you.
(AP photo: Netanyahu and Barak leaving the White House on Tuesday night)