By Larry Gordon
At a private reception in Brooklyn on Sunday evening, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Zev Elkin briefed members of the Syrian Jewish community on some of the issues Prime Minister Netanyahu will be discussing with President Obama on Monday (today) and the issues that the Prime Minister will most likely address at the UN on Tuesday.
We had to assure aides to the deputy minister that we would not disclose the details of Mr. Elkin’s remarks until later this week so that he does not eclipse or diminish the potency of what Mr. Netanyahu plans to say. Interestingly enough while we did not speak directly to Mr. Elkin those traveling with him talked on background about the dynamic that exists between Mr. Elkin as deputy foreign minister and Mr. Netanyahu.
Elkin has said in the past that he does not subscribe to the notion or the potential viability of a two state solution while the creation of a Palestinian state, that is two states, is the official policy of the current government in Israel.
Politics is an odd and even funny thing that deals on levels that are often beyond the grasp of everyday pedestrian thinking. That means that the pursuit of a two state solution can be the policy of an Israeli government but the conclusion of an agreement and the implementation of such a diplomatic conclusion is not the policy of that very same government. That is probably the simplest way to describe this unusual dynamic for now.
Mr. Elkin, as was reported last week, was disinvited from the Prime Ministers for speaking out last week and highlighting contradiction in Mr. Netanyahu’s polices. Maneuvering the Prime Minister into such an uncomfortable diplomatic position on the eve of his UN speech did not go over well with Bibi and Elkin and his aides had to fly into New Yoek on a commercial fight also that arrived in New York on Sunday morning.
Also at the event was Republican Congressman Michael Grimm. He is extremely popular in the Syrian Jewish community that he represents in Congress. He drove in from Washington on Sunday to attend this meeting and was planning to return directly to DC where momentous votes on the budget, Obamacare and a possible limited shutdown of the US government will take place over the next two days.
Grimm says that support for Israel in Congress has never been greater than it is today. He said that there is no leadership at the White House and that the administration is dominated by dysfunction. He said that the Democratic controlled Senate functions in very much the same way. On Syria and the near bombing of Assad by the US of a few weeks ago, Congressman Grimm says that he had planned to vote to support a military strike but then when he learned that the plan was for Mr. Obama to simply launch a “calling card” type of perfunctory and minimal attack that he changed his position.
Deputy Foreign Minister Elkin’s remarks focused mostly on Iran and the need not to be duped by Iranian duplicity and President Hassan Rouhani’s “charm offensive.” Rohani has indeed written in the past that the way to handle the west is to smile and say nice things while internally pursuing Iran’s devious plans. The only news there is that everyone involved seems to have been forewarned about this type of Iranian deviousness. That is except Barrack Obama.