Sauce for the goose 201

… but not for the gander. 

We hope that Israel will destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities by force. We have noticed that talking to Iran  accomplishes nothing.

Obama’s anti-Israel administration is plainly trying to make it hard for Israel to take action against Iran.  

But Israel is a sovereign state and will make its own defense decisions.   

When Sarah Palin said so, her media critics called it ‘stupid’.

When Joe Biden says it  … 

James Taranto writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Over the weekend, as we noted yesterday, Vice President Biden said that if Israel decides it needs to take military action against the Iranian nuclear-weapons program, the U.S. will not “dictate” otherwise. A reader points out that Sarah Palin, who ran against Biden in last year’s election, said much the same thing in a September interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson:

Gibson: What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?

Palin: Well, first, we are friends with Israel and I don’t think that we should second-guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.

Gibson: So if we wouldn’t second-guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperative or agree with that.

Palin: I don’t think we can second-guess what Israel has to do to secure its nation.

Gibson: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right.

Palin: We cannot second-guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.

Palin reiterated the point in a later interview with CBS’s Katie Couric.

This column agrees with both Biden and Palin and is glad to see that the bipartisan consensus recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself appears sturdy. But we suspected not everyone would be so consistent, so we went back to see what people had said about Palin.

Matthew Yglesias, who when he was young drew much praise for his thoughtful and fair-minded commentary, wrote a blog post titled “Palin: If Israel Wants to Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran, That’s Okay With Me”:

Palin reiterated her absurd view that the President of the United States shouldn’t “second-guess” Israeli policy under any circumstances.

Palin is okay at repeating various “pro-Israel” buzzwords, but she can’t run away from the fact that her underlying position on this topic is stupid.

So when Biden said the same thing, did Yglesias call it “absurd” and “stupid”? Well, is the pope Italian? Here’s what he wrote yesterday:

This is being read by some . . . as a “green light” for an Israeli attack. . . . I think the most straightforward reading of what Biden said is rather different, he’s trying to distance the United States from any possible Israeli military action by making it clear that what Israel does or doesn’t do is decided in Israel rather than in Washington.

The main problem with this, I think, is that probably nobody’s going to believe it. Already you see many Americans taking Biden’s statement that the U.S. doesn’t control Israeli policy to “really” mean that the U.S. is encouraging Israel to attack.

When Palin says it, it’s stupid. When Biden says it, he gets graded on a curve: The problem is that other people are too stupid to understand the deep subtlety of Biden’s thinking.

Then there’s M.J. Rosenberg of In September, he described Palin as “robotic” and suggested that she is the puppet of a Jewish cabal:

Now we know why among the very first people Sarah Palin sat down with after being nominated was [sic] Joe Lieberman and the head of AIPAC.

She needed the latest talking points and, boy, did she learn her lines. . . .

In other words, under the Palin administration, we won’t second guess Israel. I think I’ve got it.

Palin sure has.

And when Biden said it? Rosenberg kept mum until he was persuaded that the vice president’s words didn’t really reflect U.S. policy. Then he wrote this:

The President said today that he has “absolutely not” given Israel a “green light” to attack Iran.

So Biden either misspoke, was misinterpreted, or has just been corrected by his boss. Israel will get no green light to attack. We will, as Obama said all along, rely on diplomacy to solve the Iran problem.

Fair enough, right? Wrong. Look what Palin said to Charlie Gibson just before he asked about a hypothetical Israeli strike:

Gibson: So what do you do about a nuclear Iran?

Palin: We have got to make sure that these weapons of mass destruction, that nuclear weapons are not given to those hands of Ahmadinejad, not that he would use them, but that he would allow terrorists to be able to use them. So we have got to put the pressure on Iran and we have got to count on our allies to help us, diplomatic pressure.

Gibson: But, Governor, we’ve threatened greater sanctions against Iran for a long time. It hasn’t done any good. It hasn’t stemmed their nuclear program.

Palin: We need to pursue those and we need to implement those. We cannot back off. We cannot just concede that, oh, gee, maybe they’re going to have nuclear weapons, what can we do about it. No way, not Americans. We do not have to stand for that.

What Palin said last year was precisely what Obama and Biden have now said: Diplomacy is the optimal way of dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, but if it fails, Israel has a right to defend itself. In a way, the inconsistency of some of Palin’s critics is reassuring. It shows that a good deal of anti-Israel sentiment is mere partisanship masquerading as something uglier.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, Iran, Islam, Israel, Muslims, News, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, July 8, 2009

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