The foreign collusion story is mainstream. Not Russia. Israel. On NPR this morning, the host asked a State Department official whether Donald Trump designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization so as to make an offering to Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve of the Israeli election.
“I want to ask you about the timing of this,” David Greene said. “The response from from Israel was quick and I should say pretty jubilant. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu… wrote on twitter in Hebrew that President Trump was ‘answering another of my important requests.’ Is that what’s happening here?
Brian Hook of State said Israel will benefit from the decision, but it was made in the U.S. interest. Greene persisted:
We should say Iranians certainly see a connection with the Israeli election and Iran’s foreign minister called this an election eve gift to Netanyahu. Even if the United States makes a decision based on national security, is the timing of this announcement helpful to Benjamin Netanyahu…
Here is Netanyahu’s tweet translated from Hebrew:
“Thank you, my dear friend, President Donald Trump, for answering another one of my important requests.”
The English language version of Netanyahu’s tweet left out the requests (as Raf Sanchez noted).
Thank you, President
@realDonaldTrump for your decision to designate the Islamic revolutionary guards as a terrorist organization. Once again you are keeping the world safe from Iran aggression and terrorism.
The Intercept is on the story: “As the Telegraph correspondent Raf Sanchez noted, Netanyahu’s choice of words seemed to imply that Trump’s earlier decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Syrian territory Israel seized by force in 1967, was also a gift given at the request of the embattled Israeli prime minister.”
The Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif thinks he knows what’s going on:
A(nother) misguided election-eve gift to Netanyahu. A(nother) dangerous U.S. misadventure in the region.
Zarif also tweeted that the action is the result of the dangerous influence of NetanyahuFirsters, specifically Sheldon Adelson, who has made Trump his “perfect little puppet” (citing Trump’s former accusation of a rival).
NetanyahuFirsters… have long agitated for FTO designation of the IRGC fully understand its consequences for US forces in the region. In fact, they seek to drag US into a quagmire on his behalf.
@realDonaldTrump should know better than to be conned into another US disaster.
I am always hoping that this will become a story. Now that the Russia story is dying down, maybe it’s time for the press to hop on the Adelson-Trump-Netanyahu nexus. A NBC opinion writer said that Miriam Adelson got the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the Adelsons’ $133 million; it ought to focus on the foreign-policy benefits of the relationship.
A reminder of how thoroughgoing is Trump’s support for Israel:
–A month before assuming office, Trump sought to interfere in President Obama’s decision to abstain from a December 2016 UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements by asking the Russians to veto the resolution. The Russians failed to comply, but former national security adviser Mike Flynn will likely go to jail for lying about the effort.
–Trump tore up President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement, the Iran Deal, despite the opposition of European and global leaders. It is widely thought (common sense to think) that he did so to please large donors, including Adelson.
–Trump moved the Embassy to Jerusalem despite the same global opposition. That decision has inflamed Palestine and led indirectly to the killings of 100s of protesters by Israel in Gaza. Trump said a few days ago, “Sheldon and Miriam, that is the most important thing I think that’s ever happened in their life.” Hundreds of Palestinians have died in protests that arose from that disastrous decision.
–Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in what was seen as a boon to Netanyahu in the runup to the election, in March.
–Trump backed down on his decision to withdraw troops from Syria under pressure from Israel/Netanyahu among others.
–Trump has appointed a raft of Netanyahu devotees to his administration, surely pleasing Sheldon Adelson. John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, David Friedman. Not to mention his relationship to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Let’s say it’s not collusion, just utter sympathy of these three figures. It’s still political: it’s something Democrats should be talking about as a giant issue.