The blunt rhetoric and raw anger of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, over the deal struck between six western nations and Iran in Geneva last weekend reached its apotheosis in the hours following the pre-dawn signing of the accord.
This was not about the minutiae of corridor diplomacy in Geneva’s Intercontinental hotel. For Netanyahu, the devil was not in the detail, as so many said in the aftermath; the devil was in the bigger picture – the potential unravelling of his core vector, the defining issue of his premiership.
Netanyahu has made it his life’s mission to protect the Jewish state from potential annihilation by Iran’s Islamic regime. He has cast the threat from Tehran in terms of the rise of nazism in the 1930s, and warned against a similar failure to stop it in its tracks by whatever means necessary.
And, somewhat to his credit, the world took notice. The Iranian nuclear threat became of paramount importance on the global stage. For a while, it looked like Israeli military action – with or without US involvement – was simply a matter of time.
But, now, most of the world wants to find a diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem, compromising with Tehran in order to avoid another war. Where does this leave Bibi, as the Israeli prime minister is known, whose shouts of “no compromise” have been heard but not heeded?
“He was hurt politically by Geneva,” said Gil Hoffman, political editor of the Jerusalem Post. “This was a man who was elected for being the great communicator, for his ability to convince the world about the most important issue it faces. And he failed. He’s known as King Bibi, but he doesn’t look much like a king now.”