The Ed Show | March 20, 2013
>> thanks for staying with us. conservative critics blasted president obama on his policy during the campaign. but the critics finely fell silent when he arrived in israel this morning. this is obama 's first trip to israel as president. both p leaders are struggling to build a consensus with the political opposition. president obama got caught on tape joking about it.
>> it's a beautiful day -- good to see you. it 's wonderful to be here. how are you my friend? good to see you.
>> president obama did try to bring some republicans with him on this trip. politico reports eric cantor got an invitation, but he said he was too busy. president obama and netanyahu were busy watching developments in syria where rebels claim their president used chemical weapons on their own people. president obama says he's skeptical asaud used chemical weapons .
>> we have been clear that the use of chemical weapons guess against the syrian people would be a mistake.
>> by the way, netanyahu agrees with president obama on sear yeah. rear conservatives tried to use our relationship with israel to grab votes. they accused president obama of not getting it. and some called him the most antiisrael president in history. bb set the record straight .
>> i want to thank you for the investment you've made in our relationship and strengthening the alliance quebetween our countries. the president has reaffirmed more than any other president, israel 's right and duty to defend itself against any threat. so it's a pro found honer to host you, the leader of the free world , at this historic time in our ancient capital. welcome to israel .
>> let's turn to policy analyst for the center for american progress . let me start with you. we see these conciliatory gestures being offered by prime minister netanyahu , but that's different than the lecture he gave to obama in his own digs in the white house . what accounts for the shift here? is it merely the fact that he as there on his open terrain and he wants to be a nice host? or is this a general quinn change of attitude on netanyahu netanyahu 's part?
>> well, we're coming to a point where both sides have to think about what happens next. president obama was focused on ending two wars. and now he's facing two different challenges, whether it's iran 's potential nuclear capability or what happens next in syria . both offers challenges that israel faces in. and the key question is what happens next, whether it's on iran , syria or ultimately the arab israeli conflict .
>> can we afford a kind of symbolic trip here? there's a lot at stake, what the region is going through, what the partners of israel have seen as necessary to protect itself. what the palestinian response has been to two state solutions and what occupation. so how do we figure our way out of here, and how does the president respond to this? does he have anything substantive to offer?
>> i think the president is finding out it's difficult to lower expectations on a visionity from the president of the united states . the logic behind the trip. there are a few things behind it. i think the president understands that he did not attempt to make a connection with the israeli people during his first term. given the things you mentioned, these are things, these are issues on which if the u.s. and israel are to move forward he needes the israeli people on his side and he needs them to understand that he and the united states understands the situation they're in and has their backs as he asks the israeli government to make some of these tough choices.
>> are peace talks really a possibility in obama 's second term? is he going to give a term like jimmy carter ? is there any possibility he can do that?
>> realistically, it's probably the third on the list that the interesting thing today is that president obama and prime minister netanyahu have not always agreed on iran in terms of the timetable or in terms of what's next or what the response should be. and the two are a year or so away from having to make some kind of strategic decision. they fails the sudden emerm ebs of syria and the possible use of chemical weapons , and that has suddenly risen to the stop of the ageneral da. given that there are different palestinian factions, that looks further down the road.
>> do either of you believe that asaud used chemical weapons ? or is that being deployed by some forces that have at stake the division between israel and the united states in a substantive way that would create tension.
>> i don't know. i think there's lomic to what you just said. the president made it clear that is a red line . that's something that the syrian government would take seriously as vicious as they have been up to now. but to step back to something robin just said, what we saw here today at the press conference was benjamin netanyahu moving much closer to the president's position on this. as we know, there's been tension on this. bench min netanyahu sees this in a more immediate way. there was that lecture in the oval office . i think what we saw today is a prime minister who recognizes that the president has been reelected and it's in his interest to try to ease some of those tensions. but getting back to syria , when i was in israel last week, the most immediate threat that i gathered was syria and the possibility that some of those, some of these, some of that could spill over and affect israel .
>> the fog of war , having covered 12 wars, is always difficult in those initial stages. and there are lots of accusation accusations by both sides. they're sending chemical weapons testing kits to the rebels. it is clear that if either side used chemical weapons , it will be a game changer, whether it's in terms of what the outside world is prepared to do against the regime of president bashar al-ass al-assad. but we're not there yet. and it's something that we all have to sit back. the challenge is syria over the next year as we wait to see what happens with the diplomatic situation on iran , what the other alternatives are. that syria will be the one that given the fact you have these challenges to the syrian people will be the one that both sides have to make a stand on.
>> let me ask you very briefly. we're almost out of time. do you think that the anniversary of iraq with all this bluster from cheney and from rums field who are unrepentant in their opinion that we did the right thing. do you think the faux pas that we made that makes us very careful about talking about chemical weapons and there forewhat we do?
>> i would say yes. and i would recognize that as one of the few actual benefits of the iraq war . it has made us much more cautious about making these kind of claims and deploying troops as we did in iraq.
>> the u.s. has neither the will or the interest in investing in a third military conflict .
>> the rnc is putting $10 million on the line to reach out to mip or thes. i'll give them some free advice ahead. and this guy committed a big personal foul on the basketball court last night. we'll have the play by play coming up.