Bolton Attacks Obama For Not Greenlighting Israeli Attack On Iran, But Bush Didn’t Either

During an Israel lobby group junket to the Holy Land, former Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton sat down with staff from the Jerusalem Post newspaper to give comments and answer questions. Bolton delivered the sort of partisan shots one can reliably expect from him, denouncing President Obama as “the most anti-Israel president in the history of the state, without any question.”

But supporting the assertion — by drawing a contrast to his own boss, President George W. Bush — Bolton turns history on its head and ignores the inconvenient truth. Bolton told the Jerusalem Post staffers:

BOLTON: If I had been in charge of the Israeli government I would’ve attacked [Iran] in 2008 for several reasons. First, it’s three years ago so you’re much more likely to have eliminated key elements of the Iranian nuclear program. […]

And in 2008 you had a president in Washington sympathetic to Israel. So you calculate when the next time that event is going to occur.


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Actually, the Israeli government did want to bomb Iran in spring 2008, and it was Bush — who Bolton insists is so “sympathetic to Israel” — who said, “No.” As ThinkProgress noted in early 2009, David Sanger of the New York Times reported Israel’s request for bunker-busting bombs and permission to fly through U.S.-controlled airspace in Iraq to attack Iran:

President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex. […]

[T]he Bush administration was particularly alarmed by an Israeli request to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country’s only known uranium enrichment plant is located.

The White House denied that request outright, American officials said, and the Israelis backed off their plans, at least temporarily.

So if reluctance to green-light an Israeli attack on Iran makes Obama anti-Israel, what does Bolton think of his old boss?