Bibi Apologizes to the Cuban Lobby

Could you remind again which lobby is so powerful?

Ben Smith on why the Goldblog-brokered attempt at Cuba-Israel rapprochement went nowhere:

The incoming chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs helped shut down an unexpected diplomatic opening between Cuba and Israel earlier this year, sources in Jerusalem and Washington confirmed.

Israeli leaders reacted warmly to an unexpected defense of Jews and Israel, and criticism of Iran, from Cuban leader Fidel Castro in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Castro's "deep understanding" and President Shimon Peres wrote in a warm letter to Castro that the comments were "a surprising bridge between the hard reality and a new horizon." Israeli officials, I'm told, saw the moment as an opportunity to widen a fissure in the hostility of the global left for Israel.

But Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen -- a key player because of her position on Foreign Affairs, and a longtime supporter of Israel -- was less pleased by the opening. A Cuban exile and fierce Castro foe, she made her displeasure known to the Israelis -- and even received an apologetic call from Netanyahu, which appears effectively to have squelched the unlikely dialogue with Cuba.

"I just said look, this guy has been an enemy of Israel, just because he said something that a normal person would say--after 50 years of anti-Israel incitement it's one phrase from an old guy who doesn't even know where he's standing," Ros-Lehtinen told me of the exchange.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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