THE BLOG

Netanyahu v. Obama (Judge Judy Presiding)

Senior Israeli officials accused President Obama on Wednesday of failing to acknowledge what they called clear understandings with the Bush administration that allowed Israel to build West Bank settlement housing within certain guidelines while still publicly claiming to honor a settlement "freeze."

(source: New York Times, 6/3/09)

JUDGE JUDY: I understand you gentlemen have a disagreement.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes, your honor.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: (muffled unintelligible sounds)

JUDGE JUDY: Prime Minister Netanyahu, why don't you tell me what this is all about.

NETANYAHU: (muffled unintelligible sounds)

JUDGE JUDY: I can't make out what you're saying.

NETANYAHU: (muffled unintelligible sounds)

JUDGE JUDY: You're gonna need to take off that gas mask.

NETANYAHU: Very well, your honor. But you should know that the gas mask makes for excellent television. It practically guarantees you high ratings.

JUDGE JUDY: That's very nice. I have 10 millions viewers and none of them can hear you with that thing on.

NETANYAHU: I wore a gas mask on Nightline.

JUDGE JUDY: Yes, I know.

NETANYAHU: During the Gulf War.

JUDGE JUDY: Yes. It was very dramatic. What's your point?

NETANYAHU: Ted Koppel could hear me. Maybe you could call ABC and see if there's some better way to mic me. I can wait.

JUDGE JUDY: Well, I can't. This is your chance. Make your case. Now.

NETANYAHU: Certainly. I'd simply request that you imagine that I'm wearing the gas mask.

JUDGE JUDY: Trust me when I say that you don't want to know what I'm imagining right now.

NETANYAHU: Alright then. This is an open-and-shut case, your honor. My country had a deal with President Bush. Under the deal, we could build certain housing in the West Bank settlements while telling the world that we were abiding by a settlement freeze. Now President Obama is ...

JUDGE JUDY: I assume you got this deal in writing.

NETANYAHU: I beg your pardon.

JUDGE JUDY: The deal. The deal with Bush. I assume you got it in writing.

NETANYAHU: Not exactly.

JUDGE JUDY: Not exactly? Well, did you or didn't you?

NETANYAHU: No.

JUDGE JUDY: Well, why not?

NETANYAHU: The United States is a longtime friend, your honor.

JUDGE JUDY: Well then you probably know that your old friend here has presidential elections every four years.

NETANYAHU: Of course, your honor. But how were we supposed to know that a new president would bring change?

OBAMA: Your honor, my campaign slogan was "Change We Can Believe In."

JUDGE JUDY: His campaign slogan was "Change We Can Believe In."

NETANYAHU: That's just it, your honor. We don't believe in this change. Therefore, it cannot be "Change We Can Believe In." Therefore, you must rule in our favor.

JUDGE JUDY: Don't you must me, mister.

NETANYAHU: I'm sorry, your honor.

JUDGE JUDY: Let's get back to business. If I understand this correctly, this case is all about what the word "freeze" means. You're telling the world that you're honoring a settlement freeze, right?

NETANYAHU: Right.

JUDGE JUDY: How about you, Obama? You're awfully quiet. What does "settlement freeze" mean to you?

OBAMA: Well, you see, a freeze means a freeze. A stop. No more building.

NETANYAHU: We disagree. We think President Obama is insisting on something more frozen than a freeze.

JUDGE JUDY: More frozen than a freeze?! Now I've heard everything. Look, let me ask you a question. If I advertise that I'm selling popsicles and you come into my shop and find out that I really only sell one of those slushy drinks ... A, oh, what do you call it?

OBAMA: A granita, your honor.

JUDGE JUDY: No, not a granita, Mr. High Price Of Arugula. No. Um. It's on the tip of my ... Slurpee!!! Like from 7-Eleven. With the funny straws. Anyway. Don't think I've forgotten where I'm heading with this, Netanyahu. If I advertise that I'm selling popsicles but I really only sell Slurpees, aren't my advertisements a lie?

NETANYAHU: That all depends, your honor. Our position is that if a former president of the United States told you verbally that your Slurpees are frozen enough, then you should be free to tell the world that your Slurpees are popsicles.

JUDGE JUDY: Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!

NETANYAHU: Um.

JUDGE JUDY: Um is not an answer.

NETANYAHU: (muffled unintelligible sounds)

JUDGE JUDY: Don't think you can pull at my heartstrings with that gas-mask routine. If you want an emotional judgment, you go on Dr. Phil.

Huffington Post blogger David Quigg lives in Seattle. His boastfully named personal blog is here. His Twitter feed is here.