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The Speech Benjamin Netanyahu Must Give in US Congress

World  (tags: congress, republicans, democrats, israel, Netanyahu )

- 1500 days ago -
Netanyahu needs to speak because Israel cannot expect indefinite support from the US if it acts like a fretful and obedient client to a cavalier American patron. The margin of IsraelâEUR(TM)s security is measured by the respect of friends and enemies alike.


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Hilary S (65)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 10:31 pm
Bret Stephens The Wall Street Journal (and The Australian) February 04, 2015

EVEN friends of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are second-guessing his decision to accept US House Speaker John Boehner ’s invitation to address congress next month on the subject of Iran, over loud objections from the Obama administration. The prospect of the speech, those friends say, has sparked a needless crisis between Jerusalem and Washington. And it has left Democrats with an invidious choice between their loyalty to the President and their support for the Jewish state, jeopardising the bipartisan basis of the US-Israelrelationship.

Sensible concerns — except for a few things. Relations between Israel and the US have been in crisis nearly from the moment Barack Obama stepped into office. Democratic support forIsrael has been eroding for decades. It was the US President, not the Israeli Prime Minister, who picked this fight.

Oh, and if there’s going to be a blowout in US-Israel relations, is now really a worse time than later this year, when the Obama administration will have further cornered Israel with its Iran diplomacy?

Because memories are short, let’s remind ourselves of the Ur-moment in the Bibi-Barack drama. It happened on May 18, 2009, when Netanyahu, in office for just a few weeks, arrived to a White House that was demanding that he endorse Palestinian statehood and freeze settlements, even as the administration was rebuffing Israeli requests to set a deadline for the nascent nuclear diplomacy with Iran.

The result: within a month of that meeting, Netanyahu duly endorsed Palestinian statehood in a speech at Israel’s right-wing Bar-Ilan University — roughly the equivalent of Obama going to a meeting of the Sierra Club and urging its members to get over their opposition to fracking. By the end of the year, Netanyahu further infuriated his right-wing base by agreeing to a 10-month settlement freeze, which even secretary of state Hillary Clinton acknowledged was “unprecedented”.

What did Netanyahu get in return from Obama? While the President stuck to his refusal to set “an artificial deadline”, he did concede in a joint press conference that “we’re not going to have talks forever. We’re not going to create a situation in which talks become an excuse for inaction while Iran proceeds with developing a nuclear, and deploying a nuclear weapon”.

The promise not to “have talks forever” was made six years ago. Since then, diplomatic efforts have included the 2009 “fuel swap” proposal; the 2010 Brazil-Turkey-Iran declaration; the 2011 Russian “step-by-step proposal”; the 2012 diplomatic rounds in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow; and finally the 2013 Joint Plan of Action, a six-month interim deal that is now in its 13th month.

Now Obama is vowing to veto the bipartisan Kirk-Menendez bill that would end the charade by imposing sanctions on Iran in the event Tehran doesn’t sign an acceptable nuclear deal by the northern summer — that is, after the third deadline for the interim agreement has expired. The President is also demanding that Democrats rally around him in his histrionic fit over the Netanyahu speech. This is from the same administration that, as Politico’s David Rogers reminds us, never bothered to consult Boehner on its invitation to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to address congress in 2011.

This history is worth recalling because it underscores the unpleasant truth about America in the age of Obama. The President collects hard favours from allies and repays them with neglect and derision. He is eager to accommodate the political needs of authoritarian leaders like Iran’s Hasan Rowhani but has no use for the political needs of elected leaders like Netanyahu. He believes that it is for other statesmen to stake their political lives and risk their national future for the sake of a moral principle — at least as Obama defines that principle. As for him, the only thing sacred is his own political convenience.

This is the mentality of a peevish and callow potentate. Not the least of the reasons Netanyahu must not give in to pressure to cancel his speech is that he could expect to get nothing out of it from the administration, while humiliating Boehner in the bargain.

Netanyahu also needs to speak because congress deserves an unvarnished account of the choice to which Obama proposes to put Israel: either accede to continued diplomacy with Iran, and therefore its de facto nuclearisation; or strike Iran militarily in defiance of the US and Obama’s concordat with Tehran. A congressional vote in favour of Kirk-Menendez would at least make good on Obama’s unmet promise not to use talks as “an excuse for inaction”.

Above all, Netanyahu needs to speak because Israel cannot expect indefinite support from the US if it acts like a fretful and obedient client to a cavalier American patron.

The margin of Israel’s security is measured not by anyone’s love but by the respect of friends and enemies alike. By giving this speech, Netanyahu is demanding that respect. Irritating the President is a small price to pay for doing so.

The Wall Street Journal (republished in the Australian)

Autumn Perrotta (0)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 11:24 pm
thank you

. (0)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 11:44 pm
> Israel cannot expect indefinite support
Uhm. (HOW the frack) Could Israel expect the support it HAS GOT and IS GETTING ? Not exactly indefinite, but a mere several $ Billion per year. Plus the most modern weapons technology, down to and including experimental weapons probably never deployed elsewhere ...

Ceterum censeo: STOP ALL AID TO ISRAEL. INDICT, try... Nuttin'yahoo and accomplices. RECOGNIZE PALESTINE.
.. i wish, the world would

Darren Woolsey (218)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 2:25 am
Trouble is, he's in league with the bonkers John Boehner. No matter whether you think Barack Obama has done a good job as President, until he leaves office, the Republicans cannot just assume because they have control of Congress that they can dictate everything.

How impartial is the Wall Street Journal?

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 4:37 am
Just in the last few years, the U.S. has given Israel fighter jets, Iron Dome technology, and more than 3 billion dollars a year in aid. What else does it want? It reminds me of that saying when you give someone the hand and they want the arm. Americans should remember what the founding fathers warned against developing too close relations with any other nation, and being dragged into wars that offer no benefits to Americans, or the world for that matter.

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 5:14 am
Wolfman and LL C, Israel is providing services and products to the United States; we are not receiving *aid* from the United States.
We're selling our superior technologies all around the world.

ALLEN G (19)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 5:20 am
Iron dome technology is Israeli . We gave it to America . America doesnt have 1 Iron Dome battery . The Israel police bomb squad trains American police bomb squads how to deal with terrorist bombs . I was a member of the Israel police bomb squad and have trained American cops . I am american born and raised so no problem with the language . Israel has given the world many medical and scientific and high tech discoveries . Much of the aid money is spent buying Chevy ambulances , Ford and Dodge trucks for the army and police . The American military uses an Israeli designed bandage to stop bleeding on wounded soldiers . Darren , take obummer home with you . I cant because I have a cat . Wolfie , move to Gaza. You will like it there .

. (0)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 5:28 am
How impartial is anything, Darren? One can't live in total paranoia....

Justin Vale (13)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 6:34 am
and what do you think will happen if we stop supporting them? go ahead, sit back and think. what? nothing, that's what. their society is more advanced than ours. they are going by us like we're standing still when it comes to weapons technology. it's our lose if we stop supporting them. they'll just run rampant with nobody on else capable of stopping them if we aren't in the picture. short of a nuclear war where all the worlds major cities will be destroyed we cannot stop the zionist from taking all of israel. live with it. his speech should read ' mind your business or get jacked"

Justin Vale (13)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 6:37 am
sorry about the errors, my boss was coming. had to hurry. but you get the picture. there is nothing we can do.

Shil O (0)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 6:46 am
" my boss was coming. had to hurry"
Justin time then

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 7:31 am
Oh, geez, Shil...............HaHaHa!!! I just snorted my coffee!!

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 11:22 am
We don't need a crisis between Washington & Israel, Israel is our ally, & it is plain Obama does not like their PM,I worry he ( Obama ) can mess things up, as he has done so many times.

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 11:24 am
I believe Justin is right........

Kathleen Mireault (210)
Saturday February 14, 2015, 5:47 pm

Stan B (123)
Saturday February 14, 2015, 7:13 pm
Of course he must speak about the dangers of a nuclear Iran. I've just heard someone describe him as the Churchill of our times and I tend to agree.
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