mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
The Netanyahu Speech
Bibi Must Come as a Uniter
Features Icon
show comments
  • gabrielsyme

    It also appears that the Administration has been disengenuous about when and how they were notified of the invitation. It is clear that Netanyahu has the enmity of the Obamaites, and they are continuing to lash out.

  • Anthony

    “It is President Obama who has tried to turn America’s Israel policy into a partisan issue.” Just how so WRM? The personal relationship between the two leaders (Obama and Ntetanyahu) is complex but it is not partisan caused. Related:

  • f1b0nacc1

    More to the point, if you take a look at just who has decided that they won’t be available for Bibi’s address, it is more or less a list of ‘the usual suspects’. Aside from a couple of far-left types and the CBC (this is, after all, a tribal matter), and that is about it. Even some of this crowd (John Lewis, most notably) stress that they aren’t advocating a general boycott, just that they personally won’t be attending.

  • Ellen

    Thanks for that nice piece, Mr. Mead. Bibi must come and lay out with his superb, articulate and compelling oratory what a disaster Obama’s Iran policies are and what even worse outcomes they will lead to in the MidEast. They will NOT lead to peace and stability – any fool can see that. Clearly, the midgets who inhabit Jarrettland understand nothing about Iranians or about the Shiite Persian Empire that Iran is trying to build. It would be nice if the Republican Party had someone who could make the necessary speech, or the long-dead conservative wing of the Democratic Party. Given that there is no one in either of those camps of the calibre of Netanyahu, then he must be the messenger. As you wrote after his speech in 2011, most likely he will mop the floor with Obama.

    • Dan Greene

      “Bibi must come and lay out with his superb, articulate and compelling oratory what a disaster Obama’s Iran policies”

      Time for you to make aliyah (if you haven’t already.)

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I disagree, I think Bibi should point out the “Truth”, that the Obama administration is the most anti-Semitic, pro-Islamic terrorist administration in American history and that it can’t even mention Islam and Terrorism in the same sentence. He should point out that Obama is interfering in the Israeli election, and his entire foreign policy has no strategic objective beyond having an appearance of a foreign policy. Above all Bibi should not behave diplomatically, rather he should verbally attack Obama as the worst President in American history, and that the American People will be cleaning up his mess for years after he is long gone. He should speak the “Truth”, and let the chips fall where they may.

    • Kevin

      That would not go well. Americans will react very negatively to a foreign guest criticizing their President, especially in front of Congress. It would turn the whole thing into a partisan issue and undermine liberal Democratsic support for Israel or a tough policy regarding Iran. For example, Sen Menendez (D-NJ) is very hawkish on Iran – a leading proponent of tough sanctions – would he still support these if it turned into a huge partisan issue in which Democrats felted compelled to come to Obama’s defense? It would also give Netanyahu’s domestic Isaeli opponents an opening to criticize him for endangering Israel’s relations with the US. He would be much better advised to advance a positive view of what he thinks the US and Israel should do and why such a program would be good idea, building up support across the political spectrum for such a policy.

    • Dan Greene

      Yes, I hope Bibi does exactly that. Then even the densest among us will see how pernicious our relationship with Israel really is.

  • FriendlyGoat

    NO member of Congress should be boycotting this speech, no matter what he/she thinks of either Netanyahu or the invitation. Being a member, left or right, mad or not, means you are to show up, listen and be civilized. Bear in mind I am the village liberal here saying this.

    • Dan Greene

      “I am the village liberal here saying this.”

      You sound more like an AIPAC operative or some other kind of Israel Firster, posing as “the village liberal.”

      “This speech is where Israel speaks to the world.”

      NO–Israel should speak to the world from Israel–NOT the United States. How could you possibly think that it is appropriate for Isael to “speak to the world” from Washington DC

      It is the duty of every US Congressman and Senator of both parties to boycott this speech so we can identify those who place the interests of the US first as opposed to those who are servants of a foreign state.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I do not agree with this invitation and the manner in which it was made. HOWEVER, if Republicans are in charge of the Congress and have made this decision, it’s my opinion that the Dem Senators and Reps need to show up for this and every other session of the legislative branch. Boycotting by absence is a fringe maneuver of no positive effect. It only serves to reinforce election claims by conservatives that liberals hate Israel, hate any Judeo/Christian God, and “love” Islam. (As you probably know, we have elected some of the wrong people to public office as a result of conservative campaigning on this theme.)

        I call myself the village liberal (at TAI), because I am generally making more left-leaning comments here than anyone else on a wide variety of subjects..

        • Dan Greene

          “Boycotting by absence is a fringe maneuver of no positive effect.”

          And does that apply to the Montgomery bus boycott, Mr. village liberal? That was a boycott by absence too.

          Your position makes absolutely no sense. You say you oppose–correctly–this invitation. If that’s really the case, then it seems that your priority should be voicing your disapproval of this travesty and not concocting rationalizations for why we should all just quietly accede to it. If we accede to it this time, then it sets a precedent for the obnoxious Bibi and the traitorous Boehner.

          Israel is strategic albatross around our neck and we should never have allowed it to be placed there.

          And, again, I ask, why do you think Washington, DC is an appropriate place for “Israel to speak to the world?” Isn’t that supposed to be where the United States speaks to the world?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Here’s the deal. The few Dems who refuse to attend are just not going to accomplish anything. They are not going to modify world affairs in any manner whatsoever by failing to listen to a point of view, but may manage to complicate their own re-elections by leaving an unnecessary opening to be attacked in campaigns.
            That’s not heroic. It’s silly.

          • Dan Greene

            >>”The few Dems who refuse to attend are just not going to accomplish anything.’

            They go on record as loyal representatives of the American people and the American state. That’s not nothing. Let THEM worry about their campaigns. And in a toxic political atmosphere in which the pernicious lobby of a foreign state whispers poison in the pubic ear and tries to destroy anyone courageous enough to oppose it–which you imply is a concern for you–then it IS heroic.

            If you truly oppose this outrageous maneuver, why are you so passive and acquiescent about the whole thing? Are you sure you really do oppose it?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes. I oppose it because it was done by Republicans to spite Obama. HOWEVER, it obligates Mr Netanyahu to say sensible things in a very public place. That’s better than lobbying the right wing of the Congress in secret.

            I do not want Republicans getting wall-to-wall tax cuts and regulatory cuts in 2017 or appointing the Supreme Court for 4 or 8 or more years BECAUSE Dems are too stupid to not lose elections on the Israel issue. If you LOSE, you LOSE everything. This is not the item to lose on. Just listen to the man. Most of Congress is going to and those who don’t are not going to be seen by most Americans as anything special.

          • Dan Greene

            OK–well, at least I understand your point, though I do not agree with it. The Democrats got themselves in deep water with ACA and by continually attempting to blithely promote the notion of an economic recovery that most Americans are not feeling. It has been and will be economic issues that make or break the Democrats. The political failures in domestic policy have ushered in more pro-Israel zealots in the Republic Party–not the other way around.

            But in the world outside–with which most Americans are barely familiar–Israel is, as I said, a strategic albatross around our neck.

          • FriendlyGoat

            There were a lot of principled people years ago in 2000 who absolutely could not bring themselves to vote for the status quo of mere Democrats and instead supported Ralph Nader. They were right, but the Nader candidacy in Florida was enough to flip the election to George W. Bush (and Roberts and Alito for life). Al Gore himself, got on the wrong side of guns and may have lost enough states unnecessarily to lose the election on THAT point as well.
            I just see this refuse-to-attend-a-speech thing as one of those things that may entail risk for no benefit.

            I agree with you that our alliance with Israel has its distasteful aspects. I do no believe we can abandon it, and I don’t want to lose elections on it.

          • Ellen

            Well, clearly the Saudis, Egyptians, and Sunni rebels in Southern Syria don’t agree with you because they are now officially allied with Israel in a policy to oppose Iranian expansionism. Also, clearly the Chinese and Indians don’t agree with you because they are now the biggest trading partners and investors in Israel, other than the US.

            The figure who is most undermining America’s position in the world is Mr. Obama himself. If the Democratic party doesn’t divorce itself from him, they will be crushed in 2016 at the presidential level, rounding out the trifecta in Washington, and accompanying their huge disadvantage in local politics where they are also losing. They will find it very hard to recover afterwards, given their empty bench. Obama’s years will be seen in retrospect as the turning point downward. The fact that he was the first black president will be a pitiful footnote.

          • Dan Greene

            Interesting that you acknowledge the linkage between the Jihadists in Syria and Israel.

            None of what you say changes the reality that Israel is a long-term strategic disaster for the US. What does trade have to do with anything? Everyone will trade with anyone. We trade with China although we perceive them as our number 1 long-term adversary. Trade ties are meaningless, which I’m sure you already know.

            And the fact that the decrepit and retrograde monarchy and the re-instituted Egytian military dictatorship (which overthrew Egypt’s first elected government) are in a tacit relationship with Israel tells us all we need to know about Israel and the US.

            Whatever problems Obama has–I am not a huge fan–are irrelevant to the question of whether a disloyal Israel Lobby should be permitted to run rampant through our political process. Yes, we can hang on to our corrupt friends like Sisi and King Salman for now. But supporting King Bibi’s regime and the gradual ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians is a long-term loser.

            To whom is your first loyalty–the United States or Israel?

          • Anthony

            Refreshing Dan refreshing; and yes, more in U.S. ought to be “globally curious” -the world outside U.S.

      • GS

        Protection of the obamic ego is not a part of any Congressman or Senator job description. The Congress invited him, and so he will speak to the Congress. The obamoths are welcome to be absent.

        • Dan Greene

          It’s not a question of protecting Obama’s ego–if that’s what that phrase means. Look, I never voted for Obama, but likes and dislikes are beside the point. The precedent of allowing a foreign leader, who is a strategic liability to this country, to end-run our head of state–whether you or I or anyone else likes him–is a very bad one to set. I have no idea why anyone whose first loyalty is to THIS country would feel otherwise.

          Are you a pro-Israel zealot or an obsessive Obamaphobe or both? From your childish language–obamic, obamoths–I guess at least the latter. I suppose refusing to capitalize your made-up Obama-words is another marker of your contempt for him? Fine, you don’t like Obama, but keep your eye on the ball for God’s sake. He’ll be gone in less than 24 months.

          • GS

            I see him as a civilizational alien. This has nothing to do with the contents of his birth certificate, but it has everything to do with his hierarchy of values. “24 months” – not a second too soon.

  • Fat_Man

    No. He needs to tell the truth. Uniters lie to paper over conflict. Netanyahu must tell the truth so the American people can understand where the Obama administration is taking them and decide whether they want to go there.

  • Gawain de Leeuw

    It’s not as if Bibi and Boehner don’t want to irritate and bully Obama. Psychologically, it makes sense to make the president look small – and in this case, it can make the President lose either way. If he doesn’t express irritation, Boehner has still in fact undermined the office. If he does, now the president is portrayed as whiny.

    I think Obama does distinguish between Iran and Israel. He may believe, for good reason, that Bibi’s views are incorrect (as does, I think, Mossad). And so it seems to me that, aside from Iran, there’s been little shift in American policy towards Israel (and it seems far more conservative that the first Bush’s).

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service