An Open Letter to Benjamin Netenyahu

Dear Mr. Netenyahu,

I am a 22 year old college student from New York City who has spent his entire life learning about Israel, advocating for Israel, and in one of the best years of my life, living in Israel. I write now offering my honest advice, opinions, and pleas. Perhaps you are asking yourself how I deign to write a world leader, but you were once 28 year old Benjamin Nitay, an unknown security consultant daring to take on Fouad Ajami, then a respected member of the Political Science Department at Princeton. In this same vein do I write to you, yet I come not as a combatant, but as a friend.

Your current course of action, culminating in your speech to Congress on March 3rd, spells doom for the Jewish State as we know it. There are no bones about it. Israel’s future depends on maintaining its relationship with the United States for many years to come, and there are manifold reasons why your current course of action places that in jeopardy. The straining of relations with President Obama, and cozying up to the Republican party has isolated and frustrated large swathes of American society. This has had the greatest effect on the youth of America. I am on the ground with young people. I know what they think and feel about Israel, and specifically your current course of action. There is no one I know my own age who can even explain the positives of this speech. Young liberals, who are already predisposed to dislike Israel, can now point to this speech and say that the Israeli leadership has seditious schemes involving the United States! Even moderate liberals, and many Republicans are dismayed with what they see as the “tail wagging the dog,” or rather, Israel’s meddling in internal American politics. While I know that this is not at all Israel’s intention, your potential speech has made that less clear.

I implore you, Mr. Netenyahu, to mend this rift. You still have time to declare that while you are honored by the gracious invitation of John Boehner, you respect the sovereignty of the United States and will not speak to Congress without bipartisan, Presidential approval. You could meet with Democratic leaders prior to the speech, as they have openly requested, and publicly declare you have no intentions of alienating the Democrats or becoming involved in a presidential election. If you insist on giving a speech it could be through the RNC, or one of the myriad mostly Republican organizations that support Israel – CUFI comes to mind. Although personally I would dissuade you from aligning yourself with one political party, for the same fears outlined above, if you insist on doing so, it must be without stepping on the toes of the other. Simply put, Israel cannot afford to lose an entire generation of American support.

Thank You,

Barak Bacharach

About the Author
The author is a senior at Haverford College majoring in History, who has lived in Israel briefly and studied Israel for most of his life.