Mr. Netanyahu goes to Washington

The New York Times editorialized that the recently scheduled, third speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu to Congress will harm US-Israel ties. The Times of Israel quoted a White House spokesman that, “Netanyahu spat in our face.” What’s the furor about? After all, Netanyahu is not the first foreign statesman to address this august body three times (Winston Churchill also did so.)

The address, scheduled for early March to coincide with Netanyahu’s appearance at the annual AIPAC conference (American-Israel Political Action Committee), has become very controversial, at least to Democrats and Israeli left wing political parties. One Israeli politician even complained that, to be fair, Speaker of the House Boehner should also invite the Labor Party leader, Isaac Herzog (who’s he?) to speak. Dire consequences are predicted if Netanyahu addresses Congress, according to Obama administration officials.

Dire consequences are exactly what Israel’s prime minister wants to avoid. Not petty ones, such as the Obama administration excels at, but a huge one: Iran being accepted as a threshold nuclear power and even invited to ally itself with the West! Somehow, this looming outcome – détente with Iran – has become something positive for the White House to brag about.

In contrast, Middle East pundit Daniel Greenfield wrote, “It makes no sense to join with Islamic terrorists to defeat Islamic terrorists. Both Sunni and Shiite Jihadists are our enemies. And this is not even a ‘the enemy of my enemy’ scenario because despite their mutual hatred for each other, they hate us even more.”

It’s no secret that Iran is the biggest supporter of global terror/jihad. Iran is behind the recent coup in Yemen; Iran is the largest state actor in Iraq; Iran is propping up Assad in Syria; Iran controls Lebanon through its proxy, Hizbullah; Iran supports the Hamas terror regime in Gaza. The result is a large swath of Shia Islamic terror across the Middle East, from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. In addition, Iran supports terror networks throughout South America, Europe, and probably North America too.

The interminable negotiations between the West and Iran have exceeded the original goal. Against all logic, severe sanctions, which brought Iran to the table in the first place, were reduced after the first session ended instead of being increased. We are fast approaching the next, “last” deadline. Yet President Obama has promised to veto any increase in bi-partisan sanctions, despite the fact that they wouldn’t take effect unless Iran fails to meet that deadline!

Iran has already reached nuclear threshold status due to the West’s inept negotiating team, which is no match for the wily Iranians. Iran has refused to allow access to military bases and sites which need to be monitored, with impunity. Iran has been allowed to continue to enrich uranium and to keep its nuclear infrastructure intact. Iran has no limitation on testing and building missiles whose only purpose is to carry a nuclear payload, and has even developed a missile which threatens North America. Yet the administration continues to coddle the Iranians, based on the president’s continuing belief that “making nice” will work better than a “big stick.”

The reason the White House is so upset about a third Netanyahu speech is the wall-to-wall support he enjoys in Congress. Netanyahu, more than any other world leader, speaks out against Iran, warning the gullible West that its smooth words mean nothing, especially when coupled with bellicose activities around the world. The West seems willing to bet that its laid-back negotiating style will constrain Iran. Netanyahu is positive that it won’t, based on past experience.

The West is already suffering from Iran’s massive clout in the Middle East. An argument can be made, based on its continuing success, that Iran doesn’t need a nuclear weapon. But Iran has noticed how North Korea gets away with outrageous behavior because it has a few nuclear bombs and missiles to deliver them. Iran wants that impunity; it wants nukes to extend its political and military clout globally. There is also the aggressive Islamic impetus to spread jihad as far as possible.

Israel is the only Western country within easy reach of Iran. That’s what drives Israel’s prime minister to make waves in Congress, because the United States is the only power that can realistically threaten Iran (other than Russian and China, both of which are Iranian allies). How much harm will another Netanyahu speech cause to relations between Israel and America – not much. The strain between the nations is fundamentally a strain between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, not between the two close allies. On the other hand, Netanyahu’s speech could persuade a Democrat to vote to overcome the expected veto of a sanctions bill in the Senate.

Though die-hard Democrats deny it, the Obama administration has favored the Muslim Brotherhood over Israel (and Egypt) since taking office. Obama and the increasingly obtuse Secretary of State Kerry have sometimes “had Israel’s back,” but have often disparaged Israel and failed to support it. Meanwhile, political correctness rules, turning horrific jihad into bland “terror, ” “violent extremism,” or worse, “workplace accidents.” (Don’t dare mention the word “Muslim” or “Islamic” in any case!)

Obama will be out of power in less than two years. Netanyahu may or may not outlast him. In either event, Israel has more to fear from Iran’s burgeoning power than from the receding Obama administration. That’s why Mr. Netanyahu is going to Washington and that’s why this is a mandatory effort on his part. Is it also political, with Israeli elections scheduled for mid-March? Of course it’s political, because that’s what politicians do.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.