With the Israeli Prime Minister a couple days away from his speech to Congress, I am sorry for all the animosity it has caused. But I am also mad as to how Obama and his cronies have handled things. Was it against protocol, or custom, for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner through Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer to invite the Israeli PM to speak in front of Congress without permission or coordination from the State Department? Perhaps. Should the PM have said no? In hindsight, seeing what has happened, maybe.
But I want to ask every fair-minded person the following. Once what was done was done, and then difficult from which to back away, who kept diplomatic “protocol” and who did not? Even if you argue that Boehner was dead wrong, that Netanyahu was not just wrong but also shamefully meddling in US negotiations with Iran, which government and its officials have been acting like petulant children and which has not? You know the answer. And if you think Obama was right to be mad at the invite and agreement to speak, he and his officials could make their displeasure known without nasty remarks, name-calling and obnoxious leaks. But it’s hard for a narcissist and his sycophant followers to even act rationally when it comes to their hatred of the Israeli PM.
There are numerous examples I can list from any number of Obama officials, but I think the most chutzpedik one was John Kerry calling into question Netanyahu’s judgment because before he became PM, and Kerry makes it sound like he was PM at the time, Netanyahu supported the Iraq war. Kerry himself supported the war, and kept saying so as he ran for president! So Kerry says, you can’t trust Netanyahu’s judgment because he trusted mine!!
Also disgusting are the hit-jobs being done on Ambassador Ron Dermer, who by the way, is a great representative and spokesman of Israel. Dermer left it up to the speaker to notify the State Department. Should he have insisted to Boehner that the White House be notified earlier or consulted? Seeing what happened, I wish he would have. So Dermer starts getting insulted by White House officials and others. A NY Times columnist called him a “Republican political operative,” because he worked for Republicans when he lived in the US. So what? And Dermer has been working with and for a Prime Minister who leans to the right and not the left. Should Netanyahu hire a J Street left-winger? Dermer, the Israeli ambassador was advancing Israel’s interests, as Obama, concerned more about his legacy than Israel’s survival, was giving away the store to the Jewish state’s mortal enemy. Wow, I am shocked.
A quick aside about a particular cowardly member of the US House of Representatives. Minnesota Democrat, Betty McCollum, penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post on February 28 entitled,” Why I won’t be attending Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress.” In her very first paragraph she blasted Dermer, repeating the “Republican political operative” identification, and also mentioned that he had renounced his citizenship. Not so simple. The NY Times columnist who wrote the hit piece McCollum referenced, along with the lazy McCollum, failed to mention that when Dermer decided to accept an Israeli diplomatic position where he would be working in America, he was required under US law to relinquish his US citizenship. Yes, Dermer could have refused the position, but he had been living and working in Israel for ten years, married and raised a family there, and he was asked to serve what had become his country. What would you do?
In an emotional column he wrote for the New York Sun at the time, Dermer explained brilliantly and with great sadness why he gave up his American citizenship. Articulating his great love for the US, he said, “I left America to help another people I love fight not merely for their survival but also for their right to survive.” (Click here, it’s worth the read.) The disgusting McCollum tries to make it appear that Dermer – who years before he took the position had buried his first wife, an Israeli, who tragically died at the age of 29, in Israeli soil – renounced his US citizenship for sinister reasons.
By the way, McCollum who along with 53 other Democrats (and no Republicans) in 2010, signed a letter asking Obama to advocate the easing of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, had been rated as having a “pro-Arab, pro-Palestine” voting record by the Arab American Institute interest group, with a plus 4 rating. She should have said she was against Netanyahu’s speech because she was not a friend of Israel, rather than because of any break in diplomatic protocol. But then she would have to be honest.
Look, the animosity between Netanyahu and Obama is well-known. And I am not saying the PM hasn’t tweaked the president, or members of Israel’s cabinet were themselves not guilty of being impolitic. But what is going on now, and only by American officials, is just way over the top. The name-calling and profoundly nasty remarks by US officials would only be considered infantile if they were not also dangerous. It is the Obama administration, afraid of being unmasked before the March 24 talks deadline, trying to divide the American public and even American Jews, not the PM.
Where did it all start? Many like to repeat that Netanyahu had hoped, behind the scenes, for the elections of Obama’s opponents in 2008 and 2012. So what? In early 2008, well before Election Day, Obama had openly shown his own political preference by making this comment in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.” Should Netanyahu feel kinship to a US presidential contender who pretty much publicly endorses his party’s opposition?
I could write a book on what Netanyahu and the rest of the world have watched Obama do and not do since taking office. Friends and allies disrespected and abandoned. Rogue nations or our adversaries coddled or appeased. Red lines drawn and erased. Political promises placed ahead of common sense. Russia. Iraq. Syria. ISIS. JV team. Refusing to say “Islamic.” Random folks at a Kosher deli. I don’t have enough time or patience to list it all. And while Kerry and others have castigated those who have criticized the US-Iran negotiations, including Democrats by the way, saying among other things, that its details are not known, in fact, many details are known, and apprehension and fear are coming from all parts of the political spectrum.
On February 5th, the editorial board of the Washington Post, not Fox News, said, “Though we have long supported negotiations with Iran as well as the interim agreement the United States and its allies struck with Tehran, we share several of those concerns and believe they deserve more debate now — before negotiators present the world with a fait accompli.”
The Post’s concerns included the evolution of prevention, as Obama promised Netanyahu and others, to containment (the US allowing Iran continued enrichment with its at present thousands of centrifuges), not countering Iran’s spreading its terrorist tentacles all around the Middle East and farther, and the president signaling that he will unilaterally implement a deal, including lifting sanctions, without any vote from Congress. Although the editorial was very good, it failed to mention, Iran’s lying about, and hiding, its nuclear program per a recent IAEA report, Iran’s ballistic missile program, admitted to by Obama, Iran’s ties to al-Qaeda, and that the US now is actually thinking of agreeing to an easing, leading to a complete reduction, of nuclear restrictions within a decade or two. Hell, that’s not even containment!
So this is what Benjamin Netanyahu is watching. Yes, he is in the middle of an election, and yes, he is being roundly criticized by his political opponents about the speech and even the Iran nuclear program threat, but that’s natural during an Israeli election. As radical Islamic terror spreads, and as Obama continues to back away from a line he drew with Iran at the start of his presidency, as the March 24 talks deadline rapidly approaches, the Israeli PM, as well as Jordan and Saudi Arabia and others, have watched not just in disappointment, but in horror. Netanyahu knows perhaps better than anyone, what is at stake. He is responsible for his people. He feels the weight of every Israeli on his shoulders, even those who despise him. He personally feels the existential threat from Iran, that he and his people are being put in severe danger. So he decides he has no choice but to speak before Congress, the American people and the world before it’s too late, even if it irritates Obama and his minions by telling it like it is.
There is an old Jewish saying, “A drowning man will grab even the edge of a sword to survive.” The Israeli PM feels he is that drowning man.