Skillful diplomacy

Jerusalem 10 Shevat 5775

One morning this week as I was listening to my ridiculous religious radio station as I worked in the house, the show host interviewed a woman MK who is chairperson of a well known, old-time Israeli party. The topic of the interview was the planned speech before the American Congress by our Prime Minister. The MK was adamant that it was improper for the PM to speak there now, that it was not about Iran but rather a cheap election ploy.

The Chairwoman also went on to launch into the Israeli Ambassador to America, accusing him of foolishly going around the White House, and helping the PM attain his partisan political goals at the expense of Israeli US relations.

Well, if an intelligent person like the Chairwoman could think like this, it is a sign there may be other native Israelis who feel similarly, and therefore it is important for those of us who come from America, and now live in Israel, to explain to them patiently and lovingly, how the American system works.


Benjamin Franklin  – Diplomat extraordinaire

The arranging of an invitation to our PM, by the US Congress, to address them about the Iranian threat, is a tremendous diplomatic achievement, a wise policy move, and for the good of world peace. The Chairwoman said, “This is going to hurt us, because in the end it is the President who determines, he has the veto.” Yes, the President has veto power, but the Congress writes the laws. And the veto can be overridden, and Presidents don’t use it much; the current President has used it twice in six years.

More fundamentally, in politics, you have to make use of your friends. And Israel’s friends have traditionally been in the Congress, not the White House. Working with them, as opposed to kow-towing to a hostile Administration, is both a courageous and wise move.

The Chairwoman complained, “the Ambassador was appointed by the PM, he is close to him and has been one of his advisors for many years.”

Great! Thank goodness there is a little room in our stupid political system for a leader to actually appoint people he trusts and believes in. Thank goodness it is not all like the cabinet where a PM is forced to try to govern with a team made up of political enemies!

Now I know this particular chairwoman has helped pass important legislation, like the law she championed requiring stores to allow cashiers to sit down while working, but that does not mean she knows everything about international diplomacy. She said the whole speech is not aimed at the Congress, but at the Israeli voter.

One question then: If so do you think the Congressional leaders would just let themselves be used like that? You do not think this might have something to do with the threat they feel from a nuclear armed Iran, both to the United States and the rest of the world?

In my humble opinion, this was, and with Hashem’s help, will be, a remarkable opportunity to move America and the world in the direction of peace and stability.

About the Author
Jerusalem resident.
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