Friday, January 23, 2015 at 6:06 AM

Chutzpah: Israeli PM to Address US Congress

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

a874572c98c64726610f6a7067009ca5I have had cause on far too many occasions to denounce the presumptuous way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted, variously, to challenge Obama’s presidential authority or dictate how Obama should exercise it.

What is most troubling, however, is that congressional Republicans have invariably enabled him. In fact, while doing all they could to block Obama’s policies (regardless of merit), they allowed Netanyahu to treat the U.S. Congress, for his intents and purposes, like “Israeli-occupied territory.”

What’s more, whenever Obama tried to put Netanyahu in his place, Republicans decried Obama’s authority and defended Netanyahu’s impudence. Hell, you’d think Netanyahu, not Obama, was the president of the United States….

Here is an excerpt from “Obama Dissing Israel PM Netanyahu?” September 12, 2012, which provides a little insight:

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The chutzpah of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never ceases to amaze me…

I am simply stupefied by the way he has been publicly goading Obama – almost from day one of his presidency – to stop Iran [from developing nuclear weapons] before it enters some amorphous ‘zone of immunity’ (presumably where North Korea resides)…

All of his talk about red lines and red lights is just a red herring. If Netanyahu wanted to attack Iran today, nobody would stop him.

Except that this arrogant SOB would rather sit on his moral high-horse (playing the Holocaust card) and declaim falsely about Obama dictating when and how he should act to defend Israel’s national security interests. All the while he’s presuming to dictate to Obama when and how he should act to defend America’s national security interests with respect to Iran: talk about brass ones…

It is noteworthy that Netanyahu is being supported in his rhetorical misadventure by the same coalition of crusading dunces (namely, Jewish Zionists, Christian fundamentalists, and new-world-order neo-cons) who goaded Bush into attacking Iraq. Not to mention that they have all been issuing Chicken-Little warnings about Iran being just months away from going nuclear since the 1990s.

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netanyahu_boehnerThis is why I was not at all surprised when news broke on Wednesday about Republican Speaker John Boehner inviting Netanyahu to address a Joint Session of Congress … on whether the United States should impose (more) sanctions against Iran, immediately. Boehner did this despite Obama practically pleading – in his State of Union Address on Tuesday – for Congress to give his diplomatic initiatives a reasonable chance to work (i.e., without congressional and/or Israeli interference that could undermine them, fatally).

Setting up a diplomatic showdown on an issue that has sharply divided Obama and congressional Republicans, Boehner announced the invitation the day after Obama pledged in his State of the Union address to veto Iran sanctions legislation being developed in Congress.

(Reuters, January 21, 2015)

Of course, the Jewish Zionists, Christian fundamentalists, and political neo-cons – who Boehner and Netanyahu consider their bilateral base – would like nothing more than to kill Obama’s initiatives. This, they figure, would provide their pretext for this president (or the next) to bomb Iran … in an Iraq-style misadventure to protect Israel. But I digress….

012215_otr_panel_640Nor was I surprised when Netanyahu not only accepted, but declared his intent to meet with Obama during his visit, even though the White House had issued no invitation.

Frankly, this congressional invitation just crystallizes the antic contempt both Republicans and Netanyahu have for Obama. Only this explains why this Speaker would defy long-established protocol by inviting this foreign leader to address a Joint Session of Congress without even bothering to consult this president. And only this explains why this Israeli prime minister would defy long-established protocol by accepting. Not to mention that the speaker’s interference smacks of an attempt to usurp the long-established power of the president to conduct foreign affairs.

Unfortunately, the only thing Obama can do is ignore them.

Accordingly:

The White House announced that President Barack Obama will not meet with Netanyahu during his visit; U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will also forgo meeting with Netanyahu [and] Vice President Joe Biden is also expected to do the same.

(Haaretz, January 23, 2015)

Meanwhile, nobody seems the least bit bothered by the untenable precedent this congressional flouting of protocol – to slight this president and hail this prime minister – sets. After all, it will only embolden other foreign leaders to curry favor with congressional leaders to undermine the authority of a president whose policies they don’t like. It will also give credence to visceral assertions by Obama’s more rabid supporters, like Reverend Al Sharpton, about Republican opposition to him having more to do with racism than politics.

But I urge all Democrats (and sensible Republicans) to boycott Netanyahu’s address. Because only this would demonstrate, quite appropriately, that in showing this kind of contempt for Obama, Boehner and Netanyahu are showing contempt for the American people.

By the way, on Iran:

Netanyahu showed no regard for the fact that Obama has insisted all along that, like Reagan in his dealings with leaders of the Soviet Union, he will ‘trust but verify, verify, verify’ everything. Specifically, that there will be no lifting of crippling sanctions, which have Rouhani crying uncle on behalf of his long-suffering people, until there’s concrete and verifiable evidence that Iran has dismantled all of its facilities to develop nuclear weapons.

What’s more, it cannot be lost on Obama that, if he had his way, Netanyahu would have already misled him down a primrose path to war against Iran similar to the one neo-cons misled his predecessor, George W. Bush, down to war against Iraq 10 years ago.

(“Netanyahu, Obama’s Iago; Iran, His Desdemona,” The iPINIONS Journal, October 2, 2013) 

584016-c3f18e54-9ae1-11e4-b380-6759e7d08be1Notwithstanding Iran, the prevailing suspicion is that Netanyahu invited himself to bolster his image in advance of Israel’s March 17 elections. That the French accused him of doing just that a few weeks ago lends credibility to this suspicion.

Reportedly, French President Francois Hollande was so concerned that Netanyahu’s participation in a Charlie-Hebdo parade would inflame passions, he personally rang to beg him off attending. Except that Netanyahu determined that his participation would boost to his re-election prospects. Therefore, he not only ignored this personal entreaty; he made quite a show of leading the parade … right alongside Hollande.

Like I said, the chutzpah of the man never ceases to amaze me.

NOTE: Netanyahu will never miss an opportunity to undermine peace with Israel’s enemies — even if that means making enemies of Israel’s friends.

Related commentaries:
Israel talks about settlements
Obama dissing Israeli PM
Obama’s Iago

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