As has been widely reported, the Prime Minister of Israel spoke to a joint session of Congress for the third time. Only Winston Churchill has matched that number. However, as you know, this is the first time a leader of another nation has requested and received an invitation to appear before Congress without first going through the diplomatic channels of the State Department and the White House.
His appearance was an obvious insult to the Office of the President by both Israel and our Republican leadership.
We know why the Prime Minister requested the opportunity to speak: He and his handlers believed it would help his re-election campaign. And we know why Republicans extended the invitation: It was another opportunity to provoke and demean President Obama.
What I don’t know is why we pay attention to Netanyahu at all. His predictions of doom by a nuclear-armed Iran have seemed unnecessarily alarmist for many years. Indeed, they seem little more than a scare tactic to assure his re-election. Further, since US taxpayers provide Israel with more than $3 billion per year in direct foreign aid and an estimated $12-17 billion more in indirect aid, his offering counsel and advice to US leaders seems like the tail wagging the dog. And, if Israel is frightened at the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, imagine how Iran feels about Israel’s nuclear bombs. Imagine how Iran feels about the threat of US nuclear arms and our so-called “special relationship,” especially when one of our senior (both in tenure and age) senators jokes about “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran?”
It’s time to end this charade. It’s time to negotiate our own deal with Iran and other Middle Eastern nations. It’s time to stop listening to Netanyahu and to stop sending foreign aid to Israel. It’s time to stop looking the other way as Israel steals more and more of Palestinian land. It’s long past time for the US to stop giving military hardware to Israel. It’s time to demand that Israel end the civil rights abuses of Palestinians and negotiate a true settlement. It’s time for Palestinians to stop sending rocks and rockets across the border. It’s time to demand an end to Israel’s disproportionate military response to Palestinian terrorism. It’s time to end our UN Security Council veto of the recognition of Palestine as a separate state.
In short, it’s time the US grabbed both of these nation states by the scruff of the collar and demand that they start acting like adults in the 21st century. The 1967 war is over! It’s time to make peace…a real and lasting peace.
In addition, there should be a political penalty for Netanyahu’s arrogance. Any semblance of a “special relationship” between the US and Israel should now be over…ended by the politics of destruction practiced by people like Netanyahu, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. Unless the people of Israel vote Netanyahu out of office and relegate him to history alongside their other mistakes, and unless Israel sends a formal and very public apology to the White House, we should provide Israel no more support than we provide other allies, such as France, Germany and Sweden.
Further, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry should all but ignore Netanyahu’s bombastic bluster while negotiating a treaty with Iran…a treaty that does more than benefit our ill-mannered little brother.