Friday, March 6, 2015


You were preaching to the choir.
        I listened carefully to both of your speeches, Mr. Prime Minister. Your delivery was excellent.You knew your audiences, You told them exactly what they wanted to hear. You waved the Israeli flag well. You were strong on Israeli-American relations, as well you should be.
        Your remarks were very well received by your AIPAC friends and by your hawkish Republican supporters in Congress, whose thunderous applause must have warmed your heart and massaged your ego. You were preaching to the choir! And their response was sure to play well with your friends back home in Israel. Even your opponents must have been impressed with the enthusiastic reception you received from your highly politicized audiences.
        Contentwise your speech to AIPAC was appropriate. You kept it within proper bounds. But was your address before the joint session of Congress equally appropriate? Was it the right thing to do? Nyet, nyet, Mr. Netanyahu! You knew that Speaker of the House John Boehner had violated protocul by inviting you without having consulted the President of the United States. You knew that the President did not approve of having you, as a foreign head of state, address the Congress two weeks prior to your having to face a hotly contested election in your own country.

        What’s even worse, despite your preliminary high praise for President Obama's support of Israel, the purpose of your speech was to undermine Congressional support of the President's foreign policy, even as he, along with the leaders of other major powers, is in the process of negotiating a crucial deal with Iran to prevent that nation from attaining nuclear weapons! You opposed the deal before it has been finalized, without even knowing the terms. You made incorrect assumptions, just as you have done in speeches past. You insulted the intelligence of the American State Department and that of the other nations involved in the negotiations, as if they are not just as aware of the need for proper assurances, guarantees, and protections as you are.
        And what is especially reprehensible, you criticized our President’s efforts without offering any alternative solution of your own, a tactic he is unfortunately too accustomed to from those same Republicans who were applauding you so vigorously. Your speech was blatantly partisan and despite your protestations to the contrary your ulterior motive was self-servingly political. Shame on you, Mr. Netanyahu! If that speech backfires on you in the forthcoming Israeli elections, it will serve you right.
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To the readers of Minding What Matters: For an insightful analysis of Mr. Netanyahu's address to Congress, click HERE . The author is an adjunct professor of International Affairs and a senior research scholar at Columbia's School of International & Public Affairs (see Dr. Gary G. Sick).

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