The question is, how does the United States Congress allow the leader of another country, ally or no ally, to come into its home and present his argument against the President’s plan? The Israeli Prime Minister’s visit to Washington was organized at the invitation of Republican leaders in Congress without consulting the White House, two weeks before elections in Israel. This was an affront to protocol without apparent precedent. Do you follow? In another country not so liberal, such actions could be seen as an attempted coup. What’s wrong with these hateful, disrespectful Republican boys who masquerade as men pretending to serve the people? True public servants consider at all times the well-being and welfare of the people and not their own selfish whims. Such statesmen of old are hard to come by these days.
Instead we have the likes of John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who essentially invited the Israeli leader to Washington as an expert witness for the Republican case against President Obama, citing him (Obama) as an incompetent naive leader who yields to America’s foreign enemies. Consequently, Binyamin Netanyahu was under no pressure to offer much more than criticism—though in his address the Israeli leader carefully praised President Obama as a friend of Israel and said he deeply regretted any perception that his visit was “political.” One could say that Netanyahu is no fool, but he’s got balls.
The shame is that all of America sat by and without complaint allowed the Congress to get away with such a blatant insult. The racist-driven Republicans have no integrity or respect for the office of the presidency. Even if they dislike Obama, one would think that they’d respect the office and the people’s choice.
The address doubled Boehner’s (a known Obama enemy) strategy. Excitement over Netanyahu’s visit subdued the resistance from the hard right that, on the same day, House Republicans silently aborted an attempt to block funding for President Obama’s program to shield millions of unlawful immigrants from deportation by holding up funding for the Department of Homeland Security. It was a good day to hide admission of defeat that was always inevitable—the party of national security could hardly shut down America’s domestic security apparatus and come out on top.
Prime Minister Netanyahu painted his usual picture of doom and presented a how-to guide for America to craft a deal that would check Iran and end its initiative to build a nuclear bomb. The Israeli Prime Minister mostly explained his conviction that an agreement currently being brokered by the American government and other world powers is so bad that it “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb,” evoking repeated ovations from Republicans and a divided response from Democrats. This is perhaps the death kiss that the very stupid Republicans landed on the cheek of the world powers.
The fact that this was allowed and the Congresses’ willingness to respond overwhelmingly in support of Netanyahu is so anti-American. It reminds me of the scene in The Godfather when the Don, Vito Corleone, portrayed by Marlon Brando is in dialogue with a want-to-be Don who proposes the introduction of drugs into their business, but Corleone refuses the offer. However his son Sonny/Santino shows dissention by expressing his favoritism towards the idea. Corleone dismisses their guests and quickly tells Sonny, “Never break with the family amongst outsiders.” And here we have the legislative branch of the U.S. government partaking in such total disregard to protocol displaying their break with the President as a direct act to undermine his efforts.
Netanyahu identified elements of a possible deal that he described as especially naive and foolish further supporting the Republican’s agenda to discredit the President. Of course, he did not offer an alternative that would be acceptable to Iran or the European and other countries working with America. Instead he promoted his agenda, “First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country,” he demanded.
In response to the Prime Minister’s visit as well as the timing and disappointment in the Republican leaders, President Obama stated, “In reality Netanyahu’s plan amounts to ‘no deal’ with Iran. An accord, which freezes Iran’s nuclear infrastructure for ten years with intrusive inspections is the best that is possible,” he continued after Netanyahu’s speech, which he did not attend. “Nothing else comes close,” the President said, “Sanctions won’t do it. Even military action would not be as successful as the deal that we have put forward.” Fortunately for them, the President always takes the high road. For that I am proud.
But as a citizen, I am outraged that this overt racism is accepted as norm because it is so insidiously woven in our culture. When the country music group the Dixie Chicks dared to speak out against the Chaney/Bush policies through their music, White Republicans acted very un-American and literally tossed their CDs from stores and banded them from being played on the radio.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Israeli leader’s visit will impress voters back in Israel, in a tight election scheduled for March 17. But it has made bipartisan agreement on Iran policy harder in Washington.