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GOP Invite Netanyahu to Address Joint Session of Congress

April 16, 2011

Talk about rewarding intransigence and playing politics with our foreign policy. And the timing is just wonderful, given the revolutions taking place across the Middle East.

But here’s the best part- the purpose of this invite is to allow Bibi an opportunity to undermine the Obama administration’s proposal for Mideast peace because there is talk that President Obama may speak to this issue shortly in a renewed push to jump-start talks. Let me say that again: The Congress of the United States is purposely giving the leader of a foreign country the floor of the House of Representatives for the purpose of undermining the President of the United States’ foreign policy.

Can you name one other country where this would be deemed appropriate. No, you can’t.

From Haaretz:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will give a Mideast peace policy speech in front of U.S. Congress in late May, Haaretz learned on Thursday, in an attempt to counter a speech expected to deal with U.S. Mideast policy by President Barack Obama.

The office of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner confirmed the report, saying Boehner’s will invite Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress during a visit to Washington next month.

[snip]

On Thursday it was announced that the premier received official invitation to speak before Congress due to the support of Republican congressmen, and following several weeks in which he and his staff had been attempting to procure such an invitation.

Netanyahu is expected to speak at the same week in which he is scheduled to address the AIPAC conference due to take place on May 22.

His address is expected to serve as a sort of response to an upcoming Mideast policy speech by Obama.

MJ Rosenberg gives us a little recent-history lesson about Bibi:

This is one of the benefits of having a Republican House at the same time that a Likud prime minister is in office in Israel. The two right-wing parties can work together to thwart any Democratic president’s attempt to advance U.S. national security by brokering Middle East peace.

The last time this happened was in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president, Newt Gingrich was speaker, and the self-same Netanyahu was Israel’s prime minister. Netanyahu, joyously anticipating Clinton’s defeat for a second term, worked with the Republicans to subvert Clinton. Douglas Bloomfield, AIPAC’s long-time legislative director, recalled:

No Israeli leader was as adept at playing partisan American politics, nor as disruptive as the American-educated Netanyahu, who understood the politics of divided government. Even before becoming prime minister, he joined forces with Gingrich against common enemies: then-President Bill Clinton, Rabin and the Oslo peace process. Their goal was to make sure all three failed.

Gingrich was happy to play this game with Netanyahu, but he is more than matched by Cantor, who is not only a pro-Likud zealot but has also publicly admitted that he would use his position to help Netanyahu withstand any pressure from his own President.

[emphasis mine]

Of course the MSM won’t bring any of this up. Everyone knows Bibi Netanyahu has spent his public career trying to ensure a two-state solution never happens. Those who have paid attention also know that he has actually stated he used Oslo to expand more settlements and bragged about how easy the U.S. is to control:

A newly released video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could add some additional strain to the sometimes tense relationship between him and President Obama.

In the video, which is from 2001, Netanyahu — who reportedly did not know his speech was being recorded — speaks frankly in Hebrew about relations with the Clinton White House and the peace process.

As noted in Haaretz, Netanyahu seems to boast of his knowledge of the US by saying, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.”

He also boasts of manipulating the U.S. in the ongoing peace process, as the Washington Post points out:

“They asked me before the election if I’d honor [the Oslo accords],” he said. “I said I would, but … I’m going to interpret the accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end to this galloping forward to the ’67 borders. How did we do it? Nobody said what defined military zones were. Defined military zones are security zones; as far as I’m concerned, the entire Jordan Valley is a defined military zone. Go argue.”

Our ally.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    April 16, 2011 8:03 pm

    Bibi is so arrogant. If ever anyone needed proof Israel leads the US around by the testicle, here it is. Bibi will embarrass the POTUS by openly disagreeing w/ US policy, he’ll war monger about Iran and play the victim by claiming the pro-democracy movements are a threat to Israel. He’ll also alienate the Palestinian leadership. He’ll probably even mention Goldstone.

    So,this is how Bibi shows thanks to Obama and Hillary for bending over backwards to accommodate his every whim- increasing funding to Israel, vetoing the settlement resolution and trying to stop the PA from declaring a state at the UN in Sept

    After the speech Bibi then goes and gives a speech to AIPAC to all his adoring fans.

  2. Bongo permalink
    April 16, 2011 8:10 pm

    How do you spell treason? AIPAC.

    Obama will be kissing Israel’s ass from now until the election and Bibi and the lobby know it. It’s all about the Jewish vote.

    So much for Mideast peace. Bibi makes Obama and Hillary look foolish and all they can do is stand there and grovel and kiss Bibi’s ring. Pathetic.

  3. Thain permalink
    April 16, 2011 8:19 pm

    I refuse to watch or listen to this speech. It will just be more fear-mongering, lies and fetishizing victimhood. We’ll be told that “Jerusalem is NOT a settlement” and he’ll get a standing ovation. He’ll talk about delegitimization which in Likud-speak means “anyone who dares to disagree with us.”

    I hope Hillary doesn’t speak at AIPAC this year. I don’t think I’d be able to take it- she went last year, let Obama do the pandering this time.

    Oh btw, I’d like to see Eric Cantor’s birth certificate. I don’t think he’s a citizen of the US, I think he’s a citizen of Israel.

  4. April 17, 2011 12:39 pm

    BTW, according to Haaretz, Israel’s chief Rabbi has said that if Obama doesn’t release Jonathan Pollard he’ll lose the Jewish vote and lose the election. Ummmm….where to start with that? That sounds an awful lot like saying “we control Washington” which sounds an awful lot like the negative, anti-Semitic trope that Jewish people control everything. So, not sure why he’d want to reinforce that.

    I have a hard time believing the major issue for the American Jewish community is springing Jonathan Pollard out of jail. It does show the chutzpah of Israel though- no matter what this WH does for them, it’s still not enough. Bibi has treated Obama like his pool boy and yet he expects Obama to respond to the constant insults with more favors. Of course, given that Obama has done just that, I guess Bibi would be a fool not to play his hand. Bibi knows how to triangulate given that most of Congress and the Lobby are on his side, which is troubling. For the life of me I don’t understand why the American Jewish community doesn’t stand up and say “enough!” to Bibi and his antics- it’s not doing Israel any good.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      April 17, 2011 5:11 pm

      Why not the American Jewish community, yes, but alao why doesn’t the 46% of Israelis who want peace stand up and say they’re not going to take it anymore?

      • April 17, 2011 5:37 pm

        Do you read the Israeli news and blogs? There are tons of Israelis who are writing and speaking about how fed up they are with Bibi. Unfortunately, the far right in Israel is growing, pushed on largely by a growing settler population. You know there is much more diversity of opinion in Israel about this than there is in the US. If there was even HALF the discussion here that there is in Israel we’d be much better off.

        I find it interesting how it’s totally taboo to point out the obvious- that a big obstacle to peace, at least from the U.S. side (ie. being an honest broker), is the American Jewish community. No one wants to admit that. Israelis understand this and if you read Haaretz regularly or even read commentary by people like Daniel Levy (former Israeli negotiator under Ehud Barak), they bemoan the Israel Lobby and how Israeli politicians triangulate Congress and the WH and the Diaspora. Their media talks about it all the time but our media totally ignores it. Why is that Carolyn? Seriously, I am wondering.

        Also, more and more Israelis have become comfortable with the status quo and why not? The Palestinians have lived up to their obligations under international agreements, created a kick ass security force which has cracked down on extremism and terrorism and even Hamas was in line for a while. All the while Israel refused to live up to its obligations but still got the unquestioning US support, billions of dollars, all the expanding its territory exponentially while strangling Gaza economically with a blockade as a form of collective punishment. Not to mention their economy is doing FANTASTIC. So what incentive is there for change when they can have their cake and eat it too?

        Whenever a US President tries to speak honestly to Israel and make them realize time is running out for a two state solution what happens? The pushback, the threats, the claims of “you better not mess with Israel if you want to win reelection.” Jesus, here in Boston we can’t even have J-Street at a local Synagogue w/o the rest of the Jewish community here having a kitten. And why not? Because J-Street thinks Israel should stop settlements in order to advance peace. Wow. Radical.

        It is so f*cking dysfunctional.

        • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
          April 17, 2011 10:35 pm

          “Their media talks about it all the time but our media totally ignores it. Why is that Carolyn? Seriously, I am wondering.”

          Wish I knew — but if there was any doubt about biased reporting by my hometown paper, that was dispeled for me when they deemed the story about Hamas killing an pro-Palestinian Italian activist deserving of front page
          coverage…

          • Steve permalink
            April 18, 2011 7:49 pm

            Carolyn- you know why. Acceptance is the first stage of recoveryšŸ˜‰

  5. Steve permalink
    April 17, 2011 8:42 pm

    @Stacy- our community doesn’t want to admit we’re part of the problem we’d rather blame it on someone else. The reason Obama backed down on settlements was b/c of fear of backlash from the Jewish community. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen came out and said it outright. The reason the US isn’t an honest broker is b/c we won’t allow it. The reason the US undermines it’s own anti-settlement policy is b/c despite polls saying Jews are largely opposed to settlements, we really aren’t- we want all of Jerusalem, all our holy sites and we funnel tons of our private funds to support the settlement enterprise. Luckily the media is polite enough not to call us on this flagrant hypocrisy. Why do you think team Obama vetoed a UN resolution that basically reiterated US policy? We all know why.

  6. Thain permalink
    April 18, 2011 11:56 am

    In Vittorio’s own words:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/04/kidnapped-in-gaza.html#more-41247

    • April 18, 2011 12:03 pm

      Thousands of people in Gaza came out to mourn Vittorio- PEACEFULLY! It’s horrific to even say but many in Israel are glad he’s dead which puts them in the same mindset as the extremists who killed him.

      • Tron Vokoyo HonoH permalink
        March 30, 2012 7:25 pm

        “According to Japanese maps officially published before 1895, the Diaoyu Islands were never drafted into Japan map” Ju Deyuan said.

        “And changes on lots of Japanese maps tell the real ownership of the Diaoyu Islands.”

        In 1945, the Japanese Government accepted the Potsdam Declaration, which stipulated that Japan must return all territories it seized from China. From then on, the Diaoyu Islands were deleted from Japanese maps.

        “Such changes actually mean Japan has returned the Diaoyu Islands to China” Ju Deyuan said.

        “However, in 1971, the Japanese Government announced that the Diaoyu Islands belong to Japan, which showed that Japan is in conflict with its commitment to the Potsdam Declaration.”

  7. April 18, 2011 11:58 am

    Carolyn said:

    Wish I knew — but if there was any doubt about biased reporting by my hometown paper, that was dispeled for me when they deemed the story about Hamas killing an pro-Palestinian Italian activist deserving of front page
    coverage…

    I think you do know. It’s probably related to the reason the APA, according to you, got so much grief for inviting Archbishop Tutu to speak at their conference. There are people from both inside and outside the media who police the discussion of Israeli-Palestinian issues. Bibi has bragged when he comes to the U.S. not only does he meet with members of Congress and Jewish organizations, but he meets with the heads of media organizations. I think he may be the only leader to do that that I know of.

    As for your “hometown paper” about all it’s good for is getting an idea about what the latest Israeli government whim is.

    As far as I know, Hamas has not claimed responsibility for the murder of Vitorrio Arrigoni. I believe it was Hamas who found his body, but I could be wrong. I don’t see any benefit to Hamas killing Vitorrio given how popular he was in Gaza. There are extremist groups that are rivals with Hamas in Gaza- they see Hamas as becoming too moderate, particularly Hamas’ political wing, which doesn’t believe in targeting Israeli civilians. But every death is attributed to Hamas by the MSM, which plays into the hands of the more extreme groups trying to create havoc right now.

    Again, I don’t know who was responsible for Vitorrio’s death, but I do know it was a big blow to the people of Gaza. According to several media sources, Hamas had no issue with Vitorrio because he was working for Palestinian rights. Some militant group wanted their prisoners released by Hamas in exchange for Vitorrio. So if media organizations are attributing the murder to Hamas, that seems to be an incorrect assumption at this point.

    On Twitter, some so-called pro-Israel groups were absolutely gleeful at the news of his death, essentially saying he was a supporter of terrorism and got what he deserved. Can you believe that? Anyone who knows of Vitorrio’s commitment to non-violence knows he was no terrorist. I purposely haven’t written anything about it because a) I’m too disgusted by the reaction of Israel and it’s extremist followers and b) this really isn’t the place to do it.

    It would have been nice if the State Dept. had sent out a little something about his death and commending his devotion to peaceful resistance, but I guess that’s too much to ask. So much for civil society. Vitorrio abhorred violence. But he supported Palestinian rights so I guess his life isn’t really worth an official statement – I guess an Israeli life is worth more since our govt seems to trip over itself sending out statements immediately upon the death of an Israeli civilian at the alleged hands of a Palestinian . And anyway, the Lobby would have gotten mad and we can’t have THAT.

  8. Pavril permalink
    April 18, 2011 12:12 pm

    Here’s some good old fashioned Israeli democracy in action:

    http://josephdana.com/2011/04/israeli-military-court-remands-palestinian-organizer-bassem-tamimi-indefinitely/

    Where’s the State Dept? *chirp* * chirp*

    Oh, but look over there, what’s IRAN doing? Rounding up peaceful protesters on trumped up charges? HOW DARE THEY!

    Did Obama say something about Palestinians needing to renounce violence? So when they do what does Bambi do? Not say one fucking thing. So much for Change. Hahahaha.

  9. Tovah permalink
    April 18, 2011 12:49 pm

    Here’s the list of speakers for the AIPAC conference:

    http://www.aipac.org/PC/schedule.asp

    No Hillary yet so that’s good. But there are no admin. officials on there yet and I highly doubt that’s accurate. Maybe Obama will attend? Maybe they are keeping that under wraps for now.

    If people really care about Mideast peace then perhaps we should take 5 minutes out of our day and write our members of Congress and tell them to support the POTUS and Secretary of State’s efforts to achieve peace. In other words, stop playing politics with the Lobby and allowing Bibi to play everyone against each other.

    http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

    Even better, call them- that link will give you their office phone numbers too.

  10. Steve permalink
    April 18, 2011 7:52 pm

    BTW, this puts a finer point on it.

    http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/04/netanyahu-invited-to-speak-to-his-dc-friends-at-a-joint-session-of-congress/

    It is a reminder that our Mideast policy has been dominated by the exact same people for decades and in most cases, those people are Israeli. It also points out how managing the media message has been an obsession for years. Saban once said that he buys up media conglomerates for the purpose of using them to defend Israel. That’s just lovely and sadly, oh so stereotypical.

    Can you imagine if Palestinian Americans dominated the debate on Israeli-Palestinian issues? Can you imagine if most of the journalists covering the Middle East or if most of the WaPo and NYT commentators were Arab, let alone Palestinian? No one would put up with it- they/we would be screaming “bias!”

  11. ripped and ready permalink
    May 26, 2011 12:18 pm

    Netanyahus’ speech was absolutly perfect. The “foreign policy” of this president (obama) is aimed at degrading America at every turn and needs the Netanyahu rhetoric to expose its’ “internationalist”, read: communist, intent. Kudos to the Israeli prime minister for setting the record straight! Shariah in America should, and will, NEVER happen.

  12. Andrew permalink
    May 29, 2011 2:45 pm

    The Palestinians do not want peace with Israel. The elimination of the Jewish state is the only acceptable resolution to the Palestinian people. This is the undeniable truth. How can you make peace with someone who wants you dead?

  13. March 14, 2012 10:44 am

    There already IS a two-state solution. Much more than half of Israel was given to Jordan by Britain in order to pacify the Hashemite Princes the UK used and lied to with promises of Arab independence while all the time planning to divide the spoils of the Ottoman Empire with France. (These same lovely Foreign Office types created Iraq for another Hashemite Prince, deliberately creating an unstable country by combining the Kurdish north with the Sunni middle and the Shia south – in order to necessitate the UK’s continued involvement in this oil-rich land.)
    Since the PA has not been an elected body for more than half a decade and HAMAS refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and fires rockets almost daily from Gaza, what would the BHO State Department suggest? Probably a four-state solution: Jordan, the “West Bank” for PA types, and Gaza for Hamas – while Israel becomes smaller and less defensible with every cut?
    Is the United States going to live up to its guarantee of the Camp David Accords if Egypt decides to renounce its treaty with Israel? Will the US give the Sinai back to Israel if this happens? Or stand by and shut up while Israel does the job by itself? Why don’t you all worry about the commitments we already have in the region, such as the Camp Davids, before seeking to involve us further in the stated Hamas and company’s goal of destroying Israel and wiping her off the map?

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