I have been privileged to witness many historic events over the years. In most cases these were moments of pride and national exhilaration. However, in some instances the events were tragic and were reminders that we still had a great deal of work to do on the road to fulfilling our national destiny. Even when it seemed that the very fabric of who we are was being stretched to the limit, we showed resilience and cohesion and on all but one occasion this nation remained whole and united. Certainly, from the outside looking in, while we had our disagreements, we were a strong and united nation. However, a recent event endangers this perception. Never in our history has a branch of our government conspired with a foreign leader to impose its will on our foreign policy. After all, that would be incredibly arrogant on the part of all parties involved. Yet as noted by Jon Perrfollow in the Daily Kos on March 1, 2015 …”Prime Minister Netanyahu is coming at the invitation of one political party to sabotage the foreign policy of the sitting president of the United States”. It is, additionally, a break in the decades-old tradition of bipartisanship in our relationship and policy towards Israel. The hubris and arrogance required to make this decision in the absence of White House concurrence by both Boehner and Netanyahu are breathtaking and remarkably destructive.
Now I, an American Jew and lifelong supporter of Israel, certainly appreciate the existential threat faced by the Jewish State. I have been on every border and traveled throughout this tiny country, the size of New Jersey, many times. Though arrogance may be a necessary posture for survival among your enemies, it is a recipe for failure among your friends. While John Boehner was foolhardy in issuing the invitation to Netanyahu, the Prime Minister was foolish in accepting it. They have both behaved in a manner not befitting a head of state or a Speaker of the House. They have both played raw politics in an arena that requires diplomacy, patience and intelligence. Despite the platitudes that come out of their mouths, they have shown themselves to be self-serving politicians first, and national and international leaders second.
As Netanyahu spoke before the joint session of congress, we all listened to a well constructed speech effectively outlining the threat faced by his nation. It is a fact that an Iranian nuclear capacity would impose an existential threat to Israel. There is no disagreement on this point. However, from there he rejected the American negotiating posture in a manner that felt as if he saw the need to provide a tutorial on proper negotiating tactics. This from a man who has been nothing but an incumbrance to peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians. He questioned the President’s judgement in the approach being taken in the negotiations. This from a man who strongly advised Bush to invade Iraq on the expectation that it would be good for the Middle East. Finally, he provided no solution or guidance other than to reject the current negotiations. All the while his Republican hosts were cheering him and giving him standing ovations. This from the group that gave us the Iraq war and has obstructed every legislative initiative taken by this administration to the point of shutting down the government. Both Netanyahu’s and Boehner’s track record of success is a sad commentary on their leadership.
I, along with most Americans, am deeply concerned about the possibility of an Iranian nuclear capability. However, it is clear that a military solution, though blindly advocated by the neocons, is not viable. Therefore the only solution is to negotiate an agreement that will provide us with access, control and information to enable us to impact on this development. The GOP and their right-wing partner, Netanyahu, have once again ignored precedent, protocol and common sense to blunder into areas outside their expertise. The President made his position clear long ago. He will not allow Iran to attain nuclear capability as long as he is President. I take him at his word.