Is Netanyahu Backpedaling On Congressional Visit?
January 30, 2015

Since Speaker John Boehner announced that he invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress on Iran, it has become a smoldering story about how Republicans broke protocol by bypassing the administration and the State Department to invite a foreign leader to try to shape U.S. foreign policy - while we're in negotiations with Iran.

Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution writes in the WaPo five reasons why Bibi should decline the invite.

Bibi is also facing a backlash at home for his choice:

Michael B. Oren, who spent four years as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ambassador to Washington, has called on Mr. Netanyahu to cancel his speech to Congress about Iran. Amos Yadlin, a former military intelligence chief who frequently briefed the Israeli prime minister on security matters, denounced the event as “irresponsible.”

The NY Times reported that Netanyahu started speaking to Dems to try and soften them up, but Senator Harry Reid told him that of he comes "it will hurt him" and Nancy Pelosi said it “could send the wrong message in terms of giving diplomacy a chance.”

In a good interview with Israel's Ambassador Ron Dermer conducted by Jeffrey Goldberg, Dermer said that Benjamin Netanyahu meant no disrespect to President Obama.

Goldberg: Democrats (including, and maybe especially, Jewish Democrats) believe that the prime minister is sometimes disrespectful to the president, and they worry that your government privileges its relations with the Republicans at their expense. Assuming you believe this is wrong, why is this wrong?

Dermer: The prime minister and the president have disagreed on issues, but the prime minister has never intentionally treated the president disrespectfully—and if that is what some people felt, it certainly was not the prime minister’s intention.

I don't think anyone believes that for a second. They know the protocol. Every American who pays attention understands the tension between Israel and Iran and knows exactly how Netanyahu stands on the matter, so the obvious point of his visit is to undermine the administration's negotiations with Iran. This was all instigated by Speaker John Boehner and Republicans in Congress. As usual, they look like fools doing it.

Balloon Juice:

Nobody believes that. There’s every indication that Bibi flat out despises President Obama and if Bibi going around him to speak to Congress as a foreign leader openly undermining the foreign policy of a sitting President isn’t intentional disrespect, there’s very little that does qualify.

I rarely write about Israeli politics for many reasons, but this is not about Israel. The GOP is trying to undermine America's foreign policy by using a foreign leader to speak against their own country, and that is flat out wrong.

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