Is a stable and strong Israel important to the Middle Eastern region? Of course it is. However, that doesn’t mean we need to agree and bow down to everything that comes out of reelection hopeful Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mouth.
Republicans in Congress can’t seem to get enough of the warhawk prime minister. And it’s certain they wish President Obama was more like him and less like the logically sound, deep thinking, diplomatic chess player, and effective leader that he is. Republicans feel if you throw enough money at a problem overseas with enough might that somehow peace can evolve from an iron fist.
However, this isn’t World War II. Conflict in the Middle East hasn’t suddenly risen overnight and isn’t the work of one man creating an opposition for domination. Middle Eastern conflict has existed longer than history books can recall. Throwing money and military might at the conflict will not solve anything long-term. In fact, it could make things far worse. President Obama is thinking long-term, and that’s why he is working on a deal that of course isn’t perfect, but is a step in the right direction in hopes of resolving conflict diplomatically. Diplomacy should always be the first option.
Now, as Netanyahu spoke in front of a joint meeting of Congress, he approached his speech in a very skillfully formulated manner. He started by praising President Obama, this of course got a few Democrats to stand up and applaud — well-played, prime minister.
“We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel.
Now, some of that is widely known.
Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.
Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.
I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid.
n 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment.
Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.
In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there.
And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister.
But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.”
After that however, he decided he would tear into the president and spout off inflammatory rhetoric that he has used for decades and American conservatives eat up every word as though it is brand new.
“In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.
So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.”
Holy sh*t. Bravo for that line, Hollywood may hire him after that one.
Then he said:
“But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.
Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it.”
We can Google it? Does it get more condescending than that? If he had spoken like that in front of Republicans when Bush or Bush or Reagan were president they would’ve been outraged, but instead they giggled like schoolchildren and agreed.
Oh, and most of the elements of that deal are not made public and for good reason. When he speaks like this he is purposefully trying to demean the president and the United States’ attempt at a peaceful resolution. No one ever said Netanyahu wasn’t skilled orator, he is a politician after all — oh, and politician up for reelection in two weeks, did I fail to mention that? Convenient timing, really.
Channeling his best John McCain impression he said:
“My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?
Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.”
“A racecar driver without a car can’t drive”?? Conservative America just cheered, “That’s right!”
To put it bluntly, Netanyahu wants things done his way or no way at all. He doesn’t want a deal with Iran to work, because then he doesn’t get his war. His entire speech was a rallying cry for war with Iran. If he wants to “protect Israel” he’d be best to let President Obama and Secretary John Kerry do what they need to do to protect Israel.
If you think I’m being inflammatory myself saying Netanyahu wants war, look no further than Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), because he agrees. First he said:
“The deal being negotiated today is reminiscent of Munich in 1938. . . And when the administration comes back to America and promises peace in our time, we shouldn’t believe them now any more than we should have believed them then.”
There’s that World War II rhetoric I told you about. Then he said:
“There is one threat, and one threat only, on the face of the globe with the potential to once again annihilate 6 million Jews. . . A nuclear Iran poses an existential threat to the nation of Israel, that’s what Prime Minister Netanyahu has told us.”
That is what he told us, isn’t it? Cruz continued, parroting Netanyahu:
“It is worth underscoring that the word existential does not mean a Frenchman in a black beret chain-smoking. . . It means going to the very existence of the nation of Israel.”
“If this deal is implemented, it will lead, ineluctably, to Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.”
“What the Obama administration doesn’t understand is these are radical Islamic zealots who have pledged global jihad and have openly stated their desire to murder as many Jews and as many Americans as possible. . . And if history teaches one lesson, it is that if somebody tells you they want to kill you, believe them.”
Comparing Iran to Nazi Germany? Well if that’s not a rallying cry for imminent war, I don’t know what is.
Look, if there’s one thing the United States has done really well, it’s always having Israel’s back and funding them for whatever they need. The United States doesn’t even fund their own programs as well. We still don’t even have universal health care like every other industrialized nation because “we can’t afford it,” but we give billions (with a B) to Israel every year, no questions asked.
Aid to Israel from the United States averages out to be around $8.6 million dollars per day. In 2010, U.S. aid to Israel was $2.775 billion, then $3 billion in 2011, and $3.07 in 2012. Israel is receiving $3.15 billion per year from 2013-2018.
Then Netanyahu has the audacity to come to the United States, speak in front of the people who have given his nation these billions every year, and tell them their nation and leader is wrong.
He literally insulted the United States to our face, and Republicans alongside their conservative minions are too doe-eyed to realize it. He carefully worded things to appear as though he were correct in everything he was saying.
President Obama is not “anti-Israel” — quite the opposite, actually, with everything he has done and continues to do. Netanyahu’s inflammatory rhetoric is what could be considered a danger to Israel. The deal with Iran may not be perfect, but it’s better than war, which is what Netanyahu so desperately seems to seek with his rhetoric. He came here to try to rally Congress around his well-maneuvered seeming plight and to drift away from the actions of our administration. It’s dangerous, is what it is.
(Featured image via C-SPAN)