Republicans in Israel are making scary speeches. Three days ago, Senator Lindsey Graham told the Israeli Prime Minister he had rushed to Israel in “the most desperate way” then twice used the word “violent” to characterize Congress’s response to a Palestinian statehood initiative at the United Nations Security Council. That violence would include cutting off U.N. funds, he said.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence met with Israeli PM Netanyahu yesterday. Netanyahu railed against a “diktat” from the UN Security Council on the peace process. If the international community does not reject the Palestinian Authority’s proposal, we will, he promised.
Pence backed him up, saying, “Support for Israel in the United States has never been stronger.” He vouched for the Congress, even though he’s a governor:
And the strong and broad and bipartisan support for the state of Israel I know will be reflected in the decisions that our Congress makes in the months ahead to preserve the support the United States provides to Israel…I would pledge to you from my vantage point in the heart of the heartland…. that the appreciation for the state of Israel and the partnership between the state of Israel and America has never been stronger. And from the heart of the heartland, I say Thank you.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina visited Netanyahu three days ago and spoke at greater length. He wanted to go to Israel “in the most desperate way.”
Number one, I wanted to come here in the most desperate way before the new Congress reconvenes to let you and the people of Israel know that the U.S. congress above all entities in America has your back in a very bipartisan way.
I do not agree with the UN Human Rights Commission, I do not agree with the chief negotiator of the Palestinian Authority. I agree with the Prime Minister of Israel when he says that the Hamas regime does everything they can to kill children and the IDF does everything they can to avoid killing Palestinian children… The Congress clearly sees the difference between the tactics of Hamas and the democracy called Israel, and the international community seems to be a bit confused.
Of all the leaders in the world, Graham assures Netanyahu, “you’ve had the most consistent message regarding Iran Beware of the Iranians, they lie, they cheat.”
And he issued promises about Iran:
I’m here to tell you, Mr. Prime Minister that the Congress will follow your lead… From an American point of view, sanctions are alive and well…You will see a very vigorous Congress when it comes to Iran. You will see a Congress making sure that sanctions are real and will be reimposed at the drop of a hat.
As to the United Nations:
There will be a violent pushback if there’s any effort by the UN Security Council to set the terms of peace negotiations, avoiding direct talks… Any effort by the French, the Jordanians or anyone to avoid direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians over the peace process, anyone who tries to take this to the UN Security Council, there will be a violent backlash by the Congress that could include suspending funding to the United Nations. We will not sit back and allow the United Nations to take over the peace process.
What brings him to Israel is “common and shared values, and common and shared enemies.” That’s a frightening degree of solidarity. Especially when you consider that the executive branch does not share Graham’s view. From Ynet:
The US State Department described Israeli actions as “unacceptable” 87 times in 2014, with only three countries being more “unacceptable,” according to a Foreign Policy article published last week.