Things continue to hot up on the Netanyahu speech, which is only five days away now. Pressure is building on the political establishment to prevent a train wreck for the Israel lobby.
First, the Obama administration announces news that national security adviser Susan Rice and UN ambassador Samantha Power will represent the White House at AIPAC next week– the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s policy conference.
And how does Bill Kristol of the Emergency Committee for Israel respond?
Of course, attendees shouldn’t be rude. But they don’t have to attend these speeches. Rice, Power to address AIPAC http://t.co/8iGqaPnUOp
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 26, 2015
Two weeks ago, Kristol pressed Hillary Clinton to attend the Netanyahu speech if she knows what’s good for her. The lobby wants full attendance at the Netanyahu speech. Buzzfeed reports on an AIPAC board member’s email urging members of the organization to lobby two suburban Washington, D.C., congresspeople to make sure they go to the Netanyahu speech: Chris van Hollen of Maryland and Gerald Connolly of Virginia.
Notice how AIPAC speaks of the “critical importance” of the speech “to your constituents in the pro-Israel community.” And AIPAC even gets Connolly’s party wrong, identifying him as a Republican. Just goes to show, party doesn’t matter to the lobby. It’s all the pro-Israel party. From that email:
“IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE PRO-ISRAEL COMMUNITY COMMUNICATE TO THESE MEMBERS HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR THEM TO ATTEND TUESDAY’S SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER.”..
– Whatever the circumstances of the invitation, the Prime Minister is coming to Congress to address an issue of existential importance to Israel and of critical importance to the United States and its allies throughout the world. Your presence at the speech is critical to gaining an understanding of this crucial issue that will come before Congress for action.
– Having Democrats not attending the speech will simply exacerbate and extend the partisan nature of the discussion. We ask you to show bipartisan support for the US-Israel relationship by attending the speech.
– Your attendance is of critical importance to your constituents in the pro-Israel community.
Please communicate your position and then contact all of your friends who support the pro-Israel community to communicate their position as well. To be effective, we need a large response. If they do not hear from us, they will assume the issue is not that important to us.
Liberal Zionists are still hoping that the speech won’t happen. They seem to want a big embarrassment for Netanyahu so his party will lose face in the Israeli elections.
Below is the liberal Zionist group J Street’s new ad, saying that “leading American Jews” think the speech is a bad thing because it drives a partisan wedge between Republicans and Democrats in their support for Israel. J Street seems to want a miracle, that Netanyahu will change the venue of his speech, and it says:
“Most Israelis agree, [the speech] hurts Israel and hurts America.”
Gosh I didn’t know I was supposed to care about Israeli public opinion. That’s a country that overwhelmingly supported the Gaza slaughter last summer. Oh and Walter Jones won’t be going, the inspiring congressperson from North Carolina. But it looks like my congressperson, Sean Patrick Maloney, will be. The orthodox community in Kiryas Joel, NY, wrote him to tell him not to attend.
Saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not the spokesman of Jewish people and “Neither he nor his state represent world Jewry,” the mayor of the Hasidic Village of Kiryas Joel has urged Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney not to attend the prime minister’s address next week at a joint session of the US Congress.
Maloney responded noncommittally:
“Congress has traditionally set aside partisanship to come together to promote the safety and security of our strategic ally, and I strongly disagree with Speaker Boehner’s partisan and poorly timed decision. I continue to hope that all parties can make adjustments to ensure all supporters can be in attendance at this joint meeting of Congress.”
Thanks to Katie Miranda and Adam Horowitz.