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Netanyahu speech could turn Israel lobby into a political football

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The Israel lobby has overreached at last. John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress and rebut President Obama on Iran is turning into a political scandal that could reduce the power of the Israel lobby inside US politics.

It could do so by fracturing the lobby: by forcing pro-Israel Democrats to side openly with the American people’s interest over Israel’s interest. There are already reports that some Democratic hawks want to give Obama time on Iran rather than imposing new sanctions.

What will those Democrats do when Netanyahu thunders in the House chamber in March that the U.S. must not cut a deal with Iran? Will they give him a standing ovation, or sit on their hands?

The Boehner invitation may have done what no other naked exposure of the lobby’s influence has done before it: force the American press and politicians to speak out on the difference between the US people’s interests and the Israelis’. It could be the “Fellate-a-Donkey” breakthrough moment those of us who believe in the lobby theory of policymaking have always hoped for: a shocking demonstration of the lobby’s power that leaves our commentators no choice but to describe the influence of the lobby inside our political institutions.

Here is the evidence for my assertions.

First, last night Chris Matthews took on the scandal, and all but stated that the Israel lobby is a mighty force in American politics. He called the invitation stunning and unprecedented, “ferocious” politics. “I have seen a lot of politics in all these years. And I’ve never seen anything so in-your-face as this.” To take on the president using an “adversarial” rightwing foreign leader, addressing the Congress in the middle of negotiations with a foreign country so as “to put his thumb on the scale… I’m stunned by this kind of political performance.”

Matthews said that Democrats will be openly torn, and hurt by the maneuver. He all but named the Israel lobby:

This puts the Democrats behind the eight ball. We all know the politics, the role of the Jewish community and the Christian right. We all know the politics and sensitivities. For any Democrat to come out and complain about what Netanyahu says, is trouble right there.

PS: Democrats are not intimidated by the Christian right. They’re intimidated by the rightwing Zionist Jewish community. Let’s force Chris Matthews to say what he knows about that power, huh?

Matthews said that the Republicans are doing this in part to overcome the negative fallout from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s flirtation with the Ku Klux Klan years ago. That alliance had put the Republican Jewish Coalition in an awful position, Matthews said. Now Matt Brooks, the head of the RJC, has the greatest job in the world: “We’re going to host Netanyahu.”

But some of the Dems will side with the President over Netanyahu. Politico quoted east coast Democratic senators saying they were listening to Obama, including Richard Blumenthal, Mark Warner, and Chuck Schumer.

In interviews Wednesday, several Democrats who had supported a previous version of Iran legislation sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said they are reconsidering their positions. Meanwhile, a previous version of an Iran bill offered by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) did not have any Democratic co-sponsors.

Neoconservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin promptly trashed Chuck Schumer for indications that he would stand with Obama and not Israel:

As is invariably the case, Democrats such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who fancy themselves as great defenders of the Jewish state are above all partisans who will not cross the president. There is no significant benefit for them to stand up to him in a party that is increasingly indifferent to Israel.

This is just what J Street has warned against, a debate that makes support for Israel a “political football,” (and a deflated one) rather than an American article of faith.

This is the last thing Netanyahu wants. His tweets on the invitation say that he and the Democrats are on the same page.

 PM: This invitation reflects the special friendship shared by Israel and the US and the strong bipartisan support for Israel across America.

And he and Obama are on the same page, even though Obama won’t meet with him.

Last week I discussed with POTUS the common challenges we face from Islamist extremism.

At the very least this drama could force some Democratic congresspeople to come out forcefully against Netanyahu, and thereby unleash a debate over the American interest versus Israel’s interest that will reverberate through the 2016 presidential campaign. If that debate is unleashed, then folks like Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul will be able to argue that the American people don’t want another Middle East war– and force that decision, against war, on the party standard-bearers.

If that debate is unleashed, we may at last see a rancorous division over Israel inside the Democratic Party, with liberals actually talking about the Israeli occupation as a threat to American national security.

But wait, the NYT doesn’t want a debate! Here is the New York Times coverage of the scandal, “Obama not planning to meet Israeli premier,” making the flap out to be a tactical power struggle between Obama and Boehner:

“The Boehner-Netanyahu gambit has taken the relationship at the top to a new low,” Mr. [former ambassador Dan] Kurtzer said. “It has put Netanyahu into an anti-Obama camp, a Republican camp. He may think that he gains a political advantage by showing that Congress is on his side.”

Yes and what is that political advantage? The Times says nothing about the underlying politics of the matter, or the policy consequences either. The Times may feel burned because last week it reported that Obama was warning Democratic senators not to bow to donor pressure, in an anonymous quotation that drew rage from the Israel lobby, because such a line hints at Jewish influence (the sensitivities that Chris Matthews touches on but can’t address). But this latest Times article says not a word about who is pushing our politicians to listen to a rightwing foreign leader. As James North says:

The Times couldn’t find a single expert who would say, “This is extremely dangerous, because Israel is continually trying to maneuver the U.S. into taking armed action against Iran, which is not in our national interest and jeopardizes our security?”

They couldn’t find some congressman or woman who wouldn’t say, even anonymously, “We’re getting a lot of heat from the lobby?”

Some other developments in the story.

Yesterday we noted that Secretary of State John Kerry had quoted an unnamed Israeli intelligence official saying that more sanctions against Iran would “throw a grenade” into the ongoing negotiations with Iran. Well the Israeli intelligence service the Mossad issued a highly unusual public statement, saying, Nope it’s in line with Netanyahu on Iran sanctions. We need more!

The Mossad Chairman pointed out that the negotiations with Iran must be conducted using ‘carrots and sticks,’ and the ‘sticks’ are currently missing. The Mossad Chairman pointed out that without strong pressure, it will not be possible to bring about significant compromises on the Iranian side.

The Mossad Chairman did not relate to the use of the term ‘hand grenade’ with respect to the imposition of sanctions, because in his eyes, these are the ‘sticks’ that will help to obtain a good agreement.

David Drucker of the Washington Examiner: “Right now, senators who favor #Iran sanctions bill think they have a veto-proof majority.”

Update: At the White House press briefing today, spox Josh Earnest was put on the defensive about why Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when the prime minister comes to Washington in March. The White House rationale is that the meeting is too close to the Israeli elections, March 17, for an American president to seem to interfere with that process. The “close proximity doctrine” was all-but-mocked by one reporter who pointed out that Obama himself as the putative nominee of the Democratic Party did a big European swing in July 2008 and met European heads of state.

Earnest responded that in that case the election was more than three months off, thereby nullifying the “close proximity doctrine.” He said the White House did not object when Mitt Romney went to Israel in July 2012 during the US presidential campaign, also three months ahead of the election.

P.S. Here’s Senator John McCain from his visit to Israel and occupied Jerusalem last weekend:

John McCain

John McCain

 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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75 Responses

  1. Blownaway on January 23, 2015, 11:57 am

    Wishful thinking. It’s going to turn into who loves Israel more and will wind up as a huge positive got Israel with showers of money and diplomatic support. There is no one on the Palestinian side astute enough to leverage this and take advantage of it. Slim hope that the American sheeple take note and some level of pride kicks in leading to a backlash against the Repulicans

    • on January 23, 2015, 1:29 pm

      There is no one on the Palestinian side astute enough to leverage this and take advantage of it

      That must be it. Not one Palestinian has the brains. Thanks for the glimpse into a Zionist Occupied brain

      • Blownaway on January 23, 2015, 1:54 pm

        More like those who could have been co opted into being tools of the occupation. But no doubt it’s hard for the Palestinians to find their voice when they have been so abused for asking for their basic human rights

      • Krauss on January 23, 2015, 4:51 pm

        Giles, I don’t think he is a Zionist.

        Anyway, Phil is daydreaming. I viewed Matthew’s clip. He and his guests didn’t even get close. The Politico reporter was amazingly stand-offish, trying to blame the immigration tussles for this in a bizarre way.

        The NYT covers up for Israel as usual. This time will be a lot like last time.

        Obama has no more elections. There’s no price to pay to defy him. This is why Menendez, one of the premier whores in Congress(with Mark Kirk) for the lobby, is going all-out. He is already looking at fundraisers for 2016 and he knows that Hillary is much more hawkish than Obama so thrashing Obama will if anything raise his standing in her eyes.

        At any rate, I was surprised that Matthews didn’t bring up numerous reports that the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, was behind this. Boehner is too dumb to do this on his own. Of course, if Matthews touched that topic(and he breezily did, questioning out loud if Boehner was indeed smart enough to do this on his own), then that would invite a bunch of attacks along the lines of “see, he is talking about a Jewish conspiracy!!!”.

        Also, if you think Rand Paul or Elizabeth Warren are going to touch Israel after both have gone out of their way to pander to the lobby(Paul’s pandering have been especially terrible, precisely because he knows the baggage of his father and Warren basically adopts AIPAC talking-points), then you are delusional, Phil.

        This will take time. You better understand you’re going to do this for at least 20 years. This will not be Algeria or Apartheid South Africa for reasons we’ve already covered in the past. It’ll take longer.

      • on January 24, 2015, 10:27 am

        I am afraid it may take a disastrous war with Iran — with the death of hundreds of thousands or even millions of innocent people — before we can remove the Zionist yoke from the neck of America.

      • just on January 24, 2015, 11:24 am

        Don’t be afraid of that, Giles. The US will not launch a war with Iran. Iran will not launch a war with the US.

        Israel doesn’t have the guts, nor the backing of anyone. They want us to do their dirty work again, but the American people won’t do it (see Syria).

        Iran has done nothing wrong, Nothing, It’s verifiable.

        btw, the “Zionist yoke” is being exposed with dizzying speed right now…
        Even the NYT has an editorial about Netanyahu’s visit to Congress and Iran. The last paragraph includes this:

        “There is no doubt that Mr. Obama will maintain America’s security commitments to Israel, whatever the tensions over the Iran issue. ”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/24/opinion/john-boehner-benjamin-netanyahu-playing-politics-on-iran.html?_r=0

        Why does that sound a bit like self-reassurance to me?

    • pdlane on January 24, 2015, 2:05 pm

      The real question is…Did Boehner violate the Logan Act…???
      FYI….The Logan Act (1 Stat., 30 January 1799, currently codified at 18 U.S.C.) is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.

  2. pabelmont on January 23, 2015, 12:34 pm

    I doubt we will be treated to a real, out loud, disagreement. Schumer may side with Obama on this, but he’ll cheer for Bibi too. Let’s look at the votes on anti-Iran legislation.

    And, no, this is not about Palestine. But it sure would be fun to see the AIPAC skewered.

    • gracie fr on January 23, 2015, 3:47 pm

      “It could do so by fracturing the lobby: by forcing pro-Israel Democrats to side openly with the American people’s interest over Israel’s interest. There are already reports that some Democratic hawks want to give Obama time on Iran rather than imposing new sanctions…..”

      Lest we forget how impossible it is for most members of the US Congress to be rational enough to distinguish between anti-Israel and anti-Semitism when the stalwart backers of the Jewish State begin their hue and cry on the subject and throw in a smidgen of “Holocaust Denier” for added effect. Cave-ins can always be blamed on those pesky constituents back home, especially in an election year…..
      But I hope I’m wrong….

  3. annie on January 23, 2015, 12:39 pm

    great article phil, why mondoweiss is the best place to get the news. thanks.

  4. Whizdom on January 23, 2015, 12:49 pm

    The wheels are coming off this thing. Some historically Pro Israel Dem lawmakers pushed back on AIPAC surge on more sanctions last year and won. Pro Israel Republicans are getting more aggressive, and are losing. The large donor community is splitting, and is somewhat in disarray, Adelson and Wexner are going their own way, Republicans think they can pick up more by taking the harder line. Clinton supporters were lined up behind Livni, Repups are for Netanyahu, but both are damaged goods.

    At same time, this Epstein/Dershowitz and now Sheldon Silver scandals have shaken up the NYC philanthropic community, and they are very concerned that any escalation in Iran will blow back on the community.

    • Abierno on January 23, 2015, 3:49 pm

      The wheels are coming off in Israel as well. Kahlon, former Likud minister, has developed a broad spectrum party (e.g. Oren, Galant) which is garnering members from the right – Shas,
      Likud, and the center. The roster of prominent Israelis joining the party swells each week. Running on a platform which emphasizes both security for Israel as well as economic policies which benefit the middle stream Israeli, this group has a powerful platform with which to challenge Netanyahu. It is also the case that Kahlon is diplomatic in his relations with other politicos and thus stands a strong chance of being able to form a stable coalition.

      The political evolution of Kahlon is only sparsely covered in US media ( at least the few I read)
      but I would speculate it is tapping into deep wells of dissatisfaction with Netanyahu, his gun boat diplomacy, his apartheid policies and his constant incitement. Netanyahu’s Achilles heel is his implicit distain for the middle stream Israeli who wants security – and reasonable housing, good schools, effective health care and stable employment. All of these he has ignored to his political detriment. Inquiring minds are speculating that behind closed doors
      Likudniks are moving toward Kahlon as are others who have supported Netanyahu in previous elections. Netanyahu would never have had his former aide de camp, Ron Dermer, twist Boehner’s arm in order to dragoon a speech to Congress if he didn’t need the full weight of the US Congress to cover his back in this election.

      There is considerable blowback in Israel about this, with several political parties calling foul, expressing anger at the intrusion of our Congress in their election and complaints have already been filed with the election commission. A request has been strongly conveyed to that commission not to have his televised speech to Congress shown on Israeli TV.
      Obama and co are wise to keep their distance from this spectacle – it is not only splitting Democrats, it is splitting diasporians as well as Israelis themselves who are stating clearly that they do not want the ten- ton- gorilla of the US Congress in the middle of their election.

  5. Paldi5 on January 23, 2015, 1:32 pm

    Does anyone have a list of the half dozen or so major US donors to the Netanyahu campaign? I understand that 90% of his campaign fund was sourced from among a handful of donors. I’d like to try to avoid buying their products and services.

  6. HarryLaw on January 23, 2015, 2:34 pm

    More US sanctions, just what might those be? The US has done all it can to threaten other countries from trading with Iran, we will see those sanctions fall away when others see US/Israeli intransigence. Short of a catastrophic war [which will not happen] the US has shot its bolt, the US public has not even spoken yet, when they do it will be Congress critters who will be fearful [remember the Syria fiasco]. One question which should be asked by the press when the professional bullshit artist Netanyahu addresses Congress is…Are you, the US electorate, willing to see your children go to war and die for Israel? I wonder what the answer would be?

    • jaspeace2day on January 23, 2015, 3:14 pm

      We know the answer of the informed; it’s the answer of the uninformed that worries me. Something big has to happen to get the truth out to mainstream minds because western media and Washington are bought and paid for lost causes; it’s all about educating the regular Joe (and Joanne) Americans about the israelis & AIPAC, the real terrorists and possibly the down fall of much of what we have worked so hard for in this country.

    • Whizdom on January 23, 2015, 3:15 pm

      Yup, Harry. The other 5 actors in the P5+1 want the sanctions to end, and will accept supervised enrichment and stepped up inspections, which Iran is offering. No way are we going to cut off trade with the other P5 nations with no good reason other than minor internal political noise. we didn’t for Cuba. Nor should we.
      Israel wants an economically weak Iran, and see sanctions as a means to achieve that. Everyone knows Iran could have the bomb in weeks, if they don’t already. The challenge is to remove or reduce Iran’s incentive to deploy or use it. Integrating, not isolating Iran, into the International trade regime, is more likely to keep things quiet than sanctions.

      • on January 25, 2015, 9:54 am

        “Everyone knows Iran could have the bomb in weeks, if they don’t already”

        Well, except for the US Intelligence community

      • just on January 25, 2015, 10:13 am

        +1, Giles.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on January 23, 2015, 4:41 pm

      I was wondering the same thing. More sanctions? Really? I was considering visiting Iran a while ago, and found that it’s impossible to book a trip there using Expedia or any other flight booking engine – gee thanks Washington. Iran is basically shut out of the global financial markets and Washington imposes hefty fines on 3rd parties who ‘violate’ laws they have nothing to do with. It’s hard to see how sanctions can be tightened any further.

      All this, for a country which the USA is not at war with, and which has broken no international laws.

  7. gracie fr on January 23, 2015, 4:03 pm

    In wake of the Boehner invite and the White House’s Iranian dilemma, what has been going on in Argentine President Cristina Fernandez’s back yard over the past ten days has all the makings of a dizzying cloak and dagger thriller where the accuser committed suicide that wasn’t a suicide over a report” confirming” Shi’a nation was behind the 1992 bombings, accusing the President of an “oil deal’ with Iran when Argentina has barrels of the stuff on it’s own turf….

    http://en.mercopress.com/2015/01/23/nisman-s-death-not-suicide-but-a-plot-against-her-government-alleges-cristina-fernandez

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/argentine-president-calls-investigation-prosecutors-suicide-iran-linked/story?id=28407362

    http://en.mercopress.com/2015/01/21/amia-nisman-a-situation-of-unpredictable-consequences-says-rosendo-fraga

    • Rusty Pipes on January 23, 2015, 6:53 pm

      And don’t forget how incensed Israel got when Argentina announced that it would be reopening the decades old investigation. Even though Israel claims to represent all Jews around the world, the bombing had nothing to do with Israel — it was at a Jewish center, not an Israeli embassy. The whole affair has been a convenient excuse for Israel to demonize Iran, just as Israel has used other bombings (like the Bulgarian bus) to demonize other countries or groups — without presenting any definitive proof.

      • Pixel on January 23, 2015, 8:30 pm

        Bingo.

      • Pixel on January 23, 2015, 8:41 pm

        .
        Congressional Operator: 202.224.3121

  8. ivri on January 23, 2015, 4:39 pm

    Take it easy. What really takes place here is almost like the usual internal political fights in the US. That`s how close the US and Israel has become and Netanyahu, in particular, is viewed as a “local” politician. There is little question that Obama views all that as part of the usual political theatre in the US, which is intensive and never stops, and Netanyahu just sues the opportunity for some much needed self-aggrandizing, which is especially useful given the coming elections here.

    • annie on January 24, 2015, 8:39 am

      That`s how close the US and Israel has become and Netanyahu, in particular, is viewed as a “local” politician.

      no, he is not. in your dreams perhaps.

    • Kay24 on January 24, 2015, 8:59 am

      I agree with Annie, he is not considered a “local” politician in the US. It seems it is more like members of the US Congress are used, and treated, as Israel’s local politicians.

    • MRW on January 24, 2015, 11:40 am

      @ivri

      Netanyahu is not Head of State. The US President is.

      This is not “internal political fights.” It is not “usual political theater in the US.” It is interference in our foreign affairs that affects the national security of the USA; namely, me.

      The Executive, per the Supreme Court (1937), has the ‘sole organ’ doctrine in foreign policy. It is not for the Legislative branch of the US government to run a competing foreign policy up the flag pole and get a second-in-command from a foreign country–an extremist who thought nothing of massacring 2,000 civilians last summer because he could–to tell the American President or its people why it should inch toward WWIII.

      Maybe you Spartans in Israel get your jollies from war and carrying big-ass guns, but if you want to take on Iran, do it on your dime and with your own people. Not ours.

    • annie on January 24, 2015, 12:37 pm

      There is little question that Obama views all that as part of the usual political theatre in the US

      you’ve really not been paying attention ivri. get out of your israeli bubble. what’s the point of posting on a US website if you completely, blatantly ignore the information coming at you. find one, just one article in the msm stating this “invitation” from some speaker of the house or whatever he is, is considered, by obama (or anyone else for that matter) , as “part of the usual political theatre in the US”. there’s nothing usual about it in the least. at least if you’re going to comment on the matter you could take actual news reports into consideration and not completely fabricate a reality that doesn’t exist.

      • ivri on January 24, 2015, 6:30 pm

        Annie, alright, let`s wait and see how it develops in practice and then we shall be wiser – it is just a matter of weeks.
        As for your comment on “posting on a US website” – I think the times for a national characterization of a website has passed. We are one world now – all the more so when it comes to the US, which is a (or the) “world center”. I remember somebody clever once defined New-York as the capital of the 20th century (it was decades back).

      • annie on January 25, 2015, 11:01 am

        I think the times for a national characterization of a website has passed.

        sorry, we’re still living in a world where haaretz is israeli and politico and wapo are US. my point is that if you scroll up to the top of the page, there are links to over 5 US mainstream media sources, phil’s other post [ “‘NYT’ and Matthews warn that Netanyahu speech to Congress could lead US to war” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/matthews-netanyahu-congress#sthash.kCCi0Hrq.dpuf ] cites many more (including israeli sites citing US sources, updated with fox news video “Chris Wallace on Fox calls the deal “wicked,” done behind John Kerry’s back -” See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/matthews-netanyahu-congress#sthash.kCCi0Hrq.dpuf

        iow, we’ve made available here (for your convenience and the convenience of the rest of our readers) an across the board variety of US mainstream news – expressing how unusual this is. disagreeing with it is one thing, but stating – against all evidence – ‘There is little question the prez (or anyone else besides a cadre of neocons for that matter) views this “invitation” (likely cooked up by netanyahu himself, originally as a counter offensive to obama’s SOU address) as part of “usual political theatre in the US”‘ defies logic. the vast majority of our readers are americans as are we. try saying that in norway, sri lanka or tanzania for all i care, but here? forget it.

        wait and see how it develops in practice and then we shall be wiser – it is just a matter of weeks.

        in your dreams! in your dreams it will become “usual political theatre in the US” for the israeli prime minister to deliver a counter SOU address to the american people from the same podium as POTUS in opposition to american FP and the prez! but i’ll tell you one thing for sure, if that happens, this will never be accomplished in “just a matter of weeks”. sure, netanyahu may come, he may say, again, what he’s been saying for years as if everyone doesn’t already know his position, but it’s a fantasy that between now and then it will appear as “usual political theatre”.

        the republican party breaking with the prez to back a foreign power, that is something that will not go down well with an american patriot, a wide swath of the american public. think of how many references there were in the press to those 29 standing ovations? and that was years ago. the US and Israel have NOT become that close. don’t confuse talking pts with reality, we’re a long way from that. congress, not so much with their bending over backwards for the lobby. but don’t forget the infamous SNL “fellating the donkey” skit.

        it is a fantasy to imagine because congress votes 100-0 for israel that means the american public are 100% on board. the day this becomes “usual” will likely never come, and if it does it will mark a very very sad day for our country. what you are hearing now are the screams of discontent from all quarters of the media, even fox news.

        i predict netanyahu will, eventually, rue the day he used US joint session of congress as a platform for his “much needed self-aggrandizing” election shenanigans. now that’s something we can “wait and see how it develops … – it is just a matter of weeks.” but there’s no way it will be regarded as “usual political theatre” within a matter weeks.

      • just on January 25, 2015, 11:48 am

        +1 x3!

        Rock on, Annie!

  9. JLewisDickerson on January 23, 2015, 4:46 pm

    RE: “Netanyahu speech could turn Israel lobby into a political football”

    THE MAISTREAM/CORPORATE MEDIA’S MAIN CONCERN:
    A properly inflated “political football”, or not?

    • just on January 23, 2015, 4:48 pm

      heh.

      • JLewisDickerson on January 23, 2015, 4:59 pm

        I couldn’t resist. It was the lead story last night on the evening news for all three television networks (including WORLD News Tonight With David Muir on ABC)! ! !
        WORLD NEWS!
        WORLD NEWS!
        WORLD NEWS!
        How SICK (i.e., narcissistic) is that?!?!

      • JLewisDickerson on January 23, 2015, 6:17 pm

        P.S. Another thing I know thanks to the crackerjack team at “WORLD News Tonight” (from back last March “With Diane Sawyer”, I think ) on ABC:
        THE OPENING DAY OF MARDIS GRAS 2014 WAS THE COLDEST OPENING DAY SINCE 1986. SINCE 1986! SINCE 1986!
        WORLD NEWS!
        WORLD NEWS!
        WORLD NEWS!
        AT LEAST, IT WAS ‘WORLD NEWS’ ACCORDING TO ABC’S “WORLD NEWS TONIGHT” (circa March 4, 2014)!
        How SICK (i.e., narcissistic) was that?!?!

      • just on January 23, 2015, 8:09 pm

        I know~ it is sick.

        (go Patriots! sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

      • JLewisDickerson on January 23, 2015, 9:30 pm

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      • JLewisDickerson on January 23, 2015, 9:44 pm

        P.P.P.S. Oops, make that:
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      • Mooser on January 24, 2015, 12:29 pm

        My Seattle Seahawks, I hope you don’t mind me mentioning, always play with correctly inflated balls.
        And although I ordinarily eschew prognostication, I think they will be repeating Super-Dooper Bowl Champions!

      • annie on January 24, 2015, 12:42 pm

        my son is going crazy over the seahawks. he’s a diehard fan having grown up in seattle. he’s in LA now, but man, especially his social media over the last year or so, just going nuts over seahawks. and i know nothing about football but apparently what happened last weekend just blew everything out of the water. fun. it’s fun to see him so happy!

      • Mooser on January 26, 2015, 12:59 pm

        “i know nothing about football but apparently what happened last weekend just blew everything out of the water”

        The Seahawks palled for a bit, and were down 16-0 at the half. In the second half, they came from behind to win 28-22.

  10. Dutch on January 23, 2015, 5:06 pm

    ‘… thereby unleash a debate over the American interest versus Israel’s interest’.

    I guess you should call that ‘the world’s interests’ versus Israel’s interests’. I mean, betraying your own people is one, betraying the Palestinians and your friends in Europe is quite something else.

  11. Eva Smagacz on January 23, 2015, 5:30 pm

    Betting:

    less than 25 standing ovations 10-1
    more than 25 standing ovations but less than 40 standing ovations odds on favourite: 4-7
    more than 40 standing ovations: 2-1
    unanimous standing ovation odds on favourite: 3-8
    non-unanimous standing ovation (retiring members of congress not standing/clapping) 100 – 1
    non-unanimous standing ovation (returning members of congress not standing/clapping) 1000000 – 1

    • a blah chick on January 23, 2015, 6:04 pm

      If anyone has trouble keeping track don’t worry. AIPAC will have plenty of their people on site to monitor whether they are getting their money’s worth.

  12. Diane Mason on January 23, 2015, 5:58 pm

    Sounds like a good time to consider resubmitting that Palestine draft resolution to the UNSC.

  13. JLewisDickerson on January 23, 2015, 6:38 pm

    RE: “At the very least this drama could force some Democratic congresspeople to come out forcefully against Netanyahu, and thereby unleash a debate over the American interest versus Israel’s interest that will reverberate through the 2016 presidential campaign. If that debate is unleashed, then folks like Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul will be able to argue that the American people don’t want another Middle East war . . .~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Not to mention Jim Webb!*

    * SEE: “Jim Webb Would Make A Good Anti-Clinton In 2016”, By Harry Enten, fivethirtyeight.com, November 20, 2014
    LINK – http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/jim-webb-would-make-a-good-anti-clinton-in-2016/

    • just on January 23, 2015, 8:11 pm

      I told people a couple of years ago that I could only think of one real contender~ Jim Webb. Still true.

  14. Bornajoo on January 23, 2015, 6:42 pm

    I have no doubt that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. If they don’t they are likely to be wiped out by a bunch of zio-neocon psychopaths. Nuclear weapons will not be used offensively, rather as a deterrent to prevent their very possible not too distant annihilation. In fact even Barak admitted that in an interview last week. Israel can no longer be the regional big bully if Iran attains parity of power and it would immediately flatten the joint zionist/neocon ambitions for the region.

    So Netanyahu is going to Washington to spin more lies but HOPEFULLY it will backfire. But I’ve been optimistic before

  15. JLewisDickerson on January 23, 2015, 6:53 pm

    RE: “The Israel lobby has overreached at last. John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress and rebut President Obama on Iran is turning into a political scandal that could reduce the power of the Israel lobby inside US politics.” ~ Weiss

    MY QUESTION: Is the U.S. Congress also trying to interfere with the Swiss arbitration between Israel and Iran over the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline?

    SEE: “Is the Israeli-Iranian conflict also being waged over money?” ~ Haaretz Editorial, December 17, 2014
    Over the past 20 years, Israel’s disputed oil pipeline has been used as a unique communications channel between Israel and Iran.

    Articles by Avi Bar-Eli in this newspaper give a rare glimpse of what’s going on with the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company. The company was founded after the Six-Day War as a partnership between the governments of Israel and Iran, with the aim of transporting Iranian crude oil from Eilat to the Mediterranean coast for sale in Europe.

    After Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, relations between the countries were severed, but the company continued to operate and flourish on the strength of its government franchise, as it transported crude oil through its pipeline in the Negev and was a partner in the Dorad power station in Ashkelon. Under the cover of the military censor, EAPC became an enterprise for arranging jobs for the friends of those in government and former employees of the defense establishment. Exposure of this was possible solely because of the furor surrounding the oil leak from the company’s pipeline. Over the past 20 years, EAPC has been the grounds for a unique communications channel between Israel and Iran. Iran took Israel to arbitration in an effort to get back the fruits of its investment in the joint company, estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions. The proceedings in Europe have been moving forward slowly, but the Iranians have succeeded in forcing Israel into arbitration, and even won a preliminary award totaling tens of millions of dollars.

    On Tuesday Bar-Eli revealed that Israel had asked the Swiss arbitrators to hide the identity of the countries involved in the process when it published their decision. The arbitrators expressed surprise at the request and slapped Israel with around a million shekels in court costs. Aside from the legal and financial damage caused to Israel, the request raises serious questions about the government’s motives for maintaining a veil of secrecy over the EAPC.

    It’s hard to let go of the impression that the Netanyahu government feared the revelation of the arbitration process, which presents it as conducting business and legal proceedings with Iran. One can’t help but ask: Along with his concerns regarding the development of an Iranian nuclear bomb, is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worried about an arbitration ruling that would obligate Israel to pay Iran huge sums, and thus help finance its nuclear installations? Does Iran’s decision to pursue legal action against the “Little Satan” demonstrate that its leaders are capable of acting rationally? Is the Israeli-Iranian conflict, which reached the brink of war during Netanyahu’s term, being waged over money and not just over power and influence?

    Instead of secrecy, the public deserves to have the censorship removed and to get explanations from Netanyahu about Israel’s real policies on Iran.

    SOURCE – http://www.haaretz.com/misc/iphone-article/1.632264

    P.S. ALSO SEE:

    The secret hands guiding Israel’s controversial pipelinehttp://traffic.outbrain.com/network/redir?p=bWJoXKUpv0M75k4vs1UsYcyvbkCRdmV7Yh7ZYqvDp889vmNyXmhn7%2FHNRr5tbbAmXbsIOiC%2BfIDyLvoJbrEx0v6waiw1iXhlm9VoLKhmzShQTxH7RoDf7J%2FDOLOD4UVb4QRzo37Qjh5g%2B%2BkY5aOzj%2FdLAEh9P6NQ%2Fo5v%2FhFWH9dbmLMl%2Fsc0rMNLNTbXNR4Jp%2F9G5t005Jyq9T1UFtNJQlF03ujB5Dh2RdHtPj4rBp3cPAqltSkz%2B5kzsk2NAdulf%2BcmceZpr8fVeGtb%2BErQg8OoiCathV8HRKyyli3JzgVMmPpNj8pBT6EPe0FeeYBvCzhJXPvWfeINeRYmg3HhMjE6P14805ssqcY5NNgigNQ%3D&v=2

    Netanyahu signed secrecy order to conceal Israel-Iran legal battlehttp://traffic.outbrain.com/network/redir?p=s6Yw%2Fk8hbzQVvgEr%2Bo4xrqVo0VVhrtHDMwPefXihWu65Pb1%2BnbvbIW52AD57iv%2FIaIyXcsgUa4RHqUJNwI4V2cwKeC%2BxF1Xlcv9fjdtexNVppUS0E7HD1jIRGnG8LpCj8f99%2F06AoweNDf0oPQDllMISdXl9v1JBe%2FruRJs75o0JjYqIGOXoSQRV6JArwtu7duu64ewaFm1rBmgx%2FA6g%2FjyzGEby%2FE4czkbU%2FyOb%2F7LVlD%2Fvr5ImvasxOj6ouBT8Ieq3Kkdudt61k%2FySH5bO29iVqWKycn6Jgp9aPLg9H1VV5eN3XfeA2LLPTMD4x6OCF8OA5lMBH2Jnbnem0m%2FbRyLdP9FD5BvAnE7C99W8C%2FY%3D&v=2

    • Abierno on January 24, 2015, 6:44 pm

      @Jlewisdickerson: You are absolutely correct about the corruption surrounding this pipeline.
      I am sure that you also have archived articles about Stav Shiffer, the youngest member of the Knesset and her attacks on how state funds are really allocated, discovering “interesting” non transparent allotments of money. According to Haaretz, her recent diatribe in the Knesset has gone viral. From watching the video, she appears to be a charismatic and effective speaker. Time interviewed her earlier this year but there has been little information in more readily accessed Israeli media. She was just elected in the second position on the Labor candidate list which was a surprise to many. I would suspect that her focus on corruption in government and the needs of Israeli citizens, as well as her ability to connect with the Israeli public and their concerns has got to place pressure on Netanyahu. She has no hesitation in addressing “hot” topics and has more than once been removed from finance committee meetings.

      Hopefully, in some post you can post some of the articles in your archive on this remarkable young Israeli politician.

  16. Kay24 on January 23, 2015, 8:23 pm

    From the Rachel Meadow website:

    There are things you simply don’t do

    “At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I honestly don’t think this has ever happened before, at least not in our country. In effect, Boehner has invited Netanyahu to play the legislative branch of the U.S. government against the executive branch of the U.S. government, and the Israeli prime minister is happy to accept that invitation.”

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/there-are-things-you-simply-dont-do

    • a blah chick on January 24, 2015, 1:09 pm

      “At the risk of sounding overly dramatic…”

      A foreign head of state is being brought in to undermine American foreign policy and she’s worried about sounding dramatic.

    • Doubtom on January 24, 2015, 1:18 pm

      Rachel’s name is Maddow

  17. Pixel on January 23, 2015, 8:54 pm

    “Netanyahu speech could turn Israel lobby into a political football”

    “To me, those balls are perfect.”
    . . . . . . . . . .Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

    “Deflategate” 1/22/15

    • a blah chick on January 23, 2015, 9:15 pm

      If Netanyahu wore hoodies he’d look just Bill Belichek.

      • just on January 24, 2015, 1:36 pm

        Hey now! Totally unfair to Belichek!

  18. jd65 on January 24, 2015, 1:30 am

    This just in – Speaker Of The House Proposes Constitutional Amendment:

    http://thepalestineconflict.blogspot.com/p/blog.html

  19. Kay24 on January 24, 2015, 2:47 am

    At least Chris Matthews tried to have some kind of discussion about it, and did mildly criticize Netanyahu, although less than the republicans. That said, it is obviously clear that this is an opportunity to help dear Chickenshit win his elections too, and Obama should show how nasty he can be an “interfere” in Israel’s election, just like Bibi did during the last US Presidential elections.

  20. anthonybellchambers on January 24, 2015, 3:10 am

    Republican Party machinations reach new low as the current Congress follows the agenda of AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (a pretentious title for a political lobby group). AIPAC, in turn, is controlled and financed by pro-Israel supporters and they take their lead from the Likud policy agenda of Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

    To date, Netanyahu and his predecessors have induced over half a million Israeli citizens to settle illegally in the Occupied Territories, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and international law.

    Is this what PM Cameron, President Obama and and their combined electorates of 370 million really want – to renounce democratic government so as to be dictated to by the prime minister of a state of just eight million that just happens to be a secret nuclear power outside of any inspection by IAEA but with an undeclared second strike capability that makes it militarily superior to any member of the European Union?

    If this is difficult to believe, then watch Binyamin Netanyahu, in March, as he ‘struts and frets his hour upon the stage’ in an attempt to orchestrate world affairs to suit his own agenda whilst humiliating the elected President of the United States before an AIPAC-controlled Congress to which he (Netanyahu) has been invited to address without prior White House knowledge or approval.
    ____________________________________________ London 23.01.2015

  21. Shingo on January 24, 2015, 6:55 am

    I can’t believe how nauseating and pathetic Richard Hass is. Listening to this shill blabbering, it’s painfully obvious he cannot bring himself to state the obvious and makes the most ridiculous argument that Iran’s nuclear program can be curtailed (whatever that means) without reaching a deal.

    The guy is treading on eggshells not to offend the Israeli lobby.

  22. Taxi on January 25, 2015, 12:38 am

    Oh man – must watch video! Even Fox News is outraged at Boehner and Netanyahu’s plan to undermine Obama:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/1/24/7884311/netanyahu-boehner-fox-news

    • Kay24 on January 25, 2015, 12:54 am

      OMgosh, must watch video indeed. Hell must have frozen over. This is major criticism from Faux News, and this is what we should be seeing from other networks as well. This is how it must be covered. They said that Ron Dermer from Israel, was in the WH for 2 hours and did not utter a word about negotiations going between Congress and Israel, for Netanyahu’s visit. What the Hell? These are snakes we are talking about. This is unprecedented ugly moves by Congress, and obviously instigated by Nuttyahoo and Dermer. I wish Americans would open their eyes to the way they keep controlling our leaders and the country, and how much disrespectful they are to the Presidency, our White House, and how much power they seem to wield over our entire system.
      Thank you Taxi, that was one of the most interesting videos.

    • annie on January 25, 2015, 1:35 am

      AMAZING taxi!

      • Taxi on January 25, 2015, 5:20 am

        One wonders if it was a spontaneous eruption of criticism of israel, or whether the host and guest were briefed by the producer during the commercial break to go in that direction .

      • Kay24 on January 25, 2015, 5:37 am

        Taxi, it may even be a once in a lifetime event, and they may be regretting it already, but it sure was an eye opener for us. We may never see anything closely resembling this criticism ever again.

      • seafoid on January 25, 2015, 7:01 am

        There is a bigger tectonic shift going on between the GOP and the Dems over issues like debt and healthcare and the bots are just a marginal wedge even if they have oversized influence.
        So maybe this particular episode will be covered up but if I were a bot strategist I’d be very worried for 2-3 years down the road. The trend is not good for Israel.

      • Taxi on January 25, 2015, 7:17 am

        Israeli Premier Says He’ll Go ‘Anywhere’ to Warn About Iran:
        http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/01/25/world/middleeast/ap-ml-israel-united-states.html?_r=1

        The Brits have a word for pushy behavior: bolshy! Or as my grandfather was wont to say: obstreperous!

      • Kay24 on January 25, 2015, 8:23 am

        Taxi, Nuttyahoo reminds me of the old village gossip, that goes around spreading false tales, provokes, and sets people against each other. I wonder how he would like if Iranian officials went around the world informing all that Nutty is one of the most dangerous war criminal, and that by the way, Israel has nuclear weapons too.

    • just on January 25, 2015, 10:00 am
    • just on January 25, 2015, 10:01 am

      It’s a gem~ I saw it yesterday and was agape.

      This means that the Fox watchers got themselves some education~ and there are a whole lotta them! Some good things are a-comin’ from this man-made debacle.

      Thanks for linking it Taxi! Valentine’s Day came early this year. I can feel the “love”.

  23. John Salisbury on January 25, 2015, 2:31 am

    Not quite what Jefferson and the Founding Fathers had in mind methinks.

  24. Vera Gottlieb on January 25, 2015, 5:18 am

    Chutzpah is an understatement.

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