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Thanks to Netanyahu, Israel support turns into a political football

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It’s the speech that keeps on giving! There are more signs that thanks to Benjamin Netanyahu’s highly-anticipated speech to Congress this coming Tuesday we are starting to get an actual robust debate in this country about Israeli policies.

First, friends are passing around this great cartoon in the New York Times, by Patrick Chappatte, which is pegged to Netanyahu’s speech. Netanyahu wants to build a settlement on Pennsylvania Avenue! So Netanyahu’s big moment is triggering a conversation about Israel’s unending occupation. Trita Parsi:

Not long ago, this carton in NYT was inconceivable. Thanks to Netanyahu’s overeach, it’s a reality now

Next, here’s  a crazy ad from the Emergency Committee for Israel that paints Obama as a glowering madman — “holding secret talks with Iran” — and Netanyahu as a teddy bear/supreme leader. The ad’s target is Hillary Clinton.

“Obama and anti-Israel Democrats are boycotting him… Where’s Hillary Clinton? Does she support the boycott? Or is she too afraid to stand up to them?”

Once again, I’d note that this avowedly-alarmist group is Republican neocons. But ECI has influence over Hillary Clinton, and why? Not because she is seeking money from Christian Zionists, but because she is seeking money from the Jewish community and, as progressive Rep. Jan Schakowsky tells us (in skipping the speech), if you’re Jewish, supporting Israel is in your DNA.

Notice the boycott refrain in the ECI ad. It would seem to anticipate the day when the broader nonviolent movement to isolate Israel– Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)– is debated openly in the US mainstream.

Next, the new center is forming around this column by Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, “At What Price, Netanyahu?” that challenges the prime minister for damaging the power of the Israel lobby.

I will leave it to the Israeli government and people to worry about what damage the prime minister’s decision could have on U.S.-Israeli relations going forward, and not just under this administration. Those Americans who care most about that relationship will also have to weigh whether the short-term benefits of having Netanyahu speak will outweigh potential long-term costs. Looking back on it from years hence, will the spectacle of an Israeli prime minister coming to Washington to do battle with an American president wear well or poorly?

Despite Kagan’s professed detachment, this is the chief concern of AIPAC and J Street, too, that Netanyahu has politicized a stance that heretofore was not politicized: America loves Israel.

For his part, Kagan says he is writing out of concern for an American interest, that the Netanyahu invitation sets a precedent for other foreign leaders to be invited to Congress to contest the president’s foreign policy:

today, bringing a foreign leader before Congress to challenge a U.S. president’s policies is unprecedented. After next week, it will be just another weapon in our bitter partisan struggle.

Really? This strikes me as a form of obfuscation. Let’s stay in the moment. This speech is happening uniquely for a unique reason, because of the Israel lobby’s influence in our political process. Kagan, a neocon-in-rehab, refuses to acknowledge the fact that rightwing Jews (yes and Christian Zionists) have such power.

Rami G. Khouri in the Daily Star is more honest about what’s happening: In “An obnoxious Netanyahu divides America,” he describes the unique influence of Israel in U.S. politics, and the debate about it at last:

These [new political] dynamics are about what happens when Israeli leaders’ actions go so far that they test whether bipartisan support for Israel across the American political spectrum is stronger than what the American president deems important for the national interest of the United States.

This kind of test almost never happens, so members of Congress can routinely support everything Israel does or wants, without paying any political price at home. That pattern has now been disrupted…

[T]hat we are now seeing such strong, public criticism of Netanyahu from the belly of the Israel-loving beast that is Congress suggests that a significant political and historical marker has been passed.

It remains to be seen if this is mostly fleeting anger against a particularly obnoxious and insensitive man who happens to be Israel’s prime minister, or whether it reflects deeper concerns among some Americans that their Middle East policies on strategic issues such as Iran are being publicly manipulated by a foreign country.

More boycott talk. Yousef Munayyer writes:

If members of congress even boycotted Mandela who fought against apartheid they can boycott Netanyahu who supports it

Munayyer links a 1990 article saying that some rightwingers stayed away from Mandela’s speech to a joint session of Congress.

Thanks to John Whitbeck, Peter Voskamp, Adam Horowitz, and Scott Roth.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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53 Responses

  1. Krauss on February 28, 2015, 11:01 am

    Oh, it escalates even more.

    Now the WH are going to offer their rebuttal to him, too

    Obama is doing more than merely standing up against Bibi after all these years. He is paving the way for future presidents. Everyone remembered James Baker in 91 and how Bush the Elder lost because of it(or partly because of it). That lesson was absorbed by Clinton.

    Now Obama is essentially reversing that “lesson”. He escalates and he doesn’t pay a price. The polls show that the people are on his side.

    That will be hugely important because 2015 will be the new benchmark year instead of 1991 and now the American president wins because of it.

    • W.Jones on February 28, 2015, 2:58 pm

      Part of it is the issue. Dems are on board with Obama on the Iran issue, as are much of AIPAC’s base.

      If the issue were human rights for Palestinians, then it would be tougher because the lobby’s hardcore supporters are more intense about that issue than about a mere “deal” with Iran, which won’t get nukes soon regardless of a deal or not. And after all, how can you support human rights for Palestinians if they “don’t exist”?

    • JWalters on February 28, 2015, 3:16 pm

      Excellent points. I’m grateful to Obama for standing up to this massive injustice, necessarily in careful tactical steps. As you say, it’s setting a new reference frame for discussion of the entire topic.

    • italian ex-pat on February 28, 2015, 5:12 pm

      @ Krauss

      If you’ve read the article you are linking you must also have read the other, which appeared on the same page, about a former Obama’s election campaign organizer by the name of Jeremy Bird, who is apparently doing consulting work for the Israeli organization “V15” whose purpose is to have Netanyahu defeated in the upcoming elections. V15 has recently joined the Israeli arm of OneVoice, a different organization focused on promoting peace with the Palestinians. I don’t know how to provide a link to the article – so dumb, I know – and perhaps you frequent posters already know all about this. If not, check it out, what’s really amusing is Netanyahu’s reaction, and his outrage at this “meddling of foreigners” in Israel’s politics. A classic case of the pot calling the kettle….. black? ( I apologize for the not-PC pun, it just seems so appropriate).

  2. Blownaway on February 28, 2015, 11:13 am

    It’s all noise. As we speak Israel is lobbying congress for 300 million for iron dome. Ultimately even those who boycott the speech will fall in line the day after. Unless Amerucan pride is hurt ( and it seems to need a lot to hurt it) there will be no long term ramifications to this and Netanyahu knows it. There is no downside to insulting the President of The United States… Repeatedly

    • Kathleen on February 28, 2015, 11:55 am

      solid point

    • joemowrey on February 28, 2015, 1:44 pm

      Yes, a very solid point. In addition, Obama knows full well that his posturing will make him look like some sort of “Progressive” while having little or no impact on the long term policy or strategy of the Empire. He’s doing a lot of this now that he is a lame duck. He wants to leave behind him the same illusion he has maintained throughout his presidency, that he is some sort of “liberal” politician. The memory-challenged U.S. public won’t remember all the cave ins he made concerning Israel ,nor all his support for the continued ethnic cleansing and carnage taking place in Palestine. What they will remember is him “standing up” to Netanyahu.

      Nonsense. Just more Kabuki theater by ObamaCon, Wizard of Guile.

      • on February 28, 2015, 3:55 pm

        Exactly. When the Dems took the White House in 2009, along with 60 plus senators and a super majority in the House, they could have actually accomplished some progressive things. But they, along with the MSM, pretended 30 GOP senators were able to stop them from doing anything.

        Now in 2015, with the House and Senate in GOP hands so that the Dems actually cannot get anything done, Obama et al are making all these really progressive statements (when not going after whistle blowers, and not prosecuting torturers and those who lied us into war, not arresting the intelligence heads who lied to Congress about spying on citizens, expanding the surveillance state, pledging loyalty to Israel etc.) knowing full well none of these things can get accomplished.

      • Kathleen on February 28, 2015, 10:14 pm

        Joe partially disagree. If the P5+1 gets a substantive agreement with Iran Obama will be in an incredible position of having stood up to Netanyahu who clearly wants to and all ready has to some degree undermined the negotiations. I think Obama has demonstrated he has the cajones to stand up to Israel with his push for negotiations with Iran. I think what most of us hope to be successful negotiations along with his Affordable Care Act were not easy accomplishments.

        Ok on the actual I/P conflict. Nothing.

    • W.Jones on February 28, 2015, 2:59 pm


      Downside is that a couple legislators foolishly abandoned the amazing opportunity to celebrate world boxing champ Net–an–ya–hu!
      Maybe if Netanyahu actually had a close election race at home and a bigger liberal public there he would be more careful.

    • ziusudra on March 1, 2015, 4:01 am

      Greetings Blownaway,
      If PM BB pulls this one off for his zio backers in Israel or the US, he’ll win threefold:
      Congress dusts Iran.
      He wins his next run.
      He then holds the power to return to Congress repeatedly meddling against both the Dems & Reps for his & Israeli interests.
      PS Little children must be shown just how far they are allowed to go, but this doesn’t apply for BB or future leaders of Israel. This cannot be in the interest of the US Reps.

  3. Kathleen on February 28, 2015, 11:54 am

    Kagan attempting to divert the real issue by saying the problem is that BB’s visit now opens the door to the possibility that other world leaders will be invited to speak before congress with out Presidential approval is not going to happen. Kagan’s concern like so many is the Israel/U.S relationship. Not BB’s outrageous attempt to undermine the P5+1 negotiations. One would think these alleged foreign policy experts would be more concerned about that very serious issue.

    Rami Khouri ” This kind of test almost never happens, so members of congress can routinely support everything Israel does or wants, without paying any price at home. That pattern has now been disrupted.” Been happening for decades and now we have BB to thank for the exposure.

    What is BB going to say on March 3. He has to address the rift. Know we are going to hear him use “Iran is a grave threat to the world” over and over. How in the hell can he address this rift with out looking like a back stabber and warmonger that he is?

    • W.Jones on February 28, 2015, 3:21 pm

      “He has to address the rift. How in the hell can he address this rift with out looking like a back stabber and warmonger that he is?”
      Why can’t he just say anything he wants to? Feinstein and Durbin are coming apparently, even after he snubbed them.

      Maybe he will look bad you think. OK, look bad to whom? To Jennifer Rubin and the Mideast desk at the NY Times? To Feinstein? And what is she going to do? To 90% of democratic activists and delegates? Maybe you are one of the 90% or more of Americans who didn’t notice this:

  4. Kathleen on February 28, 2015, 11:57 am

    That Emergency Committee for Israel is a clear warning to Hillary…you are either with us or against us. Do you want the money for your campaign or not?

    Will Hillary walk in to Aipac etc holding Bill Kristol’s hand or not?

    • just on February 28, 2015, 12:54 pm

      “Will Hillary walk in to Aipac etc holding Bill Kristol’s hand or not?”

      Any appendage will do.

      • Kathleen on February 28, 2015, 1:25 pm

        Still waiting for Charlie Hebdo or other so called liberal political cartoon outlets to draw BB and Boehner giving each other bj’s. Somehow that one not acceptable

      • amigo on February 28, 2015, 2:22 pm

        “Still waiting for Charlie Hebdo or other so called liberal political cartoon outlets to draw BB and Boehner giving each other bj’s. “Kathleen.

        You do mean breast implants , right.

      • Kay24 on February 28, 2015, 8:23 pm

        Sadistic and provocative move by Lieberman, yet again. Adding insult to injury, Charlie Hebdo to be distributed free causing outrage among Arab Muslims:

        “The High Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that Yisrael Beiteinu may hand out copies of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, overturning a Central Elections Committee decision.

        In late January, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed activists for his party to buy and hand out copies of the special edition of Charlie Hebdo that was published the week after gunmen killed 12 people at the magazine’s Paris office. The edition features a drawing of the Prophet Mohammed with a placard reading “Je suis Charlie.” The cover line, in French, is “All is forgiven.”

        The chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, on February 4 issued an order prohibiting the party from distributing the issue for free, in response to a request by MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al). Joubran cited regulations banning parties from giving gifts to voters. Tibi appealed the ruling to the High Court.”

    • Pixel on February 28, 2015, 4:23 pm

      If I were Hilary, my late-night snack on Monday would be a jumbo bag of jalapeno Sliders washed down with a bottle or two of Fletcher’s root beer-flavored laxative.

    • Krauss on March 1, 2015, 12:20 am

      Kathleen, now Shmuley is joining the fray with full-page ads in the NYT, too.

      • Kay24 on March 1, 2015, 1:02 am

        To which surprisingly the ADL has criticized. That Bo-cheat he never fails to show just where his loyalties are.

        “ADL: Attack ad on Susan Rice is perverse, incendiary
        American-Jewish groups roundly condemn full-page New York Times advertisement claiming top Obama aide is ‘blind to genocide.’

        A wall-to-wall array of Jewish groups condemned an ad accusing National Security Adviser Susan Rice of turning a blind eye to genocide.

        “Susan Rice has a blind spot: Genocide,” said the ad appearing in Saturday’s New York Times, touting a talk on Iran this week in Washington hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the New Jersey-based author and pro-Israel advocate.

        As soon as the Sabbath ended, Jewish groups rushed to condemn the ad. The American Jewish Committee called it “revolting,” the Anti-Defamation League called it “spurious and perverse”, the Jewish Federations of North America called it “outrageous” and Josh Block, the president of The Israel Project, said it was “entirely inappropriate.”

        Marshall Wittmann, the spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which will host Rice on Monday at its annual conference, said, “Ad hominem attacks should have no place in our discourse.”

        Also condemning it were the Orthodox Union, J Street, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement. In a combined statement, the leaders of the Reform movement’s various arms called it “grotesque,” “abhorrent” and a “sinister slur.”

      • ziusudra on March 1, 2015, 4:35 am

        Greetings Kay24,
        All individuals in the many lobbies have their Job to do. Some are there to keep the upper up officials in line with the carrot & the whip, even though they are pro Israel. These pro officials must learn how narrow the path of subservience in Zionism is. I love how the different committies play good cop, bad cop in sheding a tear for or cracking the whip on S. Rice. That leaves their pro & con demonstrating it’s not all of us, but the US official is in the bag of control.

  5. Atlantaiconoclast on February 28, 2015, 12:24 pm

    Where is the evidence that Kagan is becoming a reformed Neocon? His wife, Victoria Nuland, orchestrated a coup in Ukraine just last year for goodness sake.

    • annie on February 28, 2015, 1:25 pm

      phil called him a neocon less than a month ago

      and he knows he’s married to nuland

      i think what he means perhaps is kagan branding himself as a centrist, liberal zionist vs the hardcore version we saw on the run up to the iraq war. i don’t think phil means he’s not a neocon anymore. but you’d have to ask him. not sure he’s hanging out in the comment section at this time. but maybe he’ll respond.

    • Kathleen on February 28, 2015, 1:29 pm

      Good question Atlanta. That statement jumped out at me too.

      Have now heard warmonger and U.S. Gov I in the Aipac espionage investigation Kenneth Pollack making MSM rounds again. Heard him on Diane Rehm this summer and on I think it was Steve Kornacki’s program. Why the f do these outlets insist on recycling these warmongering fk’s? They were knowingly deadly wrong on the WMD hype and they ask them on their programs why?

      Kagan a “reformed neocon” …where is this evidence?

      • Mooser on February 28, 2015, 2:49 pm

        “Kagan a “reformed neocon” …where is this evidence?”

        Remember Phil also likes to supply us with the MDR of irony, and other vital newstrients.

  6. ramzijaber on February 28, 2015, 1:07 pm

    In spite of a lot of enthusiasm in this article/thread, and across MW, that things are starting to change in Washington and American politics, the experienced fella in me (not the cynic!) says that this is a tempest in a teapot, primarily artificial created to serve the interest of all parties concerned.

    The only change in DC and American politics will come with the next generation or the one after it. It took the zionists almost three generations to build their support and force their control. This current generation of American pols is totally bound to the core by the zionist control, totally submissive and subservient to the foreign zionist entity.

    Lest we forget, kristol (as head of emergency committee for ISRAEL) is overtly, blatantly, and absolutely supporting a foreign country against his own. Just stunning how American politicians chose to ignore these facts. kristol is an agent of a foreign entity working against his own government. If that’s not fifth column, I don’t know what is. Still, he and the zionist entity are supported by American politicians while the American people is sleeping.

    As to Hillary, whether she attends the speech or not, it really does not matter. Bottom line, she is owned by saban. And any american pol, whether owned by saban or kristol or adelson, will side totally and equivocally with the zionist entity. Because all zionists – left, right, center, center-left, center-right, extreme-left, extrem-right, religious, neo-con, old-con, don’t matter – and all their American agents have one and only goal: never have a Palestinian state. Only their tactics and facade are different.

    So 1S1P1V is coming and coming sooner than anyone thinks……………………

  7. David Doppler on February 28, 2015, 1:09 pm

    Netanyahu has picked a bitter fight with Obama, over Iranian negotiations. Obama, who has virtually unlimited and highly nuanced capacity to make news between Netanyahu’s speech and the election. The Israeli opposition is nearly united in criticizing Netanyahu for his over-the-top heavy-handedness in politicizing the US-Israeli relationship.

    What news might Obama, or his people, or his independent supporters in various places, including among Netanyahu’s political foes in Israel, make? Announcing a deal with Iran. Or making a speech to the global community advocating for a realistic deal. Disclosing more intelligence reports that further contradict Netanyahu’s lie-mongering. Disclosing those 28 paragraphs of the Senate Report on 9-11, that supposedly implicate Saudi Arabia, but who knows where that trail may lead. Direct criticism of Netanyahu for his policies and/or statements in the speech, along lines that track direct criticisms of Netanyahu by his center-left opposition, such as billions for building settlements outside of designated areas. How about cutting off US funding to Israel in the exact amounts invested by Netanyahu in such settlement building, which is perceived in Israel as undercutting needs for more and better housing options for Israelis. Revelations of Israeli misdeeds under Netanyahu’s leadership that have been kept from the public. Revelations of further petty corruptions characteristic of Netanyahu’s government. Major newspapers endorsing BDS. US military leaders discussing how Neocon conniving cost soldiers’ lives. Breaking the silence breaking their silence.

    Obama has avoided punching the bully in the nose for years. Now, having transformed himself into a giant June Bug, Netanyahu has flown right onto Obama’s porch and landed on the table in front of him, where he’s waddling around yelling the same tired old Neocon bromides we’ve all been sickened by for years, pretending to wield the power symbolized by the US Capitol. Obama’s rolled up newspaper is in hand. His aides and supporters, and Netanyahu’s political enemies are all there with various fly-swatters and other, heavier weaponry.


    • seafoid on February 28, 2015, 3:55 pm

      David Bromwich in the NY Review on that 29 ovation Milikovsky speech in 2011

      “Only a fraction of Obama’s May 19 speech was allotted to Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state. Yet the concrete language of that part—which contained names and dates, if not numbers—drew immediate and heated comment. The most controversial sentence was doubtless this: “The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.” It was a plain statement of an obvious truth. Obama, in addition, said that the shape of a Palestinian state would be based on the 1967 borders of Israel, only altered in accordance with “mutually agreed [land] swaps.”
      This had been the common understanding and phraseology of American-Israeli-Palestinian discussions over two decades; but in the past several years, the word “1967” was used less than before; and this became the detail Benjamin Netanyahu seized upon. Immediately after the speech, he issued a statement in Jerusalem that the 1967 borders of Israel were “indefensible.” He repeated the same objection after he met with Obama in the White House. The differences between the two leaders were played out once more in their speeches to the annual AIPAC convention.
      Without backing down, Obama explained the meaning of his reference to 1967: the borders of course would not stay the same, but land swaps would offset the differences. This candor, on the occasions when Obama shows it, is an impressive quality, and it seemed to be appreciated even by the AIPAC audience. Besides, on May 19 he conceded most of what Netanyahu could have asked. He alluded to Gaza only once. He offered no criticism of new Israeli settlements, as he had done in Cairo two years ago, and made no mention of the dispossession of Palestinians on the West Bank.
      From his silence on these points, it was clear that after the failure of the most recent shuttle diplomacy and the resignation of George Mitchell on May 13, Obama personally planned to initiate no further negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He trusted that under the visible pressure of an Arab Spring of their own, now gathering on both sides of Israel’s borders, most Israelis would eventually see his words as a kindly prophecy.
      Netanyahu struck back as if Obama had mounted a deliberate assault with a threat of lasting enmity. Yet Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC was emollient compared to his speech to Congress on May 24. There he made a conquest that can have few precedents. He began with brash familiarity, in a backslapping salute to Joe Biden; spoke with boyish humor about his early years as a diplomat within the Beltway, and his knowledge of an America beyond it; reestablished, with passion and simplicity, the close ties between America and Israel that Obama had sought to view with an impartial loyalty; in short, pulled out all the stops to undercut President Obama on his native ground. The speech itself was a tissue of clichés, anecdotes, and half-truths, but delivered with dramatic buoyancy and urgency as if his life depended on it.

      Congress gave Netanyahu twenty-nine standing ovations. How did he do it? By presenting himself to his audience as an all-but-American politician—one less lucky than they, and more brave, a leader with a fight on his hands; a real fight, in his own backyard and not six thousand miles away. He spoke with gusto of his part in an earlier episode of that never-ending war:

      I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal—I mean that literally: inside the Suez Canal. I was going down to the bottom, with a forty-pound pack, ammunition pack on my back, and somebody reached out to grab me and they’re still looking for the guy who did such a stupid thing.

      Netanyahu did not speak of the subsidized increase of Israeli settlements that accounts for the “certain facts on the ground” he had mentioned at the White House. He invoked the biblical names of Judea and Samaria as if they were as natural to modern Israel as St. Louis is to the state of Missouri. And Congress loved him, or seemed to think it should, from the very moment when he said in a flattering exordium: “Congratulations America. Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance!” The performance combined the maximum of demagogy with the maximum of smarm, and it mixed aggression, paternalism, and a preening collective self-love, in proportions that Netanyahu assumed Americans would be comforted by. Israel, this speech said, has everything in common with America. We are the home of freedom and wisdom among the ancients, just as you Americans are among the moderns.

      Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was also part of a larger strategy of his right-wing coalition. He got his invitation to address Congress from Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, and the Republican Party is now working to detach Jewish donors from the Democrats and to convert Republicans at large to the Likud and neoconservative politics that support a greater Israel. In the pitch offered to Americans, taking sections of the West Bank from Palestinians is as warranted as the taking of lands from American Indians. Mike Huckabee has indicated his sympathy with this point of view. Sarah Palin wore a Star of David on her necklace in her recent liberty tour. Glenn Beck has planned a mass event, “Restoring Courage,” on August 24 at the Southern Wall excavations in the city of Jerusalem. Americans of the chauvinist and evangelical right are being invited to think of Israel as a second homeland.
      Considered as a response to this predicament, Obama’s speech at the State Department, with its broad-gauge pronouncements and its candor regarding Palestine, was utterly overmatched by Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. It is an unhappy fact of politics that victory goes to the pressure that will not let up. Netanyahu’s belief in his immoderate purpose is stronger than Obama’s belief in his moderate purpose.”

      Milikovsky is a wild motherfucker and deserves whatever the Dems may have in store for him.

      the bigger picture is what’s brewing on the US economy

      Bromwich again

      “Capitalist utopianism and unqualified loathing for all that remains of the welfare state are the dispositions that now unite the Republican Party from the bottom up. George Orwell wrote in The Road to Wigan Pier that while it might be too much to hope for economic equality, he liked the idea of a world where the richest man was only ten times richer than the poorest. Bertrand Russell in Freedom versus Organization wrote that since money is a form of power, a high degree of economic inequality is not compatible with political democracy. Those statements did not seem radical seventy years ago. Today no national politician would dare assent to either.”

      If the Fed can’t get inflation back to 2% the GOP is going to be eviscerated.

    • Rusty Pipes on February 28, 2015, 4:05 pm

      What news might Obama make? Following up on the (under-reported) declassification of the 1987 report about Israel’s nukes, he might grant Mordechai Vanunu political assylum, support Iran’s call for a nuclear-free Middle East and hold up Israel’s loan guarantees and weapons deliveries until it signs the NPT. He also might call for investigation and prosecution of a former citizen who is implicated in stealing American technology (like a nuclear trigger) for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

  8. Pixel on February 28, 2015, 3:41 pm


    love it!

  9. seafoid on February 28, 2015, 3:45 pm

    It’s great to see the ZOA turning on the odious Abe Foxman in public for being too soft on Iran .
    All this dirty laundry airing and infighting from the bastards who have destroyed so many careers- where is the discipline? Where is the self control ?

    Netanyahu is such a creature of the night as well.

  10. paabrhm on February 28, 2015, 3:48 pm

    A lot of wishful thinking here. Meanwhile Israel continues to expect even more money.

  11. hophmi on February 28, 2015, 3:49 pm

    By the way, you’ve repeatedly said that the ethnicity of journalists is relevant. You didn’t point out that Patrick Chappatte is part Lebanese. Why not?

    • Mooser on March 1, 2015, 12:00 pm

      “You didn’t point out that Patrick Chappatte is part Lebanese. Why not?”

      Mostly because of Danny and Marlo Thomas, I would think.

    • Boomer on March 2, 2015, 10:15 am
  12. David Doppler on February 28, 2015, 4:27 pm

    Neocon stands for Neoconniver.

  13. Pixel on February 28, 2015, 4:54 pm

    I think it’s a game changer.

    Not long ago, people smoked openly and had to sneak into back alleys to look at porn.

    Now, porn is everywhere and you have to sneak into back alleys to smoke.

    Never say never.

    • seafoid on February 28, 2015, 5:13 pm

      It looks as though it may be a developing into a nice momentum if you include everything in the universities, on social media, regarding Protective Edge, even MJR’s Damascus conversion

      They have very little popular support in the US. They are a court operation , they need darkness to thrive and now they are exposed in the open. So many enemies. Money can’t buy everything . And they are so hubristic.

      Lots of chickens awaiting roosting instructions.

  14. JLewisDickerson on February 28, 2015, 8:58 pm

    RE: “[T]oday, bringing a foreign leader before Congress to challenge a U.S. president’s policies is unprecedented. After next week, it will be just another weapon in our bitter partisan struggle.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: I can’t help but wonder if Netanyahu’s speech will serve as a precedent for inviting Canadian PM Stephen Harper to give a speech in favor of the Keystone Pipeline. After that, perhaps Netanyahu will be invited back to give a speech in favor of repealing Obamacare!

  15. eGuard on February 28, 2015, 9:08 pm

    Where is hopmy? How is hopmy? So absent, just when we can use good unbiased analysis. What a miss, grumpy hopmy.

  16. sulai on February 28, 2015, 9:25 pm

    Like at this shameless move by Boehner trying to lesson the impact of his invite to Netanyahu by inviting Afghanistan’s leader Ashraf Ghani to address Congress…

  17. Kay24 on February 28, 2015, 9:48 pm

    Thanks to Bibi and his constant crying of Wolf when it comes to Iran, Iran is looking better and better, and more cooperative than Bibi and Israel.

    At the end of all this, and an agreement is reached, Iran would look credible, cooperative, and not the war monger, unlike Israel led by Bibi. So who REALLY is the biggest threat in that region?

    “Iran offer to cut centrifuges by a third led to progress in nuclear talks
    Western diplomats say Iran surprised world powers with a proposal offering, for the first time, concessions vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic’s centrifuge array and their enriched uranium stockpile.
    By Barak Ravid 12:25 01.03.15 1

    An Iranian proposal to close down a third of its centrifuges and relinquish most of its low-enriched uranium has led to progress in talks with the six world powers in Geneva, according to Western diplomats. However, many issues remain unresolved and the chances of reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program by March 30 are low, they add.”


    Meanwhile in Congress, the spineless Congress will applaud the troublemaker, the man who constantly cries wolf, and the man who seems unhinged and will never disclose the nuclear weapons they hide. Something is horribly wrong with this picture.

  18. RobertB on February 28, 2015, 10:56 pm

    10 Reasons to Pray for AIPAC’s Decline

    By Medea Benjamin

    February 28, 2015

    “1. AIPAC wants to sabotage nuclear talks with Iran. AIPAC – like the Israeli government –has no faith in the complex negotiations under way between Iran and the US (along with its five partners) to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It pushes for greater sanctions on Iran knowing that—as Secretary of State John Kerry has said—additional sanctions would threaten the diplomatic path. AIPAC, which has successfully lobbied the US government to adopt crippling economic sanctions on Iran in the past, is ignoring White House warnings and its lobby day this year will push for the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill, a bill the President has vowed to veto. If the nuclear talks fail, the violence that has engulfed the Middle East will only get worse and will put the US on a dangerous path to more war.

    2. AIPAC promotes Israeli settlements in direct opposition to international law. As of this past year, approximately 350,000 Israelis are recorded as living in illegal Israeli settlements, a record high. Despite the fact that United Nations Human Rights Council requested the removal of all of the West Bank’s settlers and cessation of all settlement activities without preconditions, settlement construction has increased by 40% under Prime Minister Netanyahu. Israeli settlements violate the Geneva Conventions and can be prosecuted within the International Criminal Court as “gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law.” No wonder AIPAC doesn’t wait Palestine to become a member of the ICC…

    3. AIPAC supports the horrific Israeli invasions and siege of Gaza. Claiming Israel was forced to defend itself against Hamas, AIPAC supported the Israeli offensive during the summer of 2014 called “Operation Protective Edge.” The attack resulted in thousands of deaths (including over 500 children), 6 UN schools and hospitals flattened, 18,000 housing units destroyed, 108,000 people displaced from their homes. Robert Cohen, the president of AIPAC, justified the Israeli offensive in a meeting with Congress on July 23rd. AIPAC also supported the prior two invasions of Gaza and the siege that has left the 1.8 million residents of Gaza living lives of intense poverty and misery.

    4. AIPAC’s call for unconditional support for the Israeli government threatens our national security. The United States’ one-sided support of Israel, demanded by AIPAC, has significantly increased anti-American sentiment throughout the Middle East, sowing the seeds of more possible terrorist attacks against us. Now disgraced Gen. David Petraeus admitted that the US-Palestine conflict “foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of US favoritism for Israel.” Iran, for example, could be a vital ally for the US in the Middle East in the fight to control ISIL. But because of Israel’s hatred toward Iran and its strong influence (read: money) on our politicians, our foreign policies reflect Israel’s perceived interests more than ours.

    5. AIPAC makes the US a pariah at the UN. AIPAC describes the UN as a body hostile to the State of Israel and has pressured the US government to oppose resolutions calling Israel to account. Since 1972, the US has vetoed at least 45 UN Security Council resolutions condemning Israel’s actions against the Palestinians. In 2011, AIPAC helped persuade 446 members of Congress to co-sponsor resolutions opposing Palestine petitioning to obtain statehood in the UN. Overriding US (and AIPAC) objections, in 2012 the UN General Assembly passed a motion granting Palestine “non-member observer state” by a vote of 138 to 9. More recently, in response to Palestine seeking membership at the International Criminal Court (ICC), AIPAC pushed the Obama administration to pull funding from the Palestinian Authority. Despite US opposition, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon assured that Palestine will become a member of the ICC on April 1, 2015, a highly controversial move that will allow Palestine to press charges against Israel for war crimes.

    6. AIPAC feeds US government officials a distorted view of the Israel-Palestine conflict. AIPAC takes US representatives on sugar-coated trips to Israel, trips considered almost obligatory for every new member of Congress. AIPAC hosts members of Congress—and many of their spouses—on a free junket to Israel to see precisely what the Israeli government wants them to see. It is illegal for lobby groups to take Congresspeople on trips, but AIPAC gets around the law with a bogus educational group, AIEF (American Israel Education Foundation), to “organize” the trips for them. AIEF has the same office address as AIPAC and the same staff. These trips help cement the ties between AIPAC and Congress, furthering their undue influence.

    To prove most of Congress is in the pocket of AIPAC, look no further than what AIPAC boats about its policy conference, which is that it will “be attended by more members of Congress than almost any other event, except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union address.”

    7. AIPAC attacks politicians who question unconditional support of Israel. AIPAC demands that Congress rubber stamp legislation drafted by AIPAC staff. It keeps a record of how members of Congress vote and this record is used by donors to make contributions to the politicians who score well. Members of Congress who fail to support AIPAC legislation have been targeted for defeat in re-election bids. These include Senators Adlai Stevenson III and Charles H. Percy, and Representatives Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, and Earl F. Hilliard. More recently, many Democrats who have publicly refused to attend Netanyahu’s speech in March have been directly targeted by AIPAC’s largest supporters. Representative of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson said, “If these Democrats would rather put partisan politics ahead of principle and walk out on the prime minister of Israel, then we have an obligation to make that known.” Adelson and Netanyahu’s other powerful, right-wing supporters vow to use their wealth and extensive resources to punish Democrats who skip the speech.

    8. AIPAC attempts to silence all criticism of Israel by labeling critics as “anti-Semitic,” “de-legitimizers” or “self-hating Jews.” Journalists, think tanks, students and professors have been accused of anti-Semitism for merely taking stands critical of Israeli government policies. These attacks stifle the critical discussions and debates that are at the heart of democratic policy-making.

    9. AIPAC lobbies for billions of US taxdollars to go to Israel instead of rebuilding America. With communities across the nation slashing budgets for teachers, firefighters and police, AIPAC pushes for over $3 billion a year to Israel. This money goes to the Israeli military to maintain, in high-tech fashion, the apartheid system of oppressing Palestinians.

    10. Money to Israel takes funds from world’s poor. Israel has the 24th largest economy in the world, but thanks to AIPAC, it gets more US taxdollars than any other country. At a time when the foreign aid budget is being slashed, keeping the lion’s share of foreign assistance for Israel meaning taking funds from critical programs to feed, provide shelter and offer emergency assistance to the world’s poorest people.”

  19. Kay24 on February 28, 2015, 11:37 pm


    Boehner Backstabbing Backfires (here’s proof from this latest poll)

    “A new CNN/ORC poll has found that the American people see right through John Boehner’s scheme to humiliate President Obama by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress and they aren’t happy about it as 63% inviting Netanyahu without telling Obama was a bad idea.

    A large majority of Americans believe that Republican congressional leaders should not have invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress without consulting the White House, according to a new CNN/ORC survey.

    The nationwide poll, released Tuesday, shows 63% of Americans say it was a bad move for congressional leadership to extend the invitation without giving President Barack Obama a heads up that it was coming. Only 33% say it was the right thing to do.


    Though the speech has become a partisan issue on Capitol Hill, even Republicans are split on whether it was a good idea for leadership to invite Netanyahu without alerting the White House, with a slight majority — 52% — backing the move. Just 14% of Democrats say it was the right thing to do, and just over a third of independents support the move.

    Instead of humiliating the president and dividing Democrats, Speaker Boehner and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s scheme has divided Republicans and drawn the ire of a solid majority of the nation. The idea of turning a visit by a foreign head of state into a partisan political issue hasn’t been sitting well with millions of Americans.

    The same CNN poll also found that 66% want the United States to stay out of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. John Boehner not only overplayed his hand by trying to humiliate President Obama, but he picked a leader whose conflict back home is one that the American people want nothing to do with.

    John Boehner has been a fountain of bad ideas and even worse leadership since he became Speaker of the House, but by teaming up with Netanyahu on a plan that is the worst idea since someone called the Titanic unsinkable the Ohio Republican managed take his pettiness and ineptitude international.”

  20. In2u on March 1, 2015, 4:09 am

    All those empty seats that needs to be filled, Who can we ask?

    Netanyahu Invites Arab Diplomats to His Big Speech—and Gets Rejected

    John Boehner allies fret coup attempt
    Conservatives warn the speaker’s fate could be determined by how he handles the next seven days.

    • Walid on March 1, 2015, 1:41 pm

      Canada and Palau will surely have someone there. That makes 2.

  21. Kay24 on March 1, 2015, 6:02 am

    Nothing is going to stop BB now. He has ignored all voices of reason, and seems to be salivating to hear those adoring applauses from his people in the Knesset….sorry, Congress.

    Despite the warnings from within Israel, and from the US, Netanyahu is totally deaf to reasoning. This has not only become an election ploy by Netanyahu, and an attempt to show his nation just how tough he is, and how much he can make the US Congress dance to his tune, he is also deliberately derailing Obamas efforts to bring peace.

    Netanyahu’s action show he only prefers WAR, but it will be at the expense of the American people, not his.

  22. Bandolero on March 1, 2015, 9:06 am

    Btw, have you noticed? Bibi is going to repeat his exercise of bypassing the WH to get what he wants from the US:

    Israel asks US for additional $300mn for missile defense – report

    Published time: March 01, 2015 04:32

    Israel reportedly bypassed the White House and asked the US Congress for an extra $317 million to be added to President Barack Obama’s budget for the next fiscal year in order to fund Israeli missile defense programs, Bloomberg reported. …


    Seems like Netanyahu wants to establish it as a norm that the US President is not being asked nothing when Israel deals with the US. It will be interesting to see how Obama will react to this latest provocation of Netanyahu.

  23. NickJOCW on March 1, 2015, 10:03 am

    The ovations Netanyahu evoked during his earlier address and his beaming self-satisfaction can hardly (correct me if I’m wrong) have been welcomed with enthusiasm by the majority of Americans whatever they actually made of the whole business. They certainly raised eyebrows elsewhere. The unfolding of these impending circumstances cannot but link back to that occasion. Either by itself might not have meant that much but cumulatively is enough to attract suspicion particularly when other unconnected recent impressions are mixed in the brew. It reminds me of an erstwhile neighbour who killed her husband. She got away with it in a highly ingenious way but will be unlikely to do so if she tries it again.

  24. Boomer on March 2, 2015, 10:07 am

    I don’t know what the future holds, but I learned from CBS with some disappointment this morning that the Obama Administration is defending itself by noting how much money has gone to Israel while he was president, and how often (18 times by their count) it has vetoed UN resolutions regarding Israel because they were “biased,” “unfair,” and “singled out” Israel. Rather than using this as an opportunity to educate the American public, Obama’s minions continue to spout the traditional lines. The mere use of the word “bias,” which evokes anti-semitism, is a sufficient defense in official U.S. discourse. All the world (except the U.S. and a few micro states it can control) is biased against Israel: that is the problem. No need to mention the Palestinians.

    PS: I think references to Robert Kagan should inform the reader that he is married to Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, and vice versa. The same is true for other power couples. Feminists may complain, but I don’t think readers can understand the connections and concentrations of power in today’s world without such information about family connections. People who travel in some circles may say “everyone knows,” but that isn’t true.

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