Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Will Speak to Congress

This article is published in PajamasMedia. The full text is provided here for your convenience.

By Barry Rubin

To try to turn American liberals and Democrats--and especially Jews--against Israel on the pretext that they are only opposing Israel's current government, there's an attempt to portray Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to make a major speech before Congress as a partisan appeal for Republican support against a Democratic president.

It isn't. It's an institutional appeal for congressional support against a partly unfriendly, partly uncomprehending, and partly ideologically stupified president.

While U.S.-Israel relations in terms of military aid and cooperation have remained good, there have been lots of political problems. The truth is that these problems have come amost totally from Washington not Jerusalem. I've been documenting this for more than two years.

The truth is also that Israelis across most of the political spectrum know that they cannot trust the Obama administration for help, support, and protection. On many occasions, it has helped Israel's enemy or to create dangerous situations. Do you really think that Israelis trust Obama to decide the terms of peace with the Palestinians when he and his White House colleagues simply don't understand the issues involved?

Incidentally, the same applies for most countries in Latin America, Central Europe, the southern Caucasus, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Arab states, India, and several Asian countries. And its becoming increasingly true in much of Western Europe, too.

In Congress, there are not only Republicans but a majority of Democrats whose instincts and knowledge of international affairs exceed those of the president. Among those people is the likely source of a Democratic revolt against the administration's mistaken policies. We've already seen that begin, especially on Israel-related issues. Now that's the bipartisan spirit in action!

So can Israel be blamed for not wanting to put its fate in Obama's hands? Come to think of it, given so many mistaken foreign policy positions, should the Democratic Party want to leave its fate and the country's fortunes in Obama's hands?

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