by • March 3, 2015 • Weekly ColumnComments (1)5384

Israeli Republican Benjamin Netanyahu Should Go Home

(Weekly Column)

I am a fervent supporter of Israel, yet I bitterly oppose Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in front of Congress. This disgraceful talk is the result of political collusion between House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Netanyahu to humiliate President Obama, sabotage nuclear talks with Iran, and help the Israeli leader win reelection.

Netanyahu and his Rapture-seeking supporters in Congress claim that they are pro-Israel. Yet it is perplexing to see how this unauthorized congressional address helps Israel, when it has profoundly frayed relations between the two allied nations. The Iranian Ayatollahs themselves could not have invented a better scenario to undermine the once-strong U.S. and Israeli bond.

Netanyahu should go home and give peace a chance. Secretary of State John Kerry is working on a deal to scuttle Iran’s nuclear ambitions. We should try smart diplomacy and exhaust every option before we blindly rush into another costly and bloody war. Netanyahu’s urging of the U.S. to prematurely spill blood and treasure is reckless. If Israel succeeds in pressuring our nation into war, this will surely embolden every conspiracy-loving anti-Semite to come out of the woodwork and blame the Jews. Netanyahu should mind his own damn business and keep his face out of our domestic politics. If the Israeli leader wants to bomb Iran before peace talks are exhausted – he should do it himself.

Israel’s great strength is that it has bipartisan support. Netanyahu has squandered this advantage by snubbing President Obama and turning Israel into a satellite of the Republican National Committee. Lest he forget that 70% of American Jews voted for Obama and find the politics of the modern GOP repugnant. I applaud Democrats, such as Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for skipping Netanyahu’s petulant and partisan screed.

Israelis should vote Netanyahu out of office. His absence of vision, deployment of fear, lack of commitment to the peace process, undermining US and Israeli relations, and destructive pandering to Israel’s extreme right makes him unfit to continue leading.

What is the rationale for another Netanyahu term? Unless voters are happy with the precarious status quo, where an increasingly delusional, ultra-religious nation happily dances to patriotic songs while plummeting into the abyss, otherwise known as the future.

The curious part of the “Cult of Netanyahu” is that his supporters pretend to be the ultimate patriots who are protecting Israel. Meanwhile, under this “tough” leader, peace talks with the Palestinians have floundered and provocative settlements have expanded in the West Bank. I have yet to hear one lucid explanation on how these arrogant and oppressive settlements have helped Israel. They have done nothing but marginalize peace-seeking Israelis and Palestinians, created worldwide outrage at Israel, which has helped fuel a rise in global anti-Semitism and isolate Israel.

I could understand enduring such backlash if it was necessary for the security of Israel. For example, I favor Israel keeping the Golan Heights for strategic military advantage. I’m fine with the blockade on Gaza because instead of importing goods to better the lives of civilians, Hamas has used the sea to smuggle in arms and materials to build terror tunnels. Until the people of Gaza understand that a non-violent peace movement is the answer, instead of indiscriminately lobbing missiles at innocent Israeli families, they will be in a prison of their own making.

But the combustible settlements in the West Bank are in a different category. They are completely superfluous and do nothing to enhance Israel’s security. They are a sop to hardcore Israeli fundamentalist settlers that dream of a Greater Israel with borders from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. These settlements are also a bribe to America’s evangelical Christians, some of who believe that the Jews must control all of Israel for Jesus to return. The substitution of rational, clear-eyed domestic and foreign policy with kowtowing to religious extremists is what truly threatens Israel’s security.

I’m an American supporter of the Jewish State, but I refuse to drink Netanyahu’s tainted Kool-Aid. I’m not going to buy into his irrational, war-mongering, fear-based apocalyptic warnings – so he can appease the fantasies of paranoid religious zealots.

Israel needs forward thinking leaders that will genuinely pursue peace because it is in the long-term interest of Israel’s national security. Does an Israeli minority really want to be lording over a Palestinian majority in 10 or 20 years? How’s that going to play on the world stage?

If durable peace could be achieved with Israel’s archenemies, Egypt and Jordan, it could also happen with the Palestinians. In the meantime, as a United States citizen I’m appalled by Netanyahu’s brazen speech. The George W. Bush of Israeli politics should be criticized and ultimately snubbed. Then he should go home and lose his election. That would be the most pro-Israel gift imaginable.

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One Response to Israeli Republican Benjamin Netanyahu Should Go Home

  1. Netanyahu: Wrong Then. Wrong Now
    Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a highly controversial speech to Congress in which he attacked the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran. A shrewd politician, the Prime Minister’s speech was long on rhetoric and short on substance, yet Republicans – and more than a few Democrats – in Congress appeared moved.

    The last time Prime Minister Netanyahu took to Congress to talk about weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East it was 2002 and he was pushing hard for the Iraq War. Like yesterday, his words were powerful and pundits and politicians alike applauded. Unfortunately, we know just how wrong Prime Minister Netanyahu was about Iraq and our country paid a dire price by launching the war he pushed for.

    He was wrong then about Iraq and he’s wrong now about Iran.

    We cannot let Democrats in Congress be convinced once again by Prime Minister Netanyahu to put our nation on the path to war in the Middle East. That’s why we’re fighting hard and doubling our efforts to support diplomacy with Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu is wrong. The choice before Congress isn’t between a bad deal and a good deal. The choice is between a good deal or war with Iran.

    Thankfully, press reports are that a good, sustainable, and lasting deal is closer than ever. Our negotiators are working hard to finish the job, the last thing they need is for Congress to listen to fear mongering designed to destroy diplomacy and kill the talks. Yet that’s exactly what some in Congress are trying to do. In the last few days, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced a new bill that adds to the already dangerous Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill in a growing line of anti-diplomacy legislation. These dangerous bills risk killing the talks, destroying the international consensus the President has built against Iran, and putting America right back on the path to war with Iran.

    Poll after poll has shown that the American public supports the current talks and wants to see every diplomatic option exhausted before returning to the path of escalation and conflict. That’s why we’re working tirelessly to help bring your voice – the voice of the majority of Americans – to the halls of Congress.

    This is a once in a generation opportunity and we simply cannot afford to let the very same people who got us into the Iraq War get us into a war with Iran. They were wrong then, and they’re wrong now.

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