Netanyahu and the Republicans

February 4, 2015 8:50 PM

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress on Iran has been widely criticized, in Israel and in the United States. The unimportant criticism focusses on the way the event was concocted: House Speaker John Boehner and Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., planned it in secret for weeks, then sprang it on the State Department and White House (which gave Dermer an opening to blame the Speaker’s office “for not notifying” the Administration). President Obama has declined to meet with Netanyahu; Secretary of State John Kerry has not condescended to meet with Derner. The speech is scheduled for March 3rd, two weeks before the Israeli election, and will coincide with the yearly mega-conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), where Netanyahu, as in past years, will be received as a champion.

The more important criticism of Boehner’s invitation rests on a fiction: that Netanyahu, the leader of an embattled ally, must depend on bipartisan American support for his country to confront its regional enemies. Netanyahu, in this story, has been reckless in making common cause with Republicans, ...

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