Next week’s visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “injected a degree of partisanship” that is “destructive to the fabric of the relationship” between Israel and the US, according to National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
“[Netanyahu] may have a judgment that just may not be correct here,” Secretary of State John Kerry said to a House panel.
Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress next week to discuss the Iranian nuclear threat and the prospects for successful negotiations with Iran has been causing controversy for weeks. That the talk was organized by House Speaker Boehner and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer without White House approval is surely a break in traditional protocol, but it doesn’t change the fact that Netanyahu is coming and speaking.
It’s too late for attacks. And the administration’s decision to double down on their objection to Netanyahu’s speech is causing more damage to an already precarious situation.
It’s clear that the administration doesn’t feel that the visit is useful and that it will complicate negotiations with Iran. But it’s more important that the US always welcomes a strong democratic ally – perhaps our strongest – when they want to speak.
Sure, it’s fair to say that the timing is regrettable in light of the fact that the Israeli elections are just a few weeks away, but the White House should make it clear that they will work with whoever wins the Israeli election to continue to strengthen our fraying relationship with Israel.
Netanyahu has a message that he believes the world has to hear, and I agree that we should listen. I am always a supporter of the diplomatic route in dealing with our enemies and have been hopeful that the nuclear negotiations with Iran will be successful.
There is still time for the talks to pan out. Three weeks is a long time. But it can’t be ignored that as all of this is unfolding the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is carrying out military exercises which include destroying a mock US aircraft carrier and testing an armed robot. According to reports, the robot has a 7.62 mm caliber machine gun and optical and thermal cameras for night operations.
Speaking about the drills, General Mohammad Ali Jafari said that they send a “message of [Iran’s] might” to “extraterritorial powers.”
We all know who General Ali Jafari is talking about. And at the same time that our senior officials are criticizing Netanyahu, it looks like they aren’t on the same page as the rest of the world.
I have not held back in my criticism of President Obama’s foreign policy leadership throughout his term. Refusing to receive the Israeli Prime Minister is another disappointment after he didn’t go to France in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket, but attended the funeral of the Wahhabist King of Saudi Arabia.
And while I recognize that Saudi Arabia is our ally, we need to show the world – and the people of Israel – that we know who are strongest ally really is.