There has been much ado about the supposed audacious over-reach by House Speaker John Boehner in inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint meeting of Congress. My view is to favor the speech, because we will not hear the truth from President Obama on the full extent of the bind we have put Israel in.
However, here’s some thoughts from former UN Ambassador John Bolton as expressed in his recent op-ed published in the Pittsburh Tribune:
The stakes are as high as they come. But Obama cannot be candid about the terms of the ongoing discussions, especially now. The inevitable consequences of his dangerous position already are provoking widespread bipartisan disapproval in America.
The White House most fears the effect Netanyahu will have on congressional consideration of further Iran sanctions if no deal is reached. Obama is worried with good reason. Although Iran and the West have been negotiating since 2003, only Obama has made the massive concessions to Tehran that have brought a deal close at hand. And it is not just what Netanyahu will say in Washington but also his timing that set off Obama and his acolytes.
In fact, Netanyahu previously addressed a joint session of Congress on May 24, 2011, demonstrating, among other things, his gaping differences with Obama regarding Israel’s ultimate borders, under negotiation with the Palestinians. The New York Times reported that “Mr. Netanyahu received so many standing ovations that at times it appeared that the lawmakers were listening to his speech standing up.” Even worse, from Obama’s perspective, The Times said Netanyahu’s “speech had many of the trappings of a presidential State of the Union address.”
Ironically, Obama touched off the current controversy when he persuaded or allowed British Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby members of Congress against the pending Iran sanctions proposals. At a joint Obama-Cameron news conference in Washington, the British leader answered forthrightly that he had spoken with senators and would likely speak to more, to convey “the opinion of the United Kingdom” that sanctions legislation would impair the ongoing negotiations.
Although publicly admitting Cameron’s lobbying effort was highly unusual, they [Senators] were hardly shocked in a day when foreign countries hire Washington lobbying firms to influence Congress, the executive branch and even U.S. public opinion. And even less shockingly, we do the same to foreign governments.
What likely irritated Obama more was that Netanyahu’s star power will almost certainly eclipse Cameron’s and that the arguments in favor of sanctions legislation are more persuasive than the Obama-Cameron view has been thus far. Moreover, British parliamentary elections are set for May 7, so Cameron’s timing obviously does not differ in principle from Netanyahu’s.
For the full article, click HERE.