Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Boo to Bibi

Israei's Prime Minister, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, addressed the U.S. Congress today. The invitation was issued by House Speaker John Boehner directly, ignoring standard diplomatic protocol that calls for such invitations to be issued by the White House. Accepting the invitation also violated standard diplomatic protocol.

In short, Boehner and Bibi extended their middle fingers to President Obama. I'd like to take the opportunity to do the same to our childish House Speaker and his opportunistic Israeli ally. Fuck both of you.

The sad thing is that Netanyahu might — might — have been worth listening to. It's hard not to wonder if Iran, like North Korea, is using negotiations over its putative nuclear capabilities merely to stall for time while its researchers get closer to developing a weapon. Netanyahu's argument that Iran can't be trusted might be correct. It certainly is a possibility that can't be discounted, not right now.

If Netanyahu had made his case in a high-profile speech at home, he might have changed hearts and minds here in the U.S. But he didn't give the speech at home. Instead, he gave it in D.C. as part of a cheap political stunt by one of our political parties. The speech was also a cheap political stunt for Bibi, who's in a tight reelection race and who probably enjoyed having the GOP as bit players in his little passion play. Whatever the value of the content of his speech, the circumstances demeaned it beyond consideration.

This is the sort of stunt that, if it had been pulled on George W. Bush, would have had Republicans screaming for Democratic blood. The word "treason" would have been thrown at the Democratic leadership.

Boehner didn't commit treason. He did, however, trade the dignity of his office for crass (and, I suspect, short-term) political gain. I previously considered him a beleaguered but (somewhat) professional politician hamstrung by the wingnuts in his caucus. This incident, though, shows that he's really a small-minded, small-souled man who has no respect for our governing institutions, and thus no respect for our country. I don't see the case for Congressional victimhood during the Obama years, but even if you posit that Obama has dropped the ball on relations with Congress, that he has earned the enmity of Congressional Republicans, there's no excuse for this incident. None.

As for you, Bibi: go home, secure in the knowledge that you've undermined the U.S.-Israel relationship as no Israeli leader ever has. Go home and pray hard that a plurality of Israeli voters are stupid enough to believe your D.C. speech was a good idea. Go home and count how many formerly passive Americans you've pushed off the fence into favoring a significant reduction of the foreign aid the U.S. sends Israel's way. Go home and ponder how their — our — simmering resentment will play out in the long run.

Most of all, Bibi, go home and stay there. You're not welcome here any more.

No comments:

Post a Comment