Netanyahu GOP Policy in Tatters, he snubs White House Invitation

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

A year ago, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu intervened in US politics in a big way, addressing a Republican-dominated Congress and lobbying it against the UN Security Council deal with Iran forestalling that country’s civilian nuclear research program from ever becoming militarized.

Netanyahu’s startling direct intervention in US policy-making crashed and burned, since President Obama was able to sign on to the JCPOA last summer and make it stick. Republicans were unable to undo the deal, then or ever after.

That Netanyahu functions as a US Republican even as he heads a foreign state disturbed many prominent Democrats, including pro-Israel ones.

Now Netanyahu has canceled his annual trip to appear at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Not only has he bailed on AIPAC, but he thereby more or less declined a White House dinner invitation.

One possible reason for Netanyahu’s absence is that, having declared himself an active Republican last year, he would inevitably be asked this year which of the candidates he supports.

That brings us to the other problem with the GOPization of Israel, which is that the frontrunner, Donald Trump, speaks of being even-handed as between the Israelis and the Palestinians, which is against everything Netanyahuism stands for.

Trump does not need the donations of rightwing Jewish Americans such as Sheldon Adelson, and nor are they being proffered to him.

Chemi Shalev of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (The Land) thinks that American Jews on the whole won’t vote for Trump because of his far rightwing rhetoric. Most American Jews are diehard Democrats, and many are liberals and leftists. A small minority, mostly very wealthy, votes Republican, but that proportion could virtually evaporate with a Trump candidacy.

The unwisdom of Netanyahu arrogantly putting himself at the center of US policy-making and of his siding so openly with one party over the other is now on full display.

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Related video:

Vote It: “Israel’s Netanyahu Declines Meeting With Obama”

16 Responses

  1. Only our bought and paid for politicians and the warmongers care for anything Mr. Netanyahu has to say. He lost me on 9-11 when he said the attack on the WTC was “Very good.”

    (Ninth paragraph) link to nytimes.com

    • Byline is Jerusalem, September 11, 2001

      Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ”It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: ”Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He predicted that the attack would ”strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

      I’d not known of this.

  2. “(Netanyahu) declined a White House dinner invitation.” This is a very strange turn in USA politics, perhaps more strange that the Trump phenomena.

    • “(Netanyahu) declined a White House dinner invitation.”

      There is nothing strange about that. There is a long history of Israeli prime ministers having contempt for US presidents. Perhaps in Netanyahu’s case, the novelty of insulting Obama and the office of the presidency has worn off and is now a bore.

  3. Hillary Clinton is a prominent Democrat who doesn’t seem very disturbed by Netanyahu’s approach.

    • Hilary Clinton is far closer to being indicted than she was just a few days ago. It’s just been revealed that she wrote many of the e-mails containing secret materials herself and then sent them out over an insecure server. Judge Napolitano, a Fox consultant has written an article about it and has been interviewed on camera. His trenchant analysis on the video makes her political future look dicey, indeed. Immunity for a witness has been granted by a Federal Judge and a grand jury has been called. These things aren’t done unless a prosecution is anticipated. Even if she is not herself indicted, the indictment of her associates could well be devastating for her political campaign.

  4. Netanyahu is simply a man who puts the interests of Israel as he perceives them above every other consideration, quite literally. Most leaders do but few have national interests so divergent from broadly accepted Western norms and so it’s less apparent. Furthermore he is unrestrained in this purpose by the niceties of loyalty or even good manners. I met Ben Gurion in 1971 and although by then age had mellowed him he must have been exactly the same. Our conversation turned at one point to de Gaulle who he said he greatly admired. There may have been the inadvertent flicker of my eyebrow because he insisted, explaining that de Gaulle was a leader who put the interests of France above all others, and that is what any leader should do.

    • Was he putting Israel’s interests above all others when he said the Palestinians gave Hitler the idea for the Holocaust?

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