What will be the price for Bibi's visit to Congress?
When the French called for an anti-terror march of world leaders following the Paris terror attacks, one of the first to accept was Israel’s prime minister.
According to the rumor mill, Francois Hollande tried to dissuade Benjamin Netanyahu from participating in the rally, but Bibi stuck to his guns, determined to show the world that Israel, under constant threat from terrorism, is defiantly linked, in fact leads, the war against terror.
Hollande not accustomed to snubs, responded. There was a price to pay for Israel’s prime minister defying the French president. Hollande invited to this anti-terror event Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of a Palestinian less-than-state regime with decades of bloody terror atrocities on its hands and united in a unity government with Hamas, an officially designated terrorist organization.
When it comes to leadership spite, it seems, decency and morality evaporates.
Hollande did join Netanyahu in attending the synagogue ceremony in memory of the murdered French Jews. How could he not? But he beat a hasty retreat before Bibi told the Jewish audience to get the hell out of there, a completely different message from the one that Hollande was presenting to his Jews.
In view of the rising anti-Semitism in Europe and the ongoing murder of French Jews, can anyone argue that Netanyahu’s message was not the right one?
Switching to Washington, Bibi received an invitation to address Congress from House Speaker, John Boehner, shortly after President Obama had warned Congress in his State of Delusion address that he would veto any move they may make to strengthen sanctions on an Iran in pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
Bibi was concerned that the Obama Administration was on its way to signing an agreement with Iran while Israel was embroiled in elections. Israel released a video purporting to show an undisclosed Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile site.
Bibi accepted Boehner’s invitation. Obama was furious. He claimed a protocol breach though the breach, if any, should have been directed to the invitor, not the invitee.
The White House hinted that Bibi’s visit was an election ploy and this was the reason that he would be snubbed (again) by Obama.
This excuse is disingenuous, as Obama had just hosted British prime minister, David Cameron, at the White House, which included an official joint press conference, while Cameron is also involved in the runup to the British General Election this Spring.
But the most lethal sting in the tail was the threat that “there would be a price” to pay for Bibi’s visit to Washington.
Apart from the fact that it is impossible to find any world leader’s visit to Washington coming with a price the question lingers -- what price, and why?
It is highly likely that Obama, who has a marathon record of spiteful subs to Israel’s leader throughout his presidency, will follow Hollande’s lead and exact a price that would elevate Abbas and the Palestinians, irrespective of their dubious track record of rejectionism, denial of Jewish claims to statehood, and unilateral actions that breach signed international treaties.
That price could well be a covert invitation to Abbas to return to the United Nations Security Council at some future date and represent their statehood bid where the Americans would not veto their application. This could suit an Obama legacy that amended ties with Cuba and made way for a Palestinian state.
Presssure has mounted on Netanyahu not to attend Congress but, as in Paris, Israel’s prime minister has a national duty to stand by his guns and affirmatively tell the world, at a critical time, of their obligation to stand strong against the threats of radical Islamic terror and a dangerous Iranian regime with an Islamic global ambition.
As with Hollande, these are words that Obama does not wish to hear -- both are in denial of the source of the world’s concerns, but these are the words that Israel’s prime minister must be committed to express.
I guarantee that Bibi will receive more standing ovations for uttering these words than Obama received when he addressed Congress.
Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative’ and the upcoming book ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS, and Anti-Semitism.’