The Democrats' boycott of Netanyahu
On Tuesday, Politico reported that the Democrats in Congress were considering skipping Israeli orime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress in March. The reason why the speech is controversial is because Obama and the Democrats consistently turn anything and everything related to Israel and Netanyahu into a venomous melodrama of tarnished egos and personal vendettas.
With regard to Netanyahu’s speech, the White House once again used the mainstream media to spin events that Glenn Kessler would probably rate with four pinocchios if he were aware of the lies. Unfortunately, only after American Thinker’s Ed Lasky blogged that the claims from the White House were “manufactured agitprop” has the news of the lie started to break into the mainstream. While the New York Times issued a correction that Speaker Boehner did notify the White House of his invitation to Netanyahu and it was only after that notification that he accepted the invite, the anti-Netanyahu rhetoric has metastasized on the basis of a phony story that protocol was violated.
The media love a good fight between Obama and Netanyahu, with, of course, Obama always being right and the Israeli PM being flogged for his disrespectful treatment of the leader of the free world. As the fable goes, Bibi and his U.S. ambassador Ron Dermer really screwed up this time and have finally put the wedge between Israel and the Democrats.
Notwithstanding the past six years of anti-Israel rhetoric emanating from the Democratic Party (including the booing and hissing that occurred at the 2012 Democratic National Convention during the motion to reinstate an undivided Jerusalem into the platform), it is solely Bibi’s fault if the Democrats turn their back on Israel. Suddenly the words “bankrupt ideology” that Obama uses to describe Islamists actually appear meaningful in the context of what is truly driving a wedge between Democrats and Israel.
It is a disgrace that Obama has turned Israel into a partisan issue – and forced Democrats to choose a side. But as Daniel Henninger reminded us, “[f]or the Obama presidency … it has always been about: You’re with me or you’re not.” What political ramifications are being threatened to those Democrats who dare show up to hear Bibi speak? Even Joe Biden has yet to put out a statement or commit to attending. But Obama has bullied the Democrats into such a horrible political position that I almost hope they do stay home and lose another 10-20 seats in the House and a couple more chairs in the Senate.
On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi jumped into the fray as she tried her own spin by claiming that the Democrats would not be boycotting Bibi’s speech. Rather, they’re just too busy to attend. The National Journal reports:
"I don't think anybody should use the word 'boycott,'" Pelosi said in her weekly press conference. "When these heads of state come, people are here doing their work, they're trying to pass legislation, they're meeting with their constituents and the rest. It's not a high-priority item for them."
So when the head of state of Israel is invited by the speaker of the House to make a speech, all of the sudden, after doing nothing for two years, the Democrats are too busy passing laws “and the rest” (whatever that means). Pelosi went on to explain that “[t]hings happen in people’s schedule. You just never know.” Well, as a lawyer of 26 years, I do know that when I have six weeks’ notice of an important meeting and mark it down on my calendar, I will attend.
But the kicker is that showing the prime minister of Israel the respect to hear what he has to say about matters that affect not only Israel, but U.S. national security as well is not a priority. Hearing from the man who is on the frontlines of the war with radical Islam and who has access to intelligence that might be helpful in determining how to proceed with Iran is not a priority. No wonder we’re on the brink of an Iranian nuclear breakout and terrorist safe havens are flourishing across the region. It’s simply not a priority to the party of the president.
What a disgrace. But what is also a disgrace is Pelosi’s attempt to play the Obama version of Words with Friends. Why use “terrorist attack” when you can lie to the public with phrases such as “workplace violence” and “man-caused disaster”? Why call an organized protest by the Democrats to skip Bibi’s speech a boycott when you can simply say it’s not a priority?
And make no mistake. If the Democrats do decide to skip the speech, they are throwing themselves in the ring with the pro-terrorist BDS movement that does not shy away from actually using the word “boycott” to describe their plans for destroying the State of Israel. Any lawmaker who chooses not to attend this speech is making the statement that he or she favors boycotts as a means to manipulate the behavior of Israel’s government into doing what it deems appropriate.
For anyone who cares about Israel’s survival, it been distressing to watch the BDS movement flourish across Europe and on U.S. college campuses. To now see it validated as a tactic by the Democrats to force subservience of Israel is something new. Actions speak louder than words, and no matter what Nancy Pelosi and Jonathan Gruber and Barack Obama would have us believe, Americans are not stupid. We recognize that Israel has become a partisan issue and that the Democrats are now the party driving a wedge between the U.S. and Israel.
Seth Lipsky recently wondered:
How long can it last that the Republicans are the party that’s more supportive of Israel but the Democrats are the ones that get the Jewish vote? Could it be that President Obama is upending the old alliance?
The left is trying to palm off the idea that Mr. Netanyahu is destroying the bipartisan basis of America’s support for the Jewish state. It turns out to be Mr. Obama that’s doing the deed. We’ll know whether he’s succeeding by watching who shows up for Mr. Netanyahu’s speech.