As you’ve probably heard, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu is scheduled to speak to a joint session of Congress in a couple of weeks. In the next few days members of Congress will have to decide: “Do I or do I not go to this speech?”
The speech will go down as one of the greatest – and most destructive – stunts in Congressional history. Speaker John Boehner and Bibi Netanyahu conspired behind President Obama’s back to use Congress as a political rally where Netanyahu rails against Obama’s #1 diplomatic initiative: talks with Iran.
Netanyahu has a history of these kinds of speeches. He gave one in the run-up to the Iraq war (that time with the President’s blessing).[i] He argued that given his deep expertise in all things Middle East he had confidence in the peaceful changes the Middle East would see after the U.S. intervention. We all know how that turned out.
The Vice President has said he’ll skip this speech. A number of members of Congress are following suit but many, many more say they are on the fence. They’ll have to make up their minds in the next few days.
Many Congress members are loathe to support this unprecedented politicization of foreign policy. But they’re also reluctant to be seen as insulting a key foreign leader. Our representatives need to hear that we have their backs if they skip the speech.
J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and numerous Jewish leaders in the U.S. and Israel have called for the speech to be postponed. The Congressional Black Caucus and Democratic Party leadership have carried the same message. [ii]
Boehner and Netanyahu’s answer has been a feisty “no way, we’re going ahead.” Netanyahu has meanwhile been brazen about his anti-diplomacy efforts, broadly hinting he’s leaking sensitive details about the nuclear talks he got in briefings from the U.S.. [iii]
That means our best hope now is for our representatives to stay home. They shouldn’t give this event legitimacy it doesn’t deserve.
1) Who to call; 2) What to say and 3) If you want … it let’s you jot down a couple notes on what you find out from the office. That information is invaluable for our lobbying work.
Will you call Congress today and ask your representatives to skip the speech?