Congress Is Making The U.S.-Israeli Relationship Even More Partisan

By inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress, Republicans are damaging the U.S. relationship with Israel.

Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahyu’s decision to accept an invitation to address a Joint Session of Congress in March, just two weeks before Israel’s upcoming elections, has led to a rather open wound both between the White House and Congress and between the Obama Administration and Israel itself. When the speech was first announced last week, the White House criticized Congress for not consulting with the Administration prior to issuing the invitation, which is typically how these maters are handled, especially given the fact that such an appearance by Netenyahu so close to a contested election could be seen as interference in the election itself. Yesterday, those complaints became public and drew the Israeli Ambassador to the United States into the fray:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, after days of mounting tension, signaled on Wednesday how angry it is with Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Republican leaders’ invitation to address Congress on Iran without consulting the White House.

The outrage the episode has incited within President Obama’s inner circle became clear in unusually sharp criticism by a senior administration official who said that the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, who helped orchestrate the invitation, had repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States.

The official who made the comments to The New York Times would not be named, and the White House declined to comment. The remarks were the latest fallout after Mr. Dermer, without the White House’s knowledge, worked with House Speaker John A. Boehner to arrange the speech, which is scheduled for March.

The remarks are likely to escalate a feud between the White House, Republicans on Capitol Hill and Mr. Netanyahu over the invitation, which has led to a new low in American-Israeli relations and threatened to mar the long tradition of bipartisan support for Israel in Congress.

Such officially authorized criticisms of diplomats from major allies are unusual.

In a telephone interview late Wednesday, Mr. Dermer said, “I have no regrets whatsoever that I have acted in a way to advance my country’s interests.” He said he never meant to slight the White House by keeping the confidence of the House speaker, who had suggested the invitation. He said he left it to Mr. Boehner to notify Mr. Obama’s team.

“My understanding was that it was the speaker’s prerogative to do, and that he would be the one to inform the administration,” Mr. Dermer said. “The prime minister feels very strongly that he has to speak on this issue. That’s why he accepted the invitation, not to wade into your political debate or make this a partisan issue, and not to be disrespectful to the president.”

(…)

In response, the White House has called the invitation a breach of diplomatic protocol and announced that Mr. Obama would not meet with Mr. Netanyahu when he visits. Administration officials maintained that the decision to avoid Mr. Netanyahu was consistent with a policy of not meeting with world leaders close to their elections — Israel’s is two weeks after the speech — to avoid the appearance of influence. But that policy has been ignored in the past. On Capitol Hill, Democrats have called the invitation a political stunt to undercut the president. It has also inserted Mr. Netanyahu into the middle of a dispute between Mr. Obama and congressional Republicans over new Iran sanctions, which the president opposes until international negotiations to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon play out.

This isn’t the first indication of strained relations between the Obama Administration and Netanyahu, of course. Virtually from the start of the Obama Administration there have been signs both public and private that the two men don’t exactly get along and that they have fundamentally different ideas about how to proceed on a whole range of issues, not the least of them being the issue of the Iranian nuclear program. It’s also fairly clear that Republicans in Congress have been using the U.S. relationship with Israel as a needle to poke President Obama with for years now, and that this invitation, which is clearly designed to influence debate on a piece of legislation that the White House has said that it opposes and would likely veto if it ever got to the President’s desk, is designed to poke even further at that wound. What that’s exactly intended to accomplish, of course, is another issue. Poisoning the well of  the U.S.-Israeli relationship hardly seems like a productive endeavor, for example, and yet it seems clear that this is pretty much all that a move like this on Congress’s part is going to accomplish. Additionally, the invitation plays into the long-standard Republican claim that the Obama Administration’s policies, both regarding Iran and regarding the Palestinian issue, have been openly anti-Israeli, a claim that resonates well with the base of the Republican party.

Interestingly, this entire kerfuffle is also having an impact in Israel, which Prime Minister Netenyahu is being heavily criticized for taking steps that seem only to be harming his country’s most important diplomatic relationship:

Michael B. Oren, who spent four years as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ambassador to Washington, has called on Mr. Netanyahu to cancel his speech to Congress about Iran. Amos Yadlin, a former military intelligence chief who frequently briefed the Israeli prime minister on security matters, denounced the event as “irresponsible.”

Both men criticized their former boss for politicizing issues vital to Israel’s future. Both also have their own political motives: Mr. Oren is running for Parliament with a new center-right party, and Mr. Yadlin is the defense-minister designee of the center-left party Zionist Camp.

If Mr. Netanyahu imagined that the speech, scheduled for two weeks before the March 17 elections in Israel, would bolster his status as statesman, the undiplomatic way it was arranged has instead given his challengers an opening to undermine his main campaign platform. The backlash, not only from the White House but also from congressional Democrats, has reverberated in Israel, where maintaining bipartisan support in Congress is considered as crucial as preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. On Tuesday Senate Democrats who had been pushing a new sanctions bill against Iran — which Mr. Netanyahu supports — said they would hold off a vote until late March, handing the Obama adminstration a victory.

As in America, conservatives like Mr. Netanyahu tend to have the advantage when election campaigns are about security, and so far his opponents have emphasized pocketbook issues and corruption. But political analysts say that international isolation is a prime public concern of Israelis, and that attacking Mr. Netanyahu for deteriorating relations with Washington, Israel’s main defender on the world stage, could be a winning message in a tightening race.

the (…)

Isaac Herzog, the leading challenger for the premiership, said on Army Radio, “What Netanyahu is doing with this violent behavior is to harm the security interests of Israel.” Mr. Herzog’s partner in the Zionist Camp, Tzipi Livni — a former foreign minister who has made her relationships with foreign leaders a prime campaign point — called the speech “gravely irresponsible.”

Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, a centrist faction focused mainly on economic issues, warned, “This damage will take a long time to mend.”

Yehuda Ben Meir, an expert on public opinion at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said surveys had consistently shown that Israelis see a decrease in American support and a nuclear-armed Iran “as the two most serious threats, almost equal in severity.” Israelis are highly critical of Mr. Obama, and may appreciate Mr. Netanyahu’s standing up to him, but losing congressional Democrats, Mr. Ben Meir said, would play differently.

“Most people in Israel feel or think or believe that mainly this was done for internal political reasons,” Mr. Ben Meir said. “His base may say he went because of the Iranian issue, but those swing voters — and what’s important is always the swing vote — it could among certain parts of the electorate harm him. It might be that he didn’t properly estimate the fallout.”

I am not nearly familiar enough with Israeli politics to even begin to comment on whether or not Netenyahu may be vulnerable in the upcoming elections, or the extent to which these latest moves on his part will end up harming him politically. However, it does seem as though the Prime Minister is at least creating the impression at home that he is allowing himself to be drawn into a political dispute between the Republicans in Congress and the President in a way that a foreign leader ought to be careful to avoid. In general, support for Israel has always been a bipartisan issue in the United States but, in recent years, the GOP has attempted to turn support for Israel into a partisan issue, in no small part by attempting to define it as being equal to support for the agenda that Prime Minister Netanyahu advocates. With alarming regularity, anyone who seems to question that agenda has been labeled as “anti-Israeli,” or, worse, anti-Semitic, if they dare to express an opinion that diverges from what the current Israeli government advocates. According to this version of reality, the Obama Administration has been blatantly opposed to Israel notwithstanding the fact that the  public stance of the United States on every major issue affecting Israel remains unchanged under this President.

Additionally, even if these latest developments don’t end up harming Prime Minister Netanyahu in the upcoming elections, it’s hard to see how he is helping the long term interests of his country by becoming involved so openly in a partisan political dispute in Washington. Given the fact that he spent much of his early life in the United States, Prime Minister Netanyahu is no doubt well aware of the way politics works in America. It’s therefore hard to believe that he doesn’t see how accepting this invitation from Congress will be seen as nothing more than a partisan thumb in the eye of the President of the United States while at the same time tying his nation to the political fortunes of the Republican Party going forward. Since it’s equally likely that the next President will come from the Democratic Party, one has to wonder how he thinks making the U.S.-Israeli relationship so heavily partisan is at all in his country’s interest.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Barack Obama, Congress, Middle East, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    If Netenyahyu is going to continue to interfere in US domestic politics, I can see some large cuts in US aid as a viable option. Maybe that will get someones attention in Israel.

  2. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Doug, you might want to take note that the State Department is currently funding a group that’s working like hell to defeat Netanyahu in the upcoming elections… with the paid-for help of several former Obama campaign officials.

    And we also know that the Obama administration has a pretty poor opinion of Netanyahu already.

    Finally, it might have escaped your notice, but Congress is a co-equal branch of government, and there is no law or rule that says Congress has to consult with the executive branch before inviting people to address Congress. So what’s the big deal?

  3. Tillman says:

    Foreign policy throughout human history is full of outsider nations influencing the internal politics of erstwhile allies by seeking to promote those closer to their interests. It’s never been taken well, but it has always happened.

    The Obama administration continued to shelter Israel in the UN from international expressions of condemnation despite the poor rapport they’ve had, so Netanyahu has calculated (perhaps accurately) that the Israeli alliance still retains bipartisan support. It’s completely mental — congressmen preferring a foreign leader or country to their own — but that’s what we have.

    I actually hope Netanyahu turns it into a partisan issue, if only so we can have officials saying what bloggers have been saying forever: this alliance is becoming one-sided, and the Israelis do not listen to us.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    Does Boehner think this somehow undercuts Hillary, or is it another concession demanded by the Tea Party, or is Boehner so deep in the bubble himself he couldn’t see this coming? My own estimate is that he’s so deep into the pockets of AIPAC and friends that he does what they say without worrying about consequences.

  5. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: To be accurate, the State Department is funding a group that has partnered with another group entirely, and that other group is the one working to bring down Bibi.

    Further, the State Department-funded group’s stated aim is promoting the viewpoints of moderate Israelis and Palestinians. It makes some sense they’d be opposed, if only by registering more voters and through GOTV campaigns, to Netanyahu.

    Finally, this is orders of magnitude beneath what’s going on with Congress and Netanyahu in terms of “one nation meddling in the internal affairs of another.”

  6. Scott says:

    However, it does seem as though the Prime Minister is at least creating the impression at home that he is allowing himself to be drawn into a political dispute between the Republicans in Congress and the President in a way that a foreign leader ought to be careful to avoid.

    That is pretty passive. “he’s allowing himself..” Seems to me that Netanyahu is a full partner in the decision.

    There is a further entanglement. Ambassador Dermer is American born and a former Republican operative. He worked for Frank Luntz in the 90s and gave up his American citizenship in 2005. Netanyahu is known for his early relationship with Romney at Bain Capital. This does open them both up to criticism and suspicion.

  7. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I should also add that, speaking strictly from a pragmatic sense, it’s become more advantageous to be perceived as an “enemy” of the US instead of as a “friend.” Witness the treatment the Obama administration has given Israel, the UK, France, and Kadaffy’s Libya vs. how they’ve treated Russia, Iran, North Korea, the Taliban…

  8. Jonathan says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You could argue this is a violation of the Logan Act. I am not saying I would go that far, but it is an arguable point

  9. Scott says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: @Jenos Idanian #13:

    there is no law or rule

    You must be a lawyer. You confuse laws or rules with ethics, tradition, common sense, etc. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

  10. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    How has the Obama administration wronged the UK or France? Please be specific. As for Kadafi, well, he was a mass murderer of American citizens. He may have been a friend of yours, but he was no friend of mine.

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Kadafi was turned by the Bush administration. He paid compensation for his terrorist acts, surrendered his entire WMD program, gave up tons of intel on terrorists, and in general had his “come-to-Jesus” moment.

    And when Kadafi faced a rebellion, we didn’t stay out of it — Obama threw his support behind the rebels. Gee, I hope Iran wasn’t paying attention to that when they were talking with Obama’s representatives about Iran’s nuclear program, because they just might see what happens to those who cut deals with the US about WMD programs…

  12. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Kadafi was turned by the Bush administration. He paid compensation for his terrorist acts

    I’m sorry, you don’t get to slaughter Americans and then buy your way out of it. It’s simple – do what he did, and one day we will come for you.

    “paid compensation for his terrorist acts” – my God, if Obama said this, your head would explode.

  13. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Scott: You must be a lawyer. You confuse laws or rules with ethics, tradition, common sense, etc. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

    Sir, you issue me a grave insult. “You must be a lawyer.” For your slander, I demand satisfaction. My seconds will be in touch with yours, so we may settle this as men of honor.

    But seriously, you bring up an interesting point. The Obama administration gets bent out of shape for the violation of unwritten rules, but completely ignores the written rules whenever they prove inconvenient. (Numerous examples available upon request.)

    Given Congress violating unwritten rules and the Executive ignoring written rules, I’ll be more concerned about the latter.

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I’m sorry, you don’t get to slaughter Americans and then buy your way out of it. It’s simple – do what he did, and one day we will come for you.

    So glad to hear you say that. Welcome to the side that wants nothing to do with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, Iran, Fatah/PLO/Palestinian Authority, Islamic Jihad, the Weather Underground…

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I’m sorry, you don’t get to slaughter Americans and then buy your way out of it. It’s simple – do what he did, and one day we will come for you.

    “paid compensation for his terrorist acts” – my God, if Obama said this, your head would explode.

    Seriously, welcome to the real world. This is what nation-states do. Kadafi did a lot of bad things, then did some good things to buy his way out of international pariahhood. And those things were things of great value to the world.

    Realpolitik. Look it up.

  16. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So glad to hear you say that. Welcome to the side that wants nothing to do with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, Iran, Fatah/PLO/Palestinian Authority, Islamic Jihad, the Weather Underground…

    Since we are talking about nation states, let’s talk about nation states. Please provide details of the mass murder of Americans by Iran.

  17. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Okay, Kaddafi paid us off. How have we wronged the UK and France to the degree that they’d prefer to be our enemies? Point of fact, you’ve not really supported the earlier assertion you made.

  18. lounsbury says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    In what daft and idiotic world do you live that you believe that this is true?

    Treatment that US gave France? You mean the sheer and grotesque idiocy of Fox News re UK and France that literally the entire world was laughing at, besides you idiot drooling partisan hacks?

    Bloody twit.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Shhhhh. Don’t try to talk about foreign policy. Sit down, over there in the corner, and listen while the grown-ups are talking.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    Somehow I get the sneaky feeling that we’re never going to be able to look at the US-Israel relationship realistically until the whole thing DOES go to pot, the Likudniks hitch their horses so tightly to the Republican Party that there’s no light between them, we end up electing some president who actually goes to war with Iran, we get dragged into an N-year long morass just feeding more $ and sending more and more manpower off to die in Iran, Iran goes down and gets replaced with some ISIS-like anarchic mess…..

    At which point I can see the average American becoming totally fed up with Israel and rejecting any more involvement in the Mideast. But only then.

    Oh well, welcome to the abyss.

  21. humanoid.panda says:

    @Tillman:

    Further, the State Department-funded group’s stated aim is promoting the viewpoints of moderate Israelis and Palestinians. It makes some sense they’d be opposed, if only by registering more voters and through GOTV campaigns, to Netanyahu.

    Point of fact: in Israel, as in most democracies, there is no such thing as “registering voters”, thank God. You get your state ID in the mail when you are 16, and then get added to the voter database when you are 18, and from that point on, you are an eligible voter.

  22. Deserttrek says:

    obama and the left hate Israel and a speech will not damage anything .. the fact that the taxpayers via the state department are trying to undermine Netenyahu and the elections in Israel ….. no the speech will help the free world, not hurt it.

  23. Deserttrek says:

    @michael reynolds: when you grow up let the world know

  24. Tillman says:

    @humanoid.panda: Well, obviously this is socialism, having a national ID. 🙂

  25. humanoid.panda says:

    I am not nearly familiar enough with Israeli politics to even begin to comment on whether or not Netenyahu may be vulnerable in the upcoming elections, or the extent to which these latest moves on his part will end up harming him politically.

    In general, Bibi’s allure was always built on four fundamental pillars.

    1. He branded himself as a free market magician- that pillar fell away in 2008.
    2. He is Mr. Security, who will keep Israelis safe from the Hitler of the day. That pillar is half-standing, but more and more people are noticing that with all his bravura, he dares not to attack Iran, and when he had the chance to bring Hammas down he (wisely) declined to take it.
    3. He knows America like no one else, and is Israel’s best propagandist. Clearly, this incident is weakens that pillar, but a lot of his core supporters think America is a lost case anyway since its ruled by Barack HUSSEIN Obama.
    4. Demographically, the camp he is leading ( roughly speaking,an alliance of Sephardic Jews, Religious Zionists, and Russians, with outside support of the ultra-orthodox) is bigger than the other camp (secular Ashkenazis, with outside support of Israeli Palestinians). Think Red America vs. Blue America, but with Red America growing much, much faster. There are some indications that this camp is growing slightly smaller, as lost of older Russian immigrants are dying, and younger ones behaving more like secular Ashkenazis, but I think that in the end, the demographics will deliver Bibi four more years.

  26. humanoid.panda says:

    Now, Bibi still might fall victim to criminal stupidity

    It emerged on Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, kept thousands of shekels from deposits on empty bottles that were returned, on her orders, to supermarkets in Jerusalem over the course of several years even though the bottle deposits were state property

    Two years ago, the Netanyahus returned $1,000 for the bottle deposits to the state, estimating that the deposits totalled $250 per year. However, according to a former employee of the Netanyahus the amount they owed the state for the bottle deposits — which she had been collecting since her husband became prime minister in 2009 — totalled thousands of shekels more than what they returned — and that the prime minister must have been aware of that.

    The problem is of course that unlike the US, poltiics is not a zero sum game: people pissed with Bibi or disgusted by his corruption might still vote for other Right wing parties that will ally with him post-elections.

  27. humanoid.panda says:

    @Deserttrek:

    obama and the left hate Israel and a speech will not damage anything .. the fact that the taxpayers via the state department are trying to undermine Netenyahu and the elections in Israel ….. no the speech will help the free world, not hurt i

    You know less than nothing, Jon Snow.

  28. anjin-san says:

    @anjin-san:

    Perhaps the folks who downvoted me can answer this simple challenge:

    Please provide details of the mass murder of Americans by Iran.

  29. humanoid.panda says:

    @anjin-san: Well, Iran had trained and armed Hizbullah, that has quite a bit of American blood on its hands.

  30. Tony W says:

    Okay, I get that the region is prominently featured in the Christian bible – is that alone why old white Republicans don’t need a blue pill on evenings they discuss Israel? I have never understood the fascination….

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: In addition to Hezbollah, Iran was quite active in Iraq during our occupation, supplying weapons to the terrorists. Also, several Iranian military officers were killed or captured by US forces in Iraq.

    How’s that crow taste? Must be a hard-knock life, getting smacked around whenever you venture away from personal attacks and step into the treacherous world of actually discussing facts…

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Jeebus… You’ve said some stupid things in the past, but this one nears the top in total disconnect from reality.

  33. Davebo says:

    Has Doug been sleeping for the last two weeks?

  34. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You cut me to the quick, sir. I am gravely wounded by your harsh words and harsher intent. I now withdraw to lick my wounds and mutter juvenile imprecations.

  35. Will Taylor says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Don’t forget about those peaceful folk they support in Yemen. I think they also just put out a hit on Bibi and his family. These mullahs are so misunderstood, aren’t they? Obama wants us to believe this is like Egypt under Sadat, but thankfully the majority of Americans are not fooled

  36. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Davebo: Has Doug been sleeping for the last two weeks?

    I was wondering, ‘cuz he missed out on a LOT of good stuff, like the brief plan to tax 529 college funds, massive corruption in New York state, and a few other stories I thought he’d be all over, but he did wake up long enough to renew his crush on Sarah Palin.

    But then again, the Palin piece could have been nocturnal. I’ve suspected that he could do those pieces in his sleep, and he very well might have…

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Also, several Iranian military officers were killed or captured by US forces in Iraq.

    Wow. Just wow. Like we…. What? Is there even a point here? Tell me Jenos, and justify please, OUR presence in Iraq? And THEN condemn the Iranian presence there.

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t particularly feel like having this pointless fight again, but our troops were in uniform and we had an AUMF. The Iranians were out of uniform and acting covertly, without a declaration of war.

    In other words, war crimes.

    But I should have spelled it out: Iran was providing training, equipment, and direct assistance to the insurgents in Iraq killing our troops.

  39. Matt says:

    @humanoid.panda: Well the USA overthrew a democratically elected government in Iran in order to install a brutal tyrant that tortured and murdered tens to hundreds of thousands of Iranians….

    I imagine if that happened in the USA we’d still be mad about that….

    That’s just one event though. We’ve been messing with Iranians for basically a hundred years now. Overall millions of Iranians have died because of our actions..

  40. anjin-san says:

    While we are discussing Iran, perhaps we should think back to the large amounts of support we lent to the the butcher Saddam Hussein in his war of aggression against Iran. You know, things like helping Iraq launch WMD attacks against Iranian troops.

    How many Iranians died in that war? Hundreds of thousands? We f**ked Iran in ’53, and then again in the 80s. Are we that sure that we are the victims here?

  41. Matt says:

    @anjin-san: I mean the gall of Iran to dare involve themselves in the actions of a failed state on their border.

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Matt: I mean the gall of Iran to dare involve themselves in the actions of a failed state on their border.

    The question was when Iran was killing Americans, not whether they were justified in killing Americans. But you, Matt, and anjin make a compelling argument that Iran was justified in killing Americans there. I’m going to have to give that some thought — maybe those dead Americans had it coming, after all…

  43. Will Taylor says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    i was pretty surprised that the Sheldon Silver story was not mentioned at all on here. i don’t think most people were aware of just how much power this guy had over NY for over 20 years. Every Republican and Democrat had to bend the knee to this guy at the cost of the people of NY. i don’t recall anyone else wielding that kind of power in NY since Robert Moses.

  44. anjin-san says:

    @Matt:

    I wonder how we would respond if a hostile power invaded Canada or Mexico…

  45. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The question was when Iran was killing Americans,

    No, it was not. I asked about mass murder – we were discussing the mass murder of American civilians by your “friend” Kadafi.

    A war zone is a bit different. There was a great line in Apocalypse Now, something along the lines of “charging a man with murder here is like giving out a speeding ticket at the Indy 500”

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I believe we have treaties with Canada, and in Mexico’s case, there are these things called “drug cartels” that, while technically not an invasion, but they might qualify as a hostile power taking control of the country.

    But in Canada’s case, we wouldn’t send in special forces out of uniform and deny it. We’d be pretty open about fighting the invaders. Unlike Iran…

  47. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: then stick with their puppet in Hezbollah. They’ve got plenty of American blood on their hands. Also through Hamas, Islamic Jihad… plenty more than Khadafi had.

  48. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    we wouldn’t send in special forces out of uniform and deny it

    This seems to be your objection – that Iran had combatants/advisors “out of uniform.”

    Perhaps you are not aware that we have a long history of doing exactly the sam thing. Perhaps you are and you are just ignoring an inconvenient fact.

    How is it than when we do it, it’s ok, an when they do it, it’s a horrible crime?

  49. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: So, you’re back to the “those dead Americans had it coming, Iran was justified” argument? Don’t see how that’s overly relevant, as you’ve once again led the discussion far, far astray from the topic, and it’s not the sort of argument I’d be proud of making, but I stopped trying to understand the way your head works a long time ago.

  50. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, you’re back to the “those dead Americans had it coming, Iran was justified” argument?

    I curious, have you ever, ever make this kind of chickenshit, infantile accusation to another guys face?

    No? I did not think so.

  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    there is no law or rule

    Yea, there is actually. It’s called diplomatic protocol. Ambassadors are certified via letters of credence exchanged between heads of state

    This is the reason, for example, that foreign ambassadors do not present their credentials to the Prime Minister in the UK (because he is not the head of state); they present them to the Queen (because she IS the head of state).

    In the US, our head of state is not the Speaker of the House of Representatives. It is the president. Foreign policy is the domain of the executive branch.

    Bibi is stepping all over protocol in an attempt to get himself reelected. Boehner is stepping all over protocol in an attempt to injure the president politically. Neither seems to give much of a flip about the relationship between our two countries (which, as Tillman noted, has gotten a lot more poisonous and one-sided over the last few years – and I say that as a Jew …)

    I suspect Bibi doesn’t yet fully grasp how badly he just miscalculated. Yet another example of the politics of cynical-self-interest being placed above national interest.

  52. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: This seems to be your objection – that Iran had combatants/advisors “out of uniform.”

    See Ex parte Quirin.

  53. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: If that’s not the argument you’re intending to make, then you might think about how you’re making your argument. Because you’ve cited all kinds of rationales for why it was OK for Iran to act when it was killing Americans. If your intention was something other than “Iran was within its rights to kill those Americans,” then you’re doing an incredibly bad job of it.

  54. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Yea, there is actually. It’s called diplomatic protocol. Ambassadors are certified via letters of credence exchanged between heads of state

    Why don’t you show that you actually have legal credentials, then, and cite the specific laws being violated in this case? You’ve gone straight from A to Z, without actually connecting the dots.

  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Deserttrek:

    I never cease to be amused at how much more Zionist US Christians tend to be in comparison to US Jews (myself included).

    My grandparents? Oh yea, but today’s generation? I seriously doubt that my kids either know or care much about Likud. They’re Americans. Israel, in their eyes, is a quaint place that we occasionally visit while on vacation.

  56. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Ex parte Quirin

    What uniform do CIA operatives we send into other countries wear?

  57. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I curious, have you ever, ever make this kind of chickenshit, infantile accusation to another guys face?

    My, it seems that I’m inspiring you to crass profanities and insinuations of threats of violence. Perhaps you should learn to grow up a little there.

  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    While you missed the second part of your statement, specifically that there is no “rule” (diplomatic protocol pretty much counts as rules, buddy), sure.

    Article 2, Section 3, Clause 4:

    “he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers”

    The Constitution makes it pretty clear here that 1) the president is the head of state with respect to diplomacy, and that 2) receiving ambassadors and foreign ministers is the prerogative of the executive, reserved to said branch by the Constitution. Boehner has no constitutional position with respect to sidestepping the executive and conducting foreign policy on his own initiative.

    Truthfully, we’ve reacted somewhat tepidly. The correct action to have taken, at least in the lens of the previous history of diplomacy, would have been to revoke Dermer’s credence and send him home on the first plane out of Dulles.

    Luckily, we’re being a bit more measured in our response.

    Your ball …

  59. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Iran was within its rights to kill those Americans,”

    I’m making the argument that Iran’s actions are understandable, given our long history of active hostility towards their country and the terrible price the Iranian people have paid for it. You can understand the actions of another, yet not approve of them or sanction them.

    I realize that concept probably requires more brainpower than you are bringing to the table.

  60. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: What uniform do CIA operatives we send into other countries wear?

    Last time I checked, they’d retired the Girl Scout uniforms, but I’ve been out of touch.

    But I was referring to members of the armed forces, not intelligence operatives.

  61. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Wow, thanks for the actual citation. Let’s look at the full quotation:

    He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

    I’ll skip a lengthy snark about how Obama’s ignored the penultimate phrase there and go right to the key point: Netanyahu isn’t an ambassador, he’s a head of state. And while yes, it’s traditional that visiting heads of state meet with the president, it’s hardly written in law.

    And if Obama really objects, then he has the authority to prevent it. Netanyahu can’t set foot in the US without the permission of the State Department, which answers to Obama. All Obama has to do is tell John Kerry to deny Netanyahu permission to enter the US. IThat is an exclusive power of the Executive, as I recall.

    Since they aren’t forbidding the visit, then they have granted permission for it. So what’s the problem?

  62. wr says:

    @anjin-san: “What uniform do CIA operatives we send into other countries wear?”

    Why the uniform of truth, justice and the American way. Obvously.

  63. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “I never cease to be amused at how much more Zionist US Christians tend to be in comparison to US Jews (myself included).”

    They are currently busy being more Catholic than the pope. They are a busy crew indeed.

  64. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Netanyahu isn’t an ambassador, he’s a head of state.

    Which falls under “foreign ministers”. Beyond that, diplomatic protocol dictates that heads of state meet with other heads of state. Like it or not, while we might theoretically have three co-equal branches of government, the president is both the head of state and the head of government in the US. Diplomatically, the ball stops at his desk. It doesn’t bounce down Pennsylvania Avenue.

    That having been said, you are sidestepping the point. The origin of this little ballet was an overture from Boehner to Dermer. Boehner sidestepped diplomatic protocol and subverted the constitutional prerogatives of the executive in order to pull a political stunt that, ultimately, further damages the already poisonous and one-sided relationship between the US and Israel. Dermer acted in breach of diplomatic protocol by not going through the executive in setting up this meeting.

    Denying Netanyahu entry just flips the domestic political damage back onto the president and plays into Boehner’s ploy. Far better to let this thing blow up on its own, and allow public distaste for the tactics (both here and in Israel) to drive the eventual mea culpa that is almost certainly forthcoming.

  65. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Denying Netanyahu entry just flips the domestic political damage back onto the president and plays into Boehner’s ploy. Far better to let this thing blow up on its own, and allow public distaste for the tactics (both here and in Israel) to drive the eventual mea culpa that is almost certainly forthcoming.

    If you don’t care for that argument, don’t blame me. I just took the “if you think Obama’s wrong about X, then why don’t you impeach him?” argument and adapted it to these circumstances.

    Obama had the choice of embracing the visit, blocking it, or whining. I dunno who thought whining was the best choice, but that’s how they went.

  66. michael reynolds says:

    The letter of the law discussion avoids the essential point. Bibi Netanyahu is trying to get the United States to goto war with Iran. The Speaker of the House is conspiring with a foreign head of state to get this country, this country’s airmen and soldiers, and this country’s money, to fight a war that is not in the interests of the United States.

    The White House is right: Bibi’s too chickensh-t to do it himself. Boehner is helping him to drag us into war.

  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Obama had the choice of embracing the visit, blocking it, or whining. I dunno who thought whining was the best choice, but that’s how they went.

    He’s taking the 4th option that you (for obvious reasons) avoided including: allowing your political opponents to figure out how to do damage control when they have walked themselves out onto the plank.

    The basic point here is that Bibi is trying to get himself reelected. He seriously misjudged how his actions would be received in Israel, and based on the degree of anger they’re being viewed with, you can almost certainly expect him to reconsider his decision in the near future. He might be a bit of a loon, but he’s first and foremost a politician – one facing a close reelection battle in which he just damaged himself – and he’ll react like one.

    Obama has to do nothing beyond what he has already done – make it clear by implication that he, not Boehner, not Congress, is the head of state – to achieve multiple objectives. 1) Bibi suddenly remembers who runs the US diplomatic show and 2) Boehner ends up looking even more like a buffoon. It’s a political victory for the president handed to him by Republicans too stupid to notice that water is indeed wet – and he had to do nothing to obtain it.

  68. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    the “if you think Obama’s wrong about X, then why don’t you impeach him?” argument

    Except that’s not the argument Democrats make. They are arguing “If you really think Obama should be impeached, why don’t you grow a pair and do it instead of keeping it as a long running wet dream to titillate the rubes”?

  69. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    See Ex parte Quirin.

    See Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and Boumediene v. Bush

  70. Modulo Myself says:

    It’s as if the Republicans created a 2015 American Junta Coup Kick-off Facebook page explaining where loyal military leaders are going to meet in Washington to begin the government’s total overthrow. This is that kind of judgement.

    There was an anonymous months ago from a nameless White House person saying they thought Netanyahu had Asperger’s. Obviously, he doesn’t, but the misreading of the situation is pretty profound. That goes for the Ambassador to Israel as well. Maybe he’s working for the Iranians, just like Chalabi.

  71. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    insinuations of threats of violence

    I’m curious, how am I going to be “violent” against an anonymous peckerwood on the internet? Even you are not that simple, so put away you victimhood.

    I’m simply pointing out the kind of guy you are – a big talker when he’s in his living room behind a locked door, and no one knows who he is. Kind of a quite little mouse when he’s around other men in the real world.

  72. Humanoid.panda says:

    @Matt: Millions? look, overthrowing mossadeqh was a terrible error and I duly support Obama’s negotiations, but you can’t just pull numbers like that out of nowhere.

  73. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: Maybe you want to log off for the night. If Jenos slaps you any harder, it could leave a permanent mark. So far, you’ve said or at least implied that Iran wasn’t responsible for any American dead, then that if they were it was justified, then that you didn’t say that it was justified, then that Jenos was being infantile, and do you want to take this outside? Walk away, Anjin. There’s no shame in walking away with your pride…well, actually, it was totally destroyed, and I guess there is shame in it, but the longer you stay out here the worse it’s getting.

  74. Davebo says:

    @Pinky

    Well, if anyone would know shame..

    But glad to see you back. Shame obviously can be overcome.

  75. anjin-san says:

    @Pinky:

    So far, you’ve said or at least implied that Iran wasn’t responsible for any American dead,

    Umm. No. We were discussing the mass murder of civilians, and I asked if Iran had engaged in mass murder of Americans. When you have to make things up to support your argument, you have a lousy argument.

    At any rate, I can see another commentator already smacked you clean off the planet, so I will simply wish you bon voyage.

  76. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    Here’s something you might want to read. I wrote it for Jenos, but clearly it applies to you as well.

    @anjin-san:

  77. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Netanyahu isn’t an ambassador, he’s a head of state.

    Nope. He is the head of government. Israel´s President Reuven Rivlin is the head of state.

  78. bk says:

    Just remember that this guy’s screen name is an anagram of “Indiana Jones”.

  79. Tillman says:

    Huh. A thread with no yellow posts but a bunch of “Hot Debates.” That’s new and exciting.

  80. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I touched base with some friends in Israel. What I am hearing from them is

    1) Likud is looking increasingly likely to lose its majority coalition position in the upcoming election. 75% of Israeli voters voted against Likud in the last election, and Netanyahu was only able to retain his position as Prime Minister by forging a coalition with the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party. At present, the polling indicates that Yisrael Beiteinu may not even pass the voter threshold to make it into the Knesset, and Likud is flying alone in this election. Meanwhile, Labor and Hatnua have formed a coalition which looks to gain more seats than Likud will. Kadima may join that as well. It’s looking increasingly like Livni and Herzog will be sharing the PM spot over the next term.

    2) Dermer apparently violated Israel’s version of the Hatch Act by openly advocating for Netahyahu’s reelection on US television. They’re quite upset about that over there, so we’ll see if it has any consequences / he gets sacked.

  81. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    There’s no question Dermer needs to go. I mean, Jesus Christ, other than feeling up Michele and taking a leak on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial I’m not sure what this clown could do to more thoroughly screw up. I love that he’s an American Republican. He’s done an effective job of transmitting to the Israeli people just how dumb Bibi’s new best friends are.

  82. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You’ll get a kick out of this one – many folks over there (including some in the press) have taken to calling Bibi the Republican Senator from Israel. He has seriously pissed some people off.

  83. C. Clavin says:

    Congress didn’t invite Netanyahu…Republicans in Congress invited him.
    Kinda surprised it’s taken you this long to address this travesty…but you are a dutiful water carrier.
    Imagine had Pelosi pulled this crap on Bush???
    At least it seems to be blowing up in Netanyahu and Boehners faces.

  84. Tony W says:

    Since I’m in moderation purgatory, I’ll just leave this. I’m assuming the Israel fetish is tied to the fantasy American Christian cultists have over end-of-the-world stuff. Maybe it’s just time to let Israel defend itself without our help instead of continuing to prop up a failed state, or are the folks in Israel somehow more important than those in failed states elsewhere that we ignore?

  85. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    1) Likud is looking increasingly likely to lose its majority coalition position in the upcoming election. 75% of Israeli voters voted against Likud in the last election, and Netanyahu was only able to retain his position as Prime Minister by forging a coalition with the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party. At present, the polling indicates that Yisrael Beiteinu may not even pass the voter threshold to make it into the Knesset, and Likud is flying alone in this election. Meanwhile, Labor and Hatnua have formed a coalition which looks to gain more seats than Likud will. Kadima may join that as well. It’s looking increasingly like Livni and Herzog will be sharing the PM spot over the next term.

    I wish this was true, but your friends are being optimistic. First off, a lot of the votes lost to Lieberman are going to the Habayit Hayehudi and the new supernationalist that’s running this time. Those guys will join Bibi in his coalition. Kadima is not running this time, after becoming a non-factor in the new election. Labor is gaining, but is getting most its votes from centrist parties, not from the Likud. Unfortunately, the most likely outcome of the election is something like this:
    [Total=120 seats]
    Likud+ Ha Bait ha Yehudi [Settlers]= 40 seats.
    Labor+ Meretz [the left wing secularist party]=32-33 seats
    Extreme right wing parties= 6-10 [this is the great variable: both Lieberman and the new extreme bloc are hovering at the electoral barrier- so this number could be zero]
    Arab coalition= 12
    Ultra Orthodox= 15
    Centrists= 20.
    Under these conditions, Labor could only form a government if it convinces the centrist parties to get support from the Arab bloc- very, very unlikely, or, alternatively, form a left-wing-center-orthodox coalition: also very unlikely as the center parties run on secularist platform. Bibi, however ,could form a right wing- ultra-orthodox coalition pretty easily, and then pressure one of the centrist parties to join the coalition to save the country from the ultra-nationalists.

    One game changer here could be if both Lieberman and the new ultra-nationalist party both come close, but don’t pass the electoral barrier (4% of the votes.) In that case, those seats, representing near 8% of the total vote get spread proportionally acros all parties, making a left-center coalition possible.

  86. Pinky says:

    @Davebo: Davebo – I post at least a dozen comments a week. I’m sure I post twice as often as you do. I also read a good number of threads that I don’t post on, and occasionally up- or down-vote. I’m around.

  87. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Finally, it might have escaped your notice, but Congress is a co-equal branch of government, and there is no law or rule that says Congress has to consult with the executive branch before inviting people to address Congress. So what’s the big deal?

    Congress is not a coequal branch of government when it comes to diplomacy and diplomatic missions. So that’s the big deal.
    If your opinion is based on mis-information and factual errors then your opinion is mis-informed and factually incorrect.

  88. bill says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: yeah, it’s been a pretty weak week!

    not to regurgitate anything but it’s no deep dark secret that the left detests Israel, so screw them.

    obama would rather go to a muslim funeral than offend them by standing with the euro leaders after the hebdo massacre. wonder what he has planned for the Auschwitz memorial?

  89. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Pinky:

    So…you are saying Davebo’s point is correct? Shame must be quite easy to overcome indeed.

  90. Pinky says:

    @Neil Hudelson: You know what my point was. What’s yours? That you’re still angry that someone said something you disagreed with a month ago? Noted.

    (Sorry if I jumped the gun. Your point also could have been that you had no observations to make on the topic.)

  91. gVOR08 says:

    @bill: That’s drifting into Pinky and the cops territory. I realize it’s a waste of time, but I will point out that your statement is a product of your conservative Manichean (black/white, good/bad, us/them) mindset more than of anything anyone on the “left” here or elsewhere has said. That accounts for your inability to distinguish between ‘Israel is making a mistake’ and ‘Israel is evil’. FYI, I believe some of the people on these threads you’re accusing of being Israel hating leftists are in fact moderate Jews.

    With respect to Obama, I’ll just note that pragmatism seems to be a very difficult thing for many conservatives to understand.

  92. Matt says:

    @Humanoid.panda: So we chop up the Ottomon empire into artificial constructs that fail to account for the people actually living there and then we wash our hands of the violence that inevitably occurs as a result? It’s been about 100 years since we (including our allies) screwed up that area of the world. Over those hundred years I’m pretty sure at least a million people have died as a result of the fighting…

    Iran of course being located in the area suffered as a result of the regional instability too.

    For example the Iran Iraq war alone caused up to 900,000 straight deaths in Iran (Iraq claims a bit more) with another up to 500,000 or so wounded. Add that to the victims of the Shah’s regime and you have around 1 million right there. Add in the decades of border skirmishes and other small wars and you’re well over a million..

  93. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    My grasp of Israeli politics is tangential at best, so I’ll defer to your analysis. It would be great if it happened though.

  94. John425 says:

    A team of President Barack Obama’s political operatives arrived in Israel to campaign for the defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the March elections just days after the White House complained about the Israeli leader’s plan to address Congress over Iran’s nuclear program.

    The five Democratic consultants are led by political strategist Jeremy Bird, who was the field director for Obama’s key 2008 South Carolina Democratic primary election when he beat Hillary Clinton, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported this week.
    The American political operatives arrived in Israel only days after Netanyahu angered the White House by accepting an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of Congress over the ongoing international negotiations to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapons.
    Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, and Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, represent the growing bipartisan congressional opposition to Obama’s negotiations. The critics fear the White House is preparing to enter a weak deal with the theocratic government in Tehran that will fail to prevent Iran from building an atomic bomb and threatening Israel.

    It appears that the Lefties on this blog condemn bipartisan international cooperation only because they didn’t offer it first. Not surprisingly, even the self-identified, self-loathing Jews are bashing Israel, privately anticipating Islam’s “Final Solution” with glee. Pitiful. Just wait ’til “they” come after American Jewry, ala Charlie Hebdo.

  95. John425 says:

    @C. Clavin: “If your opinion is based on mis-information and factual errors then your opinion is mis-informed and factually incorrect.”

    Jeez, Cliffie; take a look in the mirror. Whatsamatter? Fall off the gerbil exercise wheel again?

  96. wr says:

    @Pinky: “That you’re still angry that someone said something you disagreed with a month ago?”

    It’s astonishing that you still can’t seem to grasp the fact that there are some things you can say that simply disqualify you from ever being listened to again.

    And guess what — accusing people who disagree with you on politics for cheering the murder of cops is one of them.

    No one’s mad at you, Pinky. We’d have to consider you a human being worth paying attention to for that. And you no longer qualify.

    You want to be part of a conversation? Great. Prove that you’re able to act like a human. Start with an uninflected apology and admission that what you said was an outrageous lie.

    Otherwise go play with little Jenos and the other trolls.

  97. wr says:

    @John425: “Not surprisingly, even the self-identified, self-loathing Jews are bashing Israel, privately anticipating Islam’s “Final Solution” with glee.”

    And right on schedule, another loser steps up to prove himself disqualified from any serious consideration ever again.

  98. humanoid.panda says:

    @Matt:

    For example the Iran Iraq war alone caused up to 900,000 straight deaths in Iran (Iraq claims a bit more) with another up to 500,000 or so wounded. Add that to the victims of the Shah’s regime and you have around 1 million right there. Add in the decades of border skirmishes and other small wars and you’re well over a million..

    Look, I am not a big fan of the imperial division of the Middle East, but to blame it for wars between Iran and its Sunni dominated neighbors is a little ridicilous, given that Persia and the Ottoman Empire spent centuries fighting over that same battleground.

    Additionally, I really do think that to blame the West for a war started by Saddam, an Arab nationalist leading a party that overthrew a neo-colonial regime means basically denying any and all agency to Middle Easterners, and pretend they all are puppets of white dead males.

  99. humanoid.panda says:

    @John425:

    A team of President Barack Obama’s political operatives arrived in Israel to campaign for the defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the March elections just days after the White House complained about the Israeli leader’s plan to address Congress over Iran’s nuclear program.

    Bibi was the first person to introduce American political advisers, always Republicans, into the Israeli political scene, back in 1996 .Ever since, the Likud had been employing Republican and Labor Democratic campaign strategists. Whomever you copied that crap from is lying by omission.

  100. humanoid.panda says:

    @John425:

    Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, and Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, represent the growing bipartisan congressional opposition to Obama’s negotiations

    Yes, and inviting a foreign leader to join that campaign, a step that Menendez had denounced is both counter-productive for that legislation, and is violation of American political norms.
    If you think that sanctions now are necessary to stop the negotiaiton, you should be angry at Boehner, not “leftists.”

    It really amazing the extent to which the GOP had endorsed the hippy ethos: what feels good, must be right!

  101. humanoid.panda says:

    @John425:

    Not surprisingly, even the self-identified, self-loathing Jews are bashing Israel, privately anticipating Islam’s “Final Solution” with glee. Pitiful. Just wait ’til “they” come after American Jewry, ala Charlie Hebdo.

    You are a vile, disgusting, creature.

  102. John425 says:

    @humanoid.panda: @humanoid.panda: And what is a humanoid panda, pray tell; nothing but a vile, disgusting creature.

  103. John425 says:

    @wr: Look at who’s calling who(m) a loser.

  104. humanoid.panda says:

    @John425: Dude, you are supposed to use the rubber and glue thing as a metaphor, not to inhale glue and burning rubber fumes.

  105. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’ll skip a lengthy snark about how Obama’s ignored the penultimate phrase there and go right to the key point: Netanyahu isn’t an ambassador, he’s a head of state I really don’t know WTF I’m talking about.

    FTFY

  106. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I’ve always thought of him as the Israeli Cheney.

  107. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Here’s what is boils down to: Obama, by his actions, doesn’t think Iran getting nuclear weapons is a big deal. Netanyahu disagrees. The Republicans in Congress disagree. A lot of Americans disagree. I disagree. And Congress would like to hear from someone who is a lot closer to the situation, and has a lot more at stake in the situation.

  108. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Here’s what is boils down to: Obama, by his actions, doesn’t think Iran getting nuclear weapons is a big deal.

    So, in summary, you’ve made up a position for Obama that does not exist in the real world.

    Got it.

  109. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @anjin-san:

    And, of course, the fact that Boehner is looking for a little payback just after he got smacked on this issue in a SOTU address, or the fact that Bibi is facing an election he’s worried about losing just two weeks after this little speech campaign commercial of his means absolutely nothing to Jenos & Friends. It’s just a coincidence. All is as advertised. No politicking going on. Nothing to see here; move along folks.

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain …

    (It almost makes me wish I had a carload of snake oil I needed to unload, because this is a target rich audience …)

  110. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: If you listen to Obama’s words, then it’s clear that he’s opposed to Iran getting nukes. But if you look at his actions, you get an entirely different story.