Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Message to Congress: Never Again!

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressing Congress earlier today (NYT)
James Clapper is the Director National Intelligence. This office is responsible for coordinating all American intelligence agencies. It is in this capacity that he advises the President. If there is anyone who knows the truth about Iran, it is Mr. Clapper.

He was interviewed on PBS by Charlie Rose. Clapper spoke very highly of Israel’s intelligence community and the cooperation between the two countries. It is closer now than ever. It will probably remain that way.

I don’t see how the deal being negotiated between the US and Iran can in any way be supported. As it is currently structured, at best the deal will allow Iran to maintain all of its nuclear infrastructure and will only delay any further progress towards nuclear weapons for 10 years.

There is no requirement for Iran to dismantle a single centrifuge that enriches uranium to weapons grade level. Iran will have eliminated sanctions and retain their ability to get a nuclear weapon. They will maintain the expertise and the infrastructure do so.

This is a bad deal. And congress needs to be made aware of just how bad it is for both the US and its closest ally in the Middle East, Israel. That’s what Israel’s leader is here to do.

In my considered opinion, all the anti Netanyahu rhetoric both here and Israel is based on politics or on personal hatred. Not on substance. Because if they cared even half as much as the man who is 3rd in line to succeed the President does they would be thanking both him for inviting - and the Prime Minister for accepting. And yet the partisan politics are so bad that some 30 Democrats will be boycotting Netanyahu’s speech to this rare joint session of Congress. Not that there will be an empty seat in the house. It is the hottest ticket in Washington in a long time.

What about the supposed deterioration of the US Israel relationship? That is ridiculous. Even the boycotters know that. That is what they say they are protesting… the undermining of bi-partisan support. But don’t they see that they are the ones undermining it? If they really supported Israel they wouldn’t be boycotting the speech. I could understand criticizing the way in which this came about. But don’t blame Israel for doing whatever it can to avoid a deal that would hurt it.

The evidence that there will be no harm to the relationship is clear. The White House went out of its way to show just how close the relationship is yesterday in order to dispel such notions. I don’t even think there is any real hatred between the 2 leaders. - despite the constant barrage of media pundits saying there is. Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to AIPAC, a pro Israel advocacy group. As I expected he praised the relationship that Israel has with the US and clearly stated that he respects both the office of the President as well as the President himself. This got one of many standing ovations.

They both agree that Iran’s pursuit of Nuclear weapons must be stopped. The only difference is in how to do that. That’s where the profound differences between them are. He regrets that his visit has been perceived as partisan.  Why did he come now just 2 weeks before the election?  Because the deadline for a deal in the Iran talks is this March 24th. He does not want to fiddle while Rome burns. It is also a fact that Iran is currently in Iraq fighting ISIS. That means that they are getting a foothold there and are in a position to turn Iraq into another Iran.

The partisan politics being played by about 30 members of Congress does not do themselves proud. Boycotting the speech for political reasons while listening to it electronically betrays their statements that they will not hear anything new. What a bunch of fools! Thankfully the vast majority of congress will attend. Including most members of the President’s own political party.

For the first time, a poll by CBS has found that the majority of the American people see Israel as an ally and 75% see them as friendly. Only 15% see them as not friendly or worse. Considering all the hits Netanyahu has taken of late, it is very encouraging to see a rise in American support. 

Contrast that with Europe where antisemitism is on the rise. And who is happiest about European antisemitism? The Supreme Leader. He sees it as a message form God about the rectitude of his position on Israel. He may be a religious leader. But he is also modern day Haman living in the very land where Haman made his mark advocating the same fate for the Jewish people - annihilation! He was ultimately hung on his own gallows. May the Supreme Leader of Iran suffer the same fate.

I known the President wants a lasting legacy after 2 terms in office. But it will not be a good one if this deal is what comes out of it.

I just finished watching Netanyahu address Congress. I don’t know how many standing ovations he got. But I am absolutely certain that they surpassed the number the President got during his State of the Union Address. In every year he has given it so far!  And in most cases the ovation for Netanyahu was bi-partisan.

He first expressed his gratitude to the United States for its support of Israel since Israel’s founding. He went out of his way to thank the President for all he has done for Israel since he has been in office. (Perhaps more than any other President.) Including in areas that he could not speak about since they are classified. He was genuinely grateful to him and to congress.

I think he made his case for opposing the deal with Iran. He made it beautifully. And just as I did above, he compared Iran’s Supreme Leader to Haman.

It is my hope that he swayed enough of congress that might have been sitting on the fence about it - to vote against any deal reached with Iran that does not include a dismantling of its nuclear facilities.

The standing ovation he got when he ended his speech seemed almost endless. It makes me proud to be an American and a proud to be a supporter of the State of Israel.