I want to express how I feel about Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress yesterday. The problem is that about a year ago, I decided to remove coarse language from blog posts (except when quoting someone). And it seems that most of what I want to say really needs to be laced with profanities to get across my anger. I want him to leave my country and never come back. I want Israel to do something about him. As far as I know, the people of Israel are not too fond of how partisan Netanyahu has made relations with the United States. During the 2012 election, he was pretty clear who his choice for president was. But it should be clear to everyone in the world that Israel desperately needs the support of the United States. And if one of the two main political parties begins thinking that Israel is more of a problem than it’s worth, that’s very bad news for Israel. The only way that I could be more angry at Netanyahu is if I were an Israeli.
Let me be clear: the argument that Netanyahu is making is the argument that people always make when they want to stop negotiations. I heard it made again and again about the Soviet Union: it was so bent on world domination that it absolutely couldn’t be trusted to act rationally. These arguments are always shown to be wrong. That doesn’t mean powers like the Soviet Union or Iran are teddy bears that just want to spread sunshine in the world. But as Matt Duss summed up Netanyahu’s argument, “Iran is run by crazy suicidal apocalyptic mullahs who will crack under greater economic pressure.” But the world is a complex place with competing interests. Netanyahu claims that he wants a better deal for the west, but it is clear that what he wants to do is kill the deal. I’m sure he sees this as the best situation. This is also the man who sees the best situation for Israel as more and more illegal settlements to the point where a two state solution is impossible. As a senior administration official said, “The logic of the prime minister’s speech is regime change.” That is: war with Iran.
I think that Nancy Pelosi summed up what I’m feeling, except that I’m not sad; I’m angry (although she followed it up with a bunch of nonsense):
It’s also interesting that the Republicans who rightly bristle at President Obama’s executive action on immigration, should stage a stunt like this. It’s almost treasonous. In their giddy rush to embarrass the president, they have allowed a foreign leader an official opportunity to undermine the nation’s foreign policy. This is not “power of the purse strings” here; this is blatant sabotage. And it doesn’t matter if it is done with the foreign leader of an ally. They are siding with a foreign leader. To embarrass the president. This is the Congress that was going to show the nation that it could govern. I suppose this is one definition of it.
On this particular issue, the interests of the United States and the world do not line up with what Netanyahu thinks are the interests of Israel. We already knew that. He’s been whining since the negotiations began. There is no deal that he ever would have been okay with. If the emerging deal were half as good for the P5+1, he would have said it wasn’t good enough. If it were twice as good, he would have said it wasn’t good enough. No deal is good enough because in his mind Iran is the Islamic State is Nazi Germany. He wants an invasion of Iran. And I can’t say if that’s in the interests of Israel or not — in the long term I suspect it isn’t. But I know it is not in the interests of the United States and the world.