The United States will always maintain a relationship with the state of Israel. However, just as family members often have disagreements, neither side is always required to be in complete harmony with the other. Israel’s Prime Minister will speak before Congress next Tuesday. Our President will not be attending, nor will Vice-President Biden, Secretary of State Kerry, and other members of Congress. The reason is that this is Speaker of the House John Boehner’s show. Boehner invited the Prime Minister, not the government of our nation. Boehner’s action is detrimental to the relationship between our two nations, and the Speaker has proven once more that he is wrong for America.
The United States and Israel disagree with current negotiations involving Iran’s nuclear capability. That is a situation to be addressed by our State Department, not by Boehner. The Speaker should spend more time doing his job instead of grandstanding for political gain.
Because he is the Prime Minister of Israel does not give Netanyahu credibility. He is seeking reelection in Israel, and his opponents have exposed many actions which create questions of legality. Others criticize his hawkish attitude and lack of ability to obtain peace in the region.
Americans quickly forget, especially if the situation involved immoral or illegal action by our nation. When George W. Bush’s Administration invaded a sovereign nation under false pretenses, Netanyahu was one of Bush’s biggest supporters. He favored the attack, also making the claim that it was justifiable.
Bypassing the President and inviting Netanyahu to speak before Congress is not only a violation of state protocol, it is simply wrong. Boehner is playing politics, with the relationship between two nations, the rapport will be the only possible loser. Nothing will be accomplished by Tuesday’s speech with the exception of increasing the gap between both parties in Washington, and possible harm to negotiations with Iran.
What Boehner has accomplished by his ‘cowboy’ action is to create more dissention, not only within our government, within the entire nation. An article in the Los Angeles Time supports Boehner. The writer labels Iran as evil and denounces an attempt by Mr. Obama to negotiate with the nation. He is another of the ‘shoot first, talk later’ mentality which has made America less safe in the world. He supports Netanyahu simply because of his religion.
On the reverse side, Illinois Representative Jan Schakowsky says she will not be present for Netanyahu’s speech. She is the only Jewish member of the state’s congressional delegation. She continues to hope that the speech will be postponed. Her concerns are that Netanyahu’s speech will damage the extremely delicate negotiations with Iran. Schakowsky is also critical of Boehner’s obvious effort to create the misconception that only Republicans support Israel.
It is entirely fair to directly label Boehner as a liar. He sat with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in front of a national audience on ’60 Minutes’ and promised to work with the President and Democrats to repair a broken government. As predicted, he has done just the opposite. He continues to be the problem in Washington; he continues to be the obstructionist who defeats sensible legislation. John Boehner is the wrong person for his job and wrong for America.
Commentary by James Turnage