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Should Benjamin Netanyahu address Congress?

Benjamin Netanyahu.REUTERS

Last week, House Speaker John Boehner invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to address Congress about Iran — without consulting the White House. Reaction has been fierce. — NOAH GUINEY

“With national elections in March and Netanyahu’s Likud party trailing the suddenly revitalized Labor party in public opinion polls, the prime minister is seemingly happy to throw Obama and the White House under the bus if it means improving his image among Israeli voters.

“That may turn out to be a major miscalculation. Netanyahu’s actions have the potential to boomerang against him both in the United States and in Israel.”


Michael Cohen, The Boston Globe

“The Obama team’s outrage is a bit overwrought. Clearly, it is not a breach of protocol for a foreign leader to lobby Congress. After all, Obama himself deployed British Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby lawmakers to oppose new sanctions on Iran. It seems Netanyahu’s crime is not so much a breach of diplomatic protocol, but rather, opposing the administration’s position.”

Marc A. Thiessen, The Washington Post

“This invitation is glaring evidence that Israel is becoming a partisan football, a wedge issue cynically manipulated to grab headlines and seek political gain. We saw this dynamic play out in the 2012 presidential race when Mitt Romney’s campaign attempted to peel off Jewish voters from President Obama by insinuating that Obama had thrown Israel “under the bus.” It didn’t work then, though the tactic will likely rear its ugly head again in the next race for the White House.”

J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami, CNN.com

“Instead of further alienating Israel’s friends and worsening its isolation on the world stage, Netanyahu could do no better than to surprise us all: In his address to Congress, he could demonstrate that Israel wants peace with Iran, by showing support for the ongoing negotiations — designed to lead to a verifiably and solely peaceful nuclear program — through a call for no further sanctions unless and until talks collapse.”


Michael Felsen, letter, The Boston Globe

“Netanyahu has made the second-worst choice he could make. He has not attacked Iran, which is good — an Israeli attack holds the promise of disaster — but he has decided to ruin his relations with Obama.

“To be sure, the Obama administration does not make it particularly easy on Netanyahu. . . . But, unfortunately for Netanyahu, it is incumbent upon the junior partner in the Israel-U.S. relationship to maintain an even keel in the relationship.”

Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic