Saturday, February 14, 2015

For whom the bell tolls

Perhaps you've noticed that ever since the announcement of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's planned speech in Congress (next month) hit the news (last month), the media won't stop vomit. Much ado has been made over Bibi's typical "Israeli chutzpah", who allows himself to fly "just like that", receiving a "mere, expendable" invitation from the Speaker of The House of Representatives. What with procedure? What with regulations? What the hell?!

And what with the facts?

On January, 29th, world's most democratic-liberal-progressive-enlightened newspaper, "The New York Times", released an article, dealing with Netanyahu's tireless attempts to persuade Democratic leaders not to boycott his speech. So far, so good. Thing is, on January 30th, in the best traditions of the democratic-liberal-progressive-enlightened newspapers around the world, "The New York Times" issued a paragraph long "correction", clarifying Netanyahu has accepted the invitation only *after* The White House was notified. Meaning both Boehner and Netanyahu acted in perfect accordance to protocol.

The New York Times article and the correction.
What an honest way to make journalism, isn't it?

In fact, The Speaker of The House has every right to invite whomever he wants. That's absolutely within the norm and within his jurisdiction. And while waiting for the President's explicit approval would, probably, be the way the book goes, the *norm* is that it's never really practiced. It wasn't practiced back when Netanyahu visited in 2011. It wasn't practiced now, when Boehner invited The Pope. The Speaker of The House *doesn't* have to wait for White House "okays". So why the sudden, extraordinary, care for every single aspect of decorum with this specific visit?  

Netanyahu addresses Congress in 2011. 
Do you really think the invitation procedure was different back then?
Photo credit: AP.

What does it mean?

It means the over-hyped, over the top, boiling hot "ego-crazed Netanyahu willing to harm Israeli-U.S. relations for election campaign's sake" line of coverage is based on a big, fat lie. It also means, the American administration invented a "spat" out of thin air and with absolutely artificial means. It means Netanyahu is not the one "undermining Obama and the Democrats". He's not the one to blame for "the biggest crisis in Israeli-US relations history". It means the exact opposite. It means the Obama administration is the one undermining, inciting and looking for excuses systematically and consistently to harm the relations with us.

Now, just for argument's sake, let's take the side of the cynics. Let's assume, a nuclear Iran poses absolutely no danger at all. Not to the world and not to Israel. Let's assume all Netanyahu cares about is, in fact, his chair, his elections and absolutely nothing else. A politician in the middle of campaign receives an invitation to speak in Congress. Why on Earth should he turn it down? And who would?

As a leader of the free world, as the president of the most democratic-liberal-progressive-enlightened country, as a Nobel Peace Prize winner (!), as the first black president (for crying out loud!), why would you be so nervous and petty about the Israeli PM's planned speech? So, he'll present an opinion different to yours! So what?!
"Because you can't appear to be siding with a candidate in upcoming elections"? That excuse is just an insult to intelligence. Not only because you constantly interfere with each and every issue of each and every country, but because you hosted British PM David Cameron, who's up for reelection himself. Sure, his is due in May, not in March. "Huge" difference. Still, if "purity of elections" is your main argument, while you hosted a foreign politician in the middle of his campaign less than a month ago, excuse the many eyebrows, that rise in light of your reasoning.

President Obama and PM Cameron in the Oval Office, Jan. 16, 2015.
The topic at hand, by the way, was the same - Iran.
Photo credit: Getty Images.

We, in Israel, are about to witness one of the dirtiest campaigns ever, and it's all going to be against The Likud. More accurately against Netanyahu. All of the left's different factions has been united under the hollow, superficial slogan "just not Bibi". It gets worse as the elections get closer. New allegations rise of the illegal connections of that campaign to the V15 group, and from there to the OneVoice International movement. Likud claims Labour breaks the law, because OneVoice is linked to the U.S. *State Department*. Not just to some billionaire private citizen sponsor. The State Department.

It's still early to tell anything for sure. We do know for a fact, The State Department has funded OneVoice on a couple of occasions just two years ago. We do know for a fact, a main backer of V15 is also a major donor to Labour leader, Isaac "Boozhi" Herzog, despite denials on both sides. These accusations will be checked in courts. However, if indeed, there's any truth to them at all, then the situation is more than grave - it's scandalous and shocking. It would mean the U.S. *government* is actively interfering with Israeli democracy (despite the "purity of elections" excuse), and is massively funding the defeat of the acting Prime Minister. It would prove, yet again, Obama is the one set to undermine Netanyahu - not the other way around.

Were you apalled by Netanyahu's "public support" of Romney?
Then what would you say about a multi-million-dollar-elections-campaign-funding kind of support?

And if that has any truth to it, add it to Obama's capricious scenes over Netanyahu's planned visit and connect the dots. *When* Netanyahu wins again, do you really think the American government, would just back off? Admit its failure and go: "Oh, well, we tried! Until next time!"? Think "Arab Spring". Think Ukraine.
"This can't happen to Israel", you think? "We're plenty democratic-liberal-progressive-enlightened ourselves", you believe? There's an "unbreakable bond" between us, isn't there?

"And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
 It tolls for thee."

I, for one, would not like to see Rabin Sqare next in line after Tahrir and Maidan.
I would like to see you using your brains.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt
visit the Maidan rioteers in Kiev, Ukraine. Dec. 10, 2013. Photo credit: AP. 

P.S.
Israelis, I really don't care who you're going to vote for.
This is not what this article is about.



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