“Skip It” Numbers Grow as Bibi Speech Looms

“Skip It” Numbers Grow as Bibi Speech Looms

A sober thought for the members of the House and Senate as they decide on Tuesday between supporting President Obama or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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by James M. Wall

 

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Il), have joined a growing number of senators and representatives who will skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Tuesday night speech to Congress.

Both Kaine and Schakowsky were surprise additions to the no show list, which by mid-day Friday had reached 43.

“Skip the speech” numbers are slow to grow, however, thanks to the robotic fear that continues to grip members of Congress any time an Israeli leader pushes their pavlovian buttons.

Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelsen
Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelsen

Ironically, this time it is not AIPAC that is pushing the buttons.  It is Netanyahu, with his U.S. media, economic and political Fifth Column soldiers, doing the button pushing. That team is determined that Netanyahu will deliver what is essentially a “campaign speech” to the U.S. Congress Tuesday night.

“Campaign speech” in this instance is both for Netanyahu’s reelection as Prime Minister of Israel March 17, and his campaign to build a veto-proof U.S. Senate that will undermine President Obama’s peace negotiations with Iran.

Israel’s ruling political elite, its military leaders, and its security leaders are all sending word to sympathetic U.S. journalists that the speech is a bad idea. Al Monitor’s Israel Pulse writer Ben Caspit explains why even that opposition is not enough to evoke AIPAC’s open opposition to the speech.

“AIPAC”, Caspit writes, “is Netanyahu’s lobby and not the reverse”.

This has always been the case.  Whichever party or political force runs Israel, it is AIPAC’s assignment to serve that power.

obama-netanyahu spat

Netanyahu is pinning his political future on Tuesday’s speech. This is his career “crunch time”. Caspit again:

The invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before both houses of Congress March 3 was secretly cooked up by House Speaker John Boehner (Republican) and Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer (who some consider ambassador to Las Vegas because of his relationship with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson). The news struck AIPAC heads like a thunderbolt.

They had not been briefed about it. They didn’t know about it, and “they didn’t believe such a thing could happen to them.”

One AIPAC leader told Caspit “in a private conversation after the invitation was publicized. “This is the lowest point we have ever reached.”

In shock over the secret invitation that sent AIPAC to its nadir point, the Lobby leaders have been forced into actions rare for them They are forced into a desperate effort “to minimize the damage”.

MIDEAST-USA/NETANYAHU

To smart and sensitive politicians, those, for example, who do not want to be left at the station when the next train departs, this is the moment to think creatively. Members of Congress have to decide what to do before Tuesday night.

To skip the speech, and then see Netanyahu win on March 17, is scary for a politician. If he loses, the next government might commend those who stayed away. Or not. A new prime minister may wonder if he or she can depend on the U.S. Congress to be as loyal as it has been trained to do.

Some members may decide to put principal over politics and hope the future treats them well. Representative Jan Schakowsky surprised political watchers when she joined the no show list.chi-schakowski-netanyahu-022615-ct0020224475-20131126

She will not attend the speech, she announced, even though her love for  the state of Israel is “in her DNA”.

Virginia’s Senator Kaine’s decision to skip the speech, was another surprise. It was a risky move for a senator believed to be a strong contender to run for vice president on a 2016 ticket headed by presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

As of Saturday, February 28, Kaine was only the fourth senator on the no-show list, joining Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders and two other Democratic senators, Pat Leahy, of Vermont, and Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz.

To the disappointment of progressive Democrats, except those progressive who are PEPs (“progressives except on Palestine”), Senator Elizabeth Warren has thus far only asked for Boehner to postpone the speech, a lukewarm request she had to  know will be ignored.

Will Warren, the progressive presidential hoped for candidate attend the speech?  Will she follow Senator Kaine’s example and stand with her president? Or will she join the cheering throng that chooses to attend the speech?

No Republican will skip the speech, of course, because it has become a Republican rule that the party opposes anything that favors President Obama.

Two other Democratic senators, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Chuck Schumer, of New York, had a good reason to stay away from the House chamber Tuesday.

Durbin and Schumer invited Netanyahu to a private meeting during his visit. Netanyahu refused the meeting, dismissing two of Israel’s strongest Senate supporters with the same arrogance he had demonstrated when he arranged his speech behind Obama’s back.

This is not chutzpah, yiddish for “arrogance with a flair”. It is the arrogance of a politician desperate to win a reelection campaign back home and solidify his control of the U.S. Senate.

So far, Durbin has suffered his public rejection in silence. Schumer meekly responded to his insult by urging his congressional colleagues to attend the speech.

The Obama administration has brought its big guns into play to express its anger over the speech.. The president, vice president and Secretary of State John Kerry will ignore Netanyahu.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice, ratcheted up her diplomatic language in an interview with Charlie Rose. The speech, she said, is ‘destructive” to the U.S.-Israeli relationship:

John Kerry hit back at Netanyahu with an even stronger reminder that this is not the first time Netanyahu has intruded into U.S. political decision-making.

Philip Weiss reported that:

“Secretary of State John Kerry said Netanyahu was “wrong” to oppose the U.S. preliminary deal with Iran and criticized Netanyahu for his advice to the U.S. before we invaded Iraq in 2003.

‘The Prime Minister was also profoundly forward-leaning about the importance of invading Iraq under George W Bush, and we all know what happened with that decision.’

At the time, discussing the impending attack on Iraq, Netanyahu said on CSPAN, to a congressional panel in Washington:

“If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region… The task and the great opportunity and challenge is not merely to effect the ouster of the regime, but also to transform the region.”

“Kerry’s criticism”, Weiss writes, “links Netanyahu implicitly with the neoconservatives who pushed the war to transform the Middle East, and makes all but explicit the idea that the neocons pushed the war out of concern for Israel’s security.”

Israel’s military and security leaders have made clear that they do not agree with Bibi’s insistence that Iran is well along to developing its very own nukes. On this issue, Bibi stands largely alone in his paranoia.

Those members of Congress who attend the Tuesday speech will cheer a foreign leader who is in Washington to lobby them to defy their own president.

Robert Naiman, writing in Truth Out, offers this background on Bibi’s rationale for speaking to Congress, quoting Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi’s explanation of why Netanyahu is giving the speech:

“The Republicans know, as the president has already made clear, that he will veto this legislation. So in order to pass legislation that overcomes the veto, two-thirds are required in the Senate. So if the prime minister can persuade another one or two or another three or four, this could have weight,” he said.”

Naiman explains the Netanyahu logic this way: To get a two-thirds majority in the Senate, Netanyahu needs to pressure Democrats. No show Senators Leahy, Sanders, Schatz and Kaine, will not be on Netanyahu’s whip list.

Ten Senate Democrats who are on Netanyahu’s must whip list, Naiman surmises, are what he calls the “Menendez 10?, senators who have openly voiced “their potential willingness to undermine the President’s diplomacy”:

Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Charles Schumer (D-NY); Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); GaryPeters (D-MI); Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA);Ben Cardin (D-MD);Chris Coons (D-DE); Joe Manchin (D-WV);Joe Donnelly (D-IN); and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Netanyahu already has his anti-Obama 52 Republican senators and, presumably the “Menendez 10? Democrats. With a few more Democratic stragglers, Netanyahu would be, writes Naiman, “within striking distance of a veto-proof Senate majority for war”.

Meanwhile, the “skip the speech” campaign moves forward. Rest assured, the television cameras will take note of empty seats during the joint session Tuesday night.  Will your two senators and one house member be present?

The Washington Post this week reminded us that Wednesday of this week (February 25) this nation reached a milestone for peace. There have been no U.S. deaths in combat for 75 straight days, starting on December 11, 2014. This is the longest span of time without a U.S. military combat death since 9/11.

A sober thought for the members of the House and Senate as they decide on Tuesday between supporting President Obama or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The picture of Netanyahu above is from Reuters by Mike Theile. It appeared in Al Monitor. The picture of Jan Schakowsky is by Nancy Stone from the Chicago Tribune.

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James M. Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. He has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. His website: Wall Writings

7 COMMENTS

  1. where are all you real true american patriots out there. this piece of shit, satanyahoo, oh excuse me, netanyahu, should be accosted by real amerian citizens as soon as it touches and contaminates american soil(think ebola isolation) and arrested by the american citizenry on an outstanding warrant for “crimes against humanity”, for its implication in the theft of klytrons from a US company which are triggering devices for nuclear bombs, and for its continuing association with the extortion of american tax money from the US treasury under the deceptive guise as “aid to israel”.
    israel is an exceedingly rich country and doesn’t need our aid or anybody else’s.. its nothing more than an extortion racket between israeli jews and their disgusting traitorous bought and payed for puppy lap dog fake US politicians who in exchange for jewish campaign bribes must continue the racket, which technically could be called theft by deception, and absolute unconditional subserviance and loyalty to the foreign terror jewish facist state israel.
    btw, three years ago, unbeknownst to most americans because the jewish owned and controlled american mas media under their strict orders from J.I.D., the jewish invisible dictatorship,wouldn’t let them know, a top prosecutor in england put out arrest warrants for the top three jewish officials in the netinyahoo government that if they ever set foot in england again they would be put under arrest.
    good work jim wall, as usual.
    i know you’re a methodist minister and it pains me to think i was baptised and brought up in the methodist church but the church took so agonizingly long to just meekly criticize the brutal occupation of the poor palestinians through their much delayed divestment action.
    and a pathetically and dissapointingly much divided divestment action at that.

  2. Most people who regularly visit this site may have seen the video below, but it is awesome and so I’m putting it out again. I love the way Michael Scheuer stands his ground, but look at those pro Israel corrupt stooges arguing for what is just pure Israeli propaganda. Anyone watching this video will see that Michael Sheuer makes obvious sense while his opponents are just plain lying. How do the neo-cons get away with such blatant propaganda? Well, they own the whole media system which they run like big brother to push out their lies.

    I’d Dump the Israelis Tomorrow –Ex-CIA Michael Scheuer Tells Congress:

    • no kavy, its not awesome!
      sure, its great that someone at least made a little tiny critism of our ziomasters from israel but those of us who know the real deal were just waiting for sheurer to finally just put it all on the table for everyone to see and he didn’t do this.in fact he didn’t come anywhere close.
      its almost like he had a muzzle on his face like a dog.
      so for you to rave about this means you dont know whats really going on.
      as dissapointing as it was mikes still a good man
      btw, whatever happened to the good dr. sabrosky’s plan for you know what?
      i’ve been waiting impestuously ever since.
      come on alan, the world can’t hold out much longer. and neither can i!

      • @ dave, “btw, whatever happened to the good Dr. Sabrosky’s plan for you know what? i’ve been waiting impestuously ever since. come on Alan, the world can’t hold out much longer. and neither can i!”

        Sabrosky’s response:

        What happened is that – like Senator Gravel’s innovative and very promising plan to go after state legislators, who are still largely uncontaminated and who staff most of their state delegations (both parties) – it was stillborn. The Zionists are willing to put shoe leather on the street, open their wallets, and work/’spend to accomplish their goals. Their opponents are willing to write, and bitch, and write some more, and bitch some more, and that is about it – as long as a handful talk to one another and babble about BDS, they delude themselves into thinking they are winning. The Zionists laugh, keep pumping weapons & money into Israel, keep expanding the number of settlements & settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and keep consolidating their control over the few governments that really matter to them: the US, Canada, the UK & Australia. And so they win.

        I spoke to 13 veterans groups, most in Mississippi & 2 in PA, plus 4 church groups (2 in each state), and had – as I expected – very positive responses from all of them. As best I can tell, however, although several others gave talks on campuses, THAT IS NOT THE PLACE TO FIGHT. No one else seems to have bothered with veterans groups & churches. Hell, I could not even get Duff & Gates & Hart to join me in a coordinated lawsuit against ADL when they publicly dissed the four of us in August 2011, so my solitary effort to sue ADL for libel & defamation of character went absolutely nowhere – not a single lawyer cared to waste time on what they saw to be a totally hopeless solo effort.

        That, sir & madam, is where my plan went. And Debbie, you can print this or dump it or forward it to anyone, as you choose.

  3. @ Kavy
    Dear MCS:
    The above video is good, but Prof. Scheuer can not go further to explain why to dump Israel, because of his CIA background and jeopardizing his tenure at the university. The US government and the Israeli lobby would be all over him like an attack dogs disguised as a wet blanket. Paul Craig Roberts and Gerald Celente suffer the same problem. Thanks, Norbert.

    • Susan Rice and Samantha Power are busily assisting damage control, to preserve the special relationship. The American people need to know the “special relationship’ is an unhealthy one to say the least. It is damaging America’s interests in the world.

      The National Summit to reasses the U.S.-Israel “special relationship” that took place at the National Press Club on March 7th, 2014.
      The nonpartisan symposium examined the impact of the U.S.-Israel relationship:
      http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/summit-videos.html

      The Iran so-called crisis is a manufactured crisis by US/Israel special relationship folks.

  4. i tried to post this last night and it didn’t post so i’ll try again now
    where are all you real true american patriots?

    The second satanyahu, oh excuse me i mean netanyahu, touches and contaminates american soil, this piece of ebola should be arrested by the citizens of the united states of america for crimes against humanity, being intimately associated with the continuing ongoing theft of american tax money out of the US treasury along with its fellow israeli jews and its traitorous fake US congressmen and senators (who continue this extortion racket in exchange for their jewish campaign bribes and their traitorous total absolute loyalty and allegiance to israel),and his involvement in the theft from an american company of klytrons, triggering devices for detonating nuclear bombs.

    This extortion racket is deceptively packaged as “aid to israel”. “aid” is given to economically distressed countries like the poor countries in africa. israel is a very wealthy country and doesn’t need aid from anybody.

    And lets not forget the military aid we give them. US taxpayers have to finacially give aid to american weapons makers under their corporate welfare then israel is required to buy weapons and planes etc at bargain basement prices that you and me are essentially paying for.

    WOW what a scam. it’d probably make bernie “the jew” madeoff cringe in envy. but as seinfeld so arrogantly said,”its in my jewish genes”.

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