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Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in Featured, Iran, Israel, Politics | 4 comments

Pro and con Netanyahu rhetoric heats up

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Pro and con Netanyahu rhetoric heats up
Compiled by Donald H. Harrison

The rhetoric is heating up over the scheduled March 3 speech that Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahyu is scheduled to give to a Joint Session of Congress.

Jeremy Ben Ami, execuitve director of J Street, has taken umbrage at Netanyahu saying that he will give his speech “not just as the prime minister of Israel but as a representative of the entire Jewish people.”

Said Ben Ami: “I don’t know about you, but he doesn’t speak for me.” He urged email correspondents to sign a petition to be sent to Israel’s Ambassador Ron Dermer saying that Netanyahu doesn’t speak for American Jews.

Meanwhile, the Zionist Organization of America’s President Morton Klein has criticized Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the Union for Reform Judiasm, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, and Ben Ami of J Street “for pressuring PM Netanyahu to cancel his critically important speech on Iran.” While he was at it, Klein also criticized the American Jewish Committee and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for not speaking out forcefully in favor of Netanyahu’s speech, which resulted in an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner and which is opposed by the Obama administration.

Said Klein: “We must never again be the Jews of appeasement and paralyzing fear. As Winston Churchill said, ‘Those who appease the crocodile will simply be eaten last.’ We must speak out with strength and pride. We must publicly state that President Obama is endangering America and Israel by his delaying and delaying on stopping Iran’s nuclear program. Iran continues to enrich uranium and to work on developing improved centrifuges while refusing to get rid of its uranium and its 19,000 centrifuge stockpile. Iran keeps working on its Arak plutonium facility and its Parchin military facility that where it likely keeps secretly working on its nuclear program. And it keeps working on its ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) program whose only purpose is to carry a nuclear warhead which will be able to reach not only Israel and the West but our beloved country of America as well. Yet President Obama dawdles and fiddles, and defends Iran while Iran’s nuclear program progresses to the finish line, G-d forbid.”

In his blog on the ADL website, Foxman had this to say:

Israel is directly in the cross-hairs of Iran­ian ambi­tions for regional dom­i­na­tion, as are the Gulf states, Egypt, Jor­dan and oth­ers. Pres­i­dent Obama and many among the Amer­i­can peo­ple are rightly wary of entan­gling the U.S. in yet another Mid­dle East war and Euro­pean lead­ers are focused on their fal­ter­ing economies, which would ben­e­fit from the reopen­ing of full trade with Iran.
This is pre­cisely the moment when there should frank, direct and open dis­cus­sion of the dif­fer­ent perspectives.
Now is exactly the time when Israel’s leader should be hav­ing those dis­cus­sions with all who have a say in shap­ing pol­icy out­comes on this issue, includ­ing the U.S. Con­gress. And the views of America’s clos­est ally in the Mid­dle East should be heard, so pol­i­cy­mak­ers and the Amer­i­can peo­ple will have the ben­e­fit of hear­ing directly from Netanyahu how he sees what is at stake and what he believes is the best way to reach an agree­ment with Iran that will ensure the long term safety of Israel, the region and the world.
Yet, this point has been nearly oblit­er­ated by the waves of con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the invi­ta­tion to the prime min­is­ter to address Con­gress. I have called it a tragedy of unin­tended con­se­quences — and it is.
Instead of stay­ing laser-focused on the very real, very com­plex and very dan­ger­ous con­se­quences of the out­come of the nego­ti­a­tions with Iran, the pub­lic dis­course is now being hijacked by pol­i­tics.
It is being dom­i­nated by mock­ing come­di­ans, moan­ing pun­dits and manip­u­lat­ing politi­cians all talk­ing about who is insult­ing whom, who will and who won’t be in the cham­ber for the speech, who may or may not be pun­ished for not show­ing up, who will get an elec­toral advan­tage from the appear­ance, and who won’t.
These are absolutely the wrong ques­tions, and this is absolutely the wrong time to be rais­ing them.

Donald Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online Media Association. This article is reprinted from that website.