For all the accusations that House Speaker John Boehner has been engaging in partisanship by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress concerning Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it is the Obama administration and congressional Democrats who are making a partisan issue of Netanyahu’s speech.
The Obama White House has gone in full Alinsky mode on Netanyahu — whether it’s Press Secretary Josh Earnest and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki questioning Netanyahu’s honesty, National Security Adviser Susan Rice claiming the speech would be “destructive” to U.S.-Israeli relations, or Secretary of State John Kerry admonishing Bibi for supporting the War in Iraq. Kerry’s admonition is precious considering that he too once supported the same war. But no matter. Netanyahu is the target and he has been frozen, personalized, and polarized.
Congressional Democrats are doing their part by boycotting Netanyahu’s speech. As of this writing, 37 Democrats have indicated they will not attend (including Vice President Joe Biden in his capacity as President of the Senate). Among the other Democrats who will not be present include Senator Patrick Leahy who called the speech “a tawdry and high-handed stunt.” Leahy’s Vermont Senate colleague Bernie Sanders (a socialist who caucuses with Democrats) as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus including John Lewis, Charles Rangel, and Congress’s lone Muslim representative Keith Ellison, will also not be in attendance. Left-wing stalwarts such as Jim McDermott and Jan Schakowsky have indicated they will be absent as well.
Democrats have a choice. They can either stand with Israel or they can stand with Iran. Every single one of these Democrats who will not be attending Netanyahu’s speech have made it loud and clear that they stand with Iran.
Think about what this means.
These Democrats stand with a country that seized our embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostages.
These Democrats stand with a country that established Hezbollah, which killed 241 of our Marines in Beirut.
These Democrats stand with a country that was responsible for the deaths of 19 Air Force personnel at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.
These Democrats stand with a country that according to documents recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan had an extensive working relationship with al Qaeda.
These Democrats stand with a country that is currently holding four Americans in captivity. Yes, in 2015, we have American hostages in Iran.
These Democrats stand with a country that killed its own people when they dared to dispute the results of the 2009 presidential “election.”
These Democrats stand with a country that is engaged in a real war on women.
These Democrats stand with a country that persecutes and executes gays and lesbians.
These Democrats stand with a country that persecutes and executes religious minorities such as people of the Baha’i faith.
These Democrats stand with a country whose motto is “Death to America!!!” and “Death to Israel!!!”
Now some might object to Netanyahu’s decision to decline an invitation by Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Dianne Feinstein to meet with Senate Democrats privately? Durbin said of Netanyahu’s regrets, “His refusal to meet is disappointing to those of us who have stood by Israel for decades.” What Durbin is really saying here is that the continued support of Israel among Democrats is contingent upon Netanyahu attending a private meeting in which Democrats don’t have to be seen in public with him. What a cop-out.
Israel and its leaders have long been treated as pariahs by the international community. But now this ostracism is being directed by President Obama with Congressional Democrats eager to follow his lead. With friends like Obama and Congressional Democrats, who needs enemies?
But Israel has enemies in abundance. All that stands between Israel and Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is the eloquence of Benjamin Netanyahu. Bibi’s words will stir the righteous anger of Americans who will not stand idly by and let the Obama administration abandon a friend and ally, the only truly democratic country in the Middle East and the world’s lone Jewish state, for the sake of the glory of obtaining a meaningless agreement with Iran not worth the paper on which it is written.
There is much for which John Boehner can be justly criticized in his tenure as House Speaker. However, his invitation to Netanyahu to tell America and the world the truth about Iran’s nuclear program is, dare I say it, a profile in courage. The Obama Administration which insists on denigrating Netanyahu along with Democrats who choose not to attend the speech and thereby stand with Iran will have shown themselves to be a profile in cowardice.
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