House Democrats, knowing their primary allegiance is to Barack Obama, met Wednesday with Israeli officials in an attempt to forestall Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to Congress about a nuclear Iran.
Two meetings were held; one featured Jewish Democrats in the office of Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) trying to browbeat Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, while another starred noted Israel-lover Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) trying to bully Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
Miffed that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) invited Netanyahu to speak before the entire Congress March 3 without making obeisance to their leader in the White House, the Democrats claim that they object to Netanyahu’s speech because it comes just before Israeli elections.
Rep. Israel, ignoring the existential threat posed to Israel by a nuclear Iran and the Obama Administration’s negligence in forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear program, was more worried about the “negotiations” Obama has conducted with Iran. He said, “The timing of this and the Speaker’s decision not to consult with the president is distracting us from the important substance of the negotiations. We need to be focusing on these negotiations,” according to The Hill.
Obama has fought tooth and nail against imposing sanctions on Iran, essentially turning a blind eye to the increasing closeness Iran has achieved to building nuclear weapons. That didn’t natter to the Democrats; Obama’s pride has been stung by Boehner’s invitation, and in order to salve their leader’s wounds, some have threatened to boycott Netanyahu’s speech.
Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler (NY), Sandy Levin (MI), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Ted Deutch (FL), and Nita Lowey (NY) joined Rep. Israel to lecture Dermer; Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD), James Clyburn (SC), Eliot Engel (NY) and Adam Schiff (CA) joined Pelosi.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said his boss “expressed her concern that casting a political apple of discord into the relationship is not the best way forward given the formidable challenges our two countries are facing together.” Astonishingly, there was no mention of the Obama Administration calling Netanyahu “chickenshit,” “recalcitrant,” “myopic,” “reactionary,” “obtuse,” “blustering,” “pompous,” “Aspergery,” or a “coward.”
Some Jewish Democrats, still loyal to their president despite his hostile relationship with Israel, whined that they were torn over whether to attend Netanyahu’s speech. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) said he was still “torn,” that the decision over whether to attend the speech put him “in a very difficult position. I always respect the right of a president of a nation to come before us, but I think the time is totally inappropriate, just before the Israeli election… It’s a deliberate attempt to try to influence the Israeli election and done right after the State of the Union address in which the president said foreign policy is getting better, and Mr. Boehner wants to demonstrate that things are not getting better.”
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim Congressman and another noted friend of Israel, waxed eloquent on the subject of the speech, pontificating, “I just think it’s the wrong thing. We shouldn’t be interfering in a foreign election, which we’re doing. And we certainly shouldn’t be inviting a foreign leader of Canada, Palau, Peru or Israel to rebut our president on a foreign policy matter. Article 2 of the Constitution says the president is the one who conducts foreign policy. I think the Speaker overstepped his bounds.”