Brooks: Netanyahu Congressional Address ‘Partisan,’ ‘Unwise,’ ‘Bad for Israel’

On Friday’s broadcast of PBS’s “NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks criticized House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a scheduled address before a joint session of Congress in March regarding threat from Iran.

Brooks chalked Boehner’s decision to politics, calling it a “partisan attack.”

“Well, there’s the Republican partisan attack. So, we — they’re both playing this game,” Brooks said. “It’s not as if Congress has been out of the foreign policy business. Nancy Pelosi went to Syria and some say gave some credence to the Assad regime when President Bush opposed it. Just last week, David Cameron, a foreign leader, was calling around members of Congress to lobby. So people do get involved. Foreign leaders get involved. Nonetheless, inviting somebody from overseas to give a speech against the president from the well of the Congress is confrontational and I think unwise, I just think unwise, on two grounds. First, the president — the country has to speak with a single voice. The gestures of that voice are — really reside in the White House. And there should be some deference to the executive branch on foreign policy. Second, I just think it’s bad for Bibi Netanyahu to do this. It’s just not a good idea to pick a fight with the president of the United States.”

He also explained why it was a bad decision for Netanyahu to have accepted the invitation.

“I don’t think he should have accepted,” Brooks added. “I don’t know what his domestic political considerations are. Obviously, it’s just two weeks before their election. But it just — it’s not good to go to war between two allies in this confrontational way. You are going to fight. Fine. But don’t make it so above board, so in your face. It just strikes me as bad for Israel.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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