Former Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) criticized Democrats threatening to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress and President Barack Obama’s rhetoric in the war on terror on Thursday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.
Lieberman weighed in on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech before Congress, arguing “I’d say now whatever anybody thought about Speaker Boehner’s invitation, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s acceptance, the Prime Minister is coming. He’s the head — the elected head of Israel, very close ally of the United States. So, I urge people in Washington, don’t focus on President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speaker Boehner. This is a question of the US-Israel relationship, and really, even more than that at this moment. What’s the right thing to do about Iran’s nuclear weapons program? So, let’s get back to the important stuff and forget the nonsense…come and hear him, and from Netanyahu’s point of view. I think he accepted it because he obviously has a real worry about the way in which these negotiations with Iran are going, because as he said many times, it could be an existential threat, really a threat to Israel’s existence.”
Lieberman also commented on the AUMF to fight ISIS, saying, “I looked at it once, twice, three times, and I said, ‘This looks like a authorization for the use of military force drafted by a committee.’ There’s a little bit for this group, there’s a little bit [for that group]…the last real declaration of war was the Second World War, the last time congress did it and it’s very direct. It recites the whereases and it then simply says the President of the United States as commander-in-chief is authorized to take all necessary and appropriate steps to defeat the enemy.”
He also criticized the president’s hesitancy to call Islamist terrorists by name because “you can’t defeat your enemy unless you call it by name. It’s not violent extremism. There are other forms of violent extremism, there’s white supremacist extremism, but that’s not the group that attacked us on 9/11, that’s not what ISIS is.” He theorized that the president’s rhetoric was “because he thinks it’s offensive to Muslims in the world…in my conversations, again, not scientific, with Muslim friends, people I meet around the world, I think they want to be distinguished from the extremists, from the violent jihadists. That’s not them. That’s not most Muslims in the world.”
Lieberman also took issue with the president’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast and on the attack on a Kosher supermarket in France, stating that the Prayer Breakfast remarks were “totally unnecessary and I couldn’t understand why he was saying that. Look, every religion has had extremists at different times that have done things that were not consistent with the heart of the religion, but why would you bring that [up]? That’s a thousand years ago.” And, regarding the Kosher supermarket attack, “one might say that the particular people that that terrorist killed were random. But there’s no question, he [the perpetrator of the attack] said it himself when he was talking from the Kosher supermarket, they went into the Kosher supermarket to kill Jews, because they were Jews, just like they killed the policewoman because she was a policewoman, just like they killed the cartoonists because they were cartoonists. To say it was anti-Semitic doesn’t say enough. It was a violently anti-Semitic act.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett