Netanyahu Goes Into Damage Control Mode
Today on Israeli radio, a senior member of Likud began laying the groundwork for a possible cancellation of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial appearance before the United States Congress:
“It appears that the speaker of Congress made a move, in which we trusted, but which it ultimately became clear was a one sided move and not a move by both sides,” Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told 102 FM Tel Aviv Radio on Friday.
The interviewer asked if that meant Netanyahu had been “misled” into believing Boehner’s invitation was bipartisan, a characterization Hanegbi did not contest.
This is, of course, immensely dishonest. The engineer of this political theater piece was quite obviously Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer. He has a long record of deep involvement in GOP politics, going back to working alongside Frank Luntz in support of Newt Gingrich during the 90s. That is bad enough, but even worse is the fact he has more than a passing relationship with Sheldon Adelson. He is, of course, the casino billionaire who has flooded US elections with money in order to protect his interests by banning online gambling and started a free Israeli newspaper called Yisrael HaYom in order to promote his desire to drop an atomic bomb on Iran.
Allowing hyper-partisan diplomats to use the United States Congress to manipulate the political situation in two countries sets a terrible precedent. Hopefully common sense will prevail and this disaster and embarrassment for Israel can be called off.