The Atlantic’’s Jeffrey Goldberg has added his voice to the growing chorus of reasonable people greatly dismayed by the bizarre and destructive behavior of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Speaker Boehner.
Netanyahu chose to make a desperate-seeming end-run around the president and attempted to appeal directly to Congress to oppose a decision Obama has not yet made. In a plan concocted by Ron Dermer, who serves as Netanyahu’s ambassador to the U.S., the speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, invited Netanyahu to address Congress on the dangers of a nuclear deal and the need for tougher sanctions, without first informing the White House.
Israel has been, for several decades, a bipartisan cause in Washington. Bipartisan support accounts for the ease with which Israeli prime ministers have historically been heard in Washington; it accounts for the generous aid packages Israel receives; and it also explains America’s commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge.
Netanyahu’s management of his relationship with Obama threatens the bipartisan nature of Israel’s American support. His Dermer-inspired, Boehner-enabled end-run has alienated three crucially important constituencies. First, the administration itself: Netanyahu’s estrangement from the Obama White House now appears to be permanent. It will be very difficult for Netanyahu to make the White House hear his criticisms of whatever deal may one day be reached with Iran.
By the way, Ron Dermer is not merely the Israeli ambassador to the US. He has a long record of deep involvement in GOP politics, going back to working alongside Frank Luntz 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.
I personally find the whole affair sickening. It is also my personal opinion that one would have to be a fucking asshole and a plain old idiot to think that Netanyahu/ Boehner/Dermer’s political theater piece is likely to advance the interests of Israel or the world at large.