Recently, there has been a huge media storm over the effect that Israeli politics have on the United States of America’s international appearance. It started with an invitation and a speech to congress from Benjamin Netanyahu on March 3, 2015. The Speaker of the House has sent an invitation to the Israeli Prime Minister, to speak in front of both houses of congress on a date two weeks before the Israeli national election. While this in itself may be perceived to have some essence of corruption to it, the real kicker in this action is that the Speaker’s invitation to a foreign government is in contravention of all precedent and tradition, if not legality, in relation to international relations.
Israel and USA – Advertising for a Failed Relationship
The executive branch of the USA is responsible for the vast majority of international affairs. The State Department, which oversees the positioning and posting of diplomats and ambassadors, reports to the President, and not congress, unless by invitation or subpoena. John Bhoener’s invitation to speak was a poor advertisement for a congress that already has a black reputation and for a prime minister of a foreign entity to accept is a really negative piece of PR for him too. Israeli’s have taken umbrage to his speaking at congress a couple weeks before their election, politicians here at home boycotted it, and it has further damaged the executive brach’s ability to maintain proper relations with governments that we work with.
This week, before and after the Israeli national elections we have seen a whole new level of scaremongering, ethically questionable political tactics, and denial of obvious actions by Benjamin Netanyahu. Days and hours before the election, Bibi declared the he would not allow a two-state solution, Arab Israeli’s were going to flood the polls and that Israel needed him in power to survive. These are unaccented statements. Without my personal opinions on the subject I have to say while this is bad, the negative advertising that comes from his political double speak after the fact is actually worse.
Yesterday and in the days immediately following the Israeli election, Bibi had started his road of denial. He came out in an interview saying that the did support a two state solution for Palestinians, but not in the current climate. That is an equivocation that should have been made during his election rundown. Media and political pundits for days have been saying how much Bibi’s actions have damaged the relationship between these two countries, and the Presidents press office has recently come out with a series of statements denouncing Bibi’s actions and tempering their support of Israel with possible threats of inaction. Does this sound like a healthy, happy international relationship to you?
President Obama has been circumvented in this entire series, and while he has the right to communicate to foreign governments as he wishes, the legislature should not. This situation has arisen because there are outside, non-governmental interests forcing the situation. From arms manufacturers that stand to win billion dollar contracts if the USA has to support Israel militarily, to Jewish oligarchs with a heavily zionist bend, to republicans in congress who believe any war is a good political option; the outside interests in this situation are not exactly hiding. On the Israeli side, it is easier to understand that they fear their very existence could be at threat, especially knowing Iran’s current propensity for threatening their existence.
None of this should detract from the failings of all parties and the poor advertising they are providing for their stances. Bibi is advertising his own desire for war, because that is the path he has been on for the last few years. The Republican controlled congress is merely further promoting their distrust in our President for the different reasons they possess. And the President is failing in his office. To allow him to be circumvented means that he has not got as firm a control on his office as he should have.
I believe that there will be repercussions that no party involved will like and are at this point entirely unavoidable. If congress wasn’t so determined to obstruct our President’s actions; if the Republican Party was not so focused on passing legislation they know doesn’t work in the best interests of their actual constituents; and if Bibi was willing to let go of the reins of power and let a different personality try to create safety for Israel, all of this could have been avoided.
Where do you think the ultimate responsibility lies?