Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be delivering a speech to a joint session of Congress today (Tuesday) at 9:00 a.m. Mountain time. I’ll be watching because I don’t have a life.
The speech is supposed to be about nuclear weapons and Iran, but it’s about more than just that.
Netanyahu was invited to give the speech by Speaker of the House John Boehner and then Boehner told the White House something like, “Hey, look who accepted my invitation.” There’s such a dislike for President Barack Obama by Boehner, this really isn’t all that absurd.
According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, “Nearly half of American voters — 48 percent — say that congressional Republicans should not have invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on Tuesday without first notifying President Barack Obama. (Source)
As of this morning, The Hill is reporting that “at least 55 Democrats — eight senators and 47 House members — are vowing to skip the speech.”
What Boehner did is not exactly in line with protocol, and Netanyahu is partly to blame, too. Netanyahu is in election mode – maybe survival mode. The election is March 17. Some reports say that Netanyahu is behind his challenger in the election, so maybe this is Boehner’s way of helping him by giving him the spotlight just two weeks from his election. It’s funny though, here in America we don’t really care for it much when some outsider messes with our elections.
Obama reportedly refused to meet with Netanyahu because of his upcoming election. One Jewish group ran by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was angered by this and took out THIS FULL-PAGE AD in Sunday’s New York Times attacking Susan Rice, who is Obama’s National Security Adviser.
Many folks were angered by the ad (as they should be) and Boteach has since apologized.
This is a chance for Netanyahu to gain some publicity and show voters that he has international appeal, although being seen with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and a Congress with an approval rating of 16% may not be that worthwhile. In some places, it might get you arrested! Netanyahu’s favorable rating in the United States is 45%, and he has a much more favorable rating from Republicans than from Democrats.
According to Gallup, seventy percent of Americans now view Israel favorably, and 62% say they sympathize more with the Israelis than with the Palestinians in the Mideast conflict. I would imagine that the average American does not care about Netanyahu or his speech before Congress. Sadly, many probably couldn’t find Israel on a map or even recognize the Israeli Prime Minister.
Even more Americans would probably have a hard time giving an answer if asked, “What’s the deal with that Israeli-Palestinian conflict?” Click HERE for an answer. One video explains the Israeli-Palestinian conflict like this: “One side wants the other side dead.” I really like it when people cut to the chase…
As with most major speeches, this one will get its 24 hours of publicity and that will be that, except that it will widen the rift between Obama’s White House and the Republican-controlled Congress.
As for helping Netanyahu and his election, I doubt it moves the meter.