Re the Feb. 10 editorial, Reconsider, Mr. Netanyahu: The Herald has it wrong in calling on Israel’s Prime Minister to cancel his Capitol Hill speech next month.
I’ve known Benjamin Netanyahu for more than 30 years, beginning with a visit I sponsored for him to speak at my college shortly after 241 Marines were killed in Lebanon. We stayed in touch throughout his years in Washington, New York and his return to Israel when he entered political life.
No one can doubt that the prime minister, along with all of Israel’s mainstream political leadership, considers a nuclear armed Iran to be an existential threat to the Jewish state. He’s made that clear consistently for more than a decade. His belief that the White House is weeks away from leading the P5+1 in allowing Iran to continue a nuclear program that will leave it months from weapons capability goes far beyond partisan politics.
While we can all be grateful President Obama has brought almost all our soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan, this administration has a particularly bad track record when it comes to foreign policy. Under Obama’s watch, ISIS rose to power and took control of vast American military reserves left in Iraq, and al Qaida has grown stronger amid continued violence in Yemen.
Turmoil has engulfed Syria, Iraq and Egypt, U.S.-Russia relations are fast approaching Cold War status while thousands of Ukrainians have been slaughtered. Terror groups have acted with impunity in African countries, and North Korea, despite previous guarantees and treaties, continues to advance its nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs. It’s difficult to point to a single part of the globe where the president’s foreign policy made the world a safer place.
With that record, to say Israel’s prime minister should be dissuaded from speaking out on behalf of his country’s security and the global threat of a nuclear Iran because of partisan bickering in Washington is exactly why Netanyahu must speak.
If there’s any foreign policy issue that should be fiercely debated and is above niceties, it’s the issue of acquiescing to Iran becoming a nuclear threshold nation. The claim that Netanyahu’s speech is about garnering votes in Israel is just wrong. Israelis have long known what they are getting with Netanyahu.
From an Israeli political point of view, Netanyahu would sway more voters traveling throughout Israel in the final days before elections. It’s difficult to imagine seeing him speak to a joint session of Congress for the third time will sway a single vote in the country. Not speaking out on an issue this vital to Israel’s future because of politics could very well sway many voters.
Seth Eisenberg, Hollywood