Netanyahu's Address to Congress Is Not a Speech. It's a Coup

If the right-wing forces on both sides of the Atlantic - Netanyahu and Adelson - join together, the forces of reason in both the U.S. and Israel must respond by joining together as well.

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, with Ron Dermer in 2011.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, with Ron Dermer in 2011.Credit: GPO
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

It’s not a speech. Nor is it Israeli chutzpah. For all intents and purposes, it’s a coup.

Is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really due to steal into Washington, the capital of Israel’s ally, and address America’s legislature and people over the head of the U.S. president?

Greater respect is even accorded to banana republics.

In June 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan took Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s government to task when Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor.

Begin viewed the criticism as interference in Israel’s internal affairs. He called the U.S. ambassador in Israel at the time, Samuel Lewis, and reprimanded him about the U.S. position. Begin asked Lewis whether Israel was an American vassal state, a banana republic.

Now the question is whether President Barack Obama will summon Israel’s ambassador, Ron Dermer, to complain that the U.S. is not Israel’s vassal state.

But America is America, and despite Obama’s anger at Netanyahu, he won’t lift a finger against Israel, at the UN or anywhere else. Every time Israel slaps America, the U.S. reiterates its commitment to give Israel more funding and weaponry.

Such reactions by the U.S. banana republic whet Netanyahu’s appetite. The Arabic expression puts it this way: “When someone is used to riding on your back, every time he sees you he feels tired.”

By the way, like Netanyahu, the Saudis and Gulf states are also not particularly satisfied with the agreement taking shape with Iran about its nuclear program.

If Iran’s nuclear plans truly present a threat - and there’s plenty of room for doubt in this regard - the first to be threatened would be the residents of the Arabian desert.

Nonetheless, they are not working to recruit their Gingriches, Adelsons and Boehners in the U.S. After all, among nations some codes of ethics are not to be violated.

In the runup to Netanyahu’s March 3 speech, those great jobless anti-Semites are standing in line at the unemployment office. Netanyahu and his cohorts are depriving them of a living.

On one hand, Republicans are standing in line to receive the blessing of the casino magnate and Netanyahu supporter Sheldon Adelson. On the other hand, Dermer is acting as if Congress is his private property, and Netanyahu, the foreign prime minister, fortifies his position in Congress.

So the president’s at the White House and Netanyahu is in Congress, and now we’ll see who the real man is!

The anti-Semites are amazed at the greatness of the moment. History is handing them a scenario that they never in their wildest dreams believed possible. The Jewish state, with its eight million inhabitants, is subduing America, the world’s only superpower.

From a broader perspective, the Republicans, leading the coup against a sitting president, are cynically exploiting Israel’s prime minister, whose country is deep in lively discourse over matters of substance.

Iran’s nuclear program doesn’t much excite the Republican leaders. The only thing that interests them is maintaining their economic and class interests.

They are using Netanyahu and Israel to marginalize the weaker segments of American society, so as not to endanger that longtime Republican hegemony.

Here’s the situation: In Israel and America, the forces of the old world have come together to fend off the future.

In America, they’re fighting Obama because of his social reforms and his humane attitude toward weaker segments of society, most of all migrants to the U.S. And Netanyahu and Adelson have joined forces.

If the right-wing forces on both sides of the Atlantic join together, the forces of reason in both the U.S. and Israel must respond by joining together as well.

Any leader who tried to do to the Americans what Netanyahu has done would have been ejected immediately, not from Washington but from office in his home country.

If only because of this coup speech, patriotic Jews and Arabs in Israel must remove the prime minister from office in the March 17 election.

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