J Street and Peace Now are all fearful of dividing the Israel lobby. Both liberal Zionist orgs call for Congress to delay the speech. Peace Now says"the timing of the invitation and its manner are outrageous. They are inappropriate and irresponsible."
"Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls on Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) to re-issue his invitation for the prime minister of Israel to address Congress for a later date, after the deadline for negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and following the elections in Israel, after a new government coalition is formed. Peace Now is worried that the move is "divisive"; Americans will start debating our support for Israel:
"This move uses Israel, yet again, as a wedge issue in internal American politics. Speaker Boehner's invitation -- both its timing and manner -- is therefore a disservice to US national security interests and to Israel's."
J Street has a similar message, that this "shocking stunt" will divide the Israel lobby: "Making Israel a partisan issue weakens the US-Israel relationship." Boo hoo. Though to its credit, J Street emphasizes the U.S. policy piece: the speech could derail ongoing negotiations with Iran. Jeremy Ben-Ami writes:
"Traditionally, the executive branch -- President Obama -- leads on foreign policy. Boehner inviting a foreign leader, even a close ally, without even a simple 'heads-up' to the president or his Democratic counterparts is a serious breach of standards.
"This invitation looks like a thinly-veiled attempt to scuttle the critical negotiations taking place right now aimed at ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon. Bibi and Obama disagree on how to deal with Iran, and that's fair. But a foreign leader lobbying Congress (from the same spot where the President delivered his State of the Union address just days ago!) is inappropriate."
Bibi and Obama.
But of course the neoconservatives are happy; they want our Iran policy scuttled by a foreign leader. So we are beginning to see open division between Zionists in the Establishment. Here is Bill Kristol trashing Chuck Schumer for not being a "shomer" or guardian of Israel in Hebrew (a role that Schumer has bragged he has because of his name). Kristol:
"Schumer no Shomer? @SenSchumer, co-sponsor in 2014 of Kirk-Menendez when it had no chance of coming to floor, is reportedly now opposed."
Rosie Gray says that's not true, Schumer is for sanctions:
"Schumer's office says it's not true and that he 'intends to cosponsor the bill.'"
Neocons upping the ante. Here is a rightwing publication saying that former White House officials, including two who worked under Obama, say that the president is not tough enough on Iran. This means war, huh? To be continued.
Update: More outrage in the US press. In the Boston Globe, Michael Cohen writes that Netanyahu has damaged his own agenda, of sanctioning Iran, with this bumptious move:
"First, you can pretty much put a fork in Iran sanctions legislation. With Republicans controlling Congress, the bill will likely be passed, but the possibility of a congressional over-ride of an almost certain presidential veto seems remote. Democrats were already wavering about the possibility of going against their president, but now that Netanyahu and Boehner have nakedly politicized the issue, it will give Democrats even more reason to stick with Obama. ... This latest action will only increase the partisan divide, and weaken Democratic support for Israel under Netanyahu's leadership."
And that frayed American support will hurt Netanyahu's hopes for remaining prime minister:
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