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The Boehner-Netanyahu Cabal

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Reprinted from To The Point Analyses

John Boehner invites Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress
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Part I -- The Historical Precedent

In the spring of 1793, France, then at war with Great Britain, sent a new ambassador to the United States. His name was Edmond Charles Genet (aka Citizen Genet). His instructions were to undermine the neutral position President George Washington had taken in the conflict.

To this end Genet, who had the backing of anti-British elements within the American population, went about subverting peace by commissioning American ships to act as privateers against British commercial vessels. He also tried to provoke hostilities between Americans living along the western borders and the Spaniards (then allies of Great Britain) in Florida and Louisiana. This meddling in the internal affairs of the United States was quickly recognized as dangerous, and Washington demanded that France recall Genet.

Part II -- A Shared Contempt

That was 222 years ago. Today we are faced with a similar situation, though the offending country is no longer France, but now Israel. Israel's present ambassador to the U.S. is Ron Dermer, a former aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Like Genet, Dermer has instructions to promote discord, hopefully leading to war, between the United States and the country of Iran, which Israel sees as an "existential" threat. Also like Genet, Dermer has support from some Americans.

Thus, Israeli ambassador Dermer has meddled in the internal affairs of the United States by seeking to undermine ongoing diplomatic talks with Iran. However, he cannot successfully do so without allies -- American citizens who are willing to conspire with a foreign official against the diplomatic policies of the Obama government. It turns out that Dermer's co-conspirators are highly placed Republican members of the U.S. Congress: first and foremost the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner of Ohio.

Just prior to President Obama's 28 January 2015 State of the Union address, in which he reasserted the importance of taking a diplomatic approach with Iran, Dermer approached Boehner, as well as Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He asked them if they would invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on the subject of Iran. There could not be another purpose for such a request than to sabotage a foreign policy deemed by the president to be in the best interests of the United States. Boehner, taking the lead, agreed to extend the invitation. As Robert Parry observes, the whole scheme shows a shared "contempt for this President's authority to conduct American foreign policy as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution."

This contempt is not new, nor is this the first time Republican leaders have expressed it by conspiring with Israel to foil President Obama's Middle East foreign policy. Back in the fall of 2010, then-House Minority Whip, Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia, met privately with Netanyahu just a day before the Israeli leader was to meet then-Secretary of State Clinton. Cantor told Netanyahu that he could count on the GOP to "serve as a check" on President Obama's foreign policy when it went against Israeli positions in the Middle East.

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Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign
Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest
; America's
Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli
; and Islamic Fundamentalism. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

His blog To The Point Analyses now has its own Facebook page. Along with the analyses, the Facebook page will also have reviews, pictures, and other analogous material.

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