The Israeli Prime Minister addressed a joint session of Congress yesterday in what is considered to be a double breach of etiquette.
First, Congress is not supposed to side step the State Department and invite foreign heads of state to speak. Second, it is standard policy not to meet with foreign dignitaries close to a election in their home country and Israeli elections are scheduled for mid-March.
OK, so much for that stuff. The simple fact is he came and he spoke so what really matters is what the man said.
Did he say anything earth shattering? Did he say anything that might influence the Obama administration's plans with respect to negotiations with Iran?
I'd have to say the answers are no and absolutely not. If anything Netanyahu probably made Kerry and the State Department MORE adamant about reaching an agreement. Since the Iranians aren't nearly as stupid as the Republicans in Congress, I'm sure they'll manage to use that to their advantage.
As far as I can tell Netanyahu's "strategy" with the Iranians is "keep kicking them until they see the error of their ways." The problem is I don't think any Iranian concession would satisfy the prime minister.
He spent the rest of the speech trying to talk Obama and the Democrats into not being really pissed off at him. I think he's pretty safe there at least as far as the Democrats in Congress are concerned.
I do believe he has hurt his position with a reasonable segment of the American Public but as soon as he loses the election in mid-March all will be forgiven as the new prime minister is sworn in.
Yes, that's a prediction or at least a hope.
So, what are my thoughts?
I still say that Netanyahu is playing with fire when he cuddles up with the right wing lunatic fringe in this country. I wonder if Israelis realize how he's damaging his image when he does that? I'm hoping they've figured it out and will boot his tail out.
I suppose we shall see what we shall see.