REDLINE: Israeli Relationship Tested with Netanyahu Visit

“Never has so much been written about a speech that has not been given.” That was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, speaking to members and supporters of the Israel lobby AIPAC. In this issue of REDLINE, the FPR team explains why this White House tenses up every time Bibi is in town.

John Craig, Deputy Editor

Congressional Democrats plan to boycott Netanyahu’s speech due to Israel’s recent history of committing war crimes against Palestine. Wait, just kidding. It’s because he broke Congressional protocol for his speech and has attacked the President for not blindly doing everything Israel demands.

Gabbi D’amato, Junior Editor

The main reason the Obama Administration is upset is because Netanyahu’s decision to speak directly to congressional Republicans shows he will not support the deal the executive branch is currently negotiating with Iran. This angers the White House because Netanyahu wants to use the legislative branch to block an agreement that could put his country in danger. For a president who ran on the foundation of change for the betterment of the country, it’s ironic that Obama is not embracing the break from tradition Netanyahu is making to ensure his country’s safety.

John Vasiliades, Deputy Editor

Leaked CIA cables expose plot against the White House:
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Speaker of the House, John Boehner’s plan to “egg” the White House has been foiled. After a CIA-bugged pillow fort in the Speaker’s living room exposed their plan to throw raw eggs at the President and First Lady, the FBI has escorted the Prime Minister back to Israel. However, Congressional republicans still plan to meet in order to secure the shutting down of the government next week, amid the debate over funding for Homeland Security.

Libby Wetzler, Deputy Editor

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to a joint session of congress on Tuesday should really come as little surprise. Congress and President Obama have not seen eye to eye on many things…or anything for that matter. With a government shutdown already in the books, the House Republicans led by Speaker Boehner have shown that they have no problem undermining the president. And President Obama is partly to blame–this is what you get when your foreign policy strategy is “don’t do stupid stuff.” But even if undermining President Obama’s effectiveness is to be expected of the Republicans at this point in his presidency, the speech is a different strain of disrespect because not only does it undermine President Obama but it undermines the legitimacy of presidency. And the fact that the House Republicans are willing to risk that…well that’s the real surprise.

Aaron DeVera, Executive Editor

Nothing embarrasses your Democratic foreign policy quite like leader of the Likud addressing a joint session of a Republican Congress to sweet talk America’s legislators against an Iran peace deal. Friends don’t let friends put down their guns in a Mexican Standoff!

Katie Labonte, Executive Editor

Congress and President Obama may not see eye-to-eye in terms of foreign policy (or a number of other issues…#repealobamacare #allthetime), however Speaker Boehner’s actions are an enormous show of disrespect to the presidency.  It is not his job to change the course of foreign policy for this nation, and it is highly unlikely that Netanyahu’s speech will be anything other than a vindictive attack on Iran and our attempts to negotiate peaceful coexistence.  Now is the time for negotiations, rather than alienation, and this address is both a stunt and a poor political move.

Ben Shull, Executive Editor

As the FPR’s own Bobby DeNault wrote this past week, Speaker Boehner’s invitation to  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress is a dangerous proposition. While the Ohio Republican would like to frame it as a partisan-free maneuver, any observer aware of the Obama – Netanyahu relationship can see otherwise, and the Speaker’s heavy handed move only exacerbates the rift between the two leaders. Perhaps the president isn’t completely in the right here, with his controversial executive action on immigration in the immediate aftermath of the GOP’s 2014 electoral victories likely spurring the Speaker to undercut him in foreign policy. From the outside, however, things do not look good, with two of the top ranking officials in the American government combating one another in an area where the U.S. government has generally been united — foreign policy. The Speaker’s move does not bode well for the U.S.-Israeli relationship or America’s image as united in the world stage either.

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