Today, Bibi Netanyahu lectured American Jews at the Aipac national conference about his Churchillian date with destiny. John Boehner’s even giving him a bust of the dead Brit tomorrow as a gesture of eternal political omerta. Tomorrow, Bibi will address those members of Congress who don’t have the temerity to skip his megalomaniacal oration. As of the minute I write this 55 members (UPDATE: now 56), including eight Senators, will be absent. That’s 15% of the House and one-quarter of the entire Democratic caucus, and just short of 10% of the Senate. These people are heroes. They shouldn’t have to be, but in light of the power of the Lobby, they are.
The latest Senator to decline is Sen. Elizabeth Warren. It’s interesting to think that this potential presidential candidate may be setting up a comparison between herself and her Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. The latter, of course, is a captive of the Lobby and would certainly attend the speech were she still in the Senate.
I’m embarrassed to say that my own senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell don’t have the guts to say No. But my Congress member Jim McDermott won’t be there.
Today, Josh Earnest, Obama’s spokesperson offered the most naked warning so far to Netanyahu. He essentially said that if Bibi exposed any U.S. intelligence secrets in tomorrow’s speech, the Obama administration will view this as a “betrayal.” That is exceedingly strong language from a press secretary. In other words, Israel faces the prospect of burning its intelligence relationship with the U.S. for the remainder of Obama’s term. Channel 10 reported to its Israeli audience that the U.S. has already completely cut off any intelligence sharing regarding the Iran nuclear talks.
I was the first individual to create an online petition to protest Bibi’s speech. J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace followed with petitions that garnered more than 100,000 signatures. I urge you to sign if you haven’t already done so. We’re close to 400 signatures. You still have time to call or e-mail your elected representatives to tell them: don’t go.