LEW’S VIEWS – Bibi Netanyahu: Chutzpah Personified

Shortly before leaving Israel for his trip to the United States, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said “Today, on the eve of the Fast of Esther, I’m embarking on a historic mission. I feel like the emissary of all the people of Israel, even those who don’t agree with me – of the entire Jewish people.”

That is what I call “chutzpah” or arrogance. In no way should Mr. Netanyahu insinuate that he is my emissary. If I, as a Jew, had an emissary it would be my Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and not the Prime Minister of Israel.

In my view, Mr. Netanyahu was strictly speaking as a candidate for reelection as Prime Minister of Israel and as a person seeking to undermine the President of the United States. He has every right to state his views but not representing me. I strongly support Israel, but not blindly. The same goes for my loyalty to my country: The United States of America. I love my nation as does President Obama and I will support it when it is right and emphatically oppose policy when I feel it is wrong.

Personally, I found his speech before Congress to be inappropriate and an attempt to propagandize our Congress. For Netanyahu to oppose ongoing negotiations with Iran undermines President Obama and Secretary of State, John Kerry. It sends the wrong message to the world.

In his speech, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he condemned a “bad deal.” which is in reference to our negotiations with Iran. While not perfect, negotiations are ongoing and are far from complete. Mr. Netanyahu is attempting to influence members of Congress on how to vote in case a treaty is negotiated. Mr. Boehner has thrown aside any semblance of leadership by inviting a foreign leader to lobby Congress on an issue which should be decided by our Executive and Legislative branches.

It is fine to exchange ideas between different nations but when a nation speaks about a subject with a clear bias or ulterior motive, their should be a certain amount of caution. An example scenario of this might be Mr. Boehner inviting the leaders of other nations to appear at joint sessions of Congress and lobby for legislation or inviting the President of Uganda to advise Congress on human rights for homosexuals.

I wonder when the Prime Minister of Israel will invite President Obama to speak before the Knesset and tour Israel stating his views. I have confidence in the Knesset and Israelis (Jewish, Moslem, and Christian) to make their own decisions on policy and who will lead their nation. Conversely, I have no confidence in the present Congressional leadership to make its own decisions on important issues impacting on all of us.

Mr. Kerry has stated that he will walk away from the talks if Iran does not accept certain detailed terms. I trust our government in its talks with Iran. Please read my upcoming column on how extremists are trying to undermine diplomatic negotiations not only with Iran but in other areas.

And now the Republicans in Congress have communicated with the “supreme ruler” in Iran. That is beyond chutzpah. It borders on treason. Regardless of my personal feelings about Iran I feel we all need to recognize that it is our President who drives foreign policy.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author do not necessarily represent those of The Bronx Chronicle, its staff, or contributors.

[NOTE: This article has been edited for corrections and addition of the disclaimer.]
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