24 May 2011

Netanyahu's abominable behavior

I have made no secret of my view that the present government of Israel, and particularly its intransigence on the settlement issue and obvious lack of real interest in genuine negotiations with the Palestinians, represents a stumbling block to resolution of the wider conflicts in the Middle East. I have long favored a tougher attitude on the part of the US government towards Israel's positions which run counter to US interests, even while recognizing that those interests do nonetheless include, as an essential element, a commitment to the fundamental security of Israel.

In this context, I find totally unacceptable the outright insolence and disdain for the office of the President of his most important ally displayed by Benjamin Netanyahu in the last few days. I think Obama should have cut short the meeting and asked him to depart the country forthwith. Seriously, I do. This just isn't the way you speak to and about the President of the United States, not if you expect to be accorded the dignity of your own office. President Obama could have framed his comments on having done so in terms of the "regrettable" failure of the Israeli PM to maintain standards of decorum and respect for the American people and the institutions of their government.

The fact that Netanyahu is obviously pandering moneyed interests in this country to support Republicans is another extremely irritating element of all this. (This is nothing new; he did the same thing to Pres. Clinton, causing Clinton to mutter audibly Who exactly is the f'ing superpower here? after a meeting with him). Behind the scenes, I think the president or Sec. of State Clinton should (if they haven't already) make clear that this kind of interference in American domestic politics is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. Netanyahu isn't here by right, he is here by invitation. He should not receive another for a good long while.

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