Treating Netanyahu Like Winston Churchill

When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed Congress for his second time in 2011, both parties competed in jumping up and down to applaud. Now, Netanyahu’s fans want him back a third time, an honor only bestowed on Great Britain’s Winston Churchill, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

Since the wise setting aside of a negotiation-undermining bill that would have imposed still more sanctions on Iran, some members of Congress have been feeling itchy as a result of not getting their regular fix of votes that they can portray as support for Israel. Their unease is perhaps a testimony to the continued strength of the lobby that pushes for such votes, despite its recent setbacks on the sanctions bill and a couple of other issues.

So some members of the House of Representatives have sent a letter to their chamber’s leadership asking that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be invited to address a joint session of Congress when he is in Washington next month to speak to AIPAC’s annual mass meeting. “Doing so,” they say in the letter, “would send a clear message of U.S. support to Israel.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Actually, the support involved would not be to Israel but instead to a particular Israeli government. In any event, one noteworthy attribute of the letter is the partisan make-up of the signatories: 79 Republicans and 17 Democrats.

It is another indication of the increasing association of the lobby with only one side of the aisle, which cannot be very reassuring to the lobby. Possibly once the composition of the signatory list started to become clear some Republicans refrained from signing on to avoid making the partisan split appear even more lopsided.

If Netanyahu were invited to address Congress next month it would be an extraordinary instance of honoring someone who has repeatedly been poking a stick in the eye of the country bestowing the honor. Among other things, he has been doing everything he can to sabotage the current negotiations with Iran, which is one of the most important foreign policy initiatives the United States and its five foreign partners currently have going.

He also has been pursuing policies, including continued colonization of occupied territory and the adding of new demands, likely to ensure failure of another set of negotiations important to the United States, the one involving the Palestinians.

Even if members of Congress were to ignore these factors, one might expect them to be mindful of not cheapening the currency when it comes to one of the few symbolically important ways that Congress can make a foreign policy statement. Ever since the Marquis de Lafayette became in 1824 the first foreigner to address Congress, the privilege has not been profligately bestowed. President Park Geun-hye of South Korea was the only foreign dignitary invited to do so last year. None were invited in 2012.

Now get this: Netanyahu already has addressed Congress twice: in 2011 and during his earlier stint as prime minister in 1996. Only one person has been given the honor of doing so three times: Winston Churchill, twice during World War II and again in 1952. People want to put the stick-poker on the same level as Churchill?

The preferences of the foreign government Netanyahu heads will get more than enough attention in Washington when he rallies his loyal troops at AIPAC.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission.)

10 comments for “Treating Netanyahu Like Winston Churchill

  1. Sarfaraz Abbasi
    February 23, 2014 at 15:20

    ..Like Winston Churchill!!! :-) The guy is warmongering, venom-spilling freak!

  2. February 22, 2014 at 06:21

    To be fair Winston Churchill was nearly as much of an arsehole as Netanyahu is. Churchill said he was very much in favour of using poison gas on uncivilised tribes (he was talking about the Iraqi Kurds at the time – Saddam later took up the suggestion). He also wanted to use anthrax and gas on German civilians during World War Two but was over-ruled by his cabinet and generals.

  3. lexy677
    February 22, 2014 at 03:33

    Who do you think you are fooling? Israel is the prime mover behind the mayhem in Syria. They want to weaken the surrounding regimes, steal the Golan heights and reduce the Arabs to a bunch of squabbling tribes. Some Arabs are helping them such as the Saudis. Pathetic!!!

  4. February 21, 2014 at 10:13

    Churchill was technically Prime Minister three times, counting the “Caretaker Government” he headed in May-July 1945 after his WW2 coalition broke up. But he became PM only once as the result of an election (1951). In any case he’s hardly the only three-time Prime Minister. There was Margaret Thatcher, for example–and three times as the result of elections.
    –Richard Langworth, Editor, Finest Hour,

  5. Anonymous
    February 21, 2014 at 01:57

    ERROR on my message above. The second tape was in ICH Information Clearing House yesterday.

  6. February 21, 2014 at 01:37

    If the Media picks up video being circulated about the Drug Trail and Secret Government with the list of names involved, this Nation may finally concentrate on the danger we are facing and those Neo con may decide time to lay low. But we need help promoting those tapes. What is interesting is that one tape was prepared from the Far Right “The Patriot” Radio, the other right here. We can work together if we concentrate on taking back this Nation instead of Political Party Power.

  7. February 20, 2014 at 17:39

    Personally this Zionist war criminal should be addressing a tribunal in the Hague along with all those war criminals that are in the US Government today, and AIPAC.

    Israel is the land of opression and aparthied which is even worse than South Africa ever was. These bastards are Charlatans and Thieves and deserve nothing less than life in prison with no possibility of parole.

  8. rosemerry
    February 20, 2014 at 16:04

    It really is disgraceful, and no other country has a hope of this pandering. How can someone so extreme, with such illegal actions in his “own land” and such lies when anyone dares to criticise any aspect of his policy, continue to influence a superpower?
    Peace and/or justice in Palestine/Israel cannot be reached when such a leader is encouraged to behave without any attempt to negotiate or follow the rule of law.

  9. Hillary
    February 20, 2014 at 16:01

    The Bible probably wasn’t written down in something like its present form until the Babylonian exile ( 586-539 B.C.)
    The writers of the Bible have people riding camels before camels were domesticated when camels were not domesticated anywhere in the region before 1000BC.
    Bible Scribes reworked the folk tales of the Canaanites and have people riding camels before camels were domesticated thus projecting sixth-century BC realities back into the past.
    Why is there complete silence when Netanyahu continually refers to a 4,000 year Jewish history with its exaggerated claims.

    • lexy677
      February 22, 2014 at 03:25

      Why is there complete silence?…. Well who will “bell the cat?”. If you speak up, you are an anti-Semite; although none of these people look Semitic to me. You are up against a horde of organizations who would destroy your life or in extreme cases even murder you. The news media will excoriate you, you might even lose your job. Most people have an extreme interest in living their lives without having to face these kinds of unpleasantness….that’s why.

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