Letter to the editor February 12

Letter to the editor February 12

Netanyahu speech ill-advised

Like most in our community, I am sympathetic to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and recognize that he faces the extraordinary burden of ensuring Israel’s survival amid a sea of enemies with every day of his rule (“The fallout from Dermergate,” Feb. 5). I also note that his relationship with President Barack Obama has not always been one that afforded the Israeli leader the respect and deference that he deserves. I have concluded, nevertheless, that his upcoming speech to Congress at the sole invitation of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is ill-advised.

It is inappropriate to violate protocol, to publicly expectorate in the president’s face by having the prime minister speak, particularly in advance of Israeli elections.

Thomas Friedman offered an excellent analogy in a recent column: Imagine that members of the Israeli Labor Party unilaterally invited Obama to address the Knesset in an effort to undermine the prime minister’s policies. I believe that we as Jews would be outraged.

I suppose the feeling with Boehner and Netanyahu is, “What do we have to lose?” I believe that over the final two years of the Obama presidency, there could be a great deal to lose, including the alienation of many of Israel’s traditional supporters. Any short-term currency the prime minister believes he derives from the speech may soon vanish.

Oren Spiegler

Upper Saint Clair