It’s not about Israel - It’s about America

February 27, 2015

Picture by Speaker John Boehner, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Speaker of the House John Boehner’s breach of protocol by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rocked the political world. Boehner invited the Prime Minister without consulting fellow House Democrats or the President, a departure from political and diplomatic norms. The ensuing fallout has sparked a heated debate on whether Boehner’s invitation and Netanyahu's acceptance undermines the President, and thus America.

Undermining the President in such a way is unprecedented. The Executive Branch has traditionally taken leadership on foreign policy. This has many advantages, including letting countries have a single, stable partner to liaise with diplomatically. By stepping on the toes of the President, Boehner has undermined Obama’s ability to conduct foreign policy. Now, the President’s credibility has been strained - foreign leaders now know that the President is only one of multiple parties to conduct foreign policy. This will hamper our diplomatic strength.

Speaker Boehner’s second folly comes at putting the interests of another country above those of his own. The President is attempting to further the national security interests of the United States by creating a strategy that will guarantee Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon. Having disagreements with the President on these negotiations are healthy and acceptable. However, bringing in a foreign leader to settle a dispute between the White House and Congress is a bad idea. To politically insult your own head of state for your own political ends, and to bring in the politics and interests of a foreign nation to our chambers is a dangerous disregard for the United States’ national security interests. Instead of Republicans questioning the President’s love for his country, one should ask those who are putting a foreign nation’s interests first.

Prime Minister Netanyahu's actions in this situation are almost irrelevant. While it is puzzling that Netanyahu would bite the hand that feeds him with such an insult, and puzzling that he seems to be purposefully making Israel a partisan issue, he is merely acting in his own interests. Prime Minister Netanyahu has historically shown that he views the United States as only a pawn to use as he wishes, stating, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get in their way.”

Members of Congress should be concerned with this slight. This is larger than President Obama - this is a blow to the institution of the Presidency itself. Thankfully, several courageous members in both the House and Senate have decided to not be a party to Boehner's and Netanyahu's theatrics. This signals their support for our nation’s interests over the politics of partisanship or the interests of a foreign country.

MPAC encourages all constituents to call their representative and Senators and urge them to show their support for American interests by boycotting this political ploy. You can find your representative here and Senator here.



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