When I read that Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the US House of Representatives, had been “near tears throughout” the speech to a joint session of Congress by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (“PM to Congress: Deal paves Iran’s path to bomb,” March 4), I thought she had come around. I thought she had been roused to action. But no. She was in tears over Netanyahu’s “insult to the intelligence of the United States.”
Let’s look at the “intelligence” of the US – the incorrect assessment of the “Arab Spring,” the brief military engagement in Libya, the Benghazi debacle, the undermining of the US-Egypt alliance, the failure to adhere to red lines in Syria, the underestimation of ISIS, and numerous other foreign policy blunders. Should we add the undermining of the US-Israel relationship? All these point to a junior-varsity team at the helm of US foreign policy – the same people now negotiating with Iran over nuclear weaponization.
If anyone insulted America’s intelligence, it was Pelosi.
GABE GOLDBERG Jerusalem
Prior to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech, US Senator Diane Feinstein called him “arrogant” and said that she, as a Jew, rejected his claim to be speaking on behalf of all Jews, not only those in Israel.
Feinstein should be reminded of what Netanyahu said during his appearance before Congress, that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, once stated that “[i]f all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.” And Iran, while denying the Holocaust, openly states that it aims to complete a job that Hitler failed to do.
Sen. Feinstein should be grateful that the Israeli leader aims to protect all Jews, wherever they live. This is certainly not a manifestation of arrogance, but rather an expression of true concern.
MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond
In your March 4 editorial “Netanyahu’s speech,” you aptly state: “The several dozen Democratic lawmakers who decided not to attend were hardly missed” – except, maybe, by many of their constituents. In fact, the upshot in American politics is that some 150 Democrats did attend.
Having now been consummated, the speech, and its attendance, weaken much of the claim that it would make Israel a wedge issue in Washington. The true issue has now been joined: the serious foreign policy difference between Jerusalem and Washington beyond the furtive attempts of the White House to sideline that difference by a full-court critique of the messenger.
Final proof of this was President Barack Obama’s statesman- like, post-speech defense of the pending agreement with Iran. Thanks to the speech, he can no longer skirt the true issue, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a number of references to the threat of Tehran not just against Israel, but against the entire Middle East and the world beyond.
AARON BRAUNSTEIN Jerusalem
Most books discussing the moral compass that should guide us as human beings begin with: “What I’m about to tell you is not new. You know these guiding principles, but I want to remind you to make them a priority in your life.” That was the message of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech.
Bibi didn’t tell Congress anything new, but he did bring to the fore what Iranian nuclear armament might mean for the world. He reminded the senators and congressmen to keep the danger that Iran poses at the top of their “to do” list and act in a timely manner.
Hopefully, this will be heeded.
JACOB HIMMELFARB Jerusalem
...and there I listened to a speech by one of the world’s great leaders. It was delivered in the hallowed halls of freedom, given by a man who, in all truth, sounded like a United States president.
I was near tears as his powerful words of strength filled the room. The length and genuine pleasure taken by men and women who themselves speak for a nation, in applauding this leader 43 times, awed us. The plain truth, devoid of hyperbole and political obfuscation, moved us as a people.
I understand the man is not unanimously admired in your country. I know the upcoming election could unseat him. I ask one thing of the people of Israel: If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not reelected, allow him to be our president.
No nation that ignores the plight of the afflicted is destined to remain. We need a man of courage and conviction, one who is not afraid to speak the truth. Could we trade our Chamberlain for your Churchill? FRANK POLICASTRO Washington The prospect of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being hailed in Washington, together with Speaker of the House John Boehner rubbing President Obama’s nose in it, was too much for both gentlemen to resist. As an American and a Jew, I am appalled.
Never has Congress been used for propaganda in such a shameless way by Republicans and their hero. It’s an insult to the president and puts many American Jews in a difficult position.
The speech added nothing to the discussion. Walking away from a “Persian bazaar” was the best the prime minister could muster. Even the Mossad disagrees with Bibi’s procrastinations.
Netanyahu has damaged Israel’s standing in the West. He has proven to be good at lip service but short on courage and peacemaking.
Is Israel safer today than it was 10 years ago? Are Israeli-American relations stronger than 10 years ago? Is Hamas stronger or weaker under Bibi? How about Hezbollah? Are Jewish principles well demonstrated under Bibi? Is there more social justice under Bibi than 10 years ago? I think not.
Netanyahu is more politician than leader. He is more apologist than peacemaker. He’s gotten a little too comfortable. He’s more concerned for his own neck than for Jews in Israel and abroad.
HENRY R. MANDELL Los Angeles
Whatever his faults – and they are many – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did Israel a great service.
His simple but direct words bring shame to the comments made about him by the likes of President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. They would probably sell out Israel and our faith for money from Iran for their libraries.
BARRY BERGER Exton, Pennsylvania I have always been a friend and supporter of Israel. I have watched successive American and Israeli leaders work together and fight to maintain and strengthen Israel’s defenses. That said, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and House Speaker John Boehner did your country’s cause no favors.
Don’t be fooled! A large number of Democratic supporters of Israel did not attend Netanyahu’s speech. Staffers were used to fill seats. Many who did attend, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, were angry at the way this entire situation was handled. A good speech? Perhaps rhetorically, but any speech that pits Israeli supporters here against each other is a very bad speech.
Many view it as an awkward and unwarranted attempt to force our foreign policy and be manipulative to the highest degree and in the worst manner – unbecoming of one who’s supposed to be a friend and ally. In short, it was most impolitic, undiplomatic and counterproductive, and it raised resentment.
KIRK HURLEY Marlborough, Massachusetts
My husband and I listened to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. It was historic, powerful and right on target.
Finally, the truth about Iran has been revealed.
DIANA and DON THORN Carpinteria, California