The grand spectacle of a foreign leader's address to Congress by the invitation of political opponents is disturbing to say the least. But Benjamin Netanyahu's message was even more disturbing. The Israeli prime minister told the American people Tuesday that their president, along with the leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany, are undermining U.S. national security. Mr. Netanyahu's claim: The U.S. negotiating position paves the way to a nuclear-armed Iran. This unprecedented attempt to humiliate the president was made possible by conservative members of Congress and a right wing GOP operative, Ron Dermer, who renounced his American citizenship in 2005 to take a job in the Israeli embassy in Washington and is today the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
Mr. Netanyahu wants the U.S. to forgo negotiations in favor of sanctions while Iran continues to build the infrastructure for nuclear weapons. The logical consequence of this chain of events would be war because Iran would continue to develop its nuclear program unless negotiations prohibit it. Presumably, then, Mr. Netanyahu wants the next step to be a U.S.-led war in Iran.
Mr. Netanyahu cries wolf too frequently to be taken seriously — except by the Republicans for their political purposes. Mr. Netanyahu has made numerous exaggerated predictions to create doomsday scenarios in a call to action for the West. In each case these predictions have been untrue, and only added to the arrogant, messianic and outlandish reputation that diminishes the real threats to his tiny Jewish state. In 2002, while urging the U.S. to invade Iraq, Mr. Netanyahu guaranteed that such a war would "have enormous positive reverberations on the region." And, after the recent horrific murder of Charlie Hebdo's 12 journalists, Netanyahu claimed he went to Paris to speak as "a representative of the entire Jewish people" and that he would do the same before Congress. Many Jews and non-Jews disputed that claim vehemently.
Actions have been taken by both the U.S. and Israel to stall Iran's progress on the nuclear front.
It was four years ago that Israel, with the help of the Obama administration, produced a Stuxnet worm that destroyed a fifth of Iranian nuclear centrifuges. And a book released in 2012 claims that Israeli agents assassinated a half dozen nuclear scientists on the streets of Tehran. If such an operation were reversed, the U.S. and Israel might have launched a war with Iran in retaliation.
Israel has overwhelming military superiority. It has on its side a global superpower supplying it with financial as well as military aid worth billions of dollars every year. Furthermore, a simple comparison of the number of aircraft, tanks, personnel and budget size, shows that Israel has a large advantage over Iran. Moreover, Israel has several hundred nuclear warheads, and Iran has none. (Israel denies having nuclear weapons; the charade goes on.) The hypocrisy is obvious to Iranians, Arabs and Muslims alike, but it is rarely portrayed accurately in American media, so Americans tend to be baffled by the response from that part of the world.
With talks about Iran, Mr. Netanyahu has managed to divert attention from the two-state solution and the continuance of the misery of Palestinians while he expands the building of settlements. There are over 600,000 settlers on the West Bank. The two-state solution is dead; Mr. Netanyahu will claim the Palestinians did not want it.
While the U.S. needs to build more partnerships with the people of the Middle East, Mr. Netanyahu's policies continue to destroy any attempts to build bridges with those who would be our allies in the current struggle with murderous groups like ISIL. Mr. Netanyahu's treatment of the Palestinians violates international law and the human rights of the Palestinians. And now Mr. Netanyahu wants us to have another war against another Muslim country. The Congress should not look far as to why ISIL recruitments are on the rise — all members have to do is look at their guest speaker.
Adil E. Shamoo is an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, a senior analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, and the author of "Equal Worth – When Humanity Will Have Peace." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and blogs at: http://www.forwarorpeace.com.