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Netanyahu's hot-headed agenda

Thanks to Adil Shamoo for putting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address in Washington into perspective ("Netanyahu wants war," March 4.)

Mr. Netanyahu should not have been speaking before Congress. It was presumptuous of Republican House Speaker John Boehner to extend the invitation — against the wishes of the administration — and arrogant of Mr. Netanyahu to seize the opportunity to deliver an "in-your-face" speech on Capitol Hill.

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If it was that important for him to appear in a U.S. venue, he could have spoken at the United Nations — or in Carnegie Hall, for that matter.

Second, Mr. Netanyahu, who despite his claim to the contrary does not speak for all Jews, said nothing that would further progress in the U.S. negotiations with Iran. The tightened sanctions he is pushing will only alienate Iranians and Muslims and take us all down a road to war.

Mr. Netanyahu has long embraced military action against Iran to eliminate its nuclear capability. Despite Israel's overwhelming superiority in air power, personnel and weaponry — including nuclear warheads — Mr. Netanyahu wants the U.S. behind him as he stages a confrontation from which there is no backing away, and one that will engender more regional turmoil and anti-Western violence that knows no bounds. Does egomania cloud his ability to recognize this?

Mr. Shamoo rightly points out the cynicism of Mr. Netanyahu's secondary goal of raising Iran as a red flag to distract the world's attention from Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank, which effectively is killing the two-state solution for Palestinians. The prime minister's speech also aimed to take our minds off his nation's one-sided pummeling of Gaza last summer, for which he deservedly received so much bad press.

Let us hope that after the heat of Mr. Netanyahu's intrusive visit has cooled, those who applauded him so loudly in the House chamber will think better of it and support continuing a dialogue with Iran.

Bruce Knauff, Towson

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