Letter: Wide opposition to Netanyahu visit | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Wide opposition to Netanyahu visit

Wide opposition to Netanyahu visit

Review of major news organizations’ coverage of Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Congress reveals that a majority of U.S. and Israeli citizens reject Netanyahu’s cry for war with Iran and promotion of a militarily aggressive Israeli state.

USA Today notes: “Many Israelis deplore Netanyahu’s U.S. visit.” Similarly, The Times of Israel observes that “most Israelis oppose Netanyahu’s visit to Congress.” It is reassuring to witness many Israeli Jews’ disagreement with Netanyahu, whose extremist views and actions — particularly his visit to U.S. Congress to push for military action against Iran — are a threat to Israel, world peace and U.S.-Israeli relations.

As The Times of Israel reported, a recent poll found that Israelis overwhelmingly believe that Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S. is detrimental. Fifty-two percent of those polled disapprove, while only 26 percent approve of the visit. Sixty-seven percent believe that the visit is a self-serving attempt to improve Netanyahu’s odds in the upcoming election for prime minister. Isaac Herzog, the leader of the Zionist Union Party, argues that Netanyahu’s meeting with Congress “will harm Israel’s ties with the United States.”

More forcefully, in The Times of Israel, Meir Dagan, former chief of Mossad, has severely criticized Netanyahu’s overall hawkish behavior as prime minister, arguing that Netanyahu’s approval of Operation Protective Edge — the recent invasion of Gaza and slaughter of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip — was a tragic, ill-considered decision. Dagan and Gabi Ashkenazi, past Israeli Army Chief, are even more critical of Netanyahu’s attempt to engage in conflict with Iran, calling Netanyahu’s slapdash aggression toward Iran an “intolerable risk” and “strategic mistake.” Both of these observant Israeli high officials objected to and denied Netanyahu’s previous attempt to have Israel prepare for military action against Iran.

According to a CNN poll, 63 percent of U.S. citizens contest Netanyahu’s visit to Congress. Rick Jacobs, the leader of the largest Jewish denomination, the Union for Reform Judaism, stated that Netanyahu’s trip is “ill advised” and “a bad idea.” The Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman also has called on Netanyahu to reconsider his visit to Congress. U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice correctly pronounced that Netanyahu’s visit is “destructive to the fabric of the relationship” between the U.S. and Israel. Steve Clemons, of The Atlantic, described Netanyahu’s tactics as “obnoxious” and “pugnacious.” Thoughtful Jewish-American politicians, such as Bernie Sanders and Diane Feinstein, will boycott the speech, along with other U.S. legislators.

Who supports Netanyahu’s visit to Congress? Intellectually misguided fanatics and immoral opportunists who support a hyper-militarized, terrorist Israeli state, such as Sheldon Adelson, the overly influential, objectionable mega-donor of casino-gambling infamy, and powerful, manipulative special-interest groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that often harmfully dictate U.S. politics and foreign policy.

Sean Elias

Glenwood Springs


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