It was the domestic portrayal of Netanyahu’s acceptance of Boehner’s invitation as disrespectful confrontation with the White House, which virtually compelled some Democrats to rally around the president against the alleged assault on his honor. After all, could they let themselves be seen as less mindful of his prestige than Buji Herzog and Tzipi Livni??

...the animosity Bibi’s political rivals feel toward him appears to have eclipsed their commitment to the national interest.

‘Chamberlain of the 21st century…’

Few could have made this case in stronger terms than a self-confessed twice-over supporter of Obama, Alan Dershowitz, who in a recent interview dismissed the negotiations as a “joke.”

Dershowitz, a long standing Democrat, excoriated the prospective accord:
“This is a very bad deal, a bad deal for the United States, a bad deal for the international community...My fear is that... Barack Obama is going to go down in history as the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century.”
... “We will point to this point in history and say, this was the turning point. This was the point where the president could’ve recognized the greatest threat to the world in the 21st century and, like Chamberlain in the 20th century, he failed to do it. That will be his legacy...:
...But of course none of this really is of interest to Netanyahu’s domestic adversaries.

None could really have any doubt as to the prime minister’s oratory skills; none really believe he could not present Israel’s case persuasively and convey its concerns eloquently.

Their opposition to him addressing Congress is not rooted in any fear he will not perform competently. Quite the contrary, it is rooted in the fear that he will perform too competently – and hence by discharging his duty as the elected prime minister, enhance his electoral prospects. As if that is not precisely what prime ministers in democracies are supposed to do – i.e. perform competently so as to be reelected.

This, then, is the real reason for the resistance to Netanyahu’s address – not concern for the national interest, or for erosion of bipartisan support for Israel, or alarm over the degradation of Israel’s relationship with the White House.

The cynical motivation behind the political opposition... was dramatically exposed by the petition the leader of the far-left Meretz faction Zehava Gal-On submitted to the Central Elections Committee last month.

In it, Gal-On demanded that coverage of his congressional address by Israeli TV and radio stations be banned on grounds that it constituted prohibited electioneering...

Happily, however,,..In recommending that Gal-On’s petition be rejected, the attorney-general wrote sensibly: “... the request to issue the aforementioned restraining order should be turned down since this is a clearly newsworthy event with a dominant effect in terms of news and current affairs.”...

*Martin Sherman ( is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies (