Iran’s nuclear program is one of the most significant national security issues we face and an even larger issue for Israel, and Israel is one of this country’s closest allies. The bad blood between Obama and Netanyahu, which has included personal attacks on Netanyahu by the White House staff, should not be allowed to color what the Speaker does. I think it’s fine that Obama will not see Netanyahu so close to the Israeli election; that’s a good practice in general and avoids the inference of U.S. intervention in a foreign electoral contest. (Of course, in this case no Israeli over the age of five can possibly have any doubt that Obama wants to see Netanyahu lose his job.) Moreover, it avoids the painful spectacle of Obama and Netanyahu making believe they like each other and have enjoyed seeing each other again.But the White House’s whining about Boehner’s invitation is amateurish, and for the reasons [Walter Russell] Mead explained it will persuade few Americans beyond the Beltway. Given the situation in the Middle East and the state of nuclear negotiations with Iran (where the United States has abandoned almost every red line it ever set), it’s no wonder Obama would like to silence Netanyahu–and no wonder that Netanyahu wants to speak about Iran and that the Speaker wants to hear him.
January 29, 2015 at 9:48 AM EST