Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is mistaken when he claims to be “a representative of the entire Jewish people,” as reported in the Feb. 12 World article “Netanyahu’s U.S. speech divides Israelis.” I am Jewish, but Mr. Netanyahu does not represent me. Part of my strong support of Israel is based on my capacity to differentiate between policies that I believe strengthen Israel and those I strongly disagree with, just as my identity as an American patriot entitles me to strongly disagree with my government when I interpret its actions as not living up to our nation’s promise.
Mr. Netanyahu and his Likud Party have done considerable harm to Israel, to its international standing and even to the reputation of the Jewish people in general. Furthermore, his unseemly attempt to come pleading to Congress while willfully dismissing President Obama plays into the hands of people who proclaim that Israel holds undue influence over the affairs of the U.S. government.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and his strategists should carefully reconsider the wisdom of their latest anti-Obama ploy, which might have negative consequences. Jewish members of Congress should not attend. The Israeli electorate might want to consider carefully the violation of the trust in our bilateral relations, which their prime minister is perpetrating, and they should feel highly uncomfortable with the notion of reelecting a man who would predictably continue to provoke discord between their country’s government and ours, and among American Jews as well.
Jeffrey S. Hacker, Bethesda