Not the end of the 'boycott Bibi' campaign?
WH congressional campaign to boycott Bibi speech culminates undramatically in letter signed by 23 far-left members pic.twitter.com/1R1mIpGyuZOn Wednesday, the Algemeiner reported that even fewer Representatives and Senators have actually committed to boycott the speech.
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) February 19, 2015
A grand total of two Senators and 12 Representatives have publicly announced that they are boycotting Israel’s prime minister. Assuming that those figures change only marginally in the days ahead, it will mean that 98% of the Senate and 95% of the House of Representatives will be in attendance.
Even the most vocal critics of Prime Minister Netanyahu, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are not united against the Israeli leader. Emerging from a meeting with President Obama last week, Caucus chairman Rep. G.K. Butterfield told reporters, that the subject of Netanyahu’s speech “didn’t come up” during their 90-minute meeting with the President. But he then proceeded to chastise Israel’s prime minister for supposedly being “disrespectful” to the president, and Congressman Hank Johnson said it was “about President Barack Obama being a black man disrespected by a foreign leader.”
But not all the African-American congress members joined the anti-Netanyahu chorus. U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), who is the only senator in the Congressional Black Caucus, refused to toe the line. The Politico reports that when his colleagues began lambasting Prime Minister Netanyahu, reporters asked Booker where he stood, and he pointedly dissented, saying “I’ve been asked that a number of times–I’m not commenting.”
Knowing of Senator Booker’s longtime support for Israel and close relationship with many American Jewish leaders, we find it difficult that he will go along with an insulting and disrespectful boycott of Israel’s prime minister.
Another major crack in the anti-Netanyahu boycott effort appeared this weekend in the form of a message from Elie Wiesel in a full page advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post, sponsored by “This World: The Values Network.”
The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has always been something of a moral compass for the Jewish people – certainly far more than the two or three Jewish organizational leaders who have been quoted as opposing Netanyahu’s visit. We all remember Wiesel bravely confronting President Reagan over his visit to the Bitburg cemetery, not to mention his speaking out on so many other important issues over the years. So Wiesel’s words in the Times and Post ads carry particular weight.
Wiesel announced that he will personally attend Netanyahu’s speech. He appealed to President Obama and Vice President Biden to “put aside the politics” and hear what Israel’s prime minister has to say. He pointed out that Netanyahu will speak to Congress the day before Purim – the day when, in ancient times, “a wicked man in Persia named Haman” sought to destroy the Jews… Now Iran, modern Persia, has produced a new enemy,” Wiesel wrote. “The Ayatollah Khomeini has been as clear as his predecessor in declaring his goal: ‘the annihilation and destruction’ of Israel. He is bent on acquiring the weapons needed to make good on the deadly promise.”But the Obama administration continues to attack the Prime Minister, having its proxies at NBC news issue this slick anti-Netanyahu campaign video.
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jack W).
Can you imagine a major US news network doing that kind of story about any other foreign leader? More here.
By the way, for those who have been wondering, my son's Bar Mitzva was last night (the Sabbath Bar Mitzva is this week), and as a result, life has been... hectic.