Missing Netanyahu’s Speech: Those not Listening and Those Not Speaking

Summary: The media highlighted the Democrats that snubbed the Israeli Prime Minister’s address to Congress. They failed to mention the coalition of countries that Bibi represented. Will the world’s safety rest with those that party-with-their-party or those that bomb-the-bomb?

US President Obama made a deliberate attempt to marginalize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his address to Congress in March 2015. Obama aired a number of complaints about the nature of the invitation and later said that Netanyahu didn’t offer any new ideas in dealing with Iran. His efforts to turn public attention away from the incredibly important topic to a sideshow of partisanship was sad on many levels.

Obama no
Obama and Biden skipped Netanyahu’s Address to Congress,
March 2015

There were many people who were not at Congress on March 3rd: Democrats that didn’t listen, and Arab States that echoed Netanyahu’s message.

Those not Listening: Democrats Partying with their Party

The Obama administration managed to convince 58 members of Congress to skip Netanyahu’s speech. All were his fellow Democrats. They were:

SENATE – 8 members

  • Sen. Al Franken (Minn.)
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.)
  • Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.)
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)
  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)

HOUSE – 50 members

  • Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.)
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)
  • Rep. Corrine Brown (Fla.)
  • Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.)
  • Rep. Lois Capps (Calif.)
  • Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.)
  • Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas)
  • Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.)
  • Rep. William Lacy Clay (Mo.)
  • Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.)
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.)
  • Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.)
  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.)
  • Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.)
  • Rep. Danny Davis (Ill.)
  • Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)
  • Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.)
  • Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas)
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.)
  • Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.)
  • Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.)
  • Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.)
  • Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio)
  • Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)
  • Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.)
  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)
  • Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)
  • Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)
  • Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.)
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.)
  • Rep. John Lewis (Ga.)
  • Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa)
  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)
  • Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.)
  • Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.)
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (Mass.)
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.)
  • Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.)
  • Rep. Gwen Moore (Wis.)
  • Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas)
  • Rep. Donald Payne (N.J.)
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)
  • Rep. David Price (N.C.)
  • Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)
  • Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.)
  • Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)
  • Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)
  • Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.)

 Holmes
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D, DC)

It is wrong to say that these Democratic Congressmen are anti-Semites for skipping Netanyahu’s speech. They are just small-minded, petty, partisan politicians.

Those who were seen not Speaking: Arab States agree with Netanyahu

While Israel is in the crosshairs of the Iranian regime which has singled out the country for annihilation, several Arab countries are also very against Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.  They supported Netanyahu’s position and address.

el sisi
Egyptian President Fatah El-Sisi calling to reform Islam,
January 2015

The difference between the absent deaf audience (Democrats) and the silent approving chorus (Arab states) is a contrast between politics and policy. The difference between Obama and Netanyahu regarding Iran is between hope and action.

Those Talking and Hoping: Obama and Kerry

Obama has essentially articulated that US intelligence is flawed, so the best solution for managing the Iranian nuclear program would be to rely on the Iranians’ openness. His negotiation tack will conclude with faith that the Iranians:

  • will disclose the entirety of their nuclear program;
  • will provide full access to all of the facilities; and
  • will not covertly move towards nuclear weapons.

It can best be called a policy of “hope”.

Kerry Iran
US Secretary of State John Kerry negotiating with Iran,
March 2015

Those Acting: Israel Bombing the Bomb

If Israel is convinced that the Iranians are good on their word, than they have reason to be concerned as Iran has threatened to destroy Israel.

Israel has long taken the approach that hope is not a policy.  It sits in too volatile a region to believe in the good faith of its neighbors that have declared war on the country. Peace is something that is fought for and defended.

Decisive action has led to extended windows of peace for Israel. In 1981, Israel destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor that was due to go live.  In 2007, Israel bombed the Syrian nuclear reactor that was being constructed with the help of North Korea. In 1967, Israel acted preemptively to thwart the attacks of Egypt and Syria which enabled a very quick victory.  When Israel decided to remain passive, such as the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the country was almost overrun.

Netanyahu has pleaded for very tough sanctions against Iran. It has used malware and cyber-attacks against Iran. Israel has reportedly assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists (to the chagrin of the United States). It has advocated for putting all options on the table, including military force as it used against the facilities in Syria and Iraq.


The way forward with Iran has two very different paths:

  • Obama has advocated a policy of hope and has enlisted a quorum of party loyalists who will not listen to alternatives.
  • Israel has deployed policies of actions and has an eclectic group of Arab neighbors that support its position.

Will the future safety of the world belong to those that party-with-their-party or those willing to bomb-the-bomb?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Fairness versus Safety: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/the-gap-between-fairness-and-ramifications-wmds-in-iraq-and-iran/

Obama’s Iranian Red Line: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/obamas-iranian-red-line/

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