Much has been said and written about how a foreign leader, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is about to upstage President Barack Obama by delivering an address to Congress warning them of the possible dangers of a peace agreement with Iran.
The GOP Republicans have never been this excited in the past six years. After all, it’s not every day one gets to demean Obama and defy his orders.
The March 3 address is indeed going to be an historic event – Netanyahu said so himself when he billed his speech a “crucial and even historic mission” moments before departing for the U.S.
However, is it really worth the hype?
Should we really expect Netanyahu to say something new? Isn’t it a bit too naïve to think so?
The Israeli PM has since time immemorial been an ardent opponent of any sort of peace negotiations with Iran. While the fact that he will deliver the address despite Obama’s disapproval is of huge significance, the speech itself will most probably be a cliché of sorts.
Fear-Mongering Against Iran
Netanyahu has a long – long – history of cautioning the West over Iran’s nuclear weapons or any peace deal with that Islamic country.
In 1992, Netanyahu, who was then a parliamentarian, claimed to the Knesset that Iran was “three to five years” away from reaching nuclear weapons-capability.
In his book, Fighting Terrorism, published in 1995, Netanyahu, forgetting about his previous deadline, reiterated that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in “three to five years.”
In 1996, he addressed a joint session of Congress, warning them, “If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind.” He again set a deadline saying the time for attaining this goal “is getting extremely close.”
(Twenty years down the lane, the deadline’s still there).
In 2012, the Israeli leader called on the international community to – yet again – set a "clear, red line" to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon, claiming that line would be reached “in a few months.”
He illustrated those claims, presenting the United Nations general assembly in New York with a diagram of a bomb with a burning fuse. Netanyahu even used a red felt pen to mark a line near the top of the bomb beyond which he said Iran should not be allowed to pass.
Not only do these examples prove that Bibi will talk about the dangers of a nuclear Iran on March 3, but they also show how disastrously false his claims will be.
Representative of American Jews
Netanyahu will try his level best to portray himself as the sole representative of American Jews.
He tried to do that in France, following the Paris terror attacks last month, when he invited local Jews to relocate to Israel.
Although he was snubbed by French Jews – and rightfully so – in the most spectacular fashion, there is a 100 percent chance that Netanyahu will make the same appeal to Jews in the U.S.
In fact, he even said something similar before coming to Washington, D.C., during a conference for French-speaking Likud activists last month:
“Just as I went to Paris, so I will go anyplace I’m invited to convey the Israeli position against those who want to kill us. Those who want to kill us are, first and foremost, any Iranian regime that says outright it plans to destroy us. I will not hesitate to say what’s needed to warn against this danger, and prevent it.”
Fortunately, American Jews are wary of Bibi’s message and a majority of them are expected to skip his speech.
Unbreakable Alliance With the U.S.
Last but certainly not the least, Netanyahu will make an effort to repair the damage that he has done to the U.S.-Israel relationship in the past few weeks by saying something along the lines of “the bond between the two allies is unbreakable” or “we will be friends no matter what.”
He will try his best to cover up the fact that he practically kicked Obama to the curb to interfere and influence American politics. In fact, he has even started to rehearse the lines.
Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee a day before the impending speech, Netanyahu said:
“My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds. I have great respect for both.”