Republicans Are Damaging America’s National Interest with Netanyahu Speech

Jessica Renae Buxbaum
Republican support for the Netanyahu Speech does not represent America's national interest.

John Boehner and Benjamin Netanyahu

A defining American interest since our country’s inception has always been that the president of the United States represents America’s interactions with the rest of the world. John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress today criticizing U.S.-Iran deals and prompting war with Iran sorely impairs that common assumption. And when even Fox News host Chris Wallace called the action done behind President Barack Obama’s back “wicked”, you know something has gone amiss with the Republican Party.

Netanyahu’s speech was filled with fear-mongering language meant to encourage Congress to jump on board for military action against Iran. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), who did not attend the speech, bashed Netanyahu's "fear-mongering tactics" saying it was inappropriate for Netanyahu to deliver a speech "aimed at his own political dilemma."

"What I objected to was the fact that he pulled out the Dick Cheney playbook and made statements that are unsupportable," he said.

House Minority Leader and Israel-supporter Nancy Pelosi was visibly hurt by the speech and said she was “saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.”

Many of the Republican electorate, however, joyfully applauded the prime minister. Republicans on the Congress floor congratulatory patted themselves on the back and even took selfies with Netanyahu.

The U.S. has firmly stood divided on several key domestic issues, but has stood strong in the notion that the country should have one agreed upon stance on foreign policy. Boehner’s invitation sullied that idea.

The problem here is that the Boehner-Netanyahu collaboration starkly represents how Republicans are undermining Obama but also the American public. Inviting a foreign leader to slam the American president’s foreign policy initiatives and offer solutions meant to help that foreign country do not uphold the national interest. Republicans are so concerned with being viewed as pro-Israel that they naively follow suit with what AIPAC and Netanyahu say without any consideration of how Israel’s interests will affect the U.S. The GOP is not listening to its constituents if it puts support for Israel above the American people, who if war with Iran does happen will be the ones sacrificing their lives.