By: Derek Varsalona

On March 3, 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel addressed a joint session of Congress in a highly anticipated yet highly controversial speak to Congress. He was invited to speak by Speaker Boehner. The speech had the feeling of the state of the union. Many key Democrats did not attend including President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry. Two key Democrats: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid were both in attendance. In certain parts of Israel, the speech was not seen due to a blackout, probably because it was too controversial. As for President Obama, he was on a video conference calls snubbing Israel again instead of standing up for our strongest ally in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Netanyahu wasted no time and came out flying with punches. He knew he was on the world stage only being one month until the Israeli elections. In essence, this was a campaign speech and it had higher demand for tickets then the State of the Union Address. Prime Minister Netenyahu did not thank President Obama. And why should he? President Obama has never reached a hand out to Israel in support.

Prime Minister Netenyahu claimed, “My speech was never intended to become political.” I beg to differ. This was a very highly charged political speech by both Prime Minister Netenyahu and President Obama. For one, giving an address to the United States Congress is a political statement. Also not showing up for an important speech is also making a political statement. It shows total disrespect by each leader for the other leader. He also stated, “The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.” Yet here Prime Minister Netenyahu is giving a speech that is very political in its nature. He also stated, “Thank you America for everything you done.” That is accepted but it is political. We always should stand with Israel the strongest Democracy in the Middle East. What we have done was always political so the speech is political by its very nature.

The main premise of the speech was to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Again, another political premise in what was supposed to be a non-political speech. Yes, Prime Minister Netanyahu has every right to be concerned that Iran could acquire a nuclear weapon that may threaten Israel’s existence. According to Netenyahu, Iran’s policy is, “If all the Jews gather in Israel it will be easier to destroy them.” We can’t let this happen. Israel has the right to exist. He also claimed that Ayatollah Ali Khamene, the Supreme Leader of Iran, state on Twitter: “Israel must be destroyed” and that Iran has boarder set up to create a Jihad. I have not seen that twitter feed nor to I follow that account. Prime Minister Netenyahu also claimed that Iran’s found document states: “Death, Tyranny and the Pursuit of Jihad.”

Prime Minister Netenyahu also touched on the dangers of Iran. According to Bibi, Iran will have 190 centrifuges enriching uranium and that is only weeks away. The real concern for me is I am not sure if President Obama sees this as a concern? In addition, the Iranians hide nuclear facilities in citizen’s homes!

Prime Minister Netenyahu was very critical of the deal made by President Obama. He feels that the deal made does nothing to curtail the making of the bomb. He feels it will only enhance the making of the bomb and make Iran more aggressive. He stated, “Without centrifuges and water Iran can not make uranium.

A nuclear Iran is something that is very concerning. Prime Minister Netenyahu had every right to speak if he was invited and he did. President Obama and his administration had every right not to attend but it was a sign of disrespect. Therefore, if the Prime Minister felt disrespected, this was clearly the right opportunity to disrespect President Obama back. Remember that respect is earned it is never given. It is a little concerning that the speech was blacked out in Israel. That could have been political on Bibi’s part since this speech could have hurt him in the general election if it is seen as controversial back in Israel.

It was right for Prime Minister Netenyahu to address Congress. He was invited by Speaker Boehner. The speech was not intended to be controversial but it came off as very controversial. It shows the hostility and bad blood that both leaders have for one another, for Bibi a hostile speech and for President Obama for not attending. These actions as always speak louder then words and it was very hostile.

Obama and Netanyahu during the U.S. president's visit in Israel.

Both leaders are definitely not seeing eye-to-eye. Photo Credit: Bloomberg. Haaretz. Jan. 23, 2015


Derek Varsalona

I have a mild Case of Cerebral Palsy and am very politically active

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