© Peter Voskamp
Demonstrator outside the Capitol during Netanyahu's Congress speech.
In the Emperor's New Clothes
, only the little boy can say that the emperor is naked. The good news about yesterday's speech by Netanyahu to a joint meeting of Congress is that lots of media are taking on that boy's role, and pointing out the nudity: exclaiming over the fact that a foreign leader came into our house of government to try and overrule our president on foreign policy. Chris Matthews was especially forceful, describing it as a takeover. While a New York Times article said that Democrats have to choose between "loyalty to the Jewish state" and the president.
But journalists have a bigger job than merely exclaiming. They must explain to readers why this outrage took place. Why did Netanyahu get this platform? The answer is the power of the Israel lobby inside our politics.
And while there was some talk about the Christian Zionist component of the lobby compelling Republicans to show up, no one could explain why so many Democrats - about 175 of them - sat still for this insult to the president. They did so because of the importance of the Jewish part of the lobby inside the Democratic
Party, epitomized by Alan Dershowitz in the gallery. This was surely obvious to viewers. But the media were silent on that score.
Here is some of the coverage I'm talking about. A piece
at the New York Times
saying that Netanyahu had issued an effective policy challenge to Obama pointed out the strangeness of the spectacle -
Mr. Netanyahu's hotly disputed address constituted a remarkable moment in Washington: a foreign leader taking the podium before members of the House and Senate to argue strenuously against the policies of the sitting American president. In doing so, the Israeli leader was essentially urging lawmakers to trust him — not Mr. Obama — when it comes to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon...
reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear then openly spoke of Democrats whose "loyalty to the Jewish state" is competitive with their support for the president:
For Democrats who have long viewed themselves as supporters of Israel, Mr. Netanyahu's speech sought to impress upon them the likelihood that they will eventually need to make an awkward, painful choice between the president of their country and their loyalty to the Jewish state.
Why is that choice awkward and painful? I would like to hear why those Democrats feel that "loyalty." Why aren't we hearing about Haim Saban and other leading funders of the Democratic Party? Why aren't Chris Matthews, Jon Stewart, Anderson Cooper and Chris Hayes interviewing John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, the scholars who wrote the book The Israel Lobby
did a lot of Jewish shtick about the Netanyahu speech yesterday. He called it the longest blowjob a Jewish man has ever received. But he tried to put it on the Republicans - "the state of the union speech the Republican wanted." Hold on. As the Times informed us:
"Some Democrats who are strong supporters of Israel praised Mr. Netanyahu's speech."
Nice that some more Americans, are waking up to the degree of power Israel has over the actions of the US. The media has been well aware of it, though speaking out before now, however quietly was pretty much a career ender. Bibi's performance was so outrageous, they had to say something. So, yes, progress. But money (Sheldon Adelson
) and being able to deliver votes (Alan Dershowitz and AIPAC
) still buy the game. Every congresscritter who wants to keep its seat knows it. Voting is actually kind of pointless.