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The Obama Administration has broadcast that since Benjamin Netanyahu announced that there will never be a Palestinian state so long as Netanyahu remains Prime Minister of Israel, the US may end its policy of blocking consideration of the Israel-Palestine conflict at the United Nations Security Council. In particular, the US may support a Security Council resolution that lays out parameters for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict, and the US may support a resolution against Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

If the Obama Administration makes such a move, will Democrats support it? Here is some preliminary evidence that Democrats will be ready to support the Administration.


Democrats should back Obama's push at the UN for two states in Israel-Palestine

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In the wake of the Israeli election - in which now re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spectacularly unmasked himself and his supporters as diehard opponents of a diplomatic resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and in which Netanyahu engaged, as the New York Times put it, in a "racist rant" against the Palestinian citizens of Israel - the Obama Administration is talking about taking steps to move the venue of diplomacy to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict back to the United Nations Security Council.


The UN Security Council is the right venue to ratify an Iran deal

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Like all right-thinking people, I hope that when the Israeli election is completely finished and a new Israeli government is formed, the words that I am writing now will not seem very relevant, because we'll know for certain that Benjamin Netanyahu is not going to be the Prime Minister of Israel anymore.

But in case it might not be so, let us pause for a moment to reflect on what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just spectacularly revealed about himself, in the eyes of his mainstream Israeli political opponents: that he is a racist.

The New York Times reports:


Republicans who see Netanyahu as their Supreme Guide should not be in charge of our Iran policy.

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Congressional Republicans who are trying to blow up U.S.-European diplomacy with Iran would desperately like Americans to believe that they have some alternative besides war to the Administration's multilateral efforts to reach a diplomatic agreement with Iran.

If any fair-minded man or woman who reads newspapers retains any doubt that this claim is fraudulent, let incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - whom Congressional Republicans constantly invoke as their Supreme Guide on diplomacy with Iran - put these doubts to rest. (If the Jewish Daily Forward's JJ Goldberg is correct in his handicapping of the Israeli election Tuesday, Netanyahu may not be Israeli Prime Minster for much longer.)

The New York Times reports:


Democrats should oppose the Corker-Menendez "blow up diplomacy" bill

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Democrats have been outraged by 47 Senate Republicans ostentatiously trying to blow up negotiations with Iran with their "open letter" to Iranian leaders - essentially begging Iranian hardliners to blow up the talks on the Republicans' behalf. Senate historians could find no precedent for the party opposed to the President in Congress trying to blow up an international negotiation involving the United States in this way.

But in terms of practical outcomes, the main drama still lies ahead. The main drama in terms of practical consequences is still all about Senate Democrats, not about Senate Republicans. Without at least six Senate Democrats supporting them, Republicans cannot pass anti-diplomacy legislation in the Senate. Without at least thirteen Senate Democrats supporting them, Republicans cannot override a Presidential veto of anti-diplomacy legislation. Without the support of a substantial group of Senate Democrats, Republicans cannot blow up the talks. The key question in the wake of the unprecedented controversy around the Netanyahu anti-diplomacy speech to Congress and the Republicans' open letter to Iran is: which Senate Democrats will reward the Republicans who did these things by helping them try to blow up diplomacy?


Senate Democrats should not enable Republicans to blow up diplomacy with Iran

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Senate Republicans have a rule that if a Republican Senator is indicted for a felony, that Senator has to give up any Republican leadership position in the Senate.  

Politico reports that Senate Democrats don't have a rule like Senate Republicans do, but that nonetheless Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will face pressure to remove New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez from the Democratic leadership in the Senate if Menendez is indicted [my emphasis]:


Reid should remove Menendez from Democratic leadership if Menendez is indicted.

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On Saturday, the New York Times reported that the Justice Department is preparing to file corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez following a two-year investigation into allegations he accepted gifts and lavish vacations in exchange for political favors. Criminal charges have long been anticipated. In 2013, Menendez was named by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) as one of the most corrupt senators.

Senator Menendez, like every other American, is entitled to a presumption of innocence when facing criminal prosecution. But continuing to serve in the Democratic leadership in the Senate while he remains under a cloud of suspicion of trading the power of his office for money is a different matter.


If DoJ brings criminal charges against Menendez for corruption - as the NYT says they will - Menendez should step down from Senate leadership until the charges are resolved.

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On April 7, there's going to be a world-historical electoral showdown in Chicago between incumbent Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the insurgent challenger, former Harold Washington lieutenant Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. The official deadline for voter registration is in less than a week, on March 10. A recent Chicago Sun-Times poll said the race was a "dead heat."

National media are already portraying this as a national showdown between the Hillary Clinton/Wall Street/corporate wing of the Democratic Party and the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders/Harold Washington populist wing. MoveOn, Democracy for America, and other national progressive Democratic groups are already on the ground in Chicago, pulling out the stops for Chuy. Veterans of the Harold Washington campaigns are "getting the band back together."


On or before April 7, I hope that Chicagoans will vote for...

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Peace and justice advocates in the U.S. are fighting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his U.S. amen corner on two fronts. The first front is the fight over Iran diplomacy, which Netanyahu is trying to blow up. The second front is the fight for justice for the Palestinians. One front is on the front page of the newspaper right now. The other front is barely a footnote right now in mainstream public discourse.

But it seems obvious that if we can't beat these people on Iran diplomacy, we haven't got a prayer of beating them on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. If we want to have a serious conversation about how to beat Netanyahu on settlements, the fight over Iran diplomacy should be required reading, because we're facing the same adversaries, with the key difference right now being that on the second front, we have far fewer friends.


Democratic Senators shouldn't help Republicans blow up diplomacy. Democrats should oppose the Kirk-Menendez bill and the Corker-Graham bill.

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Mitchell Cohen of the Century Foundation has a strong piece at the Boston Globe calling on Democrats not to participate in incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress on Tuesday. He quickly gets to the heart of the matter:


Democrats should not participate in Netanyahu's reelection ad.

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AP reports that the White House is now brainstorming more ways that they could undercut Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's planned speech to Congress on March 3, in which Netanyahu is expected to attack President Obama and U.S.-European efforts to reach a diplomatic agreement with Iran. Among the options being considered:

a presidential interview with a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu, multiple Sunday show television appearances by senior national security aides and a pointed snub of America's leading pro-Israel lobby, which is holding its annual meeting while Netanyahu is in Washington, according to the officials.

... the White House is now doubling down on a cold-shoulder strategy, including dispatching Cabinet members out of the country and sending a lower-ranking official than normal to represent the administration at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the officials said.


Democrats should skip Netanyahu's speech to Congress on March 3.

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Given the number of Democratic Members of Congress who are expected to skip Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned tirade in Congress against diplomacy on March 3rd if it goes forward, it has been reported that the House GOP leadership plans to fill the empty seats with Republican staffers to ensure standing ovations for Netanyahu’s attacks on President Obama.

This raises an interesting question. How will these Republican staffers be vetted? Might it not be embarrassing to the House GOP if it turned out that one of the Republican staffers selected to attend the speech and participate in the standing ovations had trashed the President’s daughters on Facebook, compared black people to zoo animals, or participated in violent protests to stop votes from being counted? Or given a speech to a white supremacist group? (Oh, I'm sorry, I got confused. It’s members of the House GOP leadership who do that. Not the staffers.)

Thus, in order to help the House GOP leadership prepare its vetting process for moderate Republican staffers to attend the speech, I have drafted the following form.


Netanyahu's planned tirade in Congress for war should be cancelled and/or Democrats shouldn't go.

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