Today on Fox News, House Speaker John Boehner admitted that he concealed his invitation to Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to avoid the President and his staff from "getting in the way." This admittance flies in the face of earlier statements, in which Boehner denied hiding negotiations to bring Netanyahu before Congress from the White House.
Per Israel's Haaretz:
House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that he had asked Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer not to inform the Obama administration about their contact over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Congress speech so as to avoid "interference."
"I wanted to make sure there is no interference," Boehner told Fox News' Sunday morning program. "There is no secret here about the animosity that this White House has for Netanyahu and I didn’t want them getting in the way and quashing what I thought was a real opportunity,” Boehner continued.
It is bad enough that Boehner is inviting a foreign leader to argue against our administration's delicate and historic negotiations with Iran in front of Congress. It is even worse that he and his staff lied about this unprecedented breach of diplomatic protocol which prompted Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) to accuse Boehner of approaching subversion
Netanyahu's scheduled speech on March 3, to be delivered just weeks before elections in Israel, is clearly intended to be a campaign photo opportunity for Israel's leader. After all, as Yarmuth himself noted when listing his reasons for boycotting the speech, Netanyahu's positions on Iran are well known. He doesn't need to repeat them again from the floor of Congress. The only reason Netanyahu desires to do so is for the standing ovations Republicans promise to deliver.
Indeed, Netanyahu has refused to debate his rivals in Israel until after this speech before Congress, so as to use it as proof of his credentials as a 'serious' leader.
However, a growing number of Democrats in Congress are seeing Netanyahu as anything but serious. Dozens of congressional Democrats have already committed to boycotting Netanyahu's speech, and those numbers are anticipated to grow sharply as March 3 nears. Also growing is Israeli opposition to Netanyahu's speech with Israel becoming a political football, though neither of these factors will deter Netanyahu from representing the "entire Jewish people" before Congress. (Read: "You will NOT be speaking for me, Netanyahu.")
Boehner will also not be deterred, desperate to embarrass Obama and scuttle his signature diplomatic initiative. At least he's honest about the latter motivation, explaining his rationale for inviting a foreign leader to speak as follows:
“There’s a serious threat facing the world ... and I believe Prime Minister Netanyahu is the perfect person to deliver the message of how serious this threat is.”
Yes, the leader of a close ally is the perfect person to rebut our President in the halls of Congress. Because 'threat' and 'world.'
One day, he'll admit this lie as well.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, recently published by Oneworld Publications.