Netanyahu To U.S. Congress: Choose War with Iran Over Negotiations

Posted March 4, 2015

MP3 Interview with Robert Naiman, policy director of Just Foreign Policy, conducted by Scott Harris

netanyahu

Two weeks before Israeli elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3. The widely covered speech erupted into controversy after Republican House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu without consulting the White House, a breach of standard protocol. The focus of the Israeli leader’s speech was also contentious for its effort to derail the Obama administration’s ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, being conducted with UN Security Council members and Germany. In his address, Netanyahu repeated his view that no deal with Iran was better than a bad deal, and urged Congress to impose new sanctions on Tehran that would require overriding a promised presidential veto.

Nearly 60 Democratic lawmakers boycotted the speech, owing to what they believed was the obviously partisan nature of the event. According to a Feb. 17 public opinion poll, a large majority of Americans also believed that GOP leaders were wrong to have invited Netanyahu to speak to Congress without consulting the White House.

Before the speech was delivered, more than 180 former commanders in Israel's security apparatus urged Netanyahu to cancel his address to Congress, declaring that the prime minister’s policies were damaging U.S.-Israeli relations and bringing Iran closer to obtaining nuclear weapons. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Robert Naiman, policy director with the group Just Foreign Policy, who talks about why he believes Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial March 3 congressional speech was a call for war with Iran.

For more information on Just Foreign Policy, visit justforeignpolicy.org.

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