If I had to identify the most cherished teachers and public personalities who have influenced my life, Elie Wiesel would be at the top of that list. I’ve read most of his books and never missed an opportunity to hear him speak. Above my desk hangs a photo of him with includes his renown quote:
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not, it’s indifference.”
Regrettably, last week, this brilliant author, teacher and conscience to humanity felt compelled to affirm his love and support for the Jewish State of Israel by suggesting that one of the most politicized events in recent history was actually being politicized by those who were refusing to be passive participants in this shameless bit of public theater.
House Speaker John Boehner, never one to miss an opportunity to undermine or try to embarrass the current President of the United States, invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on why it is wrong to find a diplomatic solution to Iran’s uranium enrichment program which much of the world fears has more to do with developing a bomb than developing Iran’s nuclear energy resources. Like many political hawks, Bibi Netanyahu has built his political career on cynicism, fear and military posturing. No one should be surprised that he gladly became a willing participant in Boehner’s covert scheme to provide the Israeli PM a soap box to preach on the world stage just two weeks before Israel’s next national election.
Can you imagine the hue and cry that would ensue if a Democratic House Speaker invited a world leader to address Congress without consultation with the White House or State Department? No doubt, Bibi’s number one financial backer and one of the biggest GOP donors, Sheldon Adelson was surely pleased if not actually involved in orchestrating this vaudeville shtich.
Sorry my dear teacher, you got this one wrong. Your suggestion that Democratic politicians who are going to boycott Netanyahu’s speech are politicizing this event rings hollow. This carefully choreographed production was planned and scheduled to serve the political agendas of two men who years ago lost, if they had the ability to know this difference between responsible leadership and self-serving demagogic grandstanding.
(reprinted from the February 15, 2015 edition of Haaretz)
Boehner admits he kept White House in dark over Netanyahu’s Congress speech
‘There is no secret about the animosity this White House has for Netanyahu and I didn’t want them getting in the way,’ House Speaker tells Fox News.
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.
Boehner’s remarks contradict the earlier claim by him and his staff that he gave the White House sufficient warning about the Netanyahu invite – when in reality they updated the administration an hour before announcing it to the press. In other words, Boehner has admitted to keeping the White House in the dark about his contact with Dermer.
Despite the harsh criticism about the Netanyahu speech, scheduled for March 3, two weeks ahead of Israeli elections, Boehner said it is important for Netanyahu to speak to Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat.
“There’s a serious threat facing the world,” he told Fox News. “And I believe Prime Minister Netanyahu is the perfect person to deliver the message of how serious this threat is.”