By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Facebook

Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)
Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)

01 March 15

f Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is entitled to speak to Congress and the American people on his disagreement with American foreign policy, a lowly former U.S. Secretary of Labor (who also happens to be Jewish) has every right to address the Israeli people on an issue over which he disagrees with official Israeli policy. (He doesn’t have a formal way of communicating, so if you know any Israeli’s please forward to them the following message.)

People of Israel: You should know that the new-found alliance between your Prime Minister and our Republican Party, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and some wealthy right-wing Jews here (such as billionaire Sheldon Adelson), is poisoning the relationship between Israel and the United States. Netanyahu’s decision to address Congress on Tuesday to argue against a nuclear deal with Iran that’s one of the President’s highest priorities, and also to speak to Aipac – just two weeks before your own national elections – foists your own domestic politics onto ours. As such, it is having a polarizing effect here in the United States, pushing many Americans to side against Israel, and thereby posing a long-term threat to Israel’s security. Meanwhile, many American Jews who have refrained from speaking out against the right-wing radicalism that has taken hold in Israel – a radicalism that rejects a “two-state solution” and continues to build new settlements on the West Bank, and which we believe imperils the future of Israel – are now feeling emboldened to do so. Aipac does not speak for us. House Republicans do not speak for us. Billionaires do not speak for us. We have been silent for too long.