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If Looks Could Kill…

Much has been said about the Netanyahu’s alleged “breach of etiquette” regarding his plans to speak to Congress concerning the Iranian nuclear quest for nuclear weaponry. President Obama is obviously feels that his negotiations may (pardon the pun) “go up in smoke” if the United States imposes greater sanctions on the Iranian mullahcracy. In fact, one senior Obama advisor put it in the blunt terms:

  • “Netanyahu spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.” [1]   

Regarding “breach of etiquette,” let me point out that Obama has done this on several occasions with respect to Israel. For example, in March 2013, Israel invited the American President to speak before the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament). Past presidents such as Bill Clinton (in 1994) and George W. Bush (in 2008) politely accepted the offer while they were serving their presidency.

However, President Obama declined and chose to speak to some Israeli students from some of the Israeli universities.  Now, based on the political etiquette civilized nations demonstrate to one another throughout the year, you ought to be asking some simple but direct questions:

  • Why President Obama’s rejection of Israel’s invitation was not considered a breach of etiquette?  Not only did he deliberately slight PM Netanyahu, more importantly—he insulted the entire country of Israel.
  • Why did he choose instead to address the students of Israel?
  • More importantly, does Obama have any respect for Israel’s democratic process?
  • Why are some Jews in this country so willing to overlook Obama’s shabby behavior in Israel but are so willing to heap scorn on Netanyahu for insulting the President by speaking about a topic concerning Israel’s welfare and nuclear?

In President Obama’s speech to the Israeli students, he even made a joke about not speaking to the Knesset on Israeli television:  “Any drama between me and my friend, Bibi over the years was just a plot to create material for Eretz Nehederet (an Israeli comedy show”).

Frankly, I am amazed the President went to Israel at all, but while he was there—not only did he insult the chosen democratically elected Israeli leader, he snubbed the entire country.

In my opinion, this is hardly the first time the President has shown a lack of etiquette when it comes to international behavior. His conspicuous absence from the French funeral after the terrorist attack on the  French journalists and the four Jews murdered by Islamic gunmen showed  a complete disinterest in an the world community. Why do Jews in this country accept insulting behavior as if it is perfectly normal when it comes to belittling the Jewish people and Israel?

Then again, at the seventieth year Auschwitz commemoration, not only didn’t the President show up to express the importance of remembering the Holocaust and its legacy—he didn’t send the Vice President or the Secretary of State. When we consider how the Iranian mullahcracy is threatening to wipe Israel off the map in one mighty attack, don’t you think Obama’s presence alone would have sent a powerful message to the Iranians that the United States will not tolerate any threat to destroy Jews living in Israel again?

So, as you can see, I have some very serious problems with the President’s lack of etiquette when it comes to the Jewish people—and the nation state of Israel.[2]

I hope you do too.

Lastly, the President’s official promised there would be a cost exacted if Netanyahu dares to speak to Congress.

Is this how allies speak to one another?

It is time for us to have a reality check.



[1]http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/01/23/1359691/-U-S-Official-Netanyahu-Spat-In-Our-Face-And-There-Will-Be-A-Price

[2] Beyond Israel, President Obama has frequently broken the rules of etiquette in many international settings. For example, “As Barack Obama appeared in the home of Myanmar pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon of Burma, the U.S. president planted a platonic, but very affectionate, kiss on her cheek (to which she appeared to slightly recoil in embarrassment). This act has surprisingly elicited little or no comment in the global press thus far – quite unusual since public displays of affection represent a grave breach of custom in virtually all Asian countries”  http://www.ibtimes.com/obama-suu-kyi-forbidden-kiss-889606;  “President Obama was caught committing a funeral faux pas — snapping a selfie during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British PM David Cameron,” wrote the New York Daily News. “The threesome smiled as the Scandinavian beauty held her smartphone out to capture the moment but Michelle Obama sat at a distance, as if in disapproval of the digital display.” And the list goes on…