Representative Blumenauer Reacts to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's Address to Congress
The statement below is an addition to a previous one detailing my decision not to attend the Prime Minister's speech to Congress. That statement can be found here.
While I chose not to serve as the backdrop for a campaign ad days before Israelis go to the polls, I watched Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address very closely in my office. The speech – which was opposed by a majority of both Israeli’s and Americans – was strong in tone, but weak in terms of providing an alternative to military action.
Netanyahu said the administration is pursuing a “very bad deal” and that “We’re better off without it.” His alternative? An agreement that demands everything and concedes nothing. In short, a goal that he, and anyone involved in a negotiation, knows to be impossible. The Prime Minister was wrong about the need for military action in Iraq, he was wrong about the Joint Plan of Action being stalling tactic by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, and he’s wrong that a strategic deal with Iran is better than no deal at all.
I stand with Israel. That is why I chose to not undercut our diplomats in the midst of negotiations by attending today’s Joint Session. That is why I have pushed so hard to secure the only means to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, which is a diplomatic solution.
It was also troubling to hear him say that Iran “will always be an enemy of America.” To me, there is a difference between the hateful ayatollahs and their minions, and the people of Iran. Rejecting a strategic deal would only empower the hardliners while undercutting the moderates, putting further out of reach a potential thawing of relations which, in the end, only undermines our interests in the region.
Netanyahu offers one perspective, but not mine. Challenging his ideas is not anti-Israeli, the same is challenging President Obama isn’t anti-American. Within and between democracies, the critique of ideas is what makes us strong. I welcome a feasible alternative to a “bad deal,” but I’ve yet to hear one, especially from the Prime Minister. Until I do, I will stand with Israel by empowering our negotiators, not undercutting them.