Former Israeli Opposition Leader Puts Bibi-Boehner Ploy Bluntly

by Jim Lobe

Yossi Sarid, the former head of Israel’s Meretz Party and leader of the opposition in the Knesset from 2001 to 2003, has just written a very blunt—far too blunt for “acceptable” political discourse in Washington, DC—op-ed published Sunday by Haaretz. Unfortunately, it’s behind a pay wall, so the most I can do is extract a few excerpts. The title is straightforward: “Beware: Republican Jews on the Warpath,” and Sarid, who also served as minister of education under Ehud Barak, doesn’t pull any punches about what Boehner’s fraudulent invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is really all about.

Now it’s no longer a “crisis in the relationship” that they try to paper over; now it’s no longer just “tensions with the White House” that they’re making every effort to reduce in between meetings; now, it’s an open war with the United States. It’s Sheldon Adelson versus Barack Obama, and Israel is caught in the cross-fire.

After Vice President Joe Biden, our greatest friend over there, announced an unspecified trip abroad that will prevent him from being in Congress at the fateful hour, Republican Jewish organizations launched a campaign of intimidation against those lawmakers who had already announced their intent to skip the joint session: Their political fate will be bitter.

…Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer, in the service of his master, is rallying his troops and launching a combined assault on Capitol Hill. Benjamin Netanyahu is determined to show the president once and for all who really rules in Washington, who is the landlord both here and there.

One Matthew Brooks – the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who does the will of its financial backers – explained over the weekend, “We will commit whatever resources we need to make sure that people are aware of the facts, that given the choice to stand with Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu in opposition to a nuclear Iran, they chose partisan interests and to stand with President Obama.” Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, added unambiguously, “We will, of course, be publicly condemning any Democrats who don’t show up for the speech — unless they have a doctor’s note.” Doctor, this man is sick and urgently needs tranquilizers.

Israel, which until now was a cornerstone of bipartisanship, has become loathsome to its traditional supporters. Benjamin Nitay Netanyahu, the Israeli-American, has made it into something that reeks, even among its longtime supporters.

In these very moments, the protocols are being rewritten. Rich Jews are writing them in their own handwriting. They, in their wealth, are confirming with their own signatures what anti-Semites used to slander them with in days gone by: We, the elders of Zion, pull the strings of Congress, and the congressmen are nothing but marionettes who do our will. If they don’t understand our words, they’ll understand our threats. And if in the past, we ran the show from behind the scenes, now we’re doing it openly, from center stage. And if you forget our donations, the wellspring will run dry.

You’ll remember that Obama, during an off-the-record meeting with Democratic senators three weeks ago, reportedly appealed to them to resist “donors and others” who opposed a deal with Iran and were pushing for new sanctions legislation that risked sabotaging the nuclear-focused talks with Iran and an eventual deal. Sen. Robert Menendez, who has been pushing for such legislation for more than a year, reportedly replied that he took “personal offense” at Obama’s remarks about donors, apparently interpreting Obama’s comments as suggesting that Menendez’s position was motivated by his desire and need for campaign cash.

The New York Times helpfully noted in a profile of Menendez that the New Jersey senator had received $341,170 from hard-line pro-Israel groups over the past seven years, “more than any other Democrat in the Senate.” (In fact, he received more money than any other Senate candidate—Democratic or Republican—in the 2012 elections, while his Republican comrade-in-arms and co-sponsor for sanctions legislation, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, has received more campaign cash from pro-Israel political actions committees (PACs) associated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) than any other member of Congress over the past decade. And that doesn’t necessarily include all the much-harder-to-track money provided by donors like Adelson, who chairs Brooks’s RJC, through super PACS and other vehicles.)  Indeed, there’s no doubt that Obama’s reference to “donors” touched a very sensitive nerve with Menendez.

Sarid, whose op-ed is most unlikely to appear in any mainstream U.S. publication, has now pounded it with a sledgehammer.

Photo Credit: Jolanda Flubacher

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. Sometimes I listen to or read the words of people who sound almost on the edge of insanity over all those countries who want to destroy Israel. Maybe the folks in those countries aren’t fans of Israel because Israel hasn’t learned what is meant by the saying, “good fences make good neighbors”. The Israelis don’t believe they should have any fences and so they have set about tearing down the fences their neighbors built, and then are stunned when those neighbors fight back. The west was feeling generous and gave them land for the I own state but they weren’t satisfied and worked to expelled the rightful owners of that land. Instead of being grateful to have a home, they immediately got greedy and became conquered and occupiers. And now Netanyahu, who has never missed an opportunity to insult, embarrass or show up our president and too many members of our Congress encouraged his behavior with glee. Even giving Netanyahu several standing ovations while screaming insults to their actual legally elected President. Boehner went so low that he actually broke the law to insult his own leader. This is the man second in line for the presidency and look how much he respects that office. This whole episode makes me want to cry over what the entire Republican party is doing to this country. People all over the world are witness to this horrific breach of protocol and law. They must think the Republicans have lost their minds, since they seem to want to go so far to bring President down, that they are willing to commit treason. I sincerely hope that every single person involved in this little stunt burns in Hell. It’s the very least they all deserve. They have set about ruining the Lives of 300 million of their fellow Americans all for the hate of one man.

  2. Sadly for US people, Israeli dual citizens in congress have bluntly undermined the sovereignty of a nation by insisting on this invitation. On the bright side, like what Mr. Lobe has done, it gives opportunity for progressives to expose this blatant foreign intervention in the US affairs.
    As a US citizen, it is one thing being ruled by a financial oligarchy, and completely another thing to be driven by foreign powers.

  3. “Secondly, Obama has proven himself from the beginning to align politically and geographically with extremist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, backstabbing Israel and Netanyahu at every opportunity.”

    That commentary is plainly ridiculous. Israel gets billions in aid and unlimited diplomatic cover. It is even allowed to meddle in our domestic affairs. Many other nations would line up to be “backstabbed” in such a way.

  4. Philip if I may add to your correct insights; in fact Moslem Brotherhood was brought down in a few months after Morsey was elected by majority of the people in Egypt by Saudi and Obama! Morsey was replaced by general Siasi? as an apparent military coup!
    Hamas has been pronounced as a terrorist org by the US government many years ago and Obama wouldn’t dare to support that group financially! If there’d been some humanitarian assistance from US to Gaza during Bush or Obama times, it had been done in defense of Israel to keep the critics quiet about Isreal’s atrocities in Gaza!
    Last but not the least, it is sad for some of the comments made earlier by one commenter about this article! The comments she made are directly quoted, word for word, by a die-hard Fox News fan and Fox’s commentary people such as John Bolton! John Bolton is a true warmonger using Fox network to disseminate his and the neocon’s lies! The most selfish people on earth who have no respect for another human being’s life but their own and their proxies!

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