A Letter to Mr. Netanyahu

Dear Sir,

Speaker Boehner’s invitation, your acceptance, and your appearance today before a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress insult the Office of President here in the U.S. and the American people.

Whether you like our President is beside the point. International protocol is clear: Heads of States deal with other Heads of States. They don’t go around them. The don’t go under them. They don’t instruct their Ambassadors to lie or hide the truth from other Ambassadors while they negotiate with a Speaker of the House. They don’t. And on rare occasions when they do, and when they get caught manipulating and invitation to the floor of the U.S. Congress, thoughtful Americans – regardless of religious persuasion – don’t like it.

Today an estimated 57 Senators and Representatives have chosen not to attend the Joint Session of Congress. Your speech will be broadcast around the world. It will come into our living rooms this morning at 10:45 a.m. EST. You will do your best to convince your listeners that you mean no disrespect for Mr. Obama, that your appearance is not partisan here in the U.S. and has nothing to do with your campaign for re-election in Israel. You will get loud applause from those in attendance because America’s support for the survival and wellbeing of the State of Israel is bi-partisan.

You will not hear criticism of your occupation of the West Bank or your sabotaging of the peace process with Palestinians. You will not hear from the President of the United States who is more attentive to international protocols and the spirit of friendship than his Israeli colleague.

You will not hear the dull thud echoing across America in the homes of those who turn on C-SPAN to watch and hear you. You will speak. But you will not hear.

With all due respect, Sir, today you deserve no respect.


An American Citizen

– Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 3, 2015

11 thoughts on “A Letter to Mr. Netanyahu

  1. Fortunately, far more than 57 Congress persons chose to attend and not to show disrespect to the leader of our strongest partner in the Middle East. Apparently, those who justify the boycott believe “respect” need only be a one way street. Netanyahu’s concerns are valid and merit public discourse in our country, and who better to present that side of the argument? Many of us are ashamed that a few of our leaders succumbed to pressure from our President to turn this into a “self-serving” political shunning rather than focus on the substance of the legitimate debate. The boycott wasn’t really about protocol, and if it was, then it is time the occupant of the White House puts his big boy pants on. This White House eagerly ignores normal, long-standing processes and procedures in order to further its goals, so certainly they understand that following protocol is not of greater value than attaining the goal of influencing the outcome of a matter that is integral to Israel’s survival.

    Another American Citizen… who welcomes you, Mr. Netanyahu, sir.


    • Bonnie, I’ve written three long responses that keep getting bounced before I post them. I can’t do this again. Very serious disagreement. Agree to disagree. I’m very tired of the disrespect of this President. Just propose what the Prime Minister didn’t, an alternative to diplomacy. Let’s agree to put on boxing gloves and meet at the Oaks. -:)

      Liked by 1 person

      • All for meeting at The Oaks! 🙂
        I feel your pain regarding the disrespect of a President… not unlike my thoughts re: how Bush has been treated. Hard to distinguish, sometimes, between seriously disagreeing and disrespecting.
        I didn’t hear Netanyahu say he wanted to abandon diplomacy (though he is certainly skeptical of negotiating with a regime that behaves, to this day, in nearly every way contrary to being a trusted and civil nation state). I did hear him say he believes there should be a better agreement (especially no sunset) even if it isn’t the exact deal he wants. I heard him suggest three conditions for Iran before we lift sanctions or trust their entering into binding agreements 1. stop sponsoring the overtaking of their neighbors 2. stop sponsoring terrorism around the world and 3. stop threatening to wipe Israel and the Jewish people off the face of the earth. Do we really need to put on boxing gloves over this?
        I like the fact that there are many discussions around our country tonight about nuclear Iran… We can thank both Bibi and Obama for that, so not all is lost.


        • No boxing gloves needed about “stop threatening to wipe Israel and the Jewish people off the face the earth.” Of course! But let’s be honest about this Israeli administration’s own acts of terror, assassination, secret police, betrayals of international agreements with us re: West Bank settlements, sabotaging of peace processes that held some promise for an independent Palestinian state and the de-fusing of the centerpiece to which Islamic Jihad points the finger. Westminster Presbyterian Church-Minneapolis is a partner church with a Lutheran church in Bethlehem. The story of the Palestinian Christians inside the walls of Bethlehem is chilling re: Israeli militarization and citizen despair. Funny how we’re not talking about that. Israel is armed to the teeth. Israel alone in the Middle East has nuclear weapons. “Lots of them!” Netanyahu says he wants diplomacy. Good for him. But his actions tell a different story. He’s a strongman whose definition of diplomacy is “my way or the highway.” He’s brilliant. He’s a great speaker. He’s clear. He’s passionate. And what he did to bypass the Oval Office and the traditional protocol of Heads of State dealing with Heads of State, no matter how seriously they disagree, is disgraceful. Not sure whether the gloves are no or off -:) What I do know, as much as I know anything (which, as I get older, I know isn’t much!) is that we’re in a mess, and it gets messier when an ally stabs you in the back.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I so agree with this. Thanks for saying it so well. It seems there is a group in this country that will do anything to demean our President. I notice that even you referred to him as Mr. Obama, not President Obama. The precedent is seeping into our culture. I’ll bet if we elect a Republican next time around we’ll be using the honorific “President” again.

    And then there’s the group that yields to the powerful Israeli lobby to the point that Israel can do whatever destructive thing it wants to in demeaning and destroying the Palestinians. Freud had a phrase for it: “Identification with the Aggressor.” How much longer are we supposed to feel so sorry for the holocaust that the victims can do anything they want in reaction?

    Fortunately there is also a developing lobby of those who love Israel and also love humanity and peace. And, as the recent “Sojourners” points out, evangelicals in this country are finally “getting” that there are two sides to the Israeli/Palestinian situation.

    Thanks for this. I’ve shared it on Facebook and Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mona,

      I feel you re: the “Mr.” in place of “the President” and favor the use of the title, but followed the prevailing use in the news. My bad. I agree. Loving Israel and criticizing its current administration is no different from loving America as a faithful critic, as in a lover’s quarrel. We are all called to the lover’s quarrel. Thanks!


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