The bellicose speech delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before Congress earlier this week was received with multiple standing ovations from members of both parties, raising many questions about the politics in play.
Larry Wilkerson, a former chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, appeared on The Real News to discuss Congress’s reaction.
“Even the obsequiousness of the United States Congress from time to time during States of the Union or other type speeches doesn’t come anywhere near this” Wilkerson marveled. “This was a refutation, really, of the standing policy position of the sitting president of the United States by the separate and equal branch of government, the Congress, with a foreign leader being the center pole around which they coalesced this opposition. It’s really quite remarkable.”
When asked what he thought might explain the reaction, Wilkerson replied, “It’s a mystery to me, except money. That’s the only answer I can come up with. … Congressmen and women … understand what a powerful entity in America is the lobby group AIPAC for Israel, and that generates a lot of coin, a lot of money.”
However, he did backpedal a bit from these statements, adding, “But I think probably a bigger reason, and one we overlook a lot, is the psychological angst that Americans have in general about their failure to respond positively, if you will, in the Thirties, when Jews were being harassed by the looming Nazi regime. … There’s some psychological guilt, I think, left over from that, and that guilt sort of excuses Israel when it does things that are not in its own interests, certainly not in the United States’ interests, and are against our values and the professed values of Israel itself.”
“We never reprimand Israel,” Wilkerson continued, “and that’s a recipe for Israel being the spoiled child that Israel has become under Netanyahu.”
This video was uploaded to YouTube by The Real News, May 26, 2011.