The way Republicans are acting all giddy over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, you would think he were freaking Justin Bieber or something. Say what you will about Senator Rand Paul, but at least he had the decency and courage to not act like a sycophantic, dithering idiot during Netanyahu’s bellicose “bomb-bomb-bomb Iran” speech to Congress. Apparently, Baracknophobia isn’t so strong that it compromises one’s commitment to non-interventionism and normal patron-client state relations.
We all know Republicans in Congress hate history since it consists of facts, of which they can twist and revise all they want, but it only remains true in their tiny heads. As such, they flagrantly ignore the fact that Ronald Reagan, their first and undying bonerific love, actually had a prickly relationship with then Israeli Prime Minster Begin for some time.
Much like with President Obama, the prime minister of Israel was very upset with Reagan’s foreign policy towards a middle eastern country and enemy of Israel. I’m referring, of course, to Saudi Arabia.
In September 1981, President Ronald Reagan welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin – founder of the now far-right Likud Party of which Netanyahu rules– to Washington. It seems that President Reagan was seeking approval of the sale of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes to Saudi Arabia.
Israel’s Begin was insanely furious about it, saying it would “irreparably harm Israel’s security and launching a full-court lobbying effort in Washington to upend the sale.”
“We can only repeat our position that it will endanger very seriously the security of Israel,” Begin said after touching down in the US. (CSMonitor)
Although I felt that our relationship had gotten off to a good start and that I had Begin’s confidence that we would do whatever it took to ensure the safety of Israel, I learned that almost immediately after he left the White House, Begin went to Capitol Hill and began lobbying very hard against me, the administration, and the AWACS sale – after he had told me he wouldn’t do that.
I didn’t like having representatives of a foreign country – any foreign country – trying to interfere in what I regarded as our domestic political process and the setting of our foreign policy. I told the State Department to let Begin know I didn’t like it and that he was jeopardizing the close relationship or our countries unless he backed off. Privately, I felt he’d broken his word and I was angry about it. Late the following month, we won the AWACS battle when the Senate narrowly defeated a measure that would have blocked the sale, and we achieved our goal of sending a signal to moderate Arabs that we could be evenhanded – even though Israel, in a message apparently dictated by Begin, denounced the administration for anti-Semitism and betrayal.
Well what do you know–Republicans’ greatest hero, next to that fake plumber schmuck, didn’t like a foreign country dictating America’s policies. Thirty-plus years later and we’re finding ourselves in a very similar situation, but with an American branch of government openly and brazenly supporting a foreign government over its own president. In short, Obama Derangement Syndrome never takes a day off or calls in sick.