A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, March 2, 2015

Flashback 1996: Netanyahu Accuses Peres of Political Grandstanding for Visiting Washington the Month Beore an Election. I Guess Two Weeks Before an Election is Different.

I will have only two comments at this point on Mr. Netanyahu's visit. Here's the first:

The Associated Press, May 1, 1996:
(AP) _ Less than a month before Israel's presidential [sic] election, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Shimon Peres of exploiting his close relations with President Clinton and several Arab leaders to improve his chances for re-election.
Netanyahu is Peres' only challenger in the May 29 vote.
``With all due respect, I want to say to Mr. Peres ... that foreigners do not decide the outcome of the Israeli elections, not the American government, the king of Morocco or Yasser Arafat,'' Netanyahu told parliament. The criticism came after Peres wrapped up a three-day U.S. visit during which he and Clinton signed a defense pact and agreed to cooperate in fighting terrorism.
I guess Peres was playing electoral politics because he visited the US just four weeks before the Israeli election, whereas Netanyahu's speech to Congress is only two weeks before the election, which in no way constitutes partisan grandstanding. I guess. Not only is he here again, this time to speak to Congress,

The second point is to cite this piece Marsha B. Cohen wrote for LobeLog in 2012: "Purim: When Bad History Makes Bad Policy."

That was the year Netanyahu gave President Obama a copy of the Book of Esther, presumably as an indicator of Persian perfidy. (Hat tip to Marsha Cohen for reviving this.)

Not only is he here again on a similar mission, to Congress this time, but Purim starts Wednesday at sundown. Will he hand out Hamentaschen to the Congress?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Robert Fisk had an interesting take on the speech flap.