Common Sense: Foreign Repairs

President Obama had about as much success in his attempt to influence the recent Israel election as he had in last year’s Congressional election cycle. In fact, some believe his strong opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the decisive factor in Netanyahu’s Likud Party not only holding power but actually gaining seats in the Knesset. Netanyahu will now become the longest serving prime minister in the almost 70-year history of the nation.

I have enough problems figuring out American politics, let alone Israeli politics. Yet one thing seems obvious to me. Netanyahu articulated a very credible security message in relation to American and European negotiations involving Iranian nuclear technology and possible weapons production. It was a message that resonated in Congress and not surprisingly resonated in Israel.

From my perspective, all American foreign policy should emanate from the question, “What is best for the United States?”

In as much as Israel has been the United States’ staunchest ally in the region and there is a commonality of political and strategic interests, it would seem to me that a hard line Israeli prime minister, when it comes to dealing with Iran and all things terrorist in the Middle East, would be in America’s interests. I am glad the Israel people saw it that way and I am equally pleased the Republican-led Congress invited Netanyahu to update them on the region.

The president — who I assume is coming to that point in which legacy is more and more on his mind — should give some thought on how he can repair his relationship with the Israeli leader. Personally, I think a strong handshake between him and Bibi beats bowing to a Saudi king or other hereditary leader that has become a regular habit for this American president.

I was very disappointed (but not surprised) with the New York Times cutting former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush out of an important photo documenting the anniversary of the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama last month.

Although I am certain President Obama wished to be in Selma, he as the sitting president had no choice but to mark this milestone in civil rights history in person. Mr. and Mrs. Bush had the choice and chose to make the trip.

At a minimum, the former president and first lady should have had their effort recognized through the Times photo which is likely to become the key photo documenting the 50th anniversary. After all, the New York Times bills itself as the paper of record.

The actual unpublished version of the cover photo shows that Mr. and Mrs. Bush were only a few feet away from the first family. You might say the New York Times had to go out of its way to keep them out of the photo and off the front page.

Of course, the Bushes, true to form, are always gracious, never complaining. Thus I am pleased this slight did not go unnoticed and has been roundly criticized.


The Brooklyn Conservative Party will be holding a public forum on domestic terrorism on Thursday, March 27 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Hughes Council Knights of Columbus located at 13th Avenue and 86th Street.

Author, TV commentator and journalist Joe Connor will be the featured speaker. Joe, who suffered the loss of his father in the 1975 FALN bombing of Fraunces Tavern, has been a vocal opponent of politically-generated efforts to parole his father’s killers.

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