Meanwhile, Back In Israel

In case you are under the misapprehension that the controversy over Bibi Netayahyu’s planned speech to Congress is being roused solely by godless liberal anti-Semites who are trying to help Iran obliterate the Jewish State, here’s some news from Israel via Reuters:

The head of Israel’s election commission acted on Monday to limit any pre-election boost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may get from a March 3 speech to the U.S. Congress, in which he will warn of the threat from Iran’s nuclear programme….

Following complaints from opposition parties, election chief Salim Joubran decided that Netanyahu’s address should be broadcast with a five-minute delay in Israel, giving news editors time to cut any statements deemed partisan.

“Editors-in-chief of broadcast channels will watch and make sure that nothing the prime minister says can be construed as election campaigning,” Joubran said in a statement. “Any campaigning will be omitted from the broadcast.”

It’s hard to imagine this sort of thing happening in the U.S., where electioneering has been raised to the level of the most profound rights of citizenship. But the fact remains that in Israel it’s assumed that the timing of Bibi’s speech–dictated to John Boehner by the Israeli Prime Minister–was calculated to provide the maximum impact on Israeli elections being held just two weeks later. The incidental effects of messing with American negotiations with Iran and tempting Republicans to side with another government against their own is all just gravy.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.