The Greatest Leader Since Moses today claimed the moral high ground in his controversial plans to take his election campaign before a joint session of Congress.
It's not crass grandstanding, rather, it is a "moral obligation!"
As is the norm at election time in Israel, the "existential threat" of the imaginary Iranian nukes gets moved from the back burner to the front page;
“As prime minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weaponry that will be aimed at the state of Israel. This effort is global and I will go anywhere I am invited to make the state of Israel’s case and defend its future and existence."
This is of course the classic Netanyahu strategy of fear-mongering that has profited him so handsomely throughout his career. Whip up a little anti-Iranian hysteria, maybe provoke a border incident here and there, and then present yourself as the strong hand willing to face down those threats!
Works like a charm!
There are signs, however, that the charm is wearing thin. The New York Times has gone so far as to warn that Netanyahu's cynical grandstanding threatens to further strain Israel US relations.
However gratifying it may be for Netanyahu to show the Israeli voters that he has more support in Congress than Obama does, there's a creeping Bibi-skepticism taking root beyond the Beltway.
Israeli intransigence, personified to perfection in Netanyahu, is gradually eroding support among traditional allies. This seems for now to be more apparent to diaspora Jews than in Israel. It's safe to say that Netanyahu's popularity drops off precipitously outside of Congress, even among Jewish Americans.
Pretending that his trip to Washington is anything other than crass electioneering is of course part and parcel of the crass electioneering, but is it really wise to take this opportunity to poke Obama in the eye?