Adam L. Silverman
As we wait for the substantive portions of Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to the US to get fully underway it is important to remember that this is not the first time that an Israeli prime minister from the Likud Party has tried to politically roll the President of the US (h/t to Steve M). Back in August 1981 the US was set to sell AWACs planes to Saudi Arabia. Menachem Begin, and many other Israelis, were quite concerned about this. After making unsuccessful appeals to President Reagan to abort the sale, Prime Minister Begin went around the President and behind his back to Congress. This was after one of President Reagan's advisors specifically warned him not to try maneuvering around him. The specific advisor, Jacob Stein, was reported to have explicitly told Begin: "that Reagan and the U.S. Administration would view a continued Israeli policy to persuade Senators and Congressmen to oppose the aircraft sale as a personal affront to Reagan himself." As Steve M reported several weeks ago at his site, President Reagan in his own post-presidential memoirs referred to this incident. President Reagan specifically wrote on page 415 that "I don'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."
Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit, built around a speech to Congress in an attempt to influence the US's domestic political process and the setting of America's foreign policy, is not a new trick for an Israeli prime minister. He's merely following in the footsteps of Israel's first Likud prime minister - Menachem Begin. Unfortunately, as Chemi Shalev wrote at Haaretz back in 2011, if President Obama responded in a manner similar to the way that President Reagan did, he would be impeached. More's the pity as the US/Israeli relationship continues to grow ever more dysfunctional and unbalanced.
1 Image of President Reagan and Prime Minister Begin walking together was found here.