3:26 PM, Jan 26, 2015 • By ADAM J. WHITE
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming address to Congress, at Congress's invitation, is drawing significant criticism -- that much is no great surprise. What does surprise, however, is one particular criticism: that the event will be not just bad policy, but even unconstitutional.
That criticism may have originated with a blog post by law professor Peter Spiro, but it has been embraced and amplified, to varying degrees, by significant voices in the conservative legal movement: Michael Ramsey, Josh Blackman, and David Bernstein.
Ramsey, writing on the Originalism Blog, captures the two basic threads of the argument: First, Congress cannot host foreign leaders, because none of the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution expressly covers such events. Second, the Constitution does expressly empower the president to "receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers," and Congress's invitation to Netanyahu undermines the president's constitutional authority in this sphere.
Neither argument is as conclusive as he suggests. True, Congress does not have a specific, explicit constitutional authorization to meet with foreign leaders, but then again the same could be said of Congress's convening of hearings, oversight inquiries, public events, or other receptions undertaken to support Congress's ultimate lawmaking and appointment-confirming actions. Congress does, after all, have constitutional powers to make appropriations in support of foreign policy, to confirm the appointment of diplomatic personnel, and to ratify treaties. Hearing from foreign leaders -- merely hearing from them -- can support those constitutional objectives, just as congressional hearings support Congress's legislative actions.
Similarly, while the president's authority to "receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers" is surely a broad grant of power, it strains credulity to suggest that Netanyahu's visit actually interferes with the president's exercise of that power. The president's authority to recognize foreign nations, long recognized as implicit in that constitutional grant, is not at issue here: the administration recognizes the Israeli government as lawful; Congress is not purporting to recognize a government not recognized by the president. Similarly, the president can exclude foreign officials from the United States, but the Obama administration is ordering no such thing. So while Netanyahu is here, he can meet with Americans -- whether with the people (say, at an event hosted by the Emergency Committee for Israel), or with their elected representatives.
Ramsey attempts to analogize this to the "Citizen Genet Affair," the 1793 episode in which the French government directed communications to Congress, rather than to President Washington, in the hopes of finding an audience more receptive than the Washington administration, given its neutrality between Britain and France. (Ramsey tells this story nicely in a 2001 law review article, too.) The administration, through Secretary of State Jefferson, asserted that the president alone was "the only channel of communication between this country and foreign nations," and Congress acquiesced to that assertion of power. But this analogy loses all sense of proportion: France's efforts in 1793 -- commissioning privateers, planning land-based expeditions in the United States, and establishing French prize courts in the United States -- went well beyond the mere speech that Netanyahu would make to Congress.
11:40 AM, Jan 23, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Emergency Committee for Israel will host a reception for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits Washington, D.C. The reception for Bibi is because President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry refuse to meet with him.
Here's the statement from ECI announcing the event:
12:26 PM, Jan 22, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Washington in March to address a joint session of Congress. But President Obama will not be meeting with the leader of America's ally.
The Associated Press reports:
President Barack Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he travels to Washington in March.
11:42 AM, Nov 10, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Vice President Joe Biden loves Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But he doesn't "agree with a damn thing you say," the vice president once told Netanyahu, whose nickname is Bibi.
Hosted by Michael Graham.3:05 PM, Oct 29, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on the controversy over an anonymous U.S. official's comment that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a "chicken****".
11:09 AM, Oct 29, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The belief that the prime minister of Israel is "chickenshit" is "not the administration's view," a spokesperson for the National Security Council says in a statement. Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic reported Tuesday that a "senior administration official" viewed Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, as the most frustrating foreign leader to the White House and the State Department.
6:34 AM, Oct 2, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
At the White House Wednesday for bilateral talks with President Obama, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu rather publicly reminded the president of how seriously Israel takes the threat of a nuclear Iran.
9:25 AM, Sep 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Over the weekend in Iowa, President Bill Clinton got caught on a hot mic at the Harkin Steak Fry agreeing that Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu can't bring peace between the Israelis and Palestinians:
“If we don’t force him to make peace, we won’t have peace,” a spectator at the Steak Fry told Clinton.
Who won the Gaza war? Sep 8, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 48 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
For the moment, the Gaza war of 2014 is over. Anyone trying now to figure out who won and who lost should recall the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. Then, Israelis had a great sense of letdown because they had not “won.” They had not destroyed Hezbollah, and the organization loudly claimed a triumph: “Lebanon has been victorious, Palestine has been victorious, Arab nations have been victorious,” said Sheikh Nasrallah. An estimated 800,000 Hezbollah supporters gathered in Beirut for a rally celebrating the “divine victory.”
Hosted by Michael Graham.3:33 PM, Jul 21, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on Obama, Putin, Ukraine, Netanyahu, Hamas, and Israel.
Hosted by Michael Graham.3:02 PM, Jul 18, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on the happenings this week in Ukraine, Israel, and the United States.
8:15 PM, Jun 30, 2014 • By NOAH POLLAK
Here is what bias against Israel looks like. Three Israeli teenagers are abducted by the terrorist group Hamas, and after a desperate weeks-long search for the boys, they are finally found—dead in shallow graves near the site of the abduction. While all this is happening, Hamas instigates a new round of missile attacks from Gaza, firing 56 rockets at southern Israeli communities. The Obama administration's response? Express sympathy but call on Israel to refrain from responding.
2:02 PM, Apr 4, 2014 • By ARYEH TEPPER
So the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are, predictably, collapsing. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded to the frustration of his manic peacemaking efforts by quoting an ancient complaint, "There’s an old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Now it's time to drink and the leaders need to know that."
To which one might respond with the words of Psalms: "Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding."