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Letter: Don’t blame Netanyahu for problems in Mideast

Don’t blame Netanyahu for problems in Mideast

Do Israeli leaders exercise “unhealthy control” over the United States?” A March 10 letter suggests that they do and that through this “control,” Israeli leaders, namely Benjamin Netanyahu, caused the Iraq War, the rise of ISIS and the death of 6,000 American soldiers. This is absurd.

The leaders of a country the size of New Jersey with about 9 million people cannot “control” the United States. Because the United States and Israel have many common interests, they may choose to work together on particular issues – or not – as the elected leaders of each country decide. Of course many countries try to influence other countries. That’s called “diplomacy,” not “control.” There’s nothing sinister about it. It’s normal, accepted international behavior.

The instability and bloodshed in the Middle East today are deplorable, but to blame Netanyahu for the American actions that touched it off is simplistic scapegoating, or worse. The Bush administration and its supporters, including Colin Powell at the United Nations and Tony Blair in London, were not Netanyahu’s puppets. When they attacked Iraq, they made their own decisions, based on their own information (or misinformation), for their own reasons. One doesn’t have to like Netanyahu, but neither can one lay all the blame for U.S. problems in the Middle East on his shoulders, however convenient this might be.

Maxine Seller