Common Sense From One Of My Favorite Liberals

Alan Dershowitz is a Professor at Harvard University. He is a brilliant man with unassailable credentials as a political liberal. He has campaigned for President Obama twice. He posted an article in the Wall Street Journal today.

His article on the opinion page deals with the upcoming visit to America by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Professor Dershowitz states:

At bottom, this controversy is not mainly about protocol and politics—it is about the constitutional system of checks and balances and the separation of powers.

Under the Constitution, the executive and legislative branches share responsibility for making and implementing important foreign-policy decisions. Congress has a critical role to play in scrutinizing the decisions of the president when these decisions involve national security, relationships with allies and the threat of nuclear proliferation.

Whether or not Iran gets nuclear weapons should not be a partisan issue–if Iran goes nuclear, all Americans are in danger.

Professor Dershowitz continues:

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Speaker John Boehner ’s decision to invite Mr. Netanyahu or Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to accept, no legal scholar can dispute that Congress has the power to act independently of the president in matters of foreign policy. Whether any deal with Iran would technically constitute a treaty requiring Senate confirmation, it is certainly treaty-like in its impact. Moreover, the president can’t implement the deal without some action or inaction by Congress.

…Another reason members of Congress should not boycott Mr. Netanyahu’s speech is that support for Israel has always been a bipartisan issue. The decision by some members to boycott Israel’s prime minister endangers this bipartisan support. This will not only hurt Israel but will also endanger support for Democrats among pro-Israel voters. I certainly would never vote for or support a member of Congress who walked out on Israel’s prime minister.

Professor Dershowitz concludes:

Inviting a prime minister of an ally to educate Congress about a pressing foreign-policy decision is in the highest tradition of our democratic system of separation of powers and checks and balances.

This is a security issue for all Americans. Anyone in Congress who boycotts this speech should be defeated as soon as they are up for re-election.