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Country That Netanyahu Was Complaining About Has Thoughts on His Speech

Most of the reactions to Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the Capitol have been as predictable as the contents of the address. President Obama wasn't impressed. Most Republican lawmakers and conservatives loved it. It made Representative Nancy Pelosi furious, and Netanyahu's opponents in the upcoming Parliamentary election are bashing him for not staying in Israel to focus on domestic problems.

Iran, the country everyone has been actually talking about when they are talking about Netanyahu's speech and U.S.-Israel relations, has not been quite as active in the watercooler discussion of its nuclear resources. However, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is currently negotiating with Secretary of State John Kerry and representatives from other countries in Switzerland, and was asked to respond to the speech at a press conference.


Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress Has No Plan and Makes No Sense

Benjamin Netanyahu’s highly unusual speech today, arranged through his capacity as Israel’s liaison to the Republican Party, has been viewed by his critics primarily as an exercise in cynical manipulation. Netanyahu is attempting to manipulate Congress to support his diplomatic agenda over the president’s, and, perhaps, to manipulate the Israeli public in the run-up to his own endangered reelection. But the most plausible explanation for Netanyahu’s speech is the simplest: Netanyahu claims to be speaking up on behalf of his country’s very survival because this is what he believes. And this belief, while not well-supported or even internally coherent, is not entirely crazy. It is a mix of genuine threat and a crude historicism infecting large segments of the Jewish community worldwide. While any of us who have a long familiarity with the Jewish community regard this form of historicism with familiarity, and even a little sympathy, it is blinding and debilitating.


What You Missed in Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress — in GIFs

On Tuesday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Congress for the third time, and Senator Lindsey Graham predicted that the event would almost be as great as a Garth Brooks concert

Indeed, the speech lacked none of the pomp and circumstance of the State of the Union addresses that also take place in the House chamber — and unlike President Obama's speeches, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was glowing with excitement at the prospect of hearing this one. 

NYC Rats Are Even More Disgusting Than You Imagined

Rats in New York are mutant giants programmed to not feel fear and to steal your food and to run across your sandaled feet in the summer just to remind you who's boss. Now we have a whole new reason for finding rats gross and horrible: Their mangy bodies carry mites, lice, bacteria, diseases, viruses, and some types of fleas that can transmit the freakin' plague. Ew.


Snowden’s Lawyer Says He’s in Talks to Return to the U.S.

Anatoly Kucherena, the Russian lawyer representing Edward Snowden, said the infamous NSA leaker is in talks with American and German lawyers to return to the U.S. "I won't keep it secret that he ... wants to return back home," Kucherena said at a news conference. "And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue." Snowden's been living in Russia since 2013, where he currently holds a three-year residency permit.

Petraeus Will Plead Guilty for Sharing Classified Information With His Mistress

Former CIA director David Petraeus has signed a plea deal with the Justice Department, promising he will plead guilty to one count of "unauthorized removal and retention of classified material" for sharing state secrets with his biographer and then-mistress Paula Broadwell. Federal court documents revealed Petraeus gave Broadwell access to eight "black books" of his notes, which included both classified and unclassified information. Though the crime he plead guilty to typically comes with a one-year sentence, federal prosecutors will request a two-year probation sentence under the deal. Signing the plea spares Petraeus an embarrassing trial, which is great for him, but unfortunate for anyone fascinated in the juicy love lives of America's political elite.

Boehner Is So Ready to Be Done With All This DHS Drama

Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that the House will vote on a clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security this week — perhaps by the end of the day. 

News organizations have reported that Boehner told his colleagues that a partial shutdown was not an option: "With more active threats coming into the homeland, I don’t believe that’s an option. Imagine if, God forbid, another terrorist attack hits the United States." Boehner attacked Senate Republicans for not trying harder to punish the White House for its executive action on immigration, but said, "The good news is that the president's executive action has been stopped, for now. This matter will continue to be litigated in the courts, where we have our best chance of winning this fight."

Many conservative Republicans are sure to vote against the clean funding bill; it will require the support of House Democrats and Establishment House Republicans. 

Everyone’s Going to Love the Netanyahu Speech — Inside the Capitol, at Least

More than 56 Democrats are planning to skip Benjamin Netanyahu's address to Congress this morning, which probably has the Israeli prime minister pretty pleased. Instead of having to deal with the optics of having only half of his audience rise to applaud his denouncements of the Iran nuclear talks — many congressional Democrats think Speaker of the House John Boehner should have asked the White House before inviting a foreign leader to speak, especially since Israel's Parliamentary elections are only a few weeks away and negotiations with Iran are ongoing — it will look like everyone in Congress agrees with him. 

Netanyahu is accustomed to massive applause from American lawmakers. The last time the prime minister spoke to Congress in 2011, the BBC tallied 28 standing ovations during the 47-minute speech. The New York Times wrote that "Mr. Netanyahu received so many standing ovations that at times it appeared that the lawmakers were listening to his speech standing up."

Netanyahu's 1996 address to Congress ended with a five-minute standing ovation, which, according to the Times, prompted him "to joke about his own volcanic Parliament, 'If I could only get the Knesset to vote like this.'" The speech brought Congress to its feet at least 12 times.

Although statements are surely already being drafted by those lawmakers who are not quite so enthusiastic about Netanyahu's speech this time around and plan to watch the speech on C-SPAN, the photographs and video clips from inside the Capitol that will become the most widely used assessment of the event's success will show Netanyahu's relationship with Washington remains unchanged. 

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