Obama meets with Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, October 1, 2014.
Kevin Lamarque / Courtesy Reuters

Nearly everyone (apart from Congressional Republicans) seems to believe that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making a mistake in refusing to cancel his March 3 address to the U.S. Congress. In Israeli newspapers, veteran political columnists have expressed their disapproval with characteristic bluntness. Meir Dagan, the former Mossad director, accused the prime minister of pursuing “destructive” policies that undermine Israel’s security. Jewish-American journalists who usually express pro-Israel opinions are appalled that the prime minister has put them in the position of having to choose between loyalty to the Democratic Party (the majority of American Jews are Democrats) and Israel.

But Netanyahu won’t cancel, and there was never any chance that he would. He faces a national election on March 17; if he were to back down now, he would lose face with his core voters. He would also give the lie to his assertion, made repeatedly and with

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  • LISA GOLDMAN is the director of the Israel-Palestine Initiative at the New American Foundation.
  • More By Lisa Goldman