The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman created a bit of controversy this December when he wrote:

I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.

Well, now some of the logistics of our Representatives’ enraptured response to Bibi’s speech are beginning to surface. The Democratic Party apparently had a conductor to signal these moments: Democratic National Committee head, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

From Scott McConnell’s review of Peter Beinart’s new book, The Crisis of Zionism (emphasis is mine):

A year later, when Obama stated that the 1967 borders should be the starting point for renewed two-state negotiations—an American position for more than a generation—Netanyahu delivered what Beinart describes as “one of the most extraordinary humiliations of a president by a foreign leader in American history.” Fresh from speaking at AIPAC’s annual conference, Netanyahu replied that there was no chance of Israel withdrawing to “indefensible lines.”

Then Netanyahu went before a joint session of Congress. Each member of Congress had a single gallery pass to give out, and most gave theirs to their largest AIPAC donor. With the hall packed with supporters, Netanyahu received one thundering ovation after another. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who as head of the Democratic National Committee plays a key role in party fundraising, used arm motions to signal to her colleagues when to stand and applaud, and they rose and clapped at Netanyahu’s most controversial statements.

Concluding from this that America was unlikely to help, the Palestinian Authority tried to secure United Nations backing for a state within the 1967 borders. [...]

(h/t to Justin Elliott from Salon‏)

Wonder if the President, whom the Israeli Prime Minister humiliated that afternoon, ever called Wasserman-Schultz to ask whose side she is on?

Originally posted at AlterPolitics