There has never been an American president who managed to sell something to someone in the smart speech called the State of the Union Address. There has never been a foreign leader, not even a shrewd furniture salesman, who managed to even sell a stool in a festive speech to the two houses of Congress. Everyone in Washington knows that.
The speech and the occasion have no practical meaning. American presidents like Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter didn't even bother to come to Capitol Hill. They waived the standing ovation and sent the Congress members written speeches. No one reads or listens anyway.
Barack Obama, who unlike Jefferson and Carter, has addressed the Congress until now, also knows that the speech has no meaning. But he is rightfully furious at the symbolic, defiant and offensive move, in his backyard of all places, by the leader of a small country which depends on him so much and which has only received good things from him, who is acting as if he were the leaders of a super power.
Let's assume that this time, during Mr. Benjamin's Iranian nuclear speech, the Congressmen will get all excited, and every time he stops to drink some water or breath, they will stand up and applaud – not 15 times, but 150 times. Would any of them buy even a small Persian rug from him?
Is there anyone in Washington, in Tehran or even in Jerusalem who believes that thanks to his eloquence and verbal acrobatics, and upon hearing the alarming figures about nuclear threshold Iran, the president of the world's greatest power and the Congress members – both Democrats and Republicans – will suffer an anxiety attack and shut themselves up in a nuclear shelter, filled with great fear? Or that the moment the speech is over, the American Air Force planes will fly to Iran and erase the nuclear facilities? Or that the US will backtrack on the agreement taking shape with Tehran and step up the sanctions?
The Iranian nuclear project is bad for Israel, bad for the world and bad for the Americans. Washington knows that just as much as Mr. Benjamin in Jerusalem. But if there was any chance to get someone to do something at some point, on Capitol Hill or at the White House, it was about six month ago, before the Congress elections, not today – about two years before the next elections. And even then, mostly in personal, face-to-face talks, and by using efficient and influential lobbyists in the American capital.
So the members of the two houses of Congress, those who will be present during the speech, will indeed hear Netanyahu, maybe even applaud him, but none of them will really listen to him, and definitely change their mind. Even they, who invented the tall tales about eloquent presidents' speeches in front of so-called enthusiastic Congressmen, know that this time it's not only about hollow words intended for deaf American ears, but about empty slogans on the eve of elections – intended for Israeli ears.
Epicure Congress members also get bad-tasting meals sometimes, and it's true that there isn't an American who doesn’t love spaghetti, but even sweetened ketchup won't be able to improve this tasteless noodle presented by Mr. Benjamin at the Congress, two weeks before the elections in Israel.
And is it really worth quarrelling with the US president over such a deception?