It pains me to say it, though my interest in the Middle East is at an all time low. We unilaterally help the kooky conservatives in Israel with billions in aid because the conservatives in this country are aided by fanatical billionaires (like Sheldon Adelson) and Christians that simultaneously believe that Jews are “God’s chosen people” and will burn in the lake of fire. Most American Jews see through this and one of the more powerful lobbies, J Street, is not pushing an extremist, pro-settlement’ approach to the West Bank. Yet, somehow it remains the go-to position for anyone in the halls of power in Washington from either party.
In the last week Netanyahu has been extremely hawkish on Iran, threatening war, claiming Iran’s nuclear capacity is more threatening than most intelligence seems to think, including recent reports that Iran’s intelligence has been lying to appear more threatening than it is, and pushing the world to deal with the prospect seemingly raised every 6 months now about the prospects of a full-blown trigger war in the Middle-East.
Bibi’s near endorsement of Romney, which would be unprecedented and foolish for any state diplomat, let alone prime minister to throw themselves into another country’s election. An action he is clearly walking back, if not from the criticism he’s received, from the clear evidence that Romney is losing the election and Bibi may be stuck with Obama for what may turn out to be the rest of his administration.
I understand that Iran is a realistic threat. Yet I have lost faith in the right-wing Israeli’s ability to make decisions. So far they have been wrong about almost everything. I remember Netanyahu defeating Barak back in 2000 by exploiting the first, in what would become a long line of, terrorist attacks. Yet as Prime Minister, Netanyahu saw more terrorist attacks occur after he took office. I remember Ariel Sharron leading a protest to the site of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque which many believe sparked the al-Aqsa Intifada which led Israeli-Palestinian relations into increasingly more polarized relations, only to see Sharron come back to the peace position he railed against, when he founded the Kadima party. Yet Israel’s tragedy saw it’s second leader on the verge of peace taken down. This after the building of walls and settlement expansion and placement of the Palestinian people into an incarcerated position of economic despair, which has made things worse. Also the war in Lebanon that achieved nothing, was poorly planned and made Israel look like a bully goes right along with their support of the Iraq War, that made Iran the strongest player in the region, so my point is, the failure of the conservatives to even achieve their own means has led me to care very little for their “expertise”.
As Romney said in his recent 47% tape, he just wants to kick the can down the road so his good friend Bibi can just continue to make the situation untenable for the Palestinians. I suppose they hope they’ll all just flea to Egypt and Jordan. Is that really better for Israel? Doesn’t seem like they’ve thought that through.
Meanwhile the world is sick of Israel, hates Netanyahu, (remember when the French Prime Minister didn’t even want to talk to him?) and ultimately is becoming a major obstacle to US interests in the world. Nobody is on Israel’s side anymore but us, and even American Jews are a little perplexed by Israel’s hard right stand and half-assed approach to peace.
Which brings me back to my original point: I’m just tired of it all!
Why can’t Israel elect a sensible party? Why can’t the Palestinians realize they are utterly powerless and use civil disobedience rather than terrorism? Why can’t the Arab and Persian worlds learn to focus on something other than Israel?
Sooner or later, all three of these things will happen. For now, it’s the same old bill of goods.
Bibi talks and talks and has been talking for 20 some odd years. The Arabs talk and talk and throw rocks, while Iran talks and threatens and photoshops their missiles to look more intimidating.
If this were a movie, I would have walked out. You have to have somebody likable.
Israel carries such a heavy hand for an ally. Netanyahu has snubbed our President in Washington in front of Congress and the blind Republicans cheered him on! Can you imagine former PM of the UK Tony Blair going before Congress and insulting Bush and having ANYONE cheer them on? No it wouldn’t happen, it wouldn’t go over well and it would cause a major rift between our 2 nations, yet Israel has a lot of nerve, to come here and insult the biggest financial backer and most powerful ally, arms supplier and diplomacy corps. fighting for their best interests and flat out making a direct insult to President Obama, or as a close Israeli friend of mine would say Chutzpah (in the negative sense), whom, btw is not a fan of Bibi, though it is more complicated than that, as all things in the Middle East are.
I’ve never been a fan of Netanyahu either. He’s been counterproductive for Israel for the past decade and a half. He’s a bit of a carryover from a bygone era who sees the Arabs as nothing more than a military enemy. He also seems to be missing the larger point that Palestinians are having children at a much higher birth rate than Israel. This spells economic doom in practical terms.
It’s rare to hear anyone in the US insult the far right conservatives in Israel, yet the largest insults you will hear come from Israel itself. Articles that have ran in Haaratz as well as others show a media highly critical and weary of the war-hawkish policies of Bibi.
For 30 years we’ve been playing “peacemaker” in the Middle East. So far, we broke Iraq and bought it, at a huge expense (the largest expense in the national debt), Iran is more powerful than ever, Egypt is in the hands of extremists, the Saudi’s won’t let women drive a car and Israel and Palestine are as far apart from peace as they’ve ever been.
Maybe we’re not the solution. Maybe we need to radically alter the way we see the Middle East so certain dependent parties are no longer enabled and other parties are minus a foil to blame all their problems on. Something has got to change.