Israelis appear to have returned Netanyahu to Balfour Street, will American Jews stick with him?
In the end a surprise victory for Israel’s most skilled and successful politician, Bibi Netanyahu. The cost? Israel’s standing in the international community, and division domestically.
An Israeli friend of mine wrote:
Even after so many years away, I’m still crushed by the wasted potential of my homeland. But the country was never really mine. A different type of person is the majority. As a true believer in democracy, I accept the defeat.
Tonight there are more questions than answers, which will take months. Will Netanyahu reverse his extremist campaign positions and finally realize that Israel’s future–and his own legacy–depends on a negotiated two-state solution more along the lines of the negotiation document which came out referring to his confidant Issac Molho? Or will he continue to do what he has done throughout his career and focus primarily his most important concern, staying in power.
Tonight’s New York Times article which I referred to above refers to his campaign as scorched earth: the relationship between the Israeli PM and the White House is toxic barring a reversal by Bibi, and he has succeeded in doing what no other person had done in decades of American politics, drive a wedge between Republicans’ and Democrats’ support for Israel.
True the trends have been shifting recently with Democrats support for Israel slipping while they watch a George W. Bush like demagogue speak in perfect english from their Sunday morning news shows, but Bibi broke the dam. His extremist government also succeeded in getting more and more American Jewish organizations to criticize the behavior of Israeli politicians, to whom we sometimes seem like little more than a nuisance with cash.
What does this election mean? Who knows. But as Americans we have an obligation and a right to prevent and oppose our money, or voice, going to support anyone who damages our values, our Zionism: democracy, pluralism, human rights, freedom of expression, equality, and liberty.