Israeli chutzpah


Israel’s manufactured tiff with the Obama administration would be amusing if it weren’t designed to boost Romney’s chances of winning in November. But you have to give Netanyahu top prize for undiluted chutzpah. Even given the American public’s susceptibility to amnesia, it was surely not so long ago that we can all remember Netanyahu’s cock a snook reaction to Obama’s call for a freeze on the construction of new settlements on Palestinian territory. No halt in any settlement construction has ever been in place since Obama took office even though it happened to be the one demand made by the Palestinians before serious peace talks could resume. Obama’s early-term efforts to get the Israeli-Palestinian talks back on track failed because and solely because of Netanyahu’s refusual to budge on this one issue. He couldn’t even find the generosity of spirit to implement, say, a six month freeze.

Now we have the spectacle of Israel’s desperate effort to once again become the tail that wags the American dog. He is hoping to push the U.S. into a premature war against Iran and before the election–if at all possible. The solipsism of the man and presumably the party he represents boggles the mind. The Israelis talk as if throwing a few rockets and bombs at presumed uranium enrichment plants scattered across Iran will solve all problems. Post the bombing blitz, everyone can rub their hands with glee and go home–and perhaps talk to their neighbors off and on the keep the Palestinian hopes up.

Have the Israelis thought through the consequences of their hoped-for act of war? Do they believe the Iranians will just sit there and do nothing? Do they believe that Iran hasn’t got the capability to retaliate or that Iran’s allies in the region will just stand by and ignore prior pacts and agreements? Israel could be devastated. Fifty years of building a Jewish democracy could go up in flames. The U.S. would be dragged into fighting the war for them, fighting and killing perhaps hundreds of thousands of Moslems.

Then the Arabs could justifiably say that the war, sparked by Israeli so-called existential fears, is after all a Crusaders’ war. The West, personified by the U.S. and any allies that felt like coming in [where are you now Mr. Blair?] would be their enemy No.1 and the world’s biggest oil producers could well decide that enough is enough and cut off the West’s vital lifelines

Bottom line: One prays that Obama will say, quite simply: ‘Bluster all you like Bibi, but count us out.’

POSTSCIPT: For fifty years, the U.S. faced off and contained Soviet Russia. Both sides had enough nuclear bombs to destroy the world ten times over. Yet there was peace, held together by MAD, or the policy of mutually assured destruction. Bibi should brush up on his history.