Sara Netanyahu once said during a family gathering that if her husband had run for president of the United States, he would easily be elected (assuming, of course, that he were legally allowed to run). Indeed, in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address before both houses of Congress on Tuesday, he made impressive use of all the gimmicks of an experienced and sharp-tongued American politician. ...
Netanyahu proved that he has no Israeli equal when it comes to plucking the strings of American patriotism, of guilt feelings over the Holocaust, and most of all, of the wish of Congress members to preserve their close ties with the large Jewish organizations.Old joke:
Q: Why doesn't Israel apply to become the 51st state? A: Because then they'd have only two senators.Poor Obama figured he could take a gentle swipe at Bibi, thought he could articulate American policy without clearing every jot and tittle with Bibi beforehand, because Bibi is the equivalent of a Republican in Israel, so the President would at least have the Democrats in America on his side out of sheer partisanship. He didn't realize that in the U.S. Congress, "Politics stops at the border (of Israel)."
In The American Conservative,Â Pat Buchanan feels sorry for his President:
Not since Nikita Khrushchev berated Dwight Eisenhower over Gary Powers' U-2 spy flight over Russia only weeks earlier has an American president been subjected to a dressing down like the one Barack Obama received from Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday.
With this crucial difference. Khrushchev ranted behind closed doors...Â Obama, however, was lectured like some schoolboy in the Oval Office in front of the national press and a worldwide TV audience.
And two days later, he trooped over to the Israeli lobby AIPAC to walk back what he had said that had so infuriated Netanyahu.Â "Bibi" then purred that he was "pleased" with the clarification.Â Diplomatic oil is now being poured over the troubled waters, but this humiliation will not be forgotten.
What did Obama do to draw this public rebuke? In his Thursday speech on the Arab Spring and Middle East peace, Obama declared:Â "We believe the borders of Israel should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. ... Israel must be able to defend itself - by itself - against any threat."
Ignoring Obama's call for "mutually agreed swaps" of land to guarantee secure and defensible borders for Israel, Netanyahu, warning the president against a peace "based on illusions," acted as though Obama had called for an Israel withdrawal to the armistice line of 1967.
This was absurd. All Obama was saying was what three Israeli prime ministers - Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert - have all recognized.Â ...
Undeniably, Netanyahu won the smack-down. The president was humiliated in the Oval Office, and in his trip to AIPAC's woodshed he spoke of the future peace negotiations ending just as Israelis desire and demand. ...
The one explanation that makes sense is that Netanyahu sees Obama as more sympathetic to the Palestinians and less so to Israel than any president since Jimmy Carter, and he, Netanyahu, would like to see Obama replaced by someone more like the born-again pro-Israel Christian George W. Bush.
And indeed, the Republicans and the right, Mitt Romney in the lead, accusing Obama of "throwing Israel under the bus," seized on the issue and, almost universally, have taken Netanyahu's side.Personally, I don't think the West Bank is very important. I received this great gift a number of Christmases ago, an extra-large free-standing globe for my office. But even on this globe, I can barely find the West Bank. If the Israelis want to push around the Palestinians, well, I don't really care much. I roused myself enough to write a two part review of Jimmy Carter's book Palestine Peace not Apartheid for Taki's Magazine in 2007 (Part 1 and Part 2), but I haven't had much to say since then because it's not my country.
What I do care about is what all this says about my own country.
"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. ... Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite [foreign nation] are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests." -George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796Here's the irony. The GOP is, more or less, the party of WGPs — White Gentile People, the heart of the nation. But, normal, natural national feelings among WGPs have been so demonized over the years that they've adopted a foreign nationalist politician, Bibi Netanyahu, as their proxy so they can enjoy nationalism by proxy.
Bibi's quite a guy. He just isn't my guy.
But what are the Democrats in Congress' excuses?