Sometimes the obtuseness of the world – the failure of decision-makers and commentators to grasp what’s really important about a situation – seems unbearable. There is a shallowness – and where the decision-makers are concerned, a political self-centeredness – that is reprehensible.
But of course, in some instances, this shallowness is calculated – which makes it more intolerable still.
There continues to be an enormous amount of media focus on what Netanyahu “did” to Obama because he responded in the affirmative to an invitation to come speak to the Congress without seeking a nod from the president. Thus, goes the narrative, he showed “disrespect” for the chief executive of the US, causing a further deterioration in an already tenuous relationship. Israel will pay for this down the road, we are being warned.
All those who babble on this way are either truly obtuse, or, more likely, know better but prefer not to confront the painful reality that is at the heart of the matter, and so resort to a hullabaloo about a lesser issue as distraction.
The heart of the matter is so crystal clear: Iran is making headway in its development of nuclear capacity, and there is a strong possibility that a deal will be struck between P5 + 1 and Iran in coming weeks that would give this radical jihadist nation leeway to become nuclear at a time of its choosing.
What is more, Iran is the chief supporter of terrorism in the world, and has schemes for a hegemony in the Gulf region and the Middle East that would be disastrous, notably for Israel but also for the Gulf Arab states. There will be every attempt by Iran to advance this hegemony, even if it is prevented from achieving nuclear capacity. That is, Iran’s danger to the world does not end with the issue of nuclear development.
And, it happens, Binyamin Netanyahu – who has been speaking for years to a world that has chosen not to listen about the dangers of Iran – is undoubtedly the world leader with the greatest expertise on issues regarding Iran, and the only world leader prepared to be forthright on those issues.
Thus he embraces his coming talk to Congress as a last chance opportunity to make a difference that could affect Israel, first, and much of the rest of the world as well.
On Friday, the prime minister, who reportedly has placed calls to some key Democrats in Congress, said:
”We can resolve procedural issues with regard to my appearance in the US, but if Iran arms itself with nuclear weapons, it will be a lot harder to fix.”
And Obama? There was no need to make such a furor about the invitation to Netanyahu, of course. He is simply doing his own masking. I rather like what commentator Dan Friedman had to say about this today:
“Imagine…Obama’s fury when he found that a Jew is the only leader on earth unafraid to confront him with the truth.”
Whether it’s because Netanyahu is a Jew or not (and it is very likely the case), Obama is clearly beside himself because there is indeed one leader “unafraid to confront him with the truth.” The president does not like to be crossed – and on something as major to him as this? Oy v’voy, as we say.
But Bibi is not intimidated.
Please see this (emphasis added):
”Israeli officials told Channel 10 on Friday that they are convinced the Obama administration has already agreed to most of Iran’s demands in the P5+1 negotiations over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
”According to unnamed officials, Washington ‘has given the Iranians 80 percent of what they want’ out of the negotiations, Channel 10 is reporting.
”Jerusalem officials appear alarmed at the prospect that the United States will soon strike a deal with the Iranian regime that will leave it with a ‘breakout capacity’ of months during which it can gallop toward a nuclear bomb.”
Here in Israel, we are witnessing a similar craziness with regard to shallowness: We are in the middle of an electoral campaign, and the left is making a charge that is nothing short of ludicrous:
Sarah Netanyahu, they are reporting, collected bottles used in the president’s residence (and paid for by the people), returned them to the supermarket, and pocketed the deposits.
What? With everything going on in the world THIS is what deserves attention? How pathetically bankrupt is the position of the left, if this is the worst they can say about Netanyahu. (Or, actually, about his wife, which makes it even worse.)
As it happens, a former employee of the Netanyahus, who had no great fondness for them when he was their employee, has come forward to tell the truth: It was Sarah who decided, after years of seeing bottles simply being thrown away, that they had to be recycled. “and the petty cash was used for the purposes of the Prime Minister’s Residence and its employees.”
Having put this charge to rest is not the end of this, however. What is it the left was saying? Vote for Herzog and Livni and be sure they’ll never pocket bottle deposits?
What else does this pathetic crew have to say for themselves?
As was pointed out above, we are living in extraordinarily perilous times. What can they say about ways in which their leadership would bring us greater strength and security? Not much, if anything, apparently. Their position is bankrupt.
Tzipi Livni, in a recent interview, indicated that she is still for negotiating “two states”:
”I’m not trying to sell to the Israeli public that we have peace around the corner, that when we enter the negotiations room we will sign an agreement and live happily ever after; this is not the situation. I support using the Israeli military [to fight terrorism], but my ideology is not about keeping Greater Israel without any hope for peace.”
So, she’s committed to the ideology of “two states” – “dividing this tiny place into two” she said – even though it doesn’t mean peace. Why she imagines this would bring “hope” for peace is beyond me. Probably beyond her, as well. For, rather than debate this issue with Netanyahu – something she should want to do if she were truly committed to this path as wise and correct – she prefers to simply see his wife charged with pocketing bottled deposit money.
Another oy v’voy.
Thankfully, Likud is now leading the left in the polls. Herzog-Livni had moved ahead when they re-named their joint effort “The Zionist Camp.” A clever move if something of a misnomer.
There are commentators saying that the Likud advance is the result of the violence in the north last week: people see Netanyahu as the stronger leader. It may be a correct assessment – I cannot say. But if it is, it is a very sad commentary on the thinking of those polled. Do they have to see an incident of violence that might lead to war to know that war is always a possibility here, especially in the north? They should know, all of Israel should know, that because we live in precarious times, it is essential to vote for someone who knows how to stand strong, and who will not give our country way, weakening us disastrously.
Having said this, I want to share Netanyahu’s latest election video, which was just released today. The videos, which have been quite clever, have been the only enjoyable part of this campaign (about which I will say more soon). In this one, Bibi – the “Bibi-sitter” – addresses the issue of who can keep the nation – and our children – safe, precisely the point of this posting.
Scroll down for the video (which has English subtitles).
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.