I don’t know what Bibi Netanyahu plans to do on Meet The Press on Sunday. But, based on his recent history, I suspect he will attack President Obama as soft on Iran. He hates Obama, of that there is no doubt. His biggest supporter inside Israel is Sheldon Adelson who, in addition to bankrolling Mitt Romney’s campaign, started up a newspaper in Israel for the sole purpose of touting Netanyahu. It is now the newspaper with the highest circulation in the country.
Netanyahu wants Obama to lose and, probably even more, he wants Obama to know that he, Binyamin Netanyahu, helped bring about his demise in conjunction with his biggest backer Adelson.
Netanyahu probably knows that he cannot deliver Jewish votes to Romney.
According to today’s Gallup poll, Obama is favored by 70% of Jews, in contrast to 25% who favor Romney. Netanyahu knows American Jews are, from his point of view, hopelessly liberal. And, adding insult to injury, only 3% consider Israel when they vote.
He is going on Meet The Press (with the ever friendly David Gregory) to give voice to the GOP claim that Obama is weak on security issues. He will exploit the national grief over the killing of four Americans in Benghazi to drive home Romney’s original point — it was all Obama’s fault. And he will be persuasive in that arrogant faux-tough style of his which is buttressed by his contempt for Americans. “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily. Move it in the right direction.”
His goal is not turning the Jews. It is turning out Obama.
Remember, Netanyahu is barely Israeli at all. He grew up in the United States and then went into business here (he even Americanized his name which he changed back when he moved to Israel). He is even more of a Republican than he is a Likudnik. And he hates Obama for all the reasons American rightwing conservatives do.
Except he is not an American. He is the prime minister of a country that is entirely dependent on the United States. Not only does Israel receive more aid from the United States than any other country,Israel aid is the only program in the U.S. budget that is exempt from all cuts. On top of that, the United States does everything Israel wants us to do in the international arena, even using our veto in the United Nations Security Council to block resolutions which embody U.S. policy.
The fact is that the United States is a pariah in the Muslim world largely because the lobby dictates U.S. Middle East policy onIsrael’s behalf. And, yes, a large part of what drives those mobs in Arab capitals is America’s constant support for Israel’s abusive treatment of Palestinians. Ironically, Obama is as one-sided on Israel’s behalf and indifferent to the Palestinians as any of his predecessors. (The difference is what is in his heart, which does Palestinians no good at all, unfortunately).
Nonetheless, Israel’s prime minister is interfering in our election, blatantly trying to choose our president.
I think Obama will win and I also think, when he does, Israelis will understand that they need to dump Netanyahu; they will not tolerate a prime minister despised by the leader of their only ally. They did that once before: rightwing prime minister Yitzhak Shamir took on the first George Bush and was quickly deposed in favor of Yitzhak Rabin, strongly favored by Bush.
So I’m not worried about Israel. It will take care of itself. It always does. Besides, Netanyahu is likely to go down anyway over his Iran recklessness. (Most Israelis oppose attacking Iran).
No, my concern is for my own country and the position of Jews in it. The United States has been the most secure home Jews have ever had. Jewish Americans love this country and are utterly loyal to it. (Yes, there is the lobby and the Israel Firsters but they constitute a tiny albeit powerful minority, a power derived almost exclusively from campaign donations and intimidation).
But now, along comes Netanyahu. Three weeks ago his lobby made the Democratic Convention go back and overturn a plank on Jerusalem that reflected long-standing U.S. policy because he didn’t like it. He and his lobby intentionally set up the Democrats. First AIPAC approved the plank and encouraged the Democrats to go with it. Then they had Romney and AIPAC Democrats denounce it as anti-Israel. Badly embarrassed, Obama had to tell the convention to rewrite the plank and then, when the delegates refused to pass it the way AIPAC wanted it, the Democrats had to declare it passed anyway.
Far worse, for the last three weeks, Netanyahu has been openly attacking our president and has made clear his determination to defeat him. He is demanding that the president draw a red line in the sand, one dictated by Netanyahu, and tell the Iranians that if they cross it, we, the United States, will go to war. In short, he is demanding that the United States allow a foreign country to make our decision to commit our forces on his behalf. (Not even Winston Churchill demanded that and his country was fighting for its life against Nazi Germany not some imagined threat).
Obama is not going to risk American lives because Bibi wants him to. And I don’t think Romney would either. There are limits, not even Adelson’s campaign contributions are likely to buy a war that would destroy Romney’s presidency. He is, after all, an American politician – just like Obama. American.
Who does Netanyahu think he is?
I’ll tell him. He is the leader of a foreign country that is a dependency of the United States. The lobby says we are allies. I suppose, but it’s like the alliance between the captain of the football team and the little guy who was his pal in kindergarten. The big guy protects the little guy. And the little guy appreciates his big buddy. Or should.
Bibi has it backasswards. We don’t need him. He needs us.
Additionally, not that he cares, he is jeopardizing the position of Jews in this country. Every time he opens his mouth, we start looking a little alien. Why are these Jews so different from all other people?
The answer is that we are not. Netanyahu is not our leader. Israel is not our country. And we choose not to be enemies with the entire Muslim world, and especially our fellow Americans who are Muslims.
So, Bibi, butt the hell out. We’ll be here, long after you are gone, making the big bucks with Dan Senor in Tel Aviv or Los Angeles.
Don’t you dare jeopardize the future of our kids and grand kids in our country. Because Bibi, you won’t get away with it. Yes, many, if not most, American Jews care about Israel, but as a distant relative, a cousin who lives abroad. But this is home. And when you set out to make our homes insecure — and that is what you are doing — you are playing with fire.
If you succeed, Israel will lose not just America, but Jewish Americans as well. After all, that has already happened with our kids. Do you really want to lose us all?
TO MY JEWISH READERS (and everyone else too!) Shana Tova, Happy New Year. May The Coming Year Be Better Than The Last