August 21, 2017


Israel's Quiet Reaction to US Neo-Nazis (Paul R. Pillar, 8/21/17, Middle East Online)

During this past week we saw an indication of the overriding priority Netanyahu gives to not endangering this automatic U.S. backing, even if this means ignoring other values or concerns that we might otherwise expect to guide him.

Controversial maps showing the shrinking territory available to the Palestinians. Hardline Israelis insist that there are no Palestinian people, that all the land belongs to Israel and that it therefore inaccurate to show any "Palestinian lands."

The ugly events in Charlottesville elicitedshock and outspoken dismayfrom much of the rest of the world and especially the West about this blatant display of neo-Nazism in America.A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the events as "sickening".

But the Prime Minister of Israel wasconspicuously silent.This is the same Prime Minister who has been quick to call out anti-Semitism, either real or imagined, in countless other circumstances, and who certainly has shown no hesitation about wading into the domestic politics of the United States.And yet he had nothing to say about an event featuring chants of "Jews will not replace us" and culminating in a neo-Nazi's lethal terrorist attack with a vehicle.

The principal and obvious explanation for this non-response is that Netanyahu did not want to take the slightest risk of jeopardizing support from a U.S. president who, in addition to asserting moral equivalence between the racist torch-bearers in Charlottesville and those who demonstrated against them, is notoriously thin-skinned and lashes out at anyone voicing anything that sounds like criticism of him.

Goodness only knows what Netanyahu thinks is in Donald Trump's heart and what prejudices may or may not lurk there.But Netanyahu perceives that his government has a good thing going politically with a president who, since midway through the presidential campaign, has pretty much toed the right-wing Israeli line, including backing away from previous administrations' endorsement of a Palestinian state.And Netanyahu could not ask for anything more from Trump regarding vituperative, automatic, unending hostility toward Iran and unwillingness to do any business with it or even to talk to its government.

Posted by at August 21, 2017 11:07 AM