March 13, 2019


Ilhan Omar and the anti-Israel American Left Would Be Next to Nothing Without Benjamin Netanyahu (Chemi Shalev, Mar 10, 2019, Ha'aretz)

American Jews, in this context, were cast as their aiders and abettors. They voted unabashedly for Obama in 2012, well after he had been earmarked by the right as an Israel-hater and Muslim sympathizer. They voted even more emphatically for Hillary Clinton, even though she was depicted by Netanyahu's allies as worse for Israel than the original Obama. And they voted unequivocally for Democrats in 2018, despite Netanyahu's effusive praise of Trump as the greatest patron of Jews since Persian King Cyrus.

Coupled with their embrace of liberal values that Netanyahu abhors, American Jews morphed in Netanyahu's mind from stalwart allies to suspect saboteurs. Their protests against his escalating nationalism and anti-democratic tendencies were received as proof of their hostile intent. When a Hillary Clinton presidency seemed imminent, Netanyahu was prepared to swallow his pride to win back American Jews, but his heart was never in it.

Trump's election was nothing less than deliverance for Netanyahu, whether it was a result of divine or Russian intervention. Contrary to his critics' doom and gloom warnings about the consequences of his open challenge to Obama, Netanyahu's stars aligned behind him in perfect formation. A brash and impressionable President, a Republican party beholden to Christian evangelicals and Sheldon Adelson in the president's ear - what more could Netanyahu ask for?

Fired up by his triumph, Netanyahu abandoned his intention of mending fences with the Democratic Party and/or its constituent American Jewry. He aligned himself completely and wholeheartedly with Trump and the evangelicals, and vice versa. Thus, it was only a matter of time before Trump would say out loud what Netanyahu and his aides had been whispering about them - and shouting about their counterparts on the Israeli left - for quite some time: The Democrats are now, as Israelis learned from their prime minister long before, "anti-Israel" and "anti-Jewish."

Given his own courtship of white supremacists and manifestations of anti-Semitism - including his December 2015 statements to the Republican Jewish Coalition about the Jewish wish to control presidential candidates with their money, which was a more explicit rendering of Omar's "Benjamins" remark - Trump's attack on the Democrats was outrageous in its sheer hypocrisy and total lack of self-awareness. But it not only conformed to Netanyahu's view of the present, it was also an accurate reflection of what Netanyahu's critics have been saying all along about the future.

Posted by at March 13, 2019 4:33 AM