President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade was a monumental task that was truly visionary but in the twenty first century few nations, not even the United States of America, appear to be able to have an exceptional vision for the future. Nation states have become mired down by the constant struggle to balance budgets and keep dissatisfaction from boiling over. Long after the Second World War ended the world had a few golden decades (that were not really so golden) when the world seemed easy, exciting and our expectations were not so inflated as to create too many opportunities for disappointment – plus of course the rest of the world was still only partially open to us so that the misery others felt was still too distant to affect our thinking.
Politics is nearly all about perception. It takes an exceptional political climate to engender political enthusiasm for multi-term projects that bare a great deal of risk with no instant benefit to sell them. And reaching for the stars was certainly one of those dreams. Politics is about what is credible, what is believable. As a politician, Benjamin Netanyahu was a great director of finance; as the leader of the nation his sacred duty was always to unify the nation. Instead he has played a cheap politicians trick to bring down the government only two years after the last elections. With threats to the state mounting, all the separate parties are once again emphasizing their differences instead of showcasing the bonds that unify them.
If it had been necessary, a National Law should have been used as a unifying force for the good of every citizen and to marginalize those groups that are trying their best to compartmentalize the state, to tribalise it as a means of bringing about the destruction of the state.
The National law could have been used to define the battle; instead it became the battleground; or one of them at least.
Before Senator Obama became President an article by a well-known Chicago journalist argued that Obama was first and foremost an African American and that his loyalty was again, first and foremost, with “his people.” It was a near-sighted, politically immature, facile and unpatriotic waste of print space. If the nations’ leader is not the leader of the whole nation then he is unworthy of occupying the post. Special interest groups have their own lobbyists – you do not elect a lobbyist to be the leader of the nation.
When the previous elections were near, Bibi Netanyahu resided over demonstrations of booing and catcalling – the crowds behaved like beasts – celebrating the death of their (assassinated) rival, Yitzhak Rabin. The same incitement preceded Rabin’s political murder. Bibi presided over both rallies. Benjamin Netanyahu is a populist politician who somehow seems to convince people, no matter how much he dumps on them, that he still has their best interests at heart. He behaves as if half the electorate is deserving of him as their savior while the other half are weak idiots who deserve nothing but the nations’ contempt. When members of his cabinet are appointed, if he cannot find a person (politician or otherwise) who will stroke his inflated ego he will leave the post (s) unoccupied for the entire parliament, or take them himself. Government administration is clearly of no consequence to him. It is always about Bibi.
And yet, he has been voted into power three times (only Ben-Gurion equals that record.) There is no other politician able to compete with him. Politics should be about policies, not personalities but given Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrogant self-possession we should all have understood that Bibi cannot be trusted as the leader of the nation.
After Likud Primaries were held, he once again was voted in as leader of the party. This means that the Likud is satisfied with his continued leadership of the party and the nation, despite his divisive personality.
The people should deny the Likud their vote at the elections to be held in March 2015 and cast their vote against any party that pledges to go into coalition with him as Prime Minister. After failed leadership, this is the next problem. The parties are prostitutes – they will sleep with anyone willing to make them their political bitches. The opposition only exists because they cannot make a deal to share the spoils. And those that are not ever offered a place at the trough are unlikely to have been ever offered a place (such as the communists and the Arab anti-Zionist parties).
Bibi’s identity politics neither protects the nation nor provides leadership to it.
These are some of Israel’s multiple threats:
- The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is rapidly gaining respectability in universities throughout Europe and across the globe.
- Palestine will gain recognition which will only encourage it to greater levels of irredentism.
- The Arab world owns the United Nations and will use its enormous financial resources and human capital to further degrade the already diminished status of Israel and the Jewish faith across the world.
- Iran and Turkey will become increasingly belligerent as their successes in the international political sphere grow (and as their internal threats diminish). They are the only serious military threats to Israel but both will be encouraged to destabilize Israel’s neighbors if they think there is the chance that it will not adversely impact their own ongoing theocratic revolutions.
- Israel’s financial success will deteriorate as the US moves away from its support for Israel, as the boycott movement bites and as European belligerence accelerates. The corrupt contention that Israel will trade with anyone who pays will make Israel’s position increasingly precarious as unemployment rises and social services fail. A politics of envy will lead to violence that will not be brushed aside by the umpteenth national enquiry.
- A flight of capital will lead to increased emigration and a return to the “nebbish” attitude that led to previous economic stagnation.
These are scenarios that Bibi the economist should understand if his ego did not blind him to his own failures.
His greatest act of hubris is perhaps, still to come. It is the Achilles heel of his ego. The invitation by the US House Speaker John Boehner (Republican) to PM Netanyahu (he has been asked to speak to Congress about Iran) is a Republican rebuke to the US (Democrat) President. The idea that an American president could be usurped by the leader of the 153rd ‘largest’ country in the world (with the 96th largest population) contains more than the usual stench of arrogance associated with political prima donnas. To place himself in between the elected president of the most powerful nation on earth and that president’s political opposition is to allow him-self to be used by both sides of the American political establishment in an unsavory internal political act of one-upmanship which could seriously damage Israel’s reputation in the eyes of ordinary Americans.
That Benjamin Netanyahu so eagerly agreed to this dubious honor is shocking. Israel’s current dearth of altruistic and meritorious national politicians is certainly something to moan about. Leaders on the cusp of general elections should stay at home; competent leaders focus on serving their electorate, not someone else’s.