Every girl in high school has a crush on someone, whether it’s a cute boy in class or a maybe even a cute teacher, but my high school crush was on Benjamin Netanyahu.
In my spare time, I would scan through YouTube looking for old speeches that Bibi gave on his high school debate team and in college, at MIT as well as Harvard. I would watch and re-watch every video in absolute awe of his genius, in awe of the way he would say one sentence and completely shut down an entire argument.
No one can doubt that Netanyahu is knowledgeable, poised, and professional when it comes to speaking. Every speech at the United Nations, no matter how controversial, is better than the last. His deafening 44 seconds of silence, his drawing of the red line… He gets up, makes his point, inadvertently makes everyone else look stupid along the way, and then sits back down. Everyone who met Bibi was able to see his genius. Mitt Romney, who became good friends with Bibi during his time in Boston, remembers him as “a strong personality with a distinct point of view,” which is exactly how I always saw him. As I look back now, just a bit older, yet a lot wiser, I actually don’t think I had a crush on Bibi at all; I think I just wanted to be him.
Recently though, Bibi hasn’t been the strong personality I always admired. He hasn’t been standing up for everything he believes in. Yes, he says the same “Israel has a right to defend itself” after every attack, but what is he doing? Innocent people in his country are getting stabbed every day, getting hit by cars, getting shot and murdered in cold blood… what is he actually doing? This is the second time he is serving as Prime Minister and he has served as minister of pretty much everything since the 90s: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Public Diplomacy, Minister of Communications, Minister of Health, etc.
Surely with this long list of experience he should have a plan. Are the ongoing tensions for so many years finally getting to him? Is he giving up on his own people? Does he believe there will never be peace? Is he starting to care too much what the rest of the world thinks and changing his behavior accordingly? Is he just stuck in a position in which he can’t make anyone happy and he doesn’t know how to move forward?
Trying and continuously failing to work with an administration that is “hostile and antagonistic,” according to Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is finally getting to him. The speeches all say the same thing — that America is an ally of Israel — but the body language and the calculated words at the Oval Office during this week’s meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu say something different — that they’re shaking hands because they have to, not because they truly want to.
Lately Netanyahu is always negotiating from a position of weakness. Abbas has recently threatened to stop abiding by the Oslo Accords, he has declared that he will take Israel to the International Criminal Court if we don’t give them a state, and the Palestinians are trying to join international treaties, which is a direct violation of Oslo. Every day Palestinians are stabbing Israelis and now Bibi is starting to talk about plans for a bi-national state. A bi-national state?! A state in which both Israelis and Palestinians will live together?! How can we have a bi-national state right now?! How can we give Palestinians even more access to Israelis and even more opportunities to hurt us? Now is not the time to talk about a bi-national state! Now is the time to for Netanyahu to get up, to be aggressive, to not care what anyone thinks, and to tell the world that he will not negotiate — because WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS!