Cowardice in the Corridors of Power

Five days ago, I wrote an essay describing my profound disgust with the state of diplomacy in the world today while focusing my comments on Israel’s relationship with the United States. Yesterday, the international news services were filled with the outrageous comments made by an “unnamed source” in the Obama Administration concerning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Firstly, there can be no more offensive thing to say about a former soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces who served with distinction, courage and honor throughout his years in the IDF’s most elite fighting unit, than to imply that he is a coward. I wish it were within my power to apologize on behalf of whichever troll made the comments to Jeff Greenberg, but that will have to be done by the offending individual who should promptly be shown the door. There is simply no justification for such comments to be made either under color of “deep background” or “off-the-record” comments. None whatsoever.

I cannot help but think that if this individual had shown professionalism in his or her work, silence would have won the day. And with the current state of journalism in the U.S. today, I wonder how long it will be before the name of the offending employee of the Federal government will be revealed for public castigation, if at all.

I also would like to address the charge of cowardice itself in this context and suggest that you consider the definition and ask yourself the following: Imagine that you are on a playground at the tender age of ten, when the school bully suddenly appears and proceeds to draw a line in red spray paint across the playground. And then he dares you to cross his “red line,” where you are sure to be physically beaten within an inch of your life. You tell the bully you are not afraid of his threats and you will defend yourself; however, realizing the high level of risk to yourself, you leave the playground rather than take the promised beating.

Now flash-forward 40 years and you are now the leader of a very large and powerful country. As the leader of a great nation, you are in a position to help a struggling people who are being daily murdered, disenfranchised, raped, bought and sold like cattle at a farmers’ market, tortured and subjected to horrors which are unthinkable in a modern world. And then they are turned into refugees in a very short span of time. So, you publicly state your intention to defend these poor souls before the entire world. You make it very clear to the leader of the offending country what will happen to them if they do not cease their attacks, even going so far as to tell their leader his days are numbered. And then you do nothing. Imagine the aftermath of such conduct among the leaders of other nations. Would their trust be shaken in your resolve? Surely it would. Would they rush to your country’s defense if threatened in the future? Maybe yes, maybe no. Why wouldn’t they? Because no one wants an ally that won’t back up their words with actions whenever necessary, specifically after indicating their intention to do so.

I am not suggesting that the people who manage this great country are cowards, but what I am going to suggest is that before openly making misguided and false comments that offend one’s allies, people in positions of power should conduct a self-examination and then do the diplomatic thing and keep their opinions to themselves.

About the Author
Rachel Grenadier was an olah from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2003 who returned to the United States in 2015. She really wanted to stay in Israel, but decided that having family members nearby was better for her health than a bunch of devoted, but crazed, Israeli friends who kept telling her hummous would cure her terminal heart condition. She has her B.A. and M.A. from George Mason University in Virginia and is the author of two books: the autobiographical "Israeli Men and Other Disasters" and "Kishon: The Story of Israel's Naval Commandoes and their Fight for Justice". She is now living in Virginia with her three Israeli psychologically-challenged cats and yet, denies being a "hoarder".
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