The ritual has been completed. The American people, invited to choose between the irredeemable corruption and fecklessness of the Democrats and the irredeemable insanity and venom of the Republicans, have chosen. President-elect Trump’s two chief enablers, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are reportedly being gracious.
The post-mortems have descended upon us like some Egyptian plague. Of course, the whole electoral process can be described in terms of plagues. Suffice it to say: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have always regarded themselves as too good to lead, and too special to pay attention to the rest of us. So they didn’t. They offered the American people words, high-sounding words, vague, pretty words and (lest we forget) “teachable moments,” whilst serving their money masters. That’s what we got. That wasn’t what we wanted. Or needed. So be it. The immediate matter before us: the next administration and the state of the nation that will experience it. Good or bad for the Jews?
Bad. Very, very, very bad.
But before we go any farther:
Today, 10 November, is Marine Corps Birthday, traditional anniversary of the founding of the US Marine Corps in 1775. So to my fellow grouchy old Marines, and to all of you still wearing the suit, Semper Fi.
We’re going to need it.
Now on to a prediction. This is serious. A serious prediction isn’t one of those ambiguity jobs. I’m going to predict seriously. It need not be interpreted and cannot be refuted, except by events. It will be proven right or wrong, and that will be that. I give it four years, one presidential term, to come about. But I expect it earlier. Much earlier.
In our last go-round, we noted the steady rise of “private” anti-Semitism in the United States, and the growing presence of anti-Israel sentiment across the political spectrum. Once, supporting Israel was a virtually unanimous proposition. A Boston lawyer (in one of this paper’s blogs, I believe) boasted that some survey showed “sixty-two percent” of Americans support Israel over the Palestinians. I could only respond, “I remember when it was ninety-two.” But no matter. You can hate the Jews and Israel without giving a rodentine posterior about the Palestinians, or anybody else, or knowing much of anything about anything.
I also predicted that Israel and American-Israeli relations are due for a major type-DC, type-hyperventilated scandal. It is astonishing how well Israel has escaped serious, i.e., prolonged and damaging scandal, these last five decades. But scandal is the weapon of choice in the political/cultural world. It long has been, and the American-Israeli closet must contain at least a few to be ferreted out.
Misappropriation of aid money.
Improper business relationships.
The assorted depredations, real and fictive, of the “Israel Lobby.”
Aspects of Israel’s relationships with other countries.
Ties to trans-national criminal organizations.
Other high crimes and misdemeanors.
The list could expand to include the whole catalogue of human furor, vice and folly. But the point is, people are looking – people are always looking – and this time something may blow up.
Why is this time different from all other times?
Part of the answer is, of course, time. The Yom Kippur and Six-Day Wars are ancient history. The Holocaust might as well have happened in another universe, and it does no good either to berate the young(er) for not remembering or to teach them so that they might be programmed to accede to your policies, wishes and whims.
Part also lies in the constant defensive arrogance of Israel and its American supporters. “Why don’t we get any sympathy?” an American friend asked during last year’s spate of terrorist attacks. “Perhaps,” I answered, “because we’ve used it all up.” And anyway, as Golda liked to put it, “You can’t be both a victor and a victim.”
Actually, you can. But that’s another megillah.
So rising anti-Semitism, the passing of the generations and overworked rhetorical motifs all matter. But the fundamental problem, I believe, is that President-elect Trump has promised to “Make America Great Again.” I expect him instead to lead America to a catastrophic collapse. And when you’ve got the Congress and the Supreme Court behind you, and everything’s going south at warp speed, who do you blame?
Blame? No, nothing so crude as “Blame the Jews” (or what’s left of the Left). But when you need to get people’s minds off your continuing failure, a scandal’s as good a diversion as any. The media love it; the people lap it up. In accordance with the basic principle of peripherocentrism – you don’t want to face the big issues, so you worry the little ones to death – somebody gets the scandal going. Mr. Trump and his minions keep it going.
Now, why do I believe that Mr. Trump will fail? In part, of course, because most of his multitudinous campaign promises founder on the single question, How? But also because, I believe, the violence at which he hinted so broadly (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) is going to become an ongoing political factor . . . and won’t be confined to bullying militias and Klan-types against supine minorities and liberals.
So the Israel scandal will occur amid both the political failure of Mr. Trump’s administration and rising national violence.
And if the attitude of the Israeli government and Israel’s supporters to this scandal, is that good old, So what? . . . . that would be the worst possible response.
No, I do not believe that America will suddenly shut off the money spigot, or cancel the loan guarantees, or withhold other goodies. But I do believe that a major American scandal centered on Israel could have, would have, nasty effects on the present Israeli government. Perhaps even bringing it down.
And then, the citizens of Israel would be confronted with some choices of their own. And who knows where those choices might lead?
This blog now begins its once-a-week show-ups, starting next Thursday.
Next: American Scandal, Israeli Crisis.