Spiral Static – In Israeli Politics Nothing is the New Something

Ben Gurion famously said “what matters is not what the goyim say, but what the Jews do.” With his latest actions Netanyahu has turned this saying on it’s head – “What matters is not what the goyim do, but what the Jews say”.

Having just finished watching the third series of ‘House of Cards’, I’ve become somewhat angered with the state of our political discourse. In one of the latest episodes Underwood is discussing with his staff alternative keywords to ‘action’. They end up deciding on ‘vision’. The action in question is Underwood’s ‘America Works’ program in which the government subsidizes the hiring of unemployed Americans. The other one is an international peacekeeping mission to the Jordan Valley.

There’s an entire backstory to how ‘America Works’ came to be and its legal status, but the point is that Underwood has decided that his goal is to get 10 million Americans employed and he was willing to go through fire to make it happen, having failed to convince congress to fund it.

Same thing with the peacekeeping mission – knowing that Russia would object to any UN resolution on the matter, he tried vowing the Russian president in any number of ways, and eventually when those efforts ended up being futile, did what he had to do to have the plan in place in spite of his opposition.

The first headline in an Israeli newspaper about the Iranian nuclear threat has appeared in 1984 (!). Netanyahu has been talking about this since 1996 – for 19 years. He was also advocating a stronger stance against Iran during negotiations led by Europe as private citizen, appearing before congress in 2002, stating with full conviction – as the one he had appearing before congress this week – that with the right amount of pressure Iran would cave and backtrack on its nuclear program.

13 years and a handful of ‘historic’ speeches by Israeli PM to the UN General Assembly and US congress later, Iran is closer than ever to a military grade nuclear weapon.

Throughout this Netanyahu has changed his rhetoric – no longer a nuclear free Iran, but 10 years away from a bomb. Ironically exactly the deal he advocated against back in 2002.

One of the most commonly sayings in Israel’s policy on this issue is ‘Never Again’. Never again shall the faith of the Jews be in the hand of goyim, Jews shall defend themselves. Netanyahu has used this rhetoric tiresomely. Ironically, in the last seven years our faith has been in the hands of everyone but the Israeli government.

Iran has had advanced enrichment capabilities since 2008, so why haven’t they already weaponized their program? Presumably because they understand that the benefits of breaking through to the bomb aren’t worth the price – be that even more severe international sanctions or maybe even geo-political isolation.

And on the other hand we have the international coalition, led by President Obama and other security council member states, the EU and even some of the gulf states. Almost every member of this international coalition has stated that they will not accept a nuclear Iran, basically siding with Israel on the matter. But Israel isn’t a part of the inner circle, it’s hardly a part at all. According to recent reports from the White House and State Department Israel is no longer receiving updates on the talks with Iran.

What is this if not being dependent on goyim? Netanyahu and his officials, like ambassador to US Ron Dermer, have talked themselves out of positions of influence. By his own standards Netanyahu has failed. By historic ones, he betrayed Ben Gurion’s ideal. By televised drama ones, he would never have made it past episode one.

The real tragedy is that even after all this there’s not one candidate with enough conviction, track record, an action plan, a vision, that appears to have a better chance at doing what Netanyahu has failed to do all these years – govern. Everyone is tip-toeing, trying to not anger anyone so they could get their vote when the time comes. We need an Israeli Frank Underwood – the action man, not the killer. Someone who’s willing not to pull any punches, someone who’s willing to put forward a plan, not a dream, a list of five action items and explain how they’re going to implant them. Until then, they’re useless.

About the Author
Son to immigrant parents from the FSU, holds a BA in Economics and MBA from Tel Aviv University. Served as a Captain in the IDF
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