Stop It Moshe, I Feel Sick

I feel sick. Really sick. Its Moshe Kahlon’s response to Michael Oren’s piece in the WSJ that has me reaching for the sick bag.

Okay Kahlon didn’t actually apologise, but he did pointedly distance himself from Oren’s statements and praise Obama. Its nauseating. And disappointing. It shows that whatever his other qualities may be, Kahlon, like other ‘leaders’ who have gone before him is prepared to let the US administration treat him like a naughty schoolboy. So much for Jewish pride…

Its not just that Kahlon has bent over faster than one of the alleged late night guests at Oren Hazan’s Bulgarian hotel. Its not the craven cowardice inherent in witnessing a minister grovel before Obama. The most revolting thing about Kahlon’s response was that the only plausible explanation for his behaviour is to ingratiate himself with the Obama administration. There’s no other conceivable reason to leave Oren twisting in the wind.

In fact, Michael Oren didn’t say anything that dramatic. After all, even Buji’s fan club agree that the US-Israeli relationship is in tatters. Much of what Oren wrote was already in the public domain and the few new details merely added context, confirming what a majority of Israelis already think.

Kahlon’s motives are not only suspect, his sycophantic display is also wholly unnecessary. Prostrating himself before the Americans thus shows a serious lack of judgement.

Kahlon holds the finance portfolio, not foreign affairs and he has zero chance of becoming PM before Obama leaves office. Obama doesn’t have to like Kahlon and in any case- as we know from Oren’s revelations- Obama’s hostile attitude to Israel is unrelated to Israeli actions.

Furthermore, there was no diplomatic crisis to defuse and little possibility of one arising from Oren’s comments. Turning criticism from a minor politician into a diplomatic incident is one of the few things that Obama couldn’t use as a manufactured pretext to attack Israel’s govt, largely because doing so would prove rather than undermine Oren’s narrative. In short Kahlon’s apologetic manner is completely inappropriate, unnecessary and spineless.

What we’ve learned from this episode is that Moshe Kahlon is nowhere near ready to be Israel’s Prime Minister. Its truly sad that when given the option of defending his friend’s reputation and that of his country, he’s chosen instead to rush to the defence of a foreign leader- especially one so inimical to Israeli interests.

If Kahlon still has ambitions of becoming Prime Minister he’ll need to locate his missing backbone before the next election and show better judgement. Most importantly he’ll need to convince average Israelis that he’s on our side.

About the Author
Born and raised in London, Stephen Duke worked as a lecturer in philosophy and religious studies before making aliyah in 2006.
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