It is easy to be angry these days. If you live on one side or the other of our deep political divides, tossing dirt over the fence at your opponent(s) has become a kind of national sport, whether in America, or in Israel.
But I sit on neither side of that great divide, since I consider myself neither right- nor left-wing. I’m the rarest of creatures, it seems, a thinking human who drinks no kool-aid and arrives at my understanding of issues through serious reading (from multiple sources) and continuous engagement with issues. So I can easily believe that child molesters should be thrown into a pit of poison snakes with their hands tied behind their backs and also believe that a nation that allows sick people to die for want of health coverage is a disgrace to the very notion of nationhood and what it means to be a member of civilized society.
So it has been a struggle, to say the least, to live through this last year+, a year in which every standard of truth, human decency, dignity, honor, service, and patriotism has been trampled upon, sullied, and nearly destroyed. And all by the current occupant of the White House and his army of enablers and apologists.
He is matched, it seems, by his twin across the sea, a man of bottomless ego, a man who is his own version of the Messiah, as he is the one–THE ONE–standing between Israel and its extinction. Just as Trump is the one–THE ONE–who can fix it. Whatever “it” is and wherever “it” should rear its ugly head.
It’s as if we’re seeing a version of “twin sons of different mothers.” Two men who are self-promoters above all, who will sell out anyone and everyone who challenges their grip on power. Men who will sell access to themselves, trade favors, enrich themselves, and otherwise pervert the very meaning of service into a mirror in which they only see themselves.
It is hardly worth detailing the litany of offenses each has committed, or the blind loyalty that their acolytes show. So what if here in America, the only “real” Americans, it seems, are white Christians. If you’re black or brown, get out or stay down. If you’re Muslim, don’t come knocking on our doors. And if you’re Jewish, well, we’ve got Nazi militias ready to go, to remind you that you aren’t welcome in white America.
And in Israel, if you’re not Orthodox, if you’re not a right-wing Jew, you similarly don’t count. Remember Bibi’s exhortation to his faithful to get out and vote to overwhelm the Arab vote? Never mind that Arabs are citizens of Israel, with an equal right at the ballot box to have their say in a Prime Minister. And heaven help you if you’re a black African seeking asylum. A Russian with only the sketchiest claim to being Jewish? The doors are wide open, since we know you’re another future Likud-nik. But black Africans? Just a burden. And let’s not even bother discussing the “holy rollers” who live off of government largesse in Israel while letting other people’s sons and daughters take on the burden of national defense.
It is the greatest of contemporary tragedies that America–a nation thought to be the shining light of the diaspora for Jews, and Israel, our historic homeland–have both fallen under the spell of craven, rash, egomaniacal, dishonest, and dishonorable men. It is painful to see this fake bromance between a man who cannot have real friends because he is incapable of holding or expressing the feelings and attitudes that are the precursor for an actual human relationship, and an obnoxious, power-mad “savior” whose every utterance and bit of body language fairly screams, “I know I’m the smartest guy in every room. I know I am! I know I am!”
These two arrogant “saviors” are happily marching the world into even greater chaos and the likelihood of a nuclear-tipped war. Why? One, because he just can’t unravel fast enough anything done by his black predecessor. Trump’s is a virulent, bone-deep hatred of a black man who actually achieved all he did in life based on merit rather than, as Trump did, through membership in the wealthy sperm club. And this is a powerful, intolerable rebuke to everything a social-climbing fraud like Trump is or ever will be. As for Netanyahu, he is also encouraging us to march the world toward chaos and unraveling because of his deep disdain for our first black President, a man who didn’t feel compelled to take marching orders from or be lectured by an Israeli PM on what the United States should do and how we should construct and conduct our foreign policy, since we are not, as Netanyahu seems to think, a subsidiary of the State of Israel, but a sovereign nation in our own right.
It is painful and infuriating to see how these two are conspiring to undermine the standing of the United States in the world. When your best friends are Saudi Arabia and an Israel run by a corrupt megalomaniac, there is nothing to celebrate, and much to regret. Bibi was wrong on the Iraq war and he’s wrong on the Iran deal. Lucky for him, he’s got an empty vessel into which to pour his kindergarten presentations, a vessel that will soak in and spit out whatever the last person to flatter him tells him to. Bibi’s luck, and our and the wider world’s tragedy.