Lou Sandler

The Cognitive Dissonance of the Israeli Opposition

David Horovitz’s commentary posted today: ‘Ashamed by Netanyau; Infuriated Obama’ could be a case study of the confusion, contradictions felt and continued disorganization among the Israeli opposition.

Even as Horovitz makes many astute observations, just about each one is then linked to a ‘but’ clause which provides a sense of vindication or justification for the otherwise cynical, dangerous and directionless politics by Netanyahu.

We do not need to hear a constant recitation of threats posed to Israel by Netanyahu; we know what they are and we – I – agree that (many) immediately exist. Netanyahu needs to offer something more.

I support a (monitored) and independent Palestinian entity and want that to be further discussed.

I also do not consider Abbas and, far more so, Hamas to be viable partners. Repeating this reality over and over is not helpful. We already know it, Bibi. Demonstrating how the Hamas and PA leadership directly and functionally interferes while providing an alternative would be very helpful. Being mutually prohibitive, however, is not.

I recognize the very real and serious threat posed by Iran and share concerns over the current state of negotiations with that country. I still do not support either military actions or further increased strangling sanctions towards Iran at the present time (italics obviously added for point) since both are counterproductive.

There are also real people living in Iran, not just the leaders who continue to practice an Iranian brand of Islamofascism. The West and Israel need to appeal to and generate credibility among Iranians as well since many Iranians are also less than impressed with their own core leadership. Giving Iran’s leadership a ‘flag’ of Israeli and West aggression would be remarkably poor politics right now.

And like so many senior Israeli intelligence, military and political officials, I also do not expect Iran to try and ‘nuke’ or directly attack Israel anytime in the foreseeable future for a great many real, geopolitically based reasons the least of which being the real likelihood that Tehran would instantly be turned into a big parking lot. But as per the always increasing rhetoric by Netanyahu and his right wing cohort, Iran and Iranians may have good reason to believe that it is they who are under more of an immediate threat by Israel and the West.

This is a perfect example of how to start a potentially catastrophic war without really trying which would instantly and likely bring uncontrollable repercussions far beyond any battlefield.

I am also deeply concerned that a more independent Palestinian entity which I support in principle will be an invite for increased numbers of still more sociopathic members from among the region’s militarized Islamists. Netanyahu’s redundant echo of this can stop anytime. I and most of us I’d think, fundamentally agree and recognize this very real threat and potential.

But repeating this real concern over and over as a threat; as an electoral and coalition building ‘strategy’ is not helpful. An alternative, functional and applied concept, however, is needed.

Not doing anything but reciting demons to sustain fear and scare needs to end. The status quo is not stable but continues to be very actively disintegrative.

Creating volatile divisions among Israeli and Diaspora Jews alike as Netanyahu has deliberately and consciously done to a degree Arab nations could only dream; speaking without any coherent alternative other than to repeat the threats and points of fear we all already recognize is not leadership. Such practice only further compromises rather than strengthens Israel, its current stability and future viability.

And the fact that Obama has been the only American President to openly recognize these issues and contradictions – be more openly and verbally frustrated – and that he has been far less willing to play patty cake with Netanyahu while Netanyahu continues to fiddle, bluff and mislead has taken tremendous political courage by Obama.

Has Obama has taken the ‘perfect’ steps; has Kerry? No.

But Obama is not anti-Semitic if he doesn’t really like or trust Netanyahu; he is not creating Islamic cells in the U.S. or trying to hand Israel to the Palestinians. Such repeating refrains are counterproductive in their own right.

This sort of rhetoric is also absurd to the point of hysterical nonsense. It did, however, greatly assist to keep Netanyahu in power when used as a cynical electoral strategy while further intensifying a now self sustaining cycle of disconnected confusion and rampant misperception.

With Netanyahu openly and cynically manipulating everything with which he comes into contact to include his own cohort and coalition; with Netanyahu nurturing fear to include saying one thing then changing it 3 hours later; with Netanyahu and selected members of his right wing parties matching some of the more amoral Arab vitriol word for word, Obama and Israel’s more thoughtful American supporters have their – our – own quandary created and deliberately shaped by Netanyahu principally for the sake of his own political power.

Serious, hard discussion is needed; serious, hard solutions need to be posited out that are doable, coherent and manageable. Perhaps Netanyahu’s most recent electoral mandate will help return his political courage, legs and willingness to step forward. If so, I remain very ready to listen.

But I want to see Netanyahu lay out what lies ahead other than ways that he can remain in office. I want to hear Netanyahu offer something concrete as, at least, a coherent starting point. But each time it sounds as if he just might start to have something, he then skewers his own message and presentation and returns to his default mode of pander, self preservation and fear mongering.

That Netanyahu has consistently, time and time again, demonstrated that he is not up to such a hope for the future; that Netanyahu has, himself, been a remarkably unreliable partner is still skirted even by Horovitz’s article.

Horovitz’s article offers a sustained contradiction bordering on cognitive dissonance. Horovitz knows the problems but doesn’t seem to have a way out or his own set of alternatives.Horovitz knows that Netanyahu is not ‘Israel;’ but not exactly.

This is not Obama’s principal doing; it is by Netanyahu’s initiative while being inadvertently enabled by a fragmented Israeli opposition who continue unable to offer up their own coherent, stable and unified set of alternatives around which to organize

And even as Horovitz knows and tries to make clear that Netanyahu is not Israel; that not supporting Netanyahu’s dangerous politics is not and should not be equated with lacking passionate support for Israel, Horovitz still can’t quite seem to reach a clear conclusion.

It was and is for this reason that Netanyahu remains in office and the Israeli opposition continues unconvincing, fragmented and unable to generate votes or a solid belief in and understanding of its competence and true priorities.

About the Author
I was born in Baltimore, MD and have since had a wide range of experiences including a year plus in Israel. I've been a progressive organizer, writer/media spokesperson, coordinator and freelance. I am a PhD level Clinical Behavioral Analyst specializing in severe behavioral need in children (and adults) and their families. I write through no ‘agenda or special interest’ other than being a passionate supporter of Israel and Israel's future.