BLOG 260 July 5, 2015

With the July 4th celebrations just concluded in the United States, is the rest of the world in a jubilant mood? Afraid not. The entire Middle East struggles with civil wars, terrorism and jihadist attacks. No joy there.

But there is progress in some quarters.

Several years ago, I met U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman. A brilliant man, Senator Lieberman is a charming person. At that time, he expressed views similar to what he recently stated when he received the Guardian of Zion award at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv’s Ramat Gan area. Lieberman expressed gloom about the negotiations with Iran but unequivocally supported Congressional review of any final deal.

Lieberman appealed to President Obama to begin immediate construction of an American embassy in Jerusalem (which won’t happen) and was highly critical of American foreign policy over the past four years. The lack of US response since the civil war in Syria began, has been foolish in terms of geopolitics and immoral in terms of the humanitarian crisis, he said. Lieberman cited the failure of Obama to act when it was proven that Assad was using chemical weapons as one of the lowest points in American policy.

On the other hand, Senator Lieberman said this is the best time in history for the Jewish people. Interestingly enough, Jews within Israel are not as optimistic about themselves. As large a percentage (68.8%) believed Israel’s relations with the world is not good. Nearly 80% believed that the world makes demands for moral behavior on Israel beyond what is asked of other countries. On the other hand, Israeli Arabs are at the opposite end of the scale. At least, 58.2% believe Israel’s relations with the world are good. The Peace Poll Index found that both Israeli Arabs and Jews overwhelmingly support peace talks with the Palestinians even though they are not optimist about the results. (Netanyahu, are you listening?)

On the other end of the scale, Americans hear little about Turkey. Months ago, I reported that Turkish leader Recep Tayyip would break with Israel in an attempt to create a Muslim axis running from Turkey through Syria down to Iran. Of course, Tayyip envisioned himself as the caliphate. He criminally exposed Mossed agents, violating an understanding with Israel that crossed decades.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plans have not gone well. Nothing about the war between the Shiites and Sunnis has played into this hands. His idea of an axis now looks like a cork-screw. Following the just completed parliamentary elections, Erdogan has suffered another set back. Sources inside Turkey believe this election could be the beginning of a reversal of Turkey’s Isalmization. While the battle for the soul and identity is far from over, Erdogan’s attempt to sweep the election and change the constitution has failed. Erdogan’s government was obsessed with ousting Assad which will now be under parliamentary scrutiny. Women, youth, and a diverse group of minorities, like the Armenians, will sit in the Parliament.

What’s bad for Erdogan is good for Israel. Israelis can now hope for better relations down the road. How are things in Israel? Actually, not bad at all.

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Filed under Israel, Judaism, middle east

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