BLOG 278 November 9, 2015
Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu simply can’t seem to stay out of trouble. On October 21, he suggested that Adolf Hitler initially had no intention of killing millions of European Jewry. Speaking to the 137th World Zionist Congress, he stated that Palestinian-Arab leader Haj Amin al-Husseini talked Hitler into the “Final Solution.” Husseini, the Mafti of Jerusalem was so bad that he was sought for prosecution in the Nuremberg trials – but Netanyahu’s remarks were unequivocally wrong. Hitler was Hitler without any help from Husseini.
In response, one Israeli politician said Bibi’s statement shows “the depths to which this man has sunk.” Netanyahu had certainly waded out over his head.
Netanyahu’s recent statements to Congress and his war with President Obama over the Iranian nuclear deal have sunk him with Washington. Not only did he lose prestige for sticking his nose into American politics, he didn’t even slow down the approval process. After all the screening and hollering over the possibility that Israel was in jeopardy settled, many voices in Israel noted that their enemy Iran currently wasn’t a threat. At this time, there is no current existential threat to Israel. Netanyahu’s statements were way over the top. When he returns to the White House later this week, the Prime Minister will find a cold shoulder.
Not only did the Israeli Prime Minister create a stir in Washington, he created a serious division in the Jewish community that still remains. Many American Jewish leaders felt he was pushing American Jews to choose Israel’s interest over Washington’s. Bibi split congregations at the local synagogue.
The problem is that Netanyahu appears to have become a politican who will say anything to win. He did so in the last election displaying racism against the Arabs as well as flip-flopping in his position on a two-state solution for the Palestinians issue. He won by playing the flim-flam card reminiscent of the worst of American politics.
Now, PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas is making noises about ending the Oslo Accords that should have provided a transitional period ending in a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. In violation of the accord, Bibi has kept building in the West Bank area. Should such a cancelation occur, Israel would be faced with difficult options. To make matters worse, Mahmoud Abbas is aging and faced with the threat of Hamas becoming the dominant player in Palestinian politics. Again, leaving Israel with hard choices. Can Netanyahu face up to such serious challenges? Uncertainty deepens.
Currently, many Jewish leaders believe David Ben-Gurion was the last visionary leader Israel had. (Probably they are pushing the issue too far) Since Ben-Gurion, most of the Prime Ministers have been caught up in the quarrels of special interest groups who are always grabbing for power while leaving the nation caught up in strife and discord. Courageous and moral leadership is needed to keep Israel on course.
Can Netanyahu provide the same? Currently, he is not only distrusted by the Palestinians but in Washington as well. Great numbers of the Jewish people feel the same way.
Not a good sign!