Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Whilst I've been away

...all sots of interesting things have been happening in this little corner of the world.

There isn't much for me to add to the acres that have already been written about attempts to de-legitimise expressions of grief concerning the Nakba/Creation of the State of Israel, or Avigdor's new attempts to promulgate a Loyalty Oath, to a "Jewish, Zionist and Democratic State".

(Let's ignore the fundamental difficulty in defining at least the first two terms satisfactorily; what fascinates me is that Avigdor still hasn't conjured up a formula that would allow this nonsense to apply to the Arab population without affecting, say, the Haredi'im. But maybe it's just me thinking too much.)

Obama kicked his world tour by wowing them in the aisles in Cairo after choosing not to touch down in Tel Aviv en-route; in revenge, certain aspects of Israeli media go into a sulk and decide that since his middle name happens to be Hussein, then he can't be Good for Israel (thanks to the always engaging frgdr.com blog for this); and The United States decide to put the smack down by loudly, unambiguously and repeatedly declaiming that settlement activity in the West Bank must stop.

I suppose the only surprise is that Bibi has managed to talk himself into a corner so quickly. It is hard to say whether eight years of being spoiled by Shrub blinded political opinion in Israel to the obvious - that the status quo could not endure indefinitely - or that the politicos actually believed that the tail could wag the dog, that Israel was capable of dictating American foreign policy without reference to the domestic concerns of the American people,

(This leads to a seperate argument about the strength of the "Jewish/Israel/Zionist Lobby" in the United States. For what it's worth, I think that the supposed power of this lobby group, stating the case of a narrow but noisely right-wing viewpoint in Washington, is somewhat overstated. Unfortunately for them, AIPAC and Co. seem believe their own hype. But that's for another time, perhaps.)

...but I honestly didn't believe that this intellectual detatchment was really so engrained until I read this today.

Of course it is unfair to judge the tenor and tone of the letter without actually reading it in full, but I can't help but get the sense that Minister-without-Portfolio Peled is experiencing some kind of intellectual disconnect.

It is one thing to try and nurture "strategic" (i.e. partisan) alliances elsewhere; another to piss off the Americans by using the lots and lots of nice greenbacks with which they subsidise Israel to go and buy weapons and the like elsewhere;

(Personally, I thought only the hardcore elements in the Egyptian government were dumb enough to think this way. Apparently not)

...but it is, speaking frankly, absolute fucking insanity to propose an overt, albeit indirect, intervention in the domestic political scene in the United States. According to the article, Peled proposes "asking American Jewish donors not to contribute to Democratic congressional candidates. He predicts (gosh, he's a soothsayer too? We're not worthy!) that this would result in Democratic candidates pressuring Obama to become more pro-Israel."

Where does one start? The conflation of American, Jewish-American and Israeli objectives? Subscribing to the old canard that money, specifically Jewish Money, controls/is capable of controlling the political scene in the United States? Directly intervening in the domestic electoral affairs of a sovereign state?

Even if I didn't think that Obama was acting in the best long term interests of Israel (you may gather from previous posts that I am inclined towards giving him the benefit of the doubt; but that's just my personal opinion), going down this path is...well, words fail me. I really don't know what to say.

The next couple of months are going to be very interesting.

postscript: According to yesterday's Jpost, Israel Beitenu legislators skipped the recent Knesset vote on civil marriages. Given that this was a major plank of their electoral campaign, it does seem very odd. Or perhaps not.

(And where was I, you ask? At home, mainly. Mrs Goy went on a junket - sorry, conference - outside the country somewhere, so I was daddy day-care for the Small Noisy One for a week - poor him! Then a friend visited from abroad, and I spent most of the week taking him around the country. It's fun, being the tour guide for a change...)


Mo-ha-med said...

"next couple of months are going to be very interesting."

Will they?
It won't be the first time an Israeli politician would've said something outlandish about the US. And I think that (most) American Jews will shrug off his comments and remember that their interest lie at home first (unless they're named Steve Rosen) and will promptly ignore Peled.
And no one on the Hill will call him o his comments.

So, it's a storm in a teacup, really.

I did agree with one thing he suggested:
"allowing other countries that compete with the US to get involved with the peace process".
That could be fun.

Goy said...

I see your point. But it's more the mindset of the current Israeli government that interests me. Rather than Peled being the rogue, indisciplined elemen saying out loud what is usually whispered, I think he actually demonstrates the very uncomfortable corner that Bibi's government is talking itself into. This goes beyond the hedging, obfuscating and generally dragging one's feet that usually characterises Israeli govt. policy about the West Bank; this is about actively seeking confrontation - one that the Americans can't ignore, and that the Israelis - for all sorts of reasons - can't win.

We'll see