Israel Palestine Infos
November 6, 2010
The Nobleman and the Horse
“HALF AND HALF,” the late Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, is said to have answered, when asked whether he wanted tea or coffee.
This joke was intended to parody his hesitation on the eve of the Six-day War. (Though secret documents published this week show Eshkol in a very different light.)
The American public now
resembles the man in the joke. They sent to
The Israeli leadership did not know how to treat the results of this election. Are they good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?
THE BIG winner of the American election is none other than Binyamin Netanyahu.
His policy is similar to that of his political mentor, Yitzhak Shamir. It is based on the Jew who had to teach the Polish nobleman’s horse to read and to write within a year – otherwise the whole shtetel would be massacred. “A year is a long time,” he tried to soothe his weeping wife, “Within a year the horse or the nobleman will be dead.”
Shamir’s game was to postpone everything, miss every opportunity to bring peace closer, gain time.
When the pressure on
This is Netanyahu’s strategy, too. To prevent any advance towards peace, since peace means the evacuation of settlements and the setting up of a Palestinian state.
For two years now he has succeeded in thwarting every effort by Barack Obama to compel him to start a real peace process. He has defeated him at every turn, time after time. Now Obama has suffered a stinging setback at home, and a new chapter has begun.
But the nobleman has not died, and neither has the horse. How will Obama treat Netanyahu now?
The first assessment is that there is nothing to fear anymore from Obama. True, the horse has not died, but it is limping badly.
A big question mark is now hanging over Obama’s future. He is in danger of becoming a one-term president. From now on, he will be compelled to devote all his time and energy to his effort to get reelected. In such a situation, he cannot afford to provoke AIPAC and run the risk of losing the votes - and the money – of the Jews.
According to this
assessment, when the House of Representatives is in the hands of his opponents,
Obama must be very careful. In domestic matters, which decide elections, he will
not be able to achieve anything without a compromise with the reinvigorated
Republicans. These are led by politicians who are abject lackeys of
In short: there is nothing to fear anymore. Obama can make gestures towards the Palestinians and even flex his muscles, but in any real test with Netanyahu and AIPAC he will be the first to blink.
That assures Netanyahu two years of quiet. Everything will remain frozen, except the settlements. They will grow. And in two years, with a new President in the White House, we shall see what we shall see. A new noblemen, a new horse.
THE CONTRARY assessment is much less rosy for Netanyahu.
No doubt, Obama is full of fury against Netanyahu, and this fury may by now have turned into real loathing. In the last days before this election, Netanyahu refused Obama the little victory that could have improved his image at the last moment. Obama asked – nay, begged - for nothing more than a freeze of the settlements for another two months, just to make it possible to stage a grand spectacle of the resumption of the ceremony of the Peace Process. Netanyahu turned down the request disdainfully, even though it was accompanied by the offer of a huge political bribe.
Obama is a man who does not show negative emotions. He will continue to smile at Netanyahu, perhaps even to slap him on the back. But an enemy in the White house is a dangerous enemy, and a wounded enemy is even more dangerous. Wounded or not, an American president is still the most powerful person in the world.
True, the coming
presidential election is already casting a long shadow over
And even if this does not come about, a more serious danger for Netanyahu may be lurking after November 2012. Obama may be reelected. Some of his predecessors – Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton – suffered stinging setbacks in their first mid-term elections and still had no problem getting reelected.
If Obama is elected for a
second term, he may become a very dangerous adversary indeed. Since he will not
be allowed to stand again, he will be immune to the pressure of the
Moreover, the Tea Party
may disappear as quickly as it appeared. This happens in the
As to the Congress: as
In short, according to this assessment the clash between Obama and Netanyahu is inevitable. It will come to a head within two or three years, maximum. The nobleman will not die, nor will the horse. The question is whether the Jew will survive.
THIS PERSONAL clash hides a far deeper, far more fundamental one.
There is a lot of blabber about the partnership of the two countries. About the joint myths of pioneers, fight against the natives, conquest of a new homeland, a nation of immigrants. About “joint values”.
It all reminds me of
Shimon Peres’ blabbering in the 1950s about the “joint values” that bound
The opponents are a mixed
Almost all the experts
believe that the unlimited American support for
THERE IS something crazy in this situation: our government is rushing light-heartedly towards a clash with the only remaining ally we have in the world. No realistic alternative can be detected on the horizon.
This is, by itself, an
ominous fact, because the American Empire is in a slow but continuing decline in
all areas – economic, political, military and cultural. This is a protracted
process that will take many years, but Israel should be positioning itself to
accommodate the rise of new centers of power. The Netanyahu government is doing
the exact opposite: it is challenging the entire world and acting consistently
Unlike the story about the Jew, the nobleman and the horse – this is not a joke.