"The US relationship with Israel has changed, in part, because Israel has changed – and not for the better. The growth of ultra-nationalist extremism, the openly racist policies toward Palestinians and African immigrants, the ruthlessness of Israeli military policy with its brazen disregard for innocent civilians, and the braying posturing arrogance of Netanyahu himself have all contributed to the growing unease with which Americans view their longtime ally-turned-frenemy."
|Photo by Middle East Children's Alliance.|
With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tanking in the polls, and the election fast approaching, he and his right-wing Likud party are taking desperate measures to shore up their flagging support.
Their campaign is imperiled by Bibi’s underhanded tactics in inveigling an invitation to speak to the US Congress on the eve of the Obama administration’s delicate negotiations with Iran – an event sure to turn into a heavy-handed denunciation of the peace talks and a direct appeal to the Republican-controlled Congress to sabotage them. The whole arrangement was done behind the President’s back, and it has sunk US-Israeli relations to a new low. Meanwhile, in Israel, alarm rather than support for Netanyahu is the dominant reaction: the fear is that Bibi’s willfulness is endangering the "special relationship" with the US, which has been a vital lifeline for the Jewish state lo these many years.
Bibi, it seems to many Israelis, is the one who needs a "Bibi-sitter."
The opposition is scoring points and making gains – but the intransigent Netanyahu, characteristically, is digging in, and even going on the offensive. His campaign has released a new ad showing an image of David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding Prime Minister, and text that reads:
"In 1948, Ben-Gurion stood before a fateful moment: The creation of the State of Israel. The U.S. secretary of state firmly objected [to the establishment of Israel]. Ben-Gurion – contrary to the State Department’s position – announced the establishment of the state… Would we be here today had Ben-Gurion not done the right thing?"
The ad ends with this exhortation: "Only Likud. Only Netanyahu" – and, I might add, only lies.
Aside from being a blatant appeal to growing Israeli anti-Americanism – a disturbing trend I pointed out long ago – the ad represents a considerable distortion of the historical record.