“USA to Bibi: enough is enough”
“USA to Bibi: enough is enough”
The Hon. Joe Volpe, Publisher
TORONTO – Benjamin Netanyahu may yet succeed in tearing Israel down from the “moral high ground” it once occupied in the considerations of the Western democracies. I do not think he cares.
Until its dissolution recently in Canada, I was a part of the Simon Peres Centre for Peace. Like most Israeli- based organizations, it is/was unrelenting in its defense of Israeli security and Israel’s right to exist and endure.
Like its head and Leader, Simon Peres, it was willing to give Peace a chance … through negotiations and mutual respect. Maybe they are just words, but without them people use options that lead to unpleasant consequences.
Once a beacon of accomplishment and hope, “window” of democracy and “western values” in a turbulent and alien part of the world, considered even the little boy with the finger in the dike of Greater Middle Eastern floodwaters, Bibi, as Netanyahu is known, has taken the country down a decidedly more militaristic path.
Last year for example, its expenditures on defense spending (USD 13 billion) accounted for 15.5% of government spending. In absolute dollars, it spent more than every other country in the region, except for Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Turkey has a population of approximately 80 million, Saudi Arabia of 32 million. Israel, a geographic sliver of a country is populated by 8 million.
You cannot be safe if you are not well equipped to take on challengers to your legitimacy. Even when you are, the only thing of which you can be sure is that you might bloody the nose of the lion. Even then, nothing is guaranteed. Look at Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq. The list goes on.
These are all countries which, at one time or another, represented “an existential threat” to the survival of Israel. Or so the publicists cultivated among the foreign media became accustomed to describing them. Those threats are in tatters.
Given that the European nations started, at least a generation ago, to be much more predisposed to the plight of the Palestinians in the Arab-Israeli conflicts, I remarked semi-flippantly to one of my Jewish friends that the only real existential threat to Israel’s survival was potential change in the disposition of the USA “to write a blank cheque”.
“Not going to happen”, was the answer; “we have developed a strong network of political advocacy based on research, information and mutual support that crosses party lines.” That Advocacy group, J Street, is the eyes and ears for all danger signals and quick response modes.
Politically refined antennae and the ability to respond to changing dynamics are crucial for a country like Israel which is so dependent on the Diaspora for foreign direct investments, market access and tourism.
Bibi is more prone to bluster and the rampant bull approach. It works in the rough and tumble of Israeli domestic politics but it wears thin quickly elsewhere. Even in the USA. Especially when his surrogates and supporters decide to poke the US President in the eye.
Patience and indulgence can only go so far. Forget that some of the Billionaire Club members from the Diaspora made public and financial display of support for Obama and Clinton’s candidacy, where was the vaunted Mossad intelligence briefing on Syria, Libya, Turkey and the millions of “refugees” massed on the eastern border of Turkey and guided to Southern Europe to destabilize the region?
Even that can be written off to “miscalculation”. What is specific is the concept of a Two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It is one that even Bibi, when he cares to recall, has committed to developing. It cannot go hand in hand with the occupation of land that in principle forms part of the other “state”.
Europeans gave up on Bibi a while ago. They, like the Left in Israel, are not pleased that he treats the Bible as a road map to real estate development. Like Canada, in the past, they regard the settlements as an infringement on someone else’s terrain – an illegal act, in their view.
The USA finally said to Bibi: enough is enough! As expected, he and his operatives immediately shouted, “betrayal”, because the USA abstained from vetoing a motion by the Security Council censuring Israel for continuing settlements in areas considered under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
Bibi is under investigation for corruption, seeking and receiving bribes; although none of the allegations as of yesterday had not been converted into charges and none of them have been proven in court.