Scapegoating Netanyahu — Then and Now

Scapegoating Netanyahu — Then and Now

Benjamin Netanyahu is not fit to be the Prime Minister of Israel.

You don’t have to take my word for this, of course.  No less a luminary than the Senate Majority Leader said as much the other day.  That’s right.  The Majority Leader.  Of the Senate.  Of the United States of America.  Not the Knesset, mind you, but the U.S. Senate.  Moreover, he said that the United States should do everything it can to ensure that Netanyahu is pushed out of power.  Seriously (emphasis added):

In a landmark speech, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “lost his way,” urged new elections in Israel, called for a two-state solution and said the United States should use its “leverage” to push for its goals in the region if Netanyahu remains in power….

[S]aying he spoke for a “silent majority” of American Jews, Schumer said many were “horrified” that Israel was falling short of upholding Jewish values due to its far-right coalition members and the way it is prosecuting the war in Gaza. And he castigated Netanyahu for actively opposing a two-state solution.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d like to see the crosstabs of the survey showing that the “silent majority” of American Jews agree with Schumer on this.  I have a long and notorious history of underestimating American Jews’ loyalty to the Democratic Party, but I still think Schumer is mistaken here.  In fact, I think that he is full of male cattle excrement.

Schumer’s rant – which would be classified as “election interference” if it came from anyone other than a Democrat and were directed at anyone other than Netanyahu – was less about finding a solution to the current problems plaguing Israel and more about finding a scapegoat for the failure of the Democrats’ decades-long delusions about Middle East “peace.”

My American Greatness column tomorrow is about the millennia-old tradition in the West of scapegoating Jews for all the world’s problems when those problems get especially burdensome.  This is a familiar topic in these pages.  As it turns out, scapegoating Netanyahu is the Democrats’ version of this medieval antisemitism.  It allows them to blame “the Jews” without actually having to blame the Jews.  It gives them a handy, ready-made explanation for the failure of the two-state solution that enables them at least to try to play both sides of the issue.  In public, they say things like “of course I support Israel and its right to defend itself,” even as they nod and wink at their agitated Arab and identitarian supporters, whispering, “We know, we know.  It’s really the Jew’s fault.”

And while this tradition of scapegoating doesn’t date back centuries, it does date back decades, as this 25-year-old story from The Washington Post reminds us:

Along with President Clinton’s former pollster Stanley Greenberg and veteran Democratic imagemaker Robert Shrum, Carville is an American consultant to Ehud Barak, the main challenger to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel’s May 17 elections. He flies in every few weeks, reviews the troops in Barak’s Labor Party campaign “war room,” which he helped set up, coaches the locals on staying on message (it’s about change, stupid) and spins like crazy….

If Carville is amazed by Israel’s intensity, Israel is returning the compliment. In Barak’s Labor Party, he, Greenberg and Shrum are seen as much more than savvy hired imports. They’re more like the Oracle at Delphi.

In fact, say aides to Barak, Carville & Co.’s very presence is a stamp of approval for the candidate and the campaign.

Remember the other day, when I wrote about how Bill and Hillary Clinton have a nasty habit of “smashing up things and creatures?”  Well…add one more thing to that list: the American relationship with Israel.  A quarter-century ago, fresh off his “victory” in his impeachment trial and desperate to cement a legacy of something substantive, Bill Clinton decided he wanted to broker peace in the Middle East.  He decided he would be the man who, at long last, delivered the two-state solution.  There was only one problem.  The Prime Minister of Israel at the time was more concerned about his people’s safety and well-being than he was about Bill Clinton’s legacy.

Needless to say, that Prime Minister – Netanyahu – had to go.  And so, Clinton put his best people on the job.  And they did the job.  They gave their guy a more amenable “partner for peace.”

Amazingly, though, even when that more amenable partner agreed to a two-state solution and conceded almost everything Yasir Arafat could ever have asked for, the “deal” nevertheless fell apart.  Why, it was almost as if Arafat and the Palestinian Authority had no intention of ever reaching an agreement in the first place.  Weird, right?

Never mind all that, though – or the fact that Israel has had four other prime ministers (in addition to Barak) between then and now.  Netanyahu is, was, and ever shall be the problem (wink, wink).

Earlier this year, when President Biden started grumbling about how Prime Minister Netanyahu was not doing what he wanted done, I thought for a brief moment that this was an example of the Democrats’ “dream world” thinking, in which “nonrecognition of reality is the first principle,” and “as a consequence, types of action which in the real world would be considered as morally insane because of the real effects which they have will be considered moral in the dream world because they intended an entirely different effect.”  Biden wanted peace, after all, and he just couldn’t understand why the pressure he was putting on Netanyahu to end the war was not also moving Hamas toward accepting peace.

The more I thought about it, though, and the more I remembered the long and sordid history of the Democrats’ treatment of Netanyahu, the less likely it seemed that the current attacks on the Israeli Prime Minister are genuine, even if misguided.  This isn’t about dream-world thinking at all.  It’s pure, ugly scapegoating, and it must be recognized as such.

Stephen Soukup
Stephen Soukup
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Steve Soukup is the Vice President and Publisher of The Political Forum, an “independent research provider” that delivers research and consulting services to the institutional investment community, with an emphasis on economic, social, political, and geopolitical events that are likely to have an impact on the financial markets in the United States and abroad.