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Netanyahu and Greater Israel

I am terribly disappointed by the election in Israel.  With the victory of the right-wing, Netanyahu and Likud, Israel will become more obsessed with destroying its Muslim neighbors militarily, and it will become more of an apartheid nation as it increases discrimination against Arabs and other non-Jews in Israel.

I don’t understand the appeal of Israel for right-wing Republicans.  It may be the brotherhood of one right-wing party for another.  Republicans may hate Iranians because of the old 444-day hostage crisis, but do they also have a reason to hate Palestinians?  It may be the appeal of militarism; the Republicans want to fight somebody, and the Israelis can tell them somebody to fight.  However, these days Jews by and large don’t fight for America.  Even NYT columnist David Brooks’ son served in the Israeli military, not the American military.  So, the Republicans will be sending non-Jewish, mostly Christian, boys and girls to fight the Iranians for Israel, if it comes to that.  Of course they will say it’s for America, but right now and for years to come, Iran poses no significant military threat to the United States.  It does pose a serious threat to Israel, in part because of the millennia of racial and religious hatred between Persians and Jews.  The US is a relative late-comer to this culture of hatred.  In addition, there is the question of Jewish political contributions.  At least some of the Republicans are motivated by the desire for the huge political contributions that rich Jews like Sheldon Adelson can make, as illustrated by the pilgrimages that potential Republican presidential candidates make to kiss Adelson’s ring.  It is even more reprehensible if Republicans send Christian boys and girls to fight and die in combat in order for the candidates to rake in Jewish political contributions.  There is also the possibility of Republicans wanting Jewish votes, but it’s not a big population in comparison to the entire United States; however, Harry Truman recognized Israel so quickly over the objection of his Secretary of State because he wanted the Jewish vote, and it worked; he beat Dewey.  The main organization building the Republican-Jewish connection is AIPAC, which attracts leaders of Jewish community organizations, Christian evangelical leaders, and Republican politicians.  I don’t understand how it works, except for money.  AIPAC has tons of money, which it distributes to support right-wing Israel interests, and Republican politicians may be addicted to it.  But if they send Americans to fight and die for AIPAC money, it strikes me as bordering on treasonous.

On the other hand, there are the Jews who are Democrats.  It seems like the majority of Jewish politicians are liberal Democrats, with whom I probably agree more closely on policy issues than with my putative kinsmen, the white, Christian, Southern Republicans.  Furthermore, Israel appears (or appeared before last night) to be more evenly split between right-wing, apartheid zealots and easier-going moderates who might be open to peace with the Palestinians.  So, Jewish-American politicians and Israelis themselves tend toward being more moderate than the main Jewish political organization, AIPAC, and the main hawks in Congress, conservative Republicans.   I don’t know where Jews stand in their innermost thoughts.  Certainly the Holocaust cannot be ignored in their thinking, but if they really care about the Holocaust, how can they oppress the Palestinians the way that they do.  Gaza is not unlike the ghettos that Hitler forced the Jews into during World War II.

The Jews may not have a “final solution” to the Palestinian problem like Hitler had to the Jewish problem, but Netanyahu’s renunciation of the goal of a two-state solution is certainly worrying.  He has continued to build Jewish settlements on Arab land, and he has strongly encouraged European Jews to move to Israel.  This may indicate that Israel is still expanding; it has no intention of returning to the borders established by the UN after World War II.  Netanyahu’s goal is some kind of greater Israel.  (It sounds terrible, but does Israel desire “lebensraum” like Germany did before World War II?)  He appears to believe that Israel needs more land and more Jewish population to avoid being overwhelmed by the Jews in and around Israel.  Right now, Iran is the greatest threat to this “greater Israel” ambition.  Israel has to some extent co-opted the main Sunni states, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to support Israel.  So, the Shiite states present the greatest threat, and Iran is the leader of the Shiite states.  Netanyahu may not be so worried about Iran’s future nuclear capability as he is about taking Iran down a rung now, to limit its power in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, etc.  Screaming about the Iranian nuclear program is way to drum up support for an attack on Iran, or at least strong diplomatic pressure on it.  That serves Netanyahu’s goal of building a greater Israel by presenting Iran with an array of enemies in the West who believe they are trying to limit Iran’s nuclear program, when in fact they are mainly meant to limit Iran’s current strategic leverage on Israel.

If this is the case, Secretary of State Kerry may think he is engaged in the noble goal of trying to limit Iran’s nuclear program, but in fact he is an agent for Jewish efforts to limit Iran’s strategic power, with or without nuclear weapons.

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