Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chickenshit: Obama v. Israel?

Is this real? Or is it some sort of trick? According to The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, a senior Administration official has refered to Bibi Netanyahu as a "chickenshit."
The relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the worst it's ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections. By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.

The fault for this breakdown in relations can be assigned in good part to the junior partner in the relationship, Netanyahu, and in particular, to the behavior of his cabinet. Netanyahu has told several people I’ve spoken to in recent days that he has “written off” the Obama administration, and plans to speak directly to Congress and to the American people should an Iran nuclear deal be reached. For their part, Obama administration officials express, in the words of one official, a “red-hot anger” at Netanyahu for pursuing settlement policies on the West Bank, and building policies in Jerusalem, that they believe have fatally undermined Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace process.
Was this article written on the same Planet Earth that you and I inhabit? There's nothing here about the 2008 and 2014 attacks on Gaza, two events which would have caused Hitler himself to mutter "Duuuuuude...!" (Or whatever the German equivalent of Duuuuuude might be.) But Gaza, it seems, was no biggie. No, the thing that has this administration hot-n-bothered is the fact that John Kerry has been undermined.

Does that make sense to you?

Actually, I suspect that Kerry himself is the senior official quoted anonymously here. It does make sense that the dissing of John Kerry would have John Kerry all hot-n-bothered.

Let's take a closer look at that "chickenshit" business:
“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like.
"Scared to launch wars"? Someone should run that remark past the people in Gaza. Then again, I suppose it is chickenshit to inflict mass-murder on the helpless. I also suppose that mass-murder of the helpless doesn't really qualify as war.

Nevertheless, I would argue that, in the Bibi-Barack partnership, Obama is the one who deserves the "chickenshit" label.

Not only was Obama too chickenshit to complain about the massacres in Gaza, he was also too chickenshit to complain (in public) about the relocation of innocent Bedouins, who have been forced our of their ancient homes and made to live in a graveyard. He's too chickenshit to condemn the outrageously racist laws which keep spilling out of Bibi's government. Chickenshit Obama would never dare to offer a public critique of the increasingly fascist nature of Israeli society, about the toleration for genocidal language, about the frequent calls for ethnic cleansing. And Obama has proven what an obedient chickenshit he is by persecuting an Arab woman who made her home in the United States after years of Israeli mistreatment.

Most important of all: Obama is far too chickenshit to squawk about Israel's aid to ISIS and the Nusra Front. In fact, our chickenshit of a president compliantly helped create a rebellion against Assad, who never did any harm to U.S. interests. Why would Obama do such thing? For more than one reason -- but in large measure, the American power structure doesn't like Assad because Israel doesn't like him. Only the most chickenshit of presidents would let Israel direct America's foreign policy.

Let's take a closer look at another bit: Bibi says that he plans to speak directly to the American people. How? How does he intend to do this? Do you think he will appear on American television? Radio? Op-eds? Podcasts? Will he start a blog designed to reach American audiences?

Of course not. He'll do none of these things. "Speak directly to the American people" is a transparently-coded reference to Bibi's ability to exercise control over his American media assets. When you think about it, there is no other way to interpret the phrase.

Unfortunately for Netanyahu, fewer and fewer Americans trust the mainstream media, which is itself not a monolith. Sure, Fox News will say whatever Israel wants it to say, but Fox News speaks only to the minority of Americans who remain trapped in Wingnutland. And the power of Christian Zionism is waning.

That said, I think that Israel will emerge as a major issue in the upcoming presidential election. The debate will go like this:

Question: "Candidate X and Candidate Y -- when Israel says 'Do this,' how will you respond?"

Candidate X: "I will say 'Yes sir.'"

Candidate Y: "I will say 'Yes Master.'"

The "Yes sir" candidate will be castigated as an anti-Semite.

Added note:  For an alternate view on the Obama administration's attitude toward Israel, take a look at Leon Panetta's book, with which I spent about half-an-hour the other day. Throughout the text, the former CIA Director is disgustingly deferential toward the Israelis. He also crows about the great success of the Iron Dome defense system. We have reason to suspect that Panetta is lying about that.

Added added note: Just now, I heard NPR try to cover this story without use of the word "chickenshit." Hilarious!
Comments:
Glenn Greenwald posted a piece this weekend comparing US responses to the deaths of children in Israel and Israeli-controlled territories, depending on who did the killing.


 
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