Tuesday, October 28, 2014

There's the Word I Was Looking For

My general view, and problem, with Bibi Netanyahu is that I think he's a giant political coward whose only interest is in short-term political self-preservation. Jeffrey Goldberg's account of ongoing tensions between Bibi and the Obama administration is interesting in its own right, but particularly valuable in summing up my views of the Israeli Prime Minister in one evocative word: "chickenshit".

Yeah, that sounds about right.

1 comment:

Mordy said...

I think from the Bibi POV there's no strategic downside to settling throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The threat of international isolation - even if true (and not, as Bibi thinks, inevitable w/ or w/out settlements) - is easily mollified. If the EU ultimately determines it's worth boycotting Israel to stop the settlements, the settlements can be stopped that Sunday. None of the settling is permanent. By contrast, the future is uncertain. If the EU decides it doesn't care, or there's is a huge climate crisis in the middle east, or if ISIS crosses into Jordan, Israel would prefer to have more bodies in land it considers sovereign. This has always, imo, been the problem with pressuring Israel over settlements. There is no real downside for their settling, so the international community has tried to generate new consequences that aren't inherent in the act (like boycotts, condemnation, etc). But they haven't demonstrated that they're willing to follow through w/ such threats. Even if Obama wanted to, eg, cut support for Israel he would have a tough time running such a thing through Congress. He could hurt Israel for the short while in the UN, but he's a lame duck and by all indications Hillary is going to be the next POTUS - and she doesn't seem to have the same hang-ups about Israel + Bibi that Obama does.

It could be that Bibi is a chickenshit and the only thing that motivates him is keeping his domestic job intact. Or it could be that he's shrewd and not willing to sacrifice a material strategic advantage (the settlements) for ambiguous benefits that may never produce value.