Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bibi Narrowly Avoids Mature Response to Brazilian Diplomatic Imbroglio

A few months ago, I noted a brewing foreign policy disaster for Israel stemming from Bibi's selection of a prominent settler leader, Dani Dayon, to be Ambassador to Brazil. Brazil indicated that it would not accept the appointment, and as of the start of the year it looked like Israel had gotten the message and was withdrawing Dayon's nomination. It was seemingly the only mature response to yet another ridiculous unforced error by the Netanyahu administration, which has spent the last few years playing demolition derby with Israel's already-fragile standing in the global community.

Which makes it only appropriate to find out that this aforementioned mature response has apparently now been reversed. Instead, Bibi has reportedly informed Brazil that if they don't accept Dayon, they won't get an ambassador -- a de facto downgrading of relations with South America's largest nation. Who does this help? No one. Who does it hurt? Israel (Brazil will survive mostly unscathed, one suspects). What's the point of this? To protect the Israeli right's fragile ego? To bluster and fulminate and show that Israel won't be pushed around? Or just to demonstrate that Bibi has taken up the mantle of how Abba Eban once described Israel's Arab adversaries: he "never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

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