Israel's Netanyahu as the coward's pantomime villain

Israeli PM Netanyahu's speech to Congress about Iran has provided yet another opportunity for every coward and opportunist carefully to distance themselves from Israel, with the hated Bibi as the cover story. Perhaps they should grow up, and get a spine

They don't hate Bibi; they hate Israel
the commentator
On 3 March 2015 14:56

If you have the temerity to stand up for reason and decency over Israel, you should expect a truck-load of manure to be dumped right on your head. Anti-Zionism is the world's number one bigotry. Pretty much every shabby and shady group or individual is right on Israel's case. Nothing to do with the Jews, you understand.

That much is clear. But this is not just a shabby and shady form of bigotry; it's sometimes a sophisticated one: racism with a PhD, as one friend of The Commentator once put it.

Israel is the world's pantomime villain, and even for those who claim that really and truly and achingly they do in fact support "Israel's right to exist" -- its what? -- there's a micro-villain that all the cowards now have in their cross-hairs; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

His speech to Congress was for weeks curtain-raised as an arrogant and self-destructive affront to that well known supporter of Western values, the leader of the Free World himself, President Barack Obama.

Quite why an Israeli leader should be sceptical of Obama's obviously rock-solid plan for a deal on Iran's nuclear programme is, according to much mainstream media in Britain, Europe and even the United States, something of a mystery.

Per chance that scepticism arises from the total lack of foreign policy credibility of Obama, combined with that inconvenient detail about the Islamic Republic's stated ambition of eradicating Israel altogether?

But that is not the point of this editorial. What do people have against Netanyahu? We're a bunch of Brits. Who the Israelis elect as their prime minister is up to them. Perhaps his road-traffic policy is total garbage! We don't know.

But those who slate Netanyahu -- including ostensible supporters of Israel -- aren't after him for his domestic politics. They're after him because he is robust in his country's defence, and that will never do.

If you go back over the last 15 years, from the time of Ehud Barak who tried to get the Palestinians to agree to a two state solution, only to be rebuffed, through Ariel Sharon who pulled out of Gaza, only to be welcomed with thousands of rocket attacks, through Ehud Olmert who tried yet again to get the Palestinians to forge a deal, only to be rebuffed, right up to Netanyahu today, it is perfectly clear that it doesn't make the slightest difference to the anti-Israel crowd who runs the Jewish state.

And to repeat, it isn't just the out-and-out anti-Israel crowd who are at this. Every half-way-house supporter of Israel thinks it is fashionable to distance themselves from the current Israeli prime minister. And, if the established interests in whatever country these people live want the same response against the next Israeli prime minister, they'll bend the knee and oblige.

Benjamin Netanyahu is indeed the pantomime villain of world leaders today, just as his country is the pantomime villain among nation states.

You can't argue that you're against the delegitimisation of Israel if you're playing a double game about the the legitimate leader of Israeli democracy.

Whether he remains Israel's leader at the forthcoming elections is a matter for the Israeli people. Whether he wins or loses, history shows that the Palestinians will never agree to a genuine two-state solution, at least for the foreseeable future. And the anti-Israel crowd won't go away.

So, if you consider yourself an opponent of Benjamin Netanyahu, that is your affair. But to those who are trying to claim the cover of objectivity, or to ingratiate themselves by adopting a fashionable disdain about this Israeli leader, here's the message: do grow up, and maybe get a spine.

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