It’s a given that Republican candidates for president must visit Israel and kiss Benjamin Netanyahu’s ring. Willard did it, so has Huck — who called Bebe “one of the world’s great leaders” — as has The Quitter just this week. And they always heap praise on the far-right Israeli Prime Minister, and sometimes take swipes at Obama.
And who is this man they’re siding with over their own country?
During Netanyahu’s first term as Prime Minister, in the late nineteen-nineties, I met with him in his office, in Jerusalem, and he fondly recalled how his father encountered David Ben Gurion, in 1956, not long after Israel captured the Sinai. Ben Gurion had vowed to keep the Sinai for a thousand years, but Benzion was convinced that he would lose it. Why? Ben Gurion asked.
“Because the U.S. will force you to,” the elder Netanyahu said.
“Of course, he was right, unfortunately,” the son said. “That was the first and last time an Israeli Prime Minister succumbed to an American diktat.”
“Succumbed to an American diktat.” That’s a rather strange way to talk about an ally, isn’t it?
It’s especially unfortunate coming from Bebe, since the word’s origins can be traced to Germany’s characterization of the Treaty of Versailles.
And Bebe’s old man is another charmer.
This ingrained wariness toward Israel’s most stalwart ally and benefactor is just part of Netanyahu’s inheritance. On that same trip to Israel, Benzion, who is now a hundred and one, invited me to his house for lunch, and I am not sure that I have ever heard more outrageously reactionary table talk. The disdain for Arabs, for Israeli liberals, for any Americans to the left of the neoconservatives was chilling.
Sounds like a racist to me. And since roughly 70% of the country is “to the left of the neoconservatives,” Papa Netanyahu seems to have an awful lot of contempt for the American people.
Like father, like son.