Bad for the Jews
Posted by Ron Coleman on September 1, 2008
JOHN MCCAIN: Bad for Israel?
Not quite. Not unless you believe that the opposite — “good for Israel” means (1) being against the Iraq war and wishing Saddam Hussein were still around, because his loss as a counterweight has empowered Iran more than his removal has made the world, and the region a better place; and (2) the few policy decisions of the Bush Administration, which would presumable have been made and whose like would yet be made by a McCain Administration would not have happened under an Obama Administration.
Both of these propositions are highly debatable. As to the first, it wasn’t that long ago that, when the Iraq War was widely “recognized” by smart opinion as a dumb, losing proposition, it was Israel’s fault that it happened in the first place — the “neocons” were handmaidens for the Zionists. Now winning it was dumb, because it’s bad for Israel! Not quite blame the Jews, but an interesting variation.
Regarding the second, Jeffrey Goldberg would have us believe that something like the following would never, ever happen if the Party of Carter were back in the saddle:
Recall that it was Bush who insisted, over then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s strong objections, that Hamas participate in elections in Gaza and the West Bank. This was part of Bush’s brilliant neocon-inspired plan to democratize the region. To state the obvious, that turned out badly for Israel too, and Hamas is now in control of Gaza and becoming a graver threat to Israel every day.
We’re supposed to believe that this dovish, idealistic policy would never come out of Barack Obama’s White House?
Israel today is in more peril than it was eight years ago. In fact, it is in more peril than it has been since at least the Yom Kippur war of 1973, and perhaps even since its War of Independence. So color me skeptical that Bush’s policies have been “good for Israel,” as the refrain in my community goes. It is unfair, of course, to assume that Israel’s situation today is the result of Bush’s policies merely because they have coincided with his terms in office. So let’s not assume; let’s look.
Like a good Zionist, Goldberg looks everywhere for Israel’s disastrous state but the most obvious place: Israel. The vast majority of its awful policy decisions, whether in terms of defense, international relations, tactics, economics and domestic policy, are not in any way decided or even on the radar on Pennsylvania Avenue. They are the result of a string of breathtakingly incompetent governments purporting to run a depressingly corrupt kleptocracy to please an obsolescing and self-loathing elite that lacks the will to even purport to lead a confused and mainly unmotivated populace that obsesses on a slim minority of practitioners of its own religion in its midst as the bogeyman that explains its existential hopelessness. A preposterously irrational and self-destructive foreign policy is almost besides the point and is hardly a surprise — but a secular Zionist can hardly be expected to wrestle with this honestly when there are Republicans to blame and election in the air.
Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain will do anything about that, nor can they. But to suggest that there’s anything about Obama’s election that would be good for Israel is to believe that Jimmy Carter and Jim Baker really have Israel’s “best interests” in mind as they sell it down the river with “tough love.” Don’t buy it.