Bibi’s Scorched Earth Politics

The philosophy of maneuver warfare is that you avoid a head-on engagement unless and until it is at a time and a place of your choosing. So it’s possible that Bibi’s many political enemies are simply waiting until they have a decisive advantage before they pounce. But it might be that most politicians’ strong reflex to preserve their freedom of action is akin to maneuver warfare, but in both cases, an aggressive foe can control the field for a long time.

Just look at the fate of Bibi’s domestic political “partners,” the Jewish Home. He stole their voters and their seats to barely preserve his party as the largest in the Knesset (which it was not previously, but of course once it became the largest that was all the excuse it needed to keep the mandate) and then tried to edge them out of their desired portfolios.

Then there’s this self-immolating charge to defeat the Iran deal. It never looked like he would be able to pull it off. There was never a clear pathway to victory. There was just a hope that 13 Democratic senators would turn their back on their President and their Presidential candidates. A fool’s hope.

Only in the very loud, very cloistered hyper-pro-Israel echo chamber of your Jewish grandfather’s e-mail forwards is this even a realistic approach worthy of the term “strategy.” Meanwhile, Bibi has driven a wedge of acrimony right through the middle of an already restless American Jewish community, clearly demonstrating that liberal American Jews are trash to the Israeli right. There’s a lot of proof to this.

To wit, the Netanyahu government has never taken a strong position on the recognition of American streams of Judaism within Israel, has never done much to force the government to honor the conversions of those not converted by the Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Chief Rabbinate. Yet when it’s time to shit on American politicians, every Jew is called to the ramparts. It’s not a two-way street.

Israel’s law of return recognizes that Israel’s status as a homeland for the Jewish people is best served when it is a refuge for people who are defined by antisemites as Jews, which is why it allows anyone who met the Nazi Nuremberg definition of a Jew to move to Israel, settle, and get citizenship on demand. If only Israel would embrace this definition more wholly.

Those, like Chuck Schumer, who stuck their necks out for Bibi and Israel in this Quixotic mission may find their own futures destroyed. While Schumer be the Minority Leader after Reid leaves now?

This bluster has allowed Bibi to survive, but it is not because he has great foresight or is playing 11-dimensional chess. Most of his predictions are garbage. He supported the Iraq war. He was sure Mitt Romney was going to win. And somehow he thinks blocking a US president’s foreign policy will improve Israel’s position. (Can you even imagine the blowback?)

Sure, this post might not have been written or writeable if he had won. But he didn’t and accountability is required.