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Bibi raises strong emotions. He’s been around for a long time and seems to have mastered the dark art of political survival – which attracts both enemies and sycophants. What’s more, he has guided Israel through remarkably stormy waters with amazing success.
While the USA flounders under an idealistic but inept President, a hyperpolarised and disillusioned citizenry and, along with Europe, struggles to reconcile it’s dominant universalist, “progressive” ideologies with the reality of massive Muslim migration and Jihadist extremism, Israel simply seeks allies, strengthens its economy, ensures military superiority and waits.
So far the cards have fallen quite well for Israel but controlling an angry, violent population permanently perched on your border means never being able to relax. It’s not a good place to be and it requires strong nerves and patience to wait this out. It helps that Israel has such strong synergy between its military and civilian populations.
Perhaps one of the problems with Westerners growing up in stable, secure societies is a low tolerance for social imperfection leading to unrealistic expectations and demands. It’s exacerbated by the attenuation of a genuine tribal communal life leading to ideologically-based identities which, like religion, seem to promote intolerance and conflict. Both Israeli Jews and Arabs have maintained communal identities with strong family values which have, contrary to expectation, helped stabilise the diverse and fractious society.
With these thoughts I provide links to two interesting articles and include some comments on the Internet thread of the Walter Russell Mead article which I found quite provocative. I hope you do too, and that is not necessarily an endorsement
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD
“What we saw at the UN this week is that however much Abbas and the Palestinians’ many sympathizers might protest, events are moving in Bibi’s direction./There is perhaps only one thing harder for the American mind to process than the fact that President Obama has been a terrible foreign policy president, and that is that Bibi Netanyahu is an extraordinarily successful Israeli Prime Minister.” Mead
“Europe, not the Arab world is Israel’s biggest enemy. European decline is just what the doctor ordered. Those who didn’t know better might almost think that the collapse of European influence is divinely inspired.” Comment on Mead’s article
“Haaretz editorial board is like 10 people, I guess. And that about exhausts the demography for silly leftism. I live bang in the middle of leftish suburbia (Herzliyya), I work (a grand word for what I actually do) in a similar environment, and I rarely meet anyone who actually believes in that shit. People sure hate Bibi and think he’s the source of all evil; but they do their reserve duty all the same and cheer for Israel in the Olympic games. They concede quite openly that the Arabs are screwed as a culture and that there’s little chance of reconciling with them. In the States, on the other hand, the bend-back left seems to be an entire culture. Maybe this has to do with the difference in size of the overall population, maybe it’s the Christian ethic at the background versus the Jewish one, maybe it’s the socialization of the elite at college versus the IDF. I don’t really know, but there it is.” Comment on Mead’s article
“I think you underestimate the size of the Israeli Loony Left. It is small in total, but far larger than 10 people, and definitely very vocal and visible. I work these days with the same type of people you do, but back when I was at TAU I met the loony type as well. It’s not just Ha’aretz and some of its readers, it’s people who were in a position of power (read anything Shlomo Ben-Ami writes these days, Yossi Sarid just before his death), the young shift at Labour, the half a mandate of Jews which vote for Hadash/United party…I do agree it is dramatically weaker than in the US… ” Comment on Mead’s article
Philip Carl Salzman
Interesting and, for me, enlightening discussion on “intersectionality“. Helped clarify a few things.