Azrieli Junction, Tel Aviv, March 4, 2023: the protest movement started to take off with strikes and new demonstrations and other protest actions called for at this rally. The call was heeded, most alarmingly to the right-wing government by military reservists and by rich Israelis sending a lot of their money out of the country. Netanyahu eventually backed down, at least temporarily. Wikimedia photo by Amir Terkel.
Netanyahu’s reality check Is overdue
by Alon Ben-Meir
The brief indirect exchange of statements between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu, in connection with the latter’s blind determination to execute a de facto coup d’état under the guise of judicial reforms, demonstrates how dangerously delusional Netanyahu has become. For Netanyahu to forget even for a brief moment how critical the United States is to Israel’s very survival shows how deranged he has become and why he poses the real danger to Israel.
In response to President Biden, who said, “Like many strong supporters of Israel, I’m very concerned. I’m concerned that they get this straight. They cannot continue down this road,” and that Netanyahu won’t be invited to the White House “in the near term,” Netanyahu, who couldn’t wait until the morning to respond, issued an English-language statement at nearly 1 a.m. local time. If the word chutzpah (roughly translated to ‘grotesque audacity’) means anything, it defines Netanyahu himself and his defiant response: “Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends.”
If there is any Israeli politician who has characterized US-Israel relations in such a completely irresponsible manner, it is Netanyahu, who seems to have reached a point of despair by being forced to postpone any overhauling of the judiciary. He has asked the United States not to interfere in Israel’s domestic affairs; so be it.
From now on the United States should not veto any future resolutions in the United Nations that condemn Israel for a variety of transgressions. The United States should not block the Palestinians from suing Israel at the International Criminal Court for its egregious human rights violations against the Palestinians. The United States should not continue to provide Israel military aid to the tune of $3.8 billion per year. The United States should not guarantee Israel’s national security and deter any threats posed by Israel’s enemies. Yes, the United States should simply leave Israel to its own devices, and let it sink or swim.
There is no greater friend of Israel than Joe Biden, and no US president who has been more committed to Israel’s national security than Biden. For any Likud member to suggest that ‘we are a sovereign country, and we can protect ourselves and nobody should tell us what to do,’ as many members of the Netanyahu coalition have said, they should look at themselves in the mirror and see how hypocritical, idiotic, and completely delusional they are.
It’s time for the Israelis to rise up — yes, rise up — as admirably as they have against Netanyahu’s sinister scheme to overtake the judiciary, again and again to force him out of power and spare Israel from his ominously dire behavior. There is no way to make this clearer. Time is overdue for the Netanyahu government to realize that its approach to domestic policies that have torn the country apart and its discord with Israel’s closest ally, the United States, is exactly what Israel’s enemies hope and wish for.
In his speech during the Summit for Democracy, Netanyahu stated that US-Israel relations remain “unshakable.” That may be so, but not as long as he is in power. Netanyahu is simply unfit to be prime minister of Israel. He is a liar, a schemer and a fraud. If he has an ounce of integrity left in him, he should resign and save the country instead of stopping short of nothing, however evil, to save his skin.
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a retired professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He taught courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies for over 20 years.
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