For years, Israeli and American commentators have been waiting for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to leave behind the right-wing Revisionist ideology of his father, Benzion, a historian of the Spanish Inquisition, and, like Nixon leaving for China, end the occupation of the Palestinian territories. Just as Nixon set aside decades of Cold War ideology and Red-baiting in the interests of practical global politics, Netanyahu would transcend his own history, and his party’s, to end the suffering of a dispossessed people and regain Israel’s moral standing.If not Netanyahu, Renmick continues, then Obama:
This waiting game is a delusion. The stubborn ideological legacy that, in part, blocks such a transformation runs deep....
Now in his second term and ruling in a coalition government that includes anti-democratic, even proto-fascistic ministers, such as Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu has stubbornly refused the appeals of Washington and of the Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, who have shown themselves willing to make the concessions needed for a peace deal. In the midst of a revolution in the Arab world, Netanyahu seems lost, defensive, and unable or unwilling to recognize the changing circumstances in which he finds himself.
The President has made mistakes on this issue: it was a mistake not to follow his historic speech in Cairo, in 2009, with a trip to Jerusalem. When it comes to domestic politics in Israel, he is in a complicated spot. For some Israelis on the right, his race and, more, his middle name make him a source of everlasting suspicion. Yet he is also a communicator of enormous gifts, capable both of assuring Israeli progressives and of reaching out to the anxious center. A visit to Israel, coupled with the presentation of a peace plan, would also help structure international support and clarify American interests.