Friday, March 20, 2015

The Honeymoon's Over

He can't fire Bibi
My comment on Thomas Friedman's column about the Israeli election yesterday was one of 21 designated as "NYT Picks":
Bibi can afford to be honest thanks to the sea change in U.S. attitudes. Israel's historic left-leaning U.S. supporters cared more about democracy for democracy's sake than do her new friends on the right, who don't seem to worry much about disenfranchised Palestinians on the West Bank. With a GOP Congress and a better than even chance for a GOP president, Bibi's sitting pretty for the time being as far as keeping the U.S. is concerned.

At home, if he's being honest about abandoning two states, he probably envisions a plan along the lines of Naftali Bennett's -- annexation of the West Bank with a glacial phasing-in of Palestinians' rights. Meanwhile the Palestinians will continue to lobby in international forums for de facto statehood. These visions will inevitably and perhaps violently clash. Maybe that's just what Bibi's evangelical end-time friends in the U.S. want.

Israelis can run their country however they want. But I'm feeling more and more like Israel is morally equivalent with China, Germany, and Japan as far as U.S. policy is concerned. Relations among countries need to be reciprocal and mutually beneficial. Since 1948, our main interest in Israel has been that we loved her for the sake of who she was and what she stood for. I still respect that, but the honeymoon's over. I don't have to love Israel's democracy if Israel doesn't. And I am not going to favor a Mideast policy driven primarily by end-timers. I don't like their influence in Iran, and I don't like it here.