Is the US divorcing Netanyahu? Or is it Democratic ‘cope’ for their errors in Gaza?

Schumer’s speech was less a bombshell in “Israel” than in the US as the paths of the Likud and Western Liberalism had long diverged.

Senator Schumer (who represents a state with more than 20% of the US Jewish population) delivered last week a pointed speech on the Senate floor excoriating Netanyahu as a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East and calling for new leadership in “Israel”.  Schumer was unsparing in his criticism: “The Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after 7 Oct” … “The world has changed — radically — since then, and the Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.”

The address was widely circulated to the White House and Jewish donors and interest groups (including reportedly AIPAC) before delivery.

The speech, therefore, was read from an agreed text and intended to signal a major shift in the US stance. It was “sold” in mainstream US media as landing a “bombshell” onto “Israel”, warning that it risked “losing” the US (and much of the world).

However, was it truly a divorce “decree nisi” between the US and Netanyahu?

Undoubtedly, many, if not most, reform and liberal Jews in NY and beyond, would agree wholeheartedly with Schumer’s stance. Taken together, they represent a core Democratic constituency.

But, if Schumer’s words constituted a statement of intended divorce, the reality is that “the couple” has been estranged and leading separate lives, for many years.

Years back, Netanyahu saw the writing on the wall as the Democrats in the US turned increasingly woke, just at the point at which Netanyahu, the Likud, and the Israeli polity were marching rightward toward fundamentalist Zionism.

The woke ethos of seeking redress (positive discrimination) for historic identity and racial discrimination and the demand for restitutive social justice clearly were at odds and a threat to the Zionist world of special rights for one population group (Jews) over another (Palestinians) sharing the same land.

Liberal democrats and radical Zionism were pursuing divergent paths.

The answer for the Likud Party seemed to be a pivot to the Evangelical constituency in the US — and since most were Republican, a shift too to the GOP as the main patron. (In 2007, 51% of Protestants in the US identified with evangelical churches.)

It was seen as a bold and controversial move by the Israeli Right at the time. But from the Likud perspective, it started to pay off — as in the case of the fraught move of the US Embassy to al-Quds. The Democrats were not the patrons here; it was the Evangelicals (for Christian Biblical motives).

In this light, Schumer’s speech was less a bombshell in “Israel” than in the US. The paths of Likud and Western Liberalism had long diverged. What Schumer was proclaiming was the divorce of US liberals from “Israel” as it is today, (and not the imagined, rosy-tinted world of two decades earlier).

The horrors of the Gaza war have exposed that “liberal Zionism” is now an oxymoron.

It is also exposing the impotence of the secular-liberal approach to a problem (in the talk of security reform of the PA, two-state solutions, Saudi embrace/normalization… etc.) that is becoming evermore eschatological; driven by fear; hatred, and Biblical injunctions to kill as mandatory command under Halachic Law. There is a psychological block in the West to admitting that Biblical compulsions can override “rationality”.

Of course, the unsaid element to the Schumer address is that the Democratic Campaign managers were spooked in Michigan by the size of the “uncommitted” protest vote against Biden’s support for Israel’s war aims.

Netanyahu, it seems, is to be the scapegoat for the entirety of “Israel”, which — right or wrong — overwhelmingly supports the Cabinet war aims in Gaza and Lebanon. Schumer’s finger-pointing effectively absolves Biden of his initial error in embracing Netanyahu and declaring that the US “has Israel’s back”. As one analyst noted:

“Biden knows that Netanyahu is representing a mainstream position on the war and that the president is mostly bluffing for domestic benefit. “Biden has a game he’s playing, and that is criticism of Bibi … It reduces some of the flames.””

Additionally, Schumer’s speech intentionally absolves the “liberal” West for having colluded, over two decades, in “Israel’s” deliberate blocking of any prospect for a Palestinian State coming into being, and it avoids the issue of why the Biden Administration goes on sending bombs and munitions to the Israeli military.

Netanyahu may have played a central part in the recent transformation of “Israel”, but this is not all his Netanyahu. These dynamics were perfectly visible during the Ariel Sharon era, too.

Interestingly, even Senator McConnell picked up on these points, “The Democratic Party doesn’t have an anti-Bibi problem:  It has an anti-Israel problem.” However, as usual, the insight is clouded by party politics: McConnell espies the opportunity for the GOP to seize “the card” of Israel from the Democrats!–or-is-it-democratic–cope–fo

One thought on “Is the US divorcing Netanyahu? Or is it Democratic ‘cope’ for their errors in Gaza?

  • Botched_Lobotomy

    There is a psychological block in the West to admitting that Biblical compulsions can override “rationality”.

    Maybe so but its not clear who Mr. Crooke is talking about or why its even relevant. Few leaders in the West believe in any religion. Biden is not religious. Macron is not religious. Schultz is not religious. Klaus Schwab is not religious. Ursula von der Leyen is not religious. The people who make the actual foreign policy decisions for the West are driven by power and money, not religion.


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