by Sarah Honig
Rare is the American president with true strategic comprehension of the convoluted intricacies of the Mideast’s assorted disputes, especially the one arising from the implacable Arab refusal to accept a sovereign Jewish state in what they consider their lebensraum (one of Hitler’s favorite terms claiming entitlement to “living space” for his superior race)
The wisdom or imbecility of any given US president is inevitably as good as that of the aides who whisper in his ear. But some have unquestionably displayed greater capacity for preposterousness than others. It may be a mere accident of history or the result of left-wing proclivities, but the greatest inanities have of late emanated from Democrats – the present White House resident and his two living Democratic predecessors, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
Barack Obama’s grasp of the Mideast is so skewed and so predisposed to support the Arab/Muslim narrative that he liberally subscribes to its copious falsehoods as part of his multicultural, moral-relativist, postmodern aggrandizement of the Third World. His fawning Cairo address in 2009 was just the preview of coming attractions.
THE LESS said about Carter the better. Suffice it just to note that yesteryear’s self-professed honest broker, who had subsequently slandered Israel as an apartheid state, happens to be the closest ideologically to Obama and most like him in terms of abysmal failure as the leader of the free world.
Then comes affable Clinton, who manages to endear himself to all and sundry as a more pragmatic product of the Democratic Party machine and even a good friend of Israel. For all we know he may have convinced himself that he’s indeed the Jewish state’s outstanding chum. His utter immodesty surely leaves little doubt in his mind that he knows better than us what’s best for us. But does arrogance endow him with exceptional insight?
Hardly. His colossal pretentiousness is only matched by his cluelessness.
Hence he maintains that the greatest obstacle to Mideast peace are Israel’s Russian immigrants. Arab potentates probably agree and would like to be rid of “Israel’s Russians” as much as of any trace of Jewish presence in this land. Yet their genocidal hate and terror-mongering aren’t named by Clinton as obstacles to peace.
His problem is the makeup of Israel’s population. It’s who we are that gets his goat.
According to Slick Willy’s astute analysis, Russian immigrants constitute “the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem. It’s a different Israel. Sixteen percent of Israelis speak Russian.”
Clinton frets about who’ll confront the settlers as, heaven forefend, “an increasing number of the young people in the IDF are the children of Russians and settlers.”
It’s not that the former American commander- in-chief is satisfied with other components of Israeli society either.
“Moroccans,” for example, are too “right-of-center,” though they aren’t quite as disruptive an element as Russians. The Moroccans’ desire for “normal lives” (presumably as distinct from Russians) can turn them into “swing voters,” who might support the Israeli party of Clinton’s choice.
Clinton’s unconcealed officious intrusion into a fellow democracy’s internal processes is of course nothing new. He was always unabashedly partial to Israel’s Labor Party – the only tolerable Israeli voice, to judge by Clinton’s non-too-objective past rhetoric and record. Ehud Barak was his outright darling and Clinton spared no effort to help him defeat Binyamin Netanyahu in 1999. Indeed Clinton did for Barak what few American presidents ever dared openly do even for their most promising foreign protégés.
Clinton pulled out all stops in his bald-faced intervention in Israel’s domestic politics, boosting Barak in a fashion unseen since the CIA’s blatant interference in Italy’s post-World War II election. Brashly, Clinton didn’t even bother to cover up his tracks but dispatched his own spin doctors, private pollsters and campaign strategists to get Barak elected.
After Barak’s 1999 win, Clinton could hardly contain his glee. On the eve of Barak’s first Washington visit as prime minister, the eager American host quipped that he’s “as excited as a kid awaiting a new toy.” It was pretty demeaning to look upon the leader of an allied independent state as a plaything, but Clinton greeted with pomp and circumstance a guest whose success constituted the American president’s own personal triumph. With incomparable hutzpa and outrageous meddling, Clinton made Barak’s battle his own.
Now Clinton echoes assorted self-promoted experts (generally with an ax to grind) who rationalize that it’s not Labor’s policies which were its downfall, but the composition of the electorate. Clinton blames Israel’s objectionable voters for frustrating his wishes. It may be childish, churlish and petulant, but it’s essentially the familiar psychological phenomenon of transference.
Had he not been raised high on the pedestal of statesmanship and omniscience, Clinton’s bizarre gibberish might all be chalked up to his personal hang-ups.
However, as in Carter’s case, asinine humbug gains inordinate currency when spouted by exalted, supposedly super-savvy senior luminaries. It therefore sways more impressionable minds and is exploited to greater effect by unscrupulous propagandists than would otherwise be the case.
THE DANGER is that Clinton’s careless prattle would delegitimize aliya just as much as Jewish settlement has already been delegitimized. Since the advent of Zionism, the Arab subtext had been that whatever betokens Jewish life and vitality in this land perforce undermines harmony and bliss. Bottom-line priority – weaken Jewish interests in the Jewish homeland.
Clinton could, albeit unintentionally, reinforce that. Disapproving of Israel’s newcomers, he appears to furnish new impetus with a new twist to the old Arab agenda – the need to keep immigrants from altering Israel’s landscape.
Clinton’s displeasure with the preferences of Israel’s electorate is reminiscent of Kurt “KuBa” Barthel, secretary-general of East Germany’s Writers Union and the DDR’s propaganda ace during 1953’s popular proletariat uprising. It was the first such mutiny inside any USSR satellite. What rankled most was that many of the protesters were communists and the very blue-collar laborers whom the party purported to represent.
KuBa was especially cross with construction workers who marched down Berlin’s Stalinallee. “You should be ashamed of yourselves,” he chastised them. “You’ll have to behave very well in future before your shame is forgotten… The people,” he judged, “had forfeited the confidence of their government.”
With paternalistic condescension he advised them to “go to sleep at 9 p.m. like good children. The Soviet army and comrades of the German People’s Police are standing on guard for you and for world peace.”
Communist KuBa despaired of the proletarians. Democratic Clinton despairs of participants in Israel’s democracy.
Bertolt Brecht’s reply to KuBa, in a short poem entitled “Solution,” could well apply also to Clinton’s father-knows-best airs:
“…Wouldn’t it be simpler,
In that case, for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?”
Wouldn’t it be simpler for Clinton to dissolve the Israeli people and elect another population (more to his liking) in its stead?
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