Bibi Christ

A curious choice of words from Benny Morris on the new Israeli unity government:

With the backing of 94 MKs, Netanyahu will present a far more solid antagonist for Obama or any other external or internal doubting Thomases in the coming months.

The sentence casts Netanyahu as Jesus Christ or at minimum an apostle, and in a certain way it’s almost right, especially following ex-Shin Bet chief Diskin’s attack on the Israeli leadership as “messianic,” more generally in light of the peculiar Dual Covenant structure of the Israeli-American, Jewish and Christian Zionist, alliance. The concept of revelatory sacrifice may even be the best frame for understanding potential Israeli action, yet also any withholding of action, against Iran. If the effect is more maddening than practical or helpful, it may be because the whole predicament is already so tragically mad, something Morris probably understands, or at least understood, as well as anyone.

Perhaps reflecting the same madness, one Tablet commenter writes confidently about “[t]he American people and the U.S. Congress” refusing to “allow a president to punish Israel for eliminating what Israel believes is an existential threat.”  Whether or not this observation is true, the forces of history, as Morris’s words perhaps unintentionally remind us, refer to higher powers than America’s. The very existence of the Jewish state can be taken as this reminder in blindingly plain sight.

Any decision for war remains a decision to exchange one set of uncertainties for another set. On the alliance question taken separately, U.S. support might even survive an Israeli strike viewed as premature and unsuccessful, but it’s just as possible that any strike, even one at first considered fully successful, would prepare the end of the American political consensus on Israel.


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11 comments on “Bibi Christ

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  1. Netanyahu’s bid to hold on, and his calculation that he had better insulate himself on the left flank and hold elections BEFORE Obama’s re-election frees him to unload on Bibi and pull down the collection of rightwing bottom-feeders that was the Israeli cabinet, I hope will prove insufficient.

    • Well except as written it seems to indicate that you think the Bibster still is calcalatin to hold elections afore O’s re-elect, when the unity deal puts elections off until 2013.

      Morris is, surprisingly to me, somewhat reinforcing the notion that the Isros can act with relative impunity before November, cuz O would never dare cross ’em. My own assumption is that the O reaction would be calibrated according to how successful the attack was taken to be, though there are complicated permutations having to do with what the U.S. decides it HAS to do, what the American people feel must be done, how the Admin itself choose to portray what’s happened, how everyone else reacts. As long as there is any weight of international opinion in favor of continuing talks with Iran, any Israeli action will tend to look precipitous. However, it is at least arguable that the military pressure on the Iranians had substantially lessened in the last few weeks even while the sanctions pressure is escalating. The ideal negotiating posture was to have “those crazy Israelis” to point to, along with the economic sanctions hitting or about to hit. – assuming you believe the negotiations have any potential upside, but even if you believe the negotiations are in one sense theater intended to validate positions rather than actual horse-trading. It is now at least believable that Iran’s failure to compromise could remove one major current impediment to action.

      But I still won’t believe the Israelis are really going to do it on their own until they’ve actually done it.

  2. The deal might not hold or forestall elections….. and there simply isn’t going to be Israeli aerial bombing of Iran before Not without US permission.

    The talk is merely talk and at most, Netty can use the empty threat to see if he can get some concessions from Obama prior to re-election. After November, his leverage is gone and the Obama retaliation against him comes on-line. Now, he has a window to press Obama for a political peace deal

    • That’s how I see it. What I don’t get is why people like Morris and Jeffrey Goldberg, among others, who needless to say know a whole lot more than I do, continue to hype the notion that the Isros COULD act, unless they know something we don’t, OR are dumb, OR are more or less willingly letting themselves be used.

    • I mean that’s how I see the second part. You’re the first person or frog I’ve seen suggest that the deal might not hold or that the elections might go forward anyway. I guess it’s conceivable that there’d be a falling out, but most are assuming Mofaz can’t afford ANOTHER zig. Also, I’ve read that Israeli public reaction is mainly positive on the unity government, though not critical reaction.

  3. Well Mofaz came from Likud, didn’t he, it’s not an easy decision to strike Iran, but to deny that it may have to be done, is the delusion, similarly, the Palestinians, have been waging war on Israel, not since 1947, but 1920, which suggests that Juden Rein, is their default presence,

    • It ain’t so much where he came from, it’s where he’s going………

      saying ” it may have to be done” doesn’t the fact that it can’t be done by any sort of Israeli airstrike that’s not either a sustained campaign or a nuclear bombing……..and the first option will only set the Iranians back, but will also allow the Iranian regime time enough in power to assemble bombs while ending an argument for why thety’ve not the right to assemble them.

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