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.