Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
For a country that came into 66 years ago with faith, bravado, and conceit, one might have a right to expect that by now Israel would be operating on the world stage at least as a maturing state. While in so many ways the State of Israel is an extraordinary achievement in the history of civilization, frequently on a geo-political stage Israel’s behavior leaves one totally at a loss. The decision of the Netanyahu Government to approve the construction of an additional 1500 homes in Jerusalem and within existing settlements leaves many observers—together with Israel’s international supporters–totally nonplussed. Israel’s behavior reflects a clear reflex reaction of how a fledgling state would respond; in an insecure and cautious state of mind.
The facts confirm this thesis.
- Expanding settlements at this time is totally unrelated to Israel’s security and safety needs.
- The Hamas-PA reconciliation is far from a political reality.
- While the U.S. did join on to the international bandwagon too quickly and with a rather knee-jerk reaction, it is clear that the entire U.S. foreign policy operation at the moment is operating like John Franklin Campbell’s “foreign affairs fudge factory”.
- The Obama-Netanyahu personal relationship is indeed in the doghouse.
- Bibi’s not so subtle plot to undermine the Administration in Washington and play to the Congress and specifically to the Republicans is not only meddling in U.S. politics, but could become a huge political disaster.
- Netanyahu persists in playing to the hard right elements within his Likud Party and within his Government, at the expense of demonstrating leadership and courage to confront ideological and religious zealots who are unable to operate on a genuine world stage.
- The consequence of Bibi’s policy will be to further isolate Israel internationally and to play directly into the hands of those seeking to cast Israel as the latest of the world’s pariah states.
- The Netanyahu Government persists in waving the bloody towel of Jewish history when it presides over a country which today is one of the most sophisticated, developed, and secure in the modern world; despite the Iranian threat.
- Jews throughout the world are growing more frustrated than ever with their needing to try to defend or justify policies of an Israeli Government which refuses to accept today’s international situation.