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Why?

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

It is getting truly tiresome to watch Israeli politicians suffer from foot in mouth disease when it comes to how they deal with the U.S.  Do they truly suffer from such arrogance or such stupidity that they can constantly utter the most outrageous critiques of U.S. leaders and expect to constantly be excused for the ugliness of their remarks? What positive purpose could Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have possibly dreamt would emerge from jumping all over Secretary Kerry’s efforts to move the Palestinians and the Israelis to an agreement?

Even if one assumed that Ya’alon’s observations had some merit to them, why would a Minister say such things in public?  Many people have joked about the fact that although he was not elected President that perhaps Kerry could win a Nobel Prize for all his efforts in trying to bring peace to the region; but most people who said it—while perhaps skeptical—actually hoped he would succeed.

Of all the branches of the Israeli Government it is the military which historically has had the strongest mutual respect for and open relationship with the U.S. Despite frequent diplomatic spates, Israel-U.S. defense operations have shared a regular and deep-seated understanding of each other; the information and techniques they use; the intelligence that they share; and how they work and function. Military exchanges and missions virtually were never challenged even when U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations were undergoing a truly deep reassessment. Hopefully the U.S. military brass and Secretary Hagel will not take too great umbrage at Ya’alon’s actions.

Just like even President Nixon admitted during Watergate that he bore responsibility for all that was done on his watch; and even Governor Christie publically acknowledged last week his responsibility for Bridgegate; Prime Minister Netanyahu cannot remove himself from the responsibility of what his Ministers say or do.  It would seem with all that Israel has on its plate regionally at the moment, an unequivocal mea culpa—despite all the domestic fallout that might ensue—is called for in this instance.

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