Friday, November 27, 2009


It just goes to show ya: in diplomatic circles, the truth is spoken so rarely that when it is, it makes headlines – and not just front-page headlines, but with a special notice, in a box, ABOVE the main headline, just to make sure readers look below the fold.

That’s where today's Jerusalem Post put the tease for the story about Limor Livnat’s outrageously true remark.

What did she say? At a meeting of the Likud in Beersheba, she noted how Israel had "fallen into the hands of a horrible American administration."

"The (Obama) administration isn't what it once was. It’s harder [on us]," she added. “"I know that the Prime Minister (Bibi – her boss and fellow Likud member) is in distress. The pressures are great, and it is not easy to stand up to the American president. I know what a campaign of tribulations he (the Community Organizer) placed before the prime minister."

There. That’s hardly remarkable, is it? Ask any Israeli on the street, and 97% them will vehemently agree with what Livnat said. It’s completely obvious. It’s just that the truth isn’t something normally spoken in matters of international relations.

Indeed, Bibi’s office was quick to issue some political blather about how Bibi “has expressed many times his appreciation of the brave alliance between Israel and America” and that he “thanks President Obama and the American administration for their commitment to Israel's security.”

Right. It’s a good thing that statement came out as a press release. If anyone had been required to read it, no one could have gotten through it with a straight face.

The truth is, Bibi is walking an extremely fine line these days. In apparently agreeing to a 10-month building freeze in Judea and Samaria, he’s in serious danger of getting dumped by his own coalition – not to be replaced by someone who’s more leftist, as the Community Organizers henchmen seem to think. But by someone who’s further to the right than Bibi.

I don’t know, certainly, but I’m wondering if Bibi doesn’t have a plan, here. Yes, he agreed to a ten-month freeze, but there’s some indication that he’s taken a lesson from the Arabs: Promise anything, then do exactly what you want. There may not in fact be a real building freeze, or not a total one, anyway.

Secondly, however, the moment Bibi agreed, the Arabs announced it wasn’t enough. They still wouldn’t come to the negotiating table. And once again, I remind you: these are concessions they insist on BEFORE entering negotiations.

So the Arabs have already said no, what Israel offered BEFORE negotiations isn’t enough. So now Bibi – on the international scene if not in his back yard – looks like the good guy.

Once again, for the 10,000th time, Israel offered, the Arabs rejected. Back to the starting point.

The real question for many of us in Israel is whether Israel benefits by trying to look like the “good guy” all the time. Maybe we should just go about our daily business, do what we need to do to protect ourselves – from Iran, from the hostile forces in Aza, from the recriminations and accusations of virtually the entire rest of the world. Maybe we should stop pandering to international opinion.

I don’t know what the leaders are thinking – certainly there’s some suggestion that we’re sick and tired of making concessions -- “gestures” – only to always and every time be told it’s not enough.

Sooner or later, it’s just human to say, “Not enough? Too bad. We tried. Now we’re going to look after our own best interests. If you ever get serious about wanting peace, you know where to find us.”

Maybe there’s a leader in the wings out there, waiting for Bibi to be too conciliatory again. Maybe someone else is prepared to take that road. That would be just fine with me.


  1. It's clear (if it hasn't been already since forever) that the other side will not: 1) live up to their committments from any of the various "agreements" made over the past 16 years; 2) make any concilliatory "gestures" (like Israel keeps insisting on making unilaterally); 3) even accept any of Israel's concilliatory "gestures". It reasons then that the Arab side doesn't present an adversary with whom to deal/reason/impress/negotiate. It is the American administration, with all its demands, that is presenting itself as an adversary. And if it insists on making demands of Israel, it should be prepared fulfill some demands too, as a "gesture": release Jonathan Pollard rather than maintaining him as a martyr without a cause save besmirching the U.S. government's "good" name, and moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem in fulfillment of its own law. If the U.S. administration can't be forthcoming in meeting Israel's valid expectations, there is no way Israel should even consider being forthcoming in making "gestures" to appease the American government's quirky and questionable demands.

  2. I just sometimes get the feeling that I'd like to do something really thumb my nose at the Americans!! Too many there, from various White Houses on up think they have the right to tell us what to do here. So, some day maybe we should all just give them the thumb sign that they need to mind their own business and stay our of ours!!

  3. You two raise great issues: Why is it only Israel that's required to make "gestures". Why not, indeed, as B. D. says, shame the US into moving the embassy and releasing Jonathan Pollard?

    I think it's time we thumb our noses... Like the 'Mouse that Roared', maybe then we'd get some respect.