Not awestruck, but craw, as in “stuck in my….”
Judging from my personal Facebook page, there is a loudly enthusiastic minority of Americans who have whipped themselves into feverish, Dervish-like fervor over the visit of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his address to Congress. Not coincidentally, I noticed a flush of fawning articles on fly-by-night propaganda sites with names like–well, I’m not going to give them a single direct click to grab hits, but they’ve all got jingoistic titles and make references to “patriotism” early and often. The kind of shit sites the links to which your brother-in-law keeps forwarding you, unsolicited.
All share a glowing reverence for Mr. Netanyahu in the vein of “now THIS is a REAL leader,” leaving us little to wonder about who is not a “real” leader, in their eyes.* Many feature photos of this fellow in his youthful incarnation as a soldier–the word “badass,” one of my favorite modifiers, is bandied about shamelessly, an echo of the awed salivating over Jordan’s King Abdullah which followed that bold leader’s justifiably furious response to the ISIS execution by immolation of Jordanian pilot Moath al-Kasasbeh. No small irony there.
For all I know, Mr. Netanyahu is indeed a badass. He’s certainly a savvy politician, as his recent, controversial visit to Congress has proven. There’s an election coming up in a few weeks in Israel, something most articles about this visit fail to mention, but you can be damned sure the Israeli leader’s timing was carefully calculated. There’s no doubt that flying across the sea to give his country’s patron nation the what for has played well with the Likud hardliners back in Tel Aviv. He’s doing his job and doing it well.
It takes a special kind of leader to spit in the eye of the hand that feeds you. Aside from Afganistan, which is largely an American puppet state, Israel tops the list of foreign aid recipients by a considerable margin (the next being Iraq, yet another nation we pounded into dust). We pay a great number of nations to either favor us over our enemies or to not be our enemies themselves, but we pay Israel just to be our friend.
Indeed, I must admit that I am honestly impressed by the weight of his balls, for lack of a better metaphor, although the crassness seems fitting in the context of a foreign leader who visited our country, stood before our leadership, and proceeded to lecture us on history, critique our diplomacy, dictate to us what our foreign policy should be, and directly insult the intelligence of a sitting President. To put this chart in perspective, the $3.1 billion per year given to Israel annually could be spent alternatively by providing over $200,000 to EVERY one of the nearly 15,000 school districts in the USA. (More if leave out Wisconsin, whose governor says they already spend too much on education.)
Again, this isn’t about Netanyahu. He’s accomplishing his agenda willfully and effectively. I can’t say the same for the Congressional Toads who kowtowed to him for no other reason than to agitate the Executive Branch. If it were the leader of any other nation I’d feel the same way. Hell, it pisses me off when that old Irish turd Bono finds his way to DC to lecture our leaders: you may be right, but it’s not for you to say so butt the hell out.
Now, before you get all huffy and finger-pointy and start calling me bad words like “liberal,” let me tell you that you would be wrong. I’m about as non-partisan as you can imagine. The only political party I fit into fell into history when Charles Evans Hughes lost the Presidential election to Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
I don’t trust Iran any more than Netanyahu does, but I don’t trust Israel either. Why should I? They have their own agenda, and despite their reliance on American tax dollars, they’ve never been shy about doing what they feel they need to do, regardless of it’s effect on us.
That doesn’t mean that I have to accept a foreign leader–ANY foreign leader–coming to Washington DC to loudly and disrespectfully shame and bully our government. It is fine for me to do that, but I’m an American. It’s my yard, my dog can shit wherever it wants–but your dog..? No way. And for the sake of argument, imagine if Democrats brought in French President Francois Hollande to give our Congress a piece of his mind! Or Germany’s Angela Merkel? The outrage would be thicker than Newt Gingrich’s iron hide.
The most shame goes to John Boehner, (my auto-correct desperately wants me to change that name to “Boner” and I’m just juvenile enough that sooner or later I’m going to do it) for being complicit to Netanyahu’s political stunt and inviting this outsider to raise his voice in what, by all accounts, is a family fight. And shame on the media for reporting on the hissy fits and posturing while ignoring the finer details of this whole business–but then, if they can’t reduce it to a 90 second bit then they’d rather ignore it all together.
There has been precious little to respect about the Democrats lately, but I’m with them on this one. And that sticks in my craw just as much as all the the rest of it.
*The USA had a bona fide, decorated soldier who enlisted then volunteered for exceptionally hazardous duty, and was a documented killer as a potential President not all that long ago, but his service was slandered and his record largely disregarded by the same partisans who fetishsize Netanyahu, so the argument carries little weight.