defending Iowa as First In The Nation is a topic that suddenly seems too hot to handle, I'm going to tackle something less controversial: Israel.
Maybe I shouldn't care what happens in elections in other countries, but this week's cote casts a big shadow in our own politics, foreign and domestic. So I was disappointed at the apparent victory of Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Not everyone agrees; Yousef Munayyer argues that a moderate victory would have taken pressure off Israel, and that Netanyahu's win means the rest of the world doubling down on sanctions and boycotts.
Netanyahu's exact coalition may shift a little, but the outcome is essentially more of the same. In the end, it all came down to, as the old joke about the American advisor consulting with the Israeli candidate goes, the All Important Jewish Vote. But the Arab vote was an issue - Netanyahu made it so, concern-trolling about high Arab turnout and at the last minute stating his absolute opposition to a Palestinian state.
Today, in an interview with Andrea Mitchell, Netanyahu tried to backpedal on that. Bullshit is one of my least favorite things about politics. And even by the standards of politics and diplomacy, Netanyahu was especially disingenuous today.
I wish Netanyahu would just admit what everyone already understands. And I wish the American media would acknowledge it, too. Netanyahu's goal is and always has been: everything
between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan/Dead Sea in a state specifically and constitutionally defined as an explicitly Jewish state.
The answer to the Palestinian issue? Palestinians going somewhere else.
That's clearly good domestic politics for Netanyahu, based on the election results. But it isn't a viable answer.
One of my deepest and most naive beliefs is that America was founded as and should always be the universal land of refuge. That may seem like a tangent here at the end. But it isn't. It's a Grand Unifying Principle.