Movers and Motives

Benjamin Netanyahu has acted as a blowhard, a media hound, and a flatterer of thugs, tyrants, and autocrats for years. He fawned humiliatingly over Donald Trump to get what he wanted from the manipulable orange fool. He has been a waterboy for Vladimir Putin for years, right up to Israel’s refusal — almost unique among allegedly free countries — to take a hard stand against Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. He sucks up to Xi Jinping as though the Chinese Communist Party were the Jewish people’s ancient ally. He sold out his entire population’s privacy and personal records to a corporate behemoth, allowing Pfizer to use Israel as a giant field experiment with its dangerous and insufficiently tested mRNA vaccine. He has aggressively sought to undermine his country’s limits on prime ministerial authority by diminishing judicial oversight. And of course, he holds primary personal responsibility for the total collapse of his country’s defenses on October 7th, a stunning failure of leadership and immediate response which directly facilitated the horrendous deaths of hundreds of Israelis and the kidnapping of hundreds more — a failure which he then tried to blame on subordinates to save his own name, as a fake and unmanly leader would be expected to do (witness his friend Trump), before being forced by his own political allies to rescind that cowardly treachery and publicly apologize for it.

His current assertive action in Gaza, which includes killing thousands of civilians while displacing hundreds of thousands more, is plainly the sort of desperate act of face-saving, tough-guy-too-late showmanship that one ought to expect from a self-serving and vainglorious fraud. I am not saying Netanyahu is a self-serving and vainglorious fraud, mind you, but merely that his history and his current actions paint a remarkably accurate replica of such a person.

Hamas is and always was illegitimate. Its “cause” is and always was illegitimate. It does not represent all Palestinian people, all Arabs, or all Muslims. And the best way to strengthen Hamas and its likeminded affiliates in the world of terror and tyranny is to harden the general Palestinian and Arab population’s antipathy toward Israel. Israel is apparently seeking to bring about that general hardening now — staging a massive ground attack without any clear goals, or any reasonable way of defining when even any of its vague goals will have been reached — presumably on the premise that if you can make enough of them hate you, then you can more easily justify (to yourself in particular) broad and open-ended assaults with vast collateral damage.

There is a natural human instinct, which we all experience to varying degrees in our lives, to wish “them” all gone, dead and buried, obliterated. To be free of their potential threat, not merely with some measure of security, but with the absoluteness of utter decimation and the permanence of a cleansing fire. To translate burning hatred into a whirlwind of destruction that will end the problem (aka the other) forever, without remorse. The most common name of this natural human instinct is fear.

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