Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GOP Shadow Government and the Bibi-Boehner Connection by (O)CT(O)PUS of The Swash Zone

by (O)CT(O)PUS

In a last minute blitz of opportunistic electioneering, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrestled ignominious victory from the jaws of defeat.  Invoking fear and xenophobia, Netanyahu nullified decades of diplomacy, antagonized allies, and inflamed regional tensions.  His last minute retractions and recalibrations were so stunningly cynical, it leaves us wondering:  Are Israeli voters now having buyers’ remorse?  For many, the answer is yes:
The day after elections, columnist Ben Caspit wrote an article in the Maariv daily newspaper titled "Two States." He was not referring to the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but to Israel's own cultural divide (source: Associated Press).
In America, Europe, and the Middle East, the election outcome in Israel will have profound consequences; and the American public is well advised to pay attention.

Ides of March.  Earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner breached constitutional protocol when he invited Netanyahu to address both chambers of Congress without notifying the White House.  Weeks later, forty-seven GOP Senators breached protocol again with an infamous letter that challenged the foreign policy prerogatives of a sitting president in the midst of sensitive negotiations. Last week, an aid to House Speaker Boehner announced a two-week trip to Israel starting in April. This sequence of events is no mere coincidence.

In victory, Netanyahu proved his mettle as a triumphant demagogue, and Speaker Boehner would like some of Bibi’s success to rub off.  His trip to Israel will be more than a mere courtship ritual between far rightwing allies. Hardly a state visit, this trip has the appearances of a political strategy session.  After all, next year is an election year in America; and the rightwing parties of Israel and the U.S. have a mutual stake in the outcome. Will the GOP and Likud join forces?  Follow the trail of sound bites for clues:
Representative Steve King (R-IA):  I don't understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their President" (source).
More Jewish than American Jews, more Catholic than the Pope, with a mouth the size of cantaloupe, Steve King never speaks alone.  He serves as an ugly mouthpiece for the GOP, and his outrageous remarks often presage the drift of GOP tactics and taking points.

Wedge politics is the dark art of stoking fear, suspicion, and resentment with appeals to bigotry and xenophobia in order to break apart coalitions and strip away votes. For decades, Jewish voters have consistently returned outsized majorities on behalf of Democrats:  78% for Clinton in 1996, 79% for Gore in 2000, 76% for Kerry in 2004, and 78% for Obama in 2008.  Clearly, the GOP sniffs an opportunity to bring these voters into the Republican fold … along with Sheldon Adelson's money.  Where demagoguery and diplomacy converge, the Bibi-Boehner connection represents a new low in American politics.  Will this unholy alliance bear fruit for Republicans?  Not according to Jon Stewart who lampooned Netanyahu for having the audacity to speak for all Jews (and for stealing a favorite GOP campaign tactic).  Not according to this commentary across Cyberspace (representative sampling):
That's why more than 2/3 of American Jews are Democrats - because we know what happens when dangerous demagogues like you preaching hatred and exclusion are allowed to take power."
"They conveniently forget that Obama was awarded Israel's highest honor, the Medal of Distinction, by Shimon Peres, Israel's president."
"It's the Dolchsto├člegende.  Any Jew can recognize it instantly."
Meanwhile, where is Cyanide News Network?  Is CNN MIA ... again!  Are there any savvy reporters bold enough to ask these questions: Is the Speaker’s trip to Israel an official state visit, a vacation, or a partisan junket? Who pays the tab? Will American taxpayers, or the Republican National Committee?  Pay attention, damnit!


(O)CT(O)PUS said...

More evidence of a neoconservative trying to "Woo the Jew" (Warning: Breitbart Freight Mart after the link): Jews for Cruz (cringe).

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Netanyahu’s last minute fear-mongering, pandering, and xenophobia is NOT the kind of moral message I want to hear from a spokesperson for ethnic Jews inside or outside of Israel. His words and deeds betray the experience of a people – and their suffering can have no meaning without a universal human message.

Please recall a post I wrote two months ago titled, Arbeit Macht Frei. It remembers the liberation of Auschwitz and, in terms most personal of all, the memory of a maternal great-grandfather:

Little is known of my great-grandfather. He was an author, a philosopher, and a college professor living in Prague when the Nazi army occupied Czechoslovakia. No letters or literary works survive him apart from anecdotal accounts handed down by word of mouth – until the trial of Adolph Eichmann in 1961 revealed his fate …

According to trial testimony, Eichmann ordered the SS to stop a deportation train headed for Auschwitz and execute by firing squad a 'nettlesome agitator' for human rights who was aboard the train.

This is the moral legacy of my family: A maternal great-grandfather - a ‘nettlesome agitator’ for human rights.

The tragic history of one people should never dismiss or invalidate the tormented narrative of another people, nor offer a rationale for Apartheid and oppression. Indeed, ethnic cleansing did not end with World War II. It happened again in Tibet (1959-1966), in Cambodia (1975-1979), in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995), and in Rwanda (1994). It continues today in Darfur, Iraq, and Syria.

When one ethnic group says “Never Again, it should mean NEVER AGAIN for all humanity. Netanyahu betrayed the meaning of a family legacy.