Their political opponents do not just want to score victories over them in fair and democratic elections. Their goal in both the case of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and President Donald Trump is to run them out of office with the long-term goal of getting them convicted of crimes and sentenced to jail sometime soon.
This is the new political game. You do not just disagree with your opponent’s or the incumbent’s politics, but declare that he or she is a miscreant, a scoundrel, and a criminal. Is the person who ultimately replaces them any better, as effective, or as competent? Are they honest and knowledgeable? Well, we can always deal with those matters later. The key right now is just one thing: they’ve got to go.
So let us consider that matter in Israel in the aftermath of last week’s election. What is the potential configuration that lurks in the shadows if, indeed, Bibi’s days are over?
The dichotomy between these two processes — that in Israel and that in the U.S. — is that in Israel the people have spoken and it is becoming increasingly apparent that the public prefers a broad unity government that, to an extent, is representative of a consensus of the entire country.
For those critics who believe that Israel is firmly controlled by Bibi Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition, last week’s election clearly demonstrated how wrong they were and still are. The opponents of the right understand that at the end of the current negotiating process, Netanyahu might still emerge as prime minister. And just in case that happens, the relentless effort to knock Bibi out by labeling him corrupt and a criminal continues unabated.
And here we go again in the United States, even though the election is more than a year away. It seems that the field of Democratic candidates is so unexciting that regardless of what some polls say, it is most likely that Mr. Trump will score a resounding victory over any of the current wannabe presidents. To that end, as you can see, talks about impeachment are accelerating as it’s the only way the Democrats can effectively oust Mr. Trump from office.
For now anyway, it seems that Netanyahu and Trump are a great combination. They understand each other well and they share a chemistry and a vibe that works well. Just imagine for a moment Bibi sitting in the White House with President Elizabeth Warren. She said at one point that she believes Bibi is a racist. She knows that is not the case and that it’s a horrible thing to say, but for the purposes of political expediency at the time she really had no choice.
At the same time, try to imagine Benny Gantz sitting before the cameras in the White House alongside President Trump. Gantz is a political neophyte; he is not suave or glib, needs to speak from carefully prepared scripts, and will probably not have the bantering ability and acumen that Bibi has demonstrated over all these years.
On the other hand, Netanyahu was able to successfully navigate his way through eight years of the hostile Obama administration. In his new book, For The Record, former British Prime Minister David Cameron writes that he had never seen a more pro-Palestinian president than Barack Obama. In addition to Obama’s support for the Palestinians, Cameron writes that, overall, “Obama was pro-Arab,” and very much involved in the Arab Spring, which was supposed to bring vast changes to the Arab Middle East but just plain flopped, like so many other Obama policies.
There is also a political crisscross taking place today before our very eyes. This includes Democrats in the U.S. hoping that Netanyahu is forced out of power and the right in Israel praying that Trump will remain in power and that he is reelected a year or so from today.
Rabbi Allen Schwartz of Congregation Ohab Zedek in Manhattan mentioned that Congressman Jerrold Nadler used to live in the same building as his family and that over the years they became good friends. Rabbi Schwartz recently told Mr. Nadler that his relentless and blistering criticism of Mr. Trump has turned the congressman into a one-man Trump reelection team.
This is a challenging week to write an essay on this subject matter. As these words are being typed it seems that the political news here in the U.S. and in Israel is changing every half-hour or so.
In the U.S., the talk of impeaching President Trump has intensified with alacrity. Democrat leaders who have demonstrated numerous times that they have no way to beat Mr. Trump at the polls seem to have reached a conclusion that removing the president from office by impeaching him is their only chance.
In Israel, word on the negotiations between the representatives of Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz is, surprisingly, that Bibi wants to serve as prime minister for one year and is then offering Mr. Gantz the opportunity to serve three years as prime minister.
It is too early to tell what the thinking is behind the Netanyahu idea. But it is important to note that Mr. Gantz said as recently as this week that while he will agree to serve in a unity government with the Likud Party, he will not serve together with Mr. Netanyahu. That has already seemed to be a shaky and very tentative commitment.
Bibi Netanyahu has been the most successful and effective prime minister in Israel’s history. Donald Trump has brought America back from the abyss on numerous levels. Their opponents cannot position themselves or adapt policies to defeat them at the polls. Their only choice is to render both as dangerously toxic. People are holding on to every developing piece of news. Washington and Jerusalem are excited about changes in the offing. The rest of the United States and most of Israel see directly through these ridiculous charades.
It’s too early in the process to say definitively what will happen here. Domestically, the U.S. is paralyzed. The work of the people is stalled while Democrats are focused on the issue of maneuvering the president out of office. In Israel we may be seeing the beginning of the changing of the guard. If that is the case, then it needs to be done in a sane and orderly fashion, not with the zeal of a campaign where wild accusations are hurled around without any basis or thought.
And finally, here on the cusp of the New Year we have to take note that with the talk of beginning impeachment hearings in Congress, the folks with whom Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to meet were Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, and Eliot Engel, three men who will not be at work on Monday and Tuesday.
And one more note, about the Ukraine. It is the only country outside of Israel where the president and prime minister are Jewish. Who is like this people Israel?