Domestic distractions vs. serious business

Wednesday, February 15. Prime Minister Netanyahu is in Washington, and will meet President Trump later today. At the same time, the American media is hyperventilating after the forced resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, over something to do with his contacts with Russia. I say this, because right now, nothing is clear – not what Flynn actually did and not why Trump fired him. All options, from Flynn truly conspiring with the Kremlin, to this being the beginning of a putsch against Trump orchestrated by the CIA and/or former Obama Administration officials, are open.

Poor Bibi, who would really like to talk about Iran, Syria and the Palestinians! Trump’s mind will not be on the Middle East if he thinks that his presidency is in danger (which in my opinion it is).

Bibi should understand Trump’s position quite well, since he himself is the object of a prolonged and vicious media and legal witch hunt, which I discussed in this column last week. This is apparently the fashion in modern “democratic” politics today: when you have a leader that powerful elites dislike but who is also so popular with the average voter that he can’t be defeated at the polls, then tie him up with a firehose-stream of accusations and scandals. If you can get him entangled in sticky legal spider-webs, so much the better (this is harder to do in the US, where an American president has much more power than an Israeli Prime Minister).

Personally, I believe Bibi when he says, “they won’t find anything because there is nothing.” But I also believe that he could be indicted for “nothing.” At least he is safe in the US for a few days, even if Trump gives him an expensive cigar or two.

The parallels between the precarious situations of Trump and Netanyahu are interesting, even though they are personally so different – and although Trump has been in office for less than a month, compared to Netanyahu’s multiple terms as Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister.

Both were elected in fair elections in which they defeated lackluster opponents. Nevertheless, both enjoy strong support from their bases and appealed enough to independent voters to win. Both are strongly, even viciously, opposed by a majority of media outlets and personalities, and by academic and artistic elites in their home countries; and both are considered enemies by the international Left. The previous American administration even tried to intervene in Israel’s recent elections against Netanyahu, and some of the same people may be involved in the effort to damage Trump.

Trump’s and Bibi’s opposition became used to wielding power, and did not give up the taste for it (although they have certainly had enough time to do so in Israel), and will use any means they can get away with to get it back from the leader that they view as an illegitimate usurper.

But now is a particularly inconvenient time for these two nations to be tied up by internal strife. It’s a cliché, but it’s true that the world is at a historical inflection point. America is the only power strong enough to stand up to the forces of darkness that are threatening to overtake Western civilization; and Israel is on the front line of this struggle.

Iran/Hezbollah, North Korea, Da’esh, the Muslim Brotherhood – these are the real threats. Putin might be one too. It is vitally important that the leaders of our nations focus on them, rather than on domestic insurrections by spoiled elites.

Could you give them a chance to do so, please? I promise that you can have another go in the next election.

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