Millwall 1, Islam 0

If you haven’t heard about Roy Larner yet, he’s the British football fan that is being called a hero for his actions last week at the Borough Market near London Bridge. When three terrorists entered the Black and Blue Steakhouse waving knives and shouting “Islam! Islam!” Larner charged them, throwing stools and glasses and swinging at them with his fists. Ultimately they left the restaurant, with Larner in pursuit and bleeding from at least 8 stab wounds (he is presently recovering in hospital). He may have saved numerous lives by his actions.

Larner wasn’t the only unarmed civilian or police officer that fought with the terrorists, who killed 7 and injured 48 before they were finally and permanently stopped by armed police. But what seems to have placed Larner in the eye of the media is what he said to the terrorists:

“I took a few steps towards them and said, ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall’. So they started attacking me.”

Mr Larner added: “I stood in front of them trying to fight them off. Everyone else ran to the back.

“I was on my own against all three of them, that’s why I got hurt so much.

“It was just me, trying to grab them with my bare hands and hold on. I was swinging.

“I got stabbed and sliced eight times. They got me in my head, chest and both hands. There was blood everywhere.

“They were saying, ‘Islam, Islam!’ I said again, ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall!’

Millwall is a football club in South London whose fans are known for their pugnacity, a nicer word than “hooliganism,” of which they are sometimes accused.

On Good Morning Britain, presenter Piers Morgan, a fan of rival London club Arsenal, told viewers: “Millwall fans get a very bad rap, a lot of it very deserved, but there are times when you really want a lot of Millwall fans, and that was one of them.”

So, do I think that the solution to Islamic terrorism is to deputize or even arm English football fans? Not necessarily, although civilian response to terrorism has sometimes saved the day here in Israel. But there is an important clue in Larner’s statement to the terrorists.

“I’m Millwall,” he said. Or in other words, I’m from here, standing my ground and protecting my people on my land. Don’t come in here with your knives and your Islam crap, not on my home turf.

Part of what motivated Roy Larner to risk his own life and limb, perhaps in addition to the “four or five pints” he admits to having consumed, was the very basic human drive to defend one’s home and family against foreign invaders; the tribal instinct, so disapproved of by the post-modern John Lennon fans who moved to the back of the restaurant when Roy confronted the terrorists.

As long as Western society tries to suppress the tribal instinct, which provides the emotional drive behind nationalism, patriotism and national solidarity, we will continue to be defeated and humiliated by the Islamic jihad, which is also strongly tribal (although it sees itself as a conqueror rather than a defender).

So-called “populist” leaders, like Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders, Donald Trump and others, have in common an appeal to tribal feelings, regardless of the details of their programs. And one of the reasons people find them attractive at this historical moment is because they see it as a powerful response to the threat of the Islamic jihad against the West.

In order to protect herself from the jihad, Britain (and the rest of Europe and ultimately the US) will have to adopt tribalist policies, such as limiting immigration from significantly different cultures – in this case, Muslim ones – and perhaps expelling the known bad actors among imams, activists and politicians. Maybe the most radical mosques should be closed altogether. The UK should probably arm all of its police officers, too. But in the end, no number of police on the street, armed or not, can prevent terrorism, only respond to it more quickly. Only the elimination of potential terrorists from the population can actually end it.

Here in Israel one often sees T-shirts with nonsensical, silly or embarrassing things written on them in “English.” Today we saw one that made a lot of sense, and I think Roy Larner would agree. It read:

DEFEND YOUR TURF

Have another pint or five, Roy. You’ve certainly earned it.

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What do you say to someone who just tried to murder you?

I felt sorry and sad when I saw the 16-year old Arab girl lying in the road after she was shot. She was someone’s daughter and she could have had a life.

She stabbed a soldier getting off a bus at Mevo Dotan in Samaria and tried to stab another. After she was shot, the soldiers called for medical assistance. Before it arrived, one or two of the soldiers or civilians present cursed her, told her to die and called her a particularly offensive name in Arabic (video here). She received first aid, and was evacuated to a hospital where she later died.

Gideon Levy thinks this incident illustrates our depravity:

There wasn’t even one soldier there with a shred of compassion or humanity. One has to recognize the magnitude of hatred felt by soldiers of the occupying army towards the nation they lord over. One has to see the extent to which they’ve lost their humanity. How can anyone be joyful over a dying schoolgirl? Cursing someone suffering like that is no less evil than shooting her.

The article claims that she was left to bleed to death and not offered medical attention, which is false. The video is less than a minute long. It did not show her being treated at the scene and placed in the ambulance.

But the most important way in which Levy distorts the truth is this. He wrote:

One has to recognize the magnitude of hatred felt by soldiers of the occupying army towards the nation they lord over.

It has nothing to do with “occupying” and the soldiers don’t see themselves as “lord[ing]” over another “nation.” All of that is ideology projected on the inside of Levy’s eyelids.

What the soldiers feel (ask any soldier) is that here is another one of the countless Arabs with knives, or meat cleavers or automobiles, who have taken the lives of 49 and injured 737 in the last two years, in 386 separate attacks. Or perhaps they have longer memories and are thinking of the 1,323 who have been murdered by bombs, guns, knives and vehicles, since we tried to give away Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 2000. And this one has just spilled the blood of one of your friends in an attempt to kill him.

Maybe she thought she wanted to die or maybe – who knows what she thought? But she took a knife and stuck it into a soldier, and changed from a schoolgirl into a terrorist. She changed herself from someone’s daughter who could have had a life into an instrument of death, no less a terrorist than those that butchered four rabbis and a policeman at a Jerusalem synagogue one Tuesday morning, or the ones who murdered five members of the Fogel family (2 adults and 3 children, including Hadas aged 3 months). She was just less competent.

She made an existential decision when she cut into that soldier’s flesh, and there is a price for that action, a price that everyone knows.

The Arabs are responsible for this conflict, and they have been responsible for the countless times they murdered Jews long before the founding of the state, for the wars they started and lost, for the thousands of Jews (and sometimes Arabs) murdered by terrorism, and now for the cynical and astonishingly evil practice of indoctrinating and inciting their children to kill.

This is where the real depravity lies, not with the soldiers who must protect themselves, but with those that orchestrate the Palestinian educational system, praise “martyrdom” for their cause to impressionable young people, provide hero’s welcomes (and funerals) for terrorists, name squares, soccer fields and schools after them, and then send children out to kill.

Yes, she should not have been cursed while lying critically wounded, but what do you say to someone who just tried to murder you? Yes, it is a shame that a young person who could have grown up to have children and grandchildren of her own will now only be a memory. But even a 16-year old can make very permanent choices, and with the help of the society that molded her, she made hers.

Maybe the Palestinian Authority will name a school after her.

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Is Reform Judaism a religion?

It probably won’t be the last time I shake my head at how the US Reform movement (I’m including the much smaller liberal branch of the Conservative movement)  has replaced Judaism with progressive politics – they call it “social action” or “tikkun olam” (repairing the world) although it is always political action on behalf of the causes of the Left – but it is the first time I have understood that it is a survival strategy for them.

The last few generations of liberal American Jews joined a synagogue because they wanted their children to grow up with an idea that they were different in a special way from the majority of non-Jews among which they lived. They wanted them to have bar and bat mitzvahs and to go to Jewish camp, so they would have Jewish friends and maybe ultimately marry a Jewish person. There was still a concern that it was important to belong to the community and not to abandon it. But these Jewish parents had also grown up in liberal or almost secular households and had little Jewish literacy, and certainly no inclination to become observant.

So liberal synagogues catered to their needs. They made it clear that nothing would be expected of them in terms of knowledge or observance, and they moved back and forth on the spectrum of ritual, from “classical Reform” which resembled Lutheranism, to something closer to traditional Jewish worship, looking for a happy medium. But what primarily drew the congregants into the temples and encouraged them to pay the high dues needed to support well-compensated Reform rabbis was the feeling of obligation to provide some Jewish connection for their children.

In recent years this model started to fail. The blandness of the attenuated, content-free Judaism served up bored both the parents and the children. The newer generations didn’t remember their immigrant ancestors’ Judaism. Intermarriage was common and the “interfaith family” became a thing. Kids didn’t have time or head space for religious education; there were organized sports and academic pressures that were far more important to them. Sometimes the perceived spirituality in eastern religions and even – despite the strong taboo – Christianity, pulled them away. In particular, it was almost impossible to recruit the 20-somethings that in a few years would become the heart of the community and its leadership.

Liberal Jewish community members asked themselves why they should pay thousands of dollars a year for – what, exactly? It became harder and harder for Reform congregations to keep the lights on and to pay the “Jewish professionals” – rabbis, cantors and “cantorial soloists,” educators – that a liberal congregation needed. Many congregations merged and some closed their doors. The movement itself suffered a financial crisis as the flow of dues from affiliated congregations dried up. It was forced to cut its staff and activities drastically.

The Reform movement selected the charismatic Rabbi Rick Jacobs as president  to rescue it. He made administrative changes, he emphasized camp and social activities for the children – there is no better way to get adolescents interested in something than to provide them opportunities to interact with others of the opposite sex – and, although it had been moving this way for decades, he placed the major emphasis in the movement on “social action.”

There is no theological problem for them. Unlike traditional Judaism in which commandments are obeyed because they are commandments, Reform Jews place the moral intuition of the individual above the literal (written and oral) Torah. This leads to a distinction between “ritual” and “social” commandments, in which the former are optional and only the latter are obligatory. They consider this “prophetic Judaism” and argue that it is grounded in the Torah and Prophets, but the fact that only those “prophetic” principles that correspond to 21st century progressive ideology are honored reveals that their actual moral standards are based on something outside of Jewish tradition. Isaiah’s isolationism or Samuel’s uncompromising violence clearly don’t fit today’s Reform ideology.

Rabbi Jacobs’ maneuver has been spectacularly successful, both for the Reform movement and for other liberal groups. A recent article by Debra Nussbaum Cohen characterizes it as a reaction to the election of President Donald Trump, but the synagogue wouldn’t provide a focus for anti-Trump expression, were it not for its metamorphosis into a political action organization.

Since the presidential election, 45 new households have joined Shir Tikvah Congregation in Minneapolis, said Rabbi Michael Adam Latz. “Trump may be bad for the world, but he’s great for shul membership,” quipped Latz, whose synagogue is Reform.

“We have people in their 20s and 30s with pink mohawks and people in their 60s and 70s joining who are saying they were never interested before, but now ‘want to be part of something good that is bigger than ourselves.’”

Latz is an outspoken social justice advocate and Shir Tikvah has become a sanctuary congregation, ready to offer concrete support to immigrants being threatened with arrest by the Department of Homeland Security.

That’s part of the orientation young Jews find attractive, said Gabriel Glissmeyer, 23, who recently joined Shir Tikvah. There are “definitely more people attending since the election, and more young people especially. When I started, there were seven or eight of us consistently going. Now there are 15 to 20,” he said.

“We definitely saw a surge in January and February, and are still seeing more traction among young folks in their 20s and 30s,” said Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie at Lab/Shul. “They are looking for community and action.” His is a “pop-up,” unconventional and independent congregation.

Yet the phenomenon is also visible at establishment places of worship. The wait list to join New York City’s Central Synagogue has more than doubled since the election, from 250 families to over 540. Friday night service attendance is also up, said Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, spiritual leader of the Reform congregation. “I don’t know if this is a Trump bump or not,” she told Haaretz, “but it is quite noticeable.”

And in Berkeley, California, 20 new households have joined Congregation Netivot Shalom since January 1, said Rabbi Menachem Creditor, who is active in many interfaith social justice initiatives.

“In the immediate aftermath of the election, there was an enormous increase in attendance,” said Creditor of his 400-household Conservative congregation. The way people recited the “Prayer for Our Country” also changed: “There was a change in the volume, in a fresh and urgent way,” he said. Though he’s not sure he can attribute the increased attendance to Trump’s presidency, “there are more people praying and more intense prayer,” he noted. …

Congregants have been galvanized around social justice work, even where there hasn’t been a lasting increase in attendance, said some.

For years, I’ve been predicting the demise of the Reform movement in the US. I’ve agreed with those who said that it would fade away from a combination of irrelevance and assimilation. But it didn’t occur to me that its leftist politics would save it!

A particular target for Rabbi Jacobs’ “tikkun olam” is Israel, which he believes is in great need of repair because the reality here doesn’t correspond to an ideal liberal society in the sense loved by American progressives. In his public pronouncements, he often notes that his movement is the largest  Jewish religious group in the US, and suggests that he speaks for American Jews, particularly in respect to Israel. His views, unfortunately, are closer to those of J Street than to those of the Israeli government and the majority of Israelis, and he is not shy about wanting to impose them on us.

Those of us who are concerned about Israel’s welfare and who do not think that the worldview of progressive Americans is appropriate for survival in the Middle East find this singularly unhelpful, even dangerous.

In recent years, some Orthodox rabbis, members of Israel’s Knesset and even the (non-Orthodox) man who is today the President of the State of Israel have said that Reform Judaism is not Judaism, but actually another, different religion.

That is a very strong statement to make. I am not sure we want to say that a million or so Reform Jews are actually practicing “another religion” (which, incidentally, might disqualify them from aliyah under the Law of Return). But maybe the truth is that we should see the movement simply as a political group, which has stopped being about religion at all.

Posted in American Jews | 4 Comments

Why they do it

Another mass murder in the name of the Islamic jihad, this time in Manchester.

The  New York Times counted 13 deadly Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe alone over the past two years. The worst was in Paris on the night of November 13, 2015 in which 130 people were murdered in six coordinated attacks. The Manchester suicide bombing, in which “only” 22 were killed (but then, half of these were children) was the fourth deadliest. In the same time period there were several wholesale jihad-inspired murders in the US, and here in Israel literally hundreds of “retail” terrorist attacks in which 49 people have been killed and 737 injured.

Western responses to this onslaught have consistently missed the point. But before we can evaluate them, we need to ask why the jihadists are killing us. The reasons may not be what we think.

The objective of the jihad is to change our behavior and our society to move it toward an Islamic future. The ultimate goal is that all the nations of the world will live under Islamic rule,  according to shari’a (Islamic law). Christians and Jews will be permitted to live as dhimmis (protected people), with limited rights and paying the special tax, the jizya. No other form of religious worship will be permitted, and “polytheists” or “idolaters” like Hindus may have no choice but to convert to Islam or die. Muslims will tell you that this is for our own good, because Islamic society is the best and most just of all possible arrangements, but those of us accustomed to Jewish, Christian or humanistic (Enlightenment) values might disagree.

Jihadists understand that Muslim armies are not capable of conquering the West by force of arms and imposing shari’a. So they are employing a more complicated strategy. Part of it is to increase Muslim populations in the West by migration and by daw’a (persuasion). The massive migrations into Europe, which are primarily of Muslims, may be in part a deliberate strategy and in part a side effect of conflicts and economic pressures in the Middle East and Africa, but they have become the engine of the jihad. Some elements in Europe even encouraged migration, seeing it as an answer to the low birthrates among native Europeans. No matter – the Muslims are there, and are keeping, even intensifying, their commitment to the struggle to propagate Islam.

Even a country like France, which may have as much as 10% of its population Muslims is far from having a Muslim majority which could impose shari’a by democratic means (although probably it would be a case of “one man, one vote, one time.”) So the jihad has to progress by persuading non-Muslims to accept Islam.

Some number of them can be persuaded by the attractions offered by Islam – beautiful mosques, fervent believers – fervent Christians are a rarity in post-Christian Europe – the mystique of an “eastern” faith, the desire to belong to something supra-national, and similar things. We can call this “positive persuasion,” persuasion by the positive properties of the faith.

There is another kind of persuasion, however, which we can call “negative persuasion.” It works by creating pain and fear in the subject, and then presenting the acceptance of Islam as a way to ameliorate the distress. It is similar to the way some military training regimens break the spirit of recruits with cruelty, fatigue and humiliation, and then present the surrender of self to the organization as a way to regain self-respect. Negative persuasion works by inducing Stockholm Syndrome in its subjects, who identify with someone who oppresses them in order to stop the oppression.

Islamic terrorism is a form of negative persuasion. In order to be effective, it must be cruel enough to shock the subjects, which is one reason that Muslim terrorists often choose targets where there are children, like the Manchester bombing or the many acts of Palestinian Arab terrorists in Israel against schools, school buses, kindergartens, discos, and so on. A terrorist act needs to be well-publicized, and is randomized in such a way that an average person will think “that could have been me, or my child.” It is intended to show the power and superiority of Islam, so victims are sometimes humiliated or even tortured. Sometimes, in order to illustrate the terrorist’s power of life or death, terrorists make a selection among their victims, and kill only Jews or non-Muslims, release women, and so on.

A successful major attack is usually followed by a wave of conversions to Islam, as those people who are susceptible to Stockholm Syndrome follow their irrational but emotionally powerful impulse to align themselves with the terrorists, whom they – perhaps subconsciously – feel will no longer hurt them.

In many, perhaps most, people, the syndrome is not strong enough to make them become Muslims. But it does make them more sensitive to Muslim demands and concerns; to accept limitations on speech and expression (as in the case of the Danish Cartoons) that would not otherwise be acceptable; or to take on strongly pro-Muslim political opinions. Much of the staff of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, for example, regularly expresses opinions that are so anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian that the paper is sometimes called “the Palestinian newspaper published in Hebrew.”

Terrorism as negative persuasion is a deliberate strategy used by the PLO. Recently, an acquaintance said that he always worried whenever there were negotiations between Israel and the PLO, because “that’s when the buses start blowing up.” At the same time that they are negotiating, the PLO ramps up terrorism in order to send the message that Israelis would be better off if they submit to its demands.

Given this analysis, how should we react to terrorism like the Manchester bombing? Well, here is a classic example of how not to, from an editorial in the inimitable NY Times (and similar sentiments appeared throughout the “responsible” media):

Meanwhile, as hard as it is amid the shock and the mourning, it is important to recognize this attack for what it is: an attempt to shake Britain — and, by extension, the rest of Europe and the West — to its core, and to provoke a thirst for vengeance and a desire for absolute safety so intense, it will sweep away the most cherished democratic values and the inclusiveness of diverse societies.

The Islamic State wants nothing more than to watch Western democracies embrace its mad version of a holy war pitting Muslims against Christians, the newly arrived against others. This has been the goal of other attacks in Europe. …

In Britain, as in the rest of Europe and in the United States, it is critical that immigrants, especially Muslims, are not stigmatized. As Richard Barrett, former director of global counterterrorism operations at MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, said, “engaging the [Muslim] community and letting the community inform us” is one way “to understand why people do this” and to prevent future attacks.

The editorial is wrong by 180 degrees about the reason for the attack. The last thing the terrorists want is to “provoke a thirst for vengeance.” The opposite: they want to paralyze us with fear so that we will not dare to act to reduce immigration of Muslims, or even to speak freely about Islam. What destroys our “cherished democratic values” is not fighting back, but submission.

The writer warns us not to criticize Islam, Muslims or immigrants; indeed, as Barrett says, let them define the significance of this event for us! And you can bet that they will define it – by explaining that Britain has treated Muslims badly in Iraq and Afghanistan and therefore had it coming, just as Osama Bin Laden blamed 9/11 on American support for Israel.

“The inclusiveness of diverse societies,” which the writer places on the level of “our most cherished democratic values,” is actually a measure of instability when what we are inclusive of are Muslims and Islam.

There is a great deal of concern about whether murderer Salman Abedi was working for Da’esh, which claimed credit for his act. The Times writes that “It is still unclear whether Mr. Abedi acted alone or as part of a network.” And then it continues,  “No one yet knows what motivated him to commit such a horrific deed.”

Whether he acted alone is perhaps important to counterterrorism professionals, whose job it is to stop killers like Abedi, but it is irrelevant to the second question, whose answer is obvious.

What motivated him was Islam.

Posted in Europe, Islam, Terrorism | 1 Comment

Let’s talk about our relationship

Trigger warning: Donald Trump is mentioned in the following post. I ask that those of you who hate or love him to refrain from sending me angry emails accusing me of loving or hating him. I don’t. Unlike the Nobel Prize Committee, I prefer to wait for a president to be in office for at least a year before deciding.

During the Obama era, my advice to Israel regarding her relationship to the US was simple:

Reduce dependence on the US in every area; for military aid, intelligence cooperation, diplomatic defense, and facilitation of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Obama’s staff was overwhelmingly anti-Israel, and the president himself – his background, associations, ideology and temperament – was hostile to Israel. There has never been a president less friendly to Israel than Barack Hussein Obama, something that was proven to us over and over, from the Iran deal to the withdrawal of support for Israel at the UN Security Council last December.

With the election of Donald Trump, some suggested that now everything would change. And much has. Trump has some very pro-Israel advisors, notably Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. He himself is overwhelmingly pragmatic rather than ideological. He made early commitments to pro-Israel policies, such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, maintaining Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” and “dismantling” (later changed to “strictly enforcing”) the Iran nuclear deal.

But my advice remains the same.

The first reason is that despite the very positive changes, some things remain the same. For every Friedman or Haley, there is someone like Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who maintains that the capital of Israel is Tel Aviv, or National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster who refuses to say whether the Western Wall is part of Israel. And the State Department, unsurprisingly, is still the State Department, refusing to admit that any part of Jerusalem belongs to Israel.

Trump himself has flip-flopped on some of these issues. There have been several conflicting reports on whether he will sign the waiver that will keep the embassy in Tel Aviv. The most recent announcement attributed to a “senior administration official” is that he will not allow the embassy to move, but until the June 1 deadline, anything can happen.

Trump seems to view American interests – particularly where Iran is concerned – as closer to those of Israel than Obama did. But the “golden handcuffs” are still  handcuffs.

The second reason is that Trump is apparently in the grip of a traditional delusion of American presidents – the idea that he can and should try to “solve” the Israeli-Arab conflict. This is exacerbated by his view of himself as the world’s greatest dealmaker.

Trump has given no indication that he understands the nature of the conflict, that the intractability of it is a consequence of the contradiction between the Arab narrative and the existence of a Jewish state of any size between the river and the sea. The fact that he continually refers to a “deal” that he wishes to mediate illustrates this. A “deal” is an agreement in which both sides can find an advantage. In real estate, almost everything can be measured in dollars. But this conflict can’t be ended by a deal.

“Palestinian honor” requires an acknowledgement that every inch of the land belongs to them, and insists that several million “refugees” (who are in fact not refugees) have a right to “return” to the places some of their ancestors may have lived (for as little as two years) before 1948. Loss of honor can’t be compensated for with dollars, especially when several generations have been raised on precisely this “Palestinist” ideology.

The religion of Islam also plays a role. As long as there is Jewish sovereignty over what is seen as Muslim land, there will be an obligation for Muslims to pursue jihad to re-impose Islamic domination and Islamic law over it. Not all Muslim Arabs are prepared to engage in violent jihad, but many are. 69 years during which “refugees” in UN-supported camps have been paid to have children with no possibility of a permanent home and few opportunities for careers have ensured that there will be plenty of soldiers for the jihad.

The Palestinians have shown, over and over, that they are prepared to kill and die for their perceived honor and their religion. The combination of the ideology of Palestinism with the religion of Islam and the honor-shame Arab culture has closed the door to a negotiated compromise solution.

Although some Israelis feel a religious imperative to hold on to Judea and Samaria, they are in the minority. Almost all, however, understand that an influx of Arab “refugees” or the re-establishment of indefensible borders will be the end of their state, and probably the lives of many of them. And none of them trusts the PLO or Hamas to live up to any agreement that they may sign.

There aren’t technical solutions for the contradiction between Palestinian desires and the survival of a Jewish state. There is no deal here. And yet, Trump  insists that there is, opening the way for the Palestinian extortion that has characterized the phony “peace process” to continue. There is no benefit for Israel that can come out of Trump’s dealmaking. We can only try to control the damage.

The third and final reason that Israel should distance herself from the US is painful for me to discuss, as someone who grew up in America and who believes that in many ways she is still the greatest nation in history.

I think the third reason can be summed up by a simple analogy: don’t go out on a date with an 800-pound gorilla who has recently started hearing voices in his head. And if you have to go, make sure to bring cab fare for a ride home.

No, I don’t mean Trump. The gorilla is the USA. I am talking about – there’s no other word for it – the madness that has recently gripped the political and cultural life of the United States.

I don’t know where to start, but here are some examples off the top of my head: the political polarization and official gridlock; the failure of public education system in many places; the high cost, poor quality and often futility of higher education; the rejection of the ideal of freedom of expression in the academic world; the contest to see who can be the most extreme in matters of sexual preference, race and gender; the prevalence of conspiracy theories on both the Right and the Left; the failure of the healthcare system; the increase in political and racial violence; the epidemics of meth and opiates; the sheer number of people incarcerated; and the total lack of credibility of the media on both sides of the political divide.

Trump’s own position is unsteady. Today, while the President is traveling in the Middle East, his opponents at home – who never accepted the fact of his election – are fulminating with plans to oust him in one way or in another. There is a strong odor of instability coming from Washington. Whether you love Trump or hate him, there is no doubt that the situation is dangerous.

It isn’t safe for Israel to depend on a US that very clearly has its own problems to solve, where support for Israel has become a partisan issue, and where it’s not clear what the political weather will be tomorrow.

Tell the gorilla thanks for the offer, but Israel is going to stay home and wash her hair.

Posted in 'Peace' Process, American politics, American society, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, US-Israel Relations | 2 Comments