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Chickensh** vs Bullsh**: America's Israeli Dilema
On October 28th, The Atlantic ran Jeffrey Goldburg's article in which an anonymous senior White House official referred to Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu as "chickensh**." What ensued was pure theatre, with the likes of Senator Ted Cruz mounting a campaign on Twitter calling for the immediate firing of whomever made the comment. Ridiculous.
Of course, no one stopped to question whether or not the criticism was even warranted, and in fact, the official's reasoning was greatly ignored. No one in the media or in public office dared entertain the possibility that Netanyahu's continued expansion of Israeli settlements ever further into the West Bank was seriously compromising America's attempts at brokering a peace agreement in the region; that perhaps this disparaging remark, though distasteful, may have carried some merit. No. No one had the spine. Because Israel today has become America's "Golden Calf."
Posturing, Pandering, and All-Around Patronizing
America's Identity Crisis
Why the outrage? All Americans - yes, even those working within the hallowed halls of the White House - have a 1st Amendment right to speak to the press anonymously. You would think that no one would understand and champion this right more than freedom-loving Americans, especially those on the Right, who claim "Individual Liberty" as a tenet of their political ideology. But Conservative opinion on FaceBook and Twitter have been largely against not just what the official said, but his (or her) right to even say it.
Hysterical cries of "Israel is our greatest ally!" have drowned out all reason or logical discourse, successfully protecting Netanyahu from genuine critique and from an honest examination of Israel's policies. The truth is that few Americans are privy to Israeli politics, or to the fact that many Israelis do not, in fact, support their government's actions; much like Tea Party and Occupy activists in the United States, not every Israeli is a Netanyahu fan.
So how is it that so many Americans are? I've read many comments from Americans stating that they'd rather have "Bibi" as POTUS than Obama. It seems that there has been a great idealizing of Benjamin Netanyahu amongst certain circles in the U.S., completely ignoring the fact that Netanyahu's tactics have not always worked in America's favor, and have many times worked against it.
But somehow, Americans today have equated "standing with Israel" with the highest form of patriotism, although they are hard pressed to explain what one has to do with the other, or why this alliance would trump even the 1st Amendment rights of our very own citizens.
Is it time that America reassess the conditions of her alliance with Israel?
American Interests vs Foreign Alliances
The fear of terrorism and the barbaric actions of Middle Eastern jihadists such as ISIS and al Qaeda have only served to create a reactionary America - one that oftentimes advocates for policies that only further aggravate an already tentative situation.
No one is claiming that Israel doesn't have the right to defend itself; of course it does. But are American tax payers responsible to fund its defense forever? And if we are going to foot the bill, doesn't that give us the right to set down some rules of conduct, in order to curb the costs of never-ending war?
Yes Israel is an ally, but who is stopping to question whether or not Israel's policies are working in conjunction with American interests? Who is willing to delve into the root causes of terror, and why America needs "allies" in the Middle East to begin with? Yes we can regurgitate general and misleading answers such as "they hate our freedom," but we are reaching an economic threshold in this country in which we can no longer accept generalities as truths, nor allies as sacred cows.