Obama's American revolution
Backed by a radical, rightist America, Israel could conduct a radical, rightist policy at no cost. The Obama revolution put an end to this Israeli tea party.
Barack Obama's victory in the 2008 election was historic. It sent a black man to the White House. It sent to the White House a liberal and intense yearning for a strong state that promotes social justice.
It reflected the new values and new identity of a new America, which suddenly emerged above the surface.
Obama's victory in the 2012 elections is no less historic. It proves the option that America chose four years ago was not accidental. It proves the black liberal now returning to the White House does indeed represent the new values and new identity of the new America. As white, religious, conservative America descends from history's stage, a multicultural, progressive America is replacing it, one that really believes in equality, freedom and social justice.
Until November 6, 2012, it was possible to think that Obama was a one-off mistake. But his reelection now, despite the American economy's continued floundering and its high unemployment - speaks for itself. Obama's reelection when America remains stuck in the mud and without its president having made any extraordinary achievements - also speaks for itself. The president's less than brilliant report card in his first term is precisely the proof of how profound a choice his reelection is. It's a choice of the new values he represents, the new identity he embodies. It's a choice of a very different America than that of the last two centuries.
The Obama revolution is twofold. His global and economic worldview aspires to make America more European that it was; more conciliatory, more social-democratic, more politically correct. But the demographic process Obama represents advances the non-European forces in America - blacks, Latinos, immigrants from the Third World. While Obama's ideology is almost European, his sociology is anti-European. Under his leadership the United States ceased to be the land of tough white Protestants and is becoming the land of the others. All others. All those the old America didn't grant real equality.
So for Israel this must be a week of soul-searching. In the past, both the Zionist movement and the Jewish state were careful to be identified with the progressive forces in the world. Our fathers, mothers and founders made sure to always be on the right side of history. But in recent decades more and more Israelis took to leaning on the reactionary forces in American society. It was convenient to lean on them. The evangelists didn't ask difficult questions about the settlements, the Tea Party people didn't say a word about excluding women and minorities or about Jewish settlers' attacks and acts of vandalism against Palestinians and peace activists. The Republican Party's white, religious, conservative wing was not agitated when the Israeli Supreme court was attacked and the rule of law in Israel was trampled.
So it seemed to many in Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu and the National Union parties and the settlers' Yesha Council that Israel could commit any injustice and get away with it. Since Uncle Sam is on our side, lawlessness can run amok. Since Uncle Sam is financing us and protecting us, we don't have to answer to anyone. Under the patronage of a radical, rightist America we can conduct a radical, rightist policy without paying the price.
The Obama revolution put an end to this Israeli tea party. From now on, the democratic Jewish state will no longer have the sweeping protection it has enjoyed. From now on, it will not be possible to finance every settlement and every act of zealotry with American dollars. The strategic alliance with the United States is strong, Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday. Maybe. But this alliance won't last, unless we renew the ideological alliance with America. With the new America, this time. The America Obama embodies.