Netanyahu, Are You an Israeli Leader or a Jewish Leader?

Carolina Landsmann
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the joint Congress Session in Washington D.C., U.S., 2015.
Carolina Landsmann

At the pinnacle of Mor Loushy’s spine-tingling documentary “Kings of Capitol Hill” about AIPAC, we see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife in Washington for his speech to Congress attacking the emerging nuclear agreement with Iran. We hear in the background Doug Bloomfield, a former top lobbyist for AIPAC, saying: “I don’t think we’ve ever seen a foreign leader come to Washington to lobby against the policies of the U.S. government by forming a partnership with the opposition to defeat the president of the United States.”

It’s hard to think of a more accurate description of Netanyahu’s far-reaching historic move. Every Jew bothered by antisemitism should listen to Bloomfield’s description until the other shoe drops: Netanyahu joined forces with the opposition against Barack Obama to lobby against U.S. policy. If one moment captures a summary of the current historic moment about the dangers lurking for the future of Israel and the Jewish people, it’s Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in March 2015.

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This documentary is important because it shows that the power of the country Netanyahu leads wasn’t the thing that emboldened him to have the impertinence to undermine Obama at the Capitol, the Holy of Holies for American democracy. Oh, no. Israel is no Russia or China, or even North Korea. Israel’s military, high-tech, Hebrew University and Technion – none of these explain his haughtiness.

Netanyahu acted with the boorishness and arrogance of a landlord because of the strength of the Israel lobby in the United States, and the disproportionate financial power and influence it has over American politics. This also explains the special relations and influence of Netanyahu over Donald Trump.

The horrifying picture one gets from the documentary is that Netanyahu is heading a multipronged maneuver involving the Israel lobby in the United States on the one hand and the Israeli government on the other. This kind of maneuvering exposes American Jews to accusations of double loyalty and depicts Israel as the capital of a borderless Jewish empire.

The liberal American Jews interviewed in the film noted the danger. You should never make a deal with the devil, and in Jerusalem too many deals are being made with the devil, they said.

Speaking of deals with the devil, if you want to complete the picture of Netanyahu’s move via Trump, with the aid of AIPAC and Sheldon Adelson, of course, you should also watch the documentary “’Til Kingdom Come” by Maya Zinshtein. What happens between the Jewish right in Israel and the United States on one side and evangelical Christians on the other isn’t just any deal with the devil. It’s a BDSM romance, but without a safeword.

It’s impossible to understand the willingness of Netanyahu and the Jewish right to get into bed with someone who declares at the beginning of the evening that he’ll eat you tomorrow for breakfast.

When I watched the flirting between Netanyahu and evangelical pastor John Hagee, I was reminded of the old story about a man who died, and two families that didn’t know each other showed up at the cemetery to eulogize the same husband and father. Netanyahu is truly living a double life, as an Israeli leader and a Jewish American leader.

In the end, I couldn’t help but think about Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and the rest of Israel’s politicians, where they are and where Netanyahu is. Gantz, Lapid and the others really only live in Israel. How did we start permitting the dangerous connection between Israel and the United States, between the Israeli and the American Jew? And who could do this?

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