Yes, I suppose that everything’s already been said or written about the impact of Netanyahu’s Washington invasion this week. But because a number of you have asked for my personal post-game assessment, here it is in a few sentences.
Bibi Netanyahu knew exactly what he was doing when he addressed the US Congress on Tuesday. He was refocusing the remaining two weeks of the Israeli campaign on just about the only issue where he still polls well: the Iranian nuclear threat. That’s all he set out to do — no more or no less.
But by elevating his political survival ahead of every other consideration, Netanyahu has put the quality of the US-Israel relationship at risk. Let’s not delude ourselves: the US-Israel alliance may be as strong as iron as AIPAC likes to say, but even iron is not immune to corrosion.
AIPAC notwithstanding, there’s a point at which Americans will lose patience — or at least enthusiasm — for Israeli obstructionism on Iran, settlements and the occupation, and for the erosion of democratic values both within and across the Green Line.
Israel desperately needs a new direction and a new leadership that is not afraid to take risks; to chose an alternative pathway, even if imperfect, for the sake of a better future. As I suggested in my February 17th post (“A risky world demands a risk-taking politics“), one of these days the politics of more of the same will come crashing down on our heads. I, for one, hope that it’s sooner rather than later.