Pretty much the same thing that's not to like about America: the radical right. A vicious group in both nations, they are hand in glove. Both countries have big groups of outraged liberals and internationalists who are horrified by what we and the Israeli right are doing to Palestine and to our own nations' political balance.
David Remnick writes in the New Yorker about one particular member of Israel's militant right. Naftali Bennett is running for office and he intends to be prime minister sooner rather than later. He got some of his political jones in America.
A forty-year-old settlement leader, software entrepreneur, and ex-Army commando, Bennett promises to build a sturdy electoral bridge between the religious and the secular, the hilltop outposts of the West Bank and the start-up suburbs of the coastal plain. This is something new in the history of the Jewish state. Bennett is a man of the far right, but he is eager to advertise his cosmopolitan bona fides. Although he was the director general of the Yesha Council, the main political body of the settler movement, he does not actually live in a settlement. He lives in Ra’anana, a small city north of Tel Aviv that is full of programmers and executives. He is as quick to make reference to an episode of “Seinfeld” as he is to the Torah portion of the week. He constantly updates his Facebook page. A dozen years ago, he moved to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to seek his fortune in high tech, and his wife, Gilat, went to work as a pastry chef at chic restaurants like Aureole, Amuse, and Bouley Bakery. Her crème brûlée, he declares proudly, “restored the faith of the Times food critic in the virtues of crème brûlée.”
Closer to his ideological core is an unswerving conviction that the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem might as well relinquish their hopes for a sovereign state. The Green Line, which demarcates the occupied territories from Israel proper, “has no meaning,” he says, and only a friyer, a sucker, would think otherwise. As one of his slick campaign ads says, “There are certain things that most of us understand will never happen: ‘The Sopranos’ are not coming back for another season . . . and there will never be a peace plan with the Palestinians.” If Bennett becomes Prime Minister someday—and his ambition is as plump and glaring as a harvest moon—he intends to annex most of the West Bank and let Arab cities like Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin be “self-governing” but “under Israeli security.”
“I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state,” he says of the Palestinians. No more negotiations, “no more illusions.” Let them eat crème brûlée.
Onstage, he waited as a nervous host flambéed the introduction: “He loves a good run! His favorite ice cream is pistachio! And his favorite movie is ‘The Shawshank Redemption’! . . . Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Naftali Bennett!” ...New Yorker
Oh boy. Where does Israel end and America begin? Which the dog and which the tail? I guess we can't exactly call it the US/Israel jihad, but why not? Trouble is, as Remnick points out, stability in the Middle East is now a memory. So how does a determinedly radical Israel function in such a situation? Badly, badly, and with a lot of help from the US, if only by default.
All parties wait for the White House, but why would an American President think that he could present his own initiative and muster enough support on all sides to succeed? Why, he asks himself, should he spend the political capital? Courage is discouraged. And so this is the moment of Naftali Bennett. I’ve rarely seen a novice politician so confident, and with such reason. Each day, he is climbing in the polls, skimming off votes from the Likud and Netanyahu. ...New Yorker