Last Thursday, in Davos, Switzerland, Benjamin Netanyahu issued what essentially amounted to a demand that America increase the amount of its annual assistance to the Jewish state, this in a statement he made at the World Economic Forum.
The Israeli prime minister said the increase is necessary because of the Iran deal.
“We’re talking about a bigger package”–necessary, he said, in order to “resist Iranian aggression in the region.”
Netanyahu’s comments came just one day after a former aid of his offered up a scathing remark about U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro. It would seem that no criticism of Israel can ever be tolerated from any US official, apparently even if the official is Jewish.
“Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked,” Shapiro had remarked earlier in the week. “As Israel’s devoted friend and its most stalwart partner, we believe that Israel must develop stronger and more credible responses to questions about the rule of law in the West Bank.”
But Shapiro, for his trouble, promptly had his nose rubbed in the dirt. In an appearance on Israeli TV on Wednesday, Aviv Bushinsky, a former political aid to Netanyahu, by way of response called Shapiro a “little Jew boy.”
This of course is not the first time prominent Israelis have insulted US officials. There have been other instances (see here and here ). Nevertheless, it seems that a US delegation will travel to Israel next week to discuss the new aid package.
Is the relationship between Israel and the US comparable to that between a parasite and its host? Some have drawn that analogy, and my own personal view is that it’s probably a valid one. If we look at the “special relationship” from that perspective, however, we might stretch the metaphor a bit further by saying that not only is the parasite feeding off the host’s blood, but is hurling insults at it as it does so.
The longer Americans go on putting up with insults and affronts of this type–from what is supposedly a “client state”–the more we become the laughing stocks of the world.
Richard Edmondson is an author, novelist, poet, and journalist whose writings often focus on Middle East issues, the Zionist lobby, and religion. His latest novel is The Memoirs of Saint John: When the Sandstone Crumbles, a story about an archaeological team doing a dig in Syria and set amidst the current conflict in the country.
In 2014 Richard attended an International Conference on Combating Terrorism and Religious Extremism, held in Damascus. The book is part two in the Memoirs of Saint John series.
Two other books by Richard are Rising Up: Class Warfare in America from the Streets to the Airwaves, relating his experiences founding and operating an unlicensed or “pirate” FM radio station in San Francisco in the 1990s, as well as a volume of poetry entitled American Bus Stop: Essay and Poems on Hope and Homelessness.
Richard is cognizant of the words of the early Christian writer Tertullian, who in the second century-basically prognosticating the fall of the Roman Empire-wrote: “We have made merry amid the ludicrous cruelties of the noonday exhibition.”