It’s come to me that Israel and the U.S. might as well have co-presidents, Bush and Olmert. Their policies and views are so similar that, like old married couples, they can almost finish each other’s sentences and ape the other country’s policies.
No sooner did Bush spend an hour behind closed doors with Olmert talking about Iran, than Bush came out warning that Iran was a threat to the world’s existence. I even detected a bit of a Hebrew accent when he spoke:
“[It’s] very important for the world to take the Iranian threat seriously, which the United States does,” Bush said. “Iran is an existential threat to peace.”
Hardly anyone in the world outside of the neocons and Israeli hawks believe Iran is an “existential threat to peace.” In fact the very use of the term “existential” is Israeli right-wing code for Arab genocide. The same precise terms were used during the Lebanon war in painting Hezbollah as diabolically evil. To be clear, many nations believe that Iran is a hostile party and that any effort for it to obtain nuclear weapons is dangerous. But there is a qualitative difference between saying this and saying the ayatollahs want to blow us and Israel to kingdom come.
Such rhetoric must be seen for what it is: jingoistic propaganda. Keep in mind that Ehud Olmert’s is holding on by the skin of his teeth and George Bush faces the lowest approval ratings of his presidency. They’re both desperately seeking to remain relevant. But would they go to the extreme of actually starting a war to prove that relevance?
Similarly, Olmert and Barak are beating the war drums against Hamas these days. In their twisted view, the way they must enter into a truce with the Islamist movement is by first invading Gaza to “flush out” any “last remnants” of resistance. The policy is terribly callous and ineffective. The thinking goes like this: we need a ceasefire; but we know Hamas will build up their military capability during that ceasefire. So let’s go in and hit ’em where it hurts for a few days so that we won’t have to do this again for, oh, at least another six months or so.
Israeli policy is like the movie Groundhog Day. It keeps repeating itself over and over in an endless cruel cycle. But with the difference being that Israel, unlike Bill Murray’s character, never understands the folly of its ways and breaks out of the cycle.