Daniel Pipes: When Israel Stood Up to the U.S.
As tensions between Israel and the U.S. “climb to unfamiliar heights,” Daniel Pipes looks back at “a prior round of tensions nearly thirty years ago, when Menachem Begin and Ronald Reagan were in charge. In contrast to Binyamin Netanyahu’s repeated apologies, Begin adopted a quite different approach.”
When the Reagan administration criticized Israel for actually acting in its own interests, Begin lashed out:
“Three times during the past six months, the U.S. Government has ‘punished’ Israel,” Begin began. He enumerated those three occasions: the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, the bombing of the PLO headquarters in Beirut, and now the Golan Heights law. Throughout this exposition, according to Avner, Lewis interjected but without success: “Not punishing you, Mr. Prime Minister, merely suspending …,” “Excuse me, Mr. Prime Minister, it was not …,” “Mr. Prime Minister, I must correct you …,” and “This is not a punishment, Mr. Prime Minister, it’s merely a suspension until …”
Fully to vent his anger, Begin drew on a century of Zionism:
What kind of expression is this – “punishing Israel”? Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic? Are we youths of fourteen who, if they don’t behave properly, are slapped across the fingers? Let me tell you who this government is composed of. It is composed of people whose lives were spent in resistance, in fighting and in suffering. You will not frighten us with “punishments.” He who threatens us will find us deaf to his threats. We are only prepared to listen to rational arguments. You have no right to “punish” Israel – and I protest at the very use of this term.
(5) Politicians in other countries quite frequently attack the United States. Indeed, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, did so last week. But his purpose – to convince his countrymen that he is not, in fact, a kept politician – differed fundamentally from Begin’s of asserting Israel’s dignity.
(6) It is difficult to imagine any other Israeli politician, Binyamin Netanyahu included, who would dare to pull off Begin’s verbal assault.
(7) Yet that might be just what Israel needs.
I fear Pipes is right. It’s time for Israel to stand up to Obama.
The relationship between both has turned sour; not because of anything Israel has done, but because of the new president’s apparent dislike for the Jewish nation-state. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has to stop apologizing and pretending that Obama doesn’t mean wrong. He does, for he’s no friend of Israel.Explore posts in the same categories: Iran / Israel War