Benjamin Netanyahu is falling from grace fast, and he’s blaming everyone but himself for the downward spiral. In response to his recent drop in Israeli opinion polls, the thrice-elected leader is casting his challengers as “tools of a global campaign to usurp power.” He claims that unspecified foreign governments and tycoons are funneling “tens of millions of dollars” to opposition activists working to undermine his Likud party.
Well, duh, Bibi. Maybe if you didn’t inject yourself into other countries’ business, the world wouldn’t see you as such a thorn in its side. Or perhaps the world sees what a two-faced, crazed megalomaniac you’ve become, and it wants no part of you.
There is no mistaking Netanyahu’s megalomania. This is a man who doesn’t take kindly to opposition. As described by Slate Magazine, when critics in Israel’s parliament “question his policies, he purges them from office, challenges their patriotism, and accuses them of serving foreign masters.” He has declared that he “will not tolerate opposition within the government.” And he has announced plans to pass a new law that would strip dissenting parties of their power to check the prime minister
Audaciously, Netanyahu claims to represent not just all Israelis, but all Jews everywhere. He recently did so when he joined in France’s march against terrorism in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Despite the French government’s direct request that he not attend, Netanyahu not only showed up but also worked his way to the front of the crowd and delivered a self-aggrandizing speech. He asserted, “I came to Paris not only as prime minister of Israel, but as a representative of the Jewish people.”
“Among heads of state, rolling your eyes at Netanyahu has become
a bonding experience.”
To Americans, Netanyahu presents himself as an admiring ally. “I respect President Obama,” he declared on Face the Nation. But when the prime minister addressed Congress, he ignored signals from the White House not to come, and he urged Congress to oppose Obama’s foreign policy—all the while swearing his trip wasn’t political. Hundreds of lawmakers stood and applauded. And then, Netanyahu used their applause in a campaign ad.
“Maybe Netanyahu is right,” says Slate Magazine’s William Saletan. “Maybe the whole world is out to get him. But if that’s true, it’s not because he’s brave or righteous. It’s because he has gone out of his way to antagonize so many people. Among heads of state, rolling your eyes at Netanyahu has become a bonding experience.”
A lifelong communicator, I'm pretty sure I came out of the womb talking. But with no siblings to chat and play with, I learned to express myself in writing. My subsequent birth as a politics junkie came while I watched my father, a career Marine, sob uncontrollably over Kennedy's assassination. Intuitively, I knew the world would never be the same, and I should pay attention. So I did.
Now, some 50 years later, I find myself dumbfounded by the trajectory of American politics and the prevalence of ignorance, bigotry, hate, and violence. I started Two Cents of Sense, hoping to help change that trajectory and to promote progressives' conversation, knowledge sharing, and actions.