Jeffrey Goldberg writes:
Rahm, precisely because he’s a lover of Israel, will not have much patience with Israeli excuse-making, so when the next Prime Minister tells President Obama that as much as he’d love to, he can’t dismantle the Neve Manyak settlement outpost, or whichever outpost needs dismantling, because of a) domestic politics; b) security concerns, or c) the Bible, Rahm will call out such nonsense, and it will be very hard for right-wing Israelis to come back and accuse him of being a self-hating Jew. This is not to say that he’s unaware of Palestinian dysfunction, or Iranian extremism, but that he has a good grasp of some of Israel’s foibles as well.
This is precisely the problem with U.S.-Israel relationship. America gives Israel money, and it return it expects to basically control Israeli policy issues. My views on American aid to Israel are already known – this Gordian knot must be cut by ending American aid, and the uneven relationship that follows, so that a true alliance can be forged.
In any case, the U.S., like any Jew who has decided to cast in his lot with a country other than Israel, has no right to “call out” any “nonsense” on the part of the Israeli government. What is, and is not, nonsense in Israel is for the Israeli public to decide. Any decision on outpost-dismantling, settlement evacuation or the construction of new towns anywhere is simply beyond the purview of the United States Government. Israel does not have to give anyone any reason for enacting policy as it sees fit.
I’m very happy Goldberg has faith in the next White House Chief of Staff’s ability to “grasp of some of Israel’s foibles.” Wonderful. Israel’s foibles (which are not what Goldberg thinks they are) are not for America to judge or challenge. The American view of what should or should not happen in the Middle East has, time and time again, caused much more harm than good.
The U.S. has enough problems of its own. As the Talmud says, “קשוט עצמך ואחר קשוט אחרים,” which loosely translated, means, “Judge yourself and only then judge others.”