Governments all over the world have been courting the more extremist elements in their society, bringing them into the mainstream, legitimizing their demands and grievances, and Israel is no exception. Peterson’s popularity with far-right audiences and pundits shows that he understands the power of the extremes, but more, his writings and broadcasts show how aligned he is with their thinking.
The 80,000 Likud members who voted in the primary election returned a hardline and slavishly pro-Netanyahu slate. The two main goals professed by nearly all of them? To not only restore “King Bibi” to his rightful place atop the country, but to begin a wholesale revolution in Israel’s democratic system.
The situation on the ground in both Israel and Gaza has returned to pre-war “normal,” a testament to the strategic value of the economic and civilian facets of their budding relationship. But absent a longer-term understanding, this precarious dance will just push off another conflagration.
Far from charting a new course in the Middle East, Biden’s fumbling strategy has taken America back to the Obama playbook — but in a world that is very different from 2008. A simple thing Biden can do to restore American prestige is not to replace handshakes with fist bumps but to erase the space between words and deeds.
Earlier this year, Israeli military intelligence ruled out the chances of any new deal including Iran’s malign regional activity and of Iranian missile development as extremely unlikely — contrary to demands still aired periodically by certain Israeli officials and U.S. analysts. Today, albeit not widely publicized, in Israeli eyes the nuclear issue should be completely decoupled from the regional dimension, lest it create more bargaining power for Tehran.
The pattern is painfully familiar — men, mostly young, are gunned down, often in broad daylight, in Palestinian towns or mixed cities inside Israel. Police rarely seem able to stop these crimes or catch their perpetrators. Many residents believe this inability to solve such crimes is an intentional act aimed at ensuring Palestinian communities are mired in crime and poverty, unable to fight for their civil rights and end state discrimination that has contributed to the gun violence epidemic plaguing these neighborhoods.
While Israel isn’t the U.S., and Lebanon isn’t Afghanistan, the common themes that run through both sets of wars are jarring, especially in the way a Western democracy tries to end a military campaign and how it manages (or not) the fate of local allies who fought alongside it.