Sunday, March 28, 2010

The right-wing need for victimization and Israel

The excellent Glenn Greenwald has this little ditty:

(updated below - Update II)

As rabid and unhinged as the American Right generally has become of late, the right-wing blogosphere is, as usual, several degrees more twisted. Here is Powerline's Paul Mirengoff, a lawyer, protesting Obama's treatment this week of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and comparing it to how a small African country would -- and should -- be treated:

One Israeli newspaper summarized the encounter this way:

"There is no humiliation exercise that the Americans did not try on the prime minister and his entourage. Bibi received in the White House the treatment reserved for the president of Equatorial Guinea."

But Obama would never treat the president of Equatorial Guinea that way.

In other words: Obama subjected Netanyahu to the kind of treatment that should be reserved only for Africans, said the unnamed Israeli newspaper. But, Mirengoff hastened to add, Obama would never treat Africans that way -- only Jews. Citing Mirengoff's post, Glenn Reynolds, a law professor, got the point loud and clear and, in the midst of offering several bizarre conspiracy theories, made it even more explicit:

WHY HAS BARACK OBAMA TREATED NETANYAHU SO RUDELY? "Obama would never treat the president of Equatorial Guinea that way."

Possibly Obama just hates Israel and hates Jews. That’s plausible -- certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.

As usual, nothing is more severe and desperate than the right-wing need to turn oneself into a victim of extreme persecution. Do you think that Equatorial Guinea, if given the option, would choose to be treated by the U.S. Government the same way Israel is: with billions of dollars of American taxpayer money transferred to them each year, automatic diplomatic protection at the U.N. for anything they choose to do, American-backed loan guarantees, weapons transfers on demand, one-fourth of their bulging military budget provided by the U.S., an American law requiring the Obama administration to maintain their military superiority, a White House Chief of Staff who twice served as a civilian volunteer in their army, and a Speaker of the House who proclaims -- in the midst of her own's government conflict with that foreign country -- that the entire U.S. Congress "speaks with one voice" in support of them rather than their own government? I doubt Equatorial Guinea -- or any other country on the planet -- would complain much or consider themselves victims if they received similar treatment from the U.S.; quite the contrary.

As Daniel Larison recently pointed out: the Israel-as-victim polemicists "cannot point to any decrease in Obama’s actual support for Israel, because there has been no decrease of any kind." Kevin Sullivan added: "President Obama has done nothing to change America's strategic relationship with Israel." Given the endless largesse that country continues to receive, the fact that American devotees of Israel nonetheless try to depict Israel as some sort of grave victim of the Obama administration -- and now even try to claim that Obama harbors hatred for Israel and Jews -- reveals how endless is their sense of entitlement for that foreign country, how vast is their craving for self-victimization, how shameless is their cheap exploitation of anti-semitism accusations, and how complete is their break from reality.

UPDATE: For the rest of history, human beings will have a pure, Platonic expression of "rank, oozing hypocrisy" (h/t Blue Texan).

UPDATE II: Obama officials are so incensed with Middle East advisor Dennis Ross' devotion to Israel's interets that, according to Politico's Laura Rozen, they are claiming (anonymously) that Ross "seems to be far more sensitive to Netanyahu's coalition politics than to U.S. interests" and that "by [Ross'] logic, our objectives and interests were less important than pre-emptive capitulation to what he described as Bibi's coalition's red lines." As Rozen puts it, those accusations from anonymous Obama officials against Ross amount to nothing less than "the suggestion of dual loyalties." It's a sign for how intense is the internal debate over Israel, and how much the public debate has opened up, that some Obama officials are willing to go to Politico with such incendiary accusations about Ross.


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