Thursday, 09 December 2010 00:00
It’s been a dreary week in the world.
Fires cost the lives of more than two score Israelis, burned more than 4 million trees—each planted as part of the Zionist enterprise of reforestation— exposed the structural vulnerability of the nation and the irresponsibility and massive incompetence of successive governments of the right and the left.
The leadership of the United States government – right and left – demonstrated that it too was unwilling to solve a national problem. No sooner had the bi-partisan debt commission reported on its finding and called for shared national sacrifice, increasing taxes, raising the age of retirement when the President and the Republican Party entered into a grand compromise giving away $900 million of tax giveaways over the next two years. The President capitulated; he gave in to Republican blackmail. If we could not give tax breaks to the rich, to those making over $1 million dollars a year, or to the near rich, those making over $250,000 a year, then unemployment benefits would not be extended for those who have been jobless for years and taxes would rise for the near poor and the middle class. We were told in no uncertain terms that no one is serious about reducing the debt, no national sacrifice is needed and our President is unwilling to lead. I am not alone in feeling that the American century is coming to an end and that my children and theirs will live in a world where the American is less a leader and more a fraying power.
I know that some supporters of Israel are rejoicing that the Obama Administration has abandoned its ill- fated efforts for a settlement freeze on the West Bank as a gesture to foster negotiations. I understand all the reasons it failed, not the least of which was because the Palestinians dallied during the 10 months when it was in effect and only began negotiations in the 9th month. Still, I remain that settlements are not in Israel’s national interest because they make the achievement of two separate states all the more difficult and a two state solution is essential to retaining Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Settlements also use resources that are vitally needed elsewhere. Look at the roads in Israel’s North; look also at the absence of firefighting equipment.