Best Of The Web
“Twenty-one years ago, Benzion Netanyahu, a scholar of medieval history and the father of an Israeli Prime Minister serving his first term, relaxed with a reporter at his home on Haportzim Street, in West Jerusalem, and wondered aloud if his boy, who went by “Bibi,” was made of the right stuff. Benzion was an uncompromising ideologue, a maximalist, and a member of the Revisionist movement. (The Revisionist hymn included the line “the Jordan has two banks; this one is ours, the other one, too.”) He despised the liberal élites. They had stifled his academic career, he believed, and weakened the country with their prattle about making peace with the Palestinians. Supporters of the Labor Party, the dominant force in Israeli politics for decades, did not, in his mind, live in the real world. “Jewish history is in large measure a history of holocausts,” he said that day.
Benzion died in 2012. He was a hundred and two. Any lingering worries he might have had that his son lacked the political cunning and the ideological mettle to put an end to the two-state expectations raised by the Oslo peace accords were misplaced. Benjamin Netanyahu, who won a fifth term last week, has proved himself shrewd, cynical, and willing to do and to say anything to survive in office.
Practicing a politics of division, he targets enemies in the press, the academy, and the courts. Increasingly, he finds his global allies in the ever-growing club of the Illiberal International, from the Sunni Arab leaders in his own region to Viktor Orbán, in Hungary; Jair Bolsonaro, in Brazil; and Vladimir Putin, in Russia. He has determined that the world no longer cares very much about the Palestinians or about democratic niceties. He has marginalized the left––even the center-left. The “peace camp” that Benzion loathed now barely exists.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"U.S. President Donald Trump thinks he’s suffered more injustice than the alleged witches of Salem, but it could be worse. Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharaff faced possible impeachment in 2008, leading to his resignation. In the end..."
"The 2000s felt like a decade of looking forward. Wi-Fi went mainstream, phones got smarter, social media connected us, digital tools let us rely less on physical ones. But the 2010s brought a shift. There was still tons of new technology, but..."
"While some women experience pregnancy and childbirth as joyful, natural and fulfilling, others find themselves recoiling in horror at the physical demands of carrying and sustaining a child in their womb, and even more so at the potential..."
"A few months ago, the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo bemoaned the death of the Manhattan power lunch. Gone were the long, decadent afternoons filled with networking and Negronis: “Suit-and-tie-wearing machers in media and Wall Street gave way to..."
"Economic inequality has moved to the top of the political agenda in many countries, including free-market poster children like the US and the UK. The issue is mobilizing the left and causing headaches on the right, where wealth has long been..."
"If you’re not familiar with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats — or even if you are — then you probably have many, many questions going into the film adaptation this weekend, especially if you’ve witnessed the widespread bafflement the trailer..."
"Despite his precisely targeted campaign and some unexpected support, the chances of Gideon Saar engineering a surprise defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Dec. 26 primaries for the Likud party leadership are still considered modest.."
"Peter Thiel is Big Tech’s most prominent Trump supporter. He is an unabashed enemy of the free press, having covertly funded a lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker three years ago. He has become one of the most vocal pro-monopoly advocates, taking a..."