I want to get my two cents in on Bibi Netanyahu. And let me start out by saying that he disgusts me the same way that Bush and Cheney and Reagan and McCain and Gingrich do. More about this later.
I first noticed Netanyahu in the early nineties, and he seemed immediately familiar to me- a self-serving demagogue cut from the same cloth as the American guys I mentioned above. But the Israelis couldn't see that, and for a historical reason. Israel is not an old country. Up until Netanyahu, all of the high ranking members of Israeli governments had participated either in the fight to establish the State, or in the struggle to build a society from nothing. And as with our founding fathers, this left even the most deplorable of them, like Sharon, with a commitment to the welfare of Israel that overrode their lowest motives. Not so with Netanyahu. He cared for no one but himself, and was willing to advance in Israel the same right wing cant that has caused us such damage here in the U.S. In a way, he is more destructive than Republican leaders here, because he is not so surrounded by think tanks, pollsters and other manipulators who could try to keep him from spinning off from reality in such a tragic manner.
We can see this clearly because we have lived with it so long, but the Israelis could not, and thus they got Netanyahu. And the results they are getting are pretty much the same as the results that we got under Bush and Cheney.
At the start of this current spate of violence, I was shocked to see how much public opinion seemed to have turned in the direction of the Israelis. Comment sections on web posts that had routinely featured hundreds or thousands of the most sickeningly antisemitic remarks were now filled with supporters of Israel. All gone now. With eight hundred deaths and counting, the Palestinians have again succeeded in the only thing they seem to be able to do besides terrorist violence- convincing the world (which is predisposed to see things in any way unfavorable to Jews) that the Israelis are once again the bad guy.
No matter that a very large number of civilian casualties are undoubtedly the result of the callous actions of Hamas, mixing their military installations into the civilian population in a deliberate attempt to cause any Israeli response to their attacks to result in Palestinian civilian deaths, and whose soldiers, in a violation of international law, wear no uniforms, and can therefore be declared to be civilians once they are dead. Far too many people are ready to ignore the 13,000 rockets, the tunnel attacks on Israel, the hatred espoused by Hamas, all of it, in order to blame the Jews.
Still, Netanyahu's strategy of mindless militarism has produced the same result that Bush's and Cheney's did- making his own country one more time a pariah, and allowing the Arabs to portray actions taken by Israel in self-defense as some sort of abominable aggression.
This is the result of giving in and letting the right rule your country, wherever it happens. Thanks, Bibi.
P.S.- there seems to be a random line of type across this post, at least on my browser. I don't have a clue where it came from. Sorry.