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NYT: "It’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s World Now"
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May 18, 2018, 07:16 PM
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From the New York Times Opinion section:

It’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s World Now
By Anshel Pfeffer

Anshel Pfeffer (@AnshelPfeffer) is a writer for Haaretz and the author of “Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu.”

May 18, 2018

Nearly every day it seems that another dream comes true for Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu: On May 8, when President Trump announced that the United States was pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran, he delivered a speech that could have been written by the Israeli prime minister.

… It wasn’t always like this. …

But explaining Mr. Netanyahu’s foreign policy success just by pointing to Mr. Trump’s arrival in the White House misses the wider picture. On May 9, the morning after the announcement on the Iran deal, Mr. Netanyahu was in Moscow as guest of honor at Russia’s Victory Day, standing beside President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Putin still supports the Iran deal, and is in tacit alliance with Iran, Israel’s deadly adversary. And yet the Russian president presented the Israeli prime minister as his country’s close ally. He has also allowed Israel to attack Iranian bases and weapons depots in Syria, and even to bomb Russian-built antiaircraft batteries.

Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump are not alone. Mr. Netanyahu has recently been feted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, President Xi Jinping of China, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, as well as a host of leaders of smaller countries — including those with far-right governments like Hungary, Poland and Austria. No less significantly, he has maintained close contacts with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and behind the scenes with the Arab leaders of the Persian Gulf.

Mr. Netanyahu is the toast of the new wave of right-wing, populist and autocrat-like (if not outright autocratic) leaders. They see in him a kindred spirit, even a mentor. He is the leader of a small country who has taken on American presidents and outlasted them. He has successfully defied the Western liberal human rights agenda, focusing instead on trade and security. Israel’s success as a regional economic and military power is proof in their eyes that the illiberal approach can prevail.

He has spent more time than any of them on the geopolitical stage, winning election after election. In many ways, Mr. Netanyahu is the precursor to this new age of “strongmen” who have come to power in different parts of the world. It is the age of Bibi.

That’s what I’ve been saying for a long time: Israel is a quite successful country, and Netanyahu has been a quite successful Israeli politician, being in and out of supreme power since 1996, 22 years ago.

And Israel is rather like Britain in the 19th Century in that a high proportion of its top men go into politics. So being the top politician in Israel is kind of like being the top sprinter in Jamaica or the top soccer player in Argentina: you are probably pretty good at your job.

So, it’s inevitable that Bibi’s example has been influential.

This ought to be obvious but it isn’t widely recognized in America because the conventional wisdom in the US media is that Jews are an oppressed, powerless people at the mercy of anti-Semites like Putin and Trump.


[Comment at Unz.com]