Is the Left Ever Right?
This week, Jay Michaelson wrote a trashy piece at The Daily Beast about Benjamin Netanyahu and his brother, Jonathan. By extension, he took a shot at their father, Benzion Netanyahu.
The subtitle to Michaelson’s piece reads: “If Yoni Netanyahu died too young, Bibi Netanyahu seems never to die at all.”
Michaelson started the piece off by claiming that Yoni Netanyahu was his hero. Before he finished his hit piece on the Netanyahus, he also tossed in some negative analysis of Yoni Netanyahu’s performance during the rescue operation at Entebbe.
Evidently, the new film, “7 Days in Entebbe,” prompted Michaelson to let us all know how he feels about the Netanyahus’ particular brand of Zionism.
He also revealed that he doesn’t know much about his subjects.
Michaelson really stretched reality by imagining how the dynamic has always worked within the Netanyahu family. He even went so far as to write this whopper:
“Yoni was Joe Kennedy Jr.; Bibi was Jack. Yoni was Sonny Corleone; Bibi was Michael.”
This is an example of a writer attempting to be provocative and analytical. I call it embarrassing.
For one thing, unlike the Kennedy and Corleone family, there has never been any sort of “succession plan” for sons in the Netanyahu family to become either a head-of-state, or a crime boss.
Anyone who thinks that Jonathan Netanyahu would have entered politics after his military service needs his head examined. Yoni Netanyahu couldn’t have abided the weeds of politics, with its compromise. Benzion Netanyahu did not have a plan for his oldest son to become prime minister, then have son no. 2 in the bullpen in case something happened to the first-born.
(I also think Jonathan Netanyahu was infinitely smarter than Joe Kennedy Jr.)
As to the second comparison, Yoni was a hothead, undisciplined skirt-chaser, a la Sonny Corleone?
Writing like this only goes to show that Michaelson should go back to J-school and learn how to process information and write for public consumption. If he hates Bibi Netanyahu, why not just say that? Why not just write: “I hate Bibi,” and turn that in to an editor?
Then Michaelson reveals his distaste for both Israeli and American leaders who love their countries:
“Netanyahu’s once-outlandishly-conservative policies, and the ideology of his even more conservative father, Benzion Netanyahu, have prevailed in both Israel and the United States. Progressives like me think this is a calamity for both Israel and Palestine, but even we have to admit that Bibi has won, decisively.
“Not just his ideas, but Bibi’s attitude—gruff, nationalistic, borderline-racist—has won as well. Israel is less democratic and more mean-spirited than ever before. And as far as America, Bibi was Trump before Trump was Trump.”
Guess what? That nationalism has kept us, and the Israelis, safer. If we were still ruled by the milquetoast diplomats and Marxists, both countries would be in greater peril.
Elsewhere, Michaelson has written:
“The Arabs hate us, anti-Zionism is just anti-Semitism, and most importantly, the Intifada is about Jew-hatred, not resistance to the occupation.”
This is his simplistic framing of how Netanyahu thinks. It is also a temper tantrum from a writer who has the luxury of writing nonsense when he feels like it.
I wonder how often Michaelson has talked with the Netanyahus. Did he sit with Benzion Netanyahu, as I have, and listen to the man articulate his worldview?
Michaelson goes to some lengths to revise history regarding Arab hatred of Jews in Palestine and now Israel. Ironically, he calls the Netanyahus revisionists, along with Zionist intellectual Ze’ev Jabotinsky. These men believed, as Michaelson did accurately portray, that the Arabs only understand force and so Israel must act accordingly.
Accordingly means a strong military and security apparatus.
Michaelson does not have an answer when confronted with the historical data that shows us clearly Israeli leaders like Begin and Netanyahu have kept Israel safe.
The freedom that provides allows typists like Michaelson to churn-out the most turgid assessments.
And if Yoni is Sonny and Bibi is Michael, then Michaelson is Fredo.