Trouble in Israel

Trouble in Israel

Usually there is a honeymoon after an election. Even if the election was hotly contested, even if the losing side is smarting and bitter, there is at least a show of hatchet-burying.

Except if it is 2000 and the election is Bush versus Gore, handshakes and warm wishes are in order.

And usually an election is seen as an internal event. We might regret what we see as the clear short-sightedness, if not abject stupidity, of the citizens of another country, but we don’t usually say so publicly – although we might smugly wait for disaster to unroll there. Certainly our leaders do not criticize the outcomes of foreign elections – nor do we expect criticism about our choices from our allies.

As we sit here, we watch a wave of divisiveness and anger roll out of the United States toward Israel, and another come out of Israel toward the United States, as if they were a plague, tangible swarms of hostility and aggression that flatten out everything underneath them as they roll in.

Certainly there are reasons. President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu seem genuinely to dislike each other, and as much as politicians are carefully public personae, they are also actual people. Neither country trusts the other any more. There are reasons for that as well.

But this new condition, this out-in-the-open distrust, barely camouflaged with occasional tossed out not-meant-to-be-believed pabulum words, is not good for either country. In fact, it is corrosive and terrible.

We hope that our leaders will come to their senses and grow up.