Mr. Sean Kennedy recently wrote an article deploring the attention which American media gave to the latest Israeli election. Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu was re-elected to serve his fourth term as Israel’s prime minister, a result which has had America’s government and the media in an uproar. According to Mr. Kennedy, however, “…the American people should have no interest in Israeli politics” and “in America, the makeup of the Israeli government does not matter.” This idea is ludicrous.
America was one of the first countries to back the United Nations’ Partition Resolution in 1948, which established the Jewish nation of Israel from part of the British Empire’s colonial mandate for Palestine, a mostly Arabic state. Since then, the American policy has always pushed for a two state solution: a Jewish homeland (Israel) and an Arab state (Palestine). This has been met with much opposition, particularly from the Palestinians. Mr. Kennedy is quite right to say “the situation is far too complicated…to have one clear solution;” this debate has lasted far longer than a half-century and there is still no end in sight.
Netanyahu’s re-election was “met by some dismay from some U.S. Government officials” because during his campaign for this election, he staunchly promised that he would not settle for a two-state solution and he would push for only one state: Israel, the Jewish homeland. Such a conclusion would result in the erasure of the entire identity of Palestinians, whose country would no longer exist; it would also likely result in the forced conversion or emigration of many Palestinian and Israeli Arabs. A one-state solution favoring Palestine would result in the erasure of the Jewish homeland and thus the identity of Israelis. America prides itself on being the harbinger of democracy, equality and freedom; the perpetuation of which is its motivation and “human interest” in Israeli and Palestine. The eradication of an entire people’s identity can never be construed as democratic, equal nor free.
Despite America’s historic and staunch alliance with Israel, such an alliance is not set in stone. As Mr. Kennedy himself admits, “the Israeli government under Netanyahu has grown somewhat hostile to the Obama administration.” Should Netanyahu decide, and persuade the parliament to agree with him, it would be more lucrative to pursue relations with a country more sympathetic to a one-state solution, America’s “essential piece in our weapons trade” and “$40 billion in trade” might not be as stable as Mr. Kennedy claims.
Regardless of Israel’s present issues, Mr. Kennedy seems to be claiming that the American people should not be concerned about current events, but this premise makes no sense. America’s government is based on the consent of the governed. If the governed knows nothing about the issues at hand, how can the government properly interpret its consent? As James Madison said, “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.” To purposely advise ignorance is to advise willing slavery. If the public does not educate itself about the issues that matter to the government, the government would be able to completely control the public which simply wouldn’t know any better.
Even if Natanyahu does not directly influence your personal scope of experience, that does not mean he doesn’t matter. The governor of Wisconsin doesn’t always directly impact Colorado, but does that mean Wisconsin and the make-up of its state legislature don’t matter?
Beyond that, we are fast becoming a global culture. The idea that a single country, even if that country is the U.S.A., can insulate itself and only see what is happening on its home turf is outdated. One should always be open to current events and acknowledge that significant events happen outside of their own small sphere of existence. That is why the news exists; to bring attention to those key events that may not have a visible impact on its viewers. Other countries and their governments do matter.
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