As I went back and forth about what I should write about this week, I was chatting with a friend about the news of the day.
I was "nerding out" over the Israeli elections...and after she had a good chuckle at my “nerdiness” (that is, the fact that in one breath I’ll be talking about what shade my husband and I painted the nursery, and in the next—nerd out over Middle Eastern elections six thousand miles away), she responded simply:
“Well, there you go! That’s your piece.”
She continued, “I get that you care about this. But use your piece this week to tell me why I should care.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters at the party's election headquarters In Tel Aviv. Wednesday, March 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
It’s an excellent point, actually. Why should you care about an election taking place on the other side of the world, in a nation only slightly larger than the state of New Jersey?
Let’s break this down. But before we do, let’s understand the factors at play.
There were eight political parties in the mix, and,—in the context of foreign policy —some of the biggest differences between them center on what to do with Palestine, radical Islam, and a nuclear Iran.
True, there are eight parties, but it ultimately came down to two: the right-leaning Likud party (current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) and the left-leaning Zionist Union party (challenger Isaac Herzog).
While he has at times considered talks with the Palestinians in regards to a two-state solution, Netanyahu has been unequivocal in sounding the alarm against a nuclear Iran and staving off the advance of radical Islam. His position is firm: Israel has a right to exist, and its security against its enemies is paramount.
His challenger, Herzog, strongly favors a “two-state solution” in which Israel would negotiate with the Palestinian Authority over disputed land—and some fear that Herzog's willingness to please President Barack Obama (which would be a shift from Netanyahu’s approach) would sharply tailor his actions.
So, why should any of this matter to you?
1. You should care … because your tax dollars (allegedly) went to support the effort to defeat Netanyahu.
The relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has been incredibly turbulent.
And now, it’s come to light that the OneVoice Movement (a grassroots group adamantly against Netanyahu) received $350,000 in U.S. State Department grants.
The group is “prohibited from directly targeting Netanyahu by U.S. law and can only do it through its Israeli partner, V15,” and now the U.S. Senate is looking into whether or not OneVoice did just that—which would mean the Obama administration funded the anti-Netanyahu effort by proxy.
It certainly appears that way:
“Haaretz reporter Roi Arad revealed in an article in the Hebrew edition today [January 26] that the foreign funded organization, “One Voice”, is bankrolling the V-2015 campaign.”
It’s certainly one thing for President Obama to disagree with Prime Minister Netanyahu. It’s quite another to use our taxpayer dollars to oust him.
2. You should care … because Israel is our strongest ally in the region.
On many fronts, Israel is a shining light in an incredibly dark region. As the American Israel Public Affairs Committee put it, “Israel is a reliable democratic ally that shares America’s values and worldview in a region often dominated by radical forces, dictatorial regimes and extremist non-state actors.”
Stemming from these shared values is a mutual commitment to international security (which we’ll discuss momentarily). Our relationship with Israel means we exchange vital intelligence critical to our understanding of and dealings with the Middle East. So, it matters who is in charge—and how they’ll want to work with us on that front, and to what end.
3. You should care … because a weak Israel means a stronger radical Islam.
As we discussed in No. 2, Israel has consistently remained an ally of the United States due in large part to the fact that we share a set of basic values and a similar outlook on the world.
Flying directly in the face of a region that routinely mistreats women, flogs dissidents, brainwashes children, and beheads opposition, Israel's values (particularly Netanyahu's) hold that radical Islam and the violence it perpetuates is unacceptable—and a cancer to the world:
“In this deadly game of thrones, there's no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don't share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu in his March 2015 address to Congress.
Letting down their guard against radical Islam (as some of Netanyahu’s opponents want to do) weakens the last bastion of sanity left in the Middle East … and opens the door for groups like Hamas (a radical Palestinian group funded in part by Iran) to carry out the driving force of its charter:
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
Importantly, you must understand that in the eyes of Islamic terror, Israel is the “little Satan” and the United States is the “great Satan.”
We can’t be fooled into thinking that Israel’s ceasing to exist—whether through violent attacks or the “relentless process of attrition and erosion”—won’t affect the rest of the world. If the forces that be are willing to expend such effort to wipe Israel (the “little Satan”) off the map, do we honestly think it stops there?
4. You should care … because nuclear weapons are in play.
Why is it important whether or not leadership in Israel stands up to President Obama on the issue of Iran? Because President Obama doesn’t see a nuclear Iran as a problem.
And why is a nuclear Iran a problem? They also happen to the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.
A nuclear-armed state sponsor of terror suddenly expands the conversation far and beyond the borders of the Middle East. And it directly affects everyone in the West, including the United States.
Does it all really matter?
Prime Minister Netanyahu has now reportedly won his election—and while he’s certainly not perfect, his unrelenting focus on the threats to dismantle civilized society (not only in the Middle East, but worldwide) is of paramount importance.
And, unlike some in the media would have you believe, his election doesn't inhibit peace. Do you know what inhibits peace? Suicide bombers. Netanyahu simply stopped operating (as should our president) within the narrative that the leadership behind those bombers ever wanted peace.
So, should elections in a nation only slightly larger than the state of New Jersey really matter to you?
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. ET). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFuture
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