September 23, 2011
Benjamin Netanyahu: the New Caligula - The Daily Beast

irst, Netanyahu has no interest in the Palestinian issue in itself: it is a side show to his true ideological bent – which is to prove that Ben Gurion and the left-leaning establishment of the time made a historic mistake in agreeing to the division of Palestine in order to establish a Jewish state in 1948. His fight is to change history: to show the right was right, the Holy Land could be kept whole as the home of the Jewish people, and that to this end all means, including violence in every form, were and remain justified. U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state would void that aim. Worse still, by seeking the vote, the Abbas-led Palestinians are effectively burying their own historic stance, and officially accepting the division of the land into two states. This is a rerun of 1948, but not as Netanyahu envisions.

Second, Netanyahu is a connoisseur of weakness: his true and possibly sole political talent lies in finding the weakness of his opponent and hammering it mercilessly. Faced with strength, he crumbles – especially when dealing with his coalition partners. Indeed, his biggest partner, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, is his biggest problem since he is his diametric opposite: a bruiser and a bully who despises weakness. He is well known to despise Netanyahu, and glories in taking on much bigger opponents such as Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. In his ex-Soviet fashion, he believes in strength for the sake of strength, no matter the cost – which to Israel, is often great.