By Dr. Patrick Slattery — Writing in the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper, Naomi Zeveloff’s headline asked “What Do Israelis Think About Americans? Start With Disdain.” Maybe if you see yourself as “G-d’s chosen people” it’s kind of hard not to look down your nose at others. Well, if G-d chose them, perhaps he could pay their bills as well. So just how strong is this contempt, and how wide spread? Zeveloff writes:
Israelis tend to agree on one thing: Their strongest supporters are an inherently dupable people.
“Most Israelis think Americans are pro-Israel and we can sell them anything, especially mud from the Dead Sea,” said David Lifshitz, the lead writer for the Israeli comedy show “Eretz Nehederet,” or “Wonderful Land.”
“Or — just regular mud with a ‘Dead Sea’ sticker on it.”
But it’s not just American tourists whom many Israelis see as guileless. American foreign policy is held up to similar scrutiny here, even as Israel receives billions of dollars in foreign aid from the United States each year.
As the Beatles (and the crew of the USS Liberty) could tell us, money can’t buy you love, and apparently it doesn’t buy you respect, either. No, you can’t buy respect, you have to earn it. Have we earned it? Think about it. They have us completely fooled, completely brainwashed. That’s why they have engaged in false flag attacks on us, because they are confident that they can get away with it. And after the USS Liberty attack, they could be confident that even if they got caught they wouldn’t be punished. This is a lesson not lost on Prime Minister Netanyahu. According to Zeveloff:
In a secretly recorded video of a 2001 discussion with a group of terror victims in the Ofra settlement in the Israeli occupied West Bank, now-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid out this widely held perception.
“I know what America is,” Netanyahu, then on political hiatus after an election defeat, told the settlers when one asked whether his proposal for a “large scale” attack on the Palestinians would be met with global condemnation. “America is a thing that can be easily moved, moved in the right direction. They will not bother us… Let’s suppose they [the Bush administration] will say something. So they say it — so what? Eighty per cent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd! We have such [great] support there! And we say… what shall we do with this [support]?”
Yes, Bibi, you are right. It is absurd that you have eighty percent support in America. (You can see the video here, although the conversation is in Hebrew.) And what did Netanyahu propose to do with that support? Lanch a large scale attack on the Palestinians, and then shield Israel from global condemnation using the naive, contemptable Americans. Of course, fast forward to 2015 and Bibi has bigger plans for how to use the absurd support from contemptable Americans. So he invited himself to address Congress.
[M]ost Israelis were in agreement about their premier’s message. About three-quarters of Israelis “don’t trust Obama to be a reliable ally and to deal effectively with the Iranian nuclear threat” said Eytan Gilboa, a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
That opinion was evident on the Israeli street the day of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, despite all the administration’s measures on behalf of Israel’s security that Netanyahu took pains to laud.
Israelis don’t trust Obama, dispite everything that even Netanyahu had to admit he has done for Israel. And they feel threatened by Iranian nukes that don’t exist, and that Israel’s own intelligence agency says are not being developed. If that sounds kind of paranoid, you haven’t heard nothing yet…
Yet there’s another reason that Israelis don’t trust Americans, and that has to do with a wider, powerful strain of mistrust in Israeli society.
“Israelis grow up with the expression of ‘never be a freier,’ i.e., a push-over or loser, someone who can be taken for a ride,” Ari Ben Zeev wrote in his 2001 book “The Xenophobe’s Guide to the Israelis.” “This omnipresent need ‘not to be a freier’ can be traced to 2,000 years of being a struggling minority and also to the Middle Eastern neighborhood rule that everything is negotiable.”
Struggling minority? I don’t know about the struggling part. They seem to be doing pretty well nowadays, and there are plenty of historical figures from centuries gone by, like Shakespere and Martin Luther, who would attest to the same. But wait, there’s more:
An American might respond with the saying “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” and observe that this outlook, with deep roots in the American psyche, rebuts the Israeli stereotype of Americans as ever-trusting.
But for many Israelis, the question is, why trust anyone even once?
Yes, why trust anyone? Since it’s founding Israel has enjoyed the indulgence of all the world’s wealthiest and most generous societies. Furthermore, in spite of all the talk of the Middle East as being such a bad neighborhood, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Turkey have been de facto allies of Israel for decades. But, given the Jewish propensity for projecting one’s own loathing on to others, the inability to trust can be understood.
Here is one more tidbit from Zeveloff:
The fear of being taken advantage of manifests in myriad ways. Israelis have a reputation as hardcore bargainers, and they’re known to cheat on their taxes — both because they can and because they think they’re getting a bad deal from the government as it is.
Who would have ever thought that Israelis are tax cheats? But, it must be true, because Naomi Zeveloff said so, and she is Jewish, and as an American I can be expected to trust the Jews as much as they can be expected to view us with suspicion and disdain.