Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was brilliantly deceitful because it played to the fantasies that Israeli propaganda and right wing militarists in the US have been popularizing for the past thirty years.
The biggest fantasy: that we can coerce others through power over them to do what we consider in the best interests of the U.S. or Israel. This is what I call The Strategy of Domination. A more effective path is The Strategy of Generosity–showing others that we care about them and recognize their needs as being equally legitimate to our own. This second approach is the view that made trade between tribes, and eventually between nations possible in the past, and it remains the view that makes it possible for most countries of the world to live in peace with their neighbors. They hate to do business with those who think that they can get their way through power-tripping and manipulations and threats. This struggle between two world views is the core of the debate today in the U.S. and the reason that the militarists have the upper hand is because the Obama Administration, fearing that it might be ridiculed as believing in “kumbaya politics,” used its first six years to pursue policies that better fit the Strategy of Domination than the Strategy of Generosity. Predictably, now it finds itself without a popular base for turning toward a more rational path in regard to Iran, having to frame its policies in terms of his policies’ toughness rather than in terms of their humanity and reflection of higher ethical values.
I know so many people who shake their heads in despair at the growth of the right-wing consciousness in the US in every sphere except identity politics, but really what other discourse are they ever exposed to? Obama should embrace the Biblical call for “love the stranger/the other” and challenge Americans to take that call seriously. Instead, he tries to measure up against the criteria set by the militarists. Guess what? In that coercion-oriented arena liberals and progressives will always fail, because you have to be unscrupulous to win there.