Recently -- and narrowly -- re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has proven once again that he has a zero learning curve. Having alienated the American president by his slimy re-election tactic of getting the Speaker of the House to provide Bibi a very-prestigious forum to address a joint session of Congress, without even asking for the protocol of clearance from our President, it seems that Bibi and his intransigent warrior mentality have alienated the Pope himself. RESULT: For the first time, the Vatican has finalized, enthusiastically, a bilateral treaty with the so-called State of Palestine that makes explicit Vatican recognition of Palestinian statehood, the very last thing Bibi Netanyahu wants!
There was a time when such Vatican action would just be seen as the continuation of historic anti-semitism which began during the Roman empire and continued through the Inquisition, the Expulsion of Jews from most European nations, the oppression and pogroms in Russia, and most recently The Holocaust. Past Popes were rather silent, if not encouraging, during many of these atrocities, and the Vatican even provided a well-documented lifeline for top Nazis to escape to South America after World War II. But current Pope Francis has been different, striving diligently for even-handedness in the Middle East. Bibi Netanyahu could have encouraged such Papal efforts after this Pope had praised Israel and Israelis.
Rather, with his penchant for seizing defeat from the jaws of victory, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has managed to alienate the Vatican much as he has alienated the United States government, the United Nations, the European Union, and indeed most of the world. His atrocities in Gaza, even if prompted by terrorist acts emanating from that territory, have been so much above and beyond any justified retaliation that Israel has destroyed any sympathy for its plight.
His determined expansion of Israeli settlements on disputed land, timed for maximum irritation of even some sympathetic to Israel, have shown great and grave intransigence. And his reversal of his prior position that he could accept a two-state solution in the Middle East, with at lest some semblance of a Palestinian entity, has proven him a consummate liar.
Bibi Netanyahu, and his right-wing Israeli administration, is an unmitigated disaster -- not only for the Palestinians, but for the struggling State of Israel itself. Instead of the Biblical injunction that a light shall go forth from Zion, this Prime Minister has encouraged the darkest of deeds in all too many instances. This Pope has taken the moral high-ground, whereas this Israeli Prime Minister has just taken it on himself to help destroy Israeli legitimacy. He should be ashamed.
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)