Unlike the minority President-elect, most days I wish I knew more about stuff.
It has gotten easier—usually I find out what Trump says and take the opposite viewpoint. It’s easy enough and almost foolproof—an appropriate adjective considering the situation.
But Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech yesterday has me confused. I’m pretty sure it was the final twisting of the knife from Obama for Benjamin Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress last winter. You remember when the Israeli Prime Minister accepted John Boehner’s unprecedented, disrespectful, probably vindictive, and arguably unconstitutional invitation to address our Congress? The whole event was orchestrated by the G.O.P. to offer one more little slight to the president the Republicans hated—one more attempt to prove his fecklessness. And though I’d like to say that Netanyahu was an unwitting pawn, well as I said there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know, but there’s some that I do.
So now we’re left in this anomalous situation where Europe is cheering for Kerry’s stand against the settlements, both American political parties are assailing it, and Netanyahu is counting the days—out loud—when the new president will save the world. Further, our junior senator, Chris Murphy, with whom I almost always agree, blasted the U.N. (and the president) for America’s abstention from last week’s Security Council vote condemning the settlements. I’m not sure it’s that simple. And Murphy’s claim that private conversations would have been preferable, though advisedly true, became moot last winter when Boehner asked Netanyahu to drop by sometime…in public.
As for the prime minister himself, he is struggling in his own country where he leans either too far right or not right enough. Courting Trump may prove more a desperate gamble than anything else, for Trump knows nothing about the history of the Middle East, has no real understanding of the current situation, and has an unblemished record of lying. He could turn on Netanyahu in a second—or a tweet, though Trump’s appointment of hard-liner David M. Friedman as ambassador to Israel probably belies that possibility. We’ll see.
But just to prove that timing is everything, today—the day after Senator Murphy’s speech—I received an email asking me to contribute to his re-election campaign. Three dollars. It’ll be money well spent—he’s a hard worker and appears well-versed on the important matters—but first I’m going to learn a little more stuff.