Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A perspective from Israel

A perspective from Israel


Published February 26 in the Greenwich Time and Stamford Advocate of Connecticut.

I am a former 30-year resident of Stamford and now live in Netanya, Israel.

Through the years, Trudy Rubin has been right on some issues, but she is wrong and misleading on the Netanyahu speech to the Congress (op-ed, Feb 23, "Bibi, Boehner playing games") and I think your readers deserve another point of view. She quotes Nahum Barnea writing in Ha'aretz, a paper consistently critical of Netanyahu. His is only one voice among many. She accuses "Bibi" of plotting an end run around Obama who she claims has "twisted himself" in providing military and diplomatic support to Israel, when in truth the longstanding relationship between the United States and Israel has survived despite Obama's preference for changing Middle East policy to favor other regimes.

Rubin thinks Netanyahu is making this speech as a last desperate warning over Iran's intentions to dominate the Middle East by developing a bomb. She is right. Netanyahu is scared, and so are all of us who live in this region; not just Israeli's but also other Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia. Perhaps Rubin hasn't been listening to Iran's continued threats to wipe Israel off the map.

But we have and we believe it!
Israelis are voting March 17 in an election that is focusing on domestic issues primarily. Whether Netanyahu makes a speech in the United States or doesn't, she is wrong in thinking that will sway the election on his behalf. It will not. What she doesn't tell you is that every major candidate is just as scared as Netanyahu is, and support his attempts to deter a "bad agreement."

This whole brouhaha is very painful for those of us who are both American and Israeli. I do not believe this was a deliberate plot to insult the president or to favor the Republicans. Mistakes were made but Obama's reaction looks to me like an opportunity to put Netanyahu in his place once and for all. And to influence the Israeli election. What Rubin doesn't tell you is that the White House is using every means available within the law to defeat Netanyahu, from setting up a legal lobbying group called V15 which is funded by an organization called One Voice based in the States which cannot directly fund and lobby because they are a foreign entity to using a public relations person once on Obama's White House team. These are just two examples.

The bottom line is this: Trudy Rubin can fling accusations at Netanyahu all she wants, true or untrue. But she isn't sitting under the gun, and neither are your readers. To really understand what is going on, I would invite anyone reading this to spend a few months with us here in Israel, maybe go through a barrage of missiles, or run for a shelter. One's perspective changes a lot when one is threatened as we are on an almost daily basis.

Jan Gaines is a former Stamford resident who now lives in Netanya, Israel.

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