The Ramat Shlomo affair constitutes a grave crisis in Israel’s ties with America, and an even graver crisis in Israel’s ties with itself. We no longer believe in our ability to quarrel with the gentiles when necessary. Obama’s US is pushing us to the borders of June 4, 1967 yet we push ourselves to the mental state that prevailed here on May 14, 1948. Broad sections of the public around here doubt Israel’s ability to exist as an independent state with its own wishes.
The American Administration in May 1948 leaned towards regretting its UN vote in favor of the establishment of a Jewish State. Heavy pressure from Washington was exerted on David Ben-Gurion to postpone the declaration of independence ceremony to a “more appropriate time.” His best advisors recommend that he cave in to the pressure. They were so scared that they too showed regret.
Not much was needed for Ben-Gurion to accept their advice, as the situation was indeed unbearable. The IDF had just been created, we still did possess a nuclear reactor or with spy satellites, and the public coffers were empty. Nonetheless, the old man took a deep breath and declared our independence. He knew that it was now or never.
Dozens of years have passed since then, yet there is still a large public here that has not yet gotten used to a life of independence. Its frightened conduct during the current crisis is yet another proof that it’s easier to bring the Jews out of the Diaspora than to bring the Diaspora out of the Jews. For many years now we had not seen such political and media display of lowliness.
The first reports about the construction plan in Ramat Shlomo were reminiscent of reports on a mega-terror attack. Our political correspondents and team of commentators responded like Jewish community leaders in the Middle Ages after finding a Christian body by the entrance to the Jewish ghetto: Oy vey, the gentiles will be coming in a moment and pulverizing us.
Inferiority complexAnd then the gentiles indeed pulverized us. The responses issued by Obama, Biden, and Clinton were an operation that progressed in direct proportion to the extent of Hebrew apologies. At first they were ready to make do with a diplomatic delay of 90 minutes in arriving for dinner with Netanyahu, yet the applause in Tel Aviv University convinced them that they need to continue.
During the 234 years of American independence, never before had a vice president traveled abroad, openly declared that the host state’s capital needs to be divided, and received laud applause. This was the submissive behavior of slaves, not of a sovereign nation.
Indeed, Israel has traditionally leaned on America’s broad shoulder, yet Israel is also providing the US with an important shoulder. This is not a banana republic, but rather, Obama’s strategic outpost in a blatantly anti-American environment. We’ll have a tough time without him, but he will also have a tough time without us.
The time has come to free ourselves of the inferiority completes that prompts us to automatically bow our heads every time he’s a little angry. We cannot enter bomb shelters after every Tom Friedman article. We are big and strong enough to sometimes say “no.”
In a month, our state will be 62 years old. The time has come to declare our independence.