There are very few things in America today that inspire jealousy. Here’s one of them: The immediate harsh criticism by leaders of the Democratic Party of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani.
Pakistani Shiite Muslims demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, near the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, January 3, 2020. Photo K.M. Chaudary/AP
In Israel, where every military operation and every assassination always wins nothing but applause, this is unheard of. An opposition that opposes an assassination? An alternative that musters the courage to criticize an army operation? There’s no such thing. Only in America.
Unintentionally, U.S. President Donald Trump has built a domestic opposition that isn’t afraid to come out against military operations and doesn’t even wait until the picture has become clear. But this picture is actually completely clear. It’s another assassination from which nothing good will come, like all other assassinations, and which will bring many dangers into the world in its wake.
In Israel, where there is no Jewish opposition to any shedding of Muslim blood, we’ve never seen such conduct from the opposition. When Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders come out against an American assassination while Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Amir Peretz automatically cheer it, with blind stupidity, it’s once again clear that in Israel, people speak with only one voice.
How exciting it is to see Soleimani’s purple ring on his dead hand, covered with mud. And how stupid it is to get excited over this assassination. Vali Nasr, an American of Iranian origin who is currently a professor at John Hopkins University and was formerly a senior State Department official, described the assassination in an interview with the New Yorker on Friday as an extremely dangerous move, a decision made with no thought to its consequences. All the Democrats and even one Republican senator criticized it.
In America, there’s no such thing as “Quiet, we’re shooting.” In Israel, there is – not just when the Israel Defense Forces are shooting, but even when American drones are.
What are the people who cheer this assassination thinking? That it will make Iran become more moderate, less dangerous? That its desire for vengeance will dwindle? That it will hate less? And who will replace Soleimani – an Iranian pacifist? Evidently, all that matters is that the ring is in a grave.
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event, January 3, 2020, in Independence, Iowa. Photo Patrick Semansky/AP
Biden, the least leftist of the candidates, said Trump had “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox.” Yet Gantz, Lapid and Peretz, our Democrats, didn’t dare utter or even imply a word of criticism about the assassination.
They behaved exactly the same after the assassination of senior Islamic Jihad official Baha Abu al-Ata in the Gaza Strip two months ago, which immediately proved to be completely pointless. Then, they praised the IDF; now they’re praising Trump for his “brave leadership decision,” as Gantz put it, proving that only in Israel, and perhaps in the Philippines, do people still cheer this dangerous, destructive president.
Nor did Gantz miss the opportunity to remind us that he, too, knows how to order assassinations, “Just like I didn’t hesitate to assassinate [senior Hamas official] Ahmed Jabari.” What a boast. And Lapid pompously congratulated the entire Middle East, on top of his emotional congratulations of Trump.
Indeed, the assassination has brought the dawn of a new day – the dawn of the danger of war. Israel will see no new dawn if this is its opposition.
The excitement throughout Israel over this assassination once again positions Israel on Trump’s side and against the Democrats. It’s no longer just Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In Washington and also in Tehran, they now know it doesn’t matter who forms the next Israeli government; it will still applaud every military operation by America.
Instead of offering a different path, including with regard to Iran; calling for a renewal of the nuclear deal with it, which was the best guarantee of regional security; and trying the only way Israel hasn’t yet tried with Tehran, the way of diplomacy; all of Israel – right, center and left – enthusiastically supports this warmongering move. The leaders of Kahol Lavan and Labor not only don’t dare to criticize the IDF, but they don’t even have the courage to criticize flawed military operations by America, lest right-wing Israelis who love wars and assassinations – evidently, the majority of Israelis – take revenge on them at the polls.
“When it comes to national security, there is no opposition and coalition,” Gantz boasted on Friday, once again reminding us that in Israel, security is a religious faith, not a policy about which people can and should argue. So what does our opposition consist of, other than hatred of Netanyahu?