We may have a problem. We certainly have a question. It involves one of our dearest friends, who may have hurt us.
The United States has always had a special relationship with Israel. It is our only true friend in the Middle East. It has been a model democracy for most of its history. It has defended our interests and reputation while much of the rest of the world has regarded us with distaste.
For the moment, let’s disregard the fact that Israel’s relationship with the Palestinian people is problematic. Let us also overlook the fact that Jewish settlers have moved further and further into Palestinian lands…illegally!…but that the Israeli government has done little to stop them. Let us also, somehow, not consider the fact that a strange coalition of ultra-religious activists and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has made Israel’s status as a model democracy a bit less certain.
Even if we do all those things…we come to a curious place. We confront an unexpected situation.
Not long ago, news media revealed that an Israeli firm, Black Cube, had been contracted by Trump aides to launch a dirty tricks campaign against former advisors of the Obama administration. Apparently, the idea was to discredit (read “smear”) the people who had been behind the treaty between the US and Iran to limit the latter’s nuclear weapons program. After that, it would be easier for Trump to abandon the treaty entirely…and perhaps, even, to begin a war with Iran. It is something that John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Advisor, is said to want badly—a nice, quick, pre-emptive strike. (Look how well it worked in Iraq.)
But there is someone else who would like that result. To wit, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Perhaps, then, we should not be surprised that the contract with Black Cube came almost immediately after a meeting between Trump and Netanyahu. Nor should we be amazed that Black Cube functions as a kind of private extension of the Israeli intelligence services, with connections between the Cube and Mossad reaching both ways.
Also, let us recall that Netanyahu and the Likud party were not fond of Obama, whom they felt to be soft on the Arab issue, almost as bad as Jimmy Carter. And they didn’t care much for Hillary Clinton, either.
Further, there have been rumors…unproven…of some kind of arrangement between certain members of the Likud party and the Russians. Putin himself, perhaps…
Here is the question. Suppose, for a moment…and this is only for sake of supposition…but suppose…
…it is proven that Israel, Netanyahu, and Mossad were as active, and as insidious, as was Putin in interfering in the American election? Suppose we discover, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Israel…our great and dear friend…co-operated with our worst enemies to put Trump into the White House?
What then do we do?
How to rebuilt trust, after so great, and so wounding, a betrayal?