17 Mar '15     home | previous

Voight, Norris, and Netanyahu

Jon Voight and Chuck Norris, two aging Hollywood celebrities labelled by some as right-wingers, have entered the public discourse on the issue of Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu. They are praised for their bravery, given what the political right sees as people with conservative views persecuted in the entertainment industry.

These are people super strong in standing up to enemies. The word "enemy" is big with them. And with Voight and Norris so too is the word "love." Voight says "I love Israel. I want to see Israel survive and not be overtaken by the madmen of this world." Norris was impressed by Netanyahu's speech before the US Congress and says he saw "a man who loves his country with all his heart and soul," and Norris aims his words at Israeli citizens, asking them to vote for Netanyahu on election day.

Applying more thinking to the issue of Netanyahu deserving another run as Israel's prime minister, one might go beyond claiming that those who will not be voting for Netanyahu don't love their country. There is the question concerning what policies would best serve the well being of the Israeli people. Voight and Norris agree with many Israelis that Netanyahu is the best leader Israel could have concerning national defense, but is this assessment accurate? A group of 186 retired Israeli generals disagree and are campaigning against Netanyahu. These men appear to hold that a peace deal with the Palestinians would help serve Israel's security better than endless conflict with Palestinians remaining under Israeli occupation.

But Voight doesn't believe in negotiating with evil. He compares "deal making" with the appeasement of Hitler at Munich – the kind of historical analogy that more careful thinkers avoid. The Palestinians represented by Mahmoud Abbas does not compare well with Adolf Hitler. It is the rightwing in Israel who could be considered expansionist – in their own way.

Voight also gets wild in saying that "President Obama does not love Israel." Does Obama want horrible things to happen to the people of Israel? Voight says in his video that Obama's "whole agenda is to control Israel, and this way, he can be friends with all of Israel's enemies. He doesn't want Bibi Netanyahu to win this election."

Voight and Netanyahu are on the same page regarding Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands. Netanyahu now says there will be no Palestinian state while he is in charge of Israel's government – in other words no two-state solution will be negotiated. (Negotiations stalled months ago over the settlement issue.) Voight is in accord with others on the right who are afraid of compromising with those they see as evil people. For Voight, it seems, the Palestinian people account for nothing other than an evil.

Here is a word for you: Manichean.

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