Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves after delivering a speech at Jerusalem's Great Synagogue on March 5, 2015 during the feast of Purim. AFP PHOTO / GIL COHEN-MAGEN
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By forcing Americans – and not just Jews or Democrats – to choose between their loyalty to Israel and the president of their own country, Netanyahu has punched a large hole in Americans' normally bipartisan support for Israel.The fact that Israel could always count on U.S. backing, especially on such public occasions as congressional speeches by an Israeli leader, only confirmed the assumption of many people around the world that Israel and the U.S. are joined like Siamese twins. Some think that Israel is the cat's paw of the U.S.; others believe it is the other way around. Though it was Stalin who used the phrase "rootless cosmopolitans" to describe unwanted Jews, anti-Semites believed that Jews were natural Bolsheviks and probably pulled the strings in the Soviet Union, too. It was widely assumed than Jews, whether capitalist or communist, knew no allegiance except to their own people; after 1948, that increasingly came to mean the state of Israel. Now, by openly seeking to undermine the U.S. president, Netanyahu is breaking that link. He has made it easier for American Jews, even those who feel a deep devotion to Israel, to be critical of its leaders.
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