Weekend Read: From National Review to National Conservatism

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

American conservatism has always engaged in identity politics. We are tribal creatures and a nod to our desire for identity and belonging is part of politics. While primal identities such as race or religion can lead to division, when these are sublimated into party and ideology in an attempt to “launder” such identities, they are neutralized, becoming part of a wider frame that is racially cross-cutting and checks extremism. This is the gist of George Hawley’s fascinating new book, Conservatism in a Divided America: the Right and Identity Politics.

What ideas should form the basis of conservatism? The post-1950s Republican strategy has been to lead with classical liberalism, fiscal conservatism, and military hawkishness while subtly signaling to white and Christian voters that the party is looking out for their group interests—while doing little to advance those interests. This formula succeeded in keeping the GOP in office from Nixon to Reagan to the Bushes, and its establishment continues to get its way even during the Trump era.

Whether the Republicans can continue this balancing act is an open question. The universalist, classical liberal rhetoric of the establishment period is, for Hawley, politically irrelevant in our post-Cold War age. As he acerbically notes, “Calls for individualism built on arguments about natural rights are unlikely to persuade Americans to abandon identitarian concerns.”

Content-lite Republican tribalism, however, may do the trick. The cult-like devotion to Trump and “stop the steal,” despite his limited domestic policy wins and egotism, can look more like the relationship between fans and a pro-wrestler than that of committed idealists assessing whether their leader is delivering for them. And while there are subtle associations between white, male, and Christian identities and the Republican brand, the party has been willing to embrace egalitarian tropes and reinforce progressive taboos like “the Democrats are the real racists” to pump up the tribe and score ephemeral rhetorical points. Yet, for Hawley, this circus act may possess aspects of nobility: it keeps primal identities and emotions from breaking the surface of politics.

Hawley, a young academic with seven books to his credit, is a rising star from the infinitesimally tiny universe of American political scientists who lean culturally conservative. A University of Alabama professor who hails from Sumas, Washington, Hawley has carved out a niche as, to quote an Amazon reviewer, ”An original and idiosyncratic thinker who writes original and idiosyncratic books.” Unwilling to beat the partisan drum or champion a distinctive brand of conservatism, he toggles between the modes of detached observer and engaged moderate conservative. In so doing, he pushes back on progressive left alarmism as well as the right’s pretense that it has transcended identity to ascend the hallowed realm in which toga-clad individualists approach politics from an Archimedean point.

This book does us the service of knitting together the history of postwar American conservative thought—William F. Buckley, James Burnham, Leo Strauss, Irving Kristol, and others—with highly contemporary anti-leftist or conservative writers such as Ben Shapiro, Patrick Deneen, Jordan Peterson, Chris Rufo, Christina Hoff Sommers, Oren Cass, Bari Weiss, Yoram Hazony, Rich Lowry, and James Lindsay. Many of these figures, like their Cold War predecessors, unite behind classical liberalism, opposing identity politics and, more recently, wokeness. A garnish of religion or patriotism is occasionally applied, but for many, there is little beyond midcentury individualism. While communitarians such as Deneen, Cass, and Hazony meaningfully diverge, the most prominent conservative voices at CPAC, in Congress, and on Fox News largely recite anti-Democratic boilerplate.

For Hawley, one of the key tensions in American conservatism is how to manage the dissonance between the GOP’s individualist philosophy and the identitarian motivations lying beneath the universalist surface.

Drawing on a range of political science research that shows a correlation between measures of white, Christian, and Republican identification, Hawley argues that the progressive claim that these identities matter for Republican voters contains a large measure of truth. Where he parts company with left-liberal academics is that he believes elite conservatives are sincere in their desire to keep racists and other extremists out, and are attached to classical liberal principles. They leverage identitarian anxieties for electoral purposes without ministering to or espousing them. And while conservative intellectuals have generally opposed progressive initiatives, they have typically adjusted their views to remain respectable, adhering to shifting elite conventions and norms.

The book begins with the National Review circle in the fifties around editor William F. Buckley. These mid-century conservatives were centrally concerned with the Cold War and desperately sought to rescue the economic liberalism of pre-New Deal America. When it came to liberal cultural initiatives, the right was skeptical and instinctively opposed. Even though proportionally more Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act, this is not the case when you screen out the Dixiecrats, a largely autonomous entity by this time.

Hawley notes that an early civil rights measure, California’s Proposition 11 in 1946, which would have made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, was soundly defeated, with greater opposition in Republican areas. In a similar vein, Buckley’s 1957 editorial, “Why the South Must Prevail” made the argument that African-Americans were not “advanced” enough to deserve the vote, though in time they could be “enlightened” so as to be able to do so. This said, in the following issue of the magazine, Brent Bozell took the view that if this standard were to be applied it must hold equally for less educated whites. He argued against Buckley that the segregationist position was “dead wrong” and would harm the conservative cause. There was no single editorial line.

As the Civil Rights movement progressed, the conservative stance shifted from ambivalent resistance to the new legislation to the view that desegregation was the right approach for government and public schools, but businesses should remain free to discriminate. Freedom of association and federalism were key constitutional principles that should not be superseded by equality law. More recently, Chris Caldwell argues that the Civil Rights Act, in permitting the principle of equality to override these classical liberal cornerstones of the Constitution, has fundamentally altered the basis of American law and, by extension, culture.

Hawley asks us to imagine an alternative scenario in which conservatives and the Republican Party leaned into an explicit racial appeal. … Instead, the intellectual and political right endorsed civil rights [and] kept extremists out of the party. For this they have received no credit from liberals.

By the mid-60s, the intellectual right had, in Hawley’s estimation, “conceded the moral high ground” on Civil Rights and, in addition, became concerned that perceived American racism could damage the country’s soft power in the fight against communism. Conservatives now viewed the early Civil Rights movement as a just cause that came to be supplanted by Black Power radicalism and affirmative action in the late 60s.

Progressives often paint with a broad brush, perceiving conservative actions through the Manichaean lens of racism. This is where Hawley, who is outside the left’s echo chamber, offers a more granular perspective. He asks us to imagine an alternative scenario in which conservatives and the Republican Party leaned into an explicit racial appeal, embracing the white superiority of a Wallace or Thurmond. This would have unlocked a flood of southern votes. Instead, the intellectual and political right endorsed civil rights, kept extremists out of the party, only elliptically signaled identitarian appeals, and sought to retain elite respectability. For this, they have received no credit from liberals.

Hawley makes a similar point with regard to Trump and white nationalism. Again, Hawley has done some of the most important work on this topic because, though a critic of the alt-right’s violent and exclusive vision, he does not feel the need to tip his cap to the progressive claim that we are always just one rally away from Hitler’s Germany or Bull Connor’s Alabama. He is thus able to smudge black-white narratives into more fine-grained shades of grey to help the reader grasp the nuanced dynamics of the far right. He nicely parses the distance between the ethnostate extremism of a William Pierce and the still-violent but conventionally patriotic appeal of many January 6 rioters or Proud Boys. The Capitol Riot was neither an insurrection, (that is, ”the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War”) nor ”a normal tourist visit,” but a riot in which a small number of participants possessed insurrectionary fantasies. Much more interesting than this stale debate, observes Hawley, is the fact that the alt-right was virtually absent from the January 6 affray because doxing and lawsuits had successfully neutralized it.

Hawley winds through sections on religious conservatism, national conservatism, the Intellectual Dark Web, and wokeism, culminating in an intellectual humility that is rarely found among academics or journalists: “This book would probably be more successful and controversial if I could offer some kind of plan for conservatives. … Unfortunately, I remain as perplexed as I was at the start of this project.” He grasps the importance of identity for Republican voters, expresses frustration at the emptiness of some of the party’s mantras, yet wonders whether the “noble lie” of colorblind individualistic Americanism may in fact be the least worst option.

I applaud this kind of candor, and the nuanced, empirically-informed analytical frame that Hawley brings to bear on his subject matter. His engaging intellectual and social scientific tour de force helps the reader grasp how the new generation of conservatives and classical liberals is building on the foundations laid by previous generations.

The account focuses on the National Review circle and the post-1950s conservative movement. This is understandable, given its continuing influence on American conservatism. That said, I think the case can be made that the period from the fifties to 2015 may not last. As Hawley notes, most of the National Review clique were Catholic or Jewish, as were the neoconservatives and theocons. This, at a time when, according to the National Election Study, such groups made up only a quarter of the population and 10 percent of 1960 Republican voters. This was a very unusual group, arguably only weakly connected to the traditions of the provincial Protestant majority that supplied the vast bulk of the party’s voters and politicians.

Hawley also neglects virtually the entirety of what I elsewhere term the ”left-conservative” tradition. Prior to the twentieth century, extending into the 1920s, the opposing factions in American politics could better be described as left-conservative versus laissez-faire. Left-conservatism, springing from the post-Civil War agrarian populism of the Grange and Alliance movements and fin-de-siècle Progressivism, could best be described as restrictionist on immigration, anti-urban, and anti-Catholic, “dry” on the alcohol question, interventionist in the economy and society, and supportive of women’s suffrage. Unions like the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor came out squarely in favor of immigration restriction between the late 1880s and 1920s.

A strain of romantic nationalism is also a neglected part of the conservative story, encompassing the Anglo-Saxonism of Founders like Jefferson, nineteenth-century writers such as Emerson, historians like Francis Parkman and Teddy Roosevelt, and artists like those of the Hudson River School. This thread resurfaces with Regionalist (American Scene) art in the 1930s, sponsored by the New Deal and commercially popularized by Time-Life features and Associated American Artists lithographs. The left-modernist avant-garde around Partisan Review consciously attacked the Regionalists as fascists in the late 30s, successfully marginalizing key figures such as Thomas Hart Benton or Frank Lloyd Wright from the New York intellectual elite. Others, like Benton protégé Jackson Pollock, were induced to abandon Regionalism for abstract expressionism. This was a major defeat for this “revolt of the provinces” and its brand of American cultural nationalism.

More recently, a handful of writers—Christopher Lasch, John Judis, Michael Lind, Mickey Kaus, Nathan Glazer—have criticized both capitalism and expressive left-liberalism, defending the nation and calling for reduced immigration. They are the heirs of the Populist-Progressive and Regionalist traditions. To a large extent, the populist backlash against the Republican establishment that produced Buchanan and then Trump came from voters tired of being ignored on immigration and other cultural nationalist concerns while the expressive individualist preferences of urban coastal elites predominated.

The tension between the GOP’s classical liberal elite and its communitarian and tradition-minded base continues. While Trump has reshaped the party, Hawley correctly observes that its policy agenda has remained conventional. Commercial interests and established lobby groups continue to punch above their weight. It may be that Republican voters are only after a cheerleader who can fire up the crowds and provide a communal identity while politicians’ day-to-day business continues to concentrate on tax cuts over cultural conservatism. The identitarian anxieties this book so adeptly highlights may, once again, merely flow towards the partisan reality TV show while power continues to reside with the party’s economic liberals.

Will party politics be sufficient to keep the conservative masses content? Ronald Reagan naively delegated the setting of school history standards to a group of mainly progressive academics who swiftly subverted it. He granted amnesty before seeing any evidence of effective border control. Neither culture nor immigration were priorities in his administration, which focused on a conventional economic and foreign-policy agenda. These problems have metastasized. Large numbers continue to cross the southern border while Critical Race Theory and gender ideology consolidate their grip over schools and institutions, remaking the consciousness of future generations.

The next two years may indicate whether conservatives are genuinely able to alter the direction of American culture and institutions. If they can, it would mark a decisive break from a half-century in which movement conservatism has presided over an accelerating shift to the cultural left.

This article was published by Law and Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

Give The Gift Of True American History With These Wonderful Biographies For Children

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Photo credit: Joy Pullman/The Federalist

Everyone was reading the Heroes of Liberty books in my home for Thanksgiving, from the early elementary kids to their twenty-something aunts and uncles to their grandpa.


After I opened a box containing the children’s history series Heroes of Liberty and set the books on the playroom table, I hardly saw five of my six kids for the next three days. (My sixth is 2 years old and never sits still.) They were all gobbling down the beautifully illustrated biographies of notables such as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Harriet Tubman, and Alexander Hamilton, pitched at ages 7 to 12 — exactly the ages of my oldest four.

Even though my children are notorious readers because we don’t allow them screen time except for Monday movie night, this was still a slightly startling development. Usually, I have to carefully source books for my kids by interest and age. Even low-screen kids like mine turn up their noses at certain books, according to each one’s persnicketies. This series, however, captured the attention of every one of my readers. And not just them.

When several dozen people filled my home for the long Thanksgiving weekend, the phenomenon repeated among all ages. Everyone was reading the Heroes of Liberty books, from the early elementary kids to their twenty-something aunts and uncles to their grandpa. They sat in the living room passing the volumes around like a funny cat video. Except these held their attention far longer and gave them far more meaningful scope for thought.

Kid-Attractive and Sturdy

The series consists of well-bound, engaging, inspiring, and accurate biographies with child-attractive illustrations. They have a high-quality look and feel. As a mom of kids who read books to bits, I know that the strong hardcover binding will help these books last, hopefully all the way to my grandkids.

I prefer a slightly more elegant and detailed illustration style, but I’m unusual in my strong taste for the traditional. It makes sense for the illustrations in these books to meet at the intersection of quality comic book and animation. It is certainly several steps up in quality from the illustrations I like least in children’s books: those that imitate the artistic efforts of preschoolers, who have the excuse of undeveloped fine motor skills.

The poor bindings and illustrations of many good older books I regularly introduce to my kids often repel them before they even open the cover. This series cleverly attracts children even if its pictures don’t rise to Sistine Chapel-level artistic standards. If I had to choose between the two artistic possibilities, I’d make the same choice as the series editors, because there’s no point in putting out a book people don’t read.

Extremely High Production Quality

Also delightfully surprising was the amount of text these books contained, and how interesting the fact-driven storytelling was. I’ve read thousands of picture books with my children and hundreds of children’s books about American history. This series is competitive with the best I’m aware of, if not the best of their own category. It is delightful to see something at this level of quality from a smaller and conservative-marketed publisher, due to the cliché of religious and conservative materials often not being quality-competitive with big corporate.

There are indeed good history books for kids (try the Cornerstones of Freedom series; a few are politicized but most are solid), but I don’t know of any this good that provide a toe-for-toe counterpart to the heavily politicized junk biographies filling library shelves in the children’s history section. That is why I also set aside my reservations about writing biographies of living people such as Amy Coney Barrett — those already exist of leftist counterparts like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so they ought also to exist of exemplary Americans such as Barrett. These biographies should truly be on every school library’s shelves.

If your public library doesn’t already have these and allows patrons to request titles as mine does, request that your local library purchase this set. Also, or alternatively, buy your own if you’re able — you won’t regret this investment in your family’s self-education. Since this series is sadly less likely to land on those shelves due to the library and teaching profession’s deep political bias, parents, grandparents, and others have an obligation to provide children good histories when our corrupted public institutions will not.

Honest about American History

Like me, the Heroes of Liberty editors are clearly not interested in replacing leftist propaganda in children’s history with conservative propaganda. The series does no propagandizing, as I (perhaps foolishly) worried given its affiliation with conservative personalities. The books instead simply state true and compelling facts in an easy-to-follow story form and let the truth speak for itself.

Here’s an example from the Harriet Tubman biography in the series: “…blacks were not only free in Philadelphia,” where Tubman escaped from slavery. “They were also active in public and religious life. The city was home to the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of the Abolition of Slavery, the oldest anti-slavery society in the country. Its first president was Benjamin Franklin.”

As mentioned, these are all simple and simply stated facts. Yet in themselves they undercut several false narratives about race and American history, including that black Americans lack agency, and that the American founders were wholesale slavers and the Constitution they produced a “pro-slavery document.”

It’s utterly refreshing. These books destroy false historical narratives without displaying bitterness or bias and without fulfilling the lies and smears always launched against such efforts, such as claims that conservatives “don’t want to talk about slavery or America’s sins.” When appropriate, these books absolutely do so. The Tubman biography, for example, is not at all shy about illustrating the horrors of slavery in age-appropriate detail. In fact, it does an exemplary job of educating about American chattel slavery.

Here’s another example of that from the Hamilton biography: “Then there were also the slave markets where human beings were bought and sold, like cattle, in plain sight. Young Alexander saw it all. And he never forgot what he saw. It all shaped who he would become.” On the same page as this text is an illustration of a slave auction.

Although the books do not shy away from tragedy in their subjects, both personal and national, they also are deeply hopeful because they show how these great Americans worked to rise above the inevitable tragedies of life. This is why biography is known as an inspirational genre, even when it necessarily treats of difficult subjects. At its best, biography reveals human nature and ideally human greatness amid life’s suffering and sometimes crippling constraints. Very little better reading material can be made available to all, but especially children, who like all of us need such examples to look toward as they grow.

Definitely Worth Buying

I’ll admit, I was skeptical of this series until I looked at them. Now I and my children are dedicated fans. My 7-year-old, whom I required to tell me what he had learned in exchange for giving him the next book in the set, summed up with this: “If you stop reading anywhere, it’s a cliffhanger.”

It’s refreshing as a parent to be able to trust the writers and publishers of a book so I don’t have to pre-read, scrutinize, and pre-emptively guard my children’s minds from those who seek to prey upon them with popular lies. It’s refreshing to learn facts about my beloved country and its wonderful people that celebrate the human spirit and especially its peculiar American expressions. It’s refreshing to let my guard down and just enjoy reading about American history with my children from a trustworthy source that isn’t trying to push us in any direction politically, but just to tell true human stories of our ancestors and their dreams, failures, and achievements.

The review copies the Heroes of Liberty team sent me will be donated to a K-12 school library to encourage, educate, and inspire as many children as possible. We will be buying the forthcoming books as they arrive and donating those, too — after we’ve all gobbled them up in our living room. For Christmas, birthdays, and beyond, the Heroes of Liberty team is offering Federalist readers an amazing 20 percent off with the special code FED22.

Quite frankly, I would go with the 12 books for $129 or all 14 currently published for $159 Christmas specials — that’s a ridiculous steal for brand-new hardbacks, and the series is worth it. It’d be a wonderful and enduring present for a special child or family in your life. The two-year book-of-the-month subscription offers a similar value with the bonus of your recipient getting to look forward to personalized mail each month — something my kids absolutely adore.


This article was published at The Federalist and was reproduced with permission.

Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. Here’s her printable household organizer for faith-centered holidays. Sign up here to get early access to her next ebook, “101 Strategies For Living Well Amid Inflation.” Her bestselling ebook is “Classic Books for Young Children.” Mrs. Pullmann identifies as native American and gender natural. She is the author of several books, including “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” from Encounter Books. Joy is also a grateful graduate of the Hillsdale College honors and journalism programs.

Weekend Read – Bibi: His Story

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

Editors’ Note: Netanyahu is right now in the process of forming a new government.


Bibi, of course, is Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest-serving Premier in Israel’s history.

This almost 700-page volume (Bibi: My Story) covers his incredible career as well as many interesting historic takes on Israel, foreign policy, US relations, US political figures, and the history of his remarkable family.  If you have an interest in history and current affairs, it is a must-read.

Born in 1949, Bibi grew up in both Israel and America.

His father was a noted historian and a specialist in the Spanish Inquisition. He was an early Zionist working on the founding of the state of Israel.

Zionism had a dominant socialist streak in it, but the Netanyahu family came from the more conservative minority Jabotinsky wing.  This was reflected early in the divide among the armed revolutionaries with the socialists largely in the Haganah and the conservatives in the Irgun.

Despite the early leadership being mostly from the socialist wing, Bibi’s father was selected to go to the United States to help form public opinion.  The senior Netanyahu felt America, not Britain, was the rising power, and hence public opinion in the US must be altered before politicians would pay attention.

Initially, he could not get much attention from the dominant Democrat Party in the US because both the WASP-dominated State Department and the Roosevelt Administration were opposed to an independent Israel.  They feigned concern about Britain’s declining empire and influence in the mid-east while at the same time pressuring Britain to give up her empire elsewhere.

Here, the book cuts some new historic ground most will not be familiar with.  The consensus view (especially among liberal American Jews), was that support for Israel was largely the creation of Democrats, especially Harry Truman.  That is not quite what happened.

Zionists early on felt that to get US support, it had to be a bipartisan effort.  After being rebuffed by Democrats, they approached Republicans and found an ally in the rising conservative leader of the party, Senator Robert Taft from Ohio.  Thus, the first public declaration in support of an independent Israel is to be found in the 1944 Republican Party platform.  The Democrats followed later.  It is true Harry Truman, who read his Bible seriously, did support the founding of Israel against the advice of the State Department, but Republican support came earlier and was just as necessary.

Bibi spent a good deal of his youth and high school days around Philadelphia.  He was both a jock and a nerd.  While excelling at soccer, he also graduated in the top 1% of his class.

At age 18, he went back to Israel for military service while his father maintained his professorship in a few American colleges.  Bibi had been accepted at Yale, but military duty came first.

He came back to the US to finish college after military service but switched from Yale to MIT.

In the military, he became a commander in “The Unit”, or Israeli Special Forces.  His older brother Yoni, who he admires greatly, did so as well.

Bibi was wounded during a raid to rescue hostages taken on a Belgian airliner, and his older brother Yoni was killed during the dramatic raid to rescue hostages taken to Entebbe, in Uganda.

Therefore, it is clear that love of God, family, and country was not a slogan for Bibi, it was his life. He put that life at risk multiple times, conducting dozens of special operations against terrorists.

He knows terrorism, upfront and personally.  For him, this is not a theory, but literally a question of life or death.  Such encounters tend to focus the mind, and you get a sense early on, that this is a serious man.  It would prepare him for things to come as he later would clash with both Israeli and American politicians.

The book covers a very interesting history of the War in 1956, the stunning victories in 1967, and the almost fatal Yom Kippur War in 1973.  Much of this has to do not only with Israeli politics but the off and on again relations with the US through successive administrations.  In the coverage of Israeli politics, one finds so many striking parallels with what has gone on in the US.  One theme that dominates Bibi’s 40-year-plus career is the unstinting bias and animus against conservatives in the Israeli press.  The other is the political theatre constantly pulled by the Left, which echoes similar movements in the US.

In 1973, it became clear that Arab forces were going to attack, but Golda Meir and the Labor Party felt that unlike in 1967, they would not make a pre-emptive strike.  They felt that if Israel were to act that way again, they would lose support in the US and the UN.  That bet to please world public opinion came within a hair of losing the nation and plunging the Jewish people into annihilation. Once again, he served, this time in the 1973 War.

After the war, the Likud Party was formed to avoid Labor’s romantic visions again destroying the country and Bibi began to rise within its ranks.  He came back to the US to serve as Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, won a seat in the Knesset (parliament) in 1988, and later became Deputy Foreign Minister.

He became Prime Minister and served from 1996-1999.

The parallels are eerie to American politics in Netanyahu’s two terms as Premier, even down to the granular detail of having his personal residence invaded by police, the intelligence services being turned against him,  success at building a large security fence, dealing with an invasion of migrants, endless investigations and harassment, all the way to the poor treatment of his wife by the Israeli press. Then there was the ugly smear that critics of the Olso Accords and Rabin (Bibi and Likud) were guilty of creating an “atmosphere of hate” that led to Rabin’s unfortunate assassination. It is almost as if the future attacks on Donald Trump were first modeled by the Israeli Left and subsequently adopted by Democrats. 

That Netanyahu could prevail against these same forces that plague American conservatives is a story worth studying by conservative political leaders in the US.  Reading this, you realize how brutal the politics are in Israel compared even to the US, especially since they have a parliamentary system, with multiple quarreling political parties that can bring down a government at any time.

But as you read the book one thing comes through: despite all the attacks, Netanyahu got big things done for his country.

A rival of Ariel Sharon, he was brought into the Likud government and served in what arguably would be his most important post, that of Finance Minister.  With the help of Israeli and the US Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, he painfully started the conversion of Israel from a socialist, labor union-dominated, monopoly-prone welfare state to a free market economic powerhouse.

Later in his second term as Premier starting in 2009, he completed many other economic reforms.  One, in particular, was making Israel a leader in cyber security.

A tiny, new, water-starved nation, besieged and threatened on all sides, plagued by terrorism, became a “start-up nation”, a high-tech mecca that now has per capita income higher than France and the UK.

His economic reforms have proven a great success.  However, the struggle for security and with US liberals continues to this day.

Many US leaders always seem to look at the Middle East as a real estate deal gone bad.  All problems are based on the centrality of the “Palestinian”-Israeli conflict that can only be solved by Israel making land concessions eventually creating a “Palestinian state”.

Netanyahu sees it rather as a conflict between Western values and radical Islam.  He suggests there is no use negotiating with terrorists that don’t even recognize your right to exist. Moreover, it is hard to argue, that attempts by Iranians to assassinate Saudi leaders, civil war in Iraq, civil war in  Syria, or Muslims killing Christians in Africa, have anything to do with the presence of a tiny Jewish country.  Nor could it have much to do with the Pakistani and Indian conflict or the tragic history of Afghanistan.

The problems that lie within Islam are what plague peace in the Middle East, not Israel’s existence.

In and out of power, Bibi came back and served from 2009-2021, thus his combined terms make him the longest-serving Premier in Israel’s history. This long period of leadership allows the reader to see Bill Clinton,  H.W. Bush, George Bush, Barak Obama, and Donald Trump conducting their respective foreign policies, and their individual temperaments.

Clinton and Obama directly involved themselves in the Israeli elections.  This included funding the opposition and the dispatch of personal campaign staff to directly defeat Likud and Bibi.  Understanding this, the constant bleating by some US politicians about “foreign interference” pales in comparison to what they actually did during the Israeli elections.

The most hostile, was Barak Obama, who fully engaged the theory that it was the mere presence of Israel and its real estate, that was causing the problem.  He viewed Israelis as “colonizers”, pushing indigenous Arabs aside. He never understood the Jews were there first, thousands of years before Mohammad was born. He pushed hard to earn his Nobel Peace Prize by advocating “not one brick”, or no new construction of settlements.  This was true, especially in Jerusalem.

Bibi would say this is not a “territory”, this is our capitol and holy city to Jews.  What would the US think if some foreign power dictated what could, or not be built, in Washington, D.C?

Obama believed these building restrictions would bring Hamas, Fatah, and other terrorists to the peace table?  But as in the past, more concessions on land brought more terror and more demands. Obama’s arrogance and ignorance were astounding.   At one meeting, Obama dresses down Bibi and suggests that Israel should not cross him. Why?  Because Obama had dealt with tough street gangs in Chicago in his function as a “community organizer”.  Imagine talking that way to the longest-serving elected official in Israel, a war hero, who personally has had to kill terrorists.  Reading some of this, just makes your blood boil.

American officials, always eager for good press, forget about the cost because they did not feel it.  For example, in the second Intifada, Israel lost over 1,000 civilians to terror.  Another 8,000 or so were injured. Buses were blown up, pizza parlors shot up, and weddings gunned down. If the US had lost equivalent numbers adjusted for population, in that one period we would have lost about 37,000 people, compared to the 3,000 or so on 9/11, which set our nation up for a 20-year war.  Yet, Israel was often criticized for striking back after taking large losses to terrorism.

However, holding bipartisan support for Israel had to come first, and Bibi had to bite his tongue. But Obama’s plans to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons went beyond what could be tolerated. Bibi felt Israel could survive the terror, but not a nuclear Iran. Invited by the Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, Netanyahu gave one of the most stirring speeches ever delivered by a foreign dignitary to Congress.  He said it was better to have no deal with Iran, rather than the bad deal being pushed by Obama.  It moved public opinion and Obama never could submit his proposal as a treaty.

Fifty Democrats refused to attend the speech, Nancy Pelosi turned her back, and Joe Biden arranged an absence.  But as you can see, it struck a chord with most in Congress.  If you don’t remember this speech, it is presented below and is worth your time.  It gives you a measure of the man.


Of course, Iran and its nuclear development is once again a matter of top priority.

Bibi had much better relations with Donald Trump.  Both felt that Israel was not “causing” middle eastern strife, but rather strife among nations in the middle east was causing the Arab/Israeli problem.  Hence the substantially different approach of the Abraham Accords, and new treaties of cooperation between Arab countries and Israel, with or without the Palestinian radicals.

Many now feel Iran is a greater threat to them and seek an alliance with Israel against the Iranian threat.

There is so much in the book about the history of the region, the truly nasty nature of Israeli politics, and the relationship between America and Israel, that it is hard to summarize.  What does come out quite clearly is that Benjamin Natanhayu is one remarkable man and a tremendous leader.  Now in another crisis with the US and Iran, he may be just about to come back again in a time of turmoil, to lead his nation once again.


Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

DOUGLAS MURRAY: The War on the West

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

MARK LEVIN: American Marxism

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

MIRANDA DEVINE: Laptop from Hell: Hunter Biden, Big Tech, and the Dirty Secrets the President Tried to Hide

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