As adversaries go, Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are oddly well-suited.
The hardline Israeli prime minister and the fiery Iranian president seem to feed each other rhetorical ammunition to whip up fears that bolster them in domestic politics and beyond.As if building homes in Jerusalem is the same as A-jad promising that--how did he phrase it the other day?, oh yeah--"The Zionist entity is heading for disappearance. The philosophy of its existence is over, and time is not running in the favour of the occupiers."
Between them, they are stubbornly testing the limits of U.S. power in the Middle East and undermining the "new beginning" in relations between America and Muslims that President Barack Obama proposed in an eloquent Cairo speech nine months ago.
Netanyahu contends that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb to fulfill Ahmadinejad's declared wish for Israel's destruction. Confronting it, he argues, eclipses the importance of U.S.-led attempts to revive peacemaking with Palestinians and Arabs.
For Ahmadinejad, who says Iran's nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful, any breakdown of U.S. mediation backs up his doctrine that armed resistance, not negotiations, is the only way to regain Israeli-occupied land, especially Jerusalem.
His emotive calls for Muslims to defend the city, which is also holy to Jews and Christians, resonate across the Arab and Islamic worlds, as well as with many Palestinians.
So Israeli plans to build 1,600 more homes for Jews on West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem -- announced last week during a visit to Israel by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden -- enraged Ahmadinejad's audience of choice...
As my late Bubbie, a wise woman with a pithy turn of phrase, would have said, "Feh!" (a Yiddishism that covers both al Reuters and the wee wannabe genocidaire).