Politico broke the urgent foreign policy story that:
The FBI probed a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee that involved drinking, numerous GOP freshmen lawmakers, top leadership staff — and one nude member of Congress, according to more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses.
Naturally the Arena asked about the political implications of these shenanigans. Most pundits (including my Arena colleagues) wrote the incident off as pretty insignificant. This just shows the vast ignorance of Israeli politics that prevails among the chattering classes. In fact, an incident like this could have enormous implications and even shatter the American-Israeli security relationship.
In an effort to shed light, not heat, I replied:
The behavior of the American congressional delegation is simply reprehensible.
In defiance of the instructions of an entire nation of Jewish mothers, they went swimming less then 20 minutes after eating.
They could have DIED – and they weren’t wearing clean underwear (or underwear at all!) so people might have thought they came from a bad family. Thank goodness the FBI is investigating.
This has serious political implications for Israeli-American relations. The public may think the Mossad or IDF are powerful, but by far the dominant constituency is Israel are Jewish mothers. Annoy them and American visitors may never be allowed into the living room to sit on the good sofa again!
Ironically, this may help the Republican Right. Many Americans find the Republican Right a bunch of stuck-up holier-then thou types. But if this were the case they would have been walking across the Sea of the Galilee, not skinny-dipping. Plus then they could have maybe brought their own wine to dinner.