The world mourned Rabin because under him, Israel had embraced the cause of peace with the Palestinians. The homage was a clear demonstration — as was the opening of trade and diplomatic relations with formerly hostile states — that Israel was not being isolated because it is a Jewish state and hence illegitimate, but because of how it treated the Palestinians.
And that is the case today. It's not the Palestinians who are delegitimizing Israel, but the Israeli government, which maintains the occupation. And the leading delegitimizer is Netanyahu, whose contemptuous rejection of peace is turning Israel into an international pariah.
Sure, Netanyahu received an embarrassing number of standing ovations when he spoke before the U.S. Congress. But that demonstrates nothing except the power of the Israel lobby. It is doubtful that Netanyahu would get a single standing ovation in any other parliament in the world — and that includes Israel's. The only thing we learned (yet again) from Netanyahu's reception by Congress is that money talks.
So let's ignore the talk about delegitimization, even though Madison Avenue message-makers certainly deserve credit for coming up with that clever distraction. Israel's problem is the occupation, the Israeli government that defends it and the lobby that enforces support for it in Congress and the White House.
Once again, Israel's "best friends" are among its worst enemies.
M.J. Rosenberg is senior foreign policy fellow at Media Matters Action Network. He previously worked on Capitol Hill for Democratic members of the House and Senate and as a President Clinton political appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development.