The Atlantic

Bibi Was Right

The arc of history has bent toward authoritarianism.
Source: Reuters

The arc of history was not supposed to look like this, I thought, as I followed Matteo Salvini, the most powerful man in Italy, through the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. Another day, another world leader was in Israel to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, known to most here simply as “Bibi.” And just like Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, Rodrigo Duterte, and Jair Bolsonaro before him, Italy’s populist interior minister was not coming to scold the Israeli prime minister. Here was another strongman both happy to be in Jerusalem and ready to work with Bibi.

That night, as Salvini relaxed on his market walkabout and shared a beer with his Israeli handlers, he smiled for the cameras in order to show how safe he felt in the hands of such an expert counterterror force. “I love the people,” he said, telling me how much he was looking forward to working with Bibi. I felt a crushing weight on my shoulders: the feeling of having been wrong.

Without a resolution to the Palestinian question, the arc of history was supposed to have bent toward consigning

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