As the humanitarian crisis in Yemen worsens, the Obama administration seems less concerned about the plight of the desperate Yemeni people than the feelings of the Saudi royals who have spent the last month indiscriminately bombing a nearly defenseless Yemen, using high-tech U.S. jets and bombs to reportedly kill hundreds of civilians and damage its ancient cities.
On Friday, the Obama administration took credit for blocking nine Iranian ships from reaching Yemen with relief supplies, claiming that the ships may have carried weapons that the Yemenis could use in their civil war or to defend against Saudi attacks. President Barack Obama had dispatched a U.S. aircraft carrier fleet to the Yemeni coast to enforce an embargo that has helped the Saudis seal off the country from outside help.
A person closely involved with the Yemen crisis told me that the Iranian ships carried food and medicine, not weapons, but turned back to avoid the risk and humiliation of being boarded by the U.S. Navy. Meanwhile, Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, is facing shortages of basic supplies since the Saudis have cut off normal trade routes into Yemen.
Yet, despite the suffering of Yemen, the U.S. government appears more worried about the sensitivities of Saudi Arabia, one of the richest countries in the region. A Defense Department official, speaking anonymously, told the New York Times that it was “important that the Saudis know that we have an arm around their shoulders.”
Defense Department officials also acknowledged that they didn’t know what type of cargo was being transported aboard the Iranian ships, the Times reported. Though the Obama administration had touted the possibility that the Iranian ships carried weapons, the decision by Iran to avoid a confrontation may have reflected Tehran’s desire not to worsen relations with the United States and thus disrupt fragile negotiations over international guarantees to ensure that its nuclear program remains peaceful.
But the losers in this military/diplomatic maneuvering appear to be the Yemenis who, in effect, face a Saudi strategy of starving the country into submission with the help of the United States. While U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power built her public image as a “humanitarian interventionist” asserting a “responsibility to protect” vulnerable populations, she has said little about the Saudi role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.
In a statement on April 14, at the height of the Saudi bombing campaign, Power made no mention of the Saudi attacks or the hundreds of civilian dead from Saudi bombs supplied by the United States. She instead focused her denunciations on the Houthi rebels and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who have joined forces in a civil war that ousted sitting President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who then fled to Saudi Arabia.
Power primarily blamed the Houthis, who “have intensified their military campaign, bombed Aden, and extended their offensive to Yemen’s south. These actions have caused widespread violence and instability that threaten the security and welfare of the Yemeni people, as well as the region’s security.”
Though the Saudi air force has bombed a number of cities including the ancient port city of Aden, Power ignored those attacks in her statement. But Power was not alone in her solicitousness toward the Saudis. On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry even endorsed the Saudi bombing of Houthi targets in Yemen.
Who Are the Houthis?
The Houthis adhere to the Zaydi sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam but one that is considered relatively close to Sunni Islam and that peacefully co-existed with Sunni Islam for centuries. But the Houthis have been resisting what they regard as government persecution in recent decades.
As revealed in leaked U.S. government cables and documented by Human Rights Watch, Yemen’s government used U.S. military aid to support an all-out assault against the Houthis in 2009. HRW said Yemeni government forces indiscriminately shelled and bombed civilian areas, causing significant civilian casualties and violating the laws of war. This repression of the Houthis led to an escalation last fall which ended with the Houthi rebels, who allied themselves with army forces loyal to ex-President Saleh, capturing Sanaa and other major cities.
After these victories, in private contacts with American officials, the Houthis indicated their readiness to take the fight to Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate. However, since the Saudi airstrikes began a month ago, “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” has taken advantage of the limitations on Houthi rebel movements by grabbing more territory in the east and overrunning a prison that held a number of Al-Qaeda militants.
The Saudi royals have a complicated relationship with Al-Qaeda including some princes who are viewed as important financiers of the terror group. The Saudis also promote the same extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam, known as Wahhabism. Now, instead of concentrating on the terror threat from Al-Qaeda, the Saudis have sought to portray the Yemeni civil war as a proxy assault in Saudi Arabia’s backyard by Shiite-ruled Iran.
In that propaganda effort, the Saudis have been helped by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has relied on the powerful Israel Lobby and his own rhetoric to divert the U.S. Congress from a focus on Al-Qaeda and its hyper-brutal spinoff, the Islamic State, to Iran, which both Saudi Arabia and Israel have designated their primary regional enemy.
In his March 3 speech to a joint session of Congress, Netanyahu cited Yemen as one of the Mideast countries that Iran has been “gobbling up.” Many regional experts, however, considered Netanyahu’s assertion ludicrous given the Houthis’ reputation for stubborn independence.
For instance, former CIA official Graham E. Fuller called the notion “that the Houthis represent the cutting edge of Iranian imperialism in Arabia – as trumpeted by the Saudis” a “myth.” He added:
“The Zaydi Shia, including the Houthis, over history have never had a lot to do with Iran. But as internal struggles within Yemen have gone on, some of the Houthis have more recently been happy to take Iranian coin and perhaps some weapons — just as so many others, both Sunni and Shia, are on the Saudi payroll. The Houthis furthermore hate al-Qaeda and hate the Islamic State.”
But the Obama administration remains sensitive to Israeli-Saudi criticism of its efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear dispute. So, to demonstrate that the Americans are comforting the Saudi royals with “an arm around their shoulders,” the U.S. government is embracing the Saudi bombardment of a largely defenseless country and is turning back ships carrying relief supplies.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
To get a sense of how badly the regime in Iran wants sanctions relief for the Iranian people, you have to do more than contemplate the major concessions it has made in negotiations with the United States and the rest of the P5+1. Not only is Iran willing to dismantle a major part of its peaceful civilian nuclear program, to submit to the most intrusive inspections, to redesign a reactor, to eliminate two-thirds of its centrifuges, to get rid of much of its enriched uranium, and to limit nuclear research — it must do all this while being harangued by the nuclear monopolist of the Middle East — Israel — which remains, unlike Iran, a nonsigner of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and faces no inspections or limits on its production of nuclear weapons.
This is something out of Alice in Wonderland. The Islamic Republic of Iran, born in 1979, has not attacked another country. (With U.S. help, Iraq attacked Iran in 1980.) In contrast, Israel has attacked its Arab neighbors several times since its founding, including two devastating invasions and a long occupation of Lebanon, not to mention repeated onslaughts in the Gaza Strip and the military occupation of the West Bank. Israel has also repeatedly threatened war against Iran and engaged in covert and proxy warfare, including the assassination of scientists. Even with Iran progressing toward a nuclear agreement, Israel (like the United States) continues to threaten Iran.
Yet Iran is universally cast as the villain (with scant evidence) and Israel the vulnerable victim.
You’d never know that Iran favors turning the Middle East into a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone (a nuclear-weapons-free zone was first proposed by the U.S.-allied shah of Iran and Egypt in 1974), and beyond that, Iran over a decade ago offered a “grand bargain” that contained provisions to reassure the world about its nuclear program and an offer to recognize Israel, specifically, acceptance of the Arab League’s 2002 peace initiative. The George W. Bush administration rebuffed Iran.
At the last NPT review conference in 2010, Iran renewed its support for the zone, the BBC reported at the time: “Tehran supports the ‘immediate and unconditional’ implementation of the 1995 resolution [to create the zone], declares the [then] president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
The United States and Israel claim in principle to support having the Middle East free of nuclear weapons — but not just yet. The Israeli government said in 2010 that implementation of the principle could occur “only after peace agreements with all the countries in the region.” ABC News quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying that Israel might sign the NPT “if the Middle East one day advances to a messianic age where the lion lies down with the lambs.”
That is classic Netanyahu demagoguery. As noted, the Arab League in 2002 — and again in 2007 — offered to recognize Israel if it accepted a Palestinian state in the occupied territories and arrived at a “just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.” At that point the Arab countries would “consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region”; i.e., they would “establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.”
Thus Netanyahu’s position is a sham. He could have peace treaties in short order if he wanted to. But, as he said before the recent elections, he will never allow the Palestinians to have their own country.
For its part, the United States “broadly agrees with Israel that conditions for a nuclear-weapons-free-zone do not yet exist in the Middle East,” the BBC reported. In other words, the Obama administration slavishly takes the Israel-AIPAC line.
While politicians and pundits lose sleep over an Iranian nuclear-weapons program that does not exist — are they having nightmares of the United States being deterred by Iran? — they support Israel, the nuclear power that brutalizes a captive population, attacks its neighbors, threatens war against Iran, and refuses to talk peace with willing partners.
By Sherwood Ross | Aletho News | April 5, 2015
The estimable McClatchy News Service says President Obama “scored a decisive win” by negotiating an agreement that “will prevent Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon” and termed it “a personal triumph for the President.”
Not surprisingly, the painfully negotiated pact was denounced by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has repeatedly, and illegally, threatened Iran over its alleged desire to build an atomic bomb. But Obama’s rebuff of Netanyahu’s position was well deserved, given Israel’s record of stealing American military secrets and spying on private American talks with its allies.
If Iran had been guilty of such crimes, the American public would now be deaf from the outcry of the Republicans in Congress. Americans need to remember that Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American civilian naval intelligence analyst, pleaded guilty in 1987 to selling classified information to Israel. At least 800 documents were snitched. Pollard, who became an Israeli citizen, sits in a U.S. prison today in Butner, N.C., serving a life sentence. Former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger said his espionage “would cause the greatest harm to our national security.”
Israel admitted its role in Pollard’s theft. Israel had him on a monthly payroll, the better to enable him to do his dirty work. When the spying was disclosed, Israel apologized for its role. So sorry, right? Maybe so, but just two weeks ago Adam Entous of The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel spied on the recent closed-door talks between the U.S. and its European allies concerning the Iranian negotiations. Do these repeated episodes of spying suggest that Israel is not exactly a trustworthy ally?
Not to our Congress, which keeps voting Israel $3-billion a year in military aid! According to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, between 1949 and 2008 alone, Israel hauled in $56 billion in American military handouts. One could make a case that it was the American public that paid Mr. Pollard’s salary to steal American military secrets.
Now Mr. Netanyahu trumpets that no matter what agreement is reached, Israel will take action against Iran as it chooses. Of course, it’s illegal for one UN member to threaten another, much less attack it, but no matter.
Republicans in Congress might keep in mind that when Mr. Netanyahu addressed Congress last month he accused the Iranians of playing “a pretty good game of hide and cheat” but presented zero evidence of any sort to prove it. Here was a golden opportunity for him to show what his brilliant spy service had come up with. Yet all he produced were accusations.
If anyone is playing a game of “hide and cheat” with the UN inspectors it is Mr. Netanyahu, who does not allow them to enter Israel to inspect his nuclear facilities—reported to conceal between 80 or more (200?) atomic bombs. Iran lets the UN inspectors in, of course, but UN inspectors cannot get in to Israel.
What’s more, “Israelis who reveal details about the weapons program can face prosecution and lengthy prison terms,” wrote John Cassidy in The New Yorker on March 5, 2012:
“In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician, gave photographs he had taken of the Negev Nuclear Research Center, near the city of Dimona, in the Negev desert, to the Sunday Times of London. After the publication of Vanunu’s story, Mossad agents snatched him from Rome, where he had been lured on vacation, and returned him to Israel. There he served eighteen years in jail, eleven of them in solitary confinement.”
If Netanyahu belittles the work of UN investigators by charging the Iranians are deceiving them, maybe that’s because they tell the truth—Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon and is not making one. In fact, the former Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, told investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that he had not seen “a shred of evidence” that Iran was “building nuclear-weapons facilities and using enriched materials.”
ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient who spent 12 years at the IAEA, told Hersh, “I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.” Hersh pointed out that the last two U.S. National Intelligence Estimates on Iranian nuclear progress “have stated that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb since 2003.”
Meanwhile, American spies in Iran are doing their very best to find any traces of military nuclear development. If they had found anything, most likely it would be on front pages globally by now. Hersh says some of the tactics our spies resorted to included:
# Surreptitiously removing street signs and replacing them with signs containing radiation sensors.
# Removing bricks from buildings suspected of containing nuclear enrichment activities and replacing them “with bricks embedded with radiation-monitoring devices.”
# Spreading high-powered sensors disguised as stones randomly along roadways where a suspected underground weapon site was under construction.
As for the Congressional critics of the new deal, McClatchy News quotes President Obama as saying, “Do you (critics of the deal) really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?”
Summing up: President Obama has not only made the right decision in negotiating an agreement with Iran but could strike another blow for peace by terminating U.S. military aid to Israel (and every other nation as well.) Dare we say it? America first! #
Sherwood Ross can be reached at email@example.com
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) (3/25/15) headlined: ‘Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks with the US’. The article goes on to detail the way in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the confidential information to sabotage the talks, including ‘playing them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy’.
The WSJ report of this incident tries to play down the serious implications of Israel’s espionage by claiming that Israeli spying on US diplomatic negotiations is ‘normal even among allies’; that ‘both sides do it’; that the US ‘tolerates’ Israeli spying; that the ‘Israelis have not directly spied on the US’ but use sympathetic US agents . . . and several other excuses for Israel’s behavior.
After having revealed Tel Aviv’s espionage – the WSJ dismisses the sabotage. Worse still, it makes no attempt to investigate who, among the highly-placed US government officials with direct access to the negotiations, has been spying for Israel. This essay attempts to address this question by identifying the most likely suspects.
We will proceed by describing the seriousness of the crime by noting the centrality of the US-Iran negotiations for US global politics and the enormous damage, which has resulted from Israel’s securing secret documents, reports and proceedings of the talks and having a highly placed agent among the US diplomats.
The Significance of the, US-Iran Negotiations
The negotiations between the major powers (P5+1), composed of the five UN Security Council members plus Germany, led by the US, with Iran have proceeded for over two years. Israel is not part of the negotiating process-formally but indirectly its presence is substantial. For Washington the stakes are very high: securing a nuclear agreement with Iran in which Teheran submits to constant and pervasive ‘inspections’, and dismantles a substantial part of its nuclear program, certainly weakens Iran’s regional prestige and increases US influence in the region. Secondly, through the initial agreement, it is likely that Washington will move forward to deepen joint political activity with Iran in neighboring countries. Thirdly, Washington will use the agreement to isolate Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Yemen, from Iranian financial, military and diplomatic support. Fourthly, US multi-national oil corporations could gain access to the Iranian oil fields and exporters could access a huge consumer market of 70 million Iranian citizens. Fifthly, the agreement would lessen the danger that Israel would initiate a major war, which the Zionist power configuration in the US could quickly convert into a disastrous US regional war. Given the fact that the US-Afghan war has lasted 14 years, and counting, and cost over $1 trillion dollars, and that the Iraq invasion has far exceeded those costs and intensified over the past year, a US nuclear agreement with Iran would avoid a catastrophic, prolonged war designed to enhance Israeli dominance in the Middle East.
Israel’s Interest in Sabotaging the 5 + 1 Nuclear Negotiations
Israel knows that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program (as does Washington). The US government uses this as a pretext to secure political concessions from Iran, to degrade its regional influence, and to secure their support in policing the Middle East. In contrast, Israel seeks to destroy Iran’s capacity to support the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle.
Netanyahu and his Zionist supporters, in and out of the US government, seek to induce the US to increase economic sanctions in order to strangle the Iranian economy, to foment internal unrest and to set US-Iranian relations on a path toward a military confrontation.
Netanyahu launched a multi-prong attack on the negotiations. During the AIPAC meeting in March 2015 he ‘dictated the line’ to 10,000 fanatical Zionist followers. He made Iran and US negotiations the central focus of activity for the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, their billionaire donors and Washington operatives. Netanyahu told them that they must concentrate on degrading Iran, on turning Congress into a bastion for undermining any agreement reached via diplomatic negotiations.
Central to Netanyahu’s strategy is securing first hand, up to date, information (intelligence) on the negotiations, identifying the concessions which Iran is willing to make, the demands which they consider extreme and unlikely to accept, the points which might lead to a break-up of the negotiations and the position of the P5 + 1 participants which are closest to Israel. Netanyahu’s closest supporter is the Zionized-regime of French President Hollande and in particular Laurent Fabius, his Foreign Minister.
The sequence is as follows: American and Israeli spies, operating within the US government, pass intelligence to Netanyahu who sends directives to AIPAC which writes up resolutions for US Congress people which then transmit it through the mass media to the US public and to the White House which raises the issues, in part, to the negotiators the P 5 plus 1.
The question of timing is central, as the negotiations approach their deadline and the possibility of an agreement is advancing. The spies and sources, both among the US officials and among the European diplomats (mostly the French) involved in the negotiations, must intensify their undercover work for Israel.
Israeli Espionage Network in Washington: The Prime Suspects
The success or failure of Washington’s nuclear negotiations and the sustainability of any agreement depends on overcoming Netanyahu’s formidable army of supporters in the US Congress and his corporate allies in the mass media. The single most decisive aspect of the negotiations is maintaining the secrecy of the proceedings, especially with regard to the compromises that are inevitable in any historic agreement – especially Iran’s compromises. If Netanyahu has real-time intelligence, he can devise effective counter-moves to sabotage the agreement before it is announced.
While a score of Zionist-influenced think tanks and hundreds of full-time AIPAC functionaries have incredible ‘access’ to US officials, especially those involved in Middle East policy-making, the timeliness of information/ intelligence that Netanyahu needs can only be obtained from officials who are directly or closely involved in the current negotiations with Iran.
The likely criteria for identifying such agents among US diplomatic officials include (1) a long-standing history of strong pro-Israel activity and anti-Iranian animus; (2) extensive interactions and involvement with Israeli intelligence and foreign ministry officials; (3) deep involvement in devising and implementing sanctions policies against Iran; and (4) immediate access to or, better still, direct participation in the negotiating group.
Numerous officials fit one or two of the criteria. However if we consider all four, we can identify a narrow circle of five officials, who have the history, contacts and access to secret negotiations, which make them prime candidates for spying for Israel. They are:
Michael Froman, top US trade negotiator
Jack Lew, US Secretary of Treasury
Penny Pritzker, US Secretary of Commerce
David Cohen, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of Political Affairs and Chief US negotiator in the nuclear talks with Iran.
While all five have been ardent supporters of Israel before and during their time in the Obama administration, only two could have direct, real time access to the negotiations.
David Cohen, has been extremely active pushing for sanctions against Iran and has a lot to lose if sanctions are lifted or weakened. Like his predecessor, Stuart Levy, he has been closely associated with AIPAC, which was instrumental in creating his post in Treasury and in orienting its activities toward prosecuting banks and multi-nationals, which directly or indirectly trade with Iran. Cohen, although not directly involved in the negotiations, could easily access their deliberations since they affect his field of work. He also has very ‘fluid’ relations with Israeli officials engaged in intelligence, finance and foreign affairs. He has excellent relations with Netanyahu and supports AIPAC’s agenda. While he could serve as an Israeli informant and certainly does exchange intelligence, he does not have the real time details of the proceedings, because he is not a member of the negotiating team.
Only Wendy Sherman fits all the criteria. Sherman, as head of the US negotiating group, has access to all the details of daily discussions, proposals and concessions by the US and Iranian negotiators. Moreover, Sherman is in a position to translate Netanyahu’s demands on Iran into key agenda items and proposals. Sherman is a lifelong zealous Zionist and according to one sympathetic writer, is ‘widely considered one of Israel’s most supportive high level friends’. Sherman’s reputation on the negotiating team has been that of a ‘hard negotiator’. Sherman was one of the key authors of the ‘Joint Plan of Action, which was designed to extract the maximum concessions from Iran while making the fewest changes in US policy.
In a speech on October 23, 2014, designed to reassure Israel-Firsters in Washington, Sherman boasted: ‘In return for limited sanctions relief, Iran has halted the expansion of its overall enrichment capacity, put a cap on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride, stopped the production of uranium enriched to 20%, agreed not to make further advances at the Arak heavy water reactor, opened the door to unprecedented daily access for international inspectors to the facilities at Natanz and Fordow’. Sherman has secured US colonial oversight over the entire Iranian uranium program – which the CIA and the entire US intelligence consortium have repeatedly declared is not a ‘weapons program’!
Sherman shares Netanyahu’s visceral racist ideological contempt for the Iranians. She publicly told a US Senate Committee that, “we know deception is part of their (Iranians) DNA”. This was clearly a crude remark designed to provoke the Iranian government and undermine the negotiations before they began!
If the ideological affinities and hatred of Iran point to Wendy Sherman as the Israel’s ‘mole’ in the State Department, her strategic position as head of the negotiating committee immediately provides her with the secret details that Israel needs to sabotage Obama’s approach to Iran and to organize opposition in the US. The WSJ article underscores Sherman’s role as an agent of Tel Aviv: ‘Mr. Netanyahu and his top advisers received confidential update on the Geneva talks from Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and other US officials who knew at the time that Israeli intelligence was working to fill the gap.’ Washington eventually curtailed the ‘briefings.’ But there is no evidence that Sherman ceased her activities on Netanyahu’s behalf. It’s likely she continues to provide timely intelligence to her Israeli counterparts.
Israel is pursuing a complex strategy: 1. Opposing the negotiations outright; 2. Organizing political forces in Congress to impose new sanctions to undermine the negotiations; 3. Securing sympathetic US officials on the negotiating team to spy and report the proceedings to Israel and 4. Helping Israel by making the most extreme demands on Iran, offering the least concessions in order to force a breakdown of the negotiations.
In other words, Israel pursues a complex division of labor: Netanyahu sets the rejectionist hardline. US Zionists transmit that policy into Congressional opposition. Top officials in the State Department provide intelligence for the hard ‘outsider’ campaign and work within the negotiating framework to subvert the proceedings. As the chief negotiator, Sherman plays multiple roles on behalf of Israel, only one of which involves the immediate transfer of highly sensitive intelligence. Sherman has ensured that most of Netanyahu’s demands are incorporated into the US negotiating agenda in a win-win format. If Iran rejects them, the US will effectively break-off negotiations, blame Iran and impose even harsher sanctions; if Iran accepts the demands, its peaceful nuclear program will be destroyed and it will be even more vulnerable to an Israeli and/or US military attack with all its military installations infiltrated and monitored by the US controlled International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA).
While Netanyahu bellows against the idea of negotiations with Iran, and opposes any process lifting sanctions, the realistic agenda of the Israeli Foreign Office is to: 1. Prolong the sanctions, 2. Minimize any immediate relief, 3. Include clauses which would give the US any pretext for unilaterally revoking sanctions without any consultation; 4. Minimize the amount and level of enriched uranium Iran could retain within the country; 5. Dismantle most of Iran’s centrifuges and impose severe limitations on scientific research and development; and 6. Stop operation of Iran’s multi-billion dollar new fortified nuclear power facility at Fordow.
While Sherman cannot outright terminate the negotiations she is doing everything in her power to either force a breakdown or thoroughly humiliate the Iranians.
The failure of the Obama regime to go after its own State Department officials acting as agents for Israel; its refusal to confront long-term aggressive espionage designed to undermine its relations in the Middle East; its tolerance of Israel’s direct interference via its ‘fraternal organizations’ of the US legislative process; and its refusal to identify, arrest, prosecute and sentence high-level spies within the Cabinet have severely compromised the sovereignty of the United States. It is Israel’s intervention in the US, not ISIS, Iran, Houthis, Venezuela, Syria, Russia or China, that poses an immediate and direct threat to US national security. Increasing Jewish colonialist expansion in Palestine; the flaunting of its vast stockpile of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; operating its powerful network of political agents and spies in high US offices are a direct, immediate threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and the United States.
The activities of US Zionists as spies and shock troops for Israel’s effort to destroy Iran and undermine US diplomacy, pose a long-term threat to all Jews in America. Sooner or later, Israel’s deep penetration of US power centers and its manipulation of elected American officials, will lead to a prolonged, bloody, destructive war. And it can be expected that the greater US public will seek out those responsible and demand they be held to account. Under the impact of the devastation of war, who can be sure that the American public will be able to distinguish between loyal Jewish-Americans and highly placed Zionists acting on Israel’s behalf ? For that reason it is incumbent that peace-loving American Jews get on their feet and clearly and forthrightly denounce the Zionist minority, which claims to speak for them.
All those Zionist ‘wise-guys’ of both genders, who think they have been so clever using their high office to serve Israel, are fooling themselves. More and more citizens are becoming aware that Israel’s espionage, its dictates to the US Congress and its manipulation of Executive powers are harming America. At the present, highly placed Zionist officials hold sway over the Obama Cabinet, but in the future they may find themselves facing charges of being agents of a foreign power, and a threat to US national security. They may find themselves sharing a cell block with Jonathan Pollard!
It’s Way Overdue!
When Republican Presidential contender Senator Ted Cruz announced his intention to run before a packed audience at Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia, the one line in his speech that drew the most applause was “Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.” I do not know if those who were cheering were really aware of what Cruz was saying, but the preposition “with” committing President Cruz to some kind of ad hoc equal partnership with a foreign government was both unseemly and ultimately un-American. A President of the United States should be prepared and expected to advance only American interests.
There is no ambiguity in Cruz. As keynote speaker for a conference held last September by the newly formed In Defense of Christians group, he demonstrated that even in front of Middle Eastern Christians it was necessary to play the Israel card, bringing Jewish “persecution” into the discussion before walking off stage. Just before exiting, he said, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless.”
A day after Cruz and Liberty it was Jeb Bush’s turn. He repudiated James Baker, his father’s secretary of state, after Baker had mildly criticized Netanyahu’s rejection of a possible Palestinian state, with Bush’s press spokesman asserting “Governor Bush’s support for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu is unwavering.” In a follow-up op-ed last Wednesday, Bush cemented his credentials as a worthy heir to his brother George in terms of intellectual vacuity by opposing nuclear negotiations with Iran before asserting “The Obama administration treats announcements of new apartment buildings in Jerusalem like acts of aggression.” Jeb is apparently unaware that there are half a million settlers on the West Bank on stolen Palestinian land.
Every Republican presidential wannabe makes an obligatory trip to Israel to kiss Netanyahu’s ring. And the neoconservative claque is meanwhile crowing about Bibi, calling him the “leader of the free world.” One blogger quipped “Has it got to the point that the GOP should cut through all the red tape and simply nominate Benjamin Netanyahu as their 2016 candidate?”
The most recent GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney went so far as to pledge himself to take Israel’s advice before doing anything in the Middle East. Cruz, like Romney, has made very clear his willingness to be guided by Israel and it appears that Bush 3 will do more of the same. As will every other leading Republican, including Rand Paul who recently defended critics who claimed that he was applauding too slowly during the Netanyahu speech, saying “I gave the prime minister 50 standing ovations, I co-sponsored bringing him here.”
Marco Rubio another presidential aspirant, has already declared that if he is elected president, he would be willing to defy America’s European allies if necessary to revoke any deal with Iran he might inherit. Rubio’s foreign policy advisers feature Dan Senor, Elliot Abrams, Robert Kagan and Eric Edelman.
Selling out to Israeli interests has become de rigueur for Republican politicians and presidential hopefuls as well as for a heck of a lot of Democrats as well. Former Bill Clinton U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson recently commented that Israel is “our anchor in the Mideast. Our beachfront is Israel. They’re our strongest ally” while Senator Chuck Schumer, who is poised to become Senate Minority Leader, has declared “One of my roles, very important in the United States senate, is to be a shomer – to be the shomer Yisrael (guardian for Israel). And I will continue to be that with every bone in my body …”
The description of Israel as a close ally is not true, of course. Though Israel is persistently referred to as America’s greatest friend by the chattering class it is not legally or practically an ally at all and never has been. And then there is the recent revelation that Israel not only spied on American officials negotiating with Iran but also used the information obtained with members of Congress to undercut the talks. It is quite possible that Netanyahu was getting his intelligence from someone inside the United States delegation, raising a perhaps more troubling issue about the loyalty of some senior officials. It also suggests that at least some Congressmen received briefings from the Israeli government that included classified information obtained from the U.S. negotiating team and did nothing about it.
That revelation of spying came on top of Benjamin Netanyahu’s apparent strategic decision to deal only with American leaders whom he likes and who like him in return. His 2012 endorsement of Romney preceded an unrelenting two year campaign excoriating the Obama Administration for its “weakness” regarding Iran. There have been two speeches by Netanyahu before Congress piling on more of the same but the coup de grace came when a desperate Netanyahu seeking reelection explicitly rejected the U.S. backed negotiations seeking to create a peaceful settlement for the Israel-Palestine problem. And then Netanyahu, confident that he can get away with anything without consequence, threw into the hopper a racist rant encouraging right wing support at the polls in Israel by creating fears over Israeli Arabs who might want to vote.
Senator John McCain inevitably accused President Obama of having a tantrum and told him “to get over it” after the White House expressed some concern regarding the extreme right wing Israeli election result. And now that the elections are over, it is reported that Israeli intelligence officers who exposed some of Netanyahu’s lies will be purged after the new government is formed. The GOP majority in Congress meanwhile has already rewarded Bibi for his enlightened statesmanship by giving him 50 ovations, thanking him for making the American Secretary of State and President look ridiculous. Forty-seven Senators subsequently signed a letter to the Iranian leadership warning that they would repudiate any nuclear agreement entered into by President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner will be traveling to Israel this week, presumably to personally thank Netanyahu for his understanding and continued support.
And meanwhile Washington continues to reward Israel with more than $3 billion per year in direct assistance plus billions more in tax exempt “charitable contributions” from American citizens, some of which goes to build illegal settlements. It continues to provide Israel with political cover at the United Nations; supplies it with weapons, some of which have been used in contravention of American law; and it regularly defers to Israeli concerns about the political situation in the Middle East.
As a reward for Washington’s largesse, Israel’s many enemies have made the United States a terrorist target. And then there is what the White House and Justice Department (DOJ) do not do. Israel is the number one “friendly” country in terms of the level of espionage directed against the United States but the federal government chooses not prosecute the hundreds of Israelis and Americans caught spying. The DOJ has even blocked any inquiries by concerned citizens into the details of Israeli espionage using mechanisms like the Freedom of Information Act.
One might well come to the conclusion that the American people are not very well served by all of this nonsense. Israel has sometimes been called the “fifty-first state” but it is worse than that as it pays no taxes, is never held accountable for anything, damages U.S. interests and is a net beneficiary at all levels. And all of Netanyahu’s subterfuge has taken place against a backdrop of repeated U.S. pledges of support for Israel coupled with fulsome assertions by policy makers that America “has Israel’s back” if there is any conflict in the region, a virtual commitment that Washington will join in any war that Tel Aviv initiates.
As Israel has done and continues to do grave damage to the United States through its actions, it is past time for an amicable divorce, to enable the dog to again wag its tail, as it were. It is quite possible to wish Israel and the Israeli people well without having to become an accomplice in war crimes. As there is more than sufficient justification to change the existing injurious special relationship, I would propose a new Declaration of Independence, this time not directed at King George III but at King Bibi Netanyahu and his associates in government.
As a prologue to the injuries suffered by the United States, I cannot put it any better than did America’s Founders: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation:”
- Washington wishes Israel and all other countries in the Middle East well and hopes that they will prosper, but from now on Israel, having abused its privileged position, must be treated just like any other country, with the depth of the bilateral relationship dictated by actual American interests.
- American taxpayer contributions to Israel’s high tech first world economy are both unnecessary and unwarranted and will cease.
- Diplomatic protection of Israel at the United Nations and in other international bodies damages American interests and will only be considered when Israeli and U.S. interests coincide.
- Israeli has violated U.S. laws regarding the use of American provided military equipment for defensive purposes only. Future sales of equipment will be reviewed and American military equipment prepositioned in Israel will also be removed.
- Because it is a violation of Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution American intelligence agencies will no longer share raw data obtained illegally on American citizens with Israel.
- Because funding the occupation of the West Bank is illegal, any private donations to Israel will only be considered charitable when it can be demonstrated that the recipients are actually eligible for that tax status.
- As it is in Washington’s interest to do so, the United States will be free to negotiate with Iran, Syria and all other countries in the Middle East. The United States will specifically respect the national integrity and sovereignty of all nations in the region, i.e. there will be no more threats that a “military option” is on the table.
- As there is a clear conflict of interest, trips to Israel funded by private foundations and lobbies to acquaint Congressmen, military officers, and other elected officials with the Israeli point of view will be considered gifts and subject to appropriate regulation and taxation.
- Israeli lobbying groups to include AIPAC, WINEP and JINSA have done great damage to the interests of the United States and will be required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.
- How Israel conducts its domestic governance is its own business, but the United States will oppose the continuation of legal and administrative infringements on the fundamental rights of ethnic and religious minorities in any and all countries, including those that regard themselves as democratic, to include Israel’s treatment of its Arab minority.
- As it is in the United States interest to do so, Washington will support in international fora the creation of a sovereign and functional Palestinian state to include full recognition by Washington, understanding that the persistence of the Palestinian problem has been both an incubator of and recruiting poster for terrorism worldwide.
- Stealing American high technology and government secrets has done grave damage. Israelis and Americans caught spying against the United States will be arrested, charged and prosecuted under applicable statutes. There will be no exceptions.
I am convinced that a new Declaration of Independence will be good both for the United States and for Israel. The U.S. can remove the issue of Israel from its fractious political discourse and will at last be free of a major distortion in its ability to conduct foreign and security policy based on America’s own interests. Israel, which is militarily dominant in its region, can begin to think seriously of how to coexist with its neighbors rather than bomb them into submission. A reset for both countries would be healthy as well as the right thing to do.
“It is always a meritorious deed to get hold of a Palestinian’s possessions” – The code of Jewish Law revised and updated by Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election makes him the longest serving prime minister in Israel’s history. His 20% margin of victory (30 Knesset seats to 24 for his nearest opponent) underlines the mass base of his consolidation of power.
Most critical commentators cite Netanyahu’s racist pronouncements; his rejection of any two state solution and his overt appeal for a mass Jewish voter turnout to counteract the ‘droves of Arab voters’ for his electoral victories.
There is no question that the majority of Israeli Jewish leaders and parties support Netanyahu’s racist pronouncements and ‘no-state’ solution and joined him in a coalition government. But the larger issue is the positive mass response to Netanyahu’s call to action. Nearly three quarters of the electorate turned out (73%) to elect him. Moreover, Netanyahu has been elected prime minister for four terms: between 1996-99 and more recently 2009-20.
What is more, the opposition has not differed from the Netanyahu coalition regime’s Judeo-centric policies and pronouncements. In other words, ‘racist’ ideology per se is not what drives the Israeli majority to repeatedly support Netanyahu.
Jewish-centered racism is an integral and accepted part of Israel’s political culture.
Social Colonialism and Netanyahu’s Popularity
There is a more fundamental, ongoing material basis which accounts for Netanyahu’s electoral victories and mass appeal: His regime’s aggressive, perpetual and escalating seizure and dispossession of Palestinians land and his massive financing of Israel’s Jewish colonial towns.
In other words, Netanyahu’s appeal is rooted in the large-scale, long-term housing which hundreds of thousands of low and middle income Israeli Jews have obtained via his brutal land-grabbing policy. The so-called ‘settlers’ are in part armed Israeli Jewish colonists who engage in open theft and defend Netanyahu, because they materially benefit from his policies… It is not only those who have already colonized Palestinian land grabbed after 1967 – over 650,000 Jews – who vote for Netanyahu, but there are the hundreds of thousands of others in Israel, priced out of the Israeli real estate bubble, who cannot afford comfortable housing and look to the West Bank and Jerusalem for a ‘Jewish solution’ at the expense of the Palestinian inhabitants.
Racism, the foul language directed at Palestinians, which pervades Israeli-Jewish culture (‘Arab scum’ is one of many such common expressions) found expression even among the songs celebrating Netanyahu’s latest electoral victory. Racism serves to justify the land grabbing. Can the settler mind even imagine that an ‘inferior people’ should complain about land grabs by the ‘chosen people’ ? Modern educated Jewish professionals wax indignant that shepherds and olive farmers should hold back the development of glitzy shopping malls, million dollar community centers (for Jews only, of course), hospitals, sports complexes and high tech industrial parks.
And if they – ‘the Arabs’ – object to their own displacement, all the better: Their resistance provides an excellent pretext for armed Jewish settler thugs to invade a village, drive out the inhabitant and call in Netanyahu’s bulldozers, as a prelude to establishing an ‘outpost’, first steps to a new Jews only colony!
The key to Netanyahu’s big vote is that he responds favorably and forcefully in favor of new colonies. The self-styled Israeli Defense (sic) Force (IDF) is dispatched to protect the local vandals and to shoot live ammo at any rock-throwing Palestinian adolescent defending the family patrimony.
Netanyahu acts and speaks for the rapacious Jewish colonial masses. The opposition criticized Netanyahu on the basis of his neglect of socio-economic issues in Israel, especially, the soaring prices of housing in the major cities. But they failed to attract many Jewish voters because Netanyahu offers a more attractive alternative solution – the seizure of more Palestinian land and the construction of Jewish homes, instead of fighting powerful Jewish real estate moguls, land speculators and corporate landlords inside Israel.
Extremism at the Service of Jewish Housing is No Vice
For the mass of Israeli Jews, looking for a cheap, easy and government-financed road to comfortable middle class housing, seizing and occupying Palestinian property is a very attractive and viable ‘solution’.
Netanyahu’s ‘final solution’ for the Palestinians – no state – is a guarantee that land, which is seized and housing which is built, will remain under Jewish jurisdiction. The ‘final solution’ for Palestinians is the housing solution for the Jewish masses.
Under Netanyahu, from 2013 to 2015, two-thirds of new housing construction (for Jews only) has taken place on stolen Palestinian lands. His regime spends $252 million dollars a year on Jews-only colonies (‘settlements’). The Netanyahu regime spends $950 for each Jewish colonist in the West Bank, double what is invested for each Jewish Israeli resident in Tel Aviv. For the most aggressive Jewish colonists, those who destroy the productive olive groves, torch Palestinian homes and who establish ‘settler outposts’, Netanyahu spends $1,483 a year . . . with promises of roads, electricity, schools, swimming pools and air conditioning to come!
Owning the Holy City Secures the Unsavory Vote
Netanyahu’s big vote in Jerusalem can be accounted for by the fact that over 300,000 Jews have been the beneficiaries of land grabs and sparkling high-rise condos in what had been centuries-old Palestinian neighborhoods.
Netanyahu assures the Jerusalem Jews that ‘their city’ is and always will be the capital of Israel, an undivided Jewish city.
Sticking his finger in the eyes of the EU and US officials, who claim otherwise, energizes and emboldens the Jewish voters
Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing is unrelenting: That is why he is re-elected over and over again. Israeli colonial settlements grew by over 5% each year from 2009 – 2015. There is no backtracking with Bibi Netanyahu: at this rate of ‘erasure’ all of historical Palestine will be Judified by 2050 at the latest!
Netanyahu claims that Israeli Jews must have their ‘lebensraum’ . . .
Israel and other colonial powers, like England in the 19th century and Germany in the 20th century, ‘solve’ their domestic social problems and social unrest by exporting populations across borders. The attractiveness of this solution is that it preserves the power and privileges of the domestic economic elite and provides an ‘escape valve’ for the local disaffected masses.
Emigration to settler colonies requires violent dispossession of the local inhabitants. If stiff resistance emerges – the imperial powers resort to genocide; extermination of native peoples by the English, Slavic peoples by the Germans, Palestinian Arabs and other non-Jews by the Israeli Jews.
Long past is the notion that Israeli Jews would solve their social -economic problems via a collectivist economy and popular struggle against Jewish plutocrats.
Today Jewish-Israeli millionaires flourish alongside orthodox, secular, Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Sabra and Russian emigrant colonists. The former exploits labor and markets, while the latter dispossesses Palestinians. Netanyahu has discovered a formula for uniting quarrelsome Jewish parties, leaders and voters and for winning elections.
Moreover, Netanyahu has secured the financial and political backing of numerous overseas Jewish-Zionist billionaires. He has secured the unconditional support of tens of thousands of middle class Israel-First activists, academics and professionals who operate AIPAC and dozens of similar propaganda mills in Washington and Christian Zionists throughout the US. Netanyahu’s overseas backers ensure that the US government may grumble and criticize, but will never disrupt Netanyahu’s ‘plan’ of an ethnically pure ‘Greater Israel’ with Jerusalem as its ‘eternal’ capital. Obama may whine and talk to the press about ‘reconsidering US-Israeli relations’ but he has assured Israel and Netanyahu that military and economic ties will remain intact.
Netanyahu has succeeded in setting a colonial agenda for all Israeli-Jewish parties (bar one).
He has established the fact that competitive elections and opposition political parties are compatible and even facilitate violent colonial expansion.
He has established the fact that Israel and its people embrace a racist ideology and receive the endorsement of most Western leaders, and mass media and the unconditional support of its overseas fifth column.
Israel’s project for Palestine, the creation of a single Jewish state, is far more than the demented vision of one man. It has been taken to heart by the great mass of the Israeli-Jewish people and their overseas supporters. The victory of Netanyahu and his supporters marks a historic victory for all those regimes and people across the world who believe and fight for an imperial dominated world.
Bibi’s re-election makes the prospect of a third intifada more likely than ever. And when it does come it would take a surfeit of optimism to believe that it won’t be as widely supported among the Palestinians as the First Intifada (1987-1991) or as violent as the Second Intifada (2000-2005).
The so-called international community, consisting of Washington and its European allies, has failed the Palestinian people miserably over many years by now. Its unfailing and ignoble pandering to Israel that informs the West’s entire policy with regard to the Middle East has only succeeded in creating a monster in the shape of the intransigent, rejectionist, and brutal political culture that now holds sway there. It is a culture underpinned by a flagrant disregard for international law and the human rights of some 3 million people in the occupied West Bank and 1.8 million in Gaza, which at time of writing remains a pile of rubble after Israel’s summer 2014 air, land, and sea assault in which 2100 Palestinians were slaughtered – around 500 of them children – and up to 9000 injured or maimed, many of those permanently.
Gaza remains under siege, hermetically sealed from the outside world, its people and their suffering a symbol of the hypocrisy and indifference of an international order in which Palestinian blood is not only cheap it is worthless. Israel’s exceptionalism, meanwhile, remains sacrosanct.
Nobody should be fooled by talk of a rupture between the Obama administration and Netanyahu. The President, the world knows by now, holds Bibi somewhere between disdain and disgust in his feelings towards him. The studied insult delivered to the president by the Israeli Prime Minister when he addressed the US Congress a few weeks ago, where Netanyahu attempted to undermine talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Switzerland, couldn’t have been more wounding. It undermined both the President’s authority in Washington and his influence overseas.
The Israeli election that followed was marked by the new low Netanyahu went to in order to scoop up enough votes to win. Scaremongering, apocalyptic rhetoric, and out and out racism issued from his lips in the lead up to the polls, leaving no doubt that along with the so-called Islamic State, Benjamin Netanyahu poses the gravest threat to the stability of the region.
Yet despite this – despite the phone conversation reported to have taken place between Obama and Netanyahu after the Israeli Prime Minister’s re-election, during which Obama told him that he would have to “reassess” his administration’s policy towards Israel in the wake of Netanyahu’s pre-election statements negating the prospects of a two state solution, US policy towards Israel isn’t about to undergo any meaningful reorientation anytime soon.
During an interview with the Huffington Post, Obama confirmed that despite his differences with Mr Netanyahu, US aid to Israel to the tune of £3 billion a year will not be affected. And therein lies the rub, for until there is willingness in Washington to punish Netanyahu’s and the Israeli right’s rejectionist policy with the threat to suspend aid, the chances of a shift in said policy are less than zero.
The impotence of the Obama administration has been laid bare over these past couple of weeks. The anti-Obama coalition comprising Congressional Republicans and the Likud Party knows that the worst-case scenario involves waiting out the remaining year of the first black president’s tenure. The best-case scenario, which is far more likely, will see Obama cave just as he’s caved when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians. Whether on settlements expansion, the continuing annexation of East Jerusalem, Gaza, or meaningful steps towards the realization of a two state solution, the president has been played like a violin by Netanyahu these past few years.
That said, the much vaunted two state solution is but a canard. There is no possibility of a two state solution, as Netanyahu knows full well. The idea of anything approaching a viable Palestinian state comprising what is left of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza is an insult to the collective intelligence of the Palestinian people. What we have now is a de facto single state in which 4.8 million people living in it are regarded and treated as Helots. As such, it is only when Israel is forced to comply with international law and human rights that any meaningful progress can hope to be made. That force must take the form of economic sanctions.
The only issue over which Obama will likely defeat the Israeli leader at present is Iran. The recent talks in Switzerland look to have made significant progress, which in conjunction with the unanimous aversion to the deployment of hard power against Tehran by the other nations involved in those talks, this has left Netanyahu and his Washington allies increasingly isolated as yesterday’s men.
This still leaves the Palestinians, who cannot be expected to continue to endure the injustice that defines their existence for much longer without there being an explosion. Yes, the international boycott campaign grows and has scored some notable successes over the past year, but nonetheless at this stage the Palestinians could be forgiven for considering themselves more or less abandoned to their fate.
A third intifada is heading down the track as a consequence – and when it comes neither Washington nor its allies should be in any doubt that it arrived as a direct result of their weakness, double standards, and perfidy.
The cause of the Palestinian people remains the cause of humanity in our time. All else is embroidery.
John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1
Israel has been accused of feeding secret information on the Iran 5+1 nuclear talks to senior US lawmakers in an effort to scupper the negotiations, a new report says. The accusation was met with sharp denial in Tel Aviv.
The allegations were revealed in a Wall Street Journal investigation, and come from dozens of interviews with officials past and present, who are familiar with the nuclear discussions.
Israel, for its part, claims that this was not accompanied by any official accusations by the White House, according to Haaretz.
According to the sources, it came as no surprise to the White House that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was continuing on his mission to derail a much sought-after agreement with Iran, as Tel Aviv remains implacably opposed to a nuclear Tehran, and has in recent past tried to involve the US Congress to impede a diplomatic solution offered by the 5+1 talks.
However, it came as a surprise to Washington that Tel Aviv would feed the secret information to US lawmakers to drain support from a deal with Tehran. Washington and Tel Aviv have vastly different notions on how to deal with Tehran and how regional peace is to be secured.
“It is one thing for the US and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal US secrets and play them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy,” a top US official close to the situation told WSJ.
Israel’s alleged role in passing on information to US lawmakers emerged after US intelligence was snooping on the Israelis and heard information they claimed could only have come from the closed-door talks.
Tel Aviv denied this, saying that they had acquired the information by different means, such as routine spying on communications with Iran.
“These allegations are utterly false,” Netanyahu’s office told reporters. “The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies. The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share.”
WSJ’s sources said that Israel tops the list of close US allies trying to spy on it, and that more US counterintelligence resources are spent on Israel than any other partner.
Netanyahu has been trying to drum up support against the Obama administration’s push for rapprochement with Tehran from within the US government, as well as trying to sway US lawmakers.
The fresh allegations of meddling by Israel could alienate US officials, many of whom are expected to be around after Obama’s term finishes.
Last month, Obama’s cabinet accused Israel of “selective sharing of information” and “cherry-picking” as it publicly voiced its discontent with the ongoing talks. “Not everything you’re hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate depiction of the talks,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
On the same day, The New York Times revealed that Obama had warned his European partners in the 5+1 talks (France, Germany and the UK) not to share too much information with Israel, “because whatever we say may be used in a selective way.”
Two weeks ago, Netanyahu attempted to cancel a briefing for of a delegation of six US senators, Netanyahu’s idea of involving Congress in the matter would all but derail any deal with Iran. Eventually, Netanyahu had to back down and allow the briefing to take place.
Tensions between Tel Aviv and Washington are already running high after Netanyahu delivered a controversial address to the US Congress, organized with Republican lawmakers but not the White House or the US State Department, in which he struck out at Iran, but, in Obama’s opinion, offered few alternatives to his previous line of aggressive engagement.
The rift deepened further after Netanyahu said in his re-election campaign that Palestinian statehood would never happen on his watch.
The White House said shortly afterward: “We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made, or that they don’t raise questions about the prime minister’s commitment to achieving peace through direct negotiations.”
Relations cooled with Tel Aviv in 2012, when Obama decided to talk to Iran without Israel’s involvement – something Netanyahu reportedly did not appreciate.
With these latest allegations of Israeli meddling in US politics, “people feel personally sold out,” one US official said.
Israel appeared to be counting on a handful of Democrats in Congress to block the deal with Iran, the WSJ source said. “[T]hat’s where the Israelis really better be careful, because a lot of these people will not only be around for this administration but possible the next one as well,” the US official said.
Damascus – Ringleaders of terrorist groups deployed on Syrian territory asked Israel to maintain its logistical and military support and send messages of congratulation for the recent election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As highlighted by the website HispanTV today, the congratulations were sent through Israeli lawmaker Mendi Safadi, who acts as a mediator between Tel Aviv and Syrian opposition armed groups.
“We received with great hope and joy the news of his victory,” said one of the congratulatory messages sent by Syrian terrorists to the Likud party, winner of the elections in which Netanyahu was reelected.
The website also quoted another message asking the Zionist prime minister to “build better relationships at all levels between Syrian anti-government armed groups and Tel Aviv.”
Among the groups that congratulated Netanyahu are Al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda branch in Syria), the Free Syrian Army and other extremist armed groups.
Israel provides military, logistic and, particularly, medical services, offering their hospitals to armed rebels wounded in combat, violating Resolution 2170 of the Convention on the Separation of Forces and UN Security Council’s resolutions to fight terrorism.
Since the Syrian crisis began in March 2011, Israel has invested nearly 10 million dollars in medical services for armed groups trying to overthrow the Syrian government.
There is only one reason that Netanyahu is received as a Viceroy overseeing and dictating strategic policy to what clearly is a servile colonial legislature
There have been times when history has played tricks with man and… has magnified the features of essentially small persons into a parody of greatness.
— Rabindranath Tagore (on Benito Mussolini)
How is it that the ruler (Benjamin Netanyahu) of a puny country (Israel) of 8.2 million (6.2 million Jews) with the 37th biggest economy (GDP in current prices) in the world dictates war policy and secures the willing submission of the legislature of the largest economy and most powerful military empire in the world?
What significance does Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress have, beyond the fact that he uses it as a platform to attack the elected President of the US, to denounce US peace negotiations, and to demand that Congress adopt policies designed to precipitate a war with Iran?
Netanyahu’s Dominant Presence in the US
There is only one reason that Netanyahu is received as a Viceroy overseeing and dictating strategic policy to what clearly is a servile colonial legislature: over the past quarter of a century, Israel’s proxy in the US, an entire panoply of Zionist political organizations, government officials, propaganda mills, media moguls, billionaires and millionaires, have deeply penetrated the legislature, executive and administrative centers of decision making. Netanyahu’s arrogance and “brazen” presumption (Financial Times, 3/4/15, p. 6) to dictate policy to the US Congress is rooted in the pre-existing power base created by the proxy Zionist power configuration.
Netanyahu can sneer, with a crooked smile, at the US President, because, after several decades of Zionist permeation of the US state, he knows that he comes not as an outside power but as a leader and spokesperson of an inside power.
His presence was hailed by all the mass media as a major event, as international news, for over a month in advance. With Napoleonic presumption he dared to announce in advance that he would advance a war thesis in the fashion of any head of state. He can act as an unelected dictator because the elected officials have been converted into docile and complicit subjects by his proxy power structure.
The crucial theoretical point is that the conditions, that enabled Netanyahu to come, to see and to conquer, were not of his doing. His presence in the US Congress and his message is derived from the power of his supporters, deeply embedded in the structure of political power in the US.
Otherwise, who would take serious his delusional military fantasies, his clinically paranoid vision of peaceful adversaries, conspiring to “nuke Israel” and then the world, without a single nuclear bomb!
Prominent among Netanyahu’s financial backers are a group of prominent Zionist lumpen-bourgeoisie, billionaires who lent to millions of borrowers at extortionate rates (between 1400 and 4000% ) and played a leading role in the fraudulent mortgage induced crises of 2009-forward. They include Al Goldstein co-founder of AvantCredit and CashNetUSA; Sasha Orloff and Jacob Rosenberg founders of Lendup; Daniel Gilbert founder of QuickenLoans — a predator subprime lender; Ronald Arnall owner of Ameriquest… They used part of their ill-gotten gains to ease their consciences by donating millions to Israeli and US Jewish causes. Being generous to Israel provides a sort of perverse “absolution” for screwing millions of Americans.
One does not need much imagination to envision them cheering Netanyahu’s AIPAC and Congressional diatribes. It is not surprising that the lumpen-bourgeoisie backs a lumpen-prime minister.
The best and the brightest among the Zionist phalanx of pundits, professors, lawyers, economists, and financiers have created an aura of gravitas and profundity around this vulgar beerhall brawler.
This raises a basic question: Why do upwardly mobile, prosperous and elite-educated Zionist majorities enthusiastically pledge unconditional loyalty to a crude authoritarian foreign ruler who humiliates their country of birth?
Why did ten thousand American-born Zionist professionals stand and cheer, as they did the day before his congressional speech, as Netanyahu dictated his rabid bellicose political line to them at the AIPAC conference?
Is it because they believe he is their Chosen Leader of their Chosen Fatherland?
Netanyahu, with all his vulgarity and mediocrity, strikes a deep and abiding chord in the soul of his Zionist followers. They believe they are the collective geniuses of a superior species, who need not abide by the legal norms of non-Zionist states and international laws which hinder his colonial rule over millions of Palestinians.
What else but that identity of superiority allows the educated and prosperous, the humane and the cruel, to bond and welcome Netanyahu, as a modern secular Moses crossing the Potomac, delivering “the Jews” (for the messianic Netanyahu claims to speak for “all Jews”) from the mortal threats (Iran) cultivated by gentile politicians. The great majority of Zionist activists are deaf, dumb, and blind to those who criticize and refute his infantile and grotesque lies, the scrofulous screeds about non-existing “existential threats” which infest his speeches. Worse they will terrorize and cow any critic, demand that their employers fire them, as they have done over the past two decades. They believe that the Palestinians, who Israel bombed into the Stone Age, are threats to Israel. They believe that nuclear weapon-less Iranians, facing hundreds of Israeli nuclear bombs, are a threat to Israel. They believe there is one “truth”: that all measures, speeches and actions, which enhance the power and glory of Israel, are virtuous. It is this “truth” that motivates hundreds of thousands of “virtuous” Zionists to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to buy and/or intimidate presidents and congresspeople, governors and mayors, university presidents and faculty, police informers and academic thugs. It is this Zionist power configuration, which allows a political low-life like Netanyahu to enter and dominate the legislative chamber and tell US citizens where and when their next war should take place. It is for this power configuration that Congressmen and women “perform” — applauding and jumping up on cue for each and every one of Netanyahu’s emotional ejaculations.
Broad sectors of the Israeli public were immensely impressed by Netanyahu’s capacity to humiliate the President, by his willingness to dictate policy to the US and by the hyperkinetic docility and submissiveness of US Congress people. But this is not surprising: After all, Israelis are used to dominating Palestinians and torturing them into submission and colonizing a whole people. Why shouldn’t they gloat and puff up with pride when Netanyahu speaks and acts as a colonial viceroy to the US? After all, their leader is dominating a so-called ‘world power’!
No doubt the Israeli empire loyalists will overwhelmingly vote for Netanyahu, even if the “opposition” claims they also denounce the US-Iranian peace negotiations. Opposition leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni don’t have Netanyahu’s gangster look, that crooked smile that says to the US leaders: “We lead you by the nose and you love it!” What the rest of the world thinks of a braying donkey in Washington led by the nose is not hard to imagine: US world leadership certainly is not foremost in their minds…
There is much idle chatter from liberals, leftists and progressives, claiming that Netanyahu’s ‘brazen intervention’ would backfire; that it would damage relations with the US; that it would weaken and undermine US-Israeli relations and allow Iran to secure nuclear weapons. Liberal Zionists claim that Netanyahu’s speech would weaken support for Israel among Democratic congress people. Liberal Zionists claim that Netanyahu’s speech would weaken US support for Israel (God forbid!).
These lamentations have no substance; they are mendacious concoctions of minds which lack any capacity to understand power, especially the permanent power of the Zionist power configuration.
Even a cursory reading of the political facts which preceded, accompanied and followed Netanyahu’s Congressional dictates, demonstrates the exact opposite.
Immediately after Netanyahu’s intervention, Congressional leaders moved ahead to fast track legislation to heighten Iranian sanctions, to veto any Executive agreement. The Republication majority and over half of the Democrats chose to back the “foreign Viceroy” on policies of war and peace.
Far from “prejudicing” relations with the Obama regime, the Administration in the person of Secretary of State John Kerry vetoed a measure passed by the UN Human Right Commission condemning Israel’s savage war crimes against Palestinians. Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power did her usual belly crawl for Israel at the AIPAC conference following Netanyahu’s rousing diatribe. US-Iranian “negotiations” in Switzerland increasingly turned on exactly the issues Netanyahu demanded. US Secretary of State Kerry insisted on on-going intrusive inspections of Iran’s entire nuclear and military installations; retaining most sanctions for a decade; eliminating most enriched uranium … In a word disarming Iran, increasing its military vulnerability to an Israeli nuclear attack, without any deterrence or retaliatory capacity! Iran is formally negotiating with Kerry on behalf of the 5 plus 1, but the agenda and demands are set by the raucous over-voice of Netanyahu, who is the most influential invisible presence.
In other words, there is ample evidence that Netanyahu’s intervention, far from ‘damaging’ US-Israeli relations, further reinforced Israel’s power over the US. By securing the Administration’s declarations of unconditional loyalty while humiliating the President and seizing executive prerogatives, Israel demonstrates to the world that it can and will dictate US strategic policy and denounce its President with total impunity.
Netanyahu is far from being ostracized. He has a global platform from which to spew his rabid chauvinist diatribes against peace and negotiations. His speech, its content and style, received front page and extended prime time coverage. His war-mongering resonated with the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and US News and World Report.
Netanyahu’s political line inspired AIPAC’s ten thousand ultra-Zionists, who stormed Capital Hall and demanded Congress people and Congressional staff act on His message. Not a single dissenting voice emanated from the Presidents of the 52 Major American (sic) Jewish organizations whose first loyalty continued to be toward Israeli interests as defined by their Prime Minister.
The voices of dissent among the few dozen Jews on Capitol Hill, and outside the AIPAC conference hall, did not register in Congress or among the vast majority of Jewish community leaders or in the mass media.
Contrary to the lamentations and claims that Netanyahu has “weakened” Israel, the facts on the ground demonstrate that he has strengthened his “leadership” among the billionaires who buy US Congressional leaders. He has demonstrated that US officials, even ones who he insults and attacks, will continue to support Israeli war crimes in international forums; regale Israel with $3 billion a year in military aid to enhance its military supremacy in the Middle East; and incorporate its demands in any strategic negotiations with ‘Islamic’ countries like Iran, even if it undermines the basis of any negotiated agreement.
Clearly Netanyahu alienated a minority of US Congressional Democrats but mostly on procedural issues of protocol rather than on the more substantive issues of mongering for war and sanctions against Iran. Netanyahu’s messianic claim to speak for “all Jews” did arouse over 2,000 American Jews and non-Jews to sign a paid advertisement denying his status as the Second Coming of Moses.
But as the rousing welcome and conclusion to his speech by the Congressional majority and the unanimity of AIPAC’s thousands demonstrate, Israel’s formidable Zionist power configuration still dominates US policy in the Middle East.
The ‘debate’ over Netanyahu’s episodic presence in the US Congress and humiliation of the US President is misplaced. What really needs to be debated is the more fundamental question of the permanent presence, power and prerogatives of the Zionist power configuration in the making of US Middle East policy.
No other visiting Prime Minister or President will be received with so much media attention and political fanfare as Netanyahu because none possess the formidable, organized, well-financed and disciplined political apparatus which Israel possess. This is an apparatus which defends and promotes US wars on behalf of Israel, Israel’s war crimes, land seizures and torture of Palestinians. That they support Netanyahu’s gross humiliation of Obama is not surprising – it merely confirms the “Law of the Return”: that for American Zionists there is only one true state of the Jews – and that is Israel; and that their only “true” leaders are Israelis. As it happens, today he is called Benjamin Netanyahu. And that any US policy, negotiations or agreements in the Middle East have to be in accord with their leader.
Congress knows that.
The “52” know that.
Only the majority of the American electorate, who still believe they live in a free and independent country, is not privy to that reality, even though Netanyahu’s intervention in the US Congress and gross humiliation of the President should tell them otherwise.
But then we live in a peculiar sui generis ‘meritocracy’ in which the opinions of the 2%, the so-called chosen people, counts more than that of 98% of our citizens.
The critics, Jews and non-Jews, must realize that their problem with Netanyahu requires them to delve deeper, and that their opposition needs to become more systematic and more directly confrontational with the Zionist power configuration. Otherwise, there is no basis for believing that the US can end national humiliations and regain its status as a free and democratic republic.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Tel Aviv will not give away any occupied land to Palestinians, rejecting the idea of Palestinian statehood.
In a Sunday statement released by his right-wing Likud party, Netanyahu said that a speech he gave in 2009, endorsing a Palestinian statehood as a solution to decades of conflict, was now “irrelevant.”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that [in light of] the situation that has arisen in the Middle East, any evacuated territory would fall into the hands of Islamic extremism and terror organizations supported by Iran. Therefore, there will be no concessions or withdrawals; they are simply irrelevant,” the statement read.
Later on Sunday, Netanyahu’s office said in response that the prime minister made no comment to that effect.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has made clear for years that given the current conditions in the Middle East, any territory that is given will be seized by radical Islam just like what happened [in] Gaza and in southern Lebanon,” Netanyahu’s office said.
However, Netanyahu has repeatedly said he would not run the risk of handing over land that might fall into the hands of the resistance movement.
Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said Netanyahu was using regional strifes as an excuse, saying, “Today Netanyahu revealed his true face.”
“Since 1993, he worked hard for the destruction of the option of peace and the option of a two-state solution,” the Palestinian chief negotiator added.
In the past few months, the Palestinian national unity government has been pushing for a UN resolution that determines the borders of the future Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines. Israel has expressed outcries over the motion. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says there will be no negotiations over land with Israel as Palestinians will not give up even an inch of their land.
In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip but withdrew from the enclave in 2005. Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds and the Gaza Strip. Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of East al-Quds.
Reading the lead stories on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress about Iran in five prominent US papers–the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today (all 3/3/15)–what was most striking was what was left out of these articles.
None of them mentioned, for example, that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. Surely this is relevant when a foreign leader says that it needs the United States’ help to stop a rival state from obtaining nuclear weapons: The omission of the obvious phrase “of its own” changes the story entirely.
Another thing largely left out of the story is the fact that Iran has consistently maintained that it has no interest in building a nuclear weapon. There was one direct statement of this in the five stories–the New York Times‘ reference to “Iran’s nuclear program, which [Iranian] officials have insisted is only for civilian uses.” The Washington Post alluded to the fact that Iran denies that it has a nuclear weapons program, referring to “a program the West has long suspected is aimed at building weapons,” Iran’s “stated nuclear energy goals” and “the suspect Iranian program.” Elsewhere the military nature of Iran’s nuclear research was taken for granted, as when the LA Times said that the issue under discussion was “how to deal with the threat of Iran’s nuclear program.”
Entirely absent from these articles was the fact that not only does Iran deny wanting to make a nuclear bomb, the intelligence agencies of the United States (New York Times, 2/24/12) and Israel (Guardian, 2/23/15) also doubt that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. Surely this is relevant to a report on the Israeli prime minister engaging in a public debate with the US president on how best to stop this quite possibly nonexistent program.
Instead, these articles generally seemed content to cover the subject as a debate between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, perhaps with some congressmembers thrown in–as if these were the “both sides” that needed to be covered in order to give a complete picture of the controversy. When Iranian officials were quoted for a few lines in these pieces–which some neglected to do altogether–it seemed an afterthought, despite the fact that Netanyahu’s speech was mainly a long litany of allegations and threats against their country.
(Though I’m confining my analysis to what seemed to be the most prominent and comprehensive article on the speech on each paper’s website, it’s worth mentioning that the New York Times‘ website featured a piece by Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo, rebutting Netanyahu’s speech. Reading it one is struck by how different the news pieces would read if Iran’s perspective on Iran’s nuclear program were given equal weight with Israel’s and the US’s views.)
None of these news articles mentioned the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, signed by both the United States and Iran but not by Israel, which guarantees “the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”
The New York Times’ caption quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “This regime will always be an enemy of America.” That regime got 36 words of rebuttal in the nearly 1,500-word article.
One article–the New York Times’–had a reference to Netanyahu’s decades-long record of making false nuclear predictions about Israel’s enemies. And even that was framed in partisan terms: Netanyahu “did not succeed in mollifying all Democrats, who recalled a history of what they deemed doomsday messages by him.” A reporter, of course, could look up Netayahu’s previous projections to see if they came true or not–as Murtaza Hussain of the Intercept (3/2/15) did–but holding officials accountable for what they have said in the past is not something an “objective” journalist is likely to do.
Another striking omission from these articles, about a speech in which Netanyahu talked about Iran’s “aggression in the region and in the world,” were words like “Palestine,” “Palestinian,” “occupation” or “Gaza”; none of these came up in any of the five articles. USA Today headlined its piece “Netanyahu: Stop Iran’s ‘March of Conquest'”–as though it were Iran, not Israel, that has conquered, occupied and in some cases annexed its neighbors’ territory.