With dismaying predictability, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu lost no time in exploiting the massacre in Paris. As he has done many times before, he claimed Europe’s trauma was just a taste of the suffering Israelis have long known.
Discounting decades of a brutal Israeli occupation as the cause of the recent wave of Palestinian attacks, he said: “It is the terrorists who are to blame for terrorism, not the territories, not the settlements and not any other thing.”
Rather than criticising the occupation, he added, the world should learn from Israel’s “aggressive policy” how to defeat its enemies. Last week, he unveiled the latest measure, outlawing the northern wing of the Islamic Movement, a popular party among Israel’s Palestinian citizens, one in five of the population.
Netanyahu and his ministers justified the decision by conflating the Islamic Movement with Hamas and ISIL. But while its leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, rejects the idea of a Jewish state, the movement operates entirely within Israeli law. Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency opposed Netanyahu’s move, admitting that it had failed to find any evidence linking the movement to violence.
Salah’s organisation refuses to participate in the Israeli parliament, and instead directs much of its efforts at religious instruction and good works, including health clinics, nurseries and sports clubs, to the poorest communities in Israel.
That has made it hugely popular. A recent survey found 57 per cent of Israel’s 1.6 million Palestinian citizens believe the movement represents them. A third of Israel’s Palestinian Christians support it too. And it has 10,000 paid-up members, who now risk imprisonment.
So why do it? There are several benefits for Netanyahu and the Israeli right in equating all Islamic activism with terrorism.
Not least, international pressure to negotiate an end to the occupation is likely to lift. He can now recast Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians from a national conflict into a religious – and existential – one. If France is getting tough against ISIL, why should Netanyahu be expected to sit down with his own extremists?
It also helps him domestically. He needs an implacable foe to justify to Israelis why they need an authoritarian government like his.
The US nuclear deal with Iran removed his chief bogeyman. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is helping maintain order in the West Bank. And Hamas is licking its wounds in Gaza. Now he has an internal enemy, the Islamic Movement, that the argument goes must be fought ruthlessly from within.
Salah’s group fits the bill well. It has been an obstacle to two key planks of the Israeli right’s agenda.
First, it has frustrated the government’s efforts to drive tens of thousands of Bedouin from their ancestral villages into hugely deprived townships. The Islamic Movement has helped to organise and strengthen these communities.
And second, Salah has taken on the fight at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, as Jewish settler groups have used their government connections to gain ever greater purchase on the holy esplanade.
Salah’s cry of “Al Aqsa is in danger” has rallied huge numbers of supporters – Palestinians with the advantage of Israeli citizenship – to get involved at the mosque, at a time when all other Palestinian players, including the PA, have been excluded from Jerusalem.
Netanyahu characterises that opposition to his Jerusalem policies as a terror-like “incitement”, saying it has triggered the current Palestinian unrest.
Outlawing the Islamic Movement looks set to be the first step down a path to greater political repression.
Last year the Netanyahu government passed a law raising the electoral threshold too high for any of Israel’s Palestinian political parties to pass it and so win seats in the parliament.
Against the odds, the disparate factions created a Joint List, which is now the third largest party in the chamber. In response, Netanyahu used the election campaign to fearmonger, warning that Palestinian citizens were coming out to vote “in droves”.
The crackdown on the Islamic Movement paves the way to justifying a ban on members of the Joint List. The Balad faction, in particular, has skated close to illegality by arguing that Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic.
Its demand that Israel choose democracy – becoming a “state of all its citizens” – has outraged the right and led to repeated efforts to ban it. That now seems likelier than ever.
If Balad is outlawed too, the Joint List will collapse and the Palestinian parties will be forced out of the Israeli political arena.
The Shin Bet opposed outlawing Salah’s movement because it feared the move would radicalise the Palestinian minority. Denied either a parliamentary or extra-parliamentary platform, some would drift towards violence.
That is already a danger. Last week six Palestinian citizens were charged with trying to join ISIL in Syria, so far a tiny but discernible trend.
Netanyahu’s world view has always depended on a bloody, winner-takes-all clash of civilisations between West and East. He will continue offering vociferous advice on tackling terrorism to European leaders. They would do well to ignore him.
Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books).
Over the past 15 years the US has been engaged in a series of wars, which has led many writers to refer to the ‘rise of militarism’ – the growth of an empire, built primarily by and for the projection of military power – and only secondarily to advance economic imperialism.
The rise of a military-based empire, however, does not preclude the emergence of competing, conflicting, and convergent power configurations within the imperial state. These factions of the Washington elite define the objectives and targets of imperialist warfare, often on their own terms.
Having stated the obvious general fact of the power of militarism within the imperialist state, it is necessary to recognize that the key policy-makers, who direct the wars and military policy, will vary according to the country targeted, type of warfare engaged in and their conception of the war. In other words, while US policy is imperialist and highly militaristic, the key policymakers, their approach and the outcomes of their policies will differ. There is no fixed strategy devised by a cohesive Washington policy elite guided by a unified strategic vision of the US Empire.
In order to understand the current, seemingly endless wars, we have to examine the shifting coalitions of elites, who make decisions in Washington but not always primarily for Washington. Some factions of the policy elite have clear conceptions of the American empire, but others improvise and rely on superior ‘political’ or ‘lobbying’ power to successfully push their agenda in the face of repeated failures and suffer no consequences or costs.
We will start by listing US imperialist wars during the last decade and a half. We will then identify the main policy-making faction which has been the driving force in each war. We will discuss their successes and failures as imperial policy makers and conclude with an evaluation of “the state of the empire” and its future.
Imperial Wars: From 2001-2015
The current war cycle started in late 2001 with the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. This was followed by the invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003, the US arms support for Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006, the proxy invasion of Somalia in 2006/7; the massive re-escalation of war in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007-2009; the bombing, invasion ‘regime change’ in Libya in 2011; the ongoing proxy-mercenary war against Syria (since 2012), and the ongoing 2015 Saudi-US invasion and destruction of Yemen. In Europe, the US was behind the 2014 proxy putsch and violent ‘regime change’ in Ukraine which has led to an ongoing war against ethnic Russian speakers in south-east Ukraine, especially the populous industrial heartland of the Donbas region.
Over the past 15 years, there have been overt and covert military interventions, accompanied by an intense, provocative military build-up along Russia’s borders in the Baltic States, Eastern Europe (especially Poland), the Balkans (Bulgaria and Romania) and the mammoth US base in Kosovo; in Central Europe with nuclear missiles in Germany and, of course, the annexation of Ukraine and Georgia as US-NATO clients.
Parallel to the military provocations encircling Russia, Washington has launched a major military, political, economic and diplomatic offensive aimed at isolating China and affirming US supremacy in the Pacific.
In South America, US military intervention found expression via Washington-orchestrated business-military coup attempts in Venezuela in 2002 and Bolivia in 2008, and a successful ‘regime change’ in Honduras in 2009, overthrowing its elected president and installing a US puppet.
In summary, the US has been engaged in two, three or more wars since 2001, defining an almost exclusively militarist empire, run by an imperial state directed by civilian and military officials seeking unchallenged global dominance through violence.
Washington: Military Workshop of the World
War and violent regime change are the exclusive means through which the US now advances its foreign policy. However, the various Washington war-makers among the power elite do not form a unified bloc with common priorities. Washington provides the weapons, soldiers and financing for whichever power configuration or faction among the elite is in a position, by design or default, to seize the initiative and push their own war agenda.
The invasion of Afghanistan was significant in so far as it was seen by all sectors of the militarist elite, as the first in a series of wars. Afghanistan was to set the stage for the launching of higher priority wars elsewhere.
Afghanistan was followed by the infamous ‘Axis of Evil’ speech, dictated by Tel Aviv, penned by presidential speech-writer, David Frum and mouthed by the brainless President Bush, II. The ‘Global War on Terror’ was the thinly veiled slogan for serial wars around the world. Washington measured the loyalty of its vassals among the nations of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America by their support for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The Afghan invasion provided the template for future wars. It led to an unprecedented increase in the military budget and ushered in Caesar-like dictatorial presidential powers to order and execute wars, silencing domestic critics and sending scores of thousands of US and NATO troops to the Hindu Kush.
In itself, Afghanistan was never any threat and certainly no economic prize for plunder and profit. The Taliban had not attacked the US. Osama Bin Laden could have been turned over to a judicial tribunal – as the governing Taliban had insisted.
The US military (with its Coalition of the Willing or COW) successfully invaded and occupied Afghanistan and set up a vassal regime in Kabul. It built scores of military bases and attempted to form an obedient colonial army. In the meantime, the Washington militarist elite had moved on to bigger and, for the Israel-centric Zionist elite, higher priority wars, namely Iraq.
The decision to invade Afghanistan was not opposed by any of Washington’s militarist elite factions. They all shared the idea of using a successful military blitz or ‘cake-walk’ against the abysmally impoverished Afghanistan as a way to rabble rouse the American masses into accepting a long period of intense and costly global warfare throughout the world.
Washington’s militarist elites fabricated the link between the attacks on 9/11/2001 and Afghanistan’s governing Taliban and the presence of the Saudi warlord Osama Bin Laden. Despite the ‘fact’ that most of the ‘hijackers’ were from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and none were Afghans, invading and destroying Afghanistan was to be the initial test to gauge the highly manipulated and frightened American public’s willingness to shoulder the burden of a huge new cycle of imperial wars. This has been the only aspect of the invasion of Afghanistan that could be viewed as a policy success – it made the costs of endless wars ‘acceptable’ to a relentlessly propagandized public.
Flush with their military victories in the Hindu Kush, the Washington militarists turned to Iraq and fabricated a series of increasingly preposterous pretexts for war: Linking the 9/11 ‘jihadi’ hijackers with the secular regime of Saddam Hussein, whose intolerance for violent Islamists (especially the Saudi variety) was well documented, and concocting a whole fabric of lies about Iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction’ which provided the propaganda basis for invading an already disarmed, blockaded and starved Iraq in March 2003.
Leading the Washington militarists in designing the war to destroy Iraq were the Zionists, including Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, Richard Perle, and a few Israel-centric Gentile militarists, such as Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. The Zionists had a powerful entourage in key positions in the State Department, Treasury and the Pentagon.
There were ‘outsiders’ – non-Zionists and militarists within these institutions, especially the Pentagon, who voiced reservations – but they were brushed aside, not consulted and ‘encouraged’ to retire.
None of the ‘old hands’ in the State Department or Pentagon bought into the hysteria about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, but to voice reservations was to risk one’s career. The manufacture and dissemination of the pretext for invading Iraq was orchestrated by a small team of operatives linking Tel Aviv and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz’s Office of Special Plans, a tight group of Zionists and some Israelis headed by Abram Shulsky (Sept. 2002-June 2003).
The US war on Iraq was an important part of Israel’s agenda to ‘re-make the Middle East’ to establish its unchallenged regional hegemony and execute a ‘final solution’ for its own vexing ‘Arab (native Palestinian) problem’: It was made operational by the powerful Zionist faction within the Executive (White House), which had assumed almost dictatorial powers after the attack on 9/11/2001. Zionists planned the war, designed the ‘occupation policy’ and ‘succeeded wildly’ with the eventual dismemberment of a once modern secular nationalist Arab state.
In order to smash the Iraqi state – the US occupation policy was to eliminate (through mass firings, jailing and assassination) all high level, experienced Iraqi civil, military and scientific personnel – down to high school principals. They dismantled any vital infrastructure (which had not been already destroyed by the decades of US sanctions and bombing under President Clinton) and reduced an agriculturally advanced Iraq to a barren wasteland which would take centuries to recover and could never challenge Israel’s colonization of Palestine, let alone its military supremacy in the Middle East. Naturally, the large Palestinian Diaspora refugee population in Iraq was targeted for ‘special treatment’.
But Zionist policymakers had a much larger agenda than erasing Iraq as a viable country: They had a longer list of targets: Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Libya, whose destruction was to be carried out with US and NATO blood and treasure (and not a single Israeli soldier).
Despite the fact that Iraq did not even possess a functioning air force or navy in March 2003 and Afghanistan in late 2001 was rather primitive, the invasions of both countries turned out to be very costly to the US. The US completely failed to benefit from its ‘victory and occupation’, despite Paul Wolfowitz’ boasts that the pillage of Iraq’s oil fields would pay for the entire project in a ‘few months’. This was because the real Zionist plan was to destroy these nations – beyond any possibility for a quick or cheap imperialist economic gain. Scorching the earth and salting the fields is not a very profitable policy for empire builders.
Israel has been the biggest winner with no cost for the ‘Jewish State’. The American Zionist policy elite literally handed them the services of the largest and richest armed forces in history: the US. Israel-Firsters played a decisive role among Washington policy-makers and Tel Aviv celebrated in the streets! They came, they dominated policy and they accomplished their mission: Iraq (and millions of its people)was destroyed.
The US gained an unreliable, broken colony, with a devastated economy and systematically destroyed infrastructure and without the functioning civil service needed for a modern state. To pay for the mess, the American people faced a spiraling budget deficit, tens of thousands of American war casualties and massive cuts in their own social programs. Crowning the Washington war-makers’ victory was the disarticulation of American civil and constitutional rights and liberties and the construction of a enormous domestic police state.
After the Iraq disaster, the same influential Zionist faction in Washington lost no time in demanding a new war against Israel’s bigger enemy – namely Iran. In the ensuing years, they failed to push the US to attack Tehran but they succeeded in imposing crippling sanctions on Iran. The Zionist faction secured massive US military support for Israel’s abortive invasion of Lebanon and its devastating series of blitzkriegs against the impoverished and trapped people of Gaza.
The Zionist faction successfully shaped US military interventions to meet Israel’s regional ambitions against three Arab countries: Yemen, Syria, and Libya. The Zionists were not able to manipulate the US into attacking Iran because the traditional militarist faction in Washington balked: With instability in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US was not well positioned to face a major conflagration throughout the Middle East, South Asia and beyond – which a ground and air war with Iran would involve. However, the Zionist factions did secure brutal economic sanctions and the appointment of key Israel-Centric officials within the US Treasury. Secretary Stuart Levey, at the start of the Obama regime, and David Cohen afterwards, were positioned to enforce the sanctions.
Even before the ascendancy of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Tel Aviv’s military objectives after Iraq, including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen had to be spaced over time, because the non-Zionist factions among Washington’s elite had been unable to integrate occupied Afghanistan and Iraq into the empire.
Resistance, armed conflict and military advances in both Afghanistan and Iraq never ceased and are continuing into their 2nd decade. As soon as the US would withdraw from a region, declaring it ‘pacified’, the armed resistance would move back in and the local sepoys would defect to the rebels or take off for London or Washington with millions in pillaged loot.
‘Unfinished wars’, mounting casualties and spiraling costs, with no end in sight, undermined the agreement between the militarist and the Zionist factions in the Executive branch. However, the massively powerful Zionist presence in the US Congress provided a platform to bray for new and even bigger wars.
Israel’s vicious invasion of Lebanon in 2006 was defeated despite receiving massive US arms supplies, a US funded ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system and intelligence assistance. Tel Aviv could not defeat the highly disciplined and motivated Hezbollah fighters in South Lebanon despite resorting to carpet bombing of civilian neighborhoods with millions of banned cluster munitions and picking off ambulances and churches sheltering refugees. Israelis have been much more triumphal murdering lightly armed Palestinian resistance fighters and stone-throwing children.
Libya: A Multi-faction War for the Militarists (without Big Oil)
The war against Libya was a result of multiple factions among the Washington militarist elite, including the Zionists, coming together with French, English and German militarists to smash the most modern, secular, independent state in Africa under President Muammar Gaddafi.
The aerial campaign against the Gaddafi regime had virtually no organized support within Libya with which to reconstruct a viable neo-colonial state ripe for pillage. This was another ‘planned dismemberment’ of a complex, modern republic which had been independent of the US Empire.
The war succeeded wildly in shredding Libya’s economy, state, and society. It unleashed scores of armed terrorist groups, (who appropriated the modern weapons of Gaddafi’s army and police) and uprooted two million black contract workers and Libyan citizens of South Saharan origin forcing them to flee the rampaging racist militias to the refugee camps of Europe. Untold thousands died in rickety boats in the Mediterranean Sea.
The entire war was carried out to the publicly giddy delight of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her ‘humanitarian interventionist’ lieutenants (Susan Rice and Samantha Power), who were utterly ignorant as to who and what the Libyan “opposition” represented. Eventually, even Hillary’s own Ambassador to Libya would be slaughtered by … the same victorious US-backed ‘rebels’ (sic) in the newly liberated Bengazi!
The Zionist faction destroyed Gaddafi (whose capture, grotesque torture and murder was filmed and widely disseminated), eliminating another real adversary of Israel and supporter of Palestinian rights. The US militarist faction, which led the war, got nothing positive – not even a secure naval, air, or training base – only a dead Ambassador, millions of desperate refugees flooding Europe, and thousands of trained and armed jihadists for the next target: Syria.
For a while Libya became the main supply-line for Islamist mercenaries and arms to invade Syria and fight the secular nationalist government in Damascus.
Once again the least influential faction in Washington turned out to be the oil and gas industry, which lost lucrative contracts it had already signed with the Gaddafi regime. Thousands of highly trained foreign oil workers were withdrawn. After Iraq, it should have been obvious that these wars were not ‘for oil’!
Ukraine: Coups, Wars, and Russia’s ‘Underbelly’
With the US-orchestrated coup and intervention in Ukraine, the militarist factions once again seized the initiative, establishing a puppet regime in Kiev and targeting Russia’s strategic ‘soft underbelly’. The plan had been to take over Russia’s strategic military bases in Crimea and cut Russia from the vital military-industrial complexes in the Donbas region with its vast iron and coal reserves.
The mechanics of the power grab were relatively well planned, the political clients were put in power, but the US militarists had made no contingencies for propping up the Ukrainian economy, cut loose from its main trading partner and oil and gas supplier, Russia.
The coup led to a ‘proxy war’ in the ethnic-Russian majority regions in the south east (the Donbas) with four ‘unanticipated consequences’. 1) a country divided east and west along ethno-linguistic lines, (2) a bankrupt economy made even worse by the imposition of an IMF austerity program, (3) a corrupt crony capitalist elite, which was ‘pro-West by bank account’, (4) and, after two years, mass disaffection among voters toward the US puppet regime.
The militarists in Washington and Brussels succeeded in engineering the coup in Ukraine but lacked the domestic allies, plans and preparations to run the country and successfully annex it to the EU and NATO as a viable country.
Apparently the militarist factions in the State Department and Pentagon are much more proficient in stage managing coups and invasions than in establishing a stable regime as part of a New World Order. They succeed in the former and fail repeatedly in the latter.
The Pivot to Asia and the Pirouette to Syria
During most of the previous decade, traditional global strategists in Washington increasingly objected to the Zionist faction’s domination and direction of US war policies focused on the Middle East for the benefit of Israel, instead of meeting the growing challenge of the new world economic superpower in Asia, China.
US economic supremacy in Asia had been deeply eroded as China’s economy grew at double digits. Beijing was displacing the US as the major trade partner in the Latin American and African markets. Meanwhile, the top 500 US MNCs were heavily invested in China. Three years into President Obama’s first term the ‘China militarist faction’ announced a shift from the Middle East and the Israel-centric agenda to a ‘pivot to Asia’, the source of 40% of the world’s industrial output.
But it was not profits and markets that motivated Washington’s Asia faction among the militarist elites – it was military power. Even trade agreements, like the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), were viewed as tools to encircle and weaken China militarily and undermine its regional influence.
Led by the hysterical Pentagon boss Ashton Carter, Washington prepared a series of major military confrontations with Beijing off the coast of China.
The US signed expanded military base agreements with the Philippines, Japan, and Australia; it participated in military exercises with Vietnam, South Korea, and Malaysia; it dispatched battleships and aircraft carriers into Chinese territorial waters.
The US confrontational trade policy was formulated by the Zionist trio: Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, Trade Negotiator Michael Froman (who works for both the Asia militarist and Zionist factions), and Treasury Secretary Jake Lew. The result was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), involving 12 Pacific countries while deliberating excluding China. Washington’s Asian militarist faction planned to militarize the entire Pacific Basin, in order to dominate the maritime trade routes and, at a moment’s notice, choke off all of China’s overseas markets and suppliers – shades of the series of US provocations against Japan leading up to the US entering WW2.
The ‘Asia-militarist faction’ successfully demanded a bigger military budget to accommodate its vastly more aggressive posture toward China.
Predictably, China has insisted on defending its maritime routes and has increased its naval and air base building and sea and air patrols. Also, predictably, China has countered the US-dominated TPP by setting-up a one hundred billion dollar Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), while contributing to the multi-billion dollar BRICS Bank. Meanwhile, China even signed a separate $30 billion dollar trade agreement with Washington’s strategic ‘partner’, Britain. In fact, Britain followed the rest of the EU and joined the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank – despite objections from Washington’s “Asia faction”.
While the US depends heavily on its military pacts with South Korea and Japan, the latter nations have been meeting with China – their most significant trading partner – to work on expanding and deepening economic ties.
Up until 2014, the “business-with-China faction” of the Washington elite played a key role in the making of US-Asia policy. However, they have been eclipsed by the Asia militarist-faction, which is taking US policy in a totally different direction: Pushing China out as Asia’s economic superpower and escalating military confrontation with Beijing now heads Washington’s agenda.
Ashton Carter, the US Defense Secretary, has China, the second most important economy in the world in the Pentagon’s ‘cross-hairs’. When the TPP failed to curtail China’s expansion, the militarist faction shifted Washington toward a high risk military course, which could destabilize the region and risk a nuclear confrontation.
The Pirouette: China and Syria
Meanwhile in the Levant, Washington’s Zionist faction has been busy running a proxy war in Syria. The pivot to Asia has had to compete with the pirouette to Syria and Yemen.
The US joined Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Gulf Emirates, and the EU in sponsoring a replay of the Libyan ‘regime change’ — sponsoring proxy terrorists from around the globe into invading and devastating Syria. Damascus has been attacked from all sides for the ‘crime’ of being secular and multi-ethnic; for being pro-Palestinian; for being allied with Iran and Lebanon; for having an independent foreign policy; and for maintaining a limited representative (but not necessarily democratic) government. For these crimes, the West, Israel and the Saudis would have Syria fractured into an ethnically cleansed ‘tribal state’ – something they had accomplished in Iraq and Libya.
The US militarist faction (personified by Secretary of Defense Carter and Senators McCain and Graham) have funded, trained and equipped the terrorists, whom they call ‘moderates’ and had clearly expected their progeny to follow Washington’s directions. The emergence of ISIS showed just how close these ‘moderates’ stuck to Washington’s script.
Initially, the traditional militarist wing of Washington’s elite resisted the Zionist faction’s demand for direct US military intervention (American ‘boots on the ground’). That is changing with recent (very convenient) events in Paris.
Warfare: From Piecemeal Interventions to Nuclear Confrontation
The Washington militarists have again committed more US soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan; American fighter planes and Special Forces are in Syria and Yemen. Meanwhile, US naval armadas aggressively patrol the coasts of China and Iran. The militarist-Zionist ‘compromise’ over Syria was comprised of an initial contingent of 50 US Special Forces to join in ‘limited’ combat roles with (“loyal” sic) Islamist mercenaries – the so-called moderates. There are commitments for greater and heavier weaponry to come, including ground to air missiles capable of shooting down Russian and Syrian military jets.
Elite Factional Politics: An Overview
How does the record of these competing factions, formulating US imperial war policies in the Middle East over the past 15 years stack up? Clearly there has been no coherent imperial economic strategy.
The policy toward Afghanistan is remarkable for its failure to end the longest war in US history – over 14 years of occupation! The recent attempts by US-led client NATO forces to withdraw have been immediately followed by military advances by the nationalist-Islamist resistance militia – the Taliban, which controls much of the countryside. The possibility of a collapse of the current puppet in Kabul has forced the militarists in Washington to retain US bases – surrounded by completely hostile rural populations.
The Afghan war’s initial appearance of success triggered new wars – inter alia Iraq. But taking the long view, the Afghan war, has been a miserable failure in terms of the stated strategic goal of establishing a stable client government. The Afghan economy collapsed: opium production (which had been significantly suppressed by the Taliban’s poppy eradication campaign in 2000-2001) is the now predominant crop – with cheap heroin flooding Europe and beyond. Under the weight of massive and all pervasive corruption by ‘loyal’ client officials – the Afghan treasury is empty. The puppet rulers are totally disconnected from the most important regional, ethnic, religious and family clans and associations.
Washington could not ‘find’ any viable economic classes in Afghanistan with which to anchor a development strategy. They did not come to terms with the deep ethno-religious consciousness rooted in rural communities and fought the most popular political force among the majority Pashtu, the Taliban, which had no role in the attack on ‘9/11’.
They artificially slapped together a massive army of surly illiterates under Western imperial command and watched it fall apart at the seams, defect to the Taliban or turn their own guns on the foreign occupation troops. These “mistakes”, which accounted for the failure of the militarist faction in the Afghanistan war were due, in no small part, to the pressure and influence of the Zionist faction who wanted to quickly move on to their highest priority, a US war against Israel’s first priority enemy – Iraq – without consolidating the US control in Afghanistan. For the Zionists, Afghanistan (envisioned as a ‘cake-walk’ or quick victory) was just a tool to set the stage for a much larger sequence of US wars against Israel’s regional Arab and Persian adversaries.
Before the militarists could establish any viable order and an enduring governmental structure in Afghanistan, attention shifted to a Zionist-centered war against Iraq.
The build-up for the US war against Iraq has to be understood as a project wholly engineered by and for the state of Israel, mostly through its agents within the US government and Washington policy elite. The goal was to establish Israel as the unchallenged political-military power in the region using American troops and money and preparing the ground for Tel Aviv’s “final solution” for the Palestinian ‘problem’; total expulsion…
The US military and occupation campaign included the wholesale and systematic destruction of Iraq: Its law and order, culture, economy and society – so there would be no possibility of recovery. Such a vicious campaign did not resonate with any productive sector of the US economy (or for that matter with any Israeli economic interest).
Washington’s Zionist faction set about in a parody of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge to identify and destroy any competent, experienced Iraqi professional, civil servant, scientist, intellectual, or military official capable of re-organizing and re-building the county and war-battered society. They were assassinated, arrested, tortured, or driven into exile. The occupation deliberately encouraged religious parties and traditional tribes to engage in inter-communal massacres and ethnic cleansing. In other words, the Zionist faction did not pursue the traditionally understood policy of empire building which would incorporate the second tier functionaries of a conquered state to form a competent client regime and use Iraq’s great oil and gas wealth to build its economy. Instead they chose to impose a scorched earth policy; setting loose organized sectarian armies, imposing the rule of grotesquely corrupt ex-pats and placing the most venal, sectarian clients in positions of power. The effect has been to transform the most advanced, secular Arab country into an ‘Afghanistan’ and in less than 15 years destroying centuries of culture and community.
The goal of the ‘Zionist strategy’ was to destroy Iraq as Israel’s regional rival. The cost of over a million Iraqi dead and many millions of refugees did not prick any conscience in Washington or Tel Aviv.
After all, Washington’s traditional ‘militarist faction’ picked up the bill (costing hundreds of billions) which they passed on to the American taxpayers (well over one trillion dollars) and used the deaths and suffering of tens of thousands of American troops to provide a pretext for spreading more chaos. The result of their mayhem includes the specter of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which they may consider to be a success – since hysteria over ISIS pushes the West ‘closer to Israel’.
The sheer scale of death and destruction inflicted on the Iraqi population by the Zionist faction led to thousands of highly competent Ba’athist officers, who had survived ‘Shock and Awe’ and the sectarian massacres, to join armed Islamist Sunnis and eventually form the ISIS. This group of experienced Iraqi military officers formed the strategic technical core of ISIS which launched a devastating offensive in Iraq in 2014 – taking major cities in the north and completely routing the US-trained puppet armies of the ‘government’ in Baghdad. From there they moved into Syria and beyond. It is fundamental to understanding the roots of ISIS: The Zionist faction among US militarist policymakers imposed a deliberate ‘scorched earth’ occupation policy, which united highly trained nationalist Ba’athist military officers with young Sunni fighters ,both locals and increasingly foreign jihadist mercenaries. These deracinated members of the traditional Iraqi nationalist military elite had lost their families to the sectarian massacres; they were persecuted, tortured, driven underground, and highly motivated. They literally had nothing left to lose!
This core of ISIS leadership stands in stark contrast to the colonial, corrupt, and demoralized army slapped together by the US military with more cash than morale. ISIS quickly swept through half of Iraq and came within 40 miles of Baghdad.
The US militarist faction faced military defeat after eight years of war. They mobilized, financed, and armed their client Kurdish mercenaries in northern Iraq and recruited the Shia Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to appeal to the Shia militia.
ISIS exploited the Western-backed Islamist uprising in Syria and extended their sweep well across the border. Syria had accepted a million Iraqi refugees from the US invasion, including many of Iraq’s surviving experienced nationalist administrative elite. The US militarists are in a dilemma – another full-scale war would not be politically feasible, and its military outcome uncertain… Moreover the US was aligned with dubious allies – especially the Saudis – who had their own regional ambitions. Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Kurds were each eager to expand their power territorially and politically.
In the midst of this, the traditional Washington militarists are left with no overall viable imperialist strategy. Instead they improvise with faux ‘rebels’, who claim to be moderates and democrats, while taking US guns and dollars and ultimately joining the most powerful Islamist groups – like ISIS.
Throwing a wrench into the machinery of Israeli-Saudi hegemonic ambitions, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have sided with the secular Syrian government. Russia finally moved to bomb ISIS strongholds – after identifying a significant ISIS contingent of militant Chechens whose ultimate aims are to bring war and terror back to Russia.
The US-EU war against Libya unleashed all the retrograde mercenary forces from three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe) and Washington finds itself with no means to control them. Washington could not even protect its own consulate in their ‘liberated’ regional capital of Benghazi – the US ambassador and two intelligence aides were killed by Washington’s own ‘rebels’. The competing and cooperating factions of the Washington militarist elite placed Libya on a steaming platter: Serving up invasion, regicide and hundreds of thousands of refugees, which they did not bother to even ‘season’ with any plan or strategy – just unadulterated scorched earth against another opponent of Zionism. And a potentially lucrative strategic neo-colony in North Africa has been lost with no accountability for the Washington architects of such barbarism.
Latin America: The Last Outpost of the Multi-Nationals
As we have seen, the major theaters of imperial policy (the Middle East and Asia) have been dominated by militarists, not professional diplomats-linked to the multi-national corporations. Latin America stands as something of an exception. In Latin America, US policymakers have been guided by big business interests. Their main focus has been on pushing the neo-liberal agenda. Eventually this has meant promoting the US-centered ‘free trade’ agreements, joint military exercises, shared military bases, and political backing for the US global military agenda.
The ‘militarist faction’ in Washington worked with the traditional business faction in support of the unsuccessful military coups in Venezuela (2002 and 2014), the attempted coup in Bolivia 2008, and a successful regime change in Honduras (2010).
To harass the independent Argentine government which was developing closer diplomatic and trade ties with Iran, a sector of the US Zionist financial elite (the ‘vulture fund’ magnate Paul Singer) joined forces with the Zionist militarist faction to raise hysterical accusations against President Cristina Kirchner over the ‘mysterious’ suicide of a Israel-linked Argentine prosecutor. The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, had devoted his career to ‘cooking up a case’ against Iran with the aid of the Mossad and CIA for the unsolved, bombing the Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994. Various investigations had exonerated Iran and the Nisman Affair was an intense effort to keep Argentina from trading with Iran.
The Washington business faction operated in a mildly hostile Latin America for most of the past decade. However, it was able to recover influence, via a series of bilateral free trade agreements and took advantage of the end of the commodity cycle. The latter weakened the center-left regimes and moved them closer to Washington.
The ‘excesses’ committed by the US backed military dictatorships during the nineteen sixties through eighties, and the crisis of the neo-liberal nineties, set the stage for the rise of a relatively moderate business-diplomatic faction to come to the fore in Washington. It is also the case that the various militarist and Zionist factions in Washington were focused elsewhere (Europe, Middle East and Asia). In any case the US political elite operates in Latin America mostly via political and business proxies, for the time being.
From our brief survey, it is clear that wars play a key role in US foreign policy in most regions of the world. However, war policies in different regions respond to different factions in the governing elite.
The traditional militarist faction predominates creating confrontations in Ukraine, Asia and along the Russian border. Within that framework the US Army, Air Force, and Special Forces play a leading, and fairly conventional, role. In the Far East, the Navy and Air Force predominate.
In the Middle East and South Asia, the military (Army and Air Force) factions share power with the Zionist faction. Fundamentally the Zionists dictate policy on Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine and the militarists follow.
Both factions overlapped in creating the debacle in Libya.
The factions form shifting coalitions, supporting wars of interest to their respective power centers. The militarists and Zionists worked together in launching the Afghan war; but once launched, the Zionists abandoned Kabul and concentrated on preparing for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which was of far greater interest to Israel.
It should be noted that at no point did the oil and business elite play any significant role in war policy. The Zionist faction pushed hard to secure direct US ground intervention in Libya and Syria, but was not able to force the US to send large contingents of ground troops due to opposition from the Russians as well as a growing sector of the US electorate. Likewise, the Zionists played a leading role in successfully imposing sanctions against Iran and a major role in prosecuting banks around the world accused of violating the sanctions. However, they were not able to block the military faction from securing a diplomatic agreement with Iran over its uranium enrichment program – without going to war.
Clearly, the business faction plays a major role in promoting US trade agreements and tries to lift or avoid sanctions against important real and potential trade partners like China, Iran and Cuba.
The Zionist faction among Washington elite policymakers takes positions which consistently push for wars and aggressive policies against any regime targeted by Israel. The differences between the traditional militarist and Zionist factions are blurred by most writers who scrupulously avoid identifying Zionist decision-makers, but there is no question of who benefits and who loses.
The kind of war which the Zionists promote and implement – the utter destruction of enemy countries – undermines any plans by the traditional militarist faction and the military to consolidate power in an occupied country and incorporate it into a stable empire.
It is a serious error to lump these factions together: the business, Zionist, and various militarist factions of the Washington policy making elite are not one homogeneous group. They may overlap at times, but they also differ as to interests, liabilities, ideology, and loyalties. They also differ in their institutional allegiances.
The overarching militarist ideology which permeates US imperialist foreign policy obscures a deep and recurrent weakness – US policymakers master the mechanics of war but have no strategy for ruling after intervening. This has been glaringly evident in all recent wars: Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, etc. Improvisation has repeatedly led to monumental failures: from financing phantom armies to bleeding billions to prop-up incompetent, kleptocratic puppet regimes. Despite the hundreds of billions of public money wasted in these serial disasters, no policymaker has been held to account.
Long wars and short memories are the norm for Washington’s militarist rulers who do not lose sleep over their blunders. The Zionists, for their part, do not even need a strategy for rule. They push the US into wars for Israel, and once having destroyed ‘the enemy country’ they leave a vacuum to be filled by chaos. The American public provides the gold and blood for these misadventures and reaps nothing but domestic deterioration and greater international strife.
A fictional “scenario” of multiple bomb attacks on London’s underground took place at exactly the same time as the bomb attack on July 7, 2005.
Peter Power, Managing Director of Visor Consultants, a private firm on contract to the London Metropolitan Police, described in a BBC interview how he had organized and conducted the anti-terror drill, on behalf of an unnamed business client.
The fictional scenario was based on simultaneous bombs going off at exactly the same time at the underground stations where the real attacks were occurring:
POWER: At half past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up right now.
HOST: To get this quite straight, you were running an exercise to see how you would cope with this and it happened while you were running the exercise?
POWER: Precisely, and it was about half past nine this morning, we planned this for a company and for obvious reasons I don’t want to reveal their name but they’re listening and they’ll know it. And we had a room full of crisis managers for the first time they’d met and so within five minutes we made a pretty rapid decision that this is the real one and so we went through the correct drills of activating crisis management procedures to jump from slow time to quick time thinking and so on.
(BBC Radio Interview, 7 July 2005)
In response to the flood of incoming email messages, Peter Power –who is a former senior Scotland Yard official specializing in counterterrorism– responded in the form of the following “automatic reply”:
“Thank you for your message. Given the volume of emails about events on 7 July and a commonly expressed misguided belief that our exercise revealed prescient behaviour, or was somehow a conspiracy (noting that several websites interpreted our work that day in an inaccurate / naive / ignorant / hostile manner) it has been decided to issue a single email response as follows:
It is confirmed that a short number of ‘walk through’ scenarios planed [sic] well in advance had commenced that morning for a private company in London (as part of a wider project that remains confidential) and that two scenarios related directly to terrorist bombs at the same time as the ones that actually detonated with such tragic results. One scenario in particular, was very similar to real time events.
However, anyone with knowledge about such ongoing threats to our capital city will be aware that (a) the emergency services have already practiced several of their own exercises based on bombs in the underground system (also reported by the main news channels) and (b) a few months ago the BBC broadcast a similar documentary on the same theme, although with much worse consequences [??]. It is hardly surprising therefore, that we chose a feasible scenario – but the timing and script was nonetheless, a little disconcerting.
In short, our exercise (which involved just a few people as crisis managers actually responding to a simulated series of activities involving, on paper, 1000 staff) quickly became the real thing and the players that morning responded very well indeed to the sudden reality of events.
Beyond this no further comment will be made and based on the extraordinary number of messages from ill informed people, no replies will henceforth be given to anyone unable to demonstrate a bona fide reason for asking (e.g. accredited journalist / academic).
[ signed ] Peter Power”
(quoted in London Underground Exercises: Peter Power Responds, Jon Rappoport, July 13 2005)
Mock Terror Drills
There was nothing “routine” in the so-called “walk through” scenarios. Visor’s mock terror drills (held on the very same day as the real attack) was by no means an isolated “coincidence”. Power’s email response suggests that mock drills are undertaken very frequently, as a matter of routine, and that there was nothing particularly out of the ordinary in the exercise conducted on July 7th, which just so happened to coincide with the real terror attacks.
There have indeed been several documented high profile cases of mock terror drills in the US and the UK, held prior or on exactly the same day and at the same time as the actual terror event. In the three previous cases reviewed below, the mock drills bear a canny resemblance to the real time terror attacks.
1. CIA Sponsored Exercise on the Morning of 9/11
On the morning of September 11 2001, within minutes of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the CIA had been running “a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building”. The simulation was held at the CIA Chantilly Virginia Reconnaissance Office.
The Bush administration described the event as “a bizarre coincidence”. The matter was not mentioned by the media.(AP, 22 August 2002)
The CIA sponsored simulation consisted in a “scheduled exercise” held on the morning of September 11, 2001, where “a small corporate jet crashed into one of the four towers at the agency’s headquarters building after experiencing a mechanical failure.” (Quoted in Associated Press, 22 August 2002.)
The news concerning the 9/11 Chantilly aircraft crashing simulation was hushed up. It was not made public at the time. It was revealed almost a year later, in the form of an innocuous announcement of a Homeland Security Conference. The latter entitled “Homeland Security: America’s Leadership Challenge” was held in Chicago on September 6, 2002, barely a few days before the commemoration of the tragic events of 9/11.
The promotional literature for the conference under the auspices of the National Law Enforcement and Security Institute (NLESI) stated what nobody in America knew about. On the morning of 9/11, the CIA was conducting a pre-planned simulation of a plane striking a building. One of the key speakers at the National Law Enforcement and Security Institute conference was CIA’s John Fulton, Chief of the Strategic War Gaming Division of the National Reconnaissance Office a specialist in risk and threat response analysis, scenario gaming, and strategic planning.
(The National Law Enforcement and Security Institute website is: http://www.nlsi.net/ See also The Memory Hole):
On the morning of September 11th 2001, Mr. Fulton and his team at the CIA were running a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building. Little did they know that the scenario would come true in a dramatic way that day. Information is the most powerful tool available in the homeland security effort. At the core of every initiative currently underway to protect our country and its citizens is the challenge of getting the right information to the right people at the right time. How can so much information from around the world be captured and processed in meaningful and timely ways? Mr. Fulton shares his insights into the intelligence community, and shares a vision of how today’s information systems will be developed into even better counter-terrorism tools of tomorrow. (Ibid)
2. October 2000 Mock Terror Attack on the Pentagon
In late October 2000 (more than ten months prior to 9/11), a military exercise was conducted which consisted in establishing the scenario of a simulated passenger plane crashing into the Pentagon. The Defense Protective Services Police and the Pentagon’s Command Emergency Response Team coordinated the exercise. According to a detailed report by Dennis Ryan of Fort Myer Military Community’s Pentagram, “the Pentagon Mass Casualty Exercise, as the crash was called, was just one of several scenarios that emergency response teams were exposed to on Oct. 24-26 “:
The fire and smoke from the downed passenger aircraft billows from the Pentagon courtyard. Defense Protective Services Police seal the crash sight. Army medics, nurses and doctors scramble to organize aid. (…) Don Abbott, of Command Emergency Response Training, walks over to the Pentagon and extinguishes the flames. The Pentagon was a model and the “plane crash” was a simulated one.
On Oct. 24, there was a mock terrorist incident at the Pentagon Metro stop and a construction accident to name just some of the scenarios that were practiced to better prepare local agencies for real incidents.
(Dennis Ryan, “Contingency planning, Pentagon MASCAL exercise simulates scenarios in preparing for emergencies”, MDW NEWS 3 Nov 2000.)
3. Britain’s Atlantic Blue, April 2005
In Britain, there were several documented exercises of terror attacks on London’s underground system.
In addition to the 7/7 exercise conducted by Visor Consultants, a similar mock terror drill on London’s transportation system entitled “Atlantic Blue” was held in April 2005, barely three months prior to the real attacks. In 2003, a mock terror drill labelled OSIRIS 2 was conducted. It consisted, according to Peter Power in testing the “equipment and people deep in the Underground of London”. It involved the participation of several hundred people. (Interview with Peter Power, CTV, 11 July 2005).
“Atlantic Blue” was part of a much larger US sponsored emergency preparedness exercise labelled TOPOFF 3, which included the participation of Britain and Canada. It had been ordered by the UK Secretary of State for the Home Department, Mr. Charles Clarke, in close coordination with his US counterpart Michael Chertoff.
The assumptions of the Visor Consultants mock drill conducted on the morning of July 7th were similar to those conducted under “Atlantic Blue”. This should come as no surprise since Visor Consultants was involved, on contract to the British government, in the organisation and conduct of Atlantic Blue and in coordination with the US Department of Homeland Security.
As in the case of the 9/11 simulation organized by the CIA, the July 7, 2005 Visor mock terror drill, was casually dismissed by the media, without further investigation, as a mere “coincidence”, with no relationship to the real event.
Foreknowledge of the 7/7 Attack?
According to a report of the Associated Press correspondent in Jerusalem, the Israeli embassy in London had been advised in advance by Scotland Yard of an impending bomb attack:
Just before the blasts, Scotland Yard called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy to say they had received warnings of possible attacks, the official said. He did not say whether British police made any link to the economic conference.(AP, 7 July 2005)
Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was warned by his embassy not to attend an attend an economic conference organized by the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in collaboration with the Israeli embassy and Deutsche Bank.
Netanyahu was staying at the Aldridge Hotel in Mayfair. The conference venue was a few miles away at the Great Eastern Hotel close to the Liverpool subway station, where one of the bomb blasts occurred.
Rudolph Giuliani’s London Visit
Rudolph Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City at the time of the 9/11 attacks, was staying at the Great Eastern hotel on the 7th of July, where TASE was hosting its economic conference, with Israel’s Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as keynote speaker.
Giuliani was having a business breakfast meeting in his room at the Great Eastern Hotel, close to Liverpool Street station when the bombs went off:
“I didn’t hear the Liverpool Street bomb go off,” he explains. “One of my security people came into the room and informed me that there had been an explosion. We went outside and they pointed in the direction of where they thought the incident had happened. There was no panic. I went back in to my breakfast. At that stage, the information coming in to us was very ambiguous.” (quoted in the Evening Standard, 11 July 2005.)
Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Rudolph Giuliani knew each other. Giuliani had officially welcomed Netanyahu when he visited New York City as Prime Minister of Israel in 1996. There was no indication, however, from news reports that the two men met in London at the Great Eastern. On the day prior to the London attacks, July 6th, Giuliani was in North Yorkshire at a meeting.
After completing his term as mayor of New York City, Rudi Giuliani established a security outfit: Giuliani Security and Safety. The latter is a subsidary of Giuliani Partners LLC. headed by former New York head of the FBI, Pasquale D’Amuro.
After 9/11, D’Amuro was appointed Inspector in Charge of the FBI’s investigation of 9/11. He later served as Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters and, Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence. D’Amuro had close links to the Neocons in the Bush adminstration.
It is worth noting that Visor Consultants and Giuliani Security and Safety LLC specialize in similar “mock terror drills” and “emergency preparedness” procedures. Both Giuliani and Power were in London at the same time within a short distance of one of the bombing sites. While there is no evidence that Giuliani and Power met in London, the two companies have had prior business contacts in the area of emergency preparedness. Peter Power served on the Advisory Board to the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness (CCEP), together with Richard Sheirer, Senior Vice President of Giuliani and Partners. who was previously Commissioner at the NYC Office of Emergency Management, and Director of New York City Homeland Security. (See CCEP)
One should not at this stage of the investigation draw hasty conclusions regarding the mock terror drill of a terror attack on the London underground, held on the same day and at the same time as the real time attacks.
The issue cannot, however, be dismissed. One would expect that it be addressed in a serious and professional fashion by the police investigation and that the matter be the object of a formal clarification by the British authorities.
The issue of foreknowledge raised in the Associated Press report also requires investigation.
More generally, an independent public inquiry into the London bomb attacks is required.
Update [Aletho News adds]
By Carol Matlack – Bloomberg – November 17, 2015
… Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, from which 16 people died, Paris-area ambulance crews and emergency personnel have taken part in regular exercises designed to test their readiness for possible attacks. One such exercise was held on Friday morning, the day of the latest terror attacks. In a twist of fate, the simulated emergency was a mass shooting, according to Dr. Mathieu Raux, emergency room chief at the Pitié-Salpetrière hospital in Paris. … Full article
A judge in Spain has issued arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seven other former and current Israeli officials over a 2010 fatal raid by the Tel Aviv regime forces on a Gaza-bound aid ship.
According to reports by Spanish media, the group could be arrested if they set foot on Spanish soil, the Jerusalem Post reported on Saturday.
On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos attacked the Turkish-flagged MV Mavi Marmara that was part of the Freedom Flotilla in the high seas in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish citizens and injuring about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy. A 10th died after four years in a coma.
A UN panel that reviewed the case later denounced the Israeli attack on the vessel as “excessive and unreasonable.”
Former Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Ya’alon and Ehud Barak, the former minister of military affairs, former interior minister, Eli Yishai, and former minister of intelligence, Dan Meridor, are among those implicated in the case.
Together with Netanyahu, the officials form the so-called Forum of Seven, which is an ad-hoc committee of ministers that made important decisions on security issues.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, has denounced the judge’s order, with its spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon saying, “We consider it to be a provocation. We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it canceled. We hope it will be over soon.”
Last month, the family of one of the victims of the raid, who is an American-Turkish citizen, filed a lawsuit against Barak for the raid.
The flotilla was attempting to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, carrying aid to the Palestinians in the impoverished enclave.
Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, which has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
The attack sparked international outcry and plunged relations between Tel Aviv and Ankara into an all-time low at the time.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s race views are quite likely quite informed by his father, Benzion Netanyahu, who was Secretary to Ze’ev Jabotinsky, whose race theories are the subject of this note. Benzion Netanyahu was interviewed by Ma’ariv in April 2009, a few months after the Operation Cast Lead which killed more than 1,100 people including deliberate murder of more than 300 children, and his comments included the following:
Prof. Netanyahu: “The Jews and the Arabs are like two goats facing each other on a narrow bridge. One must jump to the river – but that involves a danger of death. The strong goat will make the weaker one jump… and I believe the Jewish power will prevail.”
Q: What does the Arab’s jump mean?
A: “That they won’t be able to face [anymore] the war with us, which will include withholding food from Arab cities, preventing education, terminating electrical power and more. They won’t be able to exist, and they will run away from here. But it all depends on the war, and whether we will win the battles with them.”
Q: I suppose you don’t believe in the peace process.
A: “I don’t see any signs that the Arabs want peace… we will face fierce attacks from the Arabs, and we must react firmly. If we don’t, they will go on and Jews will start leaving the country… we just handed them a strong blow in Gaza, and they still bargain with us over one hostage… if we gave them a blow that would really hurt them, they would have given us Gilad Shalit back.”
Q: Operation “cast Lead” was one of the worst blows we handed on a civilian population.
A: “That’s not enough. It’s possible that we should have hit harder.”
Q: You don’t like the Arabs, to say the least.
A: “The bible finds no worse image than this of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases.
The tendency towards conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetuate war.”
Q: Is there any hope of peace?
A: “Out of agreement? No. the other side might stay in peace if it understands that doing anything [else] will cause it enormous pain.
The two states solution doesn’t exist. There are no two people here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population… there is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation… they only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.”
Q: So what’s the solution?
A: “No solution but force… strong military rule. Any outbreak will bring upon the Arabs enormous suffering. We shouldn’t wait for a big mutiny to start, but rather act immediately with great force to prevent them from going on…
If it’s possible, we should conquer any disputed territory in the land of Israel. Conquer and hold it, even if it brings us years of war. We should conquer Gaza, and parts of the Galil, and the Golan. This will bring upon us a bloody war, since war is difficult for us – we don’t have a lot of territory, while the Arabs have lots of space to retreat to. But that’s the only way to survive here.”
There is valuable experience [on this matter] we don’t pay notice to. I mean the Ottoman rule over the Arabs. The Turks ruled over the Arabs for 400 years, and there was peace and quiet everywhere. The Arabs hated the Ottomans, but every little thing they did brought mass killings and hanging in towns squares. They were hanging people in Damascus, and Izmir… every town had hanging posts in its center…the Arabs were so badly beaten, they didn’t dare revolt. Naturally, I don’t recommend the use of hangings as a show of force like the Turks did, I just want to show that the only thing that might move the Arabs from the rejectionist position is force.”
Note that one is tempted to think that perhaps Benzion Netanyahu, who is quite old, might be holding views that are disconnected from the younger Israelis but this would be quite wrong. Here is a fairly random conversation between Zionists translated into English:
The controversy of considering Zionism a form of racism had played out in the UN, with the only UN resolution ever to be retracted was precisely one which agreed that Zionism is a form of racism, after which Israel made its revocation the precondition to participation in the Madrid Peace Conference. Specifically, UN Resolution 3379, adopted on November 10, 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), “determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”. The resolution was revoked by Resolution 46/86 on December 16, 1991. In the history of the UN, this is the only resolution that has ever been revoked. So that’s the status of the issue in UN, but it is interesting nonetheless to consider the views of Jabotinsky on race:
So it is interesting to look at the ideas of race in one of the pioneering figures of Zionism, Ze’ev Jabotinksy (from Lenni Brenner: The Iron Wall)
Jabotinsky was indeed a believer in the “very much besmirched” term, insisting in a letter written in 1914 that,
the source of national feeling … lies in a man’s blood … in his racio-physical type, and in that alone … a man’s spiritual outlooks are primarily determined by his physical structure … For that reason we do not believe in spiritual assimilation. It is inconceivable, from the physical point of view, that a Jew born to a family of pure Jewish blood … can become adapted to the spiritual outlooks of a German or a Frenchman … He maybe wholly imbued with that German fluid but the nucleus of his spiritual structure will always remain Jewish … The spiritual assimilation of peoples whose blood is different is impossible … In order to become truly assimilated he must change his body. He must become one of them in blood … he mast bring into the world … over a period of many scores of years, a great-grandson in whose veins only a minute trace of Jewish blood remained … There can be no assimilation as long as there is no mixed marriage … All the nations that have disappeared (apart from those … who were massacred …) were swallowed up in the chasm of mixed marriages … autonomy in the Golah [exile] is likely to lead … to the complete disappearance of the Jewish nation as such from the face of the earth … Just imagine … when our offspring will be living at peace among a strange people … These conditions will lead naturally and freely to an increase in mixed marriages … this will mean the inception of complete assimilation … Without those physical roots, the spiritual flower is bound to wither … This will mark the end of the battle waged by the Jewish people for national existence … Only those can call themselves “nationalists” who desire to preserve national integrity for the everlasting and at all costs…
A preservation of national integrity is impossible except by a preservation of racial purity, and for that purpose we are in need of a territory of our own … If you should ask me in a sense of revolt and outrage: but surely in that case you want segregation at all costs! I would answer that one must not be afraid of words and not of the word “segregation”. The poet, the scholar, the thinker … must cut himself off and remain alone with himself … No creativeness is possible without segregation … The nation, too, must create … a creative nation is in need of segregation … it will create new values in its segregation … it will not keep them to itself but will place them on the common international table for the general good, and so its segregation will be looked upon with favor by humanity, 
In 1913, in his aptly titled article Rasa, he gave his answer to the vexing theoretical question of what constituted a nation:
A nation is manifested by its own racial spectrum” which permeates to a greater or lesser degree, the personality of any average member of the group beneath and above the diversity of their individual physiognomies. 
Nations were not racially pure, all were mixtures, but in the end each nation carries with it its own substance, the
first and last bulwark of a nation’s personality-the peculiarity of its physical nature (“racial spectrum”) and parallel to it its psyche … Some day science may achieve such refinement that it will become possible by a special. analysis of the blood, or perhaps, the secret of the glands, to establish the “spectrum” or “recipe” of the various racial types showing all the ingredients: that go into a typical Italian or an average Pole. I venture a forecast that most recipes” wilt be found to contain practically the same ingredients, only the proportion in which God and history have mined them wilt prove. different … The Irish race may contain the same ingredients as the Scottish, but their respective quantities are probably far from the same in each combination: hence the great difference between the two national characters which no observer would question. 
The Zionist quarrelled with the Marxist notion of historical materialism. He recognized, in arguendo, that societies worked within economic frameworks. But, in the final analysis, culture had to be reduced to race:
Given a complete similarity of all other conditions – climate, soil, history – two “races” would create two different types of economy … If the types of economy, its special characteristics, the social order etc., are stamped by the “racial” psyche, it is even more so in the sphere of religion, philosophy, literature.
He was insistent. All the categories that the scholars attempted to use to define the illusive essence of nationality were, in his eyes, ultimately inadequate:
One is therefore bound to state: Territory, language, religion, common history – all these are not the essence of a nation but its adjectives only … the essence of a nation, its first and last fortress of uniqueness of its image, is its distinctive physical characteristics, the compound of its racial recipe.
But there were many who assumed that the great mass migrations of the day were in fact breaking down the homogeneity of national populations. Here again Jabotinsky chose to differ. Suddenly, for polemical purpose, he assumed that the future would be socialistic. Therefore, he argued, migration would be greatly reduced as each nation would be able to solve its economic problems. It is immediately apparent that he is merely using any means to justify his a priori thesis that nations would not and should not ever truly merge.
Will there ever be one herd and one shepherd? … when to this is added the dream of the integration of nations into one mixture, here it is already possible to state with some certainty: It shall not be … In such conditions the national characteristics of each closed district can only increase in purity” and strength, but never to the contrary … to this future vision in its entirety there is no prospect of integration of cultures and their mixture, but on the contrary; glorious flourishing, such as we have not witnessed yet, of each national essence in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
The human race consists of 7 billion people. We live in a dystopia and have inherited ugly ideologies, beliefs, prejudices, lies, from the past. We must clearly see the ugliness and seek deeper truth. We must rise out of the sewers of consciousness of the past ages and rise above it. We should not stoop to their level but only observe and understand the mechanism which had wired them so that we can avoid the same problems in the future.
It is also noteworthy that some of the people who later became the Zionist elite, the owning oligarchs of the Federal Reserve, such as Lehman Brothers and J P Morgan were literally involved in the slave trade and exploitation business in America. Thus when we read that the Sheldon Adelson-backed Birthright Israel has such charming examples of racism as this, we should not be surprised:
From my notes on Day 8: “Israel just went in and cleaned Gaza,” Shachar said of Operation Cast Lead, which had taken place a year earlier, as we drove south to an organic farm along the border. There, the Israeli proprietor explained that his low-hanging trellises were Thai worker–sized and invited us to nibble the dangling strawberries. “Thank you, Thai worker!” he instructed us to say when a laborer walked by. En route to the next stop on the itinerary, Shachar pointed to tin shacks—Bedouin villages—and jovially detailed the government’s Bedouin home-demolition campaign, saying the IDF needed to “kick them away.” We arrived at our far more picturesque “Bedouin Dessert [sic] Village Experience” and rode camels into the sunset. A man named Mohammed served coffee and played a familiar tune on the oud: “Hava Nagila.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly seeking US recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights due to the Syrian conflict. Netanyahu allegedly wanted a “different thinking” regarding the issue during talks with Barack Obama.
The possibility of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights in 1981 being recognized was raised during Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Obama, according to Haaretz sources close to the discussions. The publication mentioned that Netanyahu believes the absence of a functioning Syrian government “allows for different thinking” concerning the future status of the strategically important area.
Netanyahu also reportedly said he was doubtful that peace talks taking place in Vienna between the world powers and various Syrian fractions involved in the war would result in peace. During the meeting, Netanyahu also clarified Israel’s red lines in regards to Syria.
“We won’t tolerate attacks from Syrian territory, we won’t allow Iran to open a front [against us] on the Golan Heights, and we will disrupt the transfer of deadly weaponry from Syria to Lebanon,” Netanyahu told the president.
President Obama did not respond to the proposal from Netanyahu, while the Israeli prime minister failed to elaborate on the issue with reporters.
At a press conference following the meeting, Netanyahu mentioned any international deal regarding Syria would have to “take into account Israel’s interests.”
Speaking later in the day at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, Netanyahu reiterated that Israel will do everything to prevent Iran from using Syrian territory to threaten Israel.
“The defense of Israel is what concerns me in Syria first and foremost, and on that we’ll continue to act forcefully,” Netanyahu said.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War, which created an armistice line under Israeli military control. Syria unsuccessfully tried to retake the Golan Heights during the 1973 War. An armistice was concluded in 1974 resulting in a UN observer force being deployed along the ceasefire line.
In 1981 Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights, a move that is not recognized internationally. Over the last three and a half decades, Israel has built more than 30 Jewish settlements in the area. Since the start of the Syrian conflict, Israel has carried out a number of military operations as fighting reached the Golan ceasefire lines.
As the armed struggle in Syria continues, a few high ranking officials in Israel have recently voiced the need to gain full international recognition of Israel’s claims to the Golan Heights.
Netanyahu’s former ambassador to Washington Michael Oren, earlier this week, urged Netanyahu “to ask for American recognition of full Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights through a presidential declaration and accompanying letter,” the Times of Israel states.
“Syria as we knew it has ceased to exist,” Oren claimed, stressing that Israeli recognition would result in the “stabilization and rehabilitation of the area.”
In July, Netanyahu’s former cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser also urged the Israelis to seize the “historic opportunity” and seek international recognition of its presence on the Golan.
“Forty years on, in light of Syria’s collapse, Islamic State’s takeover of huge areas in the Middle East and the ‘rotten compromise’ expected with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the achievement that Israel needs and can attain is to update the international stance, and ratify and upgrade the US stance on the Golan,” Hauser wrote in an article published in Haaretz.
And also the World Jewish Congress
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently making one of his periodic devastating plundering raids on Washington and New York. During his visit he discreetly picked up a bunch of large checks from the Wall Street crowd, benefited from the plaudits dutifully delivered by the media and chattering class and has even met with President Barack Obama, whom he quite openly despises. Netanyahu and Obama carefully concealed their mutual dislike when in front of the cameras but the president also made all the right noises about Israel’s security “needs.” Apparently all the violence occurring in Israel-Palestine is the fault of the Palestinians and Israel always has the right to do whatever it wants to defend itself. Obama will follow up on the meeting by throwing billions of dollars of additional Danegeld at Netanyahu as a token of America’s undying love and fealty to Israel’s interests.
One wonders if Obama had his fingers crossed behind his back to indicate that he was lying to Bibi except for the intention to come up with more money, which is always an easy way out for America’s ruling class. It is generally convenient to pay off blackmailers like Netanyahu in hopes that they will stop whining. The president will in any event have to prepare himself to endure the usual firestorm coming from GOP presidential candidates later this week over his less than enthusiastic support for America’s greatest ally and best friend, which would have been a consequence of the visit no matter how it had turned out.
Last Thursday a full page ad placed by the World Jewish Congress appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The group’s president Ronald Lauder, the cosmetics company heir, provided the White House with suggestions for how to deal with the visiting Israeli leader. Predictably, he delivered some debatable assertions in constructing his argument as to why the president and prime minister should kiss and make up.
Lauder wants to “reinvigorate” the relationship with Israel because “never has this relationship been more important.” Wrong Ron, the Israeli connection is an enormous liability for the United States strategically speaking that has cost well in excess of $100 billion to the American taxpayer and has done untold political damage. Compared to other strategic partners in the region including Turkey and Egypt Israel is of little or no importance but for the fact that it has an enthusiastic, politically powerful and extremely wealthy domestic lobby conniving on its behalf. Which includes you, Ron.
Lauder goes on to cite “human disaster in Syria, ISIS moving on Iraq, [and] Iran’s bid to destabilize the region.” Well Ron, the human disaster in Syria and ISIS in Iraq have been caused by policies pushed by Israel and carried out by the United States, all starting with the Iraq war which was initiated at least in part for Israel by a cadre of neocons in the Bush Administration. Iran may not be a friend of the United States, but its support is desperately needed to eliminate ISIS and help stabilize Iraq. As always, Israel sees a U.S. led military solution to each and every problem dealing with Muslims. That might provide a comfort zone for Israeli politicians but it is bad for the United States and to be completely honest it is not even good for the Israeli people.
The ad also cites “the ongoing violent attacks against Jews in Israel” and that Israel is the “only democracy” in the Middle East. Ron, more than seven Palestinians have been killed for each dead Israeli, many of them shot execution style, but you seem to have forgotten that. The simple solution to the attacks would be for Israel to give up its endless and endlessly brutal occupation of the West Bank as well as its siege of Gaza. The knifings would end.
And what about democracy when it only applies to Jews? Netanyahu has proposed expelling thousands of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, where they and their ancestors have lived for centuries. And the continuous theft of Arab land and destruction of their livelihoods proceeds at an accelerated pace. If Ron Lauder and his friends really cared about suffering humanity instead of only the Jewish subset he would be using his considerable leverage to complain directly to Netanyahu and ask him to reverse his policies.
And how to fix things? Lauder claims that Netanyahu has “the greatness, the vision and the courage to move this relationship forward on a positive path.” Sure. And pigs have wings. Let’s face it Ron, Bibi is quite likely clinically insane. Even many Israelis are saying so, though they still vote for him based on his government’s relentlessly implemented and self-fulfilling program of inciting fear of Arabs.
For what it’s worth, this is what I propose Obama should have said to Bibi but didn’t, with a transcript of the conversation also faxed over to Ron Lauder at the World Jewish Congress:
- “Nice to have you back Prime Minister, but not really as it’s close to lunchtime, to which, incidentally, you are not invited. Why don’t you stay home? You have been interfering in our politics and denigrating both me personally and my office for far too long. How would you like it if I were to go to Israel and endorse one of your opponents? If you keep up this crap I will revoke your visa and you’ll never visit here again.”
- “And by the way, your plan to expel thousands of Arabs from East Jerusalem and to shoot kids throwing stones at your occupying army is not acceptable to us. And then there are new reports of your harvesting organs and other medical transplant material from the bodies of Palestinians that you have killed. There’s a long history of that in your country, but it’s a bit much even by your standards, isn’t it, and it begs the question whether there is anything that you won’t do. Next time a motion comes up in the United Nations condemning your brutality we will support it. Maybe we’ll co-sponsor or even propose it to show that we’re serious.”
- “We are running out of money here in Washington and are thinking of cutting benefits to our own people. I note that Israelis have free medical care and university education, which means that we are subsidizing things that we Americans do not have so it hardly seems fair. We have been giving you more than $3 billion in aid every year and also looking the other way when you benefit from tax free charitable contributions that actually are illegal under American law. By executive order, I am stopping the cash flow and asking the IRS to look at your friends over here.”
- “And speaking of Israel’s many friends, your good buddy at the State Department Victoria Nuland is now working down in the mail room. And I am asking the Justice Department to register the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as a foreign agent, subject to having its finances and operations monitored by U.S. authorities. Oh, and your spy Jonathan Pollard will be denied parole later this month and will be the guest of a federal prison for the next twenty years.”
- “I cannot see where you have done anything for us except complain. As you are now pledging Israel to continue its occupation of Palestinian land and ‘live by the sword’, meaning the killing of Arabs will accelerate, I am suspending all military cooperation with you until you come up with a plan to remove most of your settlers from the West Bank. Come back when you have something to show me. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”
Well, okay, it was never bloody likely to happen that way, but I can dream, can’t I? If you think Obama is spineless when confronted by Ron Lauder and the usual suspects, just think of how bad it will be when we have President Clinton or President Rubio, proxies for their Israel firster donors Haim Saban and Paul Singer respectively. The new president and his or her staff will have to learn how to perform proskynesis whenever Netanyahu enters the oval office.
Picture the scene. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is off to Washington to see Barack Obama next week for the first time in more than a year. Their last major dealings were in March, when Netanyahu travelled to the US to speak to Congress in a bid to undermine a key plank of the US president’s foreign policy – reaching a nuclear deal with Iran.
This time Netanyahu wants a favour. He hopes to squeeze from Obama billions more of US taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars in “aid” so that he can buy yet more weapons to use against the Palestinians.
How is Netanyahu preparing for this important visit? He has appointed a new head of public diplomacy, Ran Baratz.
And how will Baratz help Netanyahu repair relations with Obama? It seems he won’t. Last March, as Netanyahu went behind Obama’s back to try to stymie the Iran deal in Congress, Baratz posted his views of Obama on Facebook. He called the US president an “anti-semite” for criticising Netanyahu’s behaviour.
Here’s what he wrote:
Obama’s reference to Netanyahu’s speech – this is what modern anti-Semitism looks like in Western and liberal countries. And it comes, of course, alongside much tolerance and understanding toward Islamic anti-Semitism.
By the way, to give you a flavour of quite how unhinged Netanyahu has become in appointing someone like Baratz as his new spokesman, Baratz has also argued that the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem should be replaced by a third Jewish temple and Muslims denied the right to pray at the site unless they recognise its holiness to Jews. Almost as crazy as accusing the Palestinians of persuading Hitler to carry out the Holocaust.
Will this cause Netanyahu any harm in Washington or prompt Obama to refuse to subsidise Israel’s belligerent and illegal occupation? Don’t hold your breath. It seems there is no insult Obama and the US political elites won’t swallow when it comes from their “ally” Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a recent Cabinet meeting, proposed revoking the residency rights of 80,000 Jerusalemites, which would mean that the people of Sho’afat refugee camp and Kafr Aqab, as well as other neighborhoods, would be cut off from the rest of Jerusalem.
The proposal was considered by the Israeli Cabinet in their recent meeting, but no decision was made.
Already, the 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank have been severed from Jerusalem due to the Israeli construction of a massive Wall over the past 13 years. The Wall has annexed large sections of Palestinian land and made them a de facto part of the state of Israel, in direct violation of the responsibilities of an occupier under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Israel’s government signed the Convention in 1957, requiring it to provide for the needs of civilian populations under occupation. The Convention also requires that an Occupying Power must not transfer any civilians into the land it has militarily occupied. But Israel has transferred over half a million people into settlements constructed on Palestinian land that was militarily occupied, then illegally seized, since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights began in 1967.
In Jerusalem, the Israeli Annexation Wall has been constructed in such a way as to annex as much of Jerusalem as possible for the Israeli state, while forcing the Palestinian population into smaller and smaller enclaves. Now, under the Israeli Prime Minister’s proposal, residents of those enclaves would lose their residency rights altogether.
Israel has an identity card system for the residents of Jerusalem that is completely unique in the world. Jewish Israelis who live in Jerusalem or in paramilitary colonies in the West Bank are afforded full Israeli citizenship. But Palestinians who live on their ancestral land in Jerusalem are given a different kind of identity card, which ensures that they have far fewer rights than Jewish residents of the city.
If a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem, for example, were to travel abroad for more than a year, Israel would consider that person to be an ‘absentee property owner’, and would seize their land and home and annex it to Israel, denying the Palestinian owner the right to return to their home. The rule only applies to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, and not to Jewish residents of the city.
According to the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahranoth, following the construction of new walls and barricades in recent weeks to further separate and segregate Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from Jewish residents, the Israeli Prime Minister told his Cabinet ministers, “We need to examine the possibility of canceling their [Palestinian Jerusalemites] residency. There needs to be a discussion about it.”
Some Israeli ministers voiced opposition to the plan, not because they were concerned about the Palestinian Jerusalemites losing their residency rights, but because they believe such a division would “give up territory” that some Israelis believe should belong to Israel.
That claim is based on a military takeover of the land by Israeli forces. Neither international law nor signed agreements recognize military takeover of land as a legitimate way of expanding state territory.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has attracted criticism for an incendiary speech in which he accused the Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, of “inspiring the Holocaust”. Critics accuse Netanyahu of trivialising the Holocaust by attributing the impetus for Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe to the grand mufti.
In his speech Netanyahu described a meeting between Haj Amin al-Husseini and Hitler in November 1941. “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said: ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here [to Palestine].’” According to Netanyahu, Hitler then asked: “What should I do with them?” and the mufti replied: “Burn them.” Netanyahu chose not to reveal how he had uncovered the transcript of the conversation.
This shift in Israeli historical perspective, illuminated by Netanyahu, is timely and welcome. In recent days it has become clear that Palestine is not willing to accept the Zionist presence on its land any longer and this feeling is more than understandable. Time is overdue for the Jews to move on and invent a new phantasmic promised land. Germany is obviously the ideal candidate. Angela Merkel loves immigration and she is probably willing to take a few million Israeli humus eaters to balance the victims of Ziocon wars who are fleeing into her Germanic haven.
Berlin has recently become the new Jerusalem for the Israelis. Thousand of young Israelis have moved to Berlin in recent years in a migration wave that in Hebrew is called, ‘Olim le-Berlin’ (Ascending to Berlin). Yesterday PM Netanyahu joined the call of the Israeli youth, and he has finally vindicated Hitler and the Germans. It seems that actually it is the Palestinians who should be blamed for the Shoah. In the Hebraic sphere they like to keep the equation simple – the eternal victim (the Jew) is the constant factor, the anti-Semite is the variable element. The anti Semite keeps changing, it never stops changing.
Some boring Israeli historians are not yet willing to follow Netanyahu’s revisionist shift. They still insist that maintaining German guilt is essential. Professor Dan Michman, head of the Institute of Holocaust Research at Bar-Ilan University said, “while Hitler did indeed meet the mufti this happened after the Final Solution began.” I am always confused by Jewish scholarship and the way Jewish scholars fiddle with facts to make them fit ever-changing Jewish interests. According to the Zionist Holocaust religion, the “Final solution” was first established in the Wannsee Conference in January 1942. But Hitler met the Mufti in November 1941.
Alternatively, try to follow to the depth of Israeli scholarship. Professor Dina Porat, told the Israeli news website Ynet, that Netanyahu’s claims were “incorrect”. Her profound argument: “You cannot say that it was the mufti who gave Hitler the idea to kill or burn Jews. It’s not true. Their meeting occurred after a series of events that point to this.” As I pointed out in ‘The Wandering Who?’, there is no such a thing as Jewish history. Instead its history is the institutional concealment of Jewish shame that results in an unabashed, inconsistent, kosher zigzag.
MK Itzik Shmuli called on Netanyahu to apologise to Holocaust victims. “This is a great shame, a prime minister of the Jewish state at the service of Holocaust deniers.” Thankfully we now possess a very effective litmus tests for Holocaust deniers. If Netanyahu is the Holocaust denier that MK Shmuli suggests, he will soon express his support for Jeremy Corbyn and our revolutionary Labour party. I am not actually holding my breath.
As Israelis and Palestinians die in an upsurge of violence, The New York Times fails once again to give readers an honest look at the causes of this agonizing conflict. Missing from its pages is any real exposure of the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine that underscores every aspect of the current crisis.
Thus we find a story today that focuses on the abstract: how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can “calibrate his response” to avoid provoking greater violence and satisfy his extremist opponents in the government. It is heavily weighted with Israeli punditry and refers to ongoing clashes and attacks, but it makes no effort to provide the essential context.
In this article by Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner the word “occupation” appears only in a quote by PLO official Hanan Ashrawi. “Palestine,” she says, “has been subject to the systematic and escalating violence of the occupation, whether in the form of settler-terrorism or at the hands of the Israeli military using live ammunition.”
Times readers are likely to dismiss her words as little more than rhetorical flourishes of the opposition, given that the newspaper has consistently failed to show the full reality of life for Palestinians, glossing over violence by soldiers and settlers and giving prominence to Palestinian attacks.
For instance, today’s report states that a Palestinian teenager was shot after he tried to stab an Israeli youth early Sunday, but it omits any mention that videos show he was chased down by a mob, shot by police, was carrying no knife and did not pose a threat to anyone in the area.
The story also says nothing of settler rampages throughout the West Bank in recent days, which have left dozens injured and forced the Red Crescent Society to declare a state of emergency after numerous attacks on its ambulances by both settlers and security forces.
Times readers rarely receive even a brief glimpse of what occupation means to Palestinians. The newspaper largely ignores the constant reports emanating from alternative media, the United Nations and monitoring groups that show how a sophisticated military power oppresses a nearly helpless population lacking even the most basic weapons for defense.
Readers remain ignorant of the Israeli abuse of Palestinian child prisoners, a situation that has been documented and criticized in numerous reports. They are unaware of the frequent Israeli attacks on Gaza fishermen and farmers and a recent United Kingdom report that states Israel has violated the 2014 ceasefire some 700 times since August of last year.
They hear nothing of the ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley, where Israeli troops harass the poorest and most vulnerable communities, burning their crops, destroying their tents and water systems and repeatedly forcing them from their homes for “maneuvers.”
They are unaware of the huge disparity in water supplies between the illegal settlements in the West Bank and the indigenous Palestinian villages, and they were never informed when hundreds of animals died in the West Bank community of Kafr Qaddoum this summer as Israeli officials cut off water deliveries during a stifling heat wave.
These constant, daily cruelties find no place in the Times, and readers likewise find no historical backdrop for the occupation. It is rarely, if ever, reported that Israel is in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a military occupying force and that the settlements are built in defiance of international law.
Without this backstory, it is not surprising when readers take Netanyahu’s claim at face value: that acts of resistance against the occupation are nothing but terrorist assaults arising out of a free-floating hatred of Jews.
Palestinians watch with dismay as Israel confiscates ever more land and resources, forcing the indigenous communities into poverty-stricken bantustans. This is the reality that is missing from the Times, deliberately obscured in the context-free reporting of Rudoren and Kershner.
Netanyahu’s response to kids throwing rocks
I have become weary of the dancing around by politicians and denial by Jewish organizations over what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians. That anyone can with a straight face deny that there is anything wrong with a nearly fifty year occupation and strangling of the Palestinians because they have been demonized as “terrorists” or possibly only because they are not Jews is abhorrent. A new United Nations report states that Gaza will be completely uninhabitable in five years. Palestinians get imprisoned by Israel and gassed or shot if they look sideways at their occupiers. Fanatical settlers tear up olive trees that have fed the locals for hundreds of years, steal their land, vandalize and burn their houses churches and mosques, even kill them and are only rarely pursued or punished. Israel is the ugly face of a fascist state and calling it apartheid is to minimize its criminality as it does not even necessarily seek to set up a parallel state for the Arabs it controls. A number of leading Israeli politicians and journalists seek to remove them completely.
All of that said, as a committed anti-interventionist, I have to believe both that what goes on between Israel and the Palestinians should pretty much be none of our business but for the fact that a powerful domestic lobby has forced us to be involved. Jews and Arabs probably would have resolved their differences by now if Washington had not coddled corrupt Palestinian leaders while simultaneously empowering Israel to make a lot of bad choices. To be sure our government should feel free to speak up whenever foreign governments behave badly, but the tendency to impose sanctions, which don’t work, intervene directly, or even invade to deal with regimes that do not conform to our standards has brought nothing but grief, most particularly over the past fifteen years. One might even reasonably argue that it is Washington’s lame brained interventions have themselves destabilized the Middle East and caused the terrorism and refugee problems emanating from that region to metastasize.
Which is not to say that Israeli politicians have not become adept at shooting themselves in their own feet before the court of world opinion, which is becoming increasingly engaged in what is going on. Just when one thinks that Benjamin Netanyahu cannot possibly morph into something more horrible he astounds the observer by doing just that.
Netanyahu’s most recent foray grew out of a late August incident on the West Bank. A series of photographs plus video footage from a protest in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh appeared in the media. They showed a masked IDF soldier trying to arrest a young boy accused of throwing stones, followed by scenes of his mother and teenage sister trying to rescue him. The pictures and video reveal a crying and struggling 11 year old Mohammed Tamimi, with his broken arm in a cast, being held in a headlock and sat upon by the soldier, armed with an assault rifle. The boy’s mother then intervened, pulling on the mask while Mohammed’s 15 year old sister joined in to bite the soldier’s wrist, compelling him to free the boy. The soldier released him, backed off and then threw a grenade at the family.
Predictably, Israel’s apologists complained that the Palestinians had attacked the soldier who was only defending himself and they quickly flooded the social media with claims that it was all a set-up, which they even dubbed “Pallywood.” And inevitably Benjamin Netanyahu joined in the debate, blaming the Arabs for what transpired, calling them “terrorists.” He stated that he would recommend that Israeli soldiers be authorized to fire live rounds to protect themselves in similar situations where children are throwing rocks. Netanyahu was reportedly responding to demands from settlers for more aggressive action against Palestinians, completely ignoring the reality that the Arabs have been defending themselves from settler harassment and worse and the soldiers represent an occupying army. Some in the Israeli media and government also advised that as the soldier had been “humiliated” by the Palestinian women he should have shot them, but Bibi did not go quite that far. At least not yet.
In the United States the hasbara jumped on both stories, notably in comments sections on Yahoo and on other sites using constant repetition of the same arguments, often to include repeated misspellings and poor syntax suggesting that their “information” came from a common source in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The names the hasbara commenters use to post are characteristically American sounding, similar to the Anglo names used by employees of the obnoxious call centers in India and the Philippines when they interrupt you at dinner time. In the hasbara comments rocks thrown by the Palestinian children were repeatedly and improbably described as “football sized.” In other pushback, a Reuters account of the Netanyahu hard line, possibly acting under pressure from Jewish groups, changed the key word in its headline from “shoot” young Palestinians to “target” them.
But in this case, Benjamin Netanyahu’s horse has already left the stable. His new orders to shoot Palestinian children have been de facto operational for some time with punishments rarer than hens’ teeth for those Israeli Defense Forces commandoes who pull their triggers on six year olds. That kind of killing has been almost routine, exhibited dramatically during last July’s execution of four young boys playing soccer on a beach in Gaza. The boys were killed by Israeli rockets in full sight of a number of international and media observers. The Israeli government subsequently conducted an “extensive investigation” that nevertheless did not interview many eye witnesses, to include a Guardian journalist. Not surprisingly it absolved itself from blame for the deaths.
And beyond that singular bit of barbarity, numerous other Palestinian children have also been abducted, imprisoned and murdered by the Israeli Army and border police. International monitors reckon that 2,061 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel since September 2000 versus 133 Israeli children murdered in the same time frame by Palestinians. The body count is deplorable on either side but at some point Netanyahu has to come to recognize that the constant barrage of videos, photos and eyewitness testimony recording the mindless brutality of the occupation of the West Bank will influence public opinion to such an extent that Israel will become everyone’s pariah state.
Recently more than 100,000 Britons signed a petititon demanding that Benjamin Netanyahu be arrested for war crimes on an upcoming visit to the UK while Israel’s resistance to the Iranian nuclear deal, when subjected to a United Nations vote, resulted in Tel Aviv lining up against the entire rest of the world including the United States. Pictures of children being manhandled by two hundred pound soldiers create a lasting impression, one that inevitably influences how people react when the subject of Israel comes up. Netanyahu may think that he can maintain course forever with the uncritical backing of the United States but forever is a long time and even in the U.S. things can change.