Hardline Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman has reportedly accepted an offer by embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be the minister of military affairs.
Israeli sources said Lieberman accepted the post after Netanyahu agreed to his demands during a Wednesday afternoon meeting that lasted less than an hour.
The decision came after Netanyahu summoned current minister of military affairs Moshe Ya’alon and reportedly upbraided him for supporting an analogy between Israel’s situation and Nazi Germany.
Lieberman, who heads the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party and previously served twice as foreign minister, convened a press conference earlier in the day to talk about his demands.
Among his priorities was introducing the death penalty for the Palestinians who are accused of carrying out attacks against Israelis.
“If it is true that we are being offered the defense portfolio, pension reforms and the death penalty bill, that is a respectful offer, it is serious, there is what to talk about,” Lieberman said.
“The offers must be official and on the table, without mediators and with full transparency. The prime minister has my phone number,” he added.
Lieberman has on many occasions drawn headlines by questioning the loyalty of Arab minorities in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian lands to the Tel Aviv regime.
He has also called on the Israeli regime to treat Palestinian resistance movement Hamas the same way as the United States treated “the Japanese in World War II.”
The notorious politician has also openly supported a soldier charged with murder for shooting dead an injured Palestinian.
Netanyahu’s ruling coalition has a shaky majority of one in the 120-member Israeli Knesset, making his administration vulnerable to any falling-out among his political allies.
His offer to far-right Lieberman has been interpreted as an attempt to add Yisrael Beitenu party, which has six Knesset seats, to the ruling coalition.
Ya’alon has been at loggerheads with Netanyahu ever since he said senior military officers should “speak their mind,” in apparent defense of earlier comments by Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Yair Golan.
Golan had stirred an uproar earlier this month by saying he was concerned by some of the extremist voices within the Israeli reigme, likening it to Germany under Nazi rule.
Golan, then the commander of the West Bank military division, purportedly said, “It is unimaginable that in an effort to ensure our soldiers’ safety, we can destroy whole apartment buildings.”
“Killing women, children, uninvolved civilians. Unacceptable. The use of force in civilian areas must always be kept under control, and restricted to the minimum necessary,” he was heard saying.
He was apparently referring to the Israeli practice of demolishing the houses of Palestinians suspected of involvement in attacks against Israelis. The destruction of the houses just displaces the families, including women and children, who live there and who have no links to the alleged attacks.
Following Golan’s remarks, Netanyahu’s office issued a statement, saying he “remains firm in his conviction that the comparison that was made to Nazi Germany was inappropriate and damaged Israel in the international arena.”
Netanyahu summoned Ya’alon late on Sunday, reportedly to reprimand him for his remarks in defense of Golan.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces have reportedly adopted a “shoot-to-kill” policy during clashes with Palestinians.
More than 200 Palestinians have been killed since last October, during heightened tensions over Israel’s move to deny Palestinians entry into the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Dozens died by a single shot to the head or chest, a clear indication of the shoot-to-kill policy.
The official brutalities against Palestinians, including the demolitions, have also emboldened extremist Israeli settlers to conduct attacks of their own against Palestinian families. One arson attack by Israeli extremists against a Palestinian house in August 2015 led to the killing of the entire family living there, including an 18-month-old boy.
In another testimony to the Israeli policy of allowing killings, a court ruled on Tuesday to have the chief arsonist in the August 2015 attack released.
Hardly a day goes by without Israel accusing Palestinian leaders of incitement against the state and its citizens. They argue that such incitement was one of the triggers for the seven-month long uprising which has seen forty Israelis killed by Palestinians, mostly in knife attacks, and over two hundred Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces, many executed while posing no threat to anyone. Such accusations of Palestinian incitement extend all the way up to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He admitted recently that there is some incitement from the Palestinian side in his interview with Israeli Channel 2 TV. On other occasions, Saeb Erekat, General Secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its chief negotiator has also accepted that there is some incitement from the Palestinians.
Incitement as far as Israel is concerned covers a wide spectrum, from calling those killed by Israel “martyrs” to objecting to repeated incursions by Jewish settlers into Al-Aqsa Mosque, and including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign; seeking membership in international organisations such as the International Criminal Court; calling Israel out as an apartheid state; describing the horrific impact of the occupation to the UN General Assembly; and even reminiscing about the towns and villages (most of which have been wiped off the map by Israel) from where Palestinian refugees come and to which they long to return.
Israel has worked tirelessly to convince the so called “international community” to accept its definition of “terrorism” and make it cover any form of resistance that is quite legitimate, including throwing stones. Even attacks against Israeli soldiers maintaining an illegal occupation in Palestine are deemed to be “terrorism”. The international community now works according to Israel’s definitions and narrative and seems to require the victims, the occupied people, to be exemplary and simply curse their predicament but do nothing about it. How many victims of an acknowledged crime are required to protect the criminals? The Palestinians under Israeli occupation are.
The situation is the same across the Atlantic. US presidential candidates making their obligatory, embarrassing pilgrimage to the main pro-Israel lobby group conference, AIPAC, earlier this month joined in this nauseating spectacle of dancing to Israel’s tune. Their words were carbon copies of what an Israeli spokesman would say. They accused the Palestinians of raising their children to hate and of loving death more than life. Both are inaccurate and very racist accusations designed to pander to the lobby. Only Bernie Sanders skipped this festival of anti-Palestinian hatred and then took Clinton to task for barely mentioning the Palestinians in a recent debate between the two Democrat front-runners for the White House.
While Palestinians can understand why Israel trivialises the impact that the loss of their homeland in 1948 (the Nakba) and the occupation of the remaining 22 per cent in 1967 (they Naksa) have had on them, they cannot fathom how and why supposedly intelligent people like the presidential candidates can be so insensitive to this. The fact that they see the Palestinians as the villains and their Israeli colonisers and occupiers as the victims is like being stabbed in the heart. To call on them to submit to Israel’s brutal occupation is in itself a form of incitement.
If the Palestinians are guilty of incitement, then what does Israel’s 24/7 occupation amount to? What the Palestinians can do pales into insignificance when compared to Israel’s deliberate daily provocation and humiliation of subjugated people in the hope of a reaction, to which the so-called Israel Defence Forces (IDF) can “respond”. This provocation – and provocation is not a strong enough word to convey the impact it has — is the most significant incitement of young Palestinians to take matters into their own hands. If those calling on them not to react could put themselves in their position for even one day and be on the receiving end of what it is like to live under occupation, I am confident that they would understand why they might be driven to violence.
The list of examples of incitement by Israel is long.
When Zionists claim that historic Palestine belongs to the Jews and use this to argue not only that modern day European Jews with no connection to the land have a “right to return” but also deny the same right to Palestinian refugees driven out of their homes and land in 1948 by Jewish terror groups, that is incitement by Israel.
When Palestinian children are abducted in the night by the army of an occupying power; denied legal rights including representation; shackled when brought to court; and made to sign confessions in Hebrew, that is incitement by Israel.
When an Israeli armoured bulldozer accompanied by dozens of soldiers arrives and demolishes a Palestinian home in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretence of the lack of a building permit, then that is also incitement by Israel.
When illegal Jewish settlers protected by the security forces throw a family out of their home in Sheikh Jarrah, and move into it themselves, that is incitement by Israel.
When Israeli settlers break into the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the security forces and claim that the mosque site is theirs, then that is incitement by Israel.
When Muslims are barred from reaching their holiest mosque in Palestine at the whim of the Israeli security forces, then that is incitement by Israel.
When homes are built for Jewish Israelis on Palestinian land and the owner’s movement is restricted to allow them freedom of movement, then that is incitement by Israel.
When the IDF fires tear gas canisters into Palestinian schools causing the children to suffocate or faint, then that is incitement by Israel.
When the occupying state takes over the main mosque in Hebron and divides it between Jews and Muslims, and determines when Palestinians can and cannot pray in it, then that is incitement by Israel.
When the occupation authority builds roads which encroach on Palestinian land for use by Jewish settlers only, then that is incitement by Israel.
When Jewish settlers terrorise the local population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and even murder Palestinians such as Mohammed Abu Khdair and the Dawabshe family under the protection of the IDF, then that is incitement by Israel.
When Israel lays siege to 1.8 million human beings in the Gaza Strip for ten years with no prospect of the blockade ending, then that is incitement.
When the occupiers use the most powerful and devastating weapons on earth, save for nuclear weapons, to kill and maim in war after war against the Palestinians in Gaza, then that is incitement by Israel.
As far back as 2006, PLO Secretary General Dr Erekat said, “The Israeli ministry of defence is telling its citizens to carry weapons when trailing in the occupied West Bank near Palestinian villages.” This, he added, is an outrageous case of incitement to violence against Palestinians that reflects Israel’s official policy and mindset. “It should be of grave concern to the international community.”
Israeli incitement goes right to the top. In the 2015 general election campaign Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu incited the Jewish population against Israel’s Palestinian citizens when he said, “Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves” as if they were a swarm of cockroaches. He was also accused of incitement by Palestinian citizens when he promised Israeli Jews, “We will dramatically increase law enforcement services in the Arab sector.” Netanyahu told the press at the site of a shooting that Israel “will open new police stations, recruit more police officers, [and] go into all the towns and demand of everyone loyalty to the laws of the state.” Israeli lawmaker Miri Regev incited against African refugees claiming, “Heaven forbid [that] we compare Africans to human beings.”
At a recent conference to counter the BDS movement, an Israeli minister called for the “civil targeted killing” of BDS leaders like Omar Barghouti. Even foreign political figures have been the subject of incitement as Saeb Erekat has noted. He strongly condemned the hateful Israeli campaign against Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom following her legitimate calls for an investigation into Israel’s extrajudicial killing of Palestinian civilians.
Those searching for a peaceful resolution to the injustice affecting Palestinian must recognise Israeli provocations and incitement as serious contributing factors to the violence. They cannot expect the occupied Palestinians, victims of Israel’s colonisation project, to turn the other cheek when slapped. That cheek is badly bruised and cannot take any more humiliation, provocation and, yes, incitement by Israel.
Dan Illouz is an Israeli lawyer and a former legal adviser to both the Knesset’s leadership coalition and the Israeli Foreign Ministry. He is also a big fan of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On April 13, he wrote an opinion piece for the Jerusalem Post entitled, “A Fresh Perspective: Understanding Netanyahu’s Mind.”
Among the many synonyms of “fresh” offered by your average on-line dictionary are “unusual” and “undeveloped.” Though Illouz would certainly not agree that these terms fit his effort to explain the Prime Minister’s consciousness, it turns out that they actually do.
For instance, there is his unusual claim that “Netanyahu is one of the deepest thinkers among world leaders.” At the same time Illouz emphasizes that Netanyahu comes from a “very ideological” background bequeathed to him by both his Revisionist Zionist father, Benzion Netanyahu, and the American neoconservative worldview. As we will see, both outlooks are undeveloped one-dimensional frames of reference.
It is true that our perceptions reflect a worldview structured by the aspects of family and society we choose to embrace, or rebel against. It could go either way. According to Illouz, Netanyahu has embraced the restricted worldview of a brand of Zionism that teaches that, if the Jews are to survive in the modern world, they must be militarily all powerful and remain unmoved by any and all calls for compromise with alleged enemies.
Also, according to Illouz, Netanyahu sees the world through the myopic lens of the American neoconservative movement, which preaches that both the United States and Israel are allies in a never-ending battle of good against evil. The unalterable consequences of compromise in such a struggle have been taught to us by the history of the 1938 Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler. All such compromises in this imagined struggle must end up in catastrophe, especially for the Jews.
The conclusions Illouz draws from this description of Netanyahu’s mindset are, to say the least, baffling. Not in the sense that Netanyahu is cemented into a worldview that itself is modeled on a narrow slice of history. This indeed seems to accurately describe him. But rather in the claim that by seeing the world this way, the Israeli prime minister shows himself to be a “deep thinker.”
What does it mean to be a “deep thinker”? It should entail some capacity to break free of the structural framework or the worldview we start out with. For example, a degree of independent thought that allows us to discern when the past serves as a useful guide to the present and when it does not. This all adds up to an ability to be original – to understand present circumstances in novel ways that lead to breakthrough solutions to problems, be they political, social or scientific.
That is what it takes to think deeply. Does Benjamin Netanyahu qualify? No, he does not. He is no more a “deep thinker” than George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or John Bolton. Then why does Illouz say he does qualify? Because this Israeli lawyer, who is himself no “deep thinker,” mixes up profundity of thought with a skewed notion of “prudence” – which, in this case, he interprets as a “reluctance to embrace a utopian view of the world that progressives push forward.”
Examples of such “utopian views” are peace agreements such as the Iran accord, and the notion of “unilateral withdrawals.” In other words, Benjamin Netanyahu is a “deep thinker” because, in the name of “prudence,” he shuts down all consideration of diplomatic compromise. For Illouz that also makes him one of the world’s leading “realists.”
In truth, Illouz’s assessment of his Prime Minister’s mind is itself a product of the same narrow, static worldview shared by neoconservatives and Likudniks alike. For instance, according to Illouz, Netanyahu’s refusal to withdraw from the Occupied Territories (O.T.) is stark realism motivated by a desire to “stop history from taking a wrong turn” – as it did in 1938.
The comparison of the Palestinian desire for an independent state in the O.T. and the Munich agreement of 1938 is so patently inane that I won’t waste words on it. But Israel’s absorption of the territories can be judged as the very opposite of realism – it is a utopian (actually dystopian) scheme that is in the process of doing untold damage to both Jews and Palestinians while isolating Israel from the rest of the world.
There is a contradiction between profundity of thought and the ideologically determined worldview. To be in a position to achieve the former, one must, at the very least, eschew the dogmatic aspects of the latter. Neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor Dan Illouz are capable of doing this.
Analyzing Illouz’s presentation is not hard. His mistaken take on “deep thinking,” the lessons of history, the notions of realism and utopianism are quite obvious. This being the case one might ask why the editors at the Jerusalem Post thought it proper to print such balderdash? Perhaps because they too see the world in the same one-dimensional fashion.
If we are to believe the reports coming out of Israel, the Jewish majority there is undergoing an unchecked withdrawal into itself. The “us against the world” attitude that has always characterized some of world Jewry has now taken command in Israel. And, except for a small portion of the population that has managed to break free of this warped worldview (and as a consequence is being labeled as traitors), the mass of Israeli Jews are following their Pied Piper leaders into dangerous isolation.
This state of detachment has led to a series of policy decisions that are anything but realistic. The continuing expansion of illegal settlements and destruction of Palestinian houses, the resulting ethnic cleansing, the utter barbarism of Israeli policy toward Gaza, and the labeling as terrorist behavior all reactions against these policies, mark an official, and internally popular, worldview that is increasing detached from reality.
Dan Illouz’s piece in the Jerusalem Post is a clumsy effort to rationalize this way of thinking and seeing.
Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conducted a cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights for the first time in history, in order to stress that the region had been “captured from Syria almost a half of century ago” and that it has been Israeli territory ever since, calling on the international community to recognize this fact.
According to the draft resolution on Syria, which has been endorsed by US, Russia and other states, the Golan Heights were unlawfully captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967 and must be returned to Syria.
Benjamin Netanyahu promised not to oppose the resolution of the ongoing crisis in the neighboring country, provided that the Syrian peace process doesn’t impinge on Israeli security.
“I made a decision to hold a Cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights, to convey a clear message: the Golan Heights will remain in Israeli hands. Israel will never withdraw from the Golan,” said Netanyahu. This can be regarded as a symbolic gesture reflecting Israel’s adamant determination not to abandon the Golan Heights.
When Syria gained independence from French rule in 1944, the Golan Heights became part of the country and was later incorporated into Quneitra Province. Most of the province was conquered by Israel in 1967 and 1973, which conducted a policy of ethnic cleansing, forcing over 130,000 people to flee their homes.
Once again the AIPAC annual pantomime in Washington DC has played itself out while the world outside watches aghast at the gullibility of America’s political elite. And how they flocked to hear the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech.
Whatever happened to the Un-American Activities Committee set up to investigate disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens and public employees, one wonders?
“The terrorists have no resolvable grievances. It’s not as if we could offer them Brussels or Istanbul, or California or even the West Bank,” said Netanyahu. “That won’t satisfy their grievances because what they seek is our utter destruction and their total domination. Their basic demand is that we should simply disappear.”
Funny, the Israelis have been working for nearly 70 years to make the Palestinians disappear. Domination is their specialty.
“The only way to defeat these terrorists is to join together and fight them together… with political unity and with moral clarity. I think we have that in abundance….” Achingly funny.
“The chain of attacks from Paris to San Bernardino to Istanbul to the Ivory Coast and now to Brussels, and the daily attacks to Israel… This is one continuous assault on all of us.” No it isn’t.
And who is this “we”? It’s Netanyahu’s endless attempt to push the old ‘hasbara’ line to make us think we’re all in it together.
A few years back ‘The Israel Project’, a US media advocacy group, produced a revised training manual to help the worldwide Zionist movement win the propaganda war, keep their ill-gotten territorial gains in Palestine and persuade international audiences to accept that their crimes are necessary and conform to “shared values” between Israel and the civilised West.
- “Draw direct parallels between Israel and America—including the need to defend against terrorism…. The more you focus on the similarities between Israel and America, the more likely you are to win the support of those who are neutral. Indeed, Israel is an important American ally in the war against terrorism, and faces many of the same challenges as America in protecting their citizens.”
Note how Israel’s strategy is almost totally dependent on the false idea that they are victims of terror and western nations need to huddle together with Israel for mutual protection.
- “The language of Israel is the language of America: ‘democracy,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘security,’ and ‘peace.’ These four words are at the core of the American political, economic, social, and cultural systems, and they should be repeated as often as possible because they resonate with virtually every American.”
If so fluent in this language, why won’t Israel acknowledge their neighbours’ rights to democracy, freedom, security and peace and end their military oppression? Level-headed people have begun to realize who the terrorists really are. And it is obvious by now that allowing parallels to be drawn between Israel and America only serves to increase the world’s hatred of America.
- “A simple rule of thumb is that once you get to the point of repeating the same message over and over again so many times that you think you might get sick — that is just about the time the public will wake up and say ‘Hey, this person just might be saying something interesting to me!’ But don’t confuse messages with facts…”
The only people who are interested these days are the ‘Friends’ and the other assorted stooges in thrall to the Israelis and the politicians they have bribed.
- “Successful communications is not about being able to recite every fact from the long history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is about pointing out a few core principles of shared values—such as democracy and freedom—and repeating them over and over again…. You need to start with empathy for both sides, remind youie, on average, ten times to be effective.”
Is democracy a shared value? Around Western nations, maybe. But Israel is an ethnocracy and a rather nasty one. Is freedom a shared value? The world is still waiting for Israel to allow the Palestinians their freedom after decades of brutal military occupation.
As La Clinton and others perform their obscene ritual acts of obeisance let us ponder what being a Friend of Israel really entails. It means aligning yourself with the vilest villainy. It means embracing the terror and ethnic cleansing on which the state of Israel was built.
It means embracing the dispossession at gunpoint and oppression of the native Palestinians. It means embracing the discriminatory laws against those who remain.
It means embracing the jackboot thuggery that abducts civilians, including children, and imprisons and tortures them without trial.
It means embracing the theft and annexation of Palestinian land and water resources, the imposition of hundreds of military checkpoints, severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods, and maximum interference with Palestinian life at every level.
It means embracing the strangulation of the West Bank’s economy and the cruel blockade on Gaza.
It means embracing the denial of Palestinians’ right to self-determination and return to their homes.
It means embracing the religious war that humiliates Muslims and Christians and prevents them from visiting their holy places.
It means endorsing a situation in which hard-pressed British and American taxpayers are having to subsidise Israel’s illegal occupation of the Holy Land.
And if, after the most recent bloodbaths inflicted by the Israelis on Gaza, you are still Israel’s special friend, you are comfortable with blowing to smithereens hundreds of children, maiming thousands more, trashing vital infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, power plants and clean water supplies, and causing $6billion of devastation that will take 20 years to rebuild. And, by the way, where is the money for that coming from?
By then you should consider how you no longer qualify for membership of the human race.
BETHLEHEM – Israel’s Knesset on Monday night passed the first reading of a bill that would allow MKs to expel lawmakers, in what has been roundly condemned as a political campaign launched against the parliament’s Palestinian members.
The law could see lawmakers suspended from their duties if voted for by 90 MKs — three-quarters of Israel’s lawmakers — for behavior deemed inappropriate.
The bill — an amendment to an existing law — could see an MK suspended for “negating” the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, incitement to racism, or supporting an armed struggle against Israel, according to the Association for Civil Rights (ACRI) in Israel.
It stipulates that grounds for suspension can be proved solely by a statement provided by MKs, the group said.
A draft of the bill was submitted and approved upon the urging of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who last month called for the suspension of three Palestinian MKs when they visited the families of Palestinians killed while allegedly carrying out attacks on Israelis.
The three MKs — all members of the Joint Arab List, which represents Palestinians with Israeli citizenship — were later suspended by the Knesset’s Ethics Committee.
During Monday’s Knesset meeting, the Joint List slammed the bill as “racist and unconstitutional.”
“The suspension law has only one aim, to strike against the political existence of Palestinians in Israel,” the coalition of four Palestinian parties said in a statement following Monday’s vote.
It condemned the bill as a “continuation of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians” by Israel, which it said was carried out through incitement and threats.
“What Netanyahu does not understand is that just as ethnic cleansing failed to strain our (Palestinian) existence, political cleansing will not succeed in stopping our political movement and resistance,” the Joint List went on.
“We reject that a radical and racist occupation government draws limits on our political capability by setting conditions on our parliamentary membership,” the group added.
Ahead of Monday’s meeting, Joint List head Ayman Odeh warned last month that he and other Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset may resign if the bill was passed.
The first reading was passed despite efforts by ACRI to urge MKs to vote against the bill, saying that “freedom of expression is expressed precisely through respecting and being inclusive of positions that are considered extreme.”
“This law is being promoted to harm the Arab MKs, whose statements and actions do not find favor with the political majority,” ACRI said.
Netanyahu’s championing of the bill has exacerbated longstanding frustrations from members of the Joint List who say they have faced staunch resistance from the Israeli government since they came together.
The coalition was formed ahead of the last round of Israeli elections to fight for the rights of Israel’s Palestinian minority, which rights groups say has faced systematic discrimination for decades.
What They Said
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might just have a solution for dealing with the recent bombing attacks in Western Europe. The countries involved should follow Israeli practice and demolish the homes of those accused of carrying out terrorist acts, thereby punishing whole families and making the consequences of misbehavior more severe. He might have also suggested that Arabs should be shot in the head when they are incapacitated and lying on the ground. That saves the trouble of having to go through a trial and also sends an even stronger message.
Some American presidential wannabes also agree that tougher is always better. Donald Trump has again spoken up in favor of torture while Ted Cruz is advocating using police “to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in the United States.
Hillary Clinton opted for security to preempt privacy, stating that “We have to toughen our surveillance, our interception of communication.” John Kasich hyperbolically called the bombings “attacks against our very way of life and against the democratic values upon which our political systems have been built” though he mercifully did not single out Muslims for retribution.
When it comes to beating down on Muslims there is a certain unanimity of opinion that unites Israel and the United States. To an extent, it evidently derives from the unsurpassed love that American politicians appear to have for Israel, a sentiment that was on display in its most effusive form last Monday at the annual summit meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, better known as AIPAC.
I confess to having watched the Donald Trump speech live and in its entirety in the vain hope that he would tell AIPAC to get stuffed. The other speeches I saw after the fact on YouTube or C-Span with occasional pauses to allow my blood pressure to recede. Plus there are transcripts of all the speeches but Cruz’s available online. At a certain point all the presentations blended together, as if they had been written by the same person working for AIPAC, which might indeed have been the case, though there were some individual touches.
But for random obligatory shots at the apparently subhuman and hopelessly terroristic Palestinians one might well have thought that the AIPAC summit conference was all about Iran. As Iran is the bête noir of Netanyahu and his thug-like government it was perhaps inevitable that the candidates should follow suit in their carefully coached presentations.
Hillary, who has promised to move the U.S.-Israel relationship up to the “next level” of subservience, started with the obligatory loud sucking noises about how much she loves Israel before citing “Iran’s continued aggression.” In the past she has threatened to “obliterate” Iran. Regarding the recent nuclear agreement, she demanded “vigorous enforcement, strong monitoring, clear consequences for any violations and a broader strategy to confront Iran’s aggression across the region. We cannot forget that Tehran’s fingerprints are on nearly every conflict across the Middle East, from Syria to Lebanon to Yemen. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxies are attempting to establish a position on the Golan from which to threaten Israel, and they continue to fund Palestinian terrorists… Iranian provocations, like the recent ballistic missile tests, are also unacceptable and should be answered firmly and quickly including with more sanctions. Those missiles were stamped with words declaring, and I quote, ‘Israel should be wiped from the pages of history.’ We know they could reach Israel or hit the tens of thousands of American troops stationed in the Middle East. This is a serious danger and it demands a serious response.”
Hillary’s extraordinary comments depicting Iran as if it were a latter day Soviet Union or Nazi Germany leave one gasping for an adequate rejoinder. But her observations were more intriguing in that she actually made an attempt to pretend that there is an American interest in joining Israel in confronting Iran consisting of the poor, defenseless tens of thousands of American troops in the region. She inevitably failed to note that the troops are all based in Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, not in Israel, demonstrating the utter irrelevancy of Tel Aviv to U.S. defense. No Israeli has ever died as an “ally” of the United States, but that is perhaps a tale best explored another day.
Donald Trump was, if possible, even more outrageous than Hillary opening his rant with a prolonged encomium on “… our strategic ally, our unbreakable friendship and our cultural brother, the only democracy in the Middle East, the state of Israel,” nearly every element of which is either a lie or a misrepresentation. He then took on Iran, saying “My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran… The problem here is fundamental. We’ve rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion, and we received absolutely nothing in return… The biggest concern with the deal is not necessarily that Iran is going to violate it because already, you know, as you know, it has, the bigger problem is that they can keep the terms and still get the bomb by simply running out the clock. And of course, they’ll keep the billions and billions of dollars that we so stupidly and foolishly gave them.”
“When I’m president, I will adopt a strategy that focuses on three things when it comes to Iran. First, we will stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region… Now they’re in Syria trying to establish another front against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights… And in the West Bank, they’re openly offering Palestinians $7,000 per terror attack and $30,000 for every Palestinian terrorist’s home that’s been destroyed. A deplorable, deplorable situation… Secondly, we will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network which is big and powerful, but not powerful like us. Iran has seeded terror groups all over the world. During the last five years, Iran has perpetuated terror attacks in 25 different countries on five continents. They’ve got terror cells everywhere, including in the Western Hemisphere, very close to home. Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world. And we will work to dismantle that reach, believe me, believe me… Third, at the very least, we must enforce the terms of the previous deal to hold Iran totally accountable. And we will enforce it like you’ve never seen a contract enforced before, folks, believe me… Iran has already, since the deal is in place, test-fired ballistic missiles three times. Those ballistic missiles, with a range of 1,250 miles, were designed to intimidate not only Israel, which is only 600 miles away, but also intended to frighten Europe and someday maybe hit even the United States. And we’re not going to let that happen. We’re not letting it happen. And we’re not letting it happen to Israel, believe me.”
So Trump will both dismantle and strictly enforce the multi-party agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, and, like Hillary, he detects a threat to the United States, for him in the form of missiles that will “someday maybe hit even the United States.” If The Donald is speaking honestly his desire to end America’s role as international policeman will find an exception if Israel is somehow involved. Taking him at his word he would start a worldwide crusade against Iran and its presumed proxies, all on behalf of Israel.
John Kasich repeated the reasons why all true red blooded Americans love Israel, which apparently includes having wealthy Jewish supporters in Ohio whom he identified by name. He boasted of his sponsorship of a Holocaust memorial in Columbus before doubling down on Iran, stating that “we share a critically important common interest in the Middle East, the unrelenting opposition to Iran’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. In March of 2015, when the prime minister spoke out against the Iran nuclear deal before a joint session of Congress, I flew to Washington and stood on the floor of the House of Representatives that was in session, the first time I had visited since we had been in session in 15 years. And I did it to show my respect, my personal respect, to the people of Israel. And I want you all to know that I have called for the suspension of the U.S.’s participation in the Iran nuclear deal in reaction to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests. These tests were both a violation of the spirit of the nuclear deal and provocations that could no longer be ignored. One of the missiles tested had printed on it in Hebrew, can you believe this, ‘Israel must be exterminated.’ And I will instantly gather the world and lead us to reapply sanctions if Iran violates one crossed T or one dot of that nuclear deal. We must put the sanctions back on them as the world community together. Let me also tell you, no amount of money that’s being made by any business will stand in the way of the need to make sure that the security of Israel is secured… And I want you to be assured that in a Kasich administration there will be no more delusional agreements with self-declared enemies. No more.”
One might note that Kasich, who also claimed that Palestinians embrace a “culture of death,” did not even make an effort to identify an American interest. He refers to Netanyahu as “the prime minister.” It was all about Israel. But even Kasich was outdone by Ted Cruz, who started his talk by stating that “Palestine has not existed since 1948.” And he promised that if a resolution on Palestinian statehood might come up at the United Nations he would “fly to New York to personally veto it myself.”
Cruz went on to claim that Palestinian children killed by Israeli weapons in Gaza had died because Hamas was using them as human shields before declaring that he would rip up the agreement with Iran, which he compared to “Munich in 1938,” and demand that it close its existing nuclear research program or “we will shut it down for you.” Like Hillary and The Donald before him he declared Israel to be a “steadfast and loyal ally” before defending military aid to Israel as “furthering the vital national security interest of the United States of America.” He did not elaborate on either point.
My citations from the candidates’ presentations are, of course, selected by me and intended to establish a certain narrative. Anyone who is truly desirous of experiencing just how awful the complete speeches were should look up the YouTube and C-Span originals and watch them. The obscene pandering to a bunch of wealthy and politically connected fifth columnists who are in love with a country and government that is not their own is shameful, particularly as the speakers are de facto ceding national sovereignty by committing Washington to become militarily engaged no matter how Israel behaves. The calls to enter into something not unlike a state of war with Iran, a country that does not threaten the United States, just because Tel Aviv considers it an enemy is something that in another place and time would equate to treason. Excluding only Bernie Sanders, that every other man and woman currently in the running for the presidency of this country representing America’s two major parties should be complicit in this outrage defies belief, but their own words tell the tale.
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Monday morning the former head of Yesha settlement council Danny Dayan as Israel’s Consul General in New York after he failed to nominate him as an ambassador to Brazil.
In appointing Dayan, Netanyahu withdrew Dayan’s apportionment as Israel’s ambassador to Brazil after the Brazilian government refused to accept him due to his former role as a settler leader. Asked to comment, Dayan told Army Radio that he was not influenced by Brazil’s refusal. “There was no alternative but New York.”
Dayan was earlier nominated to be Israeli ambassador to Brazil, but Brazil strongly refused his appointment due to his ties to Israeli illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Dayan headed the Yesha Council of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank between 2007 and 2013.
A report has exposed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shady relations with a French individual considered by French prosecutors as the “brain” behind one of the biggest frauds in history.
According to a recent report by French news website Mediapart, which was obtained by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Netanyahu has had affiliations with French national Arnaud Mimran.
Mimran, along with his partners, is accused of stealing between 300 million to 1.6 billion euros in a fraud case commonly referred to in Europe as “the scam of the century.”
The report said that since the early 2000s, the Mimran family has loaned Netanyahu, then Israel’s finance minister, a spacious apartment on Avenue Victor Hugo, in the heart of Paris’ 16th Arrondissement.
Mimran is free on a bail of 100,000 euros after spending 10 months in jail awaiting indictment on charges including extortion in a different case.
The trial of Mimran, who denies all of the allegations against him, will begin in Paris on May 2.
Police are also probing his possible involvement in other cases, including the mysterious murder of his ex-wife’s billionaire father Claude Dray.
This week, Mediapart journalist Fabrice Arfi published the photograph of Mimran relaxing with Netanyahu on the French Riviera.
In a series of articles slated to be published over the coming weeks, whose details were shared with Haaretz, Mediapart will say that Mimran has benefited from wide-ranging connections that have delayed his trial until now.
The name of Netanyahu appears first among such connections as revealed by Mediapart.
“From the evidence I have collected it is clear the Mimran family regularly donated money to the Likud movement in France, and Arnaud Mimran took care to tirelessly cultivate this connection,” Arfi wrote in reference to the ruling and Netanyahu’s party in Israel.
Throughout 2000s, Mimran was suspected of many crimes. He was convicted of tax offenses in France in the late 1990s.
In 2000, three years before a vacation with Netanyahu in Monaco, he was investigated on suspicion of insider trading in the United States and agreed, together with his partners, to pay a fine of 1.2 million dollars.
According to the current indictment, Mimran and his partners stole at least 282 million euros from the European Union over the course of 10 months, from the summer of 2008 to the spring of 2009. He also accused of stealing 1.6 billion euros from the French republic’s coffers.
One of Mimran’s partners, who was arrested and will stand trial alongside Mimran, is Marco Mouly, a Tunisian Jew with a long history of misconduct.
During his speech at the AIPAC conference in Washington yesterday, Netanyahu branded all attacks as terrorist activity, including the Palestinian resistance attacks against the Israeli occupation carried out in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“What is happening is a continuous attack against all of us,” Netanyahu said. “What is enough for them is eradicating us and imposing their absolute domination over us. But, this will not happen my friends.”
“The only solution is cooperation and unity in the war against them… Political and moral unity.”
The annual grovel begins next week
I am reluctant to write two weeks in a row about Israel’s malignant influence over the United States but as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is meeting in Washington for its annual Summit beginning next Sunday some commentary would seem desirable. AIPAC’s website claims that its “… mission is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of Israel and the United States. Our staff and citizen activists educate decision makers about the bonds that unite the United States and Israel and how it is in America’s best interest to help ensure that Israel is safe, strong and secure.”
That is, of course, a self-serving bit of nonsense. U.S. national security would be best enhanced by telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take a hike and never come back. AIPAC is a political pressure group, not an educational foundation, which is purely a pretext exploited to secure it tax exemption. It uses every means, fair and foul, to influence and even intimidate the U.S. government and media to maintain the fiction that Israel is somehow America’s “best friend” and “closest ally” even though it is neither. Its objective is to maintain the flow of U.S. dollars from the U.S. Treasury while keeping the firewall of political protection in place to insulate Israeli politicians from the consequences of their own actions.
This year AIPAC, which has an annual budget of $70 million and more than 200 employees, is expecting 16,000 supporters and two thirds of Congress. It will be featuring a keynote speech by Hillary Clinton, which should be fascinating. As Hillary and her husband Bill already constitute a fully owned subsidiary of the Israel Lobby and New York financial services interests, which often amount to the same thing, her attendance might be regarded as de rigueur. And she has already pledged to invite Netanyahu to the White House during her first month in office while also promising to move the Israeli relationship to a “new level,” a concept that is both difficult to imagine and positively frightening in terms of what it might portend. Will she move the entire U.S. government to Jerusalem? Or only the Treasury Department?
Donald Trump will also be speaking at AIPAC, for the first time. Trump has rattled Israel’s friends in the U.S. by calling for an even handed role by Washington in Middle East peace negotiations and through his insistence that he does not need the money from Jewish mega-donors to run his campaign and “can’t be bought.” But he has also said “First of all, there’s nobody… that’s more pro-Israel than I am. OK. There’s nobody. I am pro-Israel. I was the Grand Marshall, not so long ago, of the Israeli Day Parade down 5th avenue. I’ve made massive contributions to Israel. I have a lot of — I have tremendous love for Israel. I happen to have a son-in-law and a daughter that are Jewish, OK? And two grandchildren that are Jewish.” So one should assume that he will talk fulsomely about his love of Israel but at the same time it has to be hoped that he will assert his independence when it comes to policy affecting the United States.
Netanyahu also regularly appears at AIPAC. Last year he used the platform provided to harangue the American public and the inside the beltway chattering class about the dangers posed by Iran while also exploiting the opportunity to do some serious fundraising in New York. The visits also frequently provide an opportunity to meet with and scold the President of the United States or to address Congress on how the U.S. should conduct its foreign policy. It is a given in Washington that Netanyahu will show up in the nation’s capital personally to kick some butt at least twice a year but it is also understood that Bibi will not fail to dish out some harsh criticism the rest of the time by way of the media, his own patented form of international extortion.
Nothing illustrates the unbridgeable abyss between the media/talking head vision of Israel promoted by the Israel Lobby and folks like Hillary and the real thing more than the recent embarrassments and indignities being delivered by the Netanyahu government, which AIPAC really represents. Benjamin Netanyahu is, to everyone’s surprise, not coming to AIPAC this year but will instead address the conference by video link. The visit was planned but canceled at the last moment and, per Netanyahu, the fault is that of the president of the United States who had reportedly said that he would not be available for a meeting due to the upcoming trip to Cuba.
The Obama Administration was genuinely puzzled, partly due to the fact that it first learned of the cancellation through a newspaper story rather than from the Israeli Embassy or Foreign Ministry. It was also astonished by the explanation given as it had indeed set up a presidential meeting at Netanyahu’s request in spite of a very tight schedule. The White House did not complain openly about the deliberate snub, but it was clear to everyone involved that Netanyahu was yet again sending a message to the Administration regarding who was in charge.
Netanyahu benefits from the fact that his tendency to ridicule critics makes many in the media reluctant to challenge his behavior, but when it became embarrassingly clear that he had been fibbing about why he was not coming to Washington he immediately resorted to Plan B, stating that he did not want to interfere in the presidential primaries currently underway. No one believed that argument either as Netanyahu has not hesitated to interfere in American politics in the past, notably when he made clear that he would prefer a Republican president in 2012 and appeared in ads in Florida endorsing Mitt Romney.
The White House meanwhile resorted to its own Plan B when confronted by a truculent Netanyahu. It first groveled a bit about how much it loves Israel and then expressed hope that Vice President Joe Biden, who was in the air on his way to Tel Aviv, would be able to calm the situation. Indeed, the original objective of the Biden trip turned out to be the real reason for the contretemps with Netanyahu. Netanyahu was miffed because the United States has hesitated to provide him with a no-strings-attached long term agreement to give Israel at least $5 billion dollars per year in military assistance, up from the current $3 billion.
To be fair to Netanyahu, the demand for more “assistance” was no secret. The Israelis had made it clear since they failed to stop the Iran nuclear deal that they would feel a whole lot better if Washington were to give them a lot more money. And it would have to be guaranteed cash, tied to a security package that would run for at least ten years.
Biden had been sent to help negotiate an agreement over the assistance, which had been stalled due in part to Israeli expectations that they might do better with a GOP Administration or Hillary if they wait a few months. Obama’s insistence that any deal would require the Israeli government to forego lobbying directly to congress for more cash also was a stumbling block. The President of the United States has thereby found himself in a situation engineered by Netanyahu in which he has to beg Israel to take more money with the only condition being that it not make trouble with the nation’s legislature. In return for the largesse, Israel would not be committed to do anything that would directly benefit the United States.
In the event, Biden’s role as a negotiating intermediary was unsuccessful and he wound up looking foolish so he too has decided to speak at AIPAC where he will undoubtedly say many unctuous things that no one will believe.
There are several things that can be done to address the wildly asymmetrical situation with Benjamin Netanyahu and AIPAC. First, it must be recognized that the United States and Israel are actually two separate countries with very little in the way of common interests. The notion that they have many mutual concerns is largely a myth. AIPAC, the principal purveyor of the myth, is an agent of Israel and should be compelled to register with the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, which would require it to maintain transparency in terms of who funds it. It should also be stripped of its tax exemption as it is demonstrably not an educational foundation. Taking those two steps would enable the American public to understand just exactly what AIPAC represents.
Second, President Obama should cut off aid to Israel completely since it is uninterested in there being any quid pro quo for the billions that it receives. If Obama wants to be gracious, he can consider renewing the subsidy if and when Israel rolls back its illegal settlements in Jerusalem and on the Palestinian West Bank. If Israel is not interested in peace and not willing to reverse policies that many believe constitute war crimes then it will not receive any support of any kind from the United States.
The annual reappearance of AIPAC in Washington should remind everyone that there are those among us who regard any allegiance to the common interests that should bind together all Americans as secondary at best. In the case of Israel, billions in taxpayer money should not be regarded as a convenient mechanism to bribe a foreign state to behave. It is past time to cut the ties that bind to despicable rogues like Benjamin Netanyahu and to make clear to Americans politicians that dual loyalty to a state that has been nothing but trouble for the past twenty years will no longer be considered acceptable.
“We must remember that the plutocrats dominated by the Israeli supporters [have] been extremely generous in financing Hillary’s campaign for president,” Professor James Petras says.
An American scholar says that “the plutocrats dominated by the Israeli supporters” are financing Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president of the United States.
Professor James Petras, who has written dozens of books on the Latin America and Middle East, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday.
He was commenting on US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel to discuss a new military aid package.
Washington and Tel Aviv are discussing details of a 10-year military aid package that will be larger than the $3.1 billion US package Israel received this year.
According to reports, Israeli officials have asked the US to increase its annual military assistance by 60 percent to an average of $5 billion a year over the 2018-2028 period.
Biden’s visit comes as the relationship between US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu took a new setback over the Israeli premier’s decision not to accept an invitation for talks in Washington later this month.
Netanyahu cancelled the meeting with Obama, US National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Monday.
“This visit by Biden fits in with the Obama administration, which has at times had personal conflicts between Obama and Netanyahu, but on the substance of military and economic aid to Israel, [the US] has been exceedingly generous,” Professor Petras said.
“This despite the fact that Israel has been engaged in a war against the Palestinians, in particular the savage invasions of Gaza which seem not be of importance either to Biden, Obama or Hillary Clinton,” he added.
“We must remember that the plutocrats dominated by the Israeli supporters [have] been extremely generous in financing Hillary’s campaign for president and this new visit by Biden fits in with the attempt by the rightwing of the Democratic Party to undermine the challenge from Bernie Sanders,” the analyst stated.
Professor Petras said “an increase in military support for Israel is a destabilizing element not only because of Israel’s threat to the Palestinians and the land-grabbing but also because it could invite Israel to become more aggressive and threatening to Iran.”
“And I think it is a very foolish move by Obama and Biden and Clinton to destabilize the agreement that was reached with Iran regarding the nuclear understanding. I think it’s a very a bad omen for peace in the Middle East,” he concluded.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been a vocal critic of the P5+1 group’s nuclear deal with Iran and has focused on derailing it, causing great resentment within the White House.
Ties between Obama and Netanyahu have been further strained over the Israeli premier’s resistance to the creation of a Palestinian state, which has been a key element of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.