A recording has emerged of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposing commercial favors to an Israeli newspaper owner in return for positive coverage.
In a report aired by Israel’s Channel Two television station on Sunday, there is a recording of Netanyahu allegedly offering a commercially beneficial deal to the owner of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Arnon Mozes.
The report claimed that Netanyahu had said he would reduce the circulation of the pro-Netanyahu newspaper, Israel Hayom, if Mozes’ paper took a more favorable stance towards him. A drop in the circulation of Hayom would be a direct benefit to Mozes as it is his main rival in advertising revenues.
The report suggested that the recording was made a few months ago although the exact date is unknown. It also noted that Mozes made the recording.
Netanyahu is already under investigation over alleged corruption charges related to receiving illegal donations and gifts.
He is also under investigation over suspicions that he accepted one million euros (about 1.1 million dollars) from French fraudster Arnaud Mimran for campaign funds during the 2009 Israeli elections.
There are also calls for Netanyahu to be investigated for his role in a billion-dollar deal to purchase three submarines from German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems GmbH.
The Netanyahu family has faced scrutiny over accusations that their lifestyles are out of touch with regular Israelis. Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, has also come under fire for her lavish tastes and abusive behavior toward staff members.
The United States hardly stood up to Israel in the latest meeting of the U.N. Security Council, where a historic, but largely symbolic, motion was passed condemning the apartheid state’s illegal settlement-building.
But Israel’s seething anger towards its ally, for what it perceives as betrayal, has prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to summon the U.S. ambassador to Israel on Christmas day.
While the envoys of 10 other nations were also summoned by the Israeli foreign ministry, harsher words were reserved for Washington after Friday’s vote.
“Over decades American administrations and Israeli governments disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the security council was not the place to resolve this issue,” Netanyahu said, as reported by Reuters.
“We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace farther away. As I told John Kerry on Thursday, ‘Friends don’t take friends to the Security Council’,” he added.
Friday’s resolution was passed only because the United States broke its long-standing approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and did not wield its veto power, abstaining instead.
“According to our information, we have no doubt the Obama administration initiated it (the resolution), stood behind it, coordinated the wording and demanded it be passed,” Netanyahu told the cabinet.
The other envoys summoned included 10 of the 14 countries that voted for the resolution with embassies in Israel — the U.K., China, Russia, France, Egypt, Japan, Uruguay, Spain, Ukraine and New Zealand.
Local media also reported Sunday that Netanyahu ordered his ministers not to travel to the 14 countries that approved the U.N. resolution, forbidding them from even meeting their counterparts from those countries.
On Friday Israel also announced that it would recall its ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal, cancel a planned state visit by the Senegalese foreign minister, as well as cut off all aid to the impoverished West African country.
While many have criticized the motion for being both toothless and too late, Israel’s retaliation suggests it may help further delegitimize the country’s system of apartheid, and could provide material support for Palestine’s complaint to the international criminal court about the settlements.
On 23 December the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted to adopt a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity as illegal, and demanding that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem”.
For once, the USA decided to join the rest of humanity and didn’t veto the resolution. The message is obvious: if Zionism was a promise to make the Jews people like other people, its failure is colossal. The Jewish State and its lobbies are people like no other. 14 out of 15 members of the UNSC voted against Israel, the US abstained. In the most clear terms, the UNSC denounced the Jewish state’s treatment of the Palestinian people. If Israel would be an ordinary state, as Zionism initially promised, it would take some time to reflect on the resolution and consider the necessary measures to amend its public image. But as one would expect, the Jewish State did the complete opposite. It took the path of the bully and decided to punish the world.
In his first reaction to the resolution Israeli PM Netanyahu told his followers that the Security Council’s behaviour was “shameful.” He also harshly denounced President Obama’s choice to abstain. A list of American elected spineless characters were quick to cry havoc and promised to correct the damage. Netanyahu has instructed Israel’s ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal to “return to Israel for consultations.” A scheduled visit of the Ukrainian PM in Jerusalem next week was cancelled. Netanyahu also ordered to block the shekel pipeline to some UN institutions.
But things may be slightly more complicated than they look at first glance. If the One (Bi-National) State is an existential threat to Israel being the Jewish state, then the recent UN resolution is obviously a last attempt to revive the Two-State Solution. It, de facto, legitimises the existence of the Jewish State within the pre-1967 borders. The resolution provides Israel with a practical and pragmatic opportunity to dissolve the West Bank settlements. Banks and businesses may start to refrain from operating in the occupied territories. Israeli military personnel serving in the occupied territories are about to become subject to the scrutiny of international law. Netanyahu, so it seems, made a fuss about the resolution, but the resolution plays into his hands. It provides him with an opportunity to break the stalemate with the Palestinians. Netanyahu knows it. President Obama knows it, the president-elect will be advised about as soon as he takes some time off Twitter.
But if the resolution serves Israeli national and security interests, why did Netanyahu react like a bully? The answer is simple. Bibi is a populist. Like president-elect Trump he knows what his people are like. He knows what the Jews and the Israelis seek in their leader. They want their king to celebrate Jewish exceptionalism. They want their master to perform contempt towards the Goyim. PM Netanyahu knows very well that David Ben Gurion (the legendary first Israeli PM) dismissed the UN, famously saying “it doesn’t matter what the Goyim say, the only thing that matters is what Jews do.”
It is far from clear whether Ben Gurion was really dismissive of Goyim. However, he was loved by his people for conveying the image as if he did. Bibi follows the same rule. In the public eye, he is dismissive of the UN, he is full with contempt to the nations and Goyim in general. But in practice he knows that the resolution is essential for the existence of the Jewish state. It is probably the last opportunity to scale down the pretentious Zionist dream and make it fit with the reality on the ground. Let me reassure you, I don’t hold my breath. In reality it is actually the Israelis who don’t miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
A draft decision by UNESCO, which criticises Israel’s activities at holy places in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, has been denounced by Israeli officials. “It ignores thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and aids Islamist terror,” claimed Education Minister Naftali Bennett very dramatically.
Never one to miss an opportunity to conflate Judaism and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Facebook post that UNESCO had become a “theatre of the absurd”, to which he added: “To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids.”
The World Jewish Congress, meanwhile, called UNESCO’s announcement an “inflammatory, one-sided decision” as Israel took the predictable step of freezing co-operation with the UN cultural body which seeks to “contribute to peace and security” by safeguarding world heritage and cultural sites.
The UNESCO decision, however, does none of the things that the Israelis and their supporters claim. The draft decision “affirms the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions” while also affirming that “nothing in the current decision, which aims, inter alia, at the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem, shall in any way affect the relevant Security Council and United Nations resolutions and decisions on the legal status of Palestine and Jerusalem”.
Israel’s problem with the UNESCO decision emanates from the simple fact that it has no way of reconciling its colonialist policies in the West Bank and Gaza with international law. Israeli officials were just as quick to denounce the International Court of Justice’s decision on its construction of the “separation” wall or the dozens of UN Security Council resolutions condemning the construction of illegal settlements. Like its condemnation of the UNESCO decision, Israel extorts political gain by claiming security concerns and its fight against “Islamist terrorism”.
The 58 member of the UNESCO board voted this week on a draft document that raises concerns about Israel’s violation of international law. Israel, predictably, hopes to deflect these concerns by conflating Jewish history with Israeli policy. The draft text, which was passed by 24 votes in favour to six against, with 26 abstentions, noted the following:
- The failure of Israel, the Occupying Power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City and reiterates the request to Israel to prohibit all such works in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions;
- Called on Israel, the Occupying Power, to allow for the restoration of the historic status quo;
- Strongly condemned the escalating Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the Awqaf [Religious Endowments] Department and its personnel, and against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site;
- Deplored the continuous storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by right-wing Israeli extremists and uniformed forces, and urges Israel, the Occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of Al-Aqsa Mosque;
- Deeply decries the continuous Israeli aggressions against civilians including Islamic religious figures and priests, and urges Israel, the Occupying Power, to end these aggressions and abuses which inflame the tension on the ground and between faiths;
- Disapproves of the Israeli restriction of access to Al-Aqsa Mosque and called on Israel to stop all violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque;
- Criticised Israel’s refusal to grant visas to UNESCO experts in charge of the UNESCO project at the Centre of Islamic Manuscripts in Al-Aqsa Mosque;
Raised concern regarding the illegal demolitions of Umayyad, Ottoman and Mamluk remains as well as other intrusive works and excavations in and around the Mughrabi Gate Pathway, and also requests Israel, to halt such demolitions, excavations and works and to abide by its obligations under the provisions of the UNESCO conventions.
The draft resolution, which also goes on to deplore the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and reaffirms the integral link between Palestine and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, is a full scale condemnation of Israel’s total lack of disregard for Al-Aqsa Mosque, and its refusal to act in accordance with UNESCOs recommendation in maintaining the sanctity of the religious sites that are holy to all three Abrahamic faiths. Despite the best efforts of Israeli officials to paint this decision as yet another anti-Jewish declaration it is actually nothing of the sort.
A UN body such as UNESCO has a duty to highlight Israel’s ongoing annexation and colonisation of Palestine. It has an even bigger obligation to raise awareness of the systematic efforts by hostile parties — no matter who they are — to seize control of world heritage sites. Only in the eyes of Israel — the Occupying Power, remember — could that be seen as “inflammatory”.
An Israeli archaeological expert has asserted that there is no relation between the Western Wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and an ancient Jewish temple, Al Jazeera reported today. This will likely serve to undermine Israeli excavations of the site.
Meir Ben-Dov, an Israeli archaeological expert who is author of many books about Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, further asserted that the Wailing Wall, the Jewish name for the Western Wall, has no sacred significance in the Jewish faith.
In related news, UNESCO members are expected to vote on a resolution that denies Jewish links to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall, known as the Buraq Wall to Muslims, agencies reported on Thursday.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the resolution is expected to pass by a large majority, referring this to the inability of Israeli lobbying to persuade UNESCO members not to support the resolution.
“Israel has made efforts to block the resolution or at least soften it, but succeeded only in swaying the positions of a few member states,” Haaretz stated.
The Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Sudan pushed the draft resolution forward that declares that Jerusalem is holy for all the three Abrahamic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
The draft also includes a section that stresses that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is sacred only for the Muslims, referring to it as Al-Haram Al-Sharif, or the Sacred Sanctuary.
In April, UNESCO’s executive board ratified a similar resolution, which was supported by a number of European countries, including France.
However, after a “harsh” telephone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Francois Hollande, France promised not to support any such resolution in the future.
Netanyahu’s recent ethnic-cleansing video offers us a spectacular glimpse into Jewish identity politics and the ease with which the Jews morph between ideology and political stance. In the video below, PM Netanyahu accuses the Palestinians and their supporters, by making it a condition of peace that Israel withdraws its illegal settlement, of leanings towards ethnic cleansing.
I am not here going to argue with Netanyahu’s ridiculous idea. I am obviously in total agreement with Gideon Levy and others who have taken the trouble, time and again, to prove that Israel is the only ethnic cleanser between the river and the sea.
But if Israel is the only ethnic cleanser in Palestine, then all Bibi is doing is simply projecting i.e. attributing his own racist symptoms onto the Palestinians and their supporters. Now, I’m no great fan of Freud and even less enthusiastic about his terminology, but he sure did help us understand the Jew or, shall we say, the Jewish psychological nature. Seemingly, projection is at the core of the Jewish psyche. Jews see racism everywhere, simply because they attribute their own racism to others. So, Netanyahu, in accusing others of ethnic cleansing, is simply projecting his own symptoms onto the Palestinians.
But it goes further. The concern with people being ethnically cleansed is a humanist, empathic position, traditionally associated within Left and progressive thought. It is in fact totally foreign to the Lebensraum, racist ideology that drives the Zionist precept of which PM Netanyahu is a devout follower.
So one may wonder how Bibi managed to transcend himself from oppressor to victim? How does he manage to so abruptly switch sides from being a practitioner of Lebensraum into a ‘progressive voice’? The answer is devastatingly simple. For a Jew to switch sides, to move from the hard right into the poetic left and vice versa is a mere verbal exercise. This capacity of metamorphosis is embedded within Jewish identity politics and I guess that Kafka was the first to point us towards it.
So, with a little help from Binyamin Netanyahu, Israelis mange to simultaneously be oppressors as well as victims. But are the anti Zionists that different?
How long did it take Max Blumenthal to morph from being an enthusiastic Zionist Nazi Hunter into a pro- Palestinian who only occasionally hates Germans for being White. The same can be said about pretty much every Jewish Left and anti-Zionist organisation. They preach anti-racism in the name of the most enlightened liberal and progressive ideologies but at the same time, they themselves operate within racially inclusive political cells.
The so-called ‘antisemites – those who hate Jews for being Jews, used to refer to Jews as chameleons. They simply could not understand the lack of integrity at the heart of Jewish politics. They could not grasp how Jews switch allies so rapidly.
Netanyahu’s video this morning certainly made me wonder at how comfortable he seems lying compulsively in front of the camera. But what, I wonder, happens to Bibi when he faces himself, alone in the morning in front of the mirror? Who (or what) does he see in front of him? Is it the head of the Likud party? Is it a progressive humanist? Or is it simply a lizard, a chameleon who morphs constantly as it moves along.
I guess David Icke has, more than once, attempted to address this question…
The pro-Israel crowd love to trot out anti-Semitic memes to smear their opponents. One of them, used widely by Alan Dershowitz and the like is the term “blood libel.” Accuse Israelis of killing Palestinians indiscriminately and it’s a blood libel because, of course, a Jew shedding non-Jewish blood is the same as Jews murdering Christian babies to use their blood in making matzah for Passover. Got that?
Bibi Netanyahu’s latest outrage is this video in which he ever so innocently professes bafflement that Palestinians would oppose Israeli settlements. Why, he asks, if 2-million “Arabs” (the actual number is 1.8-million) live in Israel proper, can’t Jews live in Palestine?
There is a wee-small problem with this analogy: approximately 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements. But they have lived in them for at best a generation, while Palestinians have lived in Israel for centuries. The vast bulk of settlers moved to Palestine since 1967, while Palestinians have lived in Israel over a vastly longer span. Nor have Palestinians displaced anyone over this period. While Israeli settlers have literally stolen the land out from under the Palestinian natives.
Bibi’s general argument is not new. He and his supporters have advanced it for years. But he added a new and even more outrageous twist this time: Palestinian opposition to Israeli settlements was akin to ethnic cleansing because it meant no Palestinian would ever accept any Jew living anywhere on Palestinian land.
There are numerous outrageous elements to this charge worth parsing. The first, and most obvious is that it’s Israel, rather than Palestine, that’s engaged in ethnic cleansing. Israel has destroyed a record number of Palestinian homes over the past year, leaving their inhabitants homeless. It has enacted draconian definitions of Palestinian residency which render tens of thousands of Palestinians stateless if they live outside areas like East Jerusalem for any length of time. Israel also depopulates Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem through forcible eviction and theft of homes. Israel maintains a stranglehold over the West Bank economy so that stifles innovation, independence and development that might sustain the population. The final coup de grâce is the siege of Gaza, which has forced thousands of Gazans to flee their imprisonment by any means possible.
So which Israeli Jew has ever been ethnically cleansed from Palestine? None. Further, the claim that Palestinians will never accept Jews living in Palestine is a hoax perpetrated by none other than Netanyahu himself and his followers. In fact, those like Rabbi Menachem Froman, who lived in the Tekoah settlement before his untimely death, denounced the idea of Israeli national sovereignty in the West Bank. He argued that he would happily live under Palestinian jurisdiction. What was important to him was not which nation owned the land on which he lived. Rather, he believed God owned the land and his allegiance was to Him and not to any particular nation.
Such an approach offered a way for Jews to remain in Palestine after a peace agreement was signed. Undoubtedly, the lion’s share of settlers would return to Israel, rather than remain under Palestinian sovereignty. But to those who really sought to uphold the vision of Abraham and the Bible to live in this Holy land, they could live there as Palestinian (or Israeli) citizens.
The final hypocrisy of Bibi’s video is his refusal to reciprocate with Palestinians regarding Jewish settlers in Palestine. If you truly believe that Jews must live there, then it’s self-evident that Palestinians should be permitted to return to their homes in pre-48 Israel. Jewish settlers see their return to their ancestral homeland as a fulfillment of sacred Biblical texts and a divine promise. The Palestinian return to their homelands from which they were expelled by Israel in 1948 is no less compelling to them. It is, to them, reparation for the Original Sin committed against them by Ben Gurion in the establishment of the State.
So if Bibi wants to argue that Jews who returned to ancient sites like Hebron or Tekoah or Bethlehem must be permitted to remain there, I say fine: then let’s talk about the return of the original refugees expelled in the Nakba and their direct descendants.
The U.S. government was none to happy with Bibi’s incitement against Palestinians. The State Department, in its typical milquetoast fashion, called the comments “inappropriate and unhelpful.” This sort of language is akin to taking a pebble to a gunfight. It’s one thing when David faces off against Goliath with a slingshot. But this is like David blowing bubbles at his well-armed nemesis. Indeed, the motto for U.S. policy toward Israel should be an inversion of the famous military slogan: “always outnumbered, always outgunned.”
NOTE: I’ve just published a new piece at Mint Press News, Israel Ramps Up Its War on BDS. It exposes an official Israeli campaign of death threats and intimidation against Palestinian activists and NGOs.
The Kevin Barrett-Chomsky Dispute in Historical Perspective – Twelfth part of the series titled “9/11 and the Zionist Question” – Read the Eleventh part here
Jonathan Kay’s designation of “conspiracists” as victims of an “incurable disease” marks a dramatic low point in the history of North American journalism. This abuse of language and people with the aim of stoking up fear and hatred is on a par with Kay’s malicious characterization of 9/11 as a crime of Islam (p. 167). As discussed below, Kay made this astonishing slur of a major world religion and all its two billion adherents in the context of his condemnation of Muslim academic Kevin Barrett.
Obviously the crimes of 9/11 were not the crimes of any religion. They were crimes committed by many individuals whose actions were well orchestrated by a powerful directing hand. The intention was to achieve a complex array of immediate and long-term objectives. The immensely complex and sophisticated 9/11 operation could not have been achieved without the involvement of state, military and corporate protagonists.
Certainly the elaborate 9/11 crime could not be the work of a small band of Muslim extremists acting independently to cut through the most formidable national defense apparatus ever assembled with the quixotic hope of creating a worldwide Islamic caliphate. That interpretation is as absurd as it is insulting to the intelligence of rational human beings still capable of independent thought.
The peddling of this concocted myth of Islamic culpability for the crimes of 9/11 represents a monumental case study in the systematic defrauding of the public. Those like Jonathan Kay who advance and defend the religious fable of 9/11 as a crime of Islam are deeply implicated in the work of a ruthless criminal cabal whose top priority seems to be to advance the imperialist agenda of Greater Israel, Eretz Israel. The great mass of evidence points to the engineering of the 9/11 crimes by partisans of Likudnik Israel. Since 2001, they seem to have succeeded in significantly expanding Zionist influence over the course of global geopolitics by manufacturing a new transnational enemy for the military-industrial complex of the post-Soviet West.
In my view there is no other logical way of viewing the 9/11 event in terms of the forensic evidence of whose fingerprints are most evident all over the 9/11crime scene. This 9/11 crime scene is ultimately global in extent, even as its antecedents stretch far back into history, but particularly the history of Israel’s current ruling party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The roots of Netanyahu’s Likud Party lie in Revisionist Zionism, the faction of Israel’s founders most intent on expanding Israel’s boundaries eastward to the Euphrates River. This plan of territorial expansion to create Greater Israel, Eretz Israel, remains integral to the aspirations of Israel’s current ruling coalition.
Through Irgun and the Stern Gang, the proponents of a Greater Israel mounted very calculated acts of heavily publicized terrorism, including at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946. The Jewish terrorists’ immediate goal was to push the British government to withdraw from its mandate to govern Palestine. Once the playing of the terrorism card proved successful in forcing the British out of Palestine, the way was opened for the creation of the Jewish State of Israel in 1947 and 1948. Drawing on the ideas of his father as one of the originators of Revisionist Zionism, Benjamin Netanyahu himself has been a major theorist on the subject of how to play the terrorism card in global geopolitics. Netanyahu’s basic approach is readily apparent from the title of his oft republished book, Terrorism: How the West Can Win. The book’s genesis goes back to the hosting by the Netanyahu family of the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism in 1979.
If the true culprits of 9/11 are ever to be brought to trial, Jonathan Kay’s overzealous promotion of the 9/11 religious fable, like Netanyahu’s published work on terrorism, offers valuable evidence for the prosecution. So too can Chomsky’s interventions on 9/11 be pictured in a similar light.
Kay in particular violates all tenets of civil debate with his rhetorical extremes. Especially reprehensible are his equation of 9/11 skepticism with mental illness and his characterization of the horrific event as a crime of Islam. By invoking the specter of disease to smear those seeking to break through the massive deceptions embedded in the 9/11 cover up, Kay conspicuously violates the rationalist principles of the Enlightenment tradition, a tradition he demeans even as he claims to defend it (p. 315).
You will read “Does Kevin Barrett Seek to “Absolve Islam of a Terrible Crime”?” in the next part.
Dr. Hall is editor in chief of American Herald Tribune. He is currently Professor of Globalization Studies at University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. He has been a teacher in the Canadian university system since 1982. Dr. Hall, has recently finished a big two-volume publishing project at McGill-Queen’s University Press entitled “The Bowl with One Spoon”.
Holding peace talks is “not one of the priorities” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russia’s peace envoy to the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov told a Palestinian official Tuesday, adding that the Russian-proposed talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been called off, the Middle East Eye reported.
“Bogdanov told us frankly that Netanyahu not only rejected the Palestinian demands for the meeting—such as a settlements freeze and the release of the pre-Oslo prisoners—but also that a meeting with (President Mahmoud) Abbas is no longer one of his priorities,” the Palestinian official told Middle East Eye on condition of anonymity.
Bogdanov held a meeting with Netanyahu Monday where the prime minister told him he was not interested in peace talks with Palestinians because Abbas had preconditions, the Russian deputy foreign minister told the Palestinian official.
“Netanyahu said his priority now is two things: fighting terrorism and making peace with Arab countries,” he said and added that the Russian envoy quoted Netanyahu as saying, “When I make peace with the Arabs, Abbas will join us—so let him stand alone.”
However, Abbas had agreed to President Vladimir Putin’s offer for talks Monday, while Netanyahu’s aide had said the he was still considering the offer.
Despite the behind closed doors confirmation that the Russian talks have collapsed before they even started, Bogdanov told reporters that work continues on “the date, form and content of the meeting” after his meeting with the Palestinian delegation Tuesday.
But Netanyahu publicly used the same words he has been using for the past few years regarding any peace talks with the Palestinians.
“If Abu Mazen (Abbas) wants to meet without preconditions for direct talks, I’m ready at all times. I’ve been calling on him to [do] so for seven years already, and if he agrees to do so there’ll [sic] be a meeting,” Haaretz quoted Netanyahu as saying Tuesday.
But Abbas aides told reporters that the meeting was unlikely to happen. “When are we going to agree with Netanyahu on the content of the meeting? It’s very difficult,” Jibril Rajoub, an aide to the Palestinian Authority leader, said following the meeting with the Russian delegation.
The current U.S. administration of Barack Obama has given up on attempting to broker any peace talks between Palestinians and Israel after Secretary of State John Kerry threw in the towel in 2014 after nine months of talks ended in failure.
While Russia’s efforts might end before they even get wings, over the years Washington has demonstrated that despite the billions of dollars in aid it provides to Israel every year, successive administrations have failed to use their leverage on Israel to achieve any steps forward on peace.
Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries Van Agt
Thousands of people have staged a demonstration in The Hague in protest at an official visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Netherlands, saying he should be brought to justice for his crimes.
On Tuesday, the protesters carried Netanyahu’s mugshots and signs that read “Bring Bibi Netanyahu to International Criminal Court” as the Israeli leader arrived in the Netherlands and met with senior Dutch officials.
Chants such as “Free free Palestine, boycott boycott Israel” could also be heard during the demonstration.
“I’m standing here because Netanyahu is visiting the Netherlands. I’m standing in The Hague and we think that rather than him being received by the parliament, he should be put on trial in the Peace Palace of the UN tribunal,” a protester said in English.
Some of the protesters also criticized local authorities for attempting to cancel the anti-Netanyahu gathering.
“This demonstration is not only against Netanyahu, but it’s also for our right to demonstrate, at the places where we want, where it’s happening, because the Zionists, they always get the permission to stand in front of the parliament,” another demonstrator commented.
The rally was originally planned to be staged outside the Dutch parliament building in The Hague downtown, but authorities later did not allow the protesters to proceed.
The demonstration came a day after former Dutch prime minister Dries Van Agt reacted angrily to Netanyahu’s two-day visit to the Netherlands, calling on government officials to “send him right away to the International Criminal Court.”
Speaking in an interview with the NPO1 public broadcaster on Monday, Van Agt described the 66-year-old Chairman of Israel’s right-wing Likud political party as a “war criminal,” arguing that the Tel Aviv regime has been committing a crime under the ICC’s Rome Statute.
“The occupation and expansion… building of settlements, of occupied territory, this is according to the Rome Statute, which is… the setup… the statute on which the international criminal court is based, in so many words, a war crime,” he said.
“So why should we receive someone who continues with such things, we could have sent him right away to the International Criminal Court, that would have been better,” the 85-year-old politician and activist, known for his vocal support of the Palestinian cause, the ex-PM pointed out.
The Rome Statute, which went into effect in July 2002, outlines the four grave international crimes, namely crimes of aggression, war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The statute forms one of the foundations of The Hague-based International Criminal Court.
Israel signed the treaty in December 2000, but “unsigned” it two years later by means of the US lobby.
One of the primary reasons behind the decision was a clause in the document, which allowed the prosecution of the Israeli regime over war crimes for “transfer of parts of the civilian population of an occupying power into occupied territory.”
When Bibi Netanyahu comes to New York next month for the UN General Assembly, the Hudson Institute will bestow its Herman Kahn award on him. Kahn was an early neocon intellectual who advocated U.S. first-use of nuclear weapons. He propounded this theory in his provocatively titled 1960s book, Thinking the Unthinkable.
The Institute is a leading neocon think-tank based in Washington DC. It is a wonky version of the American Enterprise Institute or the Heritage Foundation. It’s senior vice-president is Scooter Libby, a man who barely escaped spending time in a federal prison.
The Hudson Institute is the primary funder (see Didi Remez’s post for a fuller discussion of the funding and relationships) of the far-right Israeli NGO, Institute for Zionist Strategies, which advocate purging “post-Zionist” material from Israeli academic curriculum. They’ve been so successful at pressuring academia to “Zionize” the curriculum that Tel Aviv University President Joseph Klafter promised he would personally examine individual course syllabi for tainted content.
Hudson is also the primary backer of Uzi Arad’s Atlantic Forum, a shadowy Israeli think tank founded by the former Mossad officer. The NGO’s mission is to strengthen Israel’s security relationship with NATO. He’s reputed to have “run” Larry Franklin, the former Defense Department analyst caught with Steven Rosen passing U.S. secrets to the Israelis. Rosen too came within a whisker or two of landing in federal prison. Luckily for him, the Israel Lobby came to his defense and the Justice Department dropped the case against him. Arad worked with Kahn at Hudson in the 1970s.
Bush-era neocon analyst, Meyrav Wurmser, runs Hudson’s Center for Middle East Policy. That explains Hudson’s love affair with Netanyahu and the award he is to receive. In many ways it seems fitting for the Israeli leader to receive an award named for Kahn. Israel is, after all, one of the most dangerous of the nuclear states. One of those most likely to engage in first-use of nuclear weapons would the circumstances arise. One may argue whether that distinction should rather belong to North Korea or Pakistan. But the Koreans don’t yet have the capacity to destroy western Asia as Israel does the Middle East. And Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is child’s play compared to Israel’s estimated 200 nuclear warheads.
It may be worth hearing some words said about Kahn’s work. A reader summarized another of his books: “On Thermonuclear War, was ‘a moral tract on mass murder: how to plan it, how to commit it, how to get away with it, how to justify it.’” Some other words of wisdom from Kahn on nuclear deterrence:
“If it is not acceptable to risk the lives of the three billion inhabitants of the earth in order to protect ourselves from surprise attack, then how many people would we be willing to risk?”
Another critic said that the publication of that book “should properly have caused the sequestration of its author into psychiatric care.” A science reporter, reviewing Kahn’s book called him a contemporary version of the devil:
“Not the traditional devil, reeking of brimstone and tempting men to old-fashioned sins, but a slick, talcum-scented, contemporary Satan, rationalising hideous emotions by reference to strategic studies, electronic computers, contingency planning, and all the other gimmicks of paranoiac gamesmanship.”
The following comment by Kahn to a reporter surely served as the inspiration for Terry Southern’s screenplay for Dr. Strangelove: “I can be funny on the subject of thermonuclear war.” In fact, writing in the NY Times, Fred Kaplan says:
… The real model [for the Strangelove character] was almost certainly Herman Kahn, an eccentric, voluble nuclear strategist at the RAND Corporation, a prominent Air Force think tank. In 1960, Mr. Kahn published a 652-page tome called “On Thermonuclear War,” which sold 30,000 copies in hardcover.
… When Dr. Strangelove talks of sheltering people in mine shafts, President Muffley asks him, “Wouldn’t this nucleus of survivors be so grief-stricken and anguished that they’d, well, envy the dead?” Strangelove exclaims that, to the contrary, many would feel “a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead.”
Mr. Kahn’s book contains a long chapter on mine shafts. Its title: “Will the Survivors Envy the Dead?” One sentence reads: “We can imagine a renewed vigor among the population with a zealous, almost religious dedication to reconstruction.”
So it is altogether fitting that Bibi Netanyahu be enshrined along with Herman Kahn in a sort of Nuclear War Hall of Fame, as two men prepared to see their region (in Bibi’s case) or world (in Kahn’s) go up in flames in order to “save” their country.
It’s perfectly fitting that a past recipient of the award was Dick Cheney (especially considering his former protege, Scooter Libby works for Hudson).
By Robert Fantina | Aletho News | August 17, 2016
In 2015, after much ado, and with great, international fanfare, the United States and 5 other nations (China, France, Russia, Great Britain and Germany) entered into an agreement with Iran, regulating that country’s nuclear activities. This was not an easy sell to the U.S. Congress, which, apparently, exists to serve Israel first, and U.S. citizens only after Israel’s needs have been satisfied.
A group of 47 senators succeeded in humiliating the nation by sending a letter to Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, purportedly explaining U.S. law.
Mr. Zarif, a U.S. constitutional expert, responded by schooling them.
Then, none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress, telling its members, yet again, for the umpteenth time in the last ten years, that Iran was only ‘months away’ from having a nuclear weapon.
Democratic members of Congress particularly beholden to Israel but not wanting to embarrass a Democratic president, danced to a particularly awkward tune as they waited to see if the agreement had enough votes in the Senate to pass. Once it was apparent that the agreement would be approved by a Congressional majority, they were at liberty to express their opposition to it, knowing that doing so would please their Israeli masters, and not impact the vote, thus embarrassing President Barack Obama.
Now, the bizarre reasoning behind why Iran, a nation that hasn’t invaded another country in decades, should be forbidden from developing nuclear weapons, when Israel, a brutal, apartheid regime with more blood on its hands than a doctor after a botched surgery, can, is a topic for another essay. Our purpose today is to examine the agreement that was made with Iran, what concessions were made on each side, and how each is following through.
Iran, which never claimed it had the development of nuclear weapons as its goal, agreed to major reductions in its nuclear development program. It also agreed to allowing an international monitoring team to verify compliance. In return, the U.S. agreed to lift decades-old sanctions that, like most of U.S. sanctions, did little to impact the government, but caused untold suffering among the Iranian population.
It seems, however, that Iran overlooked an important aspect in its negotiations with the U.S. While there is a mechanism in place to monitor Iranian compliance with the agreement, no such measures exist to monitor U.S. compliance.
The U.S., in its usual hypocritical way, has released the obligation of European banks to avoid doing business with Iran, yet maintains some sanctions, thus effectively preventing the banks from conducting any business with that country. As reported by CNN Money in May of this year, “HSBC, Standard Chartered and France’s BNP Paribas have all been in trouble before — and paid billions in fines — for dealing with Iran while U.S. sanctions were in place. So while they may see attractive commercial opportunities in the country of about 80 million people, they’re treading very carefully because some sanctions still linger, including a ban on conducting transactions with Iran in U.S. dollars.”
So while the U.S. adheres to the letter of the law, it violates the spirit of it, and as a result, Iran is getting next to nothing for the concessions it made. “We hold the US responsible for all violations [of the nuclear agreement]. The US must accept responsibility for reneging on its promises on the international level,” Alaeddin Boroujerd, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, stated on August 1. He further emphasized that the U.S., despite Iran’s adherence to the terms of the agreement, continued to damage “Iran’s economic relations with other countries.”
Now, isn’t the U.S. the land of the free and the home of the brave? Does it not proclaim its moral superiority around the globe, even as it bombs innocent men, women and children? Is its word not worth gold?
The U.S. does not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, because doing so would provide an equal, yet opposing, force to Israel in the Middle East. Current Democratic candidate, the corrupt former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has made support for Israel a cornerstone of her campaign. She has stated that the best way to serve Israel is to topple the government of Syrian president Bashar Assad. So if U.S. government officials will go so far as to overthrow foreign governments (please see Ecuador, Guatemala, Brazil, Bolivia (twice), Portugal, Nicaragua, etc.), with all the killing, mass arrests and oppression that accompanies each coup, certainly crippling the economy of one of Israel’s enemies, and violating its word in order to do so, is a trivial matter by comparison.
When one party to any contract violates the terms of that contract, the other party is no longer bound by it. So when Iran decides that it need not slow its nuclear program, because the U.S. hasn’t respected its side of the agreement, we will all watch U.S. members of Congress proclaiming “I told you so! Those Iranians can’t be trusted!’, when, in fact, it is the U.S. that can’t be trusted. But the corporate-owned media will only report on what it will see as Iran’s violations of the agreement, without mentioning that the U.S. violated it first.
U.S. citizens will gasp in horror at the perfidy of Iran; after all, most Iranians are Muslim, and as the news media either hints at, or boldly proclaims, all Muslims are terrorists. And the way will be open for another U.S. imperial misadventure, something to match the tragedy of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or the countless other places where the U.S. has disastrously and illegally intervened. Countless innocent people will suffer and die, the Middle East will be further destabilized, and military contractors’ profits soar. It will be business as usual in the mighty, corrupt U.S.A.