“Love him (Netanyahu) or hate him, this is the face of Israel.” That’s how Uriel Heilman concluded an article for the JTA (Jewish Telegraph Agency) on Netanyahu’s election victory after noting that he had shown his true colours by declaring that there would be no Palestinian state while he is in charge. What President Obama now has to decide is … continue reading
If I had to express my hope in one sentence it would be this. A fourth term as prime minister for Netanyahu would see Israel becoming more and more isolated and could improve the chances of Western governments being moved to use the leverage they have to cause the Zionist (not Jewish) state to end its defiance of international law and denial of the Palestinian claim for justice.
Another way to put it would be to say … continue reading
My Chambers dictionary defines farce (a noun) as “comedy of extravagant humour, buffoonery and improbability”; and farcical (the adjective) as “comical, risible, ludicrous. ridiculous.” Those are my terms of reference for this very short article on Netanyahu’s address to the political whorehouse known as the Congress of the United States of America.
His portrayal of an Iran on course to possess nuclear weapons for the purpose of annihilating Israel, plus the standing ovations and the applause his performance received, might well have pleased enough brainwashed Israeli Jews to vote in ways that guarantee he will emerge from Israel’s upcoming elections in a position to cobble together the next coalition government and serve a fourth term as prime minister.
In my view that was his prime purpose in soliciting the backdoor invitation to address Congress.
His other purpose was to inspire enough members of a Congress – a two-thirds majority is required – to override a presidential veto on new legislation for more sanctions on Iran. His sales pitch to Congress included this. “If Iran threatens to walk away (if Congress brings in legislation for more sanctions), call their bluff. They’ll be back. They need a deal more than you do. You have the power (with additional sanctions) to make them want it more.” Contrary to what he said, Netanyahu knows that more sanctions would cause Iran to walk away and stay away, thus killing any prospect of a deal and a new beginning with Iran that President Obama and the other P5+1 leaders really want.
What Netanyahu really wants, as do more than a few of his deluded allies in the Republican party and all the neo-cons, is war, an American war, on Iran.
To understand why Netanyahu’s fear mongering is farcical it’s not necessary to get bogged down with the question of whether or not Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. (It isn’t and all Western intelligence agencies know that. Israel’s own intelligence agencies also know that and some former Israeli intelligence chiefs have said so publicly).
The answer to just one question is enough, more than enough, to expose Netanyahu’s assertion about the threat Iran poses to Israel’s existence for the propaganda nonsense it is.
The question? Even if Iran did possess a few nuclear bombs, would its leaders be mad enough to launch a first strike on Israel?
Answer? Of course not because to do so would invite the complete destruction of their country.
In a refreshingly honest editorial today Ha’aretz says the following about Netanyahu and all of Israel’s politicians.
“All of them are ignoring the real existential threat to Israel and its ability to survive as a ‘Jewish and democratic state’: the unending occupation of the territories. Israel’s insistence on ruling over millions of Palestinians in the West Bank who lack civil rights, expanding the settlements and keeping residents of the Gaza Strip under siege is the danger that threatens its future.”
Is he a smooth-talking, disingenuous, cunning salesman who knows that everything he asserts about Israel being in danger of annihilation and not having a Palestinian partner for peace is propaganda nonsense, or, does he really believe what he says?
Before I offer my own thoughts here’s a quote from London-based Jamie Stern-Weiner who co-founded the New Left Project. In a recent article published by Mondoweiss he wrote this: … continue reading
If perverted and violent Islamic fundamentalism (PVIF) in all of its manifestations is to be contained and defeated there’s one thing above all others that must happen – Western leaders, starting with President Obama, must open their minds to the fact that consequences have causes and then address the causes.
There are two main and related causes of PVIF.
(1) American-led Western foreign policy for the Arab and wider Muslim world including its double standard as demonstrated by refusal to call and hold Israel to account for its defiance of international law and rejection of the Palestinian claim for justice.
(2) The corruption, authoritarianism and repression of most if not all Arab and other Muslim regimes. In most cases they are regimes supported/endorsed by American-led Western foreign policy.
1 and 2 cause/provoke Muslim hurt, humiliation, anger and the despair of no hope. Generally speaking these feelings do not of themselves turn Muslims into killers/terrorists or even supporters of those who do the killing and/or order it. The real problem is the exploitation and manipulation of these feelings by deluded/mad preachers and other self-styled leaders who misinterpret and pervert Islam for their own purposes.
Regarding (1) above… There are some commentators who assert that American-led Western foreign policy created Al-Qaeda and ISIS. I think a more accurate summary statement of what happened is that American-led Western foreign policy created the environment and the conditions in which PVIF could emerge and grow.
Fawaz Gerges put it this way:
“Between 2003 and 2010, the power vacuum and armed resistance triggered by the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, as well as the dismantling of Saddam Hussein’s former ruling Baath party and the Iraqi army, provided a fertile terrain for Al-Qaeda’s growth and an opportunity to infiltrate the increasingly fragile body politic.”
He added, and I agree with him, that ISIS is “a manifestation of the breakdown of state institutions, dismal socio-economic conditions and the spread of sectarian fires in the region.”
John Feffer’s take on events, with which I also agree, is that “ISIS is decidedly a homegrown product of the turmoil that has engulfed two states: Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003 and Syria since the aborted Arab Spring uprising that began in 2011.”
I stand by the view I expressed when President “Dubya” Bush had a premature political ejaculation and claimed victory in Iraq. I wrote at the time that he and Prime Minister Tony Blair were the best recruiting sergeants for violent Islamic fundamentalism. (The question arising is did they know what they were doing – I mean were they committed to the neo-con agenda and wanting to create an enemy, or, were they just ignorant and stupid?)
Regarding (2) above… With words President Obama himself has gone some way to acknowledging that the corruption, authoritarianism and repression of Arab and other Muslim regimes is one of the main causes of the rise and growth of PVIF.
In an editorial for the Los Angeles Times the day before the opening in Washington D.C of the three-day summit on combating extremism he wrote:
Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL exploit the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them with no chance of improving their lives. The world has to offer today’s youth something better.
Governments that deny human rights play into the hands of extremists who claim that violence is the only way to achieve change. Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies. Those efforts must be matched by economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.
Unfortunately they were only words. And the question I would put to Obama is this. Can you name me one Arab country in which citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies?
An honest reply would be “NO!”
If President Obama and other Western leaders were prepared to get to grips with the causes of PVIF instead of addressing only its consequences, there are two things they could do to vastly improve the prospects of containing and defeating it.
One would be to use their influence with leverage as necessary to persuade Arab leaders that it really is time for authoritarianism to give way to democracy. If Arab leaders agreed (no matter how reluctantly) this would rob PVIF of its most persuasive argument – that the Arab and other Muslim masses have nothing to gain from politics and non-violent demands for change.
The other would be to use as necessary the leverage they have to cause Israel to end its defiance of international law. The double standard of Western foreign policy which allows Israel to commit crimes with impunity is the cancer at the heart of international affairs. If it was cured a major cause of Arab and other Muslim hurt, humiliation and anger would be removed, and that would make closing the vast majority of Arab and other Muslim hearts and minds to PVIF propaganda a mission possible.
The above should not be taken to mean or imply that I have more than the smallest amount of hope that Western leaders will have the good sense to come to grips with the main causes of PVIF. I am only saying what I think could happen if they did.