Netanyahu’s hectic attempt to make the international headlines are souring his relations with many national leaders. He has broken the bi-partisan support for Israel in the US by accepting a Republican invitation to speak to Congress – but upset many by his rudeness to Americans’ President. He is insulting leaders of European nations by suggesting they cannot protect their Jewish citizens and indeed suggesting Europe should be ethnically cleansed of all Jews – in their own interest of course. He is banking on all this pleasing Israeli voters.
Up till now, the main running against Bibi’s acceptance of a Republican invitation to address Congress, bypassing the President has been made by the Israeli press, with US media broadly in agreement. Now, perhaps spurred by Angela Merkel’s scorn for Netanyahu’s ‘diplomacy’ Obama has spoken out against Netanyahu’s belief that only he stands between Iran and world destruction. The President talks love. The Prime Minister talks existential threats.
The uproar over PM Netanyahu’s decision to accept a Republican invitation to address Congress continues unabated. If his aim is to help Republicans undermine any Obama negotiations with Iran then he is squandering the bipartisan support Israel has enjoyed for more than half a century.
The Prime Minister of Israel has never been known for his concern for the social and economic welfare of Israel’s citizens. That’s a job for the little people. He has to be a Great Leader – but, says Ben Caspit, he has lost his great causes – Iran mostly followed by other ‘security’ crises. He will have to find his great cause in an heroic battle to embed Israel as The Jewish State in basic law.
Against the wishes of his government, Comms.minister Abdolsamad Khorramabadi has banned WhatsApp in Iran. He has defined it as a Zionist product which, if that mattered, is untrue. The founder of Facebook, which bought WhatsApp, was Mark Zuckerberg, famously atheist after his conventional Jewish upbringing. If the way to get ahead in a conflict is to know your enemy, Iran is stumbling in the wilderness of its own prejudice and ignorance.
Netanyahu is in the US for the AIPAC annual conference and its injection of adulation. On the way, he dropped in on President Obama whose recent interview with Jeffrey Goldberg made clear the sharp political differences between the two leaders on Palestine and Iran (see post above). Here, responses to the interview from Israeli journalists and a report of the Obama/Bibi meeting.
The arguments for a punitive strike against Syria often slide seamlessly into arguments about displaying American power to Iran – or not. The main propellers of this slide are, not surprisingly, AIPAC – whom Obama needs to get Congressional approval – and the Israeli government.
It is impossible to sum up briefly the achievements of Professor Noam Chomsky, one of the best-known public intellectuals of our age. Here we post his Edward Said memorial lecture, given from his long history of critiques of modern imperialism. Its theme is the contempt shown by the powerful – as in the ignoring of Palestinian rights in the Oslo Accords – the deliberate policies of humiliation and how the insistence on dignity is the hall mark of those who resist.
When president meets prime minister this week, the president will have the upper hand. Obvious? But Bibi no longer drives the US’s MidEast policy because, says Jeffrey Goldberg, the Jewish state has lost its founding purpose – the right to self-determination. And that is because it no longer has the nuclear edge over Iran.
Since the Emir of Qatar’s visit to Gaza last week, comment has continued on how, where and why Hamas is changing its stance and its alliances. Hugh Naylor says that Hamas’ new alignment with Sunni Muslim countries has broken the anti-Israel, anti-western ‘resistance’ alliance, to which Hamas was affiliated, of Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israeli citizen Antonio Ungar, lacking a vote in the American presidential election which will really determine his future, knows he wouldn’t vote for either if he wanted real change for Israel/Palestine. But while Obama-speech merely leads to disappointment, Romney appears set on a pact with mass destruction.
Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli foreign minister, wonders at the energy Netanyahu is putting into waving a warning flag about Iran. He considers one aim is to divert attention from the Palestinians – which he could do something about – while trying to tempt the USA into attacking Iran – which is certainly not in the Americans’ interest, or capability, and is certainly winning Netanyahu no friends.
In the judgment of former CIA operative Philip Giraldi, the Israeli regime is guilty of crimes against its own people, the American government, American civilians and above all Palestinians. His country’s massive political and financial support for Israel does not serve America’s own interests. It is time the USA had a policy which did he writes here.
Egypt’s President Morsi is pressing ahead with his own military and diplomatic path by sending troops into the turbulent Sinai and defying the US/Israel policy of isolating Iran as a pariah nation. He has also decided to attend the non-aligned nations’ summit in Tehran next week. Richard Silverstein reads the new Egyptian script . 2nd, a brief news item from MEMO says that Morsi has receved no complaint from Israel about sending tanks to Sinai.
Nobody knows what millionaire CEO and Republican candidate Mitt Romney stands for – except everything President Obama doesn’t. Obviously that includes Israeli military aggression. So from a drizzly performance in the UK he has gone to a sunny reception in Israel, where he hopes his bellicose remarks will win him Jewish votes back home.
President Vladimir Putin visited Israel and the West Bank on Monday and Tuesday. He was warmly received by both governments who see him as able to move parts other leaders can’t reach. He gave nothing away in public on Iran and Syria, but let it be known that he praised Mahmoud Abbas for taking a ‘responsible’ position. NY Times and AP.
Most notable about this poll for the BBC World Service is how differently media outlets report it beginning with a crude interpretation from Palestine Chronicle. We produce the original chart from pollster Globescan. The countries with the most positive rating are Japan, Germany,Canada and UK; least positive Israel, N.Korea, Pakistan, Iran.
There is a crisis of political authority in Israel. Two former security chiefs – Yuval Diskin, Shin Bet, and Meir Dagan, Mossad, have both publicly attacked the Netanyahu government, accusing it of messianic tendencies, ignoring Palestinians, and stupidity in the desire to attack Iran. This became critical when no-one in the government seemed able to deal with their points. Opinion pieces Haaretz and J Post, news from NY Times and commentary, Tikun Olam and Patrick Seale.
All forms of government – from monarchies and dynastic republics through formal democracy and theocracy to dictatorships – have felt threatened by the Arab uprisings in the multi-ethnic, multi-faith Middle East. Tony Klug maps the positions – but is stopped short by the toxic effects of the refusal to make progress on the Palestinians’ situation.
At J Street’s annual conference this week, Amos Oz spoke of the need for compromise given the diversity of views on Israel and Zionism and warned against the demand to unite behind AIPAC’s aggressive banner (Ynet, 1). J Street’s members emphasised that their opposition to war with Iran and support for a peace agreement put them more in touch with the majority of American Jews (NY Times, 2).