Ostensibly PM Netanyahu came to visit the British PM to discuss Iran’s nukes, which turned out not to be the case. Now he is visiting the POTUS, ostensibly to talk about Iran. Peter Beinart says that is unlikely. Netanyahu talked up Iran as a nuclear threat in order to place himself and Israel as the US’s necessary ally in the region despite IDF disbelief.
The only thing the US president and Israeli PM have in common is mutual loathing. That has no effect on designated national military needs, hence the ‘single largest pledge of its kind in American history’.
From this account we learn that Netanyahu, having made himself prime minister, foreign minister, communications minister and health minister, is doing none of these jobs, spending all his time on Iran. He may speak to his special security cabinet but not to anyone else either in outside Israel. How long can such mis-government go on?
The response of the UK’s foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, to Netanyahu’s furious response to the Iran settlement is ‘well he would, wouldn’t he’. That is, even in this most Israel-friendly government, there is no expectation that Israel’s government will be rational or diplomatic. In the parliamentary debate, Tory MPs are more critical then Labour.
Palestinian / Israeli distrust, the starting Palestinian demand – Israel must define its borders, and Israel’s – Palestine must recognise us as The Jewish State – block any start in talks. But such is the frustration, that there are many talks going on between third parties, mainly other Arab countries whose own fear of Iran has created some common ground with Israel. So Iran may rescue Israel from growing international frustration and threats.
Two more commentators – Roger Cohen and Uri Avnery – puzzle over the response of Congressmen to The Speech. Just as Bibi projects onto Iran annihilatory intentions, so Congress seems to project onto him the Churchillian – heroic, uncompromising – bellicosity which would make America great again.
More than 35,500 Israelis turned up for a rally in Tel Aviv demanding change and a end to Netanyahu’s policies. Polls show they do do not regard Iran as an imminent threat – but the need for social and economic action is urgent. Are the Americans who lauded Bibi’s anti-Iran speech really acting in Israel’s best interest?
As most political jouralists seem to have wanted to comment on Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, we’ve made a selection – though it’s been hard to find one that is appreciative. Most support seems to have come from Arab dictatorships who are opposed to Iranian hegemony as Israel.
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.