Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Is that All What the US Can Do
to Defiant Netanyahu?
By Uri Avnery
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 3, 2014
WHEN A high-ranking
official of one country calls the leader of another country "chickenshit",
it may be assumed that the relations between the two countries are not at
their best. In fact, they may be considered somewhat less than cordial.
This week, It happened. An unnamed very high-ranking US official said this
in an interview with the respected American journalist who bears the very
Jewish name of Jeffrey Goldberg.
No high-ranking official would use
such a term for publication without the express permission of the President
of the United States of America. So here we are.
HISTORY HAS seen
many strange relationships between nations. But I dare say none stranger
than that existing between Israel and the US.
On the face of it, no
two states could be closer to each other. Just a minor example: the day the
memorable Chickenshit remark made headlines, the General Assembly of the
United Nations adopted a resolution calling upon the US to put an end to its
50-year old embargo on Cuba. 188 countries, including the whole spectrum of
EU and NATO countries, voted in favor. Two states voted against: the US and
Two countries against the entire world? No, not entirely.
Micronesia, Palau and the Marshal Islands abstained. (These three mighty
island nations generally support Israel, too, though few Israelis could
place them on the map.)
Throughout the years, in hundreds of UN
votes, Israel has stood loyally with the US, and vice versa. An unshakable
alliance, so it seemed. And now they call our valiant Prime Minister
THE OFFICIAL based his uncomplimentary remark on
Binyamin Netanyahu's disinclination to bomb Iran, as threatened repeatedly,
as well as on Netanyahu's unwillingness to make peace with the Palestinians.
The first accusation is unfounded, since Netanyahu never seriously
considered an attack on Iran. Some of my readers may remember that from the
first day I assured them that such an attack would not happen, without even
leaving myself a loophole in case I might be wrong. I knew that such an
attack was quite out of the question. And not only because the entire
Israeli defense establishment was against it.
accusation is even more groundless. Netanyahu did not chicken out of making
peace. This would presuppose that he wanted peace in the first place. If the
Americans really believe so, they should read a few good articles
Netanyahu never entertained even for a moment the
idea of making peace. His entire upbringing makes this quite impossible. His
late father, Ben-Zion, was such an extreme and rigid nationalist, that
compared to him Vladimir Jabotinsky, the Zionist right-wing leader, looked
like a leftist pacifist.
Every word Binyamin Netanyahu has ever
uttered in favor of peace and the Two-State solution was a blatant lie. For
him to advocate a Palestinian state is like the Chief Rabbi advocating
eating pork on Yom Kippur.
Any American diplomat who does not know
this should be transferred at once to Micronesia (or Palau).
IT seems that Netanyahu has been doing everything in his power to provoke a
quarrel with the US government.
At first sight, this looks like an
act of lunacy, an act so dangerous that any competent psychiatrist would
commit him to the closed wing of an asylum.
Israel is totally
dependent on the US - not 99%, but 100%. On the very same day as the
publication of the Chickenshit statement, the US agreed to sell Israel a
second squadron of F-35 fighter planes, after the sale of the first 19
planes (which costs 2.35 billion dollars). The money comes from the yearly
tribute the US pays to Israel.
Without the automatic US veto on all
UN Security Council resolutions not approved by the Israeli government,
there would have long been a State of Palestine as a full-fledged member of
the UN. A cornerstone of our foreign relations is the belief of many
countries that in order to gain entrance to the favors of the US Congress,
they first need to bribe the gatekeeper – Israel. And so on.
Literally every Israeli is convinced that our relationship with the US is
the lifeline of the state. If there is anything at all on which Israelis of
all age groups, communities, beliefs and political orientations are
unanimous, it is this conviction.
So how come our prime minister is
working full-time on destroying the relationship between the two
When our Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya'alon, visited
Washington DC this week, all his requests to meet US cabinet ministers and
other high officials were categorically refused, except for a meeting with
his colleague, Chuck Hagel, who could not very well object. It was an
unprecedented, open insult.
Ya'alon, a former Chief of Staff of the
army, is not considered a genius. Some believe that it would have been
better if he had stayed at his former profession – milking cows in a
kibbutz. When he declared that John Kerry suffered from an "Obsessive
Messianism" in his efforts to achieve peace between Israel and Palestine,
both Kerry and President Barack Obama were deeply offended.
statements by Israeli cabinet ministers have become routine. So have
the sharp rebuttals of official US spokesmen and spokeswomen. These are
ignored by the Israeli public.
NETANYAHU is no fool. Chickenshit or not, unlike Ya'alon he is considered
smart and intelligent. So what is he doing?
method in his madness.
Netanyahu grew up in the United States. When
his father was boycotted by Israeli academia, which refused to take him
seriously as a historian, the family moved to a suburb of Philadelphia.
Binyamin prides himself on having an intimate knowledge of the US.
What is he thinking about?
He knows that Israel controls the US Congress. No
American politician could possible be reelected if he voiced even the
slightest hint of criticism of the "Jewish State". AIPAC, the most
powerful lobby in Washington (apart from the National Rifle Association)
will see to that. The powerful grip the Jewish lobby has on the media is a
In Netanyahu's view, in any confrontation between
Congress and the White House over Israel, the President is bound to lose. So
there is nothing to be afraid of.
NETANYAHU, IN FACT is playing
roulette with all the capital of Israel in the vast casino called the USA.
Perhaps he has been infected by his mentor and
protector, the Casino Czar Sheldon Adelson, who has a hand in
conducting Israeli policy in the US.
(It was Adelson who appointed
the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Ron Dremer, a prominent activist of
the Republican party, who is detested by the White House.)
to appreciate the magnitude of Netanyahu's gamble, with us as chips, one has
to visualize the state of the union.
The US is now a
In a normal democracy – say the UK
or Germany – there are two central parties, or party coalitions, which face
each other. They are both "mainstream" and the differences between them are
minor. They succeed each other from time to time without much ado. The
citizens hardly notice.
Not in the US. Not anymore.
The American public is now deeply divided between two camps, which hate
each other from the bottom of their hearts (if they have any). This hatred
is abysmal. One is the party of the ultra-rich, who defend their privileges,
the other belongs to the moderately wealthy and serves their interests.
The ideologies of the two camps are diametrically opposed. Therefore,
they cannot agree practically on anything. Anything the Democrats do is
considered almost treason by the Republicans, anything the Republicans
advocate is considered by the Democrats as stupid, if not crazy
Republicans, who control Congress (and may do so even more firmly in a few
days time) are out to immobilize the administration. Once they even stopped
all federal payments, making the running of the state impossible. A
consistent joint foreign policy is out of the question. I am not sure that
the situation on the eve of the great Civil War was much worse.
INTO THIS crazy situation Netanyahu has plunged. He has placed all his chips
(us) on the Republicans.
During the last presidential elections, he
almost openly supported Mitt Romney, the opponent of Obama, thus practically
declaring war on the present administration. The radical anti-Obama
statements made now by Israeli leaders are used – and designed to be used –
by Republican candidates against their Democratic opponents.
The Democrats make strenuous efforts to woo Jewish voters and donors by
flattering Israel in the most outrageous terms, promising to support each
and every action of the Israeli government, now and for all eternity, be it
what it may. Inadvertently, they stick knives into the back of the Israeli
peace forces, making the fight for peace even more Herculean.
even if the mid-term elections make the House and the Senate even more
subservient to the Israeli right-wing, Obama will be around for two more
years. In a way, having no more elections to fear, he will be freer than
before to obstruct Netanyahu.
I wish he would. But I do not
entertain too much hope. Even as a lame duck, he will still have to consider
the interests of the next Democratic candidate for the White House.
OBAMA COULD still do a lot for peace between Israel and Palestine, a peace
supported by the entire pro-American Arab bloc – something clearly in the US
national interest, not to mention ours.
For that, courage is needed.
And – yes – a little more Obsessive Messianism.
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