Friday, March 6, 2015

How Can He Keep a Straight Face?

September 2, 2002,  a year and a day after the 9/11 attack, Benjamin Netanyahu stood before our congress and said, “There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking and working and advancing toward the development of nuclear weapons --- no question whatsoever. Saddam is hell bent upon achieving atomic bomb capabilities as soon as he can. I believe that even free and unfettered inspections will not uncover these portable manufacturing sites of mass destruction “

Representative Dan Burton summarized, “Your statement boils down to one thing, that is, do we react to another attack on America after hundreds of thousands or millions of lives have been lost or do we preempt that kind of action from happening in the first place?”

Rachel Maddow says, “Which is what we did. We preempted. We invaded Iraq and none of the things said about Saddam Hussein turned out to be true.”

In 2002 congress invited Benjamin Netanyahu to speak as an expert witness, an expert on why the US had to start a preemptive war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, or, as he explained, it would be the end of the world. That was 2002.

Now, in 2015, house republicans invited him back to make a case again about the end of the world. This time though, he sees it coming from Iran.  “That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would almost guarantee that Iran gets those weapons.  Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far corners of the earth including every part of the United States.  The Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear trip wires, a region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars, would turn into a nuclear tinder box, would face a much more dangerous Iran.  The Middle East littered with nuclear bombs in a count down to a potential nuclear nightmare.”[1]

While our congress pledges allegiance to the head of another state, those of us who are less intimidated by AIPAC wonder how he can keep a straight face.  He screams bloody murder because Iran could someday get a nuclear weapon while all along knowing Israel built nuclear bombs, has refused to become a party to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and has never opened its sites to inspectors. Netanyahu brags that for the first time in history, Israel has the means of defending itself.  What he means is that for the first time in history, Israel has the power to annihilate other people.

John F. Kennedy said that Israel with a bomb would initiate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. So, Israel lied to the whole world about it, including the United States,.

According to non-Israeli sources, simulated control rooms were built, the entrances to underground levels were bricked up, and pigeon droppings were scattered around some buildings in which the forbidden installations were housed to give the impression that they were not in use.[2]

No wonder Netanyahu is panicked.  For its whole life, modern Israel has been the bully of its neighborhood.  But its hegemony in the Middle East is coming to an end and he knows it.  Sooner or later, a hostile nation will “get the bomb.” Then another.  Israel pressured our Congress into destroying Iraq. Now, twelve years later, wearing his paranoia like a badge of honor, Netanyahu demands that the US go to war with Iran.  And our congress applauded.

With a straight face, Netanyahu said, “We need to stop the aggression in the Middle East.” Then, he referred to the goons in Gaza, the lackeys in Lebanon and the revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights as, “clutching Israel with tentacles of terror.”   Does he think that anyone with even the intelligence of congress would not recognize Gaza, Lebanon and the Golan Heights as three lands Israel illegally invaded in its program of expansion?

It is amazing that he would even mention Gaza. Eight years of siege and three bombardments in six years has left Gaza destitute. Last summer, Israel dropped 800 tons of explosives, including phosphorous cluster bombs on 750 locations, killing 2,100 people, mostly civilians including 500 children. Israel destroyed 18,000 homes in Gaza, leaving 24,000 displaced, deliberately targeted hospitals, schools, and old age nursing homes. When winter came, Netanyahu cut off electricity and blockaded fuel. As he spoke to our congress, children were still sick and without medical care. Some have frozen to death.  Yet, Netanyahu portrays Israel as the victim, and he does it with a straight face.

Palestinians are the occupied. Israel is the occupier. An occupier does not defend itself against an occupied population. The occupier controls the power structure. The occupier is the dominant force militarily and economically. The occupier determines what goes in and what comes out of the territories it occupies.  Even under international law, an occupier must provide security for the people it occupies. Yet, we consistently hear about Israel’s need to ensure its security.[3]

Netanyahu said that we must, "stop Iran’s conquest, subjugation and terror." And he said it with a straight face.  Then he adds, "if Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, then let it act like a normal country."  Was he looking in a mirror? 

Under Netanyahu’s leadership, the Israeli government has ramped up illegal settlement buildings, increasing the population of Jewish settlers by over 23%, made the biggest land grab in a generation, committed countless human rights abuses and killed thousands of citizens in the West Bank and Gaza, and done everything possible to maintain the status quo of Israeli occupation and domination.[4]

It’s time for those of us who yearn for a peaceful world to say with a straight face to Netanyahu and Israel, “If Israel wants to be treated like a normal country, then let it act like a normal country.”

Thomas Are
March 6, 2015

[1] Both of these quotes, 2002 and 2015 are a matter of public record.  I lifted them from the Rachel  Maddow, Program March 3, 2015..
[2] Ari Shavit, My Promised Land,  (Spiegel and Grau, New York, 2013) p. 186
[3] Deanna Othman,  Sawyer Blunder indicative of Noxious Bias against Palestinians in American Journalism,   Huffington Post.  July 11, 2014
[4] Philip Weiss, State Dept says Netanyahu Speech is not inappropriate, disrespectful, humiliating or embarrassing.,  Mondoweiss,  January 28, 2015


  1. Thomas Are, thank you for this article and your support for the Palestinian people. They need us very much, to stop the atrocities.

    I attended this meeting on Wednesday: Anti Semitism Rises...and Iran-….

    I thought the Jewish community here on Kauai was as appalled at Israel/Netanyahu as myself and being curious, I went.

    At the door, the bearded man wearing a yarmulke yanked my purse from me and had his hand halfway in before I yanked it back. He said he will have to look inside. I told him he had not asked and he has no right. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and opened the bag so he could look inside. He said oh that is very nice contents, thank you and Iʻm sorry. This was not a good start for me keeping an open mind, having my rights trampled by a foreigner. I must mention also Kauai Police were requested to patrol the hotel and grounds due to the ʻanti-semitism fearʻ. At this point I will mention the ending comment by the main speaker, David Steinmann, “To escape the anti-semitism, come to Kauai. This is our place.” So at the end of the mostly ad hominem and fear based presentation, I was left wondering why all the security drama if it is safe here and as he said, Kauai is their place. I began to feel that maybe Kauai and Palestine are the new subdivisions of Israel.

    There were a few speakers. Beth Tokioka came to represent the Mayor. An attorney spoke briefly as to his attendance and choosing no side which I respected so wonʻt mention his name.

    David Steinmann, often over-emphasized his ʻconnectionsʻ to people in high places, poorly rehashing Netanyahuʻs already deficient speech, put down the American Administrationʻs “creds”, said repeatedly that “most terrorists are Iranian/ all terrorism is sponsored by Iran”, that Israeli Defense calls for First Strike [on Iran], “hit the Iranians hard enough to disable them”, suggestion to Americans to “establish a threat to Iran, suggestion to Americans to demand bunker buster bombs on their facilities and that “if we donʻt do something it might force Israel to do something they donʻt want to do”, bragged about Israeli bombs being the first used in Iraq and stated that Iranʻs holiday (Revolution Day) is called “Death to Americans Day” [not true, it was chanted but not named that].

    He said not to “mirror” our definition of ʻrationalʻ with what Iraniansʻ definition of ʻrationalʻ is referring to the world view that they are in fact rational and would not nuke the world if they had nuclear capabilities.

    I was amazed at how strangely similar his coaxing to bomb Iran sounded like the Bush administrationʻs campaign of continued fear and lie tactics to invade Iraq. He offered nothing but premises that were not concluded with fact.

    He made a distinction between what the Obama Administration wants and what Israel wants: Obama wants to keep this one year away/ Israel wants to prevent them from having nuclear capabilities now. This comment was defended with more ad hominem fallacies such as: “we donʻt know what they have, facilities, etc. - we do know they have secret facilities - it would be astonishing if Iran didnʻt have nuclear weapons that we donʻt know about - Iran is run by Clerics.”

    So can we get a hands on picture of where the anti-semitism may stem from? And the feverish disconnected points trying to be made to fuel the hate?

    If the anti-semitism did not come from within oneʻs own mind, there would not have been a need to accost people at the door nor to encumber our police department for nothing but imaginary self anointed importance.

    I tried to be as factual and ʻrationalʻ as possible in writing this.


  3. excellent blog. Thank you you and I will share it with a wider list

  4. Zionism is as wrong as terrorism and I think It is wrong for any Jewish people to leave the country where they were born and are citizens of.

  5. What would Iran hope to gain from a nuclear strike at Israel? Does Netanyahu really think they can surgically destroy the Jewish population while preserving the Arab/Palestinian populations intact?

    I'm no nuclear physicist, but the reality of nuclear destruction - blast radius, shock waves, thermal radiation, radioactive fallout - on a country as small as Israel, would definitely affect Gaza, the West Bank, as well as neighboring countries like Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their Muslim populations. Why would Iran risk becoming a pariah to the Muslim world by doing something so stupid? Not to mention the inevitable reprisals from Israel, the U.S. and others.

    There's also the Dome Of The Rock in Jerusalem, probably the most revered Muslim shrine in existence (after Mecca), sitting on the ancient Jewish temple site, that would either be destroyed by an Iranian nuclear strike, or at least seriously damaged. Again, why would Iran risk something so foolish just to kill some Jews?

    I understand there's a sizeable Jewish population living in Iran, the second largest in the world outside of Israel. If Iran really wants to kill Jewish people, why haven't they started a holocaust against the Jewish diaspora living within their borders? They haven't. And why hasn't Bibi offered sanctuary to these Iranian Jews? And would they accept even if he did?