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Netanyahu Beats Drum for U.S. War with Iran

by William Hughes Saturday, Sep. 09, 2006 at 3:14 PM
liamhughes@comcast.net

Leave it to a Far Right Likudite, Benjamin Netanyahu, to show up on 09/06/06, in Philadelphia, “The City of Brotherly Love,” and beat the drum for a U.S. war with Iran. What a lethal irony! In his spiel, Netanyahu, an ultra Israeli Hawk, sounded like President George W. Bush, while also ignoring Israel’s many wrongs against the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon.

      Netanyahu Beat...
benjamin_netanyahu.jpg, image/jpeg, 720x528

“Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu) wants to destroy everything for his own personal interests.” - Ehud Olmert, Israel’s P.M. (1)

Philadelphia, PA - On the early evening of September 6, 2006, Benjamin Netanyahu, ex-Israeli Prime Minister (1996-99), and presently the Likud Party boss and a member of the Knesset, showed up in the “City of Brotherly Love.” He was there to beat the drum for a U.S. war with Iran. How lethally ironic!

Netanyahu roared: “Iran is developing ‘the weapon.’ We may have to face the greatest terror of them all...The crucial question we face today is: Will Iran be stopped?” He stoked the fear level up even further when he claimed, “Iran is racing to develop nuclear weapons...We are now dealing with a mad ideology, a mad militancy, which can only be stopped, if it is disarmed...Disarm Iran!” He added, “If the president of the U.S. is committed to that goal then everybody in his right mind should support him. I don’t care about partisanship.” In his apocalypse-like vision, Netanyahu saw a militant Islam “seeking a domination of the world.” He compared Iran’s leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to Germany’s Adolf Hitler.

The raving Likudite was in town to participate at a forum. Netanyahu comes off as a politically savvy type, who could easily have made a living as a script writer for horror stories. I would call him an expert at warmongering and also at spinning Israeli wrongdoing. He once lived in this city, too, attending high school here. It has never hurt him either that he’s always had that powerful Israel Lobby on his side. (2) He bragged in his remarks- oh, maybe he was just name dropping-about hobnobbing with the ultra hawkish V.P., Dick Cheney, and 15 U.S. Senators earlier in the week in Washington, D.C. Wisely, the moniker of that confessed felon/lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, a rabid supporter of his Far Right Likud Party, didn’t come up in his comments. (3)

The theme for the program was “Entebbe To Today, Terrorism in Transition.” On the panel, along with Netanyahu, was the ex-CIA czar, R. James Woolsey. The event was held at the National Museum of American Jewish History, and also inside the Mikveh Israel synagogue, which is on that site, too. It’s near Independence Hall. Marc Howard, a local TV personality, acted as moderator. It was a first rate affair and a freebie, too.

Before Netanyahu and Woolsey gave their spiels, a ceremony was held in front of the museum to commemorate the 1976 “Raid on Entebbe,” in Uganda. It freed 105 Jewish hostages. The only casualty in that effort, on the Israeli side, was Lt. Col. Jonathan “Yoni” Netanyahu, Benjamin’s brother. Naturally, a Hollywood film was quickly made to memorialize it. (4) It was only shown on TV, since it apparently didn’t have enough drawing power to make it onto the big screen. The only thing I remember about the flick is that the fine Afro-American actor, Yaphet Kotto, was in it. I had a chance to meet him on the set of “Homicide: Life on the Street,” which was made in Baltimore. I’m still waiting, however, for Hollywood to do a movie on the Israelis’ 1967 attack on the USS Liberty. Thirty-four brave Americans were slaughtered in that murderous assault and 174 others seriously wounded. The demand of the Liberty survivors, and their supporters, for justice about that blood stained event still remains unfulfilled. (5)

In one sentence, Netanyahu, in his talk, sounded like President George W. Bush! He railed about the “terrorists,” referring specifically to the Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. Iran was labeled as a “supporter of terrorism.” He charged that Hezbollah and Hamas were acting as its “proxies.” Netanyahu repeatedly invoked 9/11, while defending the U.S. war in Iraq. I’m confident the fact that the U.S. never had any enemies in the Islamic World prior to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, has never crossed his Likudite warped mind. (6) It is interesting, too, that the 25-member European Union (EU) has refused to tag Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

To Netanyahu, everything is about a battle of Good vs. Evil, the bad terrorists versus the supposed good guys in the white hats, like Israel. He labeled Israel’s invasion of Lebanon “a just war.” He tried to make the case that Israel’s conduct vis-à-vis Occupied Palestine, and in Lebanon, as well, is simply an extension of its response at Entebbe to the taking of the Jewish hostages by pro-Palestinian hijackers. This is, of course, patent nonsense. His key argument lacked historical context. The crux of the strife in both Palestine and Lebanon has been the land-grabbing policies of Israel, along with its harsh treatment of the indigenous peoples. Entebbe is only a symptom of those greater evils. Netanyahu’s rationalizations mostly ignored Israel’s nearly four decades of occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; its recent immoral 33-day invasion of Lebanon, which took 1,183 lives and left close to a million innocent people homeless; its unjustified destruction of major parts of Beirut, Tyre and Sidon and the infrastructures of that beleaguered country; including its terror bombing of Qana; along with its 1982 invasion and 18 year occupation of Lebanon, which took around 18,000 lives. (7)

Although Netanyahu moved many in the audience when talking about the loss of his soldier brother “Yoni” at Entebbe, he never once uttered a word of sympathy about the 2,664 American military personnel, who have fallen, to date, in Iraq. He did acknowledge, and this was a shock, that Iraq didn’t have “any WMD.” His excuse on that issue, contrary to the authoritative findings of the Downing St. Memos, was that the intelligence officials “were guessing. They were estimating. This is what the Intelligence people do...They didn’t have hard evidence...They were wrong there (Iraq), but we are right here (Iran). We have hard evidence...I think this is the most important thing that I would say to a ‘sane’ American audience. There are communes in Oregon that I think I wouldn’t convince.” This mocking dig was really aimed, I suspect, at the antiwar movement. It also brought a burst of chuckles from some in the audience inside the synagogue.

Also, in his wide ranging comments, Woolsey said that you can’t really find a good phrase to define the war on terror. He added that President Bush’s recent reference to it as “a war on Islamic fascism is not bad, except that it’s a terrible insult to [Italy’s Benito] Mussolini.” Some in the crowd laughed and applauded after that insulting crack. When Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Daniel Ayalon, got up to say a word, he, too, used the demeaning term, “Islamic fascism.” Just imagine the outcry from the Abe Foxmans of the world, if a gentile speaker referred to the late Zionist thugs, Abe Stern or Menachem Begin, as a “Judaic fascist,” or a “Judaic terrorist,” or a “Judaic militant.” (8)

A word about Philadelphia: It is steeped in the history of the Republic. It was the site where the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed, and later, after eight and one half years of warfare against the British, the U.S. Constitution was issued. It was, too, Benjamin Franklin’s adopted home town. General George Washington, an indispensable Founding Father, however, had mixed feelings about Philadelphia. He cherished its historical relevance. Washington, however, also deeply resented the fact that when the gallant Continental Army was barely surviving in its winter quarters at Valley Forge, PA and Morristown, NJ, some here were either living in the lap of luxury, acting neutral towards the cause, profiting from the war and/or giving aid to the enemy. (9)

Woolsey also chirped in with some lines about the importance of the CIA’s past operations to our “nation’s security.” This made me think about the late U.S. Senator from N.Y., Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He reportedly quipped about the CIA: “It couldn’t catch a cold!” Woolsey said that the regime change in Iraq “on the conventional side of the war was militarily brilliant.” He added that the nation-building in Iraq “is perhaps on the edge of a civil war, but we can at least hope...we may yet pull this one out.” He continued, “Iraq and Afghanistan are probably about as many wars as the U.S. can effectively deal with.” Netanyahu insisted, on another topic, that he would oppose any exchange of captured Israeli soldiers for “people with blood on their hands.” He said it would only “condemn to death or kidnapping more people by doing so.” Some in the audience applauded this answer, too.

To be fair, Netanyahu is a very good speaker and has an agile mind. He was quick with buzz word phrases, like: “fighting terrorism.” I say this despite Ariel Sharon’ sharp criticism of him. Sharon labeled his ex-collaborator in Likud politicking, as an “uptight, pressurable individual, who panics and loses his wits.” (1) Unfortunately, at the panel discussion, the moderator only lopped softball questions to Netanyahu and Woolsey. There was a brief Q & A session at the end, but by time the duo got done with their filibustering type of answers, there was little or no time for a follow-up query by audience members. There was one moment in the program when Woolsey gave a very long, boring answer, in which he cited some obscure, ancient biblical account, that I was hoping the moderator would cut him off. But, alas, he didn’t.

Finally, I couldn’t help thinking while listening to Netanyahu’s pro war propaganda, how much I would love to see this Israeli windbag forced to debate Middle East issues with that splendid Celt, George Galloway, a British MP. (10) The latter, I’m confident, would rip the flaming Likudite a new derriere. I was also grateful for one thing. It was bad enough to have my brain absorb Netanyahu’s half baked political delusions for nearly one and half hours. Woolsey’s inane ruminations, which he also blurted out in a monotone voice, added to my pain. Nevertheless, it could have been much worse! Suppose, instead of Woolsey, that U.S. Senator “Turncoat Joe” Lieberman of Connecticut was chosen to fill out the program! (11) Now, that would have been a clear violation of my Constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment to be free of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Notes:

1. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/165747/1/.html

2. http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011/%24File/rwp_06_011_walt.pdf

3. http://thinkprogress.org/abramoff

4. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076594/

5. http://www.ussliberty.org/

6. http://californiachronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=11391

7. http://wrmea.org/ and http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1372026.ece

8. http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/display/5200/index.php

9. “George Washington and Benedict Arnold: A Tale of Two Patriots,” by Dave R. Palmer, former Superintendent of West Point. One of the aide-to-camp to Arnold was Major David S. Franks, who was Jewish. He was immediately placed under house arrest after Arnold’s treason was exposed. After going over to the Brits, Arnold wrote to General Washington saying that his military aides were “totally ignorant of any transactions of mine.” Franks was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing in the sordid matter.

10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5apXq2mU2iQ

11. http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45/index-kba.html and http://www.insightmag.com/Media/MediaManager/Lieberman2.htm

© William Hughes 2006.

William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at liamhughes@comcast.net.

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