By Uri Avnery
July 25, 2015 "Information
- IN JAPAN in the good old days, Binyamin
Netanyahu would by now have committed hara-kiri.
In England at that time, the monarch would have appointed him
governor of the most remote little island in the Pacific Ocean.
In Israel, his popularity rating is bound to go up.
Because in our country, the old adage is getting a new twist:
Nothing Succeeds Like Failure.
AND WHAT a failure! Wow!!!
He has practically declared war on the President of the United
States, the Leader of the Free World, the Supreme Protector of the
Not so long ago, one would have thought this impossible. But nothing
is impossible for Binyamin Netanyahu.
anyone just arrived from the planet Mars, here is a brief summary of
Israel's dependence on the US: it gets from it the bulk of its heavy
arms and does not have to pay for them, it can depend on it to veto
all UN Security Council resolutions that condemn Israel's deeds and
misdeeds, it receives from it billions of dollars every year
although the Israeli economy is flourishing.
There is another benefit which is often overlooked. Since the world
believes that both houses of the US Congress are totally subservient
to Israel, all countries pay Israel for access to Congress. One has
to bribe the doorkeeper to get in.
For an Israeli prime minister to start a quarrel with the President
of the US looks like sheer lunacy - as indeed it is.
Yet Netanyahu is not insane, though his actions suggest that. He is
not even a fool.
So what the hell does he think he is doing?
THERE ARE several possible explanations I can think of.
One is pampering the Israeli public. Far from creating a New Jew as
Zionism promised, the Old Jew dominates Israel. The Old Jew believes
that the entire world is anti-Semitic, and any new evidence fills
him with satisfaction. You see? The Goyim haven't changed at all.
Netanyahu's popularity ratings are bound to rise with every new
manifestation of foreign hostility. If even the Americans, who for
so long pretended to be the closest friends of Israel, sell us out
to the anti-Semitic Iranians, we need a strong and steadfast leader.
In short - a Netanyahu.
Another plausible explanation for Netanyahu's behavior may be his
genuine belief that no US senator or representative would ever dare
to buck AIPAC's orders, knowing that this would be the end of his
(or her) political career. Like the worst of the anti-Semites,
Netanyahu believes that the Jews rule the world, or at least the US
Congress. At the crucial moment, Congress will vote for AIPAC,
against the US president.
Another explanation may be, paradoxically, a blind belief in
President Obama's integrity. Netanyahu thinks that he can hit him on
the head, spit in his eye, kick his behind, and still Obama will act
coolly, rationally, and support Israel all the way, except on the
Iranian deal. He will go on sending arms and dollars, vetoing
Security Council resolutions, receiving phone calls from Israel in
the middle of the night.
You know how these Americans are. Subservient. Especially black
BUT THERE may be another explanation, that trumps all others.
Affronting the US president, his administration and his party,
Netanyahu is gambling with our future. Which brings us to the
emperor of the gambling world, the king of Las Vegas, the prince of
Macao: Sheldon Adelson.
Adelson does not hide his support for Netanyahu the man, the family
and the party. He spends huge sums of money on a Hebrew daily
newspaper that is distributed gratis to Israelis, whether they want
it or not. It is now the largest-circulation paper in Israel, and
devoted personally to Netanyahu and his wife. It has no other
Yet Adelson seems to have no real interest in Israel. He does not
live here, even part time. So what is he getting in return?
Adelson has bought Netanyahu for one single purpose: to place a
stooge of his in the White House. It is an aim that any other
multi-billionaire cannot even dream of.
To achieve this aim, Adelson needs to use the Republican Party as a
ladder. He has to select its candidate for the presidency, derail
Hillary Clinton and win the elections. To succeed in all these
tasks, he has to mobilize the immense power of the pro-Israel lobby
over the US Congress and destroy President Obama.
The first step in this long march is to defeat the Iranian deal.
Netanyahu is just a cog in this grand design. But a very important
Does this look like a caricature of Der Stürmer, the infamous
anti-Semitic Nazi rag, or, worse, like a page out of the Protocols
of the Elders of Zion, the notorious anti-Semitic forgery? It is the
classical anti-Semitic picture: the ugly finance-Jew striving for
For an Israeli, there is something revolting in this picture. The
Zionist vision was born out of the total rejection of this
caricature. Jews would cease dealing in stocks and shares and
money-lending. Jews would till the land with the sweat of their
brow, do productive manual work, reject all kinds of parasitic
speculations. This was considered such a high ideal that it
justified even the displacement of the indigenous Arab population.
And here we are, a state following the orders of an international
casino mogul whose line of business is perhaps the most unproductive
in the cosmos. Sad.
IS THERE a valiant opposition to this course in Israel? None.
In all my long life in Israel I have never seen anything as close to
a total absence of opposition as we have now.
A few voices in Haaretz, some solitary pronouncements on the extreme
leftist fringe, and that's that.
Apart from these (including Gush Shalom), nothing except thunderous
applause for Netanyahu or the dreadful silence of the graveyard.
The treaty is "bad". Not just bad, but "catastrophic". Not just
catastrophic, but "one of the most terrible disasters in the entire
history of the Jewish people". Something close to a "second
Holocaust". (I am not making this up.)
Netanyahu's shallow arguments are accepted as sacred truths, like
the utterances of the other great Jewish prophets. Nobody bothers to
ask the relevant question: Why?
The sun rises in the morning. The rivers flow into the sea. Iran
will build an atomic bomb and drop it on us, even though it will
thereby bring upon itself a historic disaster. The mullahs are
Nazis. The treaty is another Munich agreement. Obama is the new
Neville Chamberlain, only black.
Nobody takes the trouble to argue for these assertions. Things are
self-evident. Day is day and night is night.
I HAVE seen many situations of a near unanimous public opinion in my
life, especially in times of war. But in all of my life I have never
experienced such a situation of total unanimity, of total absence of
doubting and questioning, as now.
This situation is not without its absurdities. For example: the
Iranian Supreme Leader is obviously faced with his own extremists,
who accuse him of selling out to the American Satan. To appease
them, he has to claim that the treaty is a tremendous victory for
the Islamic Republic, that he has brought the US (and Israel) to
their knees. The huge Netanyahu propaganda machine is taking up
these quotes and selling them as gospel truths. Everyone knows that
Iranians always lie, but this time they tell it as it is.
Yair Lapid, the leader of a shrunken "centrist" party now in
opposition (the Orthodox did not allow Netanyahu to bring him into
the government) denounces the treaty as a historic disaster for the
Jewish people. This being so, he asks loudly, why is Netanyahu not
compelled to resign after his failure to prevent it? The more so
since there is a much more able leader ready to take his place and
lead the fight, a man named Lapid.
There is indeed something of a paradox in Netanyahu's situation: if
the treaty is such a historic disaster, "one of the worst in Jewish
history", why is Netanyahu continuing in his job?
TO THROW out a prime minister, a country needs an opposition to take
his place. Actually, that is the main job of the opposition.
The Leader of the Opposition (an official title in Israel) condemns
the treaty in as strong terms as Netanyahu himself. He has
volunteered to go to the USA to help the fight against it. His
competitor, Yair Lapid, the son of a far-out nationalist, is even
more extreme than him. The leader of the third opposition party is
Avigdor Lieberman, compared to whom Netanyahu is a leftist softy.
There is, of course, a fourth opposition party - the joint Arab one
- but who listens to them?
One would suppose that, faced with such a historic disaster, Israel
would be alive with debates about the treaty. But how can one have a
debate, if everybody agrees? I have heard not a single real
discussion on TV, nor read one in the printed papers, nor on the
internet. Here and there a small whisper of doubt, but a debate?
Indeed, one can live happily in Israel for days and hear no mention
of this historic disaster at all. The price of cottage cheese evokes
So we are happily moving towards disaster - unless one of Sheldon's
stooges, with the help of Bibi, enters the White House.
Uri Avnery is an Israeli
author and activist.