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The lie at the heart of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress

You can’t describe a country as he described Iran and believe it will negotiate its own surrender.

First Netanyahu tells Congress that Iran is the modern Nazi Germany – bent on annihilating Israel, nuking America, conquering the world in the name of an evil ideology, and lying all the way to its goal. But then he says America can get this modern Nazi Germany to surrender – to give up its entire nuclear program and let inspectors inspect where and when they want, to give up its foreign policy and stop supporting its Shi’ite allies, to stop threatening to retaliate against an Israeli attack (what Netanyahu calls “threatening to annihilate Israel”), to behave exactly as Israel and the Republican Party want it to behave – and America can get this Iran to surrender without firing a shot! Just by negotiating! And keeping up the sanctions! Think of it – bringing Nazi Germany to its knees – without having to fight World War Two!

No wonder those idiots in Congress were giving him standing ovations. Bibi was promising them the Republicans’ notion of 72 virgins in heaven.

As Isaac Herzog likes to say, Enough, Bibi, enough. He was lying, once again. Bibi doesn’t believe there’s a “better deal” to be had in the negotiations with Iran; the only better deal he believes in is war. That’s what he wants America to do, either with or without Israel – that’s what he’s always wanted: to bomb Iran to its knees. But he knows that won’t fly in the U.S. anymore, so he tells Congress they can successfully demand terms of surrender from Iran in the negotiations – and then, when the Iranians walk away, well, that leaves no option but war! See, he told the Americans to try the old jaw jaw, but those Nazis in Tehran didn’t leave America and/or Israel any choice but war war, as his good friend and supporter Winston Churchill used to say.

Luckily, the Obama administration doesn’t buy this bullshit. It’s just such a shame and disgrace that so many Israelis and American Jews do – or pretend to.

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    1. Bruce Gould

      There’s an even bigger lie Bibi promoted, which is that Iran and the Arab world don’t want a peace agreement. “The Arab Peace Initiative was subsequently adopted by all 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, including Iran” – page 21, “Method and Madness” by Norman Finkelstein (it’s all footnoted and documented. In 2002 the Arab world proposed full recognition of Israel and a normalization of relations in return for a return to the 67 borders – it didn’t get one minute of discussion in the Knesset)

      Reply to Comment
      • mt noise

        Oh that chestnut… Israel pulls back from the West Bank, lets in the refugees, etc and the Arab states will think about improving relations. No guarantees of course. Not even any ‘confidence building measures’ like the Palestinians always get.

        Reply to Comment
        • Yeah, Right

          Such nonsense, Mt Noise.

          The Arab Peace Initiative is an “initiative”, it is not the deal itself.

          Get it?

          Accepting the API involves Israel agreeing “in principle” to a return to the 1967, and agreeing – again, “in principle” – to come to a mutually-satisfactory arrangement regarding refugees, and in return the Arab world agrees “in principle” to recognize Israel and normalize relations with it.

          It’s only after that agreement “in principle” that the two sides sit down and actually flesh out the nuts and bolts of how you get there.

          But regardless of the steps that need to be taken the end-result is known: Israel withdraws to the 1967 lines, the refugees cease to be refugees, a Palestinian state is created, and everyone recognizes and normalizes relations with Israel.

          Those negotiations – i.e. the negotiations regarding how we go from *here* to end up over *there* – will require “confidence building measures”, and if you think otherwise then you have rocks in your head.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Pedro X

      Unlike Derfner, Beinart and Obama, the majority of Americans and Israelis believe Iran is a severe threat not only to Israel but the whole world. Netanyahu has presented to Americans, Israelis and other peoples of the world why the agreement emerging with Iran is a bad deal. As Prime Minister Netanyahu stated, the agreement does not prevent Iran a path to a nuclear bomb but paves the path not only to Iran having nuclear weapons but also to perfecting the delivery of atomic weapons at the tip of ballistic missiles which could hit Israel, Britain or New York. The agreement would leave Iran with its nuclear infrastructure in tack including thousands of spinning centrifuges in more than sufficient numbers to produce material for a bomb, when the Iranian leadership decides. Inspections alone cannot stop Iran’s march to nuclear weapons. The emerging deal is more than bad.

      Netanyahu has put to the American people and the men and women of Congress that they need to push the Obama Administration to work towards a better deal which strips Iran of its capability to produce a bomb. He advocates a return to strong sanctions which would lead Iran to give up its capacity to produce a bomb. Sanctions had previously crippled Iran’s economy and can do so again forcing Iran back to the negotiating table. If they do not the world should call Iran’s bluff and tighten the sanctions further.

      In Israel, David Horovitz of the Times of Israel wrote an editorial entitled:

      “Netanyahu’s devastating, irrevocable indictment of Obama”


      Horovitz writes:

      “the prime minister did offer an alternative. He urged the P5+1 to recalibrate, to reconsider, and then to push for a better deal. And “if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff,” he advised, the wise, wary Middle Easterner lecturing Obama and the other Western naifs. “They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.”

      The Washington Post wrote an editorial entitled:

      “Obama needs to provide real answers to Netanyahu’s arguments”

      The Post writes:

      “His speech singled out “two major concessions” he said would be part of any deal the United States and its partners conclude with Iran. The first is the acceptance of a large Iranian nuclear infrastructure, including thousands of centrifuges for uranium enrichment. The second is a time limit on any restrictions, so that in as little as a decade Iran would be free to expand its production of nuclear materials. Consequently, Mr. Netanyahu said, the deal “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”


      “Rather than continuing its political attacks on Mr. Netanyahu, the administration ought to explain why the deal it is contemplating is justified — or reconsider it.”

      Of course, Obama has no answers to Netanyahu’s arguments and refuses to reconsider it. Meanwhile, Ayatollah Khamenei “tweets that Israel must be annihilated,” and Obama acts as if Iran can be trusted with the infrastructure to produce and use nuclear weapons.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Pedro X, if Bibi has such a “devastating irrevocable” case then why hasn’t he bombed Iran himself? Why can’t he convince his own generals to do it? And why can’t he take responsibility for it himself? As Meir Dagan says, he’s never seen Bibi take responsibility for anything. Instead he wants to get America to do it for him (and not by private argument but in an extraordinarily manipulative, public way). Like he did with Iraq. I’ll tell you what’s devastating: that tape of Bibi testifying to Congress about what a lovely positive influence the invasion of Iraq would have. Ditto the tape of “America is a thing easily moved….” Another idiotic American middle eastern invasion? While Bibi sits back with popcorn? Americans are tired of being suckers for the chicken hawks who never have their own sons and daughters in the fight but are all gung ho on other people (unprivileged lower and middle class Americans mainly) fighting wars for them. Those idiotic Republican congressmen with the spastic jack in the box movement disorder weirdly remind me of citizens of a totalitarian state bouncing up and down for their dear leader rather than thoughtful appraisers of an argument by a foreign prime minister in their house. And something tells me that were these idiots not sitting in the opposition (to Obama, no matter what, at all costs, whatever the real interests of their country) and having to take real responsibility as Obama has to, they would be far less war war and a lot more think think and jaw jaw.

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    3. Roxy

      Either Iran is rational in which case it can be forced into making additional concessions, or it is irrational in which case no deal will be honored and negotiations will be fruitless. If it is rational then Bibi is correct in insisting that Iran will crawl back to the table and it will offer a better deal. If it is irrational then only by force will Iran be prevented from getting nuclear weapons. Some will dismiss Iran being irrational as an option simply because that would force them into talking about war, but that does not actually remove the possibility that this view is in fact correct.

      The assumption behind the current negotiations is that Iran is rational. Going along with this then we are then told that Iran will walk away from the table rather than refuse to accept further limitations on its nuclear activities. Such a step on the part of Iran would be entirely irrational which undermines the initial reasoning behind the negotiations in the first place.

      If Iran is rational then it will accept further limitations. If it is irrational then only war will prevent it from continuing its nuclear program. The current White House PR on negotiations are based on the premise that Iran is both rational and irrational at the same time – sufficiently irrational to walk away from a deal but sufficiently rational to be trusted to keep to it. This premise is logically impossible. Bibi is correct in pointing out this anomaly and in insisting that negotiations should be based on the premise that regardless of whether Iran is rational or not the outcome of negotiations should be a situation where Iran can not possibly develop nuclear weapons. This is in direct contrast to the current approach of the White House which is based on trusting the good will of the Iranian negotiators without actually being certain of whether Iran is rational or not.

      Reply to Comment
      • Yeah, Right

        Your logic falls down on the assumption that the USA can keep demanding more and more limitations and it is “rational” for Iran to keep accepting them.

        Except….. like any rational actor Iran will have determined its Red Lines before the talks began i.e. the point beyond which “concessions we can live with” become unacceptable “terms of surrender”.

        And, of course, the USA negotiators will have their own intelligence estimates of exactly where Iran draws those Red Lines, as has Netanyahu.

        That’s what this all boils down to: “no enrichment, ever” is a Red Line for Iran, one that they can never agree to for reasons that are entirely rational.

        The USA knows that, and so the American negotiators don’t demand that.
        Netanyahu also knows that, and that’s why he is demanding exactly that.

        The reason why there is that difference is obvious: Netanyahu wants war, but he doesn’t want to say that outright. So he does the next-best-thing, he makes a demand (no enrichment, ever) that he knows will bring the negotiations to a halt, leaving war as the only alternative.

        Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          I mean, it’s not like Bibi ever deliberately cooked up demands on the Palestinian leadership that he knew they could never accept (e.g., “Jewish State”) and it’s not like Bibi’s father ever said outright that that’s Bibi’s modus operandus, right? Oh wait….

          Reply to Comment
    4. Danny

      Did anyone catch the “Persian bazaar” reference in his speech?

      1. If ANYONE ever used such a blatantly racist stereotype against Jews he/she would immediately be called out as an anti-semite. But to use such an offhand remark against Iranians is okay as far as Republicans are concerned.

      2. Like Jews NEVER haggle at bazaars and markets.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Casually racist AND extraordinarily patronizing.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Brian

      A must-read by Amir Oren on why he thinks the speech failed. Oren also thinks Bibi looked like he is smelling defeat and angling to be defense minister in Herzog’s government:


      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        Baloney. Bibi’s main fear is Bennett serving as DM in his government (he hates the little slack-jawed yokel).

        I think Amir Oren’s math skills are a little lacking. Let’s see how Herzog gets to 61:

        – Labor: 24-25
        – Meretz: 5-6
        – Lapid: 10-11
        – Kachlon: 10-11

        (Kachlon is actually a right-wing guy who is far likelier to join Netanyahu than Herzog, but for the sake of argument let’s include him in the mix. Forget the Arab party, since Herzog unwittingly supported the motion to ban Zoabi).

        That’s it. So, all we need is now do grade-school math: 49-53 seats.

        The numbers don’t lie: Herzog will NOT be the next PM.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          The fact that the journalists of magazines like these and posters like Danny, Brian and [Yeah Right] constantly betate Netanyahu, makes my voting decision very easy. I will be voting for Netanyahu.

          Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            After a very careful evaluation of all the evidence I have found a surefire means of deciding how to cast my vote – I shall find out who is the most-berated (worst) candidate and cast my lot with him, and then I shall smugly bask in my ultra-perceptive intelligence.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Scott Clayton

      I disagree.

      Mr. Netanyahu doesn’t want an Israel-Iran war with or without the US. But he’s fine with the US at war with Iran. Alone.

      On Sept 12, 2002 in testimony before Congress over the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Netanyahu said “If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”

      He is brave and willing to see US troops fight.

      Reply to Comment
    7. I don’t see Iran leveling entire cities, slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians, and oppressing the people of a country who just want a home that isn’t going to get bulldozed or have its every significant factor controlled.

      rifle in 1 hand , bible in another and declare “that land is mine, it is written in bible, go f–k off.” to a helpless country.and their leader speak at congress- the devils advocate.humorous..
      Do you notice a pattern? During the bush presidency, we were pushing the war against iraq using falsehoods and exaggerated rhetoric. Now it is Netanyahu using rhetoric to promote fear of the negotiations with iran.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Gustav

      The fact that the journalists of magazines like these and posters like Danny, Brian and [Yeah Right] constantly betate Netanyahu, makes my voting decision very easy. I will be voting for Netanyahu.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Really?! Ok, Gustav, now listen carefully, do NOT wire me (care of +972 magazine, cash and international money order accepted too) –do NOT send me $10,000. I am opposed to it deeply. I berate the idea. And I am even MORE opposed to $50,000. Do NOT send me that whatever you do. I will be so mad. I will berate it.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          If you say so Brian dear. Of course, before you asked me NOT to wire you $$$, I was going to do it. But now that you asked me, your wish is my command, I won’t you funny little man 🙂

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          • Brian

            I’m glad we straightened that out. You funny fickle little guy. Ok, my wish is that you vote for the Joint List. And donate to them the $50,000 you’re not sending me but were going to. Or whatever campaign finance laws allow and the remainder send as tax deductible contributions to B’Tselem and to worthy NGOs supporting the peaceful protesters of Bil’in. Appreciate it!

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            You can stick your wish where the sun does not shine.

            I know exactly what you want or don’t want (you want $$$) so you ain’t getting any from me. I also know that you hate Israel so if you are against Netanyahu, that’s a sure sign that I should vote for him. And I am not alone. Get it?

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            If our words put us in the “hate Israel crowd” (with echoes of the “why do you hate America” tactic) then we’re in a large and estimable group that spans quite an ideological and temperamental spectrum, from Meir Dagan to Zeev Sternhell. It falls to you to explain why his own esteemed Mossad chief thinks Bibi does stupid stuff and why Barack Obama “hates Israel” because he’s too smart to do stupid stuff and even though your Prime Minister just got through testifying before all Congress as to all the great known and hidden things Obama has done for Israel’s security. Obama hates Israel because he thinks with cool detachment and humility and not in Bibi’s excitable grandiose way about America’s interests first and foremost? Hmmm. Interesting concept of the president’s allegiances there.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Nice shifting of what I said.

            I did not talk about Obama or anyone else. I talked about magazines like these and posters such as yourself, Brian. I said you are enemies of our state and as such, since you so love to hate Netanyahu, he must be doing some things right. Ergo I and many like me will be voting for him. There I said it again …

            Reply to Comment
    9. GKJames

      It’s hard to tell how deeply Netanyahu and his supporters believe his rhetoric. It’s even harder to tell which is worse: a fervent believer or a bullshit salesman who knowingly perpetrates a con. What’s nonetheless remarkable is how few people — in the US, at least — confront him with his decades of dire, and wrong, predictions. As for those who insist that Iran would in fact use a nuclear weapon if it had one, let them at least provide an evidentiary basis for the assertion that the government and its people are suicidal.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Never mind about what Netanyahu says.

        The mere fact that journals like these and posters like Danny, Brian, [yeah Right] and you constantly berate Netanyahu tells us that Netanyahu is the right man for the job. If you guys hate him, he must be doing something right. I and many like me will be voting for him.

        Reply to Comment
        • GKJames

          Fair enough, but that’s a low intellectual threshold for voting. Nor is spite for others a seemingly useful standard. And what do you say to the fact that your man’s predictions have consistently been wrong, not only recently but over the course of decades?

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Not really.

            We all have to go by some criteria. It is quite logical to vote for someone who is hated by our mortal enemies. Why? Because if he is hated so much then he must be handling things well. After all, our enemies would not object to and vilify a nincampoop. They would not want to discourage us from voting for a nincampoop, would they?

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            You follow that GKJames? “Not really” is the total argument. The rest is pure classic paranoid “logic.” GKJames you’re not going to get very far with this, I guarantee you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Let me spell it out then for the slow witted ones (Brian, pay attention):

            Enemies constantly berate Israel we can do no right as far as they are concerned (by “they”, I mean people like you Brian). Israel does not and has not done ANYTHING right ever, according to people like you Brian. And it isn’t just Netanyahu according to magazines like these or posters like you, Brian!

            Conversely, your Saint Palestinians, never have nor do they do ANYTHING wrong, ever!

            Now do you understand why I describe you as enemies, Brian dear? Yes, other people are critical of us some of the time. People like Obama and the ones you mentioned but their criticizm is tempered. And they are also critical of the saint Palestinians and Iranians. They are behaving like friends who just don’t happen to agree with everything. They don’t behave like enemies (as you people do) who aim constant destructive criticizm of us and constantly excuse the saint Palestinians.

            You think that is just paranoia Brian? Then you are not reading what you people constantly write. Or you do but you just make excuses for yourselves too. You think that normal people don’t notice what you do? Ok, keep on deceiving yourselves but you don’t deceive normal people.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Well I hate to be difficult, you know I do, but this is just more paranoid logic, and rather classic: “You think that normal people don’t notice what you do?” The underlying premise here is that people like you and Kolumn and Bar and Jello and Pedro are ANY more likely to criticize versus excuse but in the reverse direction. Are you kidding me? Where was you’re even faint “tempered” disapproval of setting dogs on children? Of even that? Even that. We missed that. Couldn’t be bothered? You “enemy of the Gentiles.” So drop the classic rightist self righteousness. It is paranoid what you and a large segment of the Zionist right does, seeing “enemies” everywhere. So that even someone like me or Bruce Gould is an “enemy.” Lumped in with Hamas and Hamas lumped with Isis and before you know it you’ve got me operating from the basement of Iranian counterintelligence in Tehran. (This is why Gottesman or whoever he is gets a kick out of impersonating Viktor Arajs and Behnam Shahariyari–it gets mileage here inside your minds.) Here on this page in the polite discussion below with another of those fiendish “enemies” of yours I remarked that various security concerns vis a vis Iran “all legitimately preoccupy any Israeli leader within reason.” That’s the statement of someone who is not in any way “a friend,” who is a pure “enemy” whose criticism is never “tempered”? Listen to yourself. There is a paranoid style to your fulminations.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Thank you Brian. Even in your above post in which you put down my accusation against people like you to be enemies, as “just my paranoia”, you manage to confirm my accusation against you. Quoting out of context incidents and counter accusations won’t whitewash you. It just confirms that your hatred of Israel is embedded deep inside your genes.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Let me spell it out then for the slow witted ones (Gustav, pay attention):

            I have no enemies. A few people love me and some people think I’m quite a nice guy but others are probably also indifferent to me. I hate no one. I love some people, I like some people and I am probably indifferent to some others. I do hate some things (unnecessary suffering, lieing, brutality, violence etc). I criticize some things about Israel, Britain, America etc, but I applaud other things. I do not believe that Israel has real enemies, though thousands of Palestinians are miffed about the way they have been treated and are being treated, but is probably fair to say that Israelis tend to feel more hated and to believe they have more enemies than they actually have. What are the reasons for this?

            Historic pogroms culminating in the Holocaust have left a people traumatized, but that was in the past and it is inconceivable that the world would stand by and permit a repetition of such atrocity. Other peoples (e.g. native Americans, African Americans, Ukrainians, Cambodians, Rwandans etc. have experienced famine, starvation, war, enslavement, ethnic cleansing and other traumas without being so obviously traumatized. In saying this I am in no way belittling the Holocaust and German policy but this evil was directed at non-Jews as well (Communists, Roma, Slavs, Homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses etc).

            Zionism has emphasized anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred in order to achieve aliyah to Israel, and is still exploiting the phenomenon as was seen by Netanyahu’s response to recent killings in Paris. I say that not out of hatred; if Netanyahu really believes that it is right to bring all the world’s Jews to Israel then he is entitled to reassure Jews that they would be welcome to immigrate, though he has no right to denigrate European society or to undermine the desire of Diaspora Jews to remain in their homelands.

            In ancient times the Levant was home to many many peoples, that have either disappeared or merged into other peoples over the course of history – with an exception of the Jewish people. Why have they alone survived as a distinct group? A strong religious faith barely explains this since in the Iron Age these peoples had similar tribal gods and temple cults. Military prowess barely explains this since the Hebrews were frequently conquered by other greater powers (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome). Social solidarity does explain it, partly built on positive religious ideas of mutual support, but also reinforced by negative hostility to alien cultures / religions. Thus the enemies of Israel have been the Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Amelekites, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the British, the Soviets, the Palestinians, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, the UN, the EU, international lawyers, human rights NGOs etc. etc. Jewish Israeli culture is thoroughly imbued with the concept of victimhood and unending enmity in a way that the related Jewish Diaspora culture has not so obviously required.

            Perhaps everyone hates you, Gustav, because you have an existential need to be hated, and that is why your leaders are again conjuring up an unholy alliance of Iran, Islamism, Hamas, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and peace activists and BDS campaigners in order to keep hold of the reins of power, to keep young conscripts motivated and to sustain the crazy continued occupation of your neighbours’ land.

            Reply to Comment
        • Xavi

          “If you guys hate him, he must be doing something right. I and many like me will be voting for him.”

          Yeah Gustav. That’s why grandpa voted for that ugly Hitler dude. If these foreigners all hate him so much, he must be good.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Yeah Gustav. That’s why grandpa voted for that ugly Hitler dude”

            Oh great, another amateur historian rewriting history…

            Yeah, Right, Hitler got elected because foreigners hated him? The outcome of WW1 had nothing to do with it? The resulting hyper inflation and Germany’s collapsed economy had nothing to do with it?

            Even so, Hitler was not elected by the majority of Germans. He was given the opportunity to form government because the other major party, the communists, were considered to be a greater threat by the powers to be at the time.

            Go read your history books, XAVI, before you shoot your mouth off with odious comparisons.

            Reply to Comment
    10. Yeah, Right

      Whether Bibi is lying, or self-deceiving – or is right-on-the-money – simply doesn’t matter.

      The only thing that matters is this: the only way to stopp the Obama Administration from reaching a deal with Tehran is for Congress to impose additional veto-proof legislation that scuppers any possibility of a deal.

      If the Congress can do that then the talks are toast.
      If the Congress can’t do that then they are simply baying from the sidelines.

      Soooooo, can Congress muster enough votes to survive a Presidential veto?

      Before Netanyahu’s speech the answer was “Yeah, maybe. Too close to tell”.
      After that speech the answer is definitely “No. Too many Democrats will bolt”.

      And this needs repeating: if Obama can veto any attempt by Congress to run interference for Bibi then Obama will win the day, because in such a situation all that Congress and Bibi can do is yahoo from the sidelines.

      Way. To. Go. Bibi.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        True. But the whole theater production was never primarily about American politics or Iran, it was about an Israeli election and a prime minister’s grip on office. Otherwise, Bibi would have behaved rationally. There is all this manufactured talk about whether the Iranians are rational. Is Bibi? Well, yes. Because his true objective was to win a domestic election. But in terms of actually influencing the conduct of American foreign policy his behavior is NOT rational. It would have been far more rational to (1) have mounted an intense behind the scenes AIPAC lobbying effort or (2) to speak after the election and remove the distraction from his own professed effort that Bibi himself created. Nothing Bibi actually did in this episode is consistent with a rational actor acting on his professed aims.

        Reply to Comment
        • Yeah, Right

          No, sorry, Brian, I don’t believe that for a moment.

          If this were just about Bibi’s re-election then why did he continue to beat this drum even after he “left politics” after his first defeat.

          This is much more than just being about his bum on that seat.

          Netanyahu has apoplexy when he contemplates the idea of the USA and Iran coming to an accommodation. The very idea is heresy, regardless of the issue under discussion.

          Not because of nukes.
          Not because of “never again”.
          Not because of “I need 61 seats in the Knesset”.

          No, not in the slightest.

          What is driving all this is his great and unspoken fear: if the USA normalizes relations with Iran then what, exactly, does Uncle Sam do with “two regional hegemons”?

          That’s not stable, so eventually the USA has to pick one.

          At this moment in time that’s a no-brainer; the USA will pick Israel.

          But why should that always be the case? What happens if the USA and Iran start to get along, and Iran begins to be both more reliable and more important than Israel?

          There is then the possibility (however remote) that Uncle Sam will say “I love you dearly, sure, I do. But love doesn’t pay the rent……”

          That’s what is driving all this.

          Bibi is displaying the basest fear of all gold-digggers: fear of being abandoned by Sugar Daddy once he starting casting his eyes over that other platinum-haired bitch.

          Reason goes out the window under those circumstances.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Ok, we’ll, you’re making the USA, Bibi, and Iran sound like General David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell, and Jill Kelley, respectively. There’s something to that in a cartoonish way. I understand your objections, which I’ll get to, but by saying that Bibi did not act rationally in this speech episode IF his stated aims comprised his true aims I did not mean to imply that his true aims did not include the routine regional power considerations (“great and unspoken”) that preoccupy any Israeli leader vis a vis Iran. I think Bibi is a true believer in his anti-Iran ideology and his pro-Bibi ideology, the both of which have become rather fused in his own mind. But if his true aims included those regional power considerations plus nukes plus “never again” (and I don’t deny they did, in part and they all legitimately preoccupy any Israeli leader within reason, even a true 2SS by ’67 lines champion and peace maker, which Bibi is not) but not “61 seats,” then I think he did not act rationally. Throw in “61 seats” and then he acted semi-rationally but only that. Yes, it is of course not JUST about his reelection but he professed before Congress that it was not at all about his reelection or the next US election. That’s false. To conclude and respond to your objections, my language in my preceding post is overly categorical and could use these nuances incorporated–the “theater production” includes its timing not just the production itself and “true” should be “immediate” or “overriding”–but the main point stands. If you still think I’m missing something I’d be glad to hear your thoughts on it.

            Reply to Comment
    11. Yeah, Right

      There is so much nonsense being spouted about this speech.

      Obama is the only one acting as a competent politician should act i.e. he is ignoring the bread and circuses and just contenting himself with counting heads.

      As well he should, because the equation is monumentally simple: can Congress muster enough votes for an additional sanctions bill that will survive a Presidential veto?

      That’s the ONLY thing that matters, everything else is mere commentary.

      Has Netanyahu’s little vanity project made it harder to muster a veto-proof vote, or has it firmed up those numbers?

      The answer is this: Netanyahu has just pissed away *at* *least* 50 Congressional votes, probably many, many more than that.

      It is now impossible for a Kirk/Menendez bill to survive a Presidential veto, in which case Congress may as well pass a bill declaring that the Moon is made of cheese, and henceforth the Sun shall rise in the West and set in the East.

      Bibi has actually immeasurably strengthened Obama’s cards, and the most laughable thing about that is that Bibi-supporters are far too blinkered to understand that simple fact.

      Indeed, the only one who appears to understand reality is Mendendez, who is openly bemoaning the difficulty of getting his bill up in a now-partisan Washington.

      Good luck with *that* wet-dream, Bob….

      Netanyahu handed Obama a massive victory the moment he accepted that “invitation” to address Congress. Obama understand that immediately, which is precisely why he felt confident enough to keep up a relentless criticism of this entire farce.

      This will be seen as the moment when Bibi Jumped The Shark. The only question is whether (or not) the Israel Lobby sees that and acts quickly enough to disown him.

      Not likely, by the look of things, and that’s going to be icing on the cake for Obama.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Brian

      The real Mordechai and Esther story and how Netanyahu misused it:


      By Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi

      “…The book’s middle is the part we – and the Israeli prime minister – know best: Mordechai, making the most of his luck, positions his niece Esther to become the queen in order to influence the hapless king to override Haman’s genocidal intent. But by the end of the book we might be too drunk to pay attention to the ways in which comedy has turned into revenge tragedy, an explosion of blood-curdling violence — not by Persians against innocent Jews, but by Jews against innocent Persians.
      Esther, having thwarted Haman’s evil plot, is not satisfied with the public hangings of her arch-enemy and his 10 sons – but is granted permission to preemptively slaughter all who have received the order to kill the Jews. There is no textual hint that these Persians ever took up arms – “no one dared to stand up against them, out of the fear that they instilled” [9:2]. Yet the Jews go ahead and slaughter 500 innocent people in the satrapies that belong to the King. Then sweet Esther, the beguiling descendant of Babylonian exiles, wife of the clueless Ahasverus – whom little girls will emulate in gauzy costumes for centuries to come – asks for, and is granted, another day of slaughter: in the capital city of Shushan alone, 300 people are slaughtered, and in the surrounding satrapies 75,000 are slaughtered [9:15-16].

      That is the text that all those Congressmen and women – who leapt to their feet with every platitude and oath Netanyahu uttered – should read. The prime minister of Israel, showing a pathetic lack of self-awareness, is valorizing the mind of Esther. The text he cites is the chronicle of how a people, shocked into seeking to thwart the evil decree, wind up using the excuse of preemption to justify vengeful, rampaging violence. (It is a universal story in this sense, not just a Jewish one: what genocidal act is not justified as retribution for some great or imagined grievance?) The historic persecution of the Jewish people has been real enough. But Jewish suffering has also engendered a fantasy of demon-enemies, of Jewish attacks as nothing but deterrence….”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        The above little Purim interpretation is written by “a true friend” of the Jewish people, none other than Brian.

        He is scandalised by the fact that we too, yes we the Jewish people, can be vengeful. I mean (he says) how dare the Jewish people in the context of 2500 years ago, take vengeance on a man and his followers for conspiring to exterminate us? Who would do that, he asks? Scandalous Jews, he says, even 2500 years ago Jews were a vengeful no good people….

        And then in another post above Brian puts his hand on his heart and accuses me of paranoia when I describe him as a sworn enemy of ours. Interesting …

        Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          Um, nope. It was actually written by Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi in a leading Israeli paper. Does that make her an autoantisemitepersianlover and your enemy? That’s makes about as much sense as me calling you a sworn enemy of the Persian people. It’s paranoid. And it’s anti intellectual and reactionary. And furthermore, it is a kind of hate speech: saying that because I and other persons and +972 authors contribute complex and reasonable opinions to +972 we must be persons who hate. Plainly, I was passing on interesting context to Netanyahu’s peddling, to know-nothing congressmen, a misunderstanding of the story of Esther. A story that contains deeper meanings strikingly relevant to the topic of this article. (I know, I know, but why didn’t I post an article about Tibet?) Written by Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi (whose words you twist). By the way, you say “our” a lot, as in “a sworn enemy of ours.” Who is that? Who among Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs do you exclude by “our”? And who do you presume to include? You’re like Nixon with his enemies list. There’s no free exchange of ideas with you. It’s all about who is your friend and who is your enemy.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Er I don’t know what it makes her Brian, we have plenty of our own idiots. Maybe she is just another idiot? There are plenty of idiots in Haaretz, you know…

            But I do know what it makes you when you cherishingly drag out any negative interpretation about anything supposedly that we did (even 2500 years ago) and today. An endless litany of negativity and negative interpretation of whatever we do or did. As I said before , Brian dear, only enemies do that. Only enemies say that whatever we Jews do is bad and whatever our enemies do is either excusable or is just a comedy which we take too seriously.

            Read your own Posts Brian and at least recognize what you do. Be honest with yourself. The truth will set you free.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            “Er I don’t know what it makes her…Maybe she is just another idiot?”

            Defend that proposition. You do not get to just assert that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            No problems, Brian dear.

            First of all we are talking about a supposed event 2500 or so years ago. It is a festivity celebrated by the Jewish people to commemorate the narrow escape by the Jewish people from a plot to exterminate us but this personage of yours, Brian, whom you chose to cite saw it fit to twist the whole episode into a slant which presents the Jewish people as vengeful villains. What point does it serve?

            If I would not call her an idiot, then I would call her an enemy too. Would you prefer that? I don’t. I just think she suffers from a disease which unfortunately many Jews have developed as a result of suffering a millenia of persecution. Those Jews seem to think that anytime Jews are involved in a dispute with oppressors we bring their ire on ourselves because “of course” we Jews can never be right about anything. That’s what generations of brainwashing does. Even some Jews have come to believe that it was appropriate for us to be persecuted. That we somehow had it coming to us, every man woman and child. An idiotic belief, don’t you think Brian? No, of course you don’t think. Silly of me to ask. After all you too seem to be of the same opinion. That is why you gave us that silly link.

            But I’ll tell you what Brian, I’ll make a deal with you. If you prefer, I’ll call you too an idiot instead of an enemy. Think about it, it’s up to you. Deal or no deal?

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Ah, but you twist. The author, no idiot and no enemy, makes quite clear that the Book of Esther is a fantasy – not recounting any historical event. (I provided the link above.). You keep implying that she and I want to tar the Jews with some supposed thing that they did but it is not true not even a little bit. The truth is precisely the opposite: Ezrahi stresses that the Book of Esther is fantasy, scripture, not history, and a source of Jewish creativity and wisdom. And she draws what is so clearly an apt and wise lesson, a warning drawn from the scriptures in the best rabbinical tradition, about using the excuse of preemption to justify vengeful, rampaging violence, that it is churlish to call her either an idiot or an enemy or a defective Jew rather than saying “Thank you Professor Ezrahi for this interesting and understanding-deepening Jewish scholarly comment on current events of great importance.” Isn’t that much better? Now if only someone had hammered into the thick skull of a true Grade A Certified idiot, GWB, that lesson before he used the excuse of preemption to blow through trillions of dollars and thousands and thousands of American and others’ lives in triggering rampaging violence in the idiotic invasion of Iraq (Bush lied, people died), the results of which the dear President Obama, smart guy and true friend as Bibi proclaimed before all Congress, is still trying to mitigate as best anyone can given the steaming pile of merde GWB handed him. By the way you guys have to stop hating on Obama. It contradicts the wonderful things Bibi said about him in front of the United States Congress. Deal?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Ah but you twist”

            Oh goody, I am the one who twists. What a laugh…

            According to you and your professor, Purim is not really about the narrow escape of the Jewish people from extermination by Haman and his followers. It is about … wait for it … “Preemption”. We the Jewish peoplehad it all wrong for all these ceturies. Purim is an ancient message to the likes of GWB that preemption is unfair and that the Jewish people would have been a much better people if only they would have trusted Haman and his followers and not resorted to killing innocent Persians for vengeance.

            Sheesh. Why didn’t I think of it that way? Why have I been twisting the meaning of Purim all these years?

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            That this fails as an adequate or thoughtful reply can be shown simply by pointing out that you have stripped “the excuse of preemption to justify vengeful, rampaging violence” down to “preemption.” I am satisfied with the case made. Nothing more needs be said here. Let others make up their own minds.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “you have stripped “the excuse of preemption to justify vengeful, rampaging violence” down to “preemption.”

            Which nevertheless (despite all your pretences) brings us back to our original argument…

            You and your professor claim that the real Purim message is about the vengeful rampaging violence of Jews towards “innocent Persians”. Not about the celebration of the narrow escape of the Jewish people from being exterminated by Haman and his followers.

            Yet you accuse ME of twisting and you pretend that you are not an idiot or the enemy of the Jewish people?

            Yes, I agree, let reasonable individuals decide for themselves. You can just keep on clutching at straws and pretend that you are consistent and talk sense.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            “You and your professor claim that the real Purim message is about…. Not about….”

            Bullshit. Me and my professor claim no such thing. At the simplest level this should read “…the real Purim message is about… AND about….”

            But even that is too simple. “We” don’t “claim” there is any single or double or triple “real Purim message” or that anyone has been miscelebrating out there or should stop celebrating.

            Since when should the People of the Book ignore the full meaning of the Book of Esther or be allowed to draw only one simplistic message from it or else they are bad Jews? You’re The Arbiter of Purim? Who crowned you?

            What Professor Ezrahi quite aptly pointed out is that if you are going to lecture a bunch of know-nothing congressmen about the meaning of Purim in the service of arguing strenuously for a path you know and secretly hope leads to bombing Iran, it behooves you to be aware of the whole Book of Esther not just a part of it. And make others aware of it. Since you’re the one drawing mass bombing lessons from it and egging on the Americans to bomb the Persians. Since you’re the one claiming up-to-date 21st Century false history lessons from a thousands year old fantastical book of myths. You want to do that? Ok, then let’s look at the whole book. That’s what the professor is saying and she is spot on.

            Yes I accuse you of twisting. And smearing as you often do. I suppose Meir Dagan is also an enemy of the Jewish people? And Zeev Sternhell? And all the +972 writers? Honestly you are so unpleasantly simple minded and singlemindedly paranoid and accusatory and defamatory and offensive. You are definitely Bibi’s boy. And Lieberman’s boy too. It’s a good thing Meir Dagan, the ultimate bullshit detector, was out there in Rabin Square the other night. Ignore him at your peril. As you well know, he, and not just he, thinks the occupation is the true existential danger.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Wanna know how to recognize the enemies of the Jewish people, Brian?

            Very simple: They are people who constantly look for only negatives in anything that the Jewish people are involved with.

            Want an example? Your cited link of Professor Ezrahi’s Purim story in which she talks about vengeful Jews going on a rampage against “innocent Persians”.

            How does she know they are innocent? After all the Purim story which 99.99% Jews celebrate is the narrow escape of Jews from extermination by Haman and his followers. So how is she so certain that the Persians who were killed instead by the Jews were not followers of Haman?

            Of course she does not know that. After all, you said that she claims that the Purim story is just a myth. So she just assumes that because “of course if Jews are involved in a dispute with others, there has gotta be something wrong with Jews”. She and her ilk must highlight some negative Jewish trait.

            So, instead of answering your question about who specifically is an anemy of the Jewish people, I’ll give you a sliding scale of tests which you can apply to find the answer…

            1. There are people who offer constructive criticizm about the Jewish people and Israel on specific issues on which they may or may not be right but their motives are good. They are not our enemies.

            2. There are people whose criticzm of the Jewish people and Israel is so outlandish that one can only dismiss their criticizm as idiotic. They may still not be our enemies, they are just stupid, brain-washed people.

            3. There are people who have only destractive criticizm against the Jewish people or Israel and turn even our positives into negatives. Conversely, they make it their business to excuse everything that our enemies do. That is how enemies behave, so they are enemies.

            I think that some of the names which you ask “are they enemies?” Fall into categories 1) and 2). You, Brian, and this Magazine seem to fall into category 3). Don’t believe me? Read your own writings and the writings in this magazine.

            Reply to Comment
    13. Ariel Sharon

      Zionism is an evil, racist, inhuman and failed ideology,
      that has failed and will continue to fail.

      Judaism is a great and sacred religion.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Judaism is a great and sacred religion.”

        Yeah right, that’s why we faced pogroms and persecutions for 2000 years while we could not defend ourselves. Modern Zionism At least gave us the means to defend ourselves.

        Reply to Comment
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