We are all anti-Semites now, including US secretary of state John Kerry. That's according to a clutch of ministers in Binyamin Netanyahu's cabinet, plus a mixum-gatherum of colonial settlers, super-Zionists and most US senators.
The latest barrage of outrage came as Kerry held talks in Munich with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Javad Zarif, at which they promised to step up efforts to reach agreement on Iran's ambition to develop its nuclear programme for – it insists, entirely plausibly – peaceful purposes. The need for the Munich talks arose from the rejection by Israel and the Gulf dictatorships of the arrangement made in Geneva in November whereby Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear programme and the US to ease the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy and destroyed the living standards of the Iranian people.
The Munich deal reproduces in all essentials the offer made by Iran to the EU3 (Germany, Britain and France) in 2005, involving unprecedented transparency guarantees to enable monitoring of Iran’s adherence to renunciation of nuclear arms production in the future. This was rejected by the US and Israel, demanding that Iran abandon plans for enrichment facilities on its own soil for all time and under any circumstances.
While the rest of the world hailed the November accord – less favourable to Iran than the 2005 proposals – as a historic breakthrough, Netanyahu characterised it as a “historic mistake”, calling to mind then Unionist Party leader James Molyneaux’s description of the Provisional IRA’s ceasefire in September 1994 as potentially “the most destabilising thing to happen to unionism since partition”.
Netanyahu told his cabinet: “Today the world has become a much more dangerous place . . . Israel is not bound by this agreement.”
That is, his nuclear armed-to-the-teeth state will not tolerate another country which every western intelligence agency agrees does not possess nuclear weapons acquiring the means to generate nuclear energy. Of course, he can be fairly confident that this belligerent arrogance will not alienate key allies in the US Congress.
Influential Israeli politicians have come within an inch of smearing Kerry as an anti-Semite. What he’d said to earn this censure was: “The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott . . . Do they want a failure [in parallel negotiations on Palestine] that then begs whatever may come in the form of a response from disappointed Palestinians and the Arab community?”
In response, Israeli industry minister Naftali Bennett declared: “We expect of our friends to stand by our side against the attempts to impose an anti-Semitic boycott on Israel, not to be their mouthpiece.”
Senior official of the colonial settlers' council Adi Mintz accused Kerry of "an anti-Semitic initiative. The anti-Semites have always resorted to a very simple method – hit the Jews in their pockets."
Netanyahu refused to condemn Bennett, Mintz and others who had spoken along the same lines, but was himself rather more circumspect, telling his cabinet that promotion of a boycott was “immoral and unjust”.
State department spokeswoman Jen Psaki pointed out the obvious, that “(Kerry’s) only reference to a boycott was a description of actions undertaken by others that he has always opposed. (He) expected opposition . . . but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements.” Some hope.
The statement quoted here most clearly reflective of stereotypical anti-Semitism was Mintz’s. However, it’s the viewpoint of the Zionist ultras which has been adopted by a majority of US senators. Forty-three Republicans and 16 from Kerry’s Democrats responded to the breakthrough in Munich by introducing a Bill imposing even harsher sanctions, with the option of war if Iran doesn’t surrender the modest gains achieved in Munich.
These threats should be considered against the background of former International Atomic Energy Authority chief Hans Blix's observation in "Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters": "The NPT (non-proliferation treaty) is under strain because non-nuclear states have over the years become increasingly dissatisfied that . . . the ambition to induce India, Pakistan and Israel to adhere (to the treaty) has been abandoned." The NPT wasn't "a treaty that appoints the nuclear weapons states individually or jointly to police non-nuclear weapons states and to threaten them with punishment".
Netanyahu and the others make the case for boycott more convincingly than anyone else could. If Israeli governments and US policy-makers continue to set their faces like flint against any progress towards peace with Iran and Palestine, what option is open to advocates of fair play for Iran and an end to the oppression of Palestine?
It’s worth noting that, in relation to Palestine, a majority of Israelis and of US Jews appear to dissent from the Netanyahu position and at least oppose further demolition of Palestinian homes and expansion of settlements. Maybe they are anti-Semites too.