Eamonn McCann: Sparks fly over Israeli prime minister’s proposed US visit

Netanyahu expected to call for US intervention to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear bombs

‘We have been here before. At the UN General Assembly in September 2012, Binyamin Netanyahu held up a cartoon of a bomb with a red line drawn across it to illustrate his contention that Iran would be in a position to build its own nuclear weapons by, at the latest, the end of 2013. This turned out to be entirely untrue, as everybody who knew anything about the Middle East recognised from the outset.’ Photograph:  DON EMMERT/AFP/ GettyImages

‘We have been here before. At the UN General Assembly in September 2012, Binyamin Netanyahu held up a cartoon of a bomb with a red line drawn across it to illustrate his contention that Iran would be in a position to build its own nuclear weapons by, at the latest, the end of 2013. This turned out to be entirely untrue, as everybody who knew anything about the Middle East recognised from the outset.’ Photograph: DON EMMERT/AFP/ GettyImages

 

Chutzpah is the word for Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposed address to Congress in Washington next Tuesday. He is expected to call for US intervention to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear bombs.

We have been here before. At the UN General Assembly in September 2012, Netanyahu held up a cartoon of a bomb with a red line drawn across it to illustrate his contention that Iran would be in a position to build its own nuclear weapons by, at the latest, the end of 2013.

This turned out to be entirely untrue, as everybody who knew anything about the Middle East recognised from the outset. We now know from documents leaked to the Guardian and other media outlets that the Israeli intelligence service Mossad had already reported that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce [nuclear] weapons.”

This hasn’t deterred Netanyahu from regularly repeating the same canard. Nor has it dissuaded a dismaying number of members of Congress from hammering out the same message day in and day out on US networks. Thus the invitation to Netanyahu from Republican leaders to provide Congress with his latest assessment of Iranian intentions.

Boycott the speech

The purpose was “to maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties”. The meeting would be timed to allow members of Congress to attend both events. But he has declined their invitation. Obama, too, has made it known he won’t attend the congressional session – not on account of Netanyahu’s failure to follow standard procedure, but because it isn’t done to host a foreign leader in the run-up to an election: Israelis will vote on March 17th.

The nervy nature of the expressions of disapproval was as telling as the Republicans ignoring Obama in issuing the invitation in the first place. The minority of US legislators who have stood up, just, to Netanyahu’s arrogance should not feel particularly aggrieved. The Israeli leader now evidently sees presidents and premiers of all sorts as either uncritical allies or no-account opponents.

In the immediate aftermath of the murders of 11 staff members of Charlie Hebdo and four Jews at a kosher store, Netanyahu needed no invitation to fly to Paris and shoulder his way into the front rank of world leaders assembled to express solidarity. He then urged Jewish French citizens to abandon their country and come to live in Israel where citizenship would be conferred as soon as their feet touched the tarmac.

Netanyahu repeated the exercise following the murder of a cartoonist and a Jewish man guarding a synagogue in Copenhagen earlier this month. Denmark cannot protect you, he urged Jews to believe. Leave now. Come to Israel.

Herein lies the ideological overlap between Zionism and anti-Semitism. Both believe that Jews and Gentiles cannot live together.

Alter basic law

Christians tempted to see these phenomena as savage fantasies from an antique land might usefully ponder the doctrine of manifest destiny.

Half a million Jewish settlers bristling with guns now live on Palestinian land. Plans to consolidate the occupation are well advanced. The Jerusalem Post reports that new projects include 156 “units” at Elkana, 114 at Geva Binyamin, 102 at Kiryat Araba, 78 in Alfei Menashe. Perhaps some will be occupied by families lured or driven from France and Denmark by the deadly combination of Zionists and haters of Jews.

Netanyahu has not baulked at suggesting Israel is the natural homeland of all the world’s Jews, which would make him a sort of King of the Jews. The most dismaying aspect of all this is that a substantial majority of the legislators of the most powerful country in the world think him such a fine fellow they will follow his wishes in preference to the pleas of the president of their own country.

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