Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in regular form today on NBC’s flagship show Meet the Press. His hyperbole included this gem, per Talking Points Memo: “[Iran is] in the red zone. You know, they’re in the last 20 yards and you can’t let them cross that goal line. You can’t let them score a touchdown because that would have unbelievable consequences — grievous consequences for the peace and security of us all, of the world really.”
And while Netanyahu’s interview capped off a week of bad optics for the US-Israeli relationship, he did manage to score his own touchdown: not having to talk about Palestine.
Host David Gregory–who is being mocked for his assertion that Netanyahu is “the leader of the Jewish people”–let Netanyahu prattle on for 15 minutes without mentioning the word Palestine or Palestinians. This is Gregory’s fault–he could have easily asked one question about the unending expansion of Israeli settlements, or racist mob violence in Jerusalem. Or how about the Palestinian Authority’s planned bid to once again go to the United Nations to ask for international recognition of statehood?
Alas, Gregory was solely focused on Iran, as is Netanyahu. Any gaze turned away from Israeli expansionism and apartheid is a victory for Netanyahu, no matter if he has blundered badly in his public hectoring of the Obama administration. Netanyahu–and AIPAC–have won for now by turning the world’s attention away from Palestine.