What is ‘the helicopter on the Saigon embassy roof moment’ for US and Israel?

Israel/Palestine
on 30 Comments

More and more folks are talking about reducing aid to Israel. Senator Rand Paul has suggested it, to give Israel more autonomy. Yesterday a Zionist writer suggested a small cut in part to make Israel act more “responsibly” in its region. The recommendations reminded me that the last time I saw Yossi Gurvitz, he described US sanctions on Israel as the “helicopter on the Saigon embassy roof” moment — that moment when the client state realizes it’s being abandoned by the empire, and all hell breaks loose, as it did in Saigon in 1975.

I asked Gurvitz if a cut in aid would be such a moment. He wrote:

Not just yet, I think. This would be seen as just another blow by Obama on Netanyahu. I think a “helicopter on the roof” moment would be when the US would decline to use its veto in the UN Security Council. Particularly if the Palestinians use their new status as a way to indict Israeli officers and officials. Should that happen – the chance for that are, of course, vanishingly small – I think many Israeli politicians and officials would be themselves looking for helicopters. Sincerely, Yossi

30 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    January 22, 2013, 1:29 pm

    “Helicopters on the roof” — what a wonderful image. (But would China rescue Israel? Great arms manufacturers!) Has Obama named another replacement UN Ambassador yet? Someone who — in a proper case, of course — would be embarrassed to use a veto?

    • Citizen
      January 22, 2013, 2:47 pm

      @ pabelmont

      Israel has been sending flowers and perfume to China like crazy, aware that England’s initial key support fell, than France’s key support petered out, and now America’s may do the same. From the time of Balfour, Israel and its world-wide support staff (the only ethnic group with such reach and power) has always, will always depend on a relative or actual superpower–problem is that China is immune from Shoah guilt and hence Israel will actually have to pay through the nose for China’s support. It’s not use to that. In a way, it’s hilarious.

      • Don
        January 22, 2013, 6:41 pm

        And let us not forget India…
        link to youtube.com
        Actually, I have been desperately trying to forget.

      • Citizen
        January 23, 2013, 4:53 am

        @ Don
        Hilarious, Dinka Digga or whatever. How cheesy can they get? SNL couldn’t dream this up.

      • W.Jones
        January 23, 2013, 4:54 am

        Don,

        I think it’s good music and the dancers are pretty. But the rockets in it are weird, and I am not sure she should trust the dude. What do you think?

  2. Elliot
    January 22, 2013, 1:34 pm

    More and more folks are talking about reducing aid to Israel.
    Add Netanyahu to that list. At his first address to Congress near the beginning of his first terms in office, Netanyahu declared he would wean Israel off US aid.
    Of course, he got the applause. Meanwhile, economic journalists back in Israel (such as Haaretz’s Nehemiah Strassler) mocked Netanyahu’s proposal as unrealistic.
    He didn’t mean it anyway.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 22, 2013, 2:14 pm

      elliot, weening israel from US aid is a big talking point for the rough n tumble ‘we can do it alone’ zio crowd, but they’re never serious. we can see this talking pt from their advocates, like recently rand paul during (or right after) his trip to israel, then in the next sentence he wobbles about..not now! so they want to be perceived as independent while they’re racking in the doe.

      • Chu
        January 22, 2013, 4:57 pm

        Netanyahu can say that for the press – nothing more. Macho-man yahoo doesn’t want to look like a pansy when he gets his state welfare check from uncle sam, so he says some bravado to placate the media.

  3. Abu Malia
    January 22, 2013, 2:10 pm

    “Its gonna taco homes”

    You see, a wise Latino was cruising down the blvd. in his 64 Chevy Impala drop-top – that is a convertible for you squares (ehm! Mooser) when he came across an idiot chopping the top off of a full sized American sedan to convert it into a drop-top.

    The Latino guy shouted at the idiot – “Homes its gonna taco”. He could have explained to him that the vehicle is not designed to be a convertible and cutting the top off with a chainsaw will compromise the structural integrity of the car – making it unsafe and possibly making it taco at the top.

    Israel is gonna taco homes!

    • pabelmont
      January 22, 2013, 9:26 pm

      Mooser, help me. I’m too square to understand this discussion. But it looks too good to miss out on. And, good of Abu Malia to provide an Hispanic take on Israel.

      • Citizen
        January 23, 2013, 4:57 am

        Fold in like a taco shell when it meets pressure, like when you bite into a taco.

  4. Krauss
    January 22, 2013, 2:25 pm

    What will be most astonishing is how many of Israel’s American supports, many of them fanatic, who led the way to that moment – but without their own blood, sweat and tears on the line. No, they’re armchair warriors.
    One day Israel will wake up as the world has abandoned it, and it’s American supporters will just lament it in their neocon rags and go on with life.

  5. James Canning
    January 22, 2013, 2:43 pm

    I think Obama would actually be doing Israel a service, if he stopped the foolish US policy of blocking any UNSC resolution the ISRAEL LOBBY dislikes.

  6. Citizen
    January 22, 2013, 2:53 pm

    LOL
    Israel is always in an ironic fix. It want to be independent, but in the long run this is not it’s call. It’s the call of the goy, whatever nation, whatever time. It goes on for years with all falling its way–then, one day, things change. How could they not? That’s a goy question of course. And we all know they are cattle, with that mentality. the problem is, at some time down the road, the cattle wake up. Is this not the history of the Jews, the shadow history behind their own celebrations?

  7. MarkF
    January 22, 2013, 2:58 pm

    Didn’t Eric Cantor move the aid over to the DoD budget? I thought he did something to ensure it was not categorized as foreign aid, making it virtually untouchable once it’s buried in the pentagon’s billions.

    • Citizen
      January 23, 2013, 5:16 am

      @MarkF
      Cantor was working hard to do this a couple of years ago. Cannot find an update on the internet whether he succeeded in moving aid to Israel to the DoD. Maybe it should be moved since US taxpayers pay more to IDF budget than Israelis do, as per Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi: link to veteransnewsnow.com

      Or create a new accounting file IDF, not DoD.

  8. American
    January 22, 2013, 3:07 pm

    ”when the US would decline to use its veto in the UN Security Council”

    Wouldn’t that be great. We could just abstain from voting…..that would be enough to do it.

  9. Tom Suarez
    January 22, 2013, 4:43 pm

    To me, the interesting aspect will be whether the “helicopter on the roof” will carry away with it the decades of misinformation and mythology which have empowered US empowerment, or whether — as was the case with Vietnam — the US never admits that it was the bad guy. How will “we” explain cutting (or even narrowing) the umbilical cord to our neo-colonial surrogate? Indeed if our standard line about Israel were true, we’ve been getting a good deal all these years, a mere some-odd billion a year for stability and a shining beacon of enlightenment furthering our own security.
    Will the “helicopter on the roof” leave behind the “elephant in the room” for all to see?

  10. Hostage
    January 22, 2013, 5:34 pm

    I think a “helicopter on the roof” moment would be when the US would decline to use its veto in the UN Security Council. Particularly if the Palestinians use their new status as a way to indict Israeli officers and officials. Should that happen – the chance for that are, of course, vanishingly small – I think many Israeli politicians and officials would be themselves looking for helicopters. Sincerely, Yossi

    I don’t think Palestine would bother with the Security Council. They would just go straight to the ICC. The US doesn’t have a veto there, but the Security Council does. The odds that Israel could muster 9 votes and avoid a veto are nil. There aren’t going to be any helicopters this time.

    • Walid
      January 23, 2013, 1:48 am

      “… They would just go straight to the ICC. The US doesn’t have a veto there, but the Security Council does. The odds that Israel could muster 9 votes and avoid a veto are nil.”

      It’s not about the veto, which the UNSC doesn’t have either. The UNSC under a Chapter VII resolution can invoke the ICC to postpone any of its proceedings, investigations and so on, for a year (renewable) under article 16 of the Rome Statute. It would be easy for the US to get enough of the permanent and non-permanent members to side with it to indefinitely block ICC proceedings against Israel so Palestine would be wasting its time at the ICC. If the US is not averse to doing what it does at the UNSC for Israel, it wouldn’t be any different in doing it at the ICC.

      • Hostage
        January 23, 2013, 5:38 am

        It would be easy for the US to get enough of the permanent and non-permanent members to side with it to indefinitely block ICC proceedings against Israel so Palestine would be wasting its time at the ICC.

        I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that the US has enough political capital with either Russia or China to prevent such a veto. Both countries recognized the State of Palestine in 1988 and have leveraged the political issue of US-backed Zionist aggression against Palestinians ever since. Russia is following the same policy and vetoing US initiatives in the Middle East Quartet, like the demand that Israel be recognized as a “State of the Jewish People”. If they loose their Syrian port, the Russians could always offer to build one in Gaza. They didn’t pay too much attention to US and Israeli objections about building nuclear reactors in Iran.

      • Walid
        January 23, 2013, 12:13 pm

        “… I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that the US has enough political capital with either Russia or China to prevent such a veto. ”

        I was busy counting how easy it would be for the US to twist a few arms within the 10 non-permanents cluster and I left out the certainty that Russia or China would naturally veto the Chapter VII resolution invoking the pro-Israel postponement.

      • Hostage
        January 23, 2013, 2:07 pm

        I left out the certainty that Russia or China would naturally veto the Chapter VII resolution invoking the pro-Israel postponement.

        Fair enough. It’s obvious that the ICC isn’t chomping at the bit. But if the Palestinians do get a investigation going on things, like the construction of illegal settlements, deportation of prisoners, & etc., I think the Security Council would be deadlocked as usual.

  11. Nevada Ned
    January 22, 2013, 6:57 pm

    To see the iconic picture of the helicopter on the roof of the US embassy in Saigon*, go to

    link to internationalviewpoint.org

    *Now renamed Ho Chi Minh city.

    • Sibiriak
      January 22, 2013, 10:31 pm

      And let’s not forget the bigger irony– that Vietnam embraced neoliberalism and joined the global capitalist system not long after the U.S. left.

  12. LanceThruster
    January 22, 2013, 7:27 pm

    I think a “helicopter on the roof” moment would be when the US would decline to use its veto in the UN Security Council.

    Well put.

    We can only hope.

    • RoHa
      January 22, 2013, 8:14 pm

      “Well put.”

      Though it would be better as:

      “I think a “helicopter on the roof” moment would be when the US declined to use its veto in the UN Security Council.”

      The second “would” is wrong.

    • john h
      January 23, 2013, 3:00 am

      It can’t come soon enough. The last two were such an utter disgrace.

  13. Walker
    January 23, 2013, 7:33 am

    Has it come to this? A mere cut in aid is the “helicopter on the roof” moment?

    It used to be that the US not only sometimes declined to use it’s UNSC veto to support Israel, but actually joined in votes to condemn Israeli actions. As far as I know, Israel didn’t regard this as a sign that the US had become and enemy or was abandoning it for good.

    I think it’s hard for anyone under the age of 60 to realize how far the US has moved towards total support of Israel over the years, how much more empowered supporters of Israel are now than ever, and how impoverished the discourse on I/P has become, particularly since 9/11.

  14. EUR1069
    January 23, 2013, 10:34 pm

    @ pabelmont: Sure, China will do just fine. Israel would cut a deal with Satan himself to keep the Zionist fantasy going. Alas, the influence of the Zionist lobby in Beijing would be minuscule, I reckon.

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