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Deconstructing Netanyahu’s response to the Iran deal

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Last week, an agreement was reached that will effectively limit Iran’s nuclear program, in exchange for reducing international sanctions on oil and finances that have crippled Iran’s economy. The United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, Germany and the United States worked with Iran for nearly two years to create an agreement that was acceptable to all parties.

Certainly, there are flaws in the deal, the most basic of which, perhaps, is why Iran is forbidden from having nuclear weapons when Israel is allowed to have them. However, that is a topic for another essay. For now, we will look at the one world leader who is nearly distraught over the deal: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Netanyahu has opposed any agreement with Iran from the start; the point of his address to Congress in March was to convince his Congressional employees, most of whom are on the AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee) payroll in one way or another, that any agreement with the Tehran government would threaten poor, little, defenseless Israel, which only has all the weaponry at U.S. disposal to defend itself.

The Prime Minister is no stranger to making pronouncements to Congress. In 2002, in the lead- up to the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq, he said this: “If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region”. Too bad that wasn’t a money-back guarantee; the U.S. would have quite a check due from Mr. Netanyahu if it had been.

His first response to the new deal with Iran was via Twitter, when he ‘tweeted’ this: “When willing to make a deal at any cost, this is the result. From early reports, we can see that the deal is a historic mistake”. It is difficult, of course, to formulate policy or express a detailed opinion in 140 characters, but the Prime Minister expressed himself more clearly a short time later. Said he: “In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing”.

Can we, like scientists in a lab, dissect this statement, and then see if a more astoundingly dishonest and hypocritical set of words has ever been uttered?

  • The deal, Mr. Netanyahu says, “will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars”. Perhaps he is simply jealous; maybe he believes that the only terrorist regime that should be rewarded with hundreds of billions of dollars is his own. Israel, which has separate laws for Israelis and Arabs living within its undefined borders, and which oppresses the Palestinian people in countless cruel and unspeakable ways, relies on billions of dollars annually from the U.S. to continue its illegal practices. He may believe that the pie is only so big, and if Iran is to get a slice, it means that Israel’s slice will be smaller. How then will he be able to carpet-bomb the Gaza Strip, when it sends a few ineffective rockets into Israel? How will he finance more illegal settlements in the West Bank? In reality, he has little with which to concern himself; Congress will continue to give him all the money he needs to violate the basic human rights of millions of people.
  • “This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region….” Israel has a habit of assassinating Iran’s nuclear scientists, usually by placing bombs in their cars. Does this not constitute ‘aggression in the region’? Last summer, Israel murdered over 2,000 Palestinians, including over 500 children, some as young as infants, some innocently playing on a beach. In violation of international law, Israel bombed residences, mosques, hospitals, press vehicles and United Nations refugee centers. Is this not terrorism? Since Israel’s brutal and bloody founding, it has invaded Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, often multiple times. Is this not ‘aggression in the region’?
  • Mr. Netanyahu also says that this historic agreement will increase Iran’s “efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing.” In modern history, Iran has never attacked another country. What efforts it is making to destroy Israel are a mystery to this writer, but Congress will echo the Prime Minister’s line at every opportunity. After all, what are facts when campaign donations must be solicited?

Mr. Netanyahu seems to greatly enjoy raising the idea of a vulnerable Israel in constant threat from nations that in no way threaten it. In the summer of 2014, it had to ‘defend’ itself from rudimentary homemade Palestinian rockets. It used the most advanced weaponry in the world, dropping more deadly and illegal rockets on the Gaza Strip in 51 days than Gaza had shot into Israel in the previous fourteen years.

Congressional Republicans are nearly as hysterical as the Prime Minister about this agreement. When the only realistic alternative is war, the periodic flexing of U.S. muscle, why seek diplomacy? Wouldn’t it be better to allow Iran to progress towards nuclear weapons, which its spokespeople say they have no interest in, and then invade and grant Iranians the same marvelous advantages the U.S. brought to the people of Iraq?

Many members of the U.S. Congress still haven’t learned that might doesn’t, in fact, make right. The mythical bugaboo of Islamic terrorism is now used to justify any military action the U.S. takes, and diplomacy, as demonstrated in negotiations with Iran, just doesn’t fit the prevailing script.

But perhaps a significant crack has appeared in the veneer of militarism as the solution for everything. This would be a profound advancement, since militarism, in fact, creates more problems than it ever solves. It is to be hoped that the U.S. Congress doesn’t succeed in thwarting this new agreement with Iran, so the world can retreat, if ever so slightly, from nuclear disaster.

About Robert Fantina

Robert Fantina is an author and activist for peace and international human rights. A U.S. citizen, he moved to Canada following the 2004 presidential election. His writing appears regularly on Counterpunch.org, Warisacrime.org, and other sites. Mr. Fantina resides near Toronto, Ontario.

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10 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson on July 23, 2015, 3:39 pm

    RE: “Mr. Netanyahu has opposed any agreement with Iran from the start; the point of his address to Congress in March was to convince his Congressional employees, most of whom are on the AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee) payroll in one way or another” ~ Robert Fantina

    FROM THE CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS (opensecrets.org):

    Pro-Israel: Money to Congress
    • All cycles
    •Top 20 Members
    • Pro-Israel

    Candidate /// Amount

    Obama, Barack (D) $2,224,126
    Lieberman, Joe (I-CT) $2,036,124
    Kirk, Mark (R-IL) $1,832,119
    Levin, Carl (D-MI) $1,609,085
    McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $1,548,271
    Berkley, Shelley (D-NV) $1,405,855
    McCain, John (R-AZ) $1,252,932
    Specter, Arlen (D-PA) $1,231,995
    Clinton, Hillary (D-NY) $1,204,816
    Cantor, Eric (R-VA) $1,164,061
    Wyden, Ron (D-OR) $1,028,407
    Durbin, Dick (D-IL) $999,362
    Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL) $903,144
    Landrieu, Mary L (D-LA) $881,919
    Hoyer, Steny H (D-MD) $831,765
    Schumer, Charles E (D-NY) $814,399
    Lowey, Nita M (D-NY) $778,484
    Cardin, Ben (D-MD) $775,915
    Boxer, Barbara (D-CA) $767,893
    Harkin, Tom (D-IA) $756,560

    SOURCE – http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/summary.php?ind=Q05&cycle=All&recipdetail=M&sortorder=U

  2. Neil Schipper
    Neil Schipper on July 23, 2015, 4:17 pm

    Trotskyites admire dictatorships, and regularly offer up spirited apologetics for dictatorships.

    What Trotskyites rarely do, however, is come out and say: The dictatorship that we wish to impose on you will be good for you. You’re gonna like it.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on July 24, 2015, 8:20 pm

      “What Trotskyites rarely do…”

      I think we’ve been promoted from “Stalinist”, but I’m not sure.

      Trotsky is dead, “Schlipper”. The Stalinists gave him their awl.

  3. Scott
    Scott on July 23, 2015, 7:04 pm

    Good piece. How does Mr. Fantina feel about being ruled by the vile Harper instead of Obama? Not trying to be snarky, just curious.

  4. talknic
    talknic on July 24, 2015, 6:26 am

    Is there any difference in the essence of the following two statements?

    1) “Israel must end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem”

    2) “The occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the pages of time”

    It would seem Iran has been reiterating the UNSC take on the matter http://wp.me/pDB7k-W8

  5. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz on July 24, 2015, 6:43 am

    Lets not forget that the money Iran will “get”, will be their own money – previously frozen by western banks. While the money Israel gets and will get are American taxpayer money.

    Also, when Netanyahu says that Iran threatens Israel, he refers to links with Hamas and Hezbollah – two organisations that are defending (sometimes more effectively, sometimes less) native people of Palestine and Lebanon from Israel’s past and ongoing aggression.

  6. Kay24
    Kay24 on July 24, 2015, 7:46 am

    Anyone interested in informing Leonard Lance that his first loyalty is to the US and not Israel, feel welcome to tell him so.

    “Dear Friend,

    As you may know, President Obama announced a nuclear deal with Iran recently. Now, Congress has fewer than 60 days to decide whether to accept or reject the deal and I am hosting a special telephone town hall meeting on Tuesday July 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to get your feedback.

    During the call I will take your questions and also share my views on why I believe that this deal is bad for the United States and our allies – particularly Israel – and why I believe Congress must forcefully reject it.

    Here’s the information you need to join the call at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28:

    Phone Number: (908) 977-1113

    I spent an afternoon reading the deal, and I want you to have the opportunity to do the same. That’s why, in an effort to be as transparent as possible, I’ve made the text of this historically bad deal available on my website: READ THE DEAL

    I look forward to speaking with you on Tuesday, July 28.

    Best personal wishes,

    Leonard Lance

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