“You’ve lost your mind for some reason and you need to be replaced” — Former Israeli PM Barak on current PM Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu’s days are numbered. There is near unanimity among people that matter from the hawkish right to the left that Benjamin Netanyahu remaining Prime Minister is the biggest national security threat to the state of Israel. For the first time there will be recognition by all PM wannabees that egos must be put aside toward the goal of removing Netanyahu. They will use draconian language to emphasize the threat Netanyahu and the “settlers” pose to the Zionist enterprise and terrify the Israeli center.
And while they may sound like the neocons here warning the country about Trump and Fascism, unlike the neocons in America the people issuing the warnings in Israel are not viewed as if they have their own agenda and shouldn’t be trusted. The Israeli Jewish public won’t be able to ignore the many former close allies of Netanyahu who now insist that one more term of Netanyahu is the real existential threat to Israel.
Why is all this happening now? A big part of the answer is that the whole Murdering Medic story (the execution by an Israeli sergeant of a prone Palestinian in occupied Hebron March 24, and the subsequent broad support for the racial murder inside Israeli politics) made clear to a group of very important people in Israel that if there is no “intervention” the dark forces being unleashed by Netanyahu will consume the country and imperil its future.
But another little-spoken-about story is the reverberations in Israel of the Iran deal fiasco. Every new level of Netanyahu hysteria about Iran, each gratuitous disrespect of Obama, the ceaseless attempt to manipulate American opinion and Congress against the deal, the catastrophic speech to Congress– all were met with shock and great concern by the people whose job it is to protect the interest of the state of Israel. And Netanyahu responded in each instance to his critics with an “I got this” and then explained how nobody understands and can manipulate America like Benjamin Netanyahu (Cue the “America can be easily moved” speech of 2001).
The full damage to Israel of Netanyahu’s contemptuous treatment of Obama and his Congress speech will be left to historians to assess. But I think the unpopularity of Israel will not be able to be ignored in Philadelphia this summer as in Democratic conventions past.
This is called an “open secret.” That means you would never know that the Israeli establishment is crumbling by reading the New York Times. But it has been all through Haaretz in recent days, in harsh statements by (former prime minister and general) Ehud Barak and (former defense minister and general) Moshe Ya’alon. These leaders echoed what deputy chief of staff Yair Golan said in his landmark speech about Nazi-like currents in the society, following the wide support for the murdering medic.
Barak, as reported by Haaretz:
Barak accused Netanyahu of damaging memory of the Holocaust. “The Hitlerization of the prime minister of changing regional threats, as hard as they may be, is the essence of cheapening the Holocaust, and nothing else.”
Barak asserted that Netanyahu is engaging in false propaganda when he claims that there exists an unbridgeable contradiction between the security needs of Israel and the two-state solution. Barak stressed that 90 percent of senior security officials agree with him and not with Netanyahu.
Ya’alon joins him, again from Haaretz:
In their speeches, Ya’alon and Barak presented a serious indictment of the prime minister. They two aren’t exactly bosom buddies or political allies, but large parts of their speeches sounded like carbon copies of each other, and their conclusions were the same: Netanyahu is leading Israel into the abyss.
Barak and Ya’alon charged that Netanyahu, whether voluntarily or out of weakness, had been kidnapped by a far-right, racist minority. They accused him of being a liar and a demagogue who sows fear, panic and despair among the public and cheapens the memory of the Holocaust.
And no one will say out loud in the U.S. what they are saying inside Israel about Netanyahu:
Barak, who served as defense minister under Netanyahu from 2009 to 2013 and was considered very close to him, told Channel 2 that “Bibi has no magic, he’s a smart guy who knows the job. We should thank him for all he did for the country, but tell him – you’ve lost your mind for some reason and you need to be replaced.”
I just hope I’m around long enough to read the memoirs from world leaders and their aides and from Israelis themselves about how singularly contemptible Benjamin Netanyahu is. How many officials and leaders saw what I saw when I watched Netanyahu at the Congressional hearing on the Iraq war in 2002: That everything out of his mouth was total bullshit. All he was interested in was saying whatever it took to make an American attack on Iraq more likely. Is there anyone else in the world who can show such a contempt for Congress? And the fact that you’re not allowed to even point this out in the United States– is that Orwellian or Kafkaesque or both? Because Netanyahu had the support of scurrilous American Jewish writers, and Jewish machers too, in foisting his views on us.
Back to Israel: I believe the new “center” will immediately get serious about a final agreement with the Palestinians. All these smart people see the writing on the wall (as Yair Golan does). At a recent think tank event in Washington Israeli general Gadi Shamni said there are three segments in Israeli society: the rightwing zealots who control the government, the broken left, and the great sleeping prosperous middle. What will it take to wake the middle up? he asked. Well that is the political bet that these men are undertaking.
They all know they need to make a deal with the Palestinians ASAP. They have lost the whole world, aside from the US, and even that is in danger. There is a growing international recognition that only pressure will work with Netanyahu and his country. If Israel waits too long they might very well not be negotiating from a position of strength like they are now. In the next year or two they will have 100% American government support if they’re serious. After that who knows what the world or Israel will look like.
Israeli society is rotting from the inside because of the occupation AND ITS DEFENSE by people like Netanyahu and his American propagandists. Israel really is in crisis. And Bret Stephens’s hard labors of the last few years, such as his “blood libel” against the Palestinian, that their resistance is driven by Jewish blood lust along with all their other Jewish tribal fantasies is why Israel is on the brink.
The significant question is why so many Palestinians have been seized by their present blood lust—by a communal psychosis in which plunging knives into the necks of Jewish women, children, soldiers and civilians is seen as a religious and patriotic duty, a moral fulfillment…
Above all, it’s time to give hatred its due. We understand its explanatory power when it comes to American slavery, or the Holocaust. We understand it especially when it is the hatred of the powerful against the weak. Yet we fail to see it when the hatred disturbs comforting fictions about all people being basically good, or wanting the same things for their children, or being capable of empathy.
Today in Israel, Palestinians are in the midst of a campaign to knife Jews to death, one at a time. This is psychotic. It is evil. To call it anything less is to serve as an apologist, and an accomplice.
Thanks in large part to its American propagandists, the world gave Israel exemption to be as “tribal” and as “fascist” and “populist” as they want; and now the chicken is coming to roost in the form of the murdering medic and Netanyahu saying that he is our child. And all the smart people see this, and a few will unite and beat Netanyahu.
Now Israeli security leaders are taking on this sinister delusion. And they will have the support of many American Jews and the Israeli Jewish center because all these people can’t wait until liberals around the world can support Israel again as in days gone by. And that will require serious negotiations on Israel’s part, which cannot of course happen with Netanyahu at the helm.
This is not a “political” fight between Netanyahu and his political enemies– as Jeffrey Goldberg would have it, if he only had the balls to write about this, but he doesn’t. (I think he’s waiting for the last second to see how the chips fall, and see what the future will be, in order to not make the wrong move. He has too much to lose by being wrong. He has to get this story right in order to continue to be the leading hasbarist in America.) But that’s Goldberg. There are people in Israel who look at Netanyahu’s “ideological” war and see he is the greatest threat that Israel ever had. Netanyahu’s whole discourse is not about what’s good for the country: No, his “ideology,” his “story” that he is acting out on the world stage is about Jews in history: the Nazis’ diabolical hatred of the Jews, the absolute innocence of Jews always and forever, the enemy of the Jews was always evil. That is Netanyahu’s new Jewish cult that replaced the Jewish religion. It’s what he read when he was a kid and has not stopped reading since. It colored the whole Iran hysterics.
But he is also doing it for the heck of it: because he can. Because Netanyahu and his American host of James Kirchick, Bret Stephens and Jeffrey Goldberg believe the world owes the Jews. It’s payback for all the countries that did nothing to save the Jews from Hitler. We are allowed to make you all crazy because no one in the west listened to Hitler’s threats. And the pure cynicism of the undertaking was exposed by former intelligence chief Efraim Halevy who said the idea of Iran as an existential threat was laughable. Iran isn’t an existential threat for “the next 1000 years”. And as he pointed out, once the deal with Iran was signed Netanyahu never brought it up again. What happened to the existential threat? And when a good smart journalist like James Fallows did his job and said this back when it mattered, he got called an anti-Semite by the tribal Jewish mafia in the person of the execrable Kirchick.
And what is the result of this manipulation?
The whole Zionist project is in jeopardy.