Last night Erel Margalit, an entrepreneur who is said to be the richest member of the Israeli Knesset– for Labor Party, went to Columbia University to promote his ideas of economic peace. Israel does nothing to change the Palestinians’ political situation but builds economic development for Palestinians, and works regionally with Arab governments. Later this week he’s going to sell this idea to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Margalit may be on the Israeli “left,” but he’s indistinguishable from the Israeli right, for he said the U.S. needs to take on Iran as a military and economic threat. And Margalit revived a good-old-American expression to try and sell this cooperation, George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” (supposedly coined by the neoconservative David Frum).
The region has many extreme organizations working there. We have ISIS there. We’re hearing about North Korea now. As you know, North Korea was the biggest exporter of nuclear technology both to Iran and to Syria. It’s now ten years since the Syrian nuclear reactor was taken out, but it’s rumored by both American and Israeli intelligence that the North Koreans are providing nuclear technology to Syria yet once more. And I think it needs to be understood that the Israel or the U.S. or the moderate Arab countries, pragmatic Arab countries in the region would not be able to accept that. So containing North Korea and its aggression today is not just about North Korea and the missiles they’re firing over Japan, but it’s really affecting our region as well, so that’s why there needs to be an alliance against the axis of evil, because that could proliferate in the region in a way that would be very harmful. So we want to be working together….
If we’re not going to move, then Iran is not only going to become a threshhold nuclear state, which it is. It’s not only becoming the most active conventional warfare country with activity in Lebanon, activity in Syria, activitiy in Yemen. and as we heard recently in Gaza, but Iran is also becoming an economic superpower. With China, Russia, and Europe– Germany and France and Italy investing heavily inside Iran. It is frightening many of the countries in the Gulf, the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Turks, the Israelis, and the North African states.
The old axis of evil. Someone needs to explain why this is in the American people’s interest, to be at dagger points with Iran? But of course Donald Trump is echoing this belligerence.
The speech, offered to a pro-Israel group at Columbia, shows there is no real opposition to the Netanyahu foreign policy, from the Labor Party; they’re all speaking the same language. Margalit went on to praise Donald Trump for getting it: for visiting Saudi Arabia and laying the framework for Israel being part of a regional economic partnership, albeit with some token steps toward a two-state solution with the Palestinians, some day.
P.S. I’d noted that Danny Sjursen, a U.S. army major, has a superb post up at Tom’s Dispatch questioning the U.S. support for this militarism.
[T]hanks to nearly unqualified — sometimes almost irrational — U.S. support for Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank increasingly resemble walled off penal complexes. You almost have to admire President Trump for not even pretending to play the honest broker in the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He typically told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “One state, two state… I like whichever you like.” The safe money says Netanyahu will choose neither, opting instead to keep the Palestinians in political limbo without civil rights or a sovereign state, while Israel embarks on a settlement bonanza in the occupied territories. And speaking of American exceptionalism, we’re almost alone on the world stage when it comes to our support for the Israeli occupation.
Americans are waking up to this reality– we always say that. But ideologues and Israeli politicians keep pushing us back to sleep.
Thanks to Jesse Rubin.