Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using the earthquake that has killed more than 500 people in Iran to score political points against Iran. “Our humanity is greater than their hatred,” he said.
Speaking by video to a major American Jewish group in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, Netanyahu said he offered disaster aid to Iran and Iraq:
I’ve said many times that we have no quarrel with the people of Iran. Our quarrel is only with the tyrannical regime that holds them hostage and threatens our destruction. But our humanity is greater than their hatred. Israel continues to be a light unto the nations and this is what I am proud of. And all of you can be proud of Israel’s morals and Israel’s might.”
The Times of Israel says the offer was turned down.
According to an official in Netanyahu’s office, the offer was immediately rejected.
“This shows the true face of the Iranian regime,” the official said.
Iran surely has its reasons. The country has been isolated from western trade, finance, and tourism for decades in some measure because of Israel’s ferocious criticism of its regional rival. Netanyahu over and over likens the Iranians to Nazis, characterizes the Iranian regime as “evil,” and he and his allies in the U.S. have issued threats to attack Iran. Along with Saudi Arabia, now.
The earthquake struck Sunday in western Iran. The death toll so far is 530 in Iran and another 9 in Iraq.
Netanyahu’s talking point about Iranian “hate” was echoed by the former US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, who is working now for an Israeli thinktank. Shapiro tweeted:
Sadly, Iran hates Israel more than it wants to find earthquake victims buried in the rubble. Turned-down top-notch disaster relief out of hate.
In a second video describing his offer, Netanyahu said Israel extends aid out of kindness (in Haiti, the Philippines and Mexico) because Jews know what it’s like for the world to turn its back on them.
“Closer to home we have treated thousands of Syrians… Syrian civilians…. We do it because it’s the right thing to do. Too many times in my people’s history the world failed to act when it could, the world failed to do the right thing. So we have a special sensitivity to help those in need….This is Israel, compassionate caring kind.”
Photo-op rejected, hasbarah talking point reinforced.
Scott Roth called Netanyahu’s offer “disingenuous”:
When Israel stops causing human catastrophes then it will get credit for helping when a natural one occurs.
More from Roth:
It takes a special kind of chutzpah to be righteous after the country you’ve been trying to wreck refuses your “aid” after a natural disaster, AND then you try to score cheap hasbara points against said country.