As you surely know, Donald Trump channeled Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly. He mentioned Iran 14 times (compared to 0 for Russia and 4 for Israel) and all but called for regime change. Iran’s “brutal regime” was financing the destruction of Syria, its leaders “sow chaos, death and destruction,” its “corrupt dictatorship” should be isolated by the world.
This sly appeal was right out of the Netanyahu script:
[W]e ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.
The media made a lot of Trump’s sovereignty doctrine– nationalism and “patriotism” over “globalism” and multilateralism– but even those remarks had a pro-Israel cast. Trump was talking about the US rejection of two Israel-bugaboos, the UN Human Rights Council and International Criminal Court.
As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority…. We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy….America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism…
There is an obvious reason Trump is parroting Netanyahu. Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam are the largest funders of Republicans, ponying up $55 million for the midterm elections. Trump needs Sheldon Adelson now more than ever, and Adelson has a simple agenda, Israel. Adelson backs Netanyahu, pushed the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, opposes negotiations with Palestinians, and called on President Obama to nuke Iran. Adelson wanted Trump to tear up the Iran deal, and he did.
The New York Times ran a good piece on Adelson’s influence last week, saying Sheldon and wife Miriam “have emerged as the biggest and potentially most influential contributors to Republicans in the midterm season,” and that the Adelsons have gotten “their most cherished priorities” from the “unflinchingly pro-Israel” Trump administration. The Times even ran a letter saying the Adelsons bought the presidency.
But it is disappointing that no one in the mainstream press is connecting the Trump administration’s theatrical anti-Iran push in New York yesterday with the rightwing Israel lobby, which seeks a war with Iran.
The agenda is clear. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, addressed an Adelson shop, the organization United Against Nuclear Iran, in NY yesterday, and it was a war party at the Westin Grand Central Hotel. Bolton issued a bellicose warning to Iran to great applause: “If you cross us, our allies, or our partners; if you harm our citizens; if you continue to lie, cheat and deceive, yes, there will indeed be hell to pay.” As Eli Clifton and Derek Davison reported ahead of time:
According to the organization’s guest list, in attendance will be virtually every prominent official both in the United States and overseas who has pushed for a military confrontation with Iran—a veritable who’s who of warmongers…
Those guests included leading officials from countries that want a war with Iran: Yossi Cohen, director of the Israeli Mossad; ambassadors from Bahrain and the UAE; and the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia. Not to mention American hawks Dennis Ross and Joe Lieberman (the UANI chair), and a French one, Bernard Henri-Levy.
Like Trump and the Republicans, UANI has been funded by Adelson. “Sheldon and Miriam Adelson… contributed $500,000 in 2013,” Clifton reports– the same year Adelson called on Obama to nuke Iran.
UANI’s biggest funder is Thomas Kaplan, a billionaire investor who supports liberal and Jewish causes, such as wildlife conservation and the 92d Street Y. Five years ago, Kaplan introduced Benjamin Netanyahu at the 92d Street Y in fulsome terms –hailing the prime minister as the leader of “our people.”
It is… with great humility that we welcome the prime minister of Israel. On his shoulders rests the heavy decisions of not only making a just peace, but confronting a fanatical regime that threatens his people, our people. We are inspired by your leadership, sustained by your faith, and truly honored by your presence.
UANI is closely aligned with Israel. Its board includes Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad director, and Irwin Cotler, the Canadian parliamentarian who is obsessed with BDS. Its contracts include $700,000 to Israeli consulting groups.
And you wonder why the media can’t touch the Israel lobby story; they’d have to talk about national interest, dual loyalty, whatever you want to call it. Sheldon Adelson once said he wished he’d served in the Israeli army, not the American one. Or as Obama said when he was trying to get the Iran deal through, only one country in the world was against it, Israel, and he’d be abrogating his constitutional duty if he didn’t work for the deal.
I recognize that Prime Minister Netanyahu disagrees — disagrees strongly… I believe he is wrong. I believe the facts support this deal. I believe they are in America’s interest and Israel’s interest. And as President of the United States, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally. I do not believe that would be the right thing to do for the United States. I do not believe it would be the right thing to do for Israel.
Obama said the only alternative to the deal was war.
That’s the real issue here. Trump has surrounded himself with warmongers. Though yesterday he tweeted that he is sure that Iranian president Hasan Rouhani is an “absolutely lovely man,” his militant speech at the U.N. was scripted; and the script is what we all have to worry about. Once again neoconservatives are scheming for the invasion of a sovereign country in the Middle East, and it would be helpful if the press described the agenda.