God, Hope & Helping Others
Guest column by Tom Are
FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2015
How Can He Keep a Straight Face?
September 2, 2002, a year and a day after the 9/11 attack, Benjamin Netanyahu stood before our congress and said, “There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking and working and advancing toward the development of nuclear weapons — no question whatsoever. Saddam is hell bent upon achieving atomic bomb capabilities as soon as he can. I believe that even free and unfettered inspections will not uncover these portable manufacturing sites of mass destruction “
Representative Dan Burton summarized, “Your statement boils down to one thing, that is, do we react to another attack on America after hundreds of thousands or millions of lives have been lost or do we preempt that kind of action from happening in the first place?”
Rachel Maddow says, “Which is what we did. We preempted. We invaded Iraq and none of the things said about Saddam Hussein turned out to be true.”
In 2002 congress invited Benjamin Netanyahu to speak as an expert witness, an expert on why the US had to start a preemptive war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, or, as he explained, it would be the end of the world. That was 2002.
Now, in 2015, house republicans invited him back to make a case again about the end of the world. This time though, he sees it coming from Iran. “That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would almost guarantee that Iran gets those weapons. Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far corners of the earth including every part of the United States. The Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear trip wires, a region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars, would turn into a nuclear tinder box, would face a much more dangerous Iran. The Middle East littered with nuclear bombs in a count down to a potential nuclear nightmare.”
While our congress pledges allegiance to the head of another state, those of us who are less intimidated by AIPAC wonder how he can keep a straight face. He screams bloody murder because Iran could someday get a nuclear weapon while all along knowing Israel built nuclear bombs, has refused to become a party to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and has never opened its sites to inspectors. Netanyahu brags that for the first time in history, Israel has the means of defending itself. What he means is that for the first time in history, Israel has the power to annihilate other people.
John F. Kennedy said that Israel with a bomb would initiate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. So, Israel lied to the whole world about it, including the United States,.
According to non-Israeli sources, simulated control rooms were built, the entrances to underground levels were bricked up, and pigeon droppings were scattered around some buildings in which the forbidden installations were housed to give the impression that they were not in use.
No wonder Netanyahu is panicked. For its whole life, modern Israel has been the bully of its neighborhood. But its hegemony in the Middle East is coming to an end and he knows it. Sooner or later, a hostile nation will “get the bomb.” Then another. Israel pressured our Congress into destroying Iraq. Now, twelve years later, wearing his paranoia like a badge of honor, Netanyahu demands that the US go to war with Iran. And our congress applauded.
With a straight face, Netanyahu said, “We need to stop the aggression in the Middle East.” Then, he referred to the goons in Gaza, the lackeys in Lebanon and the revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights as, “clutching Israel with tentacles of terror.” Does he think that anyone with even the intelligence of congress would not recognize Gaza, Lebanon and the Golan Heights as three lands Israel illegally invaded in its program of expansion?
It is amazing that he would even mention Gaza. Eight years of siege and three bombardments in six years has left Gaza destitute. Last summer, Israel dropped 800 tons of explosives, including phosphorous cluster bombs on 750 locations, killing 2,100 people, mostly civilians including 500 children. Israel destroyed 18,000 homes in Gaza, leaving 24,000 displaced, deliberately targeted hospitals, schools, and old age nursing homes. When winter came, Netanyahu cut off electricity and blockaded fuel. As he spoke to our congress, children were still sick and without medical care. Some have frozen to death. Yet, Netanyahu portrays Israel as the victim, and he does it with a straight face.
Palestinians are the occupied. Israel is the occupier. An occupier does not defend itself against an occupied population. The occupier controls the power structure. The occupier is the dominant force militarily and economically. The occupier determines what goes in and what comes out of the territories it occupies. Even under international law, an occupier must provide security for the people it occupies. Yet, we consistently hear about Israel’s need to ensure its security.
Netanyahu said that we must, “stop Iran’s conquest, subjugation and terror.” And he said it with a straight face. Then he adds, “if Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, then let it act like a normal country.” Was he looking in a mirror?
Under Netanyahu’s leadership, the Israeli government has ramped up illegal settlement buildings, increasing the population of Jewish settlers by over 23%, made the biggest land grab in a generation, committed countless human rights abuses and killed thousands of citizens in the West Bank and Gaza, and done everything possible to maintain the status quo of Israeli occupation and domination.
It’s time for those of us who yearn for a peaceful world to say with a straight face to Netanyahu and Israel, “If Israel wants to be treated like a normal country, then let it act like a normal country.”
March 6, 2015
 Both of these quotes, 2002 and 2015 are a matter of public record. I lifted them from the Rachel Maddow, Program March 3, 2015..
 Ari Shavit, My Promised Land, (Spiegel and Grau, New York, 2013) p. 186
 Deanna Othman, Sawyer Blunder indicative of Noxious Bias against Palestinians in American Journalism, Huffington Post. July 11, 2014
 Philip Weiss, State Dept says Netanyahu Speech is not inappropriate, disrespectful, humiliating or embarrassing., Mondoweiss, January 28, 2015
SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2015
Can’t Have it Both Ways
Even Bibi can’t have it both ways. On the one hand, he appeals to Jews all over the world, especially Europe, saying come to Israel, it is the only place on the globe where a Jew can be safe.
Then, he turns around and addresses our US congress declaring that Israel and all its citizens are on the verge of being wiped off the face of the earth by Iran. For two decades now, Netanyahu has declared Iran about one year from getting “the bomb,” which will immediately be dropped on Israel.
So, is Israel a safe place or not? Even Bibi can’t have it both ways.