Archive for Benjamin Netanyahu

The Assassination of Iranian Scientists Continues

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2012 by loonwatch
Benjamin Netanyahu

Do we even have to spell out a “what if…” scenario here?

MJ Rosenberg has a great piece on the assassination campaign against Iranian scientists and its implications.

Assassination in Tehran: An act of war?

by MJ Rosenberg (AlJazeera English)

Washington, DC – I rarely learn anything meaningful from reading The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg. In my opinion, his tight relationship with the Israeli government and its lobby here greatly influences his take on both foreign and domestic events. Although he occasionally deviates from the Israeli line, he not only appears very uncomfortable doing so, he tends to correct course fairly rapidly.

Nonetheless, in a Goldberg column about Iran this week, there was one paragraph that was dead-on and which he will have a hard time taking back (should he be so inclined).

Writing about a piece in the current edition of Foreign Affairs that endorses bombing Iran as a neat and cost-free way to address its nuclear programme, Goldberg explains why he thinks the author, Council on Foreign Relations fellow Matthew Kroenig, is wrong. Goldberg says he now believes:

 …that advocates of an attack on Iran today would be exchanging a theoretical nightmare – an Iran with nukes – for an actual nightmare: A potentially out-of-control conventional war raging across the Middle East that could cost the lives of thousands Iranians, Israelis, Gulf Arabs and even American servicemen.

Think about that for a minute. Uber-hawk Jeffrey Goldberg is saying that the threat posed by Iran is a “theoretical nightmare” while a war ostensibly to neutralise that threat would present an “actual nightmare”.

No critic of US policy toward Iran could say it better or would say it differently. And why would we?

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has not yet made the decision to go nuclear. Speaking to CBS’ Face the Nation last Sunday, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta made the same point. Iran is not working on the bomb.

We do know, as Goldberg says, that a “potentially out-of-control conventional war raging across the Middle East” could “cost the lives of thousands of Iranians, Israelis, Gulf Arabs and even American servicemen”.

And that makes the decision against war a no-brainer. As Goldberg puts it:

Now that sanctions seem to be biting – in other words, now that Iran’s leaders understand the President’s seriousness on the issue – the Iranians just might be willing to pay more attention to proposals about an alternative course.

That alternative course would be an attempt “to try one more time to reach out to the Iranian leadership in order to avoid a military confrontation over Tehran’s nuclear programme”.

In short, dialogue.

The US, to this day, has never attempted a true dialogue with Tehran. Even under President Obama, all we have done is issue demands about its nuclear programme and offer to meet to discuss precisely how they comply with those demands.

That is not dialogue and it’s not negotiation; it’s an ultimatum.

The one attempt at dialogue (i.e., a discussion that involves give and take by both sides) was initiated by the Iranian government in 2003. That was when it proposed, according to the Washington Post, “a broad dialogue with the United States,” in which “everything was on the table – including full co-operation on nuclear programmes, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups”. In exchange, Iran wanted normalisation of relations with the United States.

As is well known, the United States did not respond. In fact, we chastised the Swiss intermediary who delivered the offer for having the temerity to do so.

It was us, not Iran, that spurned a process that would have led to improved relations.

Rather than diplomacy, we’ve pursued a policy of sanctions, which we escalate every time the war lobby demands them.

But sanctions will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapon capability, nor will “regime change”, considering that Iranians across the political spectrum support the Iranian nuclear programme. The only effect sanctions have is to please AIPAC, which has made confronting Iran central to its mission. AIPAC writes the sanctions bills, Congress passes them, the president signs them, and the Iranian people (not the regime) bear the brunt of the effects. (The politicians who endorse such measures, however, quite often are well rewarded.)

Goldberg deserves some credit for calling for dialogue. But his seriousness is undermined when he explains that the US offer must be our final one. Although real dialogue is a process, Goldberg’s suggestion is to try to talk just “one more time”. And then: war.

Nonetheless, Goldberg does not seem to be on the same page as the Israeli government or its neoconservative backers here, who reject any dialogue at all.

Any doubt on that score came today when an Iranian civilian nuclear scientist was assassinated in his car on a Tehran street. This was the fifth Iranian scientist killed in such an attack in the last two years.

The attack today certainly looks like an Israeli hit, especially when top Israelis themselves have warned that “unnatural” events were about to befall Iran. At this point, circumstantial evidence is all we can go on.

“For those hell-bent on getting the US engaged in a war that even Jeff Goldberg views as a ‘nightmare’ for both the US and Israel, this is a very good day indeed.”

That, and the answer to the ancient Latin question: Cui bono? Who benefits? (Check out Commentary, the neocon website that iscelebrating the murder.)

In theory, at least, the Netanyahu government benefits. A 32-year-old Iranian nuclear scientist is dead. The opportunities for dialogue or successful multilateral negotiations diminishes. And, if Iran responds in any way, US neocons (including Congress, which will recite its AIPAC talking points) will intensify calls for war.

On the other hand, actions like these against civilians in one country endanger civilians in others. Imagine how the United States or Israel would react if Iran or even Canada started bumping off nuclear scientists (or anyone else) in Washington.

Innocents in Israel, the US, Europe or elsewhere will pay a price for this criminal act of colossal stupidity. And from a security standpoint, such clear acts of aggression can only convince the mullahs that they need to develop a nuclear deterrent.

Here is Jeff Goldberg again in a column subsequent to the one I already cited:

If I were a member of the Iranian regime (and I’m not), I would take this assassination program to mean that the West is entirely uninterested in any form of negotiation (not that I, the regime official, has ever been much interested in dialogue with the West) and that I should double-down and cross the nuclear threshold as fast as humanly possible. Once I do that, I’m North Korea, or Pakistan: An untouchable country.

In short, for those hell-bent on getting the US engaged in a war that even Jeff Goldberg views as a “nightmare” for both the US and Israel, this is a very good day indeed.

Congratulations. Or something like that.

MJ Rosenberg is a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network. The above article first appeared in Foreign Policy Matters, a part of the Media Matters Action Network.

You can follow MJ on twitter @MJayRosenberg

State Funded Terrorism by the Israeli Government

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by loonwatch

The hollow words of Netanyahu are even more pronounced when we realize his government is in fact funding extremist radical Yeshivas (Jewish religious colleges) in West Bank settlements.

Can you imagine if this were a Muslim country? We wouldn’t hear the end of “state funded terrorism.” (hat tip: T.H. and MrIslamAnswersBack)

Israeli agency urges funding to be cut from extremist settler college

by Donald MacIntyre (The Independent)

Israel’s domestic intelligence agency is urging the government to stop funding a religious college in a Jewish West Bank settlement after warning that its senior rabbis are encouraging students to attack Palestinians.

The intelligence agency, Shin Bet, pressed a month ago for an immediate block on the annual £226,000 grant for the religious college, or yeshiva, in the notoriously extreme settlement of Yitzhar, near Nablus. The Education Ministry has reportedly yet to take a decision despite two meetings with Shin Bet.

Residents of the nearby Palestinian village of Asira El Qbilya say the masked, club-wielding teenage settlers who invaded it last week came from Yitzhar.

The Israeli military disclosed last month that it had issued restraining orders on 12 settlers from the Yitzhar area for “violent and clandestine activity” targeting Palestinians in the West Bank, including endangering lives by “igniting… mosques, vehicles and buildings”.

The head of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva complex in the settlement, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, has been filmed accompanying students who threw stones at a Palestinian village. Rabbi Shapira is the author of The King’s Torah, a book which suggests that Jewish law on occasion permits the killing of non-Jews.

There was heightened tension in parts of the West Bank last week as Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, submitted his application for UN recognition. A Palestinian was shot dead in Qusra, also near Nablus, by Israeli troops after confronting villagers who gathered in response to a settler invasion. A Jewish settler and his one-year-old son were killed in a car crash near Hebron, which the police say was probably caused by Palestinians throwing stones.

Meanwhile, the US joined Palestinian leaders in condemning Israeli government approval yesterday for the construction of 1,100 new homes in the Jerusalem area settlement of Gilo. It came only days after the international quartet of the US, EU, Russia and the UN urged the parties to “refrain from provocative actions” that might jeopardise future negotiations.

A US State Department official said Washington saw the “continued expansion of settlements” as “corrosive not only to peace efforts and a two-state solution, but to Israel’s future itself”.

Breaking News: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Son Hates Islam and Muslims

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by loonwatch

Can I just say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Imagine if this had been a Muslim leaders son and he said something similar? Now Bibi is crying for context and understanding, sad.

Yair Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister’s Son, Creates Facebook Ruckus With Arab, Muslim Posts

JERUSALEM — The Israeli prime minister’s 19-year-old son posted disparaging comments about Arabs and Muslims on his Facebook page, an Israeli paper reported Friday

Earlier this year, Yair Netanyahu posted that Muslims “celebrate hate and death,” the Haaretz daily reported. After Palestinian assailants entered a West Bank settlement and stabbed five members of an Israeli family to death, he wrote that “terror has a religion and it is Islam.”

Yair Netanyahu, the eldest of the prime minister’s two sons, is currently a soldier in the Israeli military’s media liaison unit.

A lawyer for the Netanyahu family, David Shimron, said the comments were those of a “teenager” and were “taken out of context in an attempt to defame the prime minister and his family,” Shimron said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.

According to the Haaretz report, the prime minister’s son also ran a Facebook group that called for a boycott of Arab businesses and products, and used obscenities to describe Arabs. He was 17 at the time. The group had a total of 23 members, the paper reported.

In another comment, he wrote that there had never been a Palestinian state and that he hoped “there would never be one.”

Haaretz said the comments in question were removed within two hours of the paper’s request for a response from the prime minister’s representatives.

The younger Netanyahu’s Facebook page also included comments on the Israeli version of the TV show Big Brother and a “like” directed at Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, alongside photos of himself with world leaders like Bill Clinton and Silvio Berlusconi.

A military spokesman said commanders had spoken to Netanyahu “to clarify to the soldier the military commands, outlining his mistakes, as would be done with any soldier in a similar situation.”

Some of the comments predated his military service, the military said.

Shimron, the Netanyahu family’s attorney, slammed Haaretz for reporting the comments.

“Bringing them up now is ridiculous and shows the cynical use of the words of a teenager, said in anger, when he could not imagine that someone would someday make use of them,” the lawyer wrote.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife believe in moderation and tolerance, and they respect all people without regard for their religion, origin or nationality and that is how they raise their children,” the statement said.

The families of Israeli leaders have typically been kept out of the spotlight, but Netanyahu’s family has sometimes drawn media attention in ways that have been a liability for the Israeli leader.

Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s third wife, has been criticized for allegedly mistreating her household staff and for meddling in state affairs. She has denied the accusations.