israeli prime minister


The unbelievable has happened! The Prime Minister of Israel is on his way to the US to deliver a speech to Congress, and scores of Congressmen and Congresswomen are announcing that they have better things to do than attend the speech! 

The vice-President led the boycott, followed by Earl Blumenauer of Oregan, and after that the flood-gates started to open! Admittedly, all the boycotters are Democrats, and their public statements suggest that it’s their loyalty to the President and opposition to the political manoeuvrings of the House Speaker that are motivating them to join the boycott. Even so, such a move would have been unthinkable a few years ago! 

Who can forget Netanyahu’s address to Congress where he received 29 standing ovations – more than any US President has ever received. That was in 2011 – only four years ago! Have things really changed that much in four years? In truth, things have changed drastically in the last few years, and it’s not that Congress has wised up. It’s the American people who have wised up, and Congress can’t remain oblivious to the voice of the people forever!

In 2012 Norman Finkelstein published “Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End”. In it he pointed to enormous shifts in public opinion amongst American Jews who were showing ever-increasing disinterest in the foreign state that claimed their allegiance. Surely the best example of this was the influence the Israeli Prime Minister had on the voting patterns of American Jews in 2012 when he voiced unequivocal support for Obama’s Republican rival. Netanyahu’s interventions apparently made no difference whatsoever!

And what’s true for American Jews is a reflection of the changing tide across the rest of the country. There are exceptions, of course. The Christian right seems to be clinging on as the last bastion of American Zionism. Conversely though, according to the survey referred to in the article below, only 16% of African Americans think their representative should attend the Israeli Prime Minister’s address!

Of course there’s a massive gap between boycotting a talk and seeing the end of the Palestinian Occupation. Even so, it’s a step in the right direction, and we all know that Israel can only ignore world opinion about its treatment of the Palestinian people so long as it has the world’s great super-power unequivocally behind it. But that unequivocal support is equivocating!

Father Dave

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu…

The 24 Democrats Who Have Refused to Attend Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

Their constituents agree.

By Zaid Jilani

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) decided to invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a Joint Session of Congress on Iran in early March, he probably thought it’d go a lot like it did in 2011. That year, Netanyahu received 29 standing ovations – more than President Obama got during his State of the Union that year.

But Obama turned the tables on Netanyahu, refusing to meet with him just two weeks before the Israeli elections. He also announced that his vice president, Joe Biden, would not attend the address.

Shortly after Obama’s objection, Democratic Members of Congress started to announce that they wouldn’t attend the speech, either. The first was Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who wrote in a January 29th Huffington Post column that he will “not participate in a calculated slight from the speaker and the House leadership to attack necessary diplomacy.”

Following Blumenauer’s dissent, a steady string of Democratic Caucus members, mostly in the House but in the Senate as well began to announce that they would not attend the speech. Buoyed by poll numbers showing that many of their constituents agree – a plurality of Americans believe Netanyahu’s speech to be “inappropriate” and only 16 percent of African Americans in particular want to see their Member of Congress attend – more and more members are announcing their refusals to attend nearly every day.

To see the list of 21 House Democrats and three Senate Democratic Caucus members who are so far refusing to attend the speech, see Alternet



Father Roy writes:  Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to comment on the decision, but many observers view it as a deliberate impediment to the two-state solution.  Also note: U.S. condemns Israel’s settlement expansion plan in Jerusalem, West Bank and Hillary Clinton warns Israel on settler homes.  Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert calls the decision A slap in Obama’s face… JPost.  The International Debate about the Holy Land issues is growing more robust every day.   Peace, Roy


Israel Authorizes Controversial New Settlements in Revenge for Palestine’s UN Bid

The location of the new settlements are intended to break the contiguity of Palestinian territory in the West Bank, negating two-state solution

by John Glaser, November 30, 2012

Following the overwhelming UN vote for implicit recognition of Palestinian statehood, Israel has authorized the construction of 3,000 more housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and is also speeding up the processing of 1,000 additional planning permissions.

According to the New York Times, the bulk of the new housing units are set to be built “in a controversial area of East Jerusalem known as E1, where Jewish settlements have long been seen as the death knell for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Other parts of the construction projects will connect Jerusalem and the illegal Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, and “therefore make it impossible to connect the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem to Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.”

Connecting Jerusalem to Maale Adumim “will create geographical continuity between the capital and its northern suburb, a move that the US and European countries have warned against,” Haaretz reported.

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to comment on the decision, but many observers view it as a deliberate impediment to the the two-state solution, in revenge for the Palestinians’ peaceful diplomatic efforts to national self-determination at the UN, which was supported by an overwhelming international consensus.

Israel, and especially the administration of Benjamin Netanyahu, simply refuses to accept a Palestinian state. Their efforts, including this latest settlement authorization, to colonize Palestinian territory and undermine the viability of a Palestinian state is representative of their refusal to give up the prospect of a Greater Israel with full sovereignty over all of historic Palestine.


Benjamin Netanyahu

The Israeli Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu – addressed the UN General Assembly on September 27th, 2012, shortly after Mahmoud Abbas gave his address. You can hear the talk via the video or read the full transcript below.

I know I am not unbiased in these matters but I do wonder how many people are still buying into the world-view that the Israeli Prime Minister is selling, with Israel as an Island of civilisation amidst a sea of medieval Islamic terrorism.

Certainly some of the key assertions in this speech need to be called into question:

  • That all people are equal under Israeli law
  • That Israel is making the world a better place
  • That Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons
  • That Iran is the greatest threat to world peace

The most blatant falsehood though, in my opinion, is Netanyahu’s assertion that his government is genuinely committed to some ‘peace process’ with the Palestinians. All the evidence, unfortunately, suggests the opposite.

Father Dave.

A Transcript of Netanyahu’s speech

Thank you very much Mr. President.

It’s a pleasure to see the General Assembly presided by the Ambassador from Israel, and it’s good to see all of you, distinguished delegates.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Three thousand years ago, King David reigned over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem. I say that to all those who proclaim that the Jewish state has no roots in our region and that it will soon disappear.

Throughout our history, the Jewish people have overcome all the tyrants who have sought our destruction. It’s their ideologies that have been discarded by history.

The people of Israel live on. We say in Hebrew Am Yisrael Chai, and the Jewish state will live forever.

The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for thousands of years. Even after most of our people were exiled from it, Jews continued to live in the land of Israel throughout the ages. The masses of our people never gave up the dreamed of returning to our ancient homeland.

Defying the laws of history, we did just that. We ingathered the exiles, restored our independence and rebuilt our national life. The Jewish people have come home.

We will never be uprooted again.

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.

Every year, for over three millennia, we have come together on this day of reflection and atonement. We take stock of our past. We pray for our future. We remember the sorrows of our persecution; we remember the great travails of our dispersion; we mourn the extermination of a third of our people, six million, in the Holocaust.

But at the end of Yom Kippur, we celebrate.

We celebrate the rebirth of Israel. We celebrate the heroism of our young men and women who have defended our people with the indomitable courage of Joshua, David, and the Maccabees of old. We celebrate the marvel of the flourishing modern Jewish state.

In Israel, we walk the same paths tread by our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But we blaze new trails in science, technology, medicine, agriculture.

In Israel, the past and the future find common ground.

Unfortunately, that is not the case in many other countries. For today, a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval.

The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred.

The forces of medievalism seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, in which not life but death is glorified.

These forces clash around the globe, but nowhere more starkly than in the Middle East.

Israel stands proudly with the forces of modernity. We protect the rights of all our citizens:  men and women, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians – all are equal before the law.

Israel is also making the world a better place: our scientists win Nobel Prizes. Our know-how is in every cell-phone and computer that you’re using. We prevent hunger by irrigating arid lands in Africa and Asia.

Recently, I was deeply moved when I visited Technion, one of our technological institutes in Haifa, and I saw a man paralyzed from the waist down climb up a flight of stairs, quite easily, with the aid of an Israeli invention.

And Israel’s exceptional creativity is matched by our people’s remarkable compassion. When disaster strikes anywhere in the world – in Haiti, Japan, India, Turkey Indonesia and elsewhere – Israeli doctors are among the first on the scene, performing life-saving surgeries.

In the past year, I lost both my father and my father-in-law. In the same hospital wards where they were treated, Israeli doctors were treating Palestinian Arabs. In fact, every year, thousands of Arabs from the Palestinian territories and Arabs from throughout the Middle East come to Israel to be treated in Israeli hospitals by Israeli doctors.

I know you’re not going to hear that from speakers around this podium, but that’s the truth. It’s important that you are aware of this truth.

It’s because Israel cherishes life, that Israel cherishes peace and seeks peace.

We seek to preserve our historic ties and our historic peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. We seek to forge a durable peace with the Palestinians.

President Abbas just spoke here.

I say to him and I say to you:

We won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN. That’s not the way to solve it. We won’t solve our conflict with unilateral declarations of statehood.

We have to sit together, negotiate together, and reach a mutual compromise, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the one and only Jewish State.

Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – coexist in peace and in mutual respect.

Yet the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, they oppose this.

They seek supremacy over all Muslims. They are bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world.

Militant Islam has many branches – from the rulers of Iran with their Revolutionary Guards to Al Qaeda terrorists to the radical cells lurking in every part of the globe.

But despite their differences, they are all rooted in the same bitter soil of intolerance. That intolerance is directed first at their fellow Muslims, and then to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, secular people, anyone who doesn’t submit to their unforgiving creed.

They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma and unrelenting conflict.

I am sure of one thing. Ultimately they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness.

We’ve seen that happen before.

Some five hundred years ago, the printing press helped pry a cloistered Europe out of a dark age. Eventually, ignorance gave way to enlightenment.

So too, a cloistered Middle East will eventually yield to the irresistible power of freedom and technology. When this happens, our region will be guided not by fanaticism and conspiracy, but by reason and curiosity.

I think the relevant question is this: it’s not whether this fanaticism will be defeated. It’s how many lives will be lost before it’s defeated.

We’ve seen that happen before too.

Some 70 years ago, the world saw another fanatic ideology bent on world conquest. It went down in flames. But not before it took millions of people with it. Those who opposed that fanaticism waited too long to act. In the end they triumphed, but at an horrific cost.

My friends, we cannot let that happen again.

At stake is not merely the future of my own country. At stake is the future of the world. Nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons.

To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear-armed Iran, just imagine the world with a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda.

It makes no difference whether these lethal weapons are in the hands of the world’s most dangerous terrorist regime or the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization. They’re both fired by the same hatred; they’re both driven by the same lust for violence.

Just look at what the Iranian regime has done up till now, without nuclear weapons.

In 2009, they brutally put down mass protests for democracy in their own country. Today, their henchmen are participating in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians, including thousands of children, directly participating in this murder.

They abetted the killing of American soldiers in Iraq and continue to do so in Afghanistan. Before that, Iranian proxies killed hundreds of American troops in Beirut and in Saudi Arabia. They’ve turned Lebanon and Gaza into terror strongholds, embedding nearly 100,000 missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Thousands of these rockets and missiles have already been fired at Israeli communities by their terrorist proxies.

In the last year, they’ve spread their international terror networks to two dozen countries across five continents – from India and Thailand to Kenya and Bulgaria. They’ve even plotted to blow up a restaurant a few blocks from the White House in order to kill a diplomat.

And of course, Iran’s rulers repeatedly deny the Holocaust and call for Israel’s destruction almost on a daily basis, as they did again this week from the United Nations.

So I ask you, given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons. Imagine their long range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, their terror networks armed with atomic bombs.

Who among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who would be safe in Europe? Who would be safe in America? Who would be safe anywhere?

There are those who believe that a nuclear-armed Iran can be deterred like the Soviet Union.

That’s a very dangerous assumption.

Militant Jihadists behave very differently from secular Marxists. There were no Soviet suicide bombers. Yet Iran produces hordes of them.

Deterrence worked with the Soviets, because every time the Soviets faced a choice between their ideology and their survival, they chose their survival.

But deterrence may not work with the Iranians once they get nuclear weapons.

There’s a great scholar of the Middle East, Prof. Bernard Lewis, who put it best. He said that for the ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement.

Iran’s apocalyptic leaders believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating Holy War, thereby ensuring that their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth.

That’s not just what they believe. That’s what is actually guiding their policies and their actions.

Just listen to Ayatollah Rafsanjani who said, I quote:  ”The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything, however it would only harm the Islamic world.”

Rafsanjani said: “It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”

Not irrational…

And that’s coming from one of the so-called moderates of Iran.

Shockingly, some people have begun to peddle the absurd notion that a nuclear-armed Iran would actually stabilize the Middle East.

Yeah, right…

That’s like saying a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda would usher in an era of universal peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’ve been speaking about the need to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for over 15 years.

I spoke about it in my first term in office as Prime Minister, and then I spoke about it when I left office. I spoke about it when it was fashionable, and I spoke about it when it wasn’t fashionable.

I speak about it now because the hour is getting late, very late. I speak about it now because the Iranian nuclear calendar doesn’t take time out for anyone or for anything. I speak about it now because when it comes to the survival of my country, it’s not only my right to speak; it’s my duty to speak. And I believe that this is the duty of every responsible leader who wants to preserve world peace.

For nearly a decade, the international community has tried to stop the Iranian nuclear program with diplomacy.

That hasn’t worked.

Iran uses diplomatic negotiations as a means to buy time to advance its nuclear program.

For over seven years, the international community has tried sanctions with Iran. Under the leadership of President Obama, the international community has passed some of the strongest sanctions to date.

I want to thank the governments represented here that have joined in this effort. It’s had an effect. Oil exports have been curbed and the Iranian economy has been hit hard.

It’s had an effect on the economy, but we must face the truth. Sanctions have not stopped Iran’s nuclear program either.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, during the last year alone, Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges in its underground nuclear facility in Qom.

At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs. That’s by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Red lines don’t lead to war; red lines prevent war.

Look at NATO’s charter: it made clear that an attack on one member country would be considered an attack on all.  NATO’s red line helped keep the peace in Europe for nearly half a century.

President Kennedy set a red line during the Cuban Missile Crisis. That red line also prevented war and helped preserve the peace for decades.

In fact, it’s the failure to place red lines that has often invited aggression.

If the Western powers had drawn clear red lines during the 1930s, I believe they would have stopped Nazi aggression and World War II might have been avoided.

In 1990, if Saddam Hussein had been clearly told that his conquest of Kuwait would cross a red line, the first Gulf War might have been avoided.

Clear red lines have also worked with Iran.

Earlier this year, Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormouz. The United States drew a clear red line and Iran backed off.

Red lines could be drawn in different parts of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But to be credible, a red line must be drawn first and foremost in one vital part of their program: on Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium. Now let me explain why:

Basically, any bomb consists of explosive material and a mechanism to ignite it.

The simplest example is gunpowder and a fuse. That is, you light the fuse and set off the gunpowder.

In the case of Iran’s plans to build a nuclear weapon, the gunpowder is enriched uranium. The fuse is a nuclear detonator.

For Iran, amassing enough enriched uranium is far more difficult than producing the nuclear fuse.

For a country like Iran, it takes many, many years to enrich uranium for a bomb. That requires thousands of centrifuges spinning in tandem in very big industrial plants. Those Iranian plants are visible and they’re still vulnerable.

In contrast, Iran could produce the nuclear detonator – the fuse – in a lot less time, maybe under a year, maybe only a few months.

The detonator can be made in a small workshop the size of a classroom. It may be very difficult to find and target that workshop, especially in Iran. That’s a country that’s bigger than France, Germany, Italy and Britain combined.

The same is true for the small facility in which they could assemble a warhead or a nuclear device that could be placed in a container ship. Chances are you won’t find that facility either.

So in fact the only way that you can credibly prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, is to prevent Iran from amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb.

So, how much enriched uranium do you need for a bomb? And how close is Iran to getting it?

Let me show you. I brought a diagram for you. Here’s the diagram.


This is a bomb; this is a fuse.

In the case of Iran’s nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages.

The first stage: they have to enrich enough of low enriched uranium.

The second stage: they have to enrich enough medium enriched uranium.

And the third stage and final stage: they have to enrich enough high enriched uranium for the first bomb.

Where’s Iran? Iran’s completed the first stage. It took them many years, but they completed it and they’re 70% of the way there.

Now they are well into the second stage. By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage.

From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

What I told you now is not based on secret information. It’s not based on military intelligence. It’s based on public reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Anybody can read them. They’re online.

So if these are the facts, and they are, where should the red line be drawn?

The red line should be drawn right here…

Before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.

Before Iran gets to a point where it’s a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon.

Each day, that point is getting closer. That’s why I speak today with such a sense of urgency. And that’s why everyone should have a sense of urgency.

Some who claim that even if Iran completes the enrichment process, even if it crosses that red line that I just drew, our intelligence agencies will know when and where Iran will make the fuse, assemble the bomb, and prepare the warhead.

Look, no one appreciats our intelligence agencies more than the Prime Minister of Israel. All these leading intelligence agencies are superb, including ours. They’ve foiled many attacks. They’ve saved many lives.

But they are not foolproof.

For over two years, our intelligence agencies didn’t know that Iran was building a huge nuclear enrichment plant under a mountain.

Do we want to risk the security of the world on the assumption that we would find in time a small workshop in a country half the size of Europe?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb. The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb.

The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program because these enrichment facilities are the only nuclear installations that we can definitely see and credibly target.

I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.

This will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether.

Two days ago, from this podium, President Obama reiterated that the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran cannot be contained.

I very much appreciate the President’s position as does everyone in my country. We share the goal of stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program. This goal unites the people of Israel.  It unites Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike and it is shared by important leaders throughout the world.

What I have said today will help ensure that this common goal is achieved.

Israel is in discussions with the United States over this issue, and I am confident that we can chart a path forward together.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The clash between modernity and medievalism need not be a clash between progress and tradition.

The traditions of the Jewish people go back thousands of years. They are the source of our collective values and the foundation of our national strength.

At the same time, the Jewish people have always looked towards the future. Throughout history, we have been at the forefront of efforts to expand liberty, promote equality, and advance human rights.

We champion these principles not despite of our traditions but because of them.

We heed the words of the Jewish prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Jeremiah to treat all with dignity and compassion, to pursue justice and cherish life and to pray and strive for peace.

These are the timeless values of my people and these are the Jewish people’s greatest gift to mankind.

Let us commit ourselves today to defend these values so that we can defend our freedom and protect our common civilization.

Thank you.


This is an excellent (and encouraging) analysis from Dr Franklin Lamb. It seems that the Israeli Prime Minister’s heavy-handed tactics are backfiring on him – at least in terms of the way it is affecting his efforts to influence the US elections!

Franklin P. Lamb, LLM, PhD, is Director of Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace. 


Dr Franklin P. Lamb

Aipac:  Israel’s Agent Feeling Squeezed?

By Franklin P. Lamb

The American Israel public affairs committee (AIPAC) has seen headier days according to US congressional staffers forced to work regularly with the pro-Zionist agent of Israel.  The grip of fear and the lock on Congress that the Israel first organization has long touted in its service to Israel may be weakening against a backdrop of American Jews rejecting the increasing rants of Prime Minister Netanyahu that are driving many Jews to distance themselves from him, from AIPAC, from other Arabphobic US Zionist organizations, and from Israel.

AIPAC tells some Congressional aids that fund raising is hurting and it can’t keep promises it made to certain candidates that it would arrange “indirect” funding for their current election campaigns.  This at the same time Netanyahu is increasingly becoming the butt of jokes across the Israeli and American political spectrum. Several in his cabinet and member s of the US Congress reportedly consider him an embarrassment.  A perception likely added to by his recent General Assembly cartoon gimmick and his repeated Nazi style arm and hand gestures that were widely distributed by the main stream American media outlets especially Reuters, AP and even the Zionist Drudge Report.

In addition, there are signs that some members of congress and their staffs, who are heavily lobbied by AIPAC to donate cash, are beginning to chaff at heavy handed AIPAC fundraising tactics.

Perhaps reflecting financial pressures on its free spending policies  including astronomical administration costs in the 75% range, on 9/24/12, Jonathan Missner, AIPAC’s Director of National Affairs and Development sent out  more 500,000 emails in a desperate and thinly veiled bid to raise cash to defeat Obama.

Wrote Missner:

Dear Friend of Israel:

I am writing because we have not yet heard from you, and your support is greatly needed by September 30th.

As I’m sure you know, Israel and America are now facing serious threats throughout the Middle East. In recent months alone we have seen:

• Protestors in multiple Arab countries storm U.S. embassies, burn American and Israeli flags, and chant “death to America, death to Israel,” amidst false reports that a video was created by an Israeli Jew and backed by 100 Jewish financiers.

• Iran sent military personnel and large quantities of weapons across to Syria to aid the Assad regime’s violent crackdown.

• A deadly terror attack along the Egypt-Israel border that killed 16 Egyptians and enabled terrorists to penetrate into Israel.

• Leaders in Iran and its regional proxies increased their vitriol against Israel. The frequency and intensity of these recent statements has been troubling: “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime.” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (August 17th).

• If you’re like most pro-Israel Americans, these events have made you more scared for Israel’s existence than you’ve likely felt in many years.

• But as you watch these dangers continue to unfold, it is important to remember there is something you can do to help keep Israel safe.

• You can join AIPAC, and help ensure that our leaders in Washington speak out clearly and unequivocally in support of Israel and that the aggressions shown toward our greatest ally Israel must immediately cease.

• At this dangerous time, the number one strategic answer to the threats facing Israel is for America to express – in every possible way- an unwavering, unshakable commitment to Israel.

• We must ensure that President Obama speaks out for Israel.

• We must ensure that America stands by its full commitment to Israel’s security assistance for fiscal year 2013, which is vital for Israel to be able to defend herself.

• And we must ensure that America continues to pledge 100% of its diplomatic support to Israel.

• We must do all of this, so that we can send a strong and loud message that America stands by Israel and that any attacks on Israel’s security is an attack on America’s security.”

AIPAC appears to be failing in carrying out its orders from the Israeli Embassy in Washington “to defeat Obama, whatever is required.” The latest polls, including two commissioned by the American Jewish Committee and one from the Anti-Defamation League show  Obama likely  avoiding  defeat  on November 6th that Tel Aviv hoped his combative attitude toward Israel would produce. Obama currently leads Mitt Romney by a 69-20 percent margin among likely Jewish voters. If these polls hold, while they represent a marked decline from the 78 percent of the Jewish vote Obama got in 2008, they show Romney’s promise to put Israel “first no matter what “ is not resonating with American Jews. By even garnering 25% of the Jewish vote this shows there is plenty of resistance to the Romney  candidacy on a variety of  domestic social issues that increasingly among the American public matter more than Israel’s  perceived zany schemes. These poll projections may have been reflected at the UN last week when Netanyahu appeared to back off a bit from his pillorying of the Obama administration as being weak on terrorism.

Meanwhile, according to an Arab American Institute (AAI)  poll, 52 percent of all Arab-Americans say they plan to vote for Obama, compared to 26 percent who have declared their support for Romney. Broken down by religion, Arab American Muslims support Obama overwhelmingly (75% to 8%), while Orthodox/Protestants support Romney by a 16% margin.  According to the poll, Arab American Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-1 margin (46% to 22%), continuing a steady migration away from the GOP toward the Democratic Party since 2002.

Congressional staffers report that the Obama White House is rejecting the tactics being employed behind its back to assert pressure for the “red lines” that Netanyahu’s has been pushing and that the administration is aware that AIPAC is actively working to defeat President Obama on November 6th.

What is confusing many in the American Jewish community appears to be the same as what perplexes a growing segment of the non-Jewish American public. And that is Netanyahu’s nonsense over Iranian progress in having nuclear weapons and the history of this “the sky is falling-we must cry wolf!” canard.

It was back in April  of 1984, that the British defense magazine Jane’s Defense Weekly got things started with its false claim that Iran was “engaged in the production of an atomic bomb, likely to be ready within two years.”

Jane’s became embarrassed since it could offer no proof to back its sensationalist claim and soon admitted that its speculation was based on a West German intelligence source which turned out to be an assistant engineer who visited the unfinished Bushehr nuclear reactor that year and became curious. Soon, a pillar of the US Zionist lobby,  US Senator Alan Cranston’s  picked up on the report and declared that Iran would have nuclear weapons by 1991.

The next year, Benjamin Netanyahu, a onetime campaign volunteer for Cranston, now an Israeli parliamentarian, began a campaign to inform the World that Iran could develop nuclear weapons within “three to five years” and therefore must be stopped through “an international front headed by the US.”

The current President of Israel Shimon Peres announced in 1992 that Iran would have nuclear weapons by 1999.  As noted by Robert Fisk in the UK Independent, current Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in 1996 that Iran would have a nuclear arsenal by 2004.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld joined the project and reported to Congress in 1998 that Iran could build an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear or a biological payload that could hit the US within five years. Secretary of State Colin Powell soon claimed in 2004 that if fact, Iran had been working on technology to fit a nuclear warhead onto a missile. These allegations boldly came from Powell’s less than one year after his Iraqi weapons of mass destruction assertions were being proven to be false.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld joined the project and reported to Congress in 1998 that Iran could build an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear or a biological payload that could hit the US within five years. Secretary of State Colin Powell soon claimed in 2004 that if fact, Iran had been working on technology to fit a nuclear warhead onto a missile. These allegations boldly came from Powell’s less than one year after his Iraqi weapons of mass destruction assertions were being proven to be false.

For his part, Netanyahu reportedly got into an ugly argument with the American ambassador to Israel last month over the Obama administration’s unwillingness to take matters regarding Iran to a more aggressive level. The Israeli prime minister was, according to the New York Times, “at his wit’s end” because, he claimed, Iran was “only four to six weeks away from a nuclear bomb”. A few weeks later, Netanyahu backtracked and pushed the deadline “to six or seven months away.”

And round and round it goes.

Congressional sources insist that White House staff will not forget Netanyahu’s blatant attempts to humiliate and defeat their boss.

The American public, as well as the international community are exhibiting exhaustion over this incessant hysteria which was summed up recently by Professor Stephen M. Walt, writing in Foreign Policy. “Those prophesying war with Iran are starting to sound like those wacky cult leaders who keep predicting the End of the World, and then keep moving the date when the world doesn’t end on schedule. At what point are we going to stop paying attention?”

 One Congressional source emailed this observer: “Time will tell if next year’s AIPAC conference finds President Obama or any of his top aides on its program.


Father Roy writes:Paul R. Pillar worked for 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency and rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts.  He is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies.  I’ve highlighted one sentence in his essay pasted below and his concluding paragraph.  

Peace, Roy

Paul Pilar


Has Netanyahu Gone Too Far?

The National Interest | September 14, 2012

By Paul Pilar

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that President Obama set a precise “red line” regarding Iran’s nuclear program, meaning a commitment to go to war even if Iran is not actually building a nuclear weapon. Ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar sees a possible turning point in the U.S.-Israeli relationship. 

Maybe this time the Israeli prime minister has gone too far in his bullying and arrogance in dealing with the United States of America — so far as to undermine the habits and attitudes in the United States that have made such swagger possible in the first place.

“This time” can refer to Benjamin Netanyahu’s attention-getting outburst this week in which he criticized the Obama administration’s posture regarding Iran’s nuclear program, demanding that the United States impose a clear “red line” and declaring that those who do not impose such lines “don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

The harshness of Netanyahu’s blast took aback even some American politicians accustomed to falling in line in the customary way on matters related to Israel. Sen.  Barbara Boxer of California said in a letter to Netanyahu, as “one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress,” that she was “stunned” by Netanyahu’s remarks.

Boxer is a Democrat who no doubt was also trying to soften any political impact of this latest indication of ill will between the Israeli prime minister and the U.S. president. But her response was still one indication of how far Netanyahu had gone beyond the bounds of what supposedly is a relationship between friends and allies.

“This time” also could refer more generally to the whole warpath-blazing campaign of agitation about the Iranian nuclear program. That campaign clearly is mainly an Israeli thing, and especially a project of Netanyahu and his rightist government.

Historians decades from now will be trying to explain how the superpower of the day allowed itself to get so preoccupied with a still-nonexistent weapon in the hands of a second-rate power that, even if the weapon came into existence, could not pose a threat to U.S. interests anywhere near what the preoccupation implies.

Israel, with its longstanding and sizable nuclear arsenal of its own as well as its conventional regional military superiority, also does not face a threat that warrants all the agitation and warmongering.

Maybe preventing the mere possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon would mean Israeli leaders would think only once and not twice before the next time they throw their weight and armed might around in Gaza or Lebanon or someplace else. And the drum-beating about Iran does divert attention away from that pesky matter involving political rights and self-determination for Palestinians.

Perhaps there is seeping into the consciousness of more and more informed Americans the realization that Netanyahu — with his drum-beating, his complete rejection (in defiance of the policies of the United States and other Western powers) of the very idea of negotiations with the Iranians, and his demand for red lines — is trying to lead America by the nose into a war that would be profoundly against U.S. interests.

And it would be a war fought primarily to maintain Israel’s regional nuclear weapons monopoly and — also not in U.S. interests — untrammeled ability to throw its weight around. Even for those attuned less to specific calculations about U.S. interests and more to general concepts of right and wrong, Netanyahu has provided much to offend.

A military attack launched to damage or destroy somebody else’s nuclear program — launched, no less, by a state that long has had nuclear weapons completely outside any international monitoring or control regime — would be an act of aggression clearly in violation of international law.

The infliction of casualties involved, inflicted to maintain the aggressor’s nuclear weapons monopoly, would be an immoral act. And yet Netanyahu says those who may object to any of this “don’t have a moral right” to do so. Incredible.

The prime minister’s behavior can be interpreted in multiple ways. His latest tantrum may be part of his effort to sink the re-election chances of the incumbent U.S. president, in favor of an alternative who would be beholden to interests whose primary affinity is to the Israeli right, by accentuating Barack Obama’s supposed inability to get along with Israel. This is probably at least part of the explanation for the behavior.

Some have questioned Netanyahu’s stability and temperament, in ways that go beyond merely having a short temper. Some Israeli commentators have spoken most recently in terms of Netanyahu “going berserk” or being a “mythomaniac” guided by a sense of heroic mission.

Given all we have heard, in connection with Iran’s nuclear program, about the hazards of irrational or fanatic people with their fingers on the button, perhaps we should ask about Netanyahu: is this a man who can be trusted with nuclear weapons?

Even assuming rationality on the prime minister’s part, there probably is an emotional element involved in his recent outburst in the sense of someone used to getting his way being flummoxed by even the slightest push-back. Netanyahu probably has been conditioned, through such experiences as speaking to Congress with a gallery stacked with AIPAC supporters, to believe that the bullying will always work.

Even sensible and mild push-back, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that the United States is not going to set deadlines on the Iranian nuclear issue, then becomes disturbing to him.

Netanyahu also may have been reacting to increased acceptance in mainstream discourse in the United States of the concept that an Iranian nuclear weapon would not be the calamity he insistently portrays it as and that trying to preclude one would certainly would not be worth starting a new war.

Going beyond the Iranian nuclear issue, perhaps we are seeing some fear that the whole political edifice that has enabled Netanyahu and other Israeli prime ministers to get their way in the United States is showing some cracks. It ought to crack. After all, the overall nature of the relationship, in which the superpower that lavishes billions of aid and dozens of United Nations vetoes on the smaller state gets pushed around by the latter, rather than the other way around, is crazy and illogical.

Ultimately the power of the edifice depends on fear of confronting that power. Theoretically to break down that edifice it would take one courageous American political leader, in a bold FDR-like move, to point out that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

That is not about to happen, and the lobby in question will fight hard to make sure it does not happen. But over the last few years some cracks have become visible. Some people thought they saw a crack at the Democratic National Convention when repeated voice votes were required to override the “noes” that opposed the platform plank about declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.

Maybe Netanyahu’s arrogance, greater than the norm even for Israeli prime ministers dealing with the United States, may be a force that eventually reshapes the relationship. It can do so by making it painfully clear to Americans what they are dealing with.

M. J. Rosenberg evidently is talking about this when he goes so far as to say that Netanyahu “poses an existential threat to the Jewish state.” He is referring to the damage being done to the relations with the superpower patron — that “all Netanyahu is accomplishing with his ugly saber-rattling is threatening the survival of the US-Israel relationship.”

That may well be the effect of Netanyahu’s behavior on the relationship, but perhaps we should not speak of this in terms of threats. Replacing the current pathological relationship with a more normal one certainly would be good for U.S. interests.

Ultimately, however, it also would be good for the interests of Israel, which, in order to get off its current path of endless conflict and isolation, desperately needs the sort of tough love that it is not getting now.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies. (This article first appeared as a blog post  at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission at….)