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Netanyahu: 'America..A Thing You Can Move Very Easily'

by shergald Sun Jul 18th, 2010 at 01:54:43 PM EST

That's Netanyahu speaking about the United States in 2001. Other titles used for this story that also seem appropriate include ''The Real (And Deceitful) Face of Benjamin Netanyahu" (Israel TV) or just, "Tricky Bibi" (Gideon Levy, Haaretz).

The above title is from a Washington Post article dated yesterday, but this report on it is from the Huffington Post. It reported that a newly released video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "could add some additional strain to the sometimes tense relationship between him and President Obama," this mainly because it shows Netanyahu boasting about his ability to control American politics, and presidents presumably, in Israel's favor, and toward the Likud position given Netanyahu's lifetime perspective.

(The video is in Hebrew and may be accessed on this page.)

Concerning the video, Netanyahu, who apparently did not know his speech was being recorded, spoke frankly, if in Hebrew, about Israeli relations with the Clinton White House and the peace process. As noted in Gideon Levy, Netanyahu seems to boast of his knowledge of the US by saying, "I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get in their way." He also reportedly boasted about manipulating the U.S. in the ongoing peace process, as the Washington Post article pointed out:

"They asked me before the election if I'd honor [the Oslo accords]," he said. "I said I would, but ... I'm going to interpret the accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end to this galloping forward to the '67 borders. How did we do it? Nobody said what defined military zones were. Defined military zones are security zones; as far as I'm concerned, the entire Jordan Valley is a defined military zone. Go argue."

In Israel, the video was broadcast on a TV program called "This Week With Miki Rosenthal" (and given the title, "The Real (And Deceitful) Face of Benjamin Netanyahu"). In the Haaretz article (given the title, "Tricky Bibi"), Gideon Levy said: "Israel has had many rightist leaders since Menachem Begin promised "many Elon Morehs," but there has never been one like Netanyahu, who wants to do it by deceit."

These remarks are profoundly depressing. They bear out all of our fears and suspicions: that the government of Israel is led by a man who doesn't believe the Palestinians and doesn't believe in the chance of an agreement with them, who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes. There's no point in talking about Netanyahu's impossible rightist coalition as an obstacle to progress. From now on, just say that Netanyahu doesn't want it.

In successive announcements recently, Netanyahu has informed the Palestinians that East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, the border with Jordan, and the settlements are not negotiable. So let's get down to direct talks about what's left: an obvious Apartheid conclusion.

In almost ten years since Netanyahu's words were recorded in the video, he has not changed one iota. And there is no question, given the last Netanyahu-Obama meeting, that what he stated about American politics ten years ago, he believes today. And who can contradict him?

UPDATE: Just prior to posting, a translation of the Netanyahu interview became available HERE, on Phil Weiss' site, Mondoweiss.

No country has a stronger base than Israel from which to influence U.S. politics. But what Bibi is saying is just common sense: the U.S. is a virtually open country, and anyone or any entity can influence it in a self-serving direction (against the interests of the U.S. people) if it spends enough money.

In that sense, the U.S. is a post-nationalist country, turning its back on its citizens and their attempts to influence through voting, and instead at the service of whoever pays the campaign bills, whoever controls the media, and so on. A lot of people realize this on some level and, unfortunately, don't vote.


by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jul 18th, 2010 at 02:27:57 PM EST
I love this 'he thought the recorder was turned off' kind of stuff. It's the only way we get to hear what our politicians really think. Reminds me of Obama's 'thought he wasn't being recorded' April 2008 speech to some of his wealthiest supporters, where he lets his look-down-his-nose classist side out of the bag:



by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jul 18th, 2010 at 02:45:14 PM EST
Some paragraphs from Jonathan Cook's article about the video: Netanyahu admits on video he deceived US to destroy Oslo accord

The National
July 17, 2010

Writing in the liberal Haaretz newspaper, the columnist Gideon Levy called the video "outrageous". He said it proved that Mr Netanyahu was a "con artist ... who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes". He added that the prime minister had not reformed in the intervening period: "Such a crooked way of thinking does not change over the years."

In the film, Mr Netanyahu says Israel must inflict "blows [on the Palestinians] that are so painful the price will be too heavy to be borne ... A broad attack on the Palestinian Authority, to bring them to the point of being afraid that everything is collapsing".

When asked if the US will object, he responds: "America is something that can be easily moved. Moved to the right direction ... They won't get in our way ... Eighty per cent of the Americans support us. It's absurd."

He then recounts how he dealt with President Clinton, whom he refers to as "extremely pro-Palestinian". "I wasn't afraid to manoeuvre there. I was not afraid to clash with Clinton."

His approach to White House demands to withdraw from Palestinian territory under the Oslo accords, he says, drew on his grandfather's philosophy: "It would be better to give two per cent than to give 100 per cent."

He therefore signed the 1997 agreement to pull the Israeli army back from much of Hebron, the last Palestinian city under direct occupation, as a way to avoid conceding more territory.

"The trick," he says, "is not to be there [in the occupied territories] and be broken; the trick is to be there and pay a minimal price."

The "trick" that stopped further withdrawals, Mr Netanyahu adds, was to redefine what parts of the occupied territories counted as a "specified military site" under the Oslo accords. He wanted the White House to approve in writing the classification of the Jordan Valley, a large area of the West Bank, as such a military site.

"Now, they did not want to give me that letter, so I did not give [them] the Hebron Agreement. I stopped the government meeting, I said: `I'm not signing.' Only when the letter came ... did I sign the Hebron Agreement. Why does this matter? Because at that moment I actually stopped the Oslo accord."


By permission.

by shergald on Mon Jul 19th, 2010 at 09:07:38 AM EST
He said it proved that Mr Netanyahu was a "con artist ... who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes".

Netanyahu is correct.  Who is not in his pocket? The American people take a back seat in Congress to anything Netanyahu wants. While the Republicans block (3 times now) continued unemployment assistance, this:

"Regional peace must begin with the recognition by every party that the United States will always stand behind Israel's security... no lasting peace will be possible unless that fact is accepted."

-Secretary Of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
April 29, 2010

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC

July 16, 2010

Under the Obama Administration, the United States has significantly expanded its longstanding commitment to Israel's security, ensuring that Israel has the means not only to defend itself against the full spectrum of complex security challenges it faces, but to ensure that Israel's legitimate security needs are met in ways that enable it to take the historic steps necessary to achieve a comprehensive regional peace.

Israel is the leading beneficiary of U.S. security assistance funds for military training and equipment. This year, Congress fully funded the Obama Administration's $2.775 billion security assistance request for Israel − the largest security assistance request for Israel in U.S. history.

Over the past year, the United States and Israel have expanded bilateral security consultations and cooperation on a wide range of shared security challenges, from counterterrorism and preventing illicit arms smuggling into Gaza to counter-proliferation.

Israeli forces also benefit from joint exercises and training opportunities, access to advanced U.S. military hardware, emergency stockpiles, and free or discounted equipment.

The United States has committed for more than 30 years to helping Israel maintain its qualitative military edge - defined in terms of Israel's ability to counter and defeat credible military threats from any individual state, coalition of states or non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damage or casualties. In 2008, this longstanding policy was written into law, and has since become the cornerstone of the U.S.-Israeli security relationship.

The United States and Israel have long cooperated in research and development of defense systems. The Obama Administration is building on this partnership by asking Congress to approve $205 million to support production of Israeli-developed short range rocket defense system called Iron Dome.

As U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell has said, "American commitment and determination are essential to the preservation of a sovereign and secure Israel and to the peaceful and just resolution of the conflict in the Middle East. There is as elsewhere a universal human desire to lead lives that are full, free and meaningful."

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Jul 19th, 2010 at 12:08:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to top that off by saying that Netanyahu has Obama in his picket, that would be okay. The only time an American politician or poresident would risk offending Israel by promoting a Palestinian state is if he were in the last year of his tenure at whatever it might be.

But right wing Israeli politicians know that they have the capability of outlasting these politicians in the short term, and only have to wait for the next election. Bush, if my memory is correct, was the last politician to buck the Israeli tide in his last year; before him it was Clinton, who waited until he had only a few months left, then presided over the "generous offer." We all remember that hoax.

So, when it is absolutely too late, one suspects that Obama will try the same thing. And 2016 will definitely be too late.

by shergald on Mon Jul 19th, 2010 at 12:19:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to top that off by saying that Netanyahu has Obama in his picket, that would be okay.

I would say that. Obama may not like being there, but he is first a politician.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Jul 19th, 2010 at 03:23:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So we are learning, little by little. No president wants to be a one-timer. It is indicative of failure, the exception being George Bush.

by shergald on Mon Jul 19th, 2010 at 04:12:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The video link quoted in the diary is not working. Here is the video itself now posted on youtube.

by shergald on Mon Jul 19th, 2010 at 09:25:16 AM EST

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