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Monday, July 04, 2011

Moon is made of green cheese - jewish lobby

Moon is made of green cheese

In the US Congress,
Netanyahu can declare that
The Moon is made of green cheese
And get a standing ovation.

Nevertheless, the whole world
Accepts the 1967 lines
As the basis for the
Border of peace
Between Israel and Palestine.

Ad published in Ha'aretz, May 27, 2011

Secretary Clinton and Gates are not in the audience

"If benefits of peace are so clear, why has peace eluded us?"

The Israeli prime minister received 29 standing ovations from Congress during his address; at President Obama's last State of the Union he got 25

In Israel they say that the occupation devoured Israeli politics so that everyone is beholden to the settlers, well the same thing is happening to American politics and today it was evident.

The thinking world feels shattered by Netanyahu's performance in Congress today laying claim to the West Bank as the ancestral Jewish homeland-- and the Congress's prostrate acceptance of his rightwing declarations.

"In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers," he said to a standing ovation-- I even saw John Kerry standing. "We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo."

And Netanyahu got the same standing ovation when he said, crazily: "Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians."

No wonder David Welna of NPR has quoted John Mearsheimer as lead analyst in his piece tonight-- a breakthrough by the gobsmacked media. Writes a friend: "With this speech Netanyahu becomes the right-wing politician of most serious national stature in America. He put a lot of work into the words, and the delivery. It was necessary to have some understanding of (a) history, (b) politics, and (c) character in order to see through it. The distortions were everywhere. But I doubt that 20 members of Congress were equipped to notice them. There must have been a dozen standing ovations. He has taken Hamas off the table, put the peril of Iran back on the table, and bound the U.S. to Israel under the sign of power and providence."

Our president is overseas, and his spokesman Ben Rhodes was afraid to contradict Netanyahu in any way today. This is power of the lobby in our politics


 Speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a Joint Meeting of the United
                                    States Congress
                                      May 24, 2011

I am deeply honored by your warm welcome.        And I am deeply honored that you
have given me the opportunity to address Congress a second time.

Mr. Vice President, do you remember the time we were the new kids in town?

And I do see a lot of old friends here. And I do see a lot of new friends of Israel here.
Democrats and Republicans alike.

Israel has no better friend than America. And America has no better friend than Israel.
We stand together to defend democracy.      We stand together to advance peace.    We
stand together to fight terrorism.  Congratulations America, Congratulations, Mr.
President.  You got bin Laden.   Good riddance!

In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability.  In a region of
shifting alliances, Israel is America's unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-
American.    Israel will always be pro-American.

My friends, you don't need to do nation building in Israel.   We're already built.  You
don't need to export democracy to Israel.   We've already got it.  You don't need to
send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves. You've been very
generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you
all, and thank you President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel's
security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.

Support for Israel's security is a wise investment in our common future.  For an epic
battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great
convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The
tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the
ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of
freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their
future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand
dignity. They desire liberty.

These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in
1989. Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must also remember that those hopes
could be snuffed out as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened
then.  The brief democratic spring in Iran was cut short by a ferocious and
unforgiving tyranny.   This same tyranny smothered Lebanon's democratic Cedar
Revolution, and inflicted on that long-suffering country, the medieval rule of

So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. Like all of you, I pray
that the peoples of the region choose the path less travelled, the path of liberty.  No
one knows what this path consists of better than you.        This path is not paved by
elections alone. It is paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when
limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not
men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule.

Israel has always embraced this path, in the Middle East has long rejected it. In a
region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel
stands out.  It is different.

As the great English writer George Eliot predicted over a century ago, that once
established, the Jewish state will "shine like a bright star of freedom amid the
despotisms of the East."  Well, she was right.  We have a free press, independent
courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates. You think you guys
are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset.  Be my

Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for
their peoples, for their societies. We're proud that over one million Arab citizens of
Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the
Middle East and North Africa, only Israel's Arab citizens enjoy real democratic
rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that.       Of those 300 million
Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they're all citizens of

This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle
East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East.

Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long
for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East.

Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium, and said that democracy must start to
take root in the Arab World. Well, it's begun to take root.  This beginning holds the
promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity. For I believe that a Middle East
that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.

But while we hope and work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces
oppose this future.    They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy.            They oppose

Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people.
It supports attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.  It subjugates
Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.

When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear
weapons.   Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the
greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime
armed with nuclear weapons.

Militant Islam threatens the world.  It threatens Islam. I have no doubt that it will
ultimately be defeated. It will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and
progress. But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could
exact a horrific price from all of us before its inevitable demise.

A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would
give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a
clear and present danger throughout the world. I want you to understand what this
means. They could put the bomb anywhere. They could put it on a missile. It could be
on a container ship in a port, or in a suitcase on a subway.

Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking
their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after six million Jews were murdered,
Iran's leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the
annihilation of the Jewish state.

Leaders who spew such venom, should be banned from every respectable forum on
the planet. But there is something that makes the outrage even greater: The lack of
outrage.  In much of the international community, the calls for our destruction are met
with utter silence.  It is even worse because there are many who rush to condemn
Israel for defending itself against Iran's terror proxies.

But not you.  Not America. You have acted differently. You've condemned the
Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You've passed tough sanctions against Iran.
History will salute you America.

President Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from
developing nuclear weapons.  He successfully led the Security Council to adopt
sanctions against Iran.  You in Congress passed even tougher sanctions. These words
and deeds are vitally important.

Yet the Ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear program only once, in 2003,
when it feared the possibility of military action. That same year, Muammar Qadaffi
gave up his nuclear weapons program, and for the same reason. The more Iran
believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. This is
why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message: That America will never
permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take
calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the
Holocaust.   When we say never again, we mean never again.          Israel always reserves
the right to defend itself.

My friends, while Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on
our quest for peace. I guess we'll give it up when we achieve it.      Israel wants peace.
Israel needs peace. We've achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan
that have held up for decades.

I remember what it was like before we had peace.        I was nearly killed in a firefight
inside the Suez Canal. I mean that literally. I battled terrorists along both banks of the
Jordan River. Too many Israelis have lost loved ones. I know their grief. I lost my

So no one in Israel wants a return to those terrible days. The peace with Egypt and
Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle

This peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who
remain committed to peace.

The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital. But they're not enough. We
must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I
publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state
alongside the Jewish state.

I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the
leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace.

This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to
give up parts of the Jewish homeland.      In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are
not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India.  We are not the Belgians in the

This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the
idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a
vision of eternal peace.  No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old
bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.

But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a
peace in which they will be neither Israel's subjects nor its citizens.  They should
enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own
state. They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative
can flourish.

We've already seen the beginnings of what is possible.      In the last two years,
the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves.  Prime Minister
Fayad has led this effort. I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation.

We've helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and
roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short
of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It's growing by more than 10% a

Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They
have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks.  They even have e-
businesses.  This is all happening without peace.    Imagine what could happen with
peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a
broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.

So now here is the question.    You have to ask it.  If the benefits of peace with the
Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us?      Because all six Israeli Prime
Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state.
Myself included.    So why has peace not been achieved?  Because so far, the
Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a
Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It
has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is
about.  In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and
an Arab state. The Jews said yes.  The Palestinians said no.     In recent years, the
Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a
Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.

They were simply unwilling to end the conflict.     And I regret to say this: They
continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after
terrorists.  And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one
day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

My friends, this must come to an end.  President Abbas must do what I have done.         I
stood before my people, and I told you it wasn't easy for me, and I said… "I will
accept a Palestinian state." It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people
and say… "I will accept a Jewish state."

Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this
conflict must come to an end.  That they are not building a state to continue the
conflict with Israel, but to end it.  They will convince the people of Israel that they
have a true partner for peace.   With such a partner, the people of Israel will be
prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far
reaching compromise.

This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred
since 1967.  The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines,
reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.

These areas are densely populated but geographically quite small. Under any realistic
peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national
importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.

The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations.     But we must also
be honest.  So I am saying today something that should be said publicly by anyone
serious about peace.  In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements
will end up beyond Israel's borders.    The precise delineation of those borders must be
negotiated.  We will be very generous on the size of a future Palestinian state. But as
President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4,
1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967.

We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent
and prosperous. President Obama rightly referred to Israel as the homeland of the
Jewish people, just as he referred to the future Palestinian state as the homeland of the
Palestinian people. Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the
Jewish state.  Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if
they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem
will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.

As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all
faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the
united capital of Israel.  I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I
believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.

This is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace.      But
you know very well, that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is a peace
you can defend.

So peace must be anchored in security. In recent years, Israel withdrew from South
Lebanon and Gaza.  But we didn't get peace.       Instead, we got 12,000 thousand rockets
fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas.        The
UN peacekeepers in Lebanon failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry.           The
European observers in Gaza evaporated overnight. So if Israel simply walked out of
the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be
than a minute.   I want you to think about that too.   Imagine that right now we all had
less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket.      Would you live that
way?  Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren't going to live that way either.

The truth is that Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size.
Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world.    Mr. Vice President, I'll grant you
this.  It's bigger than Delaware.  It's even bigger than Rhode Island. But that's about
it. Israel on the 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway.

Now here's a bit of nostalgia. I first came to Washington thirty years ago as a young
diplomat. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out: There is an America beyond
the Beltway. But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for
strategic depth.

So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel's security that a Palestinian state be fully
demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along
the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to
protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels.     For
in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be
there tomorrow.

And when I say tomorrow, I don't mean some distant time in the future.         I mean --
tomorrow. Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table.         The Palestinian
attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It
should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end.

I appreciate the President's clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed.  It
must be negotiated.    But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.

And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel's
destruction and to terrorism.   They have a charter.  That charter not only calls for the
obliteration of Israel, but says 'kill the Jews wherever you find them'.     Hamas' leader
condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior.  Now
again I want to make this clear.  Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate
peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of
peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government
backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.

So I say to President Abbas:  Tear up your pact with Hamas!        Sit down and negotiate!
Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this.        Israel will not
be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United
Nations. It will be the first to do so.

My friends, the momentous trials of the last century, and the unfolding events of this
defending freedom. Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of
liberty. All peoples who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your
great nation.  Among the most grateful nations is my nation, the people of Israel, who
have fought for their liberty and survival against impossible odds, in ancient and
modern times alike.

I speak on behalf of the Jewish people and the Jewish state when I say to you,
representatives of America, Thank you. Thank you for your unwavering support for
Israel. Thank you for ensuring that the flame of freedom burns bright throughout the
world. May God bless all of you.   And may God forever bless the United States of

Bibi and the Yo-Yos


IT WAS all rather disgusting.

There they were, the members of the highest legislative bodies of the world's only superpower, flying up and down like so many yo-yos, applauding wildly, every few minutes or seconds, the most outrageous lies and distortions of Binyamin Netanyahu.

It was worse than the Syrian parliament during a speech by Bashar Assad, where anyone not applauding could find himself in prison. Or Stalin's Supreme Soviet, when showing less than sufficient respect could have meant death.

What the American Senators and Congressmen feared was a fate worse than death. Anyone remaining seated or not applauding wildly enough could have been caught on camera – and that amounts to political suicide. It was enough for one single congressman to rise and applaud, and all the others had to follow suit. Who would dare not to?

The sight of these hundreds of parliamentarians jumping up and clapping their hands, again and again and again and again, with the Leader graciously acknowledging with a movement of his hand, was reminiscent of other regimes. Only this time it was not the local dictator who compelled this adulation, but a foreign one.

The most depressing part of it was that there was not a single lawmaker – Republican or Democrat – who dared to resist. When I was a 9 year old boy in Germany, I dared to leave my right arm hanging by my side when all my schoolmates raised theirs in the Nazi salute and sang Hitler's anthem. Is there no one in Washington DC who has that simple courage? Is it really Washington IOT – Israel Occupied Territory – as the anti-Semites assert?

Many years ago I visited the Senate hall and was introduced to the leading Senators of the time. I was profoundly shocked. After being brought up in deep respect for the Senate of the United States, the country of Jefferson and Lincoln, I was faced with a bunch of pompous asses, many of them nincompoops who had not the slightest idea what they were talking about. I was told that it was their assistants who really understood matters.

SO WHAT did the great man say to this august body?

It was a finely crafted speech, using all the standard tricks of the trade – the dramatic pause, the raised finger, the little witticisms, the sentences repeated for effect. Not a great orator, by any means, no Winston Churchill, but good enough for this audience and this occasion.

But the message could be summed up in one word: No.

After their disastrous debacle in 1967, the leaders of the Arab world met in Khartoum and adopted the famous Three No's: NO recognition of Israel, No negotiation with Israel, NO peace with Israel. It was just what the Israeli leadership wanted. They could go happily about their business of entrenching the occupation and building settlements.

Now Netanyahu is having his Khartoum. NO return to the 1967 borders. NO Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. NO to even a symbolic return of some refugees. NO military withdrawal from the Jordan River - meaning that the future Palestinian state would be completely surrounded by the Israeli armed forces. NO negotiation with a Palestinian government "supported" by Hamas, even if there are no Hamas members in the government itself. And so on – NO. NO. NO.

The aim is clearly to make sure that no Palestinian leader could even dream of entering negotiations, even in the unlikely event that he were ready to meet yet another condition: to recognize Israel as "the nation-state of the Jewish people" – which includes the dozens of Jewish Senators and Congressmen who were the first to jump up and down, up and down, like so many marionettes.

Netanyahu, along with his associates and political bedfellows, is determined to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state by all and any means. That did not start with the present government – it is an aim deeply embedded in Zionist ideology and practice. The founders of the movement set the course, David Ben-Gurion acted to implement it in 1948, in collusion with King Abdallah of Jordan. Netanyahu is just adding his bit.

"No Palestinian state" means: no peace, not now, not ever. Everything else is, as the Americans say, baloney. All the pious phrases about happiness for our children, prosperity for the Palestinians, peace with the entire Arab world, a bright future for all, are just that – pure baloney. At least some in the audience must have noticed that, even with all that jumping.

NETANYAHU SPAT in Obama's eye. The Republicans in the audience must have enjoyed that. Perhaps some Democrats too.

It can be assumed that Obama did not. So what will he do now?

There is a Jewish joke about a hungry pauper who entered an inn and demanded food. Otherwise, he threatened, he would do what his father did. The frightened innkeeper fed him, and in the end asked timidly: "But what did your father do?" Swallowing the last morsel, the man answered: "He went to sleep hungry."

There is a good chance that Obama will do the same. He will pretend that the spittle on his cheek is rainwater. His promise to prevent a UN General Assembly recognition of the State of Palestine deprived him of his main leverage over Netanyahu.

Somebody in Washington seems to be floating the idea of Obama coming to Jerusalem and addressing the Knesset. It would be direct retaliation – Obama talking with the Israeli public over the head of the Prime Minister, as Netanyahu has just addressed the American public over the head of the President.

It would be an exciting event. As a former Member of the Knesset, I would be invited. But I would not advise it. I proposed it a year ago. Today I would not.

The obvious precedent is Anwar Sadat's historic speech in the Knesset. But there is really no comparison. Egypt and Israel were still officially at war. Going to the capital of the enemy was without precedent, the more so only four years after a bloody battle. It was an act that shook Israel, eliminating in one stroke a whole set of mental patterns and opening the mind for new ones. Not one of us will ever forget the moment when the door of the airplane swung open and there he was, handsome and serene, the leader of the enemy.

Later, when I interviewed Sadat at his home, I told him: "I live on the main street of Tel Aviv. When you came out of that plane, I looked out of the window. Nothing moved in the street, except one cat – and it was probably looking for a television set."

A visit by Obama will be quite different. He will, of course, be received politely – without the obsessive jumping and clapping – though probably heckled by Knesset Members of the extreme Right. But that will be all.

Sadat's visit was a deed in itself. Not so a visit by Obama. He will not shake Israeli public opinion, unless he comes with a concrete plan of action – a detailed peace plan, with a detailed timetable, backed by a clear determination to see it through, whatever the political cost.

Another nice speech, however beautifully phrased, just will not do. After this week's deluge of speeches, we have had enough. Speeches can be important if they accompany actions, but they are no substitute for action. Churchill's speeches helped to shape history – but only because they reflected historic deeds. Without the Battle of Britain, without Normandy, without El Alamein, those speeches would have sounded ridiculous.

Now, with all the roads blocked, there remains only one path open: the recognition of the State of Palestine by the United Nations coupled with nonviolent mass action by the Palestinian people against the occupation. The Israeli peace forces will also play their part, because the fate of Israel depends on peace as much as the fate of Palestine.

Sure, the US will try to obstruct, and Congress will jump up and down, But the Israeli-Palestinian spring is on its way.

Uri Avnery

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