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Israel’s Problem Isn’t Iran or Hamas.
It’s Benjamin Netanyahu.

| March 20, 2015

That's who he thinks he is. (Downing Street)

That’s who he thinks he is. (Downing Street)

“Who the fuck does he think he is?” Bill Clinton famously asked about Benjamin Netanyahu in the summer of 1996, when Netanyahu was lecturing the American president on his version of Arab-Israeli  issues. “Who’s the fucking superpower here?” Frustrated over Israel’s expansionist and illegal colonies in occupied Palestinian territories, Clinton was even more frustrated by Netanyahu’s presumptions. (The reaction was reported by Aaron David Miller in his 2008 book about serving six secretary of states as a Middle East adviser).

pierre tristam column flaglerlive Back then Clinton thought the best way to work with Netanyahu was with him, not against him. He learned his lesson. A Netanyahu pledge has the half-life of a vulgar joke. It meant nothing. Clinton learned that through the Wye River agreement Netanyahu signed in 1998. It called for a withdrawal of Israeli occupation from a tiny portion of a particular area of the West Bank in accordance with the 1993 Oslo Accords. Aside from a token move, it never happened. Still hasn’t. Palestinians didn’t trust him or help much. They had reason not to. Netanyahu never had any intention of implementing it. Still doesn’t.

Lucky for Clinton, Israeli voters got rid of Netanyahu in 1999. Barack Obama hasn’t been so lucky. Not that his predecessors were much better. But Netanyahu’s regime since 2009 has demolished every hope of peace or of a Palestinian state while turning 4.5 million Palestinians under occupation into the world’s most wretched example of a brutal state posturing as a democracy. Within its relatively legal borders, Israel can still act as a democracy, often a vibrant one for most (Arabs not so much). But it’s from within those same borders that it projects a belligerence that, over the past half-century, has been the source of a half dozen wars and the cause of tens of thousands of deaths. Overwhelmingly, those deaths have been civilian. The latest of those wars—on Gaza, which achieved nothing but destruction and sowed further resentment—was the work of Netanyahu.

His reelection this week was disastrous for any prospects of peace. The manner of his reelection—his lies, his bigotry, his fear-mongering—further dims even Israel’s claim to the kind of status that often made it an admirable nation with model achievements.  Those claims started dimming in 1967, when Israel became an outright and illegal conqueror. It dimmed further during Menahem Begin’s years as prime minister, when the policy of devouring occupied Palestinian lands by attrition abandoned all pretenses and became more systematic. Netanyahu has turned obliteration of the idea of Palestine into all but state policy. His reelection seals the loss.

It’s difficult to be critical of any Israeli policy or any Israeli leader without being accused of being “anti-Israel” or anti-Semitic. The latter charge, having been worn from abuse, mostly by blinder Likud-type Israeli fans stateside, is not used as much anymore. But the anti-Israel slur still is. The charge is as ludicrous as to claim that any critic of Bush or Obama would have been anti-American—making every single one of us 320 million Americans anti-American at one time or another. This sort of juvenile rhetoric is pretty unique to the United States, where Israel enjoys a remarkably dogmatic immunity from criticism, an immunity that would make any reader of the Israeli press, myself included, laugh (and despair). The Israeli press is far more free, more willing to challenge assumptions and dispense with myths, than its American counterpart, at least in matters Israeli. But Haaretz doesn’t shape American or congressional opinion. Aipac, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee–and the Likud lobby’s most militant arm in the United States–does.

Conscripted as American ears are in the mythology of Israel the hounded and endangered victim, we keep being told that the Iranians want to wipe Israel off the map, that Hamas wants to end its existence, that it’s surrounded by hostile Arab states only too ready to devour it. (Never mind that Israel has  peace treaties with Egypt on one side and Jordan on the other, leaving only Lebanon’s Hezbollah to its slivery north as a threat, and a generally deserved one, considering Israel’s continued occupation of a segment of Lebanese territory known as Shebaa Farms.) Netanyahu’s propaganda machine has been working overtime to keep the mythologies as fresh as Poseidon’s tremors. If only any of it were true.

The reality is that it’s Israel, and particularly Netanyahu’s endless regime, that’s wiped Palestinians off the map. That he denies their dignity, their human rights, their legal rights under international law goes without saying: life as a Palestinian anywhere in Gaza or the West Bank, and to a large extent in Israel proper, would make life as a black American in the pre-civil rights South, where white terrorism was routine, seem almost tolerable. George Wallace, Ross Barnett and Theodore Bilbo didn’t have F-16s, Tomahawk missiles and helicopter gunships to murder “Nigras.” Netanyahu does, and uses them regularly.

He denies the existence of Palestinians. He denies their history. He denies their right to grow an olive tree on their own land: it’s a sport among Israel’s more rabid colonists not only to forbid Palestinian farmers from tilling their own land, but to uproot olive trees, which in the Levant are a symbol of belonging and resilience. And, since biblical times, peace: it was an olive branch Christ held as he rode an ass into Jerusalem. Netanyahu gets rabid electoral support from colonists (in the same occupied territories where Palestinians are denied the right to vote: an institutionalized version of apartheid rarely publicized in the American press). To those “settlers,” as the sanitized description of lawlessness goes, a broken olive branch is not peace. It’s a symbol of domination.

We keep hearing that Iran’s mullahs should never develop a nuclear weapon for fear that they might obliterate Israel, as if the Soviet Union’s nukes were less dangerous during the Cold War (or Russia’s are even now, to not speak of the United States’), as if Pakistan’s nukes, within beard’s reach of the Taliban’s nut jobs, are more acceptable. But Iran has never attacked Israel, not even conventionally, except by proxy through Hezbollah. Israel’s attacks beyond its borders—on Lebanon, on Syria, in the West Bank and Gaza, even on Iraq in 1981—are a rogue’s gallery of war crimes. And it’s Israel that maintains the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal. To imagine it safer in Netanyahu’s hands than in any of the latest breed of ayatollahs’ requires a suspension of disbelief no Hollywood production could pull off.

Word has it that relations between the United States and Israel are a bit frosty and may get frostier in light of Netanyahu winning reelection. But contrary to what you keep hearing even on America’s most mild mannered media, the federal government is very much on Netenyahu’s side. So are your tax dollars. Netenyahu has the benefit of a federally funded arsenal amounting to about $3 billion a year to maintain the occupation of the West Bank, where apartheid is the daily reality of life for 2.7 million Palestinians. American money also enables the expansion of Israeli occupation and martial law there, enabling Israeli colonists to steal more Palestinian land at will, violate Palestinian property and often brutalize or murder Palestinians with few consequences.

It is Palestine that’s been wiped off the map and Palestinians’ right to exist that Netanyahu denies.

It was not a surprise to hear Netanyahu renounce his pledge to a two-state solution a day before the election this week. He was panicking. He needed every Palestinian-denying vote he could get. But he’s never believed in a two-state solution. He never even believed in the Camp David accords that gave back the Sinai to Egypt. He personally blamed Jimmy Carter, according to journalist Lawrence Wright, for what Netanyahu considered a give-away. Netanyahu is an old-style believer in Greater Israel, a biblical vision of far-reaching boundaries that zealots love but international law does not. He’s aggressively expanded illegal Israeli colonies in the occupied territories on his watch, figuring that the territories will become Israeli land by attrition. It’s working.

Then there’s the ongoing crime against humanity that is Israel’s siege of Gaza, an open-air concentration camp, or prison, as the United Nations has called it, where almost 2 million Palestinians live, in an area roughly twice the size of Palm Coast, and in conditions you wouldn’t wish on your attic roaches. Every few days one of theirs is murdered by Israeli forces under cover of bogus claims of targeting terrorists, though those terrorists have the remarkable ability to be women, children or men who look like Israel’s idea of a terrorist, which happens to be every walking Arab. And every few years, they get massacred in another display of Israeli disproportion, because the repressed dare lash out and fire rockets or, more rarely, kill the odd Israeli.

Netanyahu laid his racism bare the day of the election when he warned in a video that Israeli Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of legal Israel’s population and are treated like second-class citizens, were voting in “droves” and endangering Israeli democracy. Here was an Israeli prime minister speaking of dangers to democracy because—Arabs were voting. A Nazi would have found the rhetoric heart-warming.

About six years ago the blogger at A Tiny Revolution wondered how we would react if, say, the often-busy terrorist arm of Hamas were to make a phone call and give the occupants of a hotel a 25-minute warning that it was about to blow it up. It would then proceed to bomb it and kill 92 people. The blogger also wondered how we’d react if, years later, Hamas were to nail a commemorative plaque to the rebuilt hotel and mark the bombing with a little celebration and pictures with grinning statesmen. Most of us would rightfully be disgusted. We’d reflexively go, well, that’s Hamas for you.

And chances are we’d be as dumb as doornails for missing the allusion and falling into the usual trap of thinking all things evil belonging to Hamas, and all things good to Israel. Because the bombing the blogger was referring to was that of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, the bombers were Jewish terrorists of the Irgun gang, led by Menahem Begin, who would become prime minister. As Israeli historian Tom Seguev put it, “The terror attack on the King David Hotel in Jerusalem was in its day the equivalent of the Twin Towers.” It killed 92 people, about half of them Arabs plus 28 British officials. At the time Irgun was looking to drive out British forces. It eventually succeeded.

In 2006 a plaque was unveiled at the hotel commemorating the bombing. The British government protested, finding the plaque disgraceful since it commemorated an act of terrorist. Benjamin Netanyahu was leader of the opposition at the time. And he was there, celebrating the plaque. If Israel could elect two terrorists as prime ministers—Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, once leader of the Stern Gang—maybe electing a mere terrorist sympathizer is an improvement. Then we get to what Netanyahu was capable of in Gaza. That was not sympathizing with terrorists. It was being one, in Begin’s image. Begin had Deir Yassin. Netanyahu has Gaza.

That’s the man Republicans welcomed with open arms at the U.S. Congress earlier this month, in a display of misplaced loyalties the same GOP gang would have called treasonous had Democrats extended a similar invitation, say, to the French prime minister just before the Iraq War, so he could warn against that mad invasion and embarrass George Bush on his own turf. That’s the guy who got reelected. That’s the guy with whom Obama is expected to find a way to a peaceful solution in the Middle East. And somehow, that’s the guy who looks like the hero to an odd number of Americans, while Obama is the anti-Israel loon. And that’s the guy who has his finger on the trigger of a nuclear arsenal we help him maintain. That’s the man American media continue to refer to as “Bibi,” one of Netanyahu’s brilliant marketing tricks that make him seem more like a baseball folk hero than the con artist and craven brute he’s been. That’s who the fuck he is.

Hamas, Iran’s mullahs and Hezbollah aren’t exactly a holy trinity. But they could never threaten Israel’s existence anymore than Arab armies going back to 1948 ever did. They’re not the nut cases we should be worried about. It’s Israel under Netanyahu we should be worried about.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him on Twitter. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.

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47 Responses for “Israel’s Problem Isn’t Iran or Hamas.
It’s Benjamin Netanyahu.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    “They’re not the nut cases we should be worried about?” Of course they are! Have you ever read the Hamas Charter? It goes on and on and on about Jihad, Jews being compared to apes who should be extinguished from the earth, every good Muslim’s obligation to wipe Israel, Jews and all non-believers off the map…pretty crazy stuff, I would say, dressed up like a madman’s call and guide to the faithful. This is Hamas’s official mission statement. It has never changed. They have never disavowed it. Easy for you to attempt to minimize it, in your Anti-Zionist zeal. Israel’s can’t afford to. It’s not like Palestinians are the only people in the region living under constant threat of attack. People said that “Mein Kampf” was mad rambling and meaningless in the scheme of things. It turns out they were wrong. Not only are Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran’s mullahs not not “exactly the holy trinity”.., they are threats to free people everywhere. The human rights abuses suffered by the Palestinians are terrible but they are not all perpetrated by Israel. Being treated as “human shields” by Hamas, their own elected leaders, isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Iran’s Human Rights abuses are truly terrible and they have actually gotten worse under the the current so-called “moderate” government in Iran. As for “never threatening Israel’s existence anymore than Arab armies going back to 1948 ever did”—It wasn’t for lack of trying. They failed through their own incompetence and faults due directly to their arrogance, the blindness cause by their unreasoning hatred of Israel and Jews in general, their belief that Allah is forever on their side (so how can they fail?) and their inability to match their military skill to their malevolent rhetoric and intentions. They were a threat then and they remain a threat to Israel’s existence now. And, if they get a bomb, they will hold the entire world hostage to their madness and hatred of the values that the US and the West represents to them, let alone Israel.

  2. confidential says:

    Totally correct!
    War mongering at its best and coming here on the back of our administration asking for more war and more of our lives to battle the fights Netanyahu picks! When enough is enough? We are forking 3 billion a year (that we are aware of) to a country who’s some of its people are the wealthiest world wide, while our own people the very tax payers contributing these funds are denied access to the services and entitlements our taxes are supposed to fund. I applaud POTUS for his strong stand against this man demands! We do not need or can afford anymore wars. Be aware of who could be the triggering finger of our next nuclear war as only takes a blinded fanatic to do it! How we can be so insensitive to the suffering of so many innocent civilians murdered day in and day out in both sides of this conflict, by the aggressive attitude of this supposed to be Israel leader. God help us all.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Confidential says: I find your “We are forking 3 billion a year(that we are aware of) to a country who’s some of its people are the wealthiest world wide…” comment to be basically a re-tread of the same old tired “Jews have all the money” manure that some people have used as justification for their Anti-Semitic leanings since forever. If only it were true, they really wouldn’t need your “tax-payer dollars” and could tell you to go to H-E-double-hockey-sticks, now, couldn’t they?

  3. Vincent says:

    In our country and around the world their is a huge amount of violence. Our country claims that we produce the top academics in the world and have a command of diplomacy My thinking is that academia has failed. It has failed to produce the kind of minds that can end the violence and bloodshed in our country and around the world. If the Masters, Doctorate or Post Doctorate degree was the ticket to peace then we would have peace. My theory is that we cannot begin to know if this is the best that can be achieved unless we utilize all that we know in psychology and behavior. It is one thing to diagnose what condition a leader or group has but yet another to move them mentally towards a mutually beneficial outcome. If your dealing with leaders and groups around the world that obviously have psychological issues then you must use an expert in that field if you are to have any chance. While our leaders may have the best of intentions they may very well lack the psychological knowledge to deal with varying mental conditions. We do a poor job in our own country dealing with mental illness and have had lousy performance around the world as well. Diagnosis is meaningless unless that is used to achieve something positive . Knowing what to say, when to say it , and how to act is an entirely different skill set then just saying someone is a sociopath for example . Words and actions once the condition is understood can help things along much better. If you lack emotional intelligence and tell a violent group to bring it on then a negative outcome can be expected. In no way is this easy but achieving big things is rarely simple.

  4. Herbert Weisman says:

    Why are you HERE in America….Go back over to your homeland and complain over there. You would be closer to the problems. When you bitch and moan about what should be done “over there” and you live ” over here “…it just doesn’t have the same meaning.

    • tightlines says:

      @Herbert Weisman:
      I see. You think anyone living outside the Middle East shouldn’t be able to comment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I guess Alan Dershowitz, Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz and all the others who’ve toed the AIPAC line on what’s going on “over there” from “over here” need to shut up and leave. Right? Or is it only Arab-Americans you think shouldn’t be allowed to speak on this issue?

  5. Groot says:

    Maybe, but he was just re-elected by his peers in Israel. Israel is a sovereign nation that elects it’s own leaders, not an extension of the United States. The Israelis have spoken, they support their leader. I think we should be more worried about ISIS. ISIS is causing polarization among European Jews and Israelis. They are understandably concerned. I worry about articles like this. While it may be been to support our president and provide a quick 411 on the Palestinian/Israeli issue, I find it borderline anti-Semitic.

  6. ken says:

    The first 6 words of the title say it all.
    “Israel’s problem isn’t Iran or Hamas”
    Are you kidding me?
    Not only are Iran and Hamas Israel’s problem, they our problem.

  7. Sherry Epley says:

    Excellent analysis and thoughtful, articulate article Pierre!

    You have a great point “Vincent says”. Our universities often produce great minds. . . but, it seems obvious to me that unfortunately our emotional, mass media (especially FOX) crazed voters do NOT often elect those educated candidates. And, even if a reasonably intelligent person manages to somehow slip into office, the machine of obstruction, fear and hatred grinds them to an insignificant, ineffective pulp.

    Unfortunately, the drum beat of fear and warmongering is beating louder at every moment as the CEOs of Halliburton, Grumman, et al, lick their chops and greedily rub their hands together. Sending more of our “expendable, lower class” kids to be killed/injured in battles against an evil “ideology” . . . is a senseless war that can never be completely won through violent means.

    Implement the “draft” again. . . put the kids of the 1% on the front lines. . . and see how quickly diplomacy will become more often the preferred method for solving such crises.

  8. Brian Riehle says:

    Pierre, I’m sure you’re going to take a lot of flak for this piece but it needs to be said. We keep hearing the old story that Israel is our “only” ally and friend in the middle-east and what’s really true is that we don’t have any allies at all in that region. Israel pretends to be our ally because it needs our support, but that’s all it cares about. Our politicians in DC keep pushing for Democratic elections in that region, and get upset when the results aren’t what DC wants, ( ie. Iraq, Egypt, Iran and now Israel.) Our blind support for Israel is not in our best National interests nor has it ever been, and it’s time for us to admit that the human rights abuses in the occupied territories are just like those in other places in the world. Things haven’t changed over there in the last hundred years except that now all the tribes have modern weapons.

  9. Jim R says:

    The best thing that could happen is for Iran to have a nuclear bomb, does anyone think that they would commit suicide by using it. What it would do is stop Israel from bombing them, and maybe starting WW3.
    The only country to ever use a nuclear weapon on another country is the U.S. and our vast stockpile of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them is what allows our aggression around the world.
    If all nuclear weapons were outlawed humanity may have a chance but that will not happen, so lets all watch the Doomsday clock ticking away our chances of surviving as a species.

  10. confidential says:

    Mr HW.. Hope your comment was directed to Netanyahu as he is the one that came over here asking for more lives and funds while demanding open aggression to Iran this time, against the best interest of our country the USA. Otherwise who are you to tell us HERE to back to our homelands, this is our homeland and we are defending it, RIGHT HERE, Sir!. With your kind of allies is that our country is practically bankrupted. Enough is enough lobbying in favor of individuals and regimes like the current one in Israel.

  11. Class says:

    Pierre, do you realize you represent a community newspaper, not a talking head on Bill Maher? If you started dropping F-bombs in our local schools, you would be fired if you were a teacher and disciplined if a student. Please respect the sensitivities of the people in your community. Why don’t you try to inspire and encourage people? Almost everything you “report” is some snide, smart alec criticism of someone local or international. You are not helping the situation as a peacemaker: you are an agitator and firebrand who finds fault with whomever and whatever he can.

    • JimBob says:

      I don’t think you need to worry about the children. Based on past FCAT scores most Flagler kids would not understand this article even if inclined to read it. And if language is your problem, hang around the beach sometime and listen to the vocabulary of young people.

  12. RAKA says:


  13. Patrick says:

    Great informative article how nice if it was published in every paper in the USA . America need to seek out the truth of how the israel lobby controls all political leaders I could care less if it was Ireland or Italy no country should have that much control over our government

  14. Jack Howell says:

    Well done! This is an accurate and outstanding view of the Israeli political focus in the region. No question in my mind that Israel is a super power in the region and can take care of any aggressive action (s) from Iran or any of their factions. Further, it is no secret that Iran is a major sponsor of terrorism not just in the Middle East but world wide. Pierre, I think you got Netanyahu pegged correctly. I am appalled at the suffering and human rights violations that Israel has created on the West Bank and “The Strip”. But, while Israel is one of our biggest allies, they will be the spark to set off the powder keg. The Arab hate for Americans, is in part, fueled by our support of Israeli politics.

    You are right. The Netanyahu government will continue to do things their way with little or no concern about America’s input. The bottom line for me is that I don’t trust any of the countries in the Middle East including Israel!

    On a final note, one of your readers suggested that we put the draft back on the table and put the rich kids on the front lines to establish peace. I think they kids of the politician’s should be drafted and put on the front lines. After all, it is their will that creates these bull shit wars!

  15. Pierre Tristam says:

    Class, not to point out the obvious, but I am neither a student nor a teacher, and this is not a community newspaper. It’s a newspaper—or a news service, to not run afoul of paper purists—that serves this community, with an audience of adult intelligence (which we find students well into the elementary grades to be quite capable of, and often more capable of than demographically defined adults). We have community news sources aplenty, and social media’s “inspirational” presence everywhere we click could put a smile on amoebas, so we’re not at all underserved in those areas. We are however quite underserved in harder-edged news and commentary. As for my columns, thank you for recognizing me for what I am: an agitator and a firebrand. I try. His wealth aside I certainly would not want to be mistaken for a Thomas Kinkade in prose. In this case I would not sanitize the language of Bill Clinton anymore than I would sanitize the news, particularly when the language in this case is used to illustrate a situation that warrants it. The obscenity of the word you picked out, in this context, should be the least of your concerns, considering the obscenities of the situation I’m merely outlining. And I wish that’s what comments would engage with, including yours, rather than fall back on pat phrases, talking points and ideological rote that has nothing to do with the details of the piece. There’s little engagement of that sort because it’s easier to just say Israel is saving its skin, Netanyahu is facing down Iran’s (nonexistent) nukes, Arabs have been wanting to wipe off Israel since 48, and so on and so forth. OK: we know that, and the piece doesn’t actually deny any of it. But that’s not what it’s about. Let’s concede that Arabs have been pitiful peace partners, that Hamas doesn’t know diplomacy form its ass, that Arafat was not just a crook but a terrorist, and so on. It’s beyond me how any of that changes the fact that nearly 5 million—5 million!—Palestinians are living under occupation in some of the most abject and repressive conditions on the planet, and that they’re having their lands still stolen day by day, olive tree by olive tree, illegally under every international law from here to Saturn. Of course it’s more difficult to debate that than rely on pat phrases from the oldies tape because it’s not easy to defend the dehumanizing of Palestinians. It’s easier to ignore it and pick up Aipac’s talking points. Talk about fucked up. Israel’s downfall is its occupation and its treatment of Gaza. Even Netanyahu knows it. But he has no solution, though it’s staring him in the face (the two-state solution, honestly approached and without five million conditions). None of this is anywhere near original reporting or thinking, other than its appearance as such in most American media markets where this sounds either like a foreign language or some kind of heresy. And if you consider that snide or smart-alecky, well, I’m not sure you’ve been reading past your own assumptions.

    • Jack Howell says:

      Once again, as we say in the military, you put the steel on the target. I was going to ask your indulgence as I forgot to add two other elements in the quagmire of the Israel scenario. One is the Treaty of Versailles 1919 that drew the boundaries of the Middle East which has created hatred and the other item has been the extremely poor diplomacy of our State Department and the Administration from President Jimmy Carter to President Obama. Our national leaders just don’t get it. And, trying to bring democracy for Middle East countries to embrace is a total farce. They have been fighting amongst (tribes) themselves before Christ and nothing is ever going to change in that culture and mind set. Netanyahu is an egotistic bully. After winning his reelection, one can only hope he can be placed in check.

  16. Sherry Epley says:

    Thank you Pierre for tackling the tough issues head on, for not being a milk toast panderer to what may be politically correct. . . for provoking thought and passionate commentary. . . for being the firebrand that you are!!!!

  17. JimBob says:

    I figured someone would start intimating that you are guilty of “blood libel” for any suggestion that Netanyahu is less than perfect. I myself see him as a bullying racist. As an American veteran I cannot and will not forget or forgive the unprovoked murders of crewmen of the U.S.S. Liberty by the IDF. On the other hand, maybe Netanyahu is indeed the handsome and charming Anti-Christ evangelicals hope and pray for, who will lead them to rapture. I myself prefer life for my children and grandchildren. You, Sir, are blessed with the gift to piss people off–from whatever source the blessing came.

  18. A.S.F. says:

    People all over the world seem to be using Netanyahu as an excuse to continue to lose their perspective. Doing so, even in the name of current political correctness, could have tragic consequences. As reported in today’s news alone, a 27 year old mentally ill woman was attacked by a screaming, enraged mob of men who set upon her, beat her to death, burned her (perhaps still alive) and then threw what was left of her body in a nearby river. Her “crime?” They believed she had burned a copy of the Quran. And Netanyahu is the biggest threat in the ME? Adding to the shame: Mark Bowden, Acting Head of the UN Afghanistan Mission, “said that burning the Quran hurts efforts to promote understanding and mutual respect between cultures and religions. However, the brutal murder of this woman is an unspeakably horrendous act that should result in those responsible being prosecuted, to the fullest extent possible, under Afghan law.” Gee, does that mean they won’t get a ticker-tape parade through the streets? Really, has the UN become, primarily, an apologist body for Muslim Extremists? THEY THOUGHT SHE BURNED THE QURAN—OH, THE INHUMANITY OF IT (still, maybe they shouldn’t have over-reacted and an effort should be made to punish those bad boys.) What part of that woman being mentally ill did Mr. Bowden not understand…or wish to understand? He felt that admonishing us all on the record about proper respect for the Quran just HAD to be mentioned first–as though Muslim extremists all over the world need (and deserve) the U.N.’s advocacy? For those who simply cannot tolerate the human rights abuses of Israel and feel they are the worst thing currently taking place in the world, you certainly are willing to “overlook” a lot of what is going on elsewhere…Including Iran, where Human Rights abuses have actually gotten worse since the the current “more-moderate” regime has been in power.

  19. Lin says:

    To say Hamas, Iran’s mullahs and Hezbollah are not the threat, Israel is just means to me that the writer’s eyes are closed tight to reality of today and the threat of terrorism.

    When I was old enough to understand what the UN did in creating Israel, I could say it was a damn imperfect solution. And I do feel for the Palestinians. But the solution just have 2 states is also simplistic. Hamas isn’t your garden variety democracy or even a run of the mill dictatorship. Nukes in the hands of any nuts, terrorists, despots are dangerous. Right now it is the Hamas, Hezbollah, Aqap, Boko Haram, ISis, Al Queda,
    Taliban that are committing horrific barbaric acts in the name of Islam and the Califate they are building along with taking territory all over the Middle East, Africa leaving dead from terrorism in so many places including
    Thousands here from 9/11. If terror sets its sights on something or someone, they don’t have to be rich or powerful or well armed. It just takes a goal and means.

    I don’t fear Netanyahu. I admire him. I see the rise of anti Semitism, anti-Christianity wherever the weak, impotent, apologetic governments sit back and watch so many innocents suffer.
    Look at what is happening in Russia. O promises leeway after the election. Crimea is taken, Ukraine begs for help defending themselves. We sit and watch. Now the saber rattling amassing in Kaliningrad war games threatening Lithuania and Poland and others. We do nothing.

    When the bullies of the world kill, take land, threaten death to America death to Israel and actually commit these horrible acts all over the world how naive to say be afraid of Israel and not the Islamic terrorists. My family is from eastern Europe, so a rerun of this century with Russian oppression scares me too.

    Not afraid of Netanyahu though.

    • Jim R says:

      Lin you should give up watching the nightly tv propaganda, Russia is reacting to our attempts to put NATO bases on their doorstep. We most certainly had a hand in helping those Neo-Nazis in the Ukraine to overthrow their elected leader. The people of the Crimea voted to go with Russia and what this is all about is an attempt to destabilize and demonize Russia. Do you ever wonder why the downing of that airliner is no longer on the news? It’s because we damn well know who brought it down and it was not the Russian backed rebels. Sooner or later someone has to stand up to the Imperial ambitions of the U.S. and it appears that the BRICS nations are about to do just that.

      • Lin says:

        Jim R
        Maybe you are the one who should turn off the TV and pick up some history books — better yet you should talk to some people who have lived under Russian domination and repression. Many have passed on but you can still find info if you really want to. My grandparents from 2 different countries Poland and Lithuania
        Putin doesn’t need anyone to defend him.
        His threats don’t stop try googling his threat recently to Denmark
        When I try to read about Ukraine and Crimea all I see is pictures of Russian tanks
        Not much has changed
        As for nato, that organization can mobilize to defend those nations, that’s what the treaty is for.
        What came first the chicken or the egg? You have it backwards

        • Jim R says:

          In case you missed it the USSR no longer exists, I don’t care what life is like in modern day Russia, but a country that is spying on it’s citizens E-mails and telephone conversations, can and has killed American citizens without a trial ,and has effectively wiped out portions of our constitution , has no right pointing it’s finger at any other country.
          NATO made a commitment to Russia that it would not expand eastward, and it violated that agreement, so who is the aggressor?
          I want my country to give up trying to dominate the world through military force, and become the force for good that it hypocritically claims to be.
          BTW you wont see anything even close to my opinions on the 24 hrs of fear and propaganda that is laughingly called the TV news.

          • Lin says:

            In case you missed it confidential, I said Russia not USSR
            Russia would love to be the USSR again
            I suggested you speak to people that have lived under Occupation that is why I said a lot of them passed on already or check out some history books
            Denmark is west of Russia and the baltics which are members of NATO
            In this Cold War, can we trust Putin’s promises. If so, he is saying to Denmark don’t join nato or face their nuclear wrath that’s ok with you?

            I do think that the Nsa, IRS spying on Americans, targeting political groups, the big brother nanny state we live in is too much oppressive gov’t. I thought you were talking about Rusdia on my first reading of your comment.

    • JimBob says:

      If you think the Russian Orthodox Church isn’t backing Putin all the way you need to check your facts. Christians, just like Muslims, have been using religion as an excuse to murder, rape and pillage since each man-made ideology was created. Ask the American Indian about Jesus’ love. My personal favorite is the Third Crusade in which Italian and Spanish Christians slaughtered thousands of Greek fellow Christians while sacking Constantinople–I think that was the high point of Christianity and it has been going downhill since.

  20. Mondexian Mama says:

    Here’s an idea…let the Israelis and the Arabs fight it out among themselves until one side is completely obliterated.This crap has been going on for thousands of years with no resolution,and will continue until the sane of the world refuse to take sides. Humanitarian efforts have proven useless,so no one should feel guilt whatever the outcome.

    • tightlines says:

      Mondexian, I keep hearing people throw out this “thousands of years” line to refer to the age of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Where did you all learn your world history?

      Israel declared itself a nation in 1948. Even if you go back to the conflict surrounding the start of the British Mandate for Palestine (1922) or the Balfour Declaration (1917), we’re talking less than 100 years. And if I give you yet more slack and assume you’re really talking about conflict between (non-Jewish) Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land generally, that history is still less than 2,000 years old — the Arab Muslim armies conquered Jerusalem around 638 — and it’s not half as bloody as the history between European Christians and Jews in the same period.

      At any rate, “this crap,” as you call it, isn’t a contest between two equal powers. There’s been no serious Arab threat to Israel since at least 1967.

      What there has been — as Pierre has pointed out — is a population of millions of Palestinians, lacking a military and all but the crudest weaponry, living under the occupation of an advanced, U.S.-supplied Israeli army that kills and brutalizes Palestinians with impunity.

      The casualties of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have been overwhelmingly Palestinian and overwhelmingly civilian, and for most of that murderous history, the U.S. government has been aiding and abetting.

  21. Joe says:

    Be-headed, burned alive, suicide bombers, yes, Israel is surely the enemy here….. NOT! Maybe I would have some semblance of sympathy if it were not for these type of barbaric tactics! Yes, lets condone the intentional killing of innocent people to make a statement, lets condone cowardliness, the world would be a much better place!!! SMH…

  22. God's Child says:

    If you are against Israel in any way, you are against God, plain and simple. I am not going to debate that. It’s just a fact God gave Israel to Abraham long ago. To speak against the Jewish people is to go against God. All of this hatred against Israel has been foretold in the Bible. It says Israel will be a stumbling block to the nations. read it for yourself. At some point in time, the people who have accepted Jesus as their savior will be raptured. It’s so easy not to get left behind. Just ask for forgiveness of your sins, and accept Jesus. He’s the only way to get to heaven. The only way!

    • Jim R says:

      God’s Child I’d rather get left behind with all the interesting people than get Raptured and spend the rest of Eternity with a bunch of smug self righteous holier than thou boring religious fanatics

  23. My Daily Rant says:

    Pierre; I can understand your believes seeing you came from a Arab Nation, But truth be told the good people of Isreal made their choice and it is their country. The Jews seem more Civil than most Arabs I mean Isreal isn’t shooting rockets into Arab countries not careing who they kill, Its sad that we the United States have a President that thinks talking to countries like Iran,Syria ect. are people we can deal with, when they are like most Arab countries violent, Burning our Flag in their streets, its funny but I read an article where it stated yes we give Isreal 30 billion but we give other Arab countries 80 Billion difference is Isreal respects us the others while holding out their greedy hand for our money are burning our flag with the other. PEACE TO ALL

    • Karl Hungus says:

      “The Jews seem more Civil than most Arabs I mean Isreal isn’t shooting rockets into Arab countries not careing who they kill..”

      You are only correct in that palestine isn’t recognized as an arab country.

  24. A.S.F. says:

    @tightlines says–Where do you get your “revisionist history” lessons from? Israel did not, as you so falsely claim, “declare itself a nation in 1948.” A worldwide mandate ushered by a multi-national vote at the UN, publicly broadcast over the radio airwaves, did. During that British mandate you referred to, land that had previously been negotiated and and promised to Jewish settlers was summarily comandeered by the British and given over to Trans-Jordaminas, instead, to settle on..Who later became known as “Palestinians”…who never, as has been previously implied, administered that land in any sovereign way. The Palestinian territories continued to be governed in its entirety by the British who only left after the UN vote established Israel formerly as a recognized Jewish State. Under the plan endorsed by the UN, Palestinians were to be re-established, with aid from the world community, in their own territories. That was the “two-state” solution first offered to the Palestinians– just one in a long line of such that they, along with their Arab brethren, have repeatedly refused to consider. Instead, they dream of returning to a fantastical “land of “milk and honey” that never existed and which they never controlled in the first place. And how do they always propose to accomplish this magic feat? Why, though endless warring with, and attacks on, Israel! Yes, let’s push those Jews (uh, I mean ZIONISTS) into the sea! There’s justice for you! No wonder God/Allah/name-your-pie-in-the-sky is always on their side. Their wise decisions in electing leaders like Hamas and Hezbollah ,their caring and concern about their own populace as exemplified by their refusal to spend the tons of aid they given to make their own backyards more habitable, their refusal to deal with the real life consequences of their overpopulation habits and their own human rights record, especially as regards women and anyone not Muslim, commend them as morally superior to Israel in every way. NOT!

  25. confidential says:

    ASF. No one is superior to anyone here whether Israel or Palestinians/Muslims. The fact is that we need to let them battle the fights they pick on and lets stay away form that! This religious self righteous here blinded with support for Israel keep on getting us in more bloody wars that we can no longer afford. Want to support Israel get your own butts and coffers and go over there yourselves do not lobby our government demanding for it! We are fine and safe in our own backyards if we would keep out of their conflict. Stop brain wash indoctrination! We all had enough of that. The real problem started here with the NATO bad move of the Palestinians lands forcibly taken away to settle Israel in 1947.
    How would we like if NATO would forcibly give Utah to settle as the land only for Mormon’s to govern?
    We all need to look a the bigger picture here and the horrible consequences we have been enduring since 1947. Lets stay away from a never ending war that is getting worse with the years to the point of having the leader of one of the two fighting factions creating further rift among us here by coming to our USA on the back of our elected administration “asking for more war”

    • Lin says:

      Agree confidential that the UN and the British made this deal in 1947
      But the situation now is much more complicated than those well armed Israelis against the poor Palestians
      We need to look at the government that the Israelis negotiate with and the alliances in the area

      Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, Russia. It was reported in January that Iran and Russia have a military alliance. So many countries promise to put israel down. They don’t want an Israeli state. They didn’t want it when it was created. Now the US threatening israel with lack of support. The situation in the middle east is a mess but to make peace we have to look at who the Israelis are dealing with. Not simple at all
      If the anti israel forces win, I see no democracy in the Mid East just more barbarism and chaos as the Islamic fundamentalists fight for control with each other while terrorizing the west and practicing divide and conquer among us. Instead of thinking pragmatically the president is petulantly letting his ego determine foreign policy. Would have wished for a kumbaya moment in 1947 but that’s naive then and now

    • Greg says:


      Please go to Wikipedia and type in “British Mandate for Palestine” and read the ENTIRE article. You might be surprised with what you learn.


    • A.S.F. says:

      @Confidential Says–(1) Excuse me, but it is extremist Muslims who claim to be so superior that everyone and anyone else needs to die. It’s repeatedly mentioned in Hamas’s charter and is all over the news these days, in case you hadn’t noticed. (2) As a matter fact, plenty of American Jews (with dual citizenship) DO serve two-year stints in the Israeli army. So glad you brought that up. (3) Tell me why MY tax dollars should be going to provide aid to MANY Arab nations (especially the ones that like to scream about how Jews and Americans should be put to death immediately), as well as the Palestinian territories. I am just as outraged about that as you are, I can assure you. (4) Since your link was to “Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights”, which appears to be more of an Anti-Zionist rag than anything really having to do with human rights, I throw the “brain-washed” ball back into your court (5) I’ll go you one better than your “NATO giving Utah to the Mormons” example….How about we take an entire nation that has existed since 1948, when it was legally declared and legitimized by the entire world community and turn around now in 2015 and say, “Get out, Jews. We’ve changed our minds (again.) We’re taking the land you’ve worked so hard to make prosper and shed so much blood to defend so we can give it back to people who lived on it previously but never actually governed or “owned” it, after the British, empowered by the League of Nations (now defunct), took it away from you without due cause.” Yep, that sounds fair.

  26. scott says:

    Israel PM is a great Leader and every right to be concerned, the Terrorist State of Palestine has been attacking Israel forever, Iran openly states when they get enough Nukes they will Nuke Israel. We have a American President (Obama) who openly and behind the scenes supports Palestine , helping Iran obtain nuclear weapons and most recently Obama and his goons dumped millions of tax payer dollars into Israel’s election trying to oust BIBI

  27. Lancer says:

    Simple questions:

    1. Has Iran or Hamas formally recognized Israel as a state? Nope.

    2. Would Hamas and Iran agree to a peace process if a Palestinian state was created and they recognize Israel as a state? Nope.

    You see, there is no way, no hope or no chance of a lasting peace that will be agreed to by Hamas, Iran and other Muslim countries that has Israel as a country.


  28. A.S.F. says:

    AP reports today, printed in the Daytona News Journal, stated that Iran is rejecting the head of the U.N.’s Nuclear Watchdog Agency’s recommendation that Iran agree to snap inspections of their nuclear facilities to reassure the world community of the veracity of their claim that they do not intend to use their nuclear facilities for bomb-making purposes. Iran, of course, is finding this proposal not only uncalled for and unacceptable, but they are accusing the agency’s head of preventing the current negotiations from moving forward. Add that to the Ayatollah’s recent “Death to America” speech and I think it indicates pretty clearly where Iran is coming from…and how much they are to be trusted.

  29. A.S.F. says:

    But I am sure that this will not stop some people from fervently believing that Israel is the worst threat out there.

  30. trebordadda says:

    Good analysis Pierre.

    @Herbert Weisman: Maybe you should ask the dozens of speakers at the recent J-Street Conference in DC (including Dennis McDonnough, WH Chief of Staff), who, in turn, represent the tens of thousands of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans the same inane question you ask Pierre: “Why are you HERE in America….Go back over to your homeland and complain over there.” Disagree all you will, but that kind of vacuous statement does not further the dialogue in the least.

  31. Edith Campins says:

    Excellent article. Thank you Mr. Tristam.

    Netanyahu has been using the Republican hatred of President Obama to sow discord in the US. He has tried to do everything in his power to sabotage the talks with Iran without offering any viable alternatives.

    Let’s cut off the money flow and see how long it takes him to change his tune. He is not a friend to the US.

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