Iranian missiles will hit New York in “three to four years”. A nuclear Iran is like “50 North Koreas”.
This could be the sound of a deranged, dangerous sociopath, or
this could be the sound of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
“Bibi” Netanyahu addressing the UN General Assembly.
Compare for yourself. Last week we had Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani calling for the world to surf a WAVE (as in World Against Violence and Extremism).
This week we had Bibi saying that was a “cynical” and
“totally hypocritical honey trap”.
In the world according to Netanyahu, “Ahmadinejad was a wolf
in wolf’s clothing. Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Rouhani tried to present himself as “pious”, but he’s
always been involved with “the terror state of Iran”. He’s
like “a serial killer going to court dressed in clerical
attire and giving testimony to his nature as an ‘ethical’ and
Ranting aside, Bibi did change his game. Now it’s not silly
cartoons and begging the US to bomb Iran virtually on a weekly
basis. Now it’s Iran’s “military nuclear program” that must be
shut down – a program, by the way, that the alphabet soup of US
intelligence agencies says does not exist.
And this after Netanyahu told US President Barack Obama to forget
– forever - UN Security Council resolution 242, which determined
total Israeli withdrawal from all lands occupied after the 1967
So let’s get some things straight.
The state of Israel does not have any internationally recognized
borders, and does not have an internationally recognized capital.
It’s bound to be perpetually expanding.
Israel has disrespected no less than 69 UN Security Council
resolutions and has been “protected” from no less than 29
more, courtesy of US vetoes.
It has been occupying sovereign territory of Lebanon and Syria
without giving a damn to UN Security Council resolutions.
Israel signed the Oslo Accords promising to stop building for
good, any new settlements in Palestine. Instead, it has built
over 270 new settlements. This is part of the slow motion ethnic
cleansing of Palestine over the past six decades.
Israel has been threatening to bomb Iran on a weekly basis for at least three decades.
Israel is an undeclared nuclear power with as many as 400 nuclear
warheads; refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty
(NPT); bars international inspections; never ratified the
Chemical Weapon Convention Treaty; used chemical weapons on Gaza;
and holds an undeclared stockpile of chemical weapons larger than
any other nation in the Middle East.
Iran, on the other hand, has no nuclear warheads. Iran has signed
the NPT and is inspected on a regular basis. Iran has not invaded
another country for at least 250 years. Iraq under Saddam Hussein
invaded Iran in 1980, but Iran did not occupy Iraqi territory.
The Israel lobby in Washington and the US Congress imposed
a financial blockade on Iran, which for all practical purposes is
a declaration of war. This has led to a massive depreciation of
the Iranian rial – with drastic consequences for the lives of
ordinary Iranians. Yet in his meeting with Obama this Monday in
Washington, Netanyahu not only asked for more sanctions; he said
Israel will unilaterally attack Iran if Rouhani’s words are not
followed by “action”.
The real “international community”, as in the overwhelming
majority of the developing world, including the BRICS group of
emerging powers, have all these facts at their fingertips. These
facts help to see right through Bibi’s game.
The mere possibility of a US-Iran dialogue is the Israeli right’s
real “existential threat”. Bibi won't accept even Iran’s
right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, accorded to it by
A US deal with Iran is a win-win proposition for all; not only
the two principals but energy-starved Europeans, the global
economy, multinational corporations, you name it. Except for
Bibi’s nightmare is the Islamic Republic of Iran not only as an
independent geopolitical actor in Southwest Asia – which it
already is – but also as a thriving regional power; in this
aspect, the only way for Iran is up, considering its huge, young,
well-educated population, its massive energy resources, it's
fabulous location and its complex ties to South, Central and East
For the Israeli right, the status quo is ideal. Either we find US
puppets such as the petro-monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC); or Arab secular republics that – with various
degrees of Israeli input – have been mired in extreme turmoil,
like Iraq and especially Syria.
It’s very easy for Israel to maneuver among these actors; the
Israelis can, for instance, rejoice with a military coup in Egypt
(because the Egyptian military are no threat) while partnering
with Saudi Arabia to try to bring down Assad in Syria. Middle
East balkanization over sectarian lines is sweet as honey for
But Iran as an emerging economic/political power, with normalized
relations with the US and Western Europe, it’s a much more
serious matter, “existentially” threatening Israel’s
supposed hegemony in the Middle East, which rests solely on its
military muscle (not to mention hidden nuclear capability).
So much for Netanyahu ’s obsession with regime change in Tehran - or the next best option, which is total isolation from the West (because as far as the East is concerned, Iran has thriving relations with all key actors in Asia).
The crucial point is that Iran’s “existential threat” has
been extremely useful for the Israeli right as a diversionary
tactic, changing the subject from what’s happening in real life;
a nuclear garrison state/settler colony literally, graphically
wiping a whole people - the Palestinians - off the map. When in
doubt, just look at the map.
So here’s where we are. Netanyahu is a hawk who swears by Eretz Israel – a “Greater” Israel with ever-expanding borders and undisputed military/nuclear hegemony in the Middle East. He has powerful allies; US extreme right-wingers and neo-cons, demented Republicans who will support anything as long as it’s against Obama, a great deal of the Israeli-manipulated US Congress, large swathes of corporate media. They will stop at nothing to derail even the hint of an agreement between Washington and Tehran.
The temptation for the real “international community” would be to tell Netanyahhu to shut up – and go play with his silly cartoons. Obama at the UN last week said his priorities are now Iran and taking another shot at solving the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy. So the ball is really in Obama’s court – not the sociopath’s.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.