“I intend to speak the unvarnished truth because now more than ever what we need is peace” Netanyahu said before he twisted the truth in his speech to the American Congress.
“Demographic changes … this is may be the most concrete point Netanyahu has come to mention in his whole speech and could very well be the name of the Israeli next game of forestalling any possible agreements in the Mideast talks”
Something about Netanyahu’s eloquent speech lately to a joint meeting of Congress, which has been interrupted by 29 standing ovations, sounded familiar to me. I don’t mean Netanyahu’s words but the response of his high caliber audience; it seems as if I have seen it before.
As an Egyptian who is not so keen on following much of the American congressional sessions, if any, still this extraordinary joint session of the American Congress with all that public display of candid acquiescence to everything Bibi said, or even thought, reminded me of the similarly eloquent speeches Mubarak used to deliver at the Egyptian parliament for well over 30 years of sordid dictatorship.
And also as an Egyptian I could attest to the fact that the televised sessions of the former president speeches to the Egyptian parliament members ranked high, not on the most viewed political videos but on the funniest ones.
For 30 long years Mubarak has been ranting about his relentless efforts to build a strong democracy where freedoms and the rule of law would be respected where in fact he was sincerely engaged in doing the exact opposite. But still his full house audience of apparently attentive parliamentarians kept on showing their frantic applause and repeated standing ovations to every one of his deceiving talks.
Of course Mubarak has been lying all along and he knew it and may be enjoyed it too, but what about those flocks of parliamentarians and politicians, how could we explain their attitude? Were they lied to, intimated or just hypnotized by the power of the presidential office?
The post- Mubarak probes proved beyond any reasonable doubt that 90% of those then incumbent high statesmen knew for a fact that Mubarak was the scum of the earth and they cheered for him only in gratitude for letting them keep their jobs and for the slim chance they would join in for a tiny slice of the ripped off cake. Oh yes, and the remaining 10% were just plain fools who just happened to hop in for the ride.
Shared values and interests
Going over Bibi’s landmark speech to the congress and trying to recapitulate the main points he stressed in his long speech, the first thing that strikes me as enigmatic and hard to grasp is his assertion that the relation between Israel, or the so called the Jewish state, and the United States is so strong because it is rooted in shared values and interests.
And every time I listen to this assertion, which usually pops up whenever Israel needs another big favor of Uncle Sam, being a foreigner I wonder, what on earth those shared values and interests might be. Are they so exclusively Israeli-American that no other nation on planet earth could hope to subscribe to?
In his speech, the Israeli Prime minister set out by stressing his country’s stand as a democratic “friend of America” in the Middle East, but largely ruled out touching on the issues that are important to Palestinians and their history.
In the warm arms of the US Congress, he somehow managed to get away with alleging that Jewish settlers – living in illegal settlements – in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are not occupiers, that the West Bank (using the biblical designation, Judea and Samaria) is not occupied territory, that a united Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and that Israel should be recognized as “a Jewish state”.
Netanyahu reiterated the same old Israeli-Zionist jazz we have been listening to for years, boasting about the Jew’s historical and spiritual claims to the land.
But were all the senators and congressmen attending the speech aware that modern historians andarcheologists had refuted the Biblical narrative of ancient Israelites and their stories of exodus, conquest and a magnificent unified kingdom. In other words, most of the ancient Israelite Biblical history is now more close to being a mere myth than a historical fact that cannot, or better yet shouldn’t be counted upon as historical evidence.
Were they aware, when Netanyahu spoke of giving up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland, that the Palestinians are more likely to be the true descendants of the ancestral Israelites than those Ashkenazi and Haredi – orthodox- Jews who are in fact immigrants, who fled Eastern and Western Europe following the horrors of the WWII, and whose ancestors just happened to adhere or convert to Judaism centuries ago?
When Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress that Israel is prepared to make “painful compromises” for peace with the Palestinians, including the handover of land they seek for a state, had it crossed the minds of his esteemed audience that the land Mr. Netanyahu was most kind and generously willing to hand over is not Jewish land in the first place under any international law, no matter how biased or manipulated it could get.
Repeating a message he has delivered consistently during his visit to Washington, Netanyahu said “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967 narrow lines because they don’t take into account certain demographic changes that have taken place on the ground over the last 44 years.
Demographic threat, in other words Palestinian Arabs
“Demographic changes” … this is may be the most concrete point Netanyahu has come to mention in his whole speech and could very well be the name of the Israeli next game of forestalling any possible agreements in the Mideast talks.
In 1996, Israel’s population was 5.7 million people; today, that number is 7.75 million. Today, there are 1.59 million Palestinian Arabs in Israel, compared to 1.03 million in 1996.
In my opinion, while the historical, spiritual and political Zionist claims to the disputed land of Palestine are liable to be questioned, doubted or even refuted by professional academics and scholars, demographic changes remain the one robust reality on the ground that defy neglect or negating.
Over the last 6 decades Israel has not only succeeded in actualizing the Zionist’s dream of establishing a statehood for the Jews from all over the world, or the invention of the Jewish people, as the prestigious historian, Shlomo Sand put it, but also managed to turn it into a demographic reality.
while he was getting his, God knows how many, enthusiastic applause and standing ovation for branding Hamas as the Palestinian version of al Qaeda Netanyahu was thrilled the Zionist-controlled main stream media had managed, throughout the last decade, to downplay the world wide accusations pointing the finger at Mossad and its covert role in 9/11 and his own statements of how good it was for Israel.
Advising or rather, patronizing Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO leader to break his pact with Hamas, Netanyahu somehow disregarded the fact that he himself had made a political bond with Yisrael Beiteinu, the right-Zionist party that advocates kicking out, or to put it mildly, the transfer of 1948 Palestinian Arabs out of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and moreover appointed its leader, Avigdor Lieberman as his deputy and foreign minister who has been called by western and Israeli media as “neo-fascist, a certified gangster and anti-Arab virulent racist”
It doesn’t make much sense for Netanyahu to order Abbas to break up with Hamas while his coalition government is currently harboring hard-line extremists from both Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas parties who are deemed not only as anti-Arabs but whose highest spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef publicly advocates that Arabs should perish and be wiped off the face of the earth- a virulent hatred that Netanyahu usually dismisses while focusing on the long time israeli propaganda of ” we want peace, but unfortunately there is no one to talk to from the other side”. A pretext that Tel Aviv is bound to fully exploit after the late Palestinian reconciliation deal.
And as Netanyahu was keen to draw the attention to the Israeli demographic reality he never mentioned how a society deeply rooted in modern and civilized American values spoke of the Arabs and Palestinians in particular.
“If Obama wants to know who the true unacceptable partners for peace are, all he has to do is get an English transcript of discussions from the Israeli Knesset (parliament) and read how members from the political right call Arabs “animals” and make all manner of racist slurs against Palestinians” says Aljazeera opinion writer,Lamis Andoni.
And if the world cares to find out who is the intransigent party that is persistently hindering all the declared peace talks and the secret ones as well, all we have to do is to examine the “Palestine papers” leaked by aljazeera that revealed tons of documents exposing generous and extremely painful concessions offered by the Palestinian authority which had been turned down by the Israeli side in the most degrading and humiliating manner.
Over the last 20 years, and as the demographic changes Bibi mentioned has been in the making more kindergartens and primary schools were increasingly in demand. And with the ultra-orthodox Shas party running almost 30% of those primary schools one can imagine the kind of hate speech that is being indoctrinated to Israel kids. As a matter of fact the anti-Arab rhetoric in those primary schools has been so obvious and huge it became a rich material for the Israeli popular comic TV shows.
And since Comedy has to be based on truth, those shows are regarded as a funny way of being serious about Israel’s controversial policies and practices.
In his memorable speech to the congress and as he took the stage Netanyahu kept a long legacy of depicting Israel as the utopia of the Middle East alive.