Sucking Up Shamelessly to Israel
by Stephen Lendman
America's special relationship with Israel too often reflects the tail wagging the dog. Increasingly, the Jewish state is more strategic liability than asset.
The Israeli Lobby has a virtual stranglehold on US foreign policy. Blunt pressure is applied to get Washington to accede to interests harming its own. Fear prevents most House and Senate members from openly expressing criticism. It's no different for presidents and administration officials.
Anyone stepping out of line is called anti-Semitic, challenged electorally, or replaced. Journalists know doing it risks recriminations and/or dismissal.
Netanyahu combines street bullying, belligerent bluster, hotheaded arrogance, and childish pouting. He's an adolescent who never grew up. Why Israelis put up with him who knows. More at issue is why Washington doesn't cut him loose and treat Israel no differently than other allies.
Both countries threaten world peace. Together, the danger is heightened. They're joined together at the hip like a two-headed monster. Each seeks regime change in Syria and Iran.
Netanyahu's practically rabid about the Islamic Republic. It's not about Tehran posing a threat. He knows there's none but claims otherwise. At issue is unchallenged regional dominance. Iran is Israel's main political rival.
Media scoundrels don't explain. They endorse Israeli belligerence. They consider opponents heretics.
Rupert Murdoch is a longtime pro-Israeli stalwart. He received numerous awards from Jewish organizations for supporting decades of Israeli lawlessness.
On September 3, his Wall Street Journal headlined "Why Israel Doesn't Trust Obama," saying:
His Joint Chiefs Chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, warned against attacking Iran. He said he won't be complicit if Israel goes it alone. Is he freelancing or speaking for Obama, asked the Journal?
"We don't know what exactly Gen. Dempsey thinks American non-complicity might entail in the event of a strike. Should the Administration refuse to resupply Israel with jets and bombs, or condemn an Israeli strike at the UN?"
His remarks "were counterproductive and oddly timed." At the same time, "(a)dministration officials have also repeatedly told the media that they aren't entirely sure if Iran really intends to build a bomb."
Annual US intelligence assessments say no evidence suggests a nuclear weapons program. The Journal called its reports "misleading."
"No wonder the Israelis are upset." Obama's "tr(ying) to sell to the public a make-believe world in which Iran's nuclear intentions are potentially peaceful, sanctions are working, and diplomacy hasn't failed after three and a half years."
"The irony for the Administration is that its head-in-the-sand performance is why many Israeli decision-makers believe they had better strike sooner than later."
“Not only is there waning confidence that Mr. Obama is prepared to take military action on his own, but there's also a fear that a re-elected President Obama will take a much harsher line on an Israeli attack than he would before the first Tuesday in November."
"Since coming to office, Obama Administration policy toward Israel has alternated between animus and incompetence."
Murdoch's world reflects demagoguery, propaganda, warmongering, and support for the worst of Israel's lawlessness. His goal isn't journalism. It's raw power, deception, arrogance, intimidation, poisonous influence, and bottom line priorities.
Editorials in broadsheets he owns reflect his views. They better or editors will be sacked for more compliant ones. Why anyone believes or supports him is unfathomable. He's itching for more war and wants it now. He also wants Romney replacing Obama.
Both candidates are pro-war. Obama plans it but not yet. Electoral priorities come first. At the same time, he's staunchly pro-Israel. On September 2, The New York Times  headlined "To Calm Israel, US Offers Ways to Restrain Iran," saying:
Obama may declare "red lines." If crossed, Iran's nuclear facilities may be attacked. He's considering a range of overt and covert actions. They include sabotaging Tehran's program to delay it. He wants to placate Netanyahu and help him save face.
Internal discussions continue about overt public warnings. Regional military measures are planned. They include deploying radar systems in Qatar able to detect Iranian rocket launches. Israel and Turkey have similar capabilities. September and October military exercises are also scheduled.
"Some of Mr. Obama’s advisers have argued that Israel needs a stronger public assurance that he is willing to take military action, well before Iran actually acquired a weapon. But other senior officials have argued that Israel is trying to corner Mr. Obama into a military commitment that he does not yet need to make."
Israeli cabinet members downplayed alleged US/Israeli tensions. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said:
"All in all, the strategic and defense relations between Israel and the United States have remained as strong as they have ever been. The cooperation is very good, and also my in contacts with senior officials in the United States I don’t hear of any unprecedented crisis in the relations. I hear it in the media. I don’t see it in reality."
Environment Minister Gilad Erdan agreed, saying:
"I don’t think there’s an American signal here. There are internal American issues with which we do not interfere….(W)e are still very proud of the fact that the security cooperation between Israel and the United States has reached unprecedented records during the term of the present government."
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom added that Washington and Israel are in lockstep agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Disagreement only reflects timing.
Netanyahu is more volatile, brash, and belligerent. He puts his foot in his mouth so often he risks swallowing it and choking. On Sunday, he told cabinet ministers:
"The international community is not setting Iran a clear red line, and Iran does not see international determination to stop its nuclear project."
"Until Iran sees a clear red line and such determination, it will not stop the progress of its nuclear project….Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons."
Earlier he said time ran out on diplomacy. He wants action with Washington in the lead.
Haaretz contributor Chemi Shalev apparently agrees. On September 2, he called General Dempsey's comments "insulting and counterproductive."
Is he "goading Israel to attack Iran," he asked? Is Shalev serious or exaggerating for effect? His column reeked with misinformation. We've heard it all before.
Iran's peaceful nuclear program is called threatening. Falsified IAEA claims are called legitimate. Ban Ki-moon regurgitating Western propaganda long ago lost credibility. Writers doing the same thing lost theirs.
Shalev accused Dempsey and other US officials of "chronic misunderstanding of Israeli public opinion." They "misinterpret superficial….headlines that 'most Israelis are opposed to an attack on Iran.' "
Polls indeed show most Israelis oppose war. They also show war weary Americans oppose additional conflicts and want ongoing ones ended.
Sensible high officials in both countries feel the same way. War with Iran will be disastrous, they believe. Shalev is hawkishly pro-war. "Israel must take its fate into its own hands, before it's too late," he claims.
Too bad his readers aren't told Iran threatens no one. It's nuclear program is peaceful. Over 100 NAM nations support it. They also oppose war. Falsifying threats have no place in legitimate journalism. Doing so shows complicity with what should be condemned.
On September 3, CIA Director/US General David Petraeus arrived in Israel. Placating Netanyahu and other hardliners is planned. He spent time in Turkey discussing Syria. Ankara officials were tight-lipped. They neither confirmed or denied his visit.
In America, it's Labor Day weekend. A recording by a Washington public affairs officer said "We are not able to share information due to security reasons." No further comments were made.
Petraeus is the latest US official to visit Israel. Perhaps he'll assure Netanyahu that Washington and Israel only disagree on timing. Don't expect official statements to explain.
Don't expect peace. Both nations are in lockstep. They support war. Washington has its own timetable. Netanyahu's bluster won't change it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.