Rae Abileah, the woman of Israeli descent who interrupted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s speech before the US Congress on May 24, claims she was beaten by AIPAC activists. “I yelled ‘Stop the occupation’ and immediately they jumped on me,” she told Ynet May 25. “They assaulted me and I fell on the floor. The activists strangled me and beat me. Then I was dragged out by police who arrested me.” She says she sustained injuries to the neck and shoulders which required hospitalization.
Bibi’s speech apparently received multiple standing ovations. This is a very poor sign of the prevailing political climate, as a review of the transcript reveals the oratory as blatantly annexationst propaganda:
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.
Oh? Does the existence of a large Arab minority in areas of Israel (e.g. the Galilee) mean that those locales should be transferred to Palestinian rule? Not to mention that the Arabs residing within the Green Line are indigenous inhabitants, whereas the Jews residing beyond the Green Line are illegal settlers. More:
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.
Bibi doesn’t tell us on what legal basis he proposes that Israel would annex territories which are themselves illegally occupied according to the UN (see. e.g., Reuters, March 12, 2002) More:
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.
And so much for intellectual depth, we might add. Does Bibi propose make Israel secure by compounding an illegal occupation with an illegal annexation? Sure, that’ll really chill out the Palestinians. Good thinking there, Bibi. But it gets worse:
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
So let’s get this straight. A Palestinian state must be “fully demilitarized,” while Israel continues to militarize not only that supposed state’s borders with Israel but also its borders with Jordan. In other words, a pseudo-state completely ringed by an Israeli military cordon, with no control whatsoever of its own frontiers. But it gets worse yet:
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 Congo. 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.
He does go on to pay a little lip service to the notion of an “independent and viable” Palestinian state—after slipping that “viable” means without any control of its own borders, and after legitimizing the notion that God gave the Jews a cosmic real estate deed to the West Bank.
As for respecting the Palestinian democratic process:
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!
Bibi seems to share the political logic displayed by the Algerian generals when they annulled the elections in 1992: He believes in democracy, as long as the results are pre-determined. As for the tiresome al-Qaeda analogy: Sure, Hamas has lots of blood on its hands. So does Israel. Does that mean it’s OK to make vulgar Israel-equals-Nazi-Germany analogies? Equating Hamas to al-Qaeda is no more precise. And dictating to the Palestinians who their leaders must be does not exactly smack of commitment to an “independent and viable” state.
Bibi displays further misgivings about an uncontrolled democratic process when he elaborates on Israeli fears of the Arab Spring:
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 Hezbollah.
Dissing the “medieval rule of Hezbollah” just after invoking a biblical claim to Jewish rule over “Judea and Samaria”? One almost wonders if he is being consciously ironic.
Glenn Greenwald doesn’t get it
Congressional expressions of support for this rhetoric are, needless to say, utterly sinister. But the (very annoying) Glenn Greenwald can’t resist the play to xenophobia (in this case—we hate to say it—anti-Semitism) in attacking the congressional “super-patriots of the American Right” who jeered Obama (“their own President”) while giving standing ovations to a “foreign leader”—as if the issue were that Bibi is “foreign” rather than the oppressor and dispossessor of the Palestinians, and again playing into the ugly trope that Washington has surrendered its sovereignty to its own client state. He even sarcastically entitles his screed “Great American Patriots.” Talk about missing the point.
As usual, there is no shortage of BS to go around in the interminable Israeli/Palestinian dilemma.