Netanyahu’s Israel is an ‘indispensable ally’ to no one

Abdullah Masri

Here’s why Netanyahu’s attempt to use tensions between Arab states and Iran to deflect from the horrors of Israeli crimes won’t stand. Benjamin Netanyahu has outdone himself this time. While attending the inauguration of Brazil’s newly elected populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, he told Brazil’s Globo TV that Arab countries see Israel as an “indispensable ally” in fighting Iran and Daesh.

Presumably, he was referring to the rapport Israel has found with the GCC in their common enemy. In Brazil, he described the shared understanding as the reason behind “a revolution in relations with the Arab world.” The statement is ironic at best. Israel labels itself as the “indispensable ally,” joining a merry bond united in common cause against the external existential threat that is Iran, while ignoring the major elephant in the room: Israel occupies more Arab land, causes more conflict, death and destruction than Iran ever has. Let’s take a step back. This is by no means an attempt to whitewash Iranian foreign policy, its bloodied proxies, countless interventions, interference in the affairs of countries along sectarian lines, not to mention its propping up of the brutal dictator Assad in Syria.

It is, however, a reality check. Netanyahu, how can you be both ally and the single largest occupier of the Middle East at the same time? The Golan Heights? Sinai? Palestine? Israel is the world’s largest source of state-sponsored terrorism, and is the proud owner of the worst record of flagrant violations of international law, blatant disregard for international conventions, and continued abuse of human rights.

Even if you take the humanitarian angle out of the equation, we must ask the question, it’s no minor insult that Netanyahu can claim to be an “indispensable ally,” in light of all that has happened between the nations and all that continues to happen.

Netanyahu seems to have polished his capacity to connect bald-faced lies, and his ability to shamelessly present them. It’s a far cry from the days where the Israeli president brought an instructional poster board to the United Nations General Assembly to educate world leaders, in the most condescending fashion, on what a nuclear bomb is and where Iran is. He was only missing his laser pointer. It’s only to be expected that Israel would make the most of regional tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its allies, but the gall to make such statements while standing knee-deep in the blood of civilians, massacres and the heart of conflict in the region speaks much of the impunity that Israel has come to enjoy.

To that end, it also speaks much of the state of the Middle East and its Arab leaders. To add insult to injury, Netanyahu has made absolutely clear that he has no intention of returning to the negotiating table to find a peaceful settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The statement came shortly after the US’s decision to withdraw from Syria last week, leaving Israel scrambling since it had counted on continued US support as a cover to their own increasing air strikes on Iranian positions in Syria.

In a Machiavellian swerve, Netanyahu explained away the lack of any progress on peace talks with the Palestinians. “Half of them are already under the gun of Iran and of radical Islam,” he added. Such a sweeping statement left unmentioned his unwillingness to negotiate an end to even the illegal encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli, radical, armed settlers.

No amount of assassination, lobbying, condescending lies, or back-channel deals can change the reality of the matter: Israel is an apartheid regime taking comfort in the blanket protection of the United States should worse come to worse: A protection realised through the lobbying and subversion of the American democratic process, no small amount of wealth, and a great deal of intimidation. Don’t take my word for it. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, esteemed professors of the Universities of Chicago and Harvard respectively, wrote a 60-page report of their findings on the extent of the Israeli lobby’s penetration of the US foreign policy establishment. Netanyahu should give up the blatant whitewashing of Israeli crimes. No one buys it.

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