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Commentary :: War and Militarism
Obama Heads to Israel
17 Mar 2013
Obama Heads to Israel

by Stephen Lendman

As now scheduled, he'll arrive March 20. He'll remain until March 23. It's his first presidential visit. He made several trips before. He's only the fifth US president to go. Others included Nixon, Carter, Clinton, and GW Bush.

He waited until Israel's new government was formed. It took weeks to do so. On March 15, coalition partners agreed.

Netanyahu remains Prime Minister. Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett become troika partners. It's Israel's most extremist government ever. It reflects fascism writ large. Israelis have themselves to blame. They're stuck with what they should have rejected.

Obama and Netanyahu don't like each other. It doesn't matter. America's committed to Israel's security. Doing so jeopardizes its own. The special relationship's often one-sided.

It does more harm than good. It's wearing thin. It still persists. It's long past time to reconsider policy. Don't expect Obama to do it. He's largely in lockstep with Israeli policy.

Whether he'll wage war on Iran remains to be seen. Face-to-face meetings will discuss it.

Saber rattling, red lines, timelines, sanctions, sabotage, cyberwar, targeted assassinations, accusations, and threats so far substitute. Whether it stops there isn't known.

Past and present high-level officials in both countries oppose war. They do so for good reason. It's madness. It threatens the entire region. It could spread globally. No sensible leader would dare risk it.

Netanyahu menaces the region. He exceeds the worst of Ariel Sharon. He's over-the-top and reckless. He considers diplomacy a four-letter word.

Israeli insiders detest him. They don't trust him. He's unfit to serve. He lies calling Iran's peaceful nuclear program an existential threat. More on that below.

Obama's waging multiple direct and proxy wars. He hasn't attacked Iran so far. Perhaps he won't. He's got plenty of time to try. Hopefully he's not foolish enough to consider it. He's got enough blood on his hands already.

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) calls itself "the most influential group on the issue of US-Israel military relations."

It "advocate(s) on behalf of a strong US military, a robust national security policy and a strong US security relationship with Israel and other like-minded democracies."

It supports Israeli lawlessness. It claims America and Israel face common threats. They're ones both countries invent.

It wants Obama to inform allies and adversaries that America won't tolerate Iran developing nuclear weapons. Nothing suggests it's so. Tehran's program is entirely peaceful. Claiming otherwise is red herring cover for regime change.

JINSA wants all options used. Taking military action off the table undermines them, it says.

It wants peace talks resumed without preconditions. For decades they've been more hypocrisy than real. Israel doesn't negotiate. It demands.

Netanyahu's committed to unlimited settlement expansions. He opposes diaspora Palestinians' right of return. He claims Jerusalem as Israel's exclusive capital. His hardline government excludes fairness. Palestinians never had a legitimate partner. They don't now.

Peace is a dead letter. Israel won't tolerate it. Neither does Washington. Both countries favor confrontation over diplomacy. Strength through militarism is prioritized. Naked aggression is commonplace. Expect no policy change now.

Washington must insure Israel's security, says JINSA. Preserving its "Qualitative Military Edge (QME)" is top priority.

Israel's the top Middle East military power. It's nuclear armed and dangerous. Its chemical and biological weapons stockpiles menace regional security. It faces no threats.

According to AIPAC, Obama "called this trip a listening opportunity and noted that there will be no big Middle East peace initiative on the table at this particular time."

He and Netanyahu will focus on three issues: Iran's nuclear program, Syria, and Palestine.

On March 14, Obama said Iran's "over a year or so" from developing nuclear weapons. He lied. He knows no program exists.

Sixteen US intelligence agencies affirm it. They do so annually. High-level US, Israeli, and Western European leaders know it. They claim otherwise.

Canards repeat ad nauseam. Media scoundrels regurgitate them. Murdoch's Wall Street Journal's one of the worst. Editorials feature managed news misinformation rubbish.

On March 8, its Review and Outlook section headlined "The Not-Bluffing Bluff." Bald-faced lies followed.

They included US Central Command General James Mattis saying sanctions and political pressure haven't stopped Iran from "obtaining a nuclear weapons capability."

Journal editors suggest Tehran's Parchin military facility conducts nuclear weapons "experiments." It denies IAEA inspectors access, they claim.

Fact check

Parchin has nothing to do with nuclear work. IAEA inspectors visited the site twice. They found nothing disturbing each time.

During the latest P5+1 talks, "Iran has succeeded again in gaining time for its nuclear programs, pocketing Western concessions and conceding nothing in return."

Fact check

Almaty, Kazakstan talks accomplished nothing. So-called concessions were too little to matter. Iran's nuclear program complies fully with NPT provisions.

Tehran's not about to roll over for Washington. Independence matters more. Confrontation continues. Iran's legal nuclear program is pretext to do so. What follows remains to be seen.

Journal editors claim Iran "continue(s) its covert nuclear work." It's "gradually developing the infrastructure needed to manufacture a large number of weapons in short order."

Fact check

No evidence whatever suggests it. Iran's the most heavily surveilled country anywhere. Its nuclear facilities are monitored round-the-clock.

Regular inspections are conducted. Israel and America won't tolerate them. IAEA doesn't ask.

Journal editors want Obama to get tough on Iran. They barely stop short of urging war.

On March 9, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile said Obama conceded too much in Almaty. He recognized nothing more than what Tehran's legally entitled to.

Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy says Iran poses no existential threat. Both sides have no "bones of contention," he believes.

Netanyahu bluster impresses the world community, he added. Israel's able "to protect itself."

Israeli Military Intelligence chief General Aviv Kochavi said Iran's "nuclear program is progressing." It hasn't crossed "internationally perceived red lines."

It's no imminent threat. Iran "has not yet decided to build a bomb." Kochavi and Halevy aren't the only ones saying so. Media scoundrels suppress their comments.

Joe Tuzara's a former clinical researcher/physician/general surgeon. He now writes free lance. Hopefully his patients fared better than readers.

His commentaries lack credibility. His analysis is sorely lacking. He's ideologically over-the-top. He reflects extremist media scoundrel opinion. It drowns out what matters most.

On March 13, he headlined "The Paradox of Obama's Visit to Israel," saying:

His "dangerous complacency and compromise with Iran has afflicted US foreign policy for too long, causing incalculable damage to Israel's security and American interests in the region."

Convoluted reasons follow. Iran's falsely accused of pursuing "illicit" activities.

"(E)ven worse, Obama's unprecedented betrayals make no sense at all." He "selected the least qualified anti-Israeli nominee for secretary of defense."

He's "self-obsessed in reaching a diplomatic nuclear breakthrough."

"Reluctantly" he's visiting Israel "urgent(ly)."

Diplomacy is "dangerous nonsense." Failure to confront Iran makes Israel's security "untenable."

Iran "represents a clear and present danger to Israel's existence and the national interest of the US."

"Something has to be done."

It's hard imagining how this type rubbish gets published. It falls short of bad fiction. Scoundrel media feature it. Naive readers believe it. Israel, America and complicit partners get away with murder.

New poll numbers provide more evidence of public ignorance. Americans favor Israel over Palestine. They do so by a 64 - 12% margin.

It reflects media propaganda power. Big Lies repeated enough are believed. Americans are the most over-entertained/under-informed people anyway. It shows in their upside down world view. It's apparent on issues mattering most.

On March 16, Haaretz headlined "Obama, Netanyahu agree on Iran - but not on timing."

Obama's visit is well-timed. Netanyahu's "a weakened prime minister." His Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu party barely got 25% Knesset representation.

His troika partners have much to say. They complement his extremism. They're belligerent. They're hardline against Iran. They'll discuss "red lines" across which military options are possible.

"Obama's challenge (involves) pursuad(ing) Netanyahu (he's) not bluffing." What's ahead remains to be seen.

A Final Comment

Expect Obama's trip to feature lots of photo-ops. Expect little substance that matters.

Obama's itinerary prioritizes Israel. Ramallah gets token time. It's not enough to matter.

He's contemptuous of Palestinian rights. He's been so throughout his tenure. He one-sidedly supports Israel's worst crimes. So does the entire Senate and nearly the entire House.

Palestinians for Dignity oppose his trip. They'll demonstrate against him in Ramallah. They'll do so for good reason.

Thousands of political prisoners languish in gulag hell. Gaza remains besieged. Israeli soldiers raid dozens of West Bank communities weekly.

Innocent Palestinians are accosted. Many are beaten and arrested. Torture follows. So do trials giving kangaroos a bad name. Hanging military judges preside. Guilt by accusation is policy.

Settlement construction continues unabated. It's on stolen Palestinian land. Netanyahu wants development accelerated. So do troika partners.

Peace is a dead letter. Palestinians have no reliable partner. They've had none for decades. A Palestinians for Dignity press release said:

Obama's visit seeks three goals.

"First, to relieve the pressure off the Israeli government, which is suffering increased international isolation (albeit with words more than actions)."

"Second, to restrain the frustration of the Palestinian street simmering in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners and finally, to prolong the expected lifetime of the PA, which after 20 years is becoming more and more disconnected from its people."

Consensus on Iran and Syria will also be discussed.

Ahead of Obama's arrival, Israel's most extremist ever government will be sworn in. It's militantly hardline, neoliberal and racist.

It reflects policies Obama supports. Palestinians have few friends in Washington. They have none at the White House. They're isolated on their own. They've been that way for decades. Expect no positive change now.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen (at)

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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