The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Posts tagged bibi
The Economist on Netanyahu

Israel, Iran and America: Auschwitz complex | The Economist

The American-Israeli relationship now resembles the sort of crazy co-dependency one sometimes finds in doomed marriages, where the more stubborn and unstable partner drags the other into increasingly delusional and dangerous projects whose disastrous results seem only to legitimate their paranoid outlook. If Mr Netanyahu manages to convince America to back an attack on Iran, it is to be hoped that the catastrophic consequences will not be used to justify the attack that led to them.

Mr Netanyahu thinks the Zionist mission was to give the Jewish people control over their destiny. No people has control over its destiny when it is at war with its neighbours. But in any case, that is only one way of thinking of the Zionist mission. Another mission frequently cited by early Zionists was to help Jews grow out of the "Ghetto mentality". Mr Netanyahu's gift to Mr Obama shows he's still in it.

One of the advantages of my injury is that it did not allow me much time on a computer to follow the AIPAC festival of allegiance (strangely reminiscent of allegiance ceremonies in Arab monarchies) in Washington. But this piece nails Netanyahu's responsibility for so much, it's worth reading in full.

Bibi panics

Netanyahu: Arab world moving backward, not forward - Haaretz

In his sharpest Knesset comment since the wave of uprisings swept out of Tunisia and across the Arab states in January, Netanyahu expressed his complete contempt for the Arab people's ability to sustain democratic regimes, and his nostalgia for Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt. He said he feared the collapse of Jordan's Hashemite monarchy and also reiterated his absolute refusal to make any concessions to the Palestinians.

We think the world of you too. We have to concede that without the dictators, thing will indeed get much tougher for Israel and its current batch of political leaders.

He also says bad stuff about Obama but we're getting so used to that. I expect Obama will now have to apologize for not living up to expectations or something.

Bibi is in trouble

Here is a round-up of various pieces from Haaretz — I know, there’s a lot more than that in the Israeli press, much of it more influential, and I don't read Hebrew — at various ends of the political spectrum, on the regional situation. The general point of them: with attacks from left, center and right, Bibi is in trouble.

First, the bring-it-on, all-guns-blazing type:

No Israeli campaign ever ends with the enemy’s surrender, which is one of the reasons why we are eternally at war. If we aren’t prepared to defeat our enemies, once and for all, with conventional weapons, what’s the point of making hollow threats of any other type of retaliation?

Gideon Levy, from the very opposite end of the political spectrum, on his government’s arrogant policy:

After summer comes autumn; that’s the norm. And autumn 2011 is teeming with disasters: Turkey, America, September at the United Nations - and our fate has been entrusted to a handful of cynical politicians, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, who think that national honor means losing our last ally in the region; that national honor means causing Israelis to fear traveling to their favorite country; that national honor means Israelis undergoing humiliating security checks in Istanbul, and perhaps also soldiers standing trial overseas; that national honor means losing a strategic ally, an important Muslim nation, virtually the only one that accepted us in the region where we have chosen to live.

Yoel Marcus on Bibi’s performance re: Turkey and the US, calls on him to go:

Israel’s power of deterrence has deteriorated, and “our friend” America is isolated and unpopular. Not only because of Obama’s dubious abilities at home and abroad, but because he is not being forceful with Israel, and because he is not coming out openly against Bibi’s interference in internal U.S. politics. Israel is marching to the UN General Assembly weak and hated, under very difficult negotiating conditions.

It is not hard to understand how a man who is so meek at home dares to play this way with the fate of the country. The welfare of the coalition is more important than the welfare of the country, and people of worth like Dan Meridor and Ehud Barak prefer their seats to concern for the fate of the country.

With clouds of disaster floating above us, all that’s left to say to Netanyahu is a historic sentence that was last said in 1940, to Neville Chamberlain: “Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

An editorial on the ill-treatment of Israelis in Turkish airports:

In recent years, Israeli Arabs have complained about the treatment they receive, which has far exceeded the limits that can be explained by security needs. This includes intrusive body searches, unbearable delays and questioning on matters that have nothing to do with the flight. Most of the airport’s passengers ignore the outrageous discrimination, or are not even aware of it. Perhaps now, having tasted the bitterness of this humiliation, they will no longer take it for granted.

And the only one of these pieces to be written after the Israeli embassy incident, by Aluf Benn:

The Tahrir protesters and Egyptian politicians, frustrated with the slow pace of regime change, have directed their anger toward the most hated target in Cairo – the Israeli Embassy. Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s public expression of regret, and the Israeli promises to cooperate with Egypt in investigating the incident did not interest the Egyptian public.

The protests continued, and a week after the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Ankara on similar grounds - anger stemming from the killing of Turkish citizens aboard last year’s Gaza flotilla – the Israeli ambassador was expelled from Cairo. The only difference is that in Turkey, the government initiated the downgrading of ties, while in Egypt the people did so against the will of their rulers.

Netanyahu and his government have prided themselves on their steadfast commitment to national ideals, and the prime minster is convinced that he was right in refusing to apologize to the Turks for killing their citizens. According to his perspective, the Arab world scrutinizes Israel’s actions, and an apology to Turkey would be interpreted as a sign of unforgivable weakness. But Netanyahu was not content with merely refusing to apologize. Instead of attempting to calm the conflict with Turkey, Israel was dragged into a dangerous battle with Ankara.

[…]

Netanyahu now hopes that Israel might be able to get close with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, who also seek to block the possibility of an Arab Spring in the region. In the West, Netanyahu is hoping to circumvent Turkey by strengthening ties with Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. During his visit to the Balkans, he was shown photos and statues of national heros, sent to their deaths by the Ottoman Empire. A real basis for friendship.

These are but minor comforts. The political tsunami that Ehud Barak foresaw has come true prior to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in the UN. Israel is left isolated facing Iran, Turkey and Egypt, which in the past were considered close allies. Netanyahu is convinced that the Arab Spring uprisings are a decree of fate, leaving Israel with little to do but to stand firmly in its place.

Israel cannot prevent the rise of Erdogan or the fall of Mubarak, the same way that it cannot halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The fall of the American superpower is not Netanyahu’s fault. But he has not done a thing to mitigate the fallout from the aforementioned developments. Israel’s political and strategic positions are far worse under his leadership.

And most of that coverage is before most writers and editorials get to factor in the Israeli embassy incident! So here is the silver lining: although I don’t think what happened last night was particularly good for Egypt, and its democracy movement in general, it may yet be the final drop that pushes the disastrous Bibi government out (not immediately, of course, but in the next and perhaps premature elections). Unless, of course, the event provokes a wave of nationalist indignation in Israel and they started attacking the Egyptian and Turkish embassies!

Bibi satire

This is quite funny:

Moshe Yatom, a prominent Israeli psychiatrist who successfully cured the most extreme forms of mental illness throughout a distinguished career, was found dead at his home in Tel Aviv yesterday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. A suicide note at his side explained that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been his patient for the last nine years, had “sucked the life right out of me.”

“I can’t take it anymore,” wrote Yatom. “Robbery is redemption, apartheid is freedom, peace activists are terrorists, murder is self-defense, piracy is legality, Palestinians are Jordanians, annexation is liberation, there’s no end to his contradictions. Freud promised rationality would reign in the instinctual passions, but he never met Bibi Netanyahu. This guy would say Gandhi invented brass knuckles.” 

[. . .]

Yatom was apparently working on converting his diary into a book about the Netanyahu case. Several chapters of an unfinished manuscript, entitled “Psychotic On Steroids,” were found in his study. The excerpt below offers a rare glimpse at the inner workings of a Prime Minister’s mind, at the same time as it reveals the daunting challenge Yatom faced in seeking to guide it to rationality:

Monday, March 8

“Bibi came by at three for his afternoon session. At four he refused to leave and claimed my house was actually his. Then he locked me in the basement overnight while he lavishly entertained his friends upstairs. When I tried to escape, he called me a terrorist and put me in shackles. I begged for mercy, but he said he could hardly grant it to someone who didn’t even exist.”

Links for 09.01.09 to 09.02.09
The first Islamic search engine? - The Majlis | About imhalal.com which filters haram links out of searches. Seems pretty useless to me but it's fun to keep on searching for dirty words, and if you try you'll see the site does not work very well.
ei: Liberation, not a fictitious Palestinian "state" | Hassan Abunimah on the Fayyad plan and the alleged Obama outlines for peace, which he describes as including "international armed forces in most of the Palestinian "state"; Israeli annexation of large parts of East Jerusalem; that "All Palestinian factions would be dissolved and transformed into political parties"; all large Israeli settlements would remain under permanent Israeli control; the Palestinian state would be largely demilitarized and Israel would retain control of its airspace; intensified Palestinian-Israeli "security coordination"; and the entity would not be permitted to have military alliances with other regional countries." And of course no right of return.
Israel PM vowed not to freeze settlements: minister
(AFP)
| "AFP - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed not to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank, according to one of his ministers quoted on Wednesday."
Brian Whitaker's blog | Trials of a Jordanian poet | One year for poet who used Quranic references in his love poetry, gets threats from MB, mufti calls him apostate.
LedgerGermane: Rectum? Damn Near Killed 'Em! | Prince Muhammad bin Nayif's would-be killer had explosives stashed in rectum. Ouch.
Quarante années de crimes | Ibn Kakfa on 40 years of the criminal Qadhafi regime, which "disappeared" many dissidents at home and abroad.
Iraq's flawed media law | Brian Whitaker on the draft Iraqi media law, which resembles that of other Arab states.

Links for 07.20.09 to 07.21.09
Iran's Mir Hosein Mousavi: Out of his shell | The Economist | What Moussavi's been up to.
The Arabs' view of Iran: Mixed feelings | The Economist | On Arabs' view of the recent political turmoil in Iran.
Honour killings in Syria: The law changes. Will attitudes? | The Economist | Bashar al-Assad timidly moves against honor crimes.
The "Swiftboating" of Human Rights Watch (Prospects for Peace) | A good piece on the lobby's attack on HRW.
Wait, Bibi-- Palestinians can't go buy property in West Jerusalem | Bibi claims that Palestinians are free to buy property in West Jerusalem, so why not let Jews buy in East Jerusalem... except of course it's a lie, you can't buy in WJ if you're not Jewish. Not too mention, of course, under international law any Israeli-owned property in East Jerusalem is an illegal settlement.
Daily News Egypt - Full Article |
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy 2008 | Egypt, Jordan Morocco start at 118. [PDF]
Islamists Today: Mubarak Regime and Brotherhood: Zero-Sum Game | Khalil al-Anani has a very strong column on the ongoing MB-regime war - but perhaps he goes too far by comparing the arrest of Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh to the execution of Sayyid Qutb! Not do I really believe the regime wants to eradicate the MB, but Khalil's expression "to turn it into an antique suitable for the Egyptian Museum" may have some truth to it. The regime's dilemma is, how do you make the MB irrelevant?