Council for the National Interest

A Fact and Background Check on Benjamin Netanyahu: Master of Lies, King of Incitement

Aug 6 2014 / 5:08 am

By Gilbert Schramm.

As the direct fighting in Gaza slowly subsides, the struggle for peace and justice in Palestine will increasingly take place in the media. The argument over what caused this horrific episode and what it really means is the next battleground. Since the Israeli position depends almost solely on the statements made by the Israeli government, and since so many of Israel’s more obvious lies have come directly from Prime Minister Netanyahu himself, a background and fact check of this key player should be the order of the day.

As many of you know, before you can get even the most menial of jobs in America these days, one is sometimes forced to get a background check. When I applied to the US Peace Corps years ago, the FBI did a background check. They even sent people to my hometown to ask questions about me. I passed. This year, I volunteered to help make snacks for the local “Peace Village”—a week long, summer day camp that tries to teach concepts of peace and conflict resolution to young children. They did a background check—even though I was not really working directly with children—I was mostly chopping vegetables.

So I am really puzzled these days that our entire country—from the president, to both houses of congress, to the state department, to the FAA, and especially to the media—hasn’t ever seemed to have made a simple background check on Benjamin Netanyahu. They take every word this man says as undeniable fact.

Like many of you, I spent a lot of money and many years acquiring several university degrees. The importance of proper footnoting and citation is always strongly stressed in most disciplines. So it’s strange to see that the fantastic claims that emanate from Netanyahu and his spokespeople apparently need not make reference to facts and reality at all—and yet are taken at face value, while, on the other hand, if someone like me says something like “from the video, it sure looks like Israel is firing at civilians—after all, they have precision weapons and now 50 children are dead,” I will be pressed to provide a footnote from some higher authority to prove this. With this sad reality in mind, I set out to “fact check” some of Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent statements.

Who can ever forget that picture of Netanyahu at the UN, holding a poster of a roadrunner cartoon bomb and claiming that Iran was just a year away from having a nuclear weapon? A few months later a top Israeli intelligence official admitted that Iran was 10 years away—if it decided to try—and that Israel knew it hadn’t.

Remember how Netanyahu egged the US on to bomb Syria in 2013? Two hundered America Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbyists fanned out across Washington DC to lobby for a new war that most polls showed Americans didn’t want. Netanyahu said Syria would never cooperate and divest itself of chemical weapons—yet Syria went along quietly and has now given up its chemical weapons arsenal. With the ignominious collapse of the American built Iraqi army, Assad’s Syria is actually the only major force confronting the real threat of terror in the region—ISIS. And, of course, Israel has never ratified the chemical weapons treaty and retains chemical weapons.

Remember the Netanyahu story last spring about “Syrian missiles bound for Gaza.” That too blew up. The UN report issued some time later said that the evidence showed that the missiles had come from Iran and were bound for the Sudan. Oops!—another typical day in the international arms trade, another Netanyahu lie. This one was timed to derail US negotiations with Iran over its peaceful nuclear program. That program has so far been found to be generally in compliance with the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The few technical violations certainly do not suggest a nuclear weapons program. And, of course, Israel has nuclear weapons and has never bothered to sign this treaty either.

Now these are not minor, inconsequential lies. These are the kind of lies that start wars. They are not the pedestrian lies that go with misguided policy. They are the kind of lies that can only be considered inherently evil. They are attempts to incite the US into war. They are meant to undermine efforts towards peace.

Gaza today is another example of Netanyahu’s penchant for bloody mischief.  He assures us that he cares deeply about ‘every single civilian in Gaza.’ And while he levels whole neighborhoods he talks about ‘precision strikes’… and while he seals the borders of Gaza so that no one can escape, he bemoans the fact that the Palestinian leadership is “using human shields” and “placing its own people at risk.”

Netanyahu also claimed that Israel was under a terrible existential threat, but just hours later he told the FAA that American tourists would be perfectly safe when they flew into Tel Aviv—even though flights had been forced to abort landings in the presence of rocket fire. It is a typical Netanyahu strategy: the safety of civilians (Palestinian children, American flyers, whoever) be damned—anything goes if it suits Netanyahu’s convenience.

Netanyahu also pretended to Obama for years that he would accept a two-state solution. Just last month he openly admitted that he never would. Of course, that had been the position of his Likud party all along. And let’s finally admit it—this was the lie that animated Israel from the very start. In 1947 Ben-Gurion argued to Zionists that they should accept the UN partition plan detailed in UN 181: although it didn’t give Israel everything, he argued, it gave them a decisive foot in the door. Metaphorically he winked—told the world he accepted the parallel Palestinian state that was explicit in UN 181—and basically told his followers, ‘we’ll just ignore that part and take the rest later.’

To this day, there is still no Palestinian state, even though the Israeli “declaration of independence” specifically grounded Israel’s “legitimacy” in that document. Why? Because Israel effectively prevents the creation of that state.

If you can understand that one simple fact, then why would you even consider getting upset about the largely irrelevant charter of Hamas? Why would it matter if an unrecognized party, representing an unrecognized people, in turn doesn’t recognize the people that don’t recognize it? The last sentence is ugly and confusing, but it is a good example of how absurd the Israeli side of the argument has gotten. In Israel today, people are even debating the “permissibility” of genocide. Coherent language is bound to suffer when the truth is so abused.

Even when faced with a simple subject Netanyahu can’t tell the truth. In speaking of the murder of a young Palestinian boy by 6 Israeli Jewish extremists (they had burned him alive), he drew a clear distinction between Israelis and Palestinians. I’m paraphrasing, but he basically said that the difference between them was that ‘Israel didn’t reward murderers; it punished them.  Palestinians, on the other hand, ‘celebrated murderers.’ Israelis, Netanyahu added, never named streets or buildings after murders.

But once again, as we fact check, we find that the state of Israel actually elevated two murdering terrorists into Prime ministers. Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were both leaders of Jewish terrorist groups that committed awful atrocities. Both have streets and buildings named after them all over Israel. This is not to mention streets named after dozens of less notorious but equally eager Zionist killers. Actually, since they have NO state, Palestinians can hardly give official names to streets. I’m sure that, since people who live somewhere end up giving popular names to streets just to help people get around, Palestinians do have streets named popularly after resistance martyrs like Patrick Henry… I mean Yasser Arafat.

So with our initial background check looking pretty bad, the question is, why would anyone in the US EVER trust anything this man Netanyahu says?  I guess we need to go a little deeper: Who is he? How did he get into power? What did he do then? Why did he disappear for while? What is his legacy?

Welcome to Netanyahu the inciter. On November 4, 1995, Israeli PM Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli terrorist during the election campaign. His opponent, Benjamin Netanyahu, ended up winning the election. As an Israeli historian wrote, “it was the culmination of months of unprecedented riots and demonstrations against the Oslo Accords generally and Rabin personally, who was accused of betraying the idea of the Greater Land of Israel… Opposition figures like Sharon and the new political star Benjamin Netanyahu played a major role in these incitements by using an unrestrained rhetoric of blood, land and treason…Tactics included the distribution of a poster of showing Rabin in (Nazi) SS uniform.”(p.124, Politicide, by Baruch Kimmerling).

As leader of the Likud party, Netanyahu is the political heir to figures like Vladimir Jabotinsky, Avraham Stern, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. The first named was a fan of Mussolini who collaborated with Mussolini in pre WWII Italy. The last three were all Zionist/Jewish terrorists. Between them they were responsible for the bombing of the King David Hotel, assassinations of the British High commissioner and Count Bernadotte (the very first UN peacemaker sent to Palestine), executions of British troops, and numerous attacks on Arab civilians, to name but a few things.

Avraham Stern, a founder of Irgun, actually wrote to Hitler promising that, “The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian foundation, linked with the German Reich, will safeguard and strengthen Germany’s position in the future middle East.” He added that, “According to its worldview and structure, Irgun is extremely close to the totalitarian movements of Europe” (Kati Marton, A Death in Jerusalem,  p.54, emphasis added) Judging from Israel’s recent behavior in Gaza, this certainly seems to be one rare example of an extreme Likud Zionist actually telling the truth.

What does Netanyahu’s Likud Party of today stand for? The 1999 Likud charter emphasizes the right of settlement. It states that:

“The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza* are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”     * the occupied territories

What does the Likud party’s charter say about a Palestinian state?

The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state…their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.”

In other words, though they have told lies to the contrary, the many Likud Party leaders of Israel have never intended to make peace or allow the Palestinian state that has long been part of the peace equation. They see the settlements and occupation and all the violence inherent in those polices as perfectly justified. Their goal is not peace, it is simply total “victory,” ( i.e. control of 100% of Palestine and the kind of peace that will come with the complete disappearance of the Palestinian people—by whatever means necessary).

When he first took office, Netanyahu showed his real position towards peace by immediately appointing Ariel Sharon as his defense minister. Sharon had earlier been thrown out of the government for his culpability in the massacres of Sabra and Shatila—all the other Lebanese civilian deaths he caused in the invasion of Lebanon were politely overlooked.

Netanyahu eventually lost power because of his own political corruption. His heir, Ariel Sharon, then proceeded to derail the Oslo peace accords completely in 2001. In the wake of 9/11 Sharon egged the US on in towards the invasion of Iraq—but took the time too, to completely destroy any progress towards peace in Palestine.

In 2008, Netanyahu ran as leader of Likud again. He actually lost, but by such a small margin that, by uniting his rightwing Likud party with a number of small, even more extreme Israeli settler parties, he was able to form a government.

Since then he has desperately spoiled, vilified and derailed President Obama’s peacemaking efforts. He has lied to the US repeatedly, insulted every member of the administration from Obama to Biden to Kerry, spied on the US, and committed serious crimes against humanity—lying all the while. He has made monkeys of the media, whose unreserved trust in Netanyahu has led them to file stories that will shame and disgrace them in the years to come. Most importantly, he has basically reneged on every previous formula for peace endorsed by the US.

All in all, Netanyahu has made monkeys of all Americans. Apart from the obvious Palestinian victims, I think of average American taxpayers most of all. Let’s face it. To get even a menial job sweeping floors at night at a place like Wal-Mart, you or I would have to answer fifty questions and pee in a cup. Our President has had to answer questions about his birth certificate for 6 years. Yet Netanyahu can say almost anything he likes and have it reported and acted on, as if it were the pure unblemished truth. And all the while even a brief review of his history exposes plenty of evidence of the kind of man he really is.

As reported by “Politico” on August 2nd, in a phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, Netanyahu said the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again.” (Translation: never question my lies, no matter how enormous!)

That kind of message and that kind of tone would never be tolerated from any other foreign leader. That it comes from one who receives over $8 million a day in US aid is simply amazing.

So forgive me. I just don’t get why the entire media and political establishment in this America of ours is falling down to give Benjamin Netanyahu’s every lie their official stamp of approval. I don’t understand why, when I live in one of the most supposedly progressive states in one of the supposedly most progressive countries in the world, I need to watch my president, my vice president, the leaders and rank and file of both major parties, and the media whose job it is to bring us the truth, simply crawl on their bellies to support every lie that Benjamin Netanyahu cares to pitch them.

It is a disgrace that a real democracy cannot live with and survive.


Gilbert Schramm is a peace activist and international educator who currently lives in Oregon. He has previously lived and worked extensively in the Middle East and has studied the region for almost 35 years.


Posted by on Aug 6 2014 . Filed under Commentary & Analysis . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 . Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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