What They Said – Philip Giraldi/The Unz Review
Candidates double down on Israel at AIPAC
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might just have a solution for dealing with the recent bombing attacks in Western Europe. The countries involved should follow Israeli practice and demolish the homes of those accused of carrying out terrorist acts, thereby punishing whole families and making the consequences of misbehavior more severe. He might have also suggested that Arabs should be shot in the head when they are incapacitated and lying on the ground. That saves the trouble of having to go through a trial and also sends an even stronger message.
Some American presidential wannabes also agree that tougher is always better. Donald Trump has again spoken up in favor of torture while Ted Cruz is advocating using police “to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in the United States.
Hillary Clinton opted for security to preempt privacy, stating that “We have to toughen our surveillance, our interception of communication.” John Kasich hyperbolically called the bombings “attacks against our very way of life and against the democratic values upon which our political systems have been built” though he mercifully did not single out Muslims for retribution.
When it comes to beating down on Muslims there is a certain unanimity of opinion that unites Israel and the United States. To an extent, it evidently derives from the unsurpassed love that American politicians appear to have for Israel, a sentiment that was on display in its most effusive form last Monday at the annual summit meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, better known as AIPAC.
I confess to having watched the Donald Trump speech live and in its entirety in the vain hope that he would tell AIPAC to get stuffed. The other speeches I saw after the fact on YouTube or C-Span with occasional pauses to allow my blood pressure to recede. Plus there are transcripts of all the speeches but Cruz’s available online. At a certain point all the presentations blended together, as if they had been written by the same person working for AIPAC, which might indeed have been the case, though there were some individual touches.
But for random obligatory shots at the apparently subhuman and hopelessly terroristic Palestinians one might well have though that the AIPAC summit conference was all about Iran. As Iran is the bête noir of Netanyahu and his thug-like government it was perhaps inevitable that the candidates should follow suit in their carefully coached presentations.
Hillary, who has promised to move the U.S.-Israel relationship up to the “next level” of subservience, started with the obligatory loud sucking noises about how much she loves Israel before citing “Iran’s continued aggression.” In the past she has threatened to “obliterate” Iran. Regarding the recent nuclear agreement, she demanded “vigorous enforcement, strong monitoring, clear consequences for any violations and a broader strategy to confront Iran’s aggression across the region. We cannot forget that Tehran’s fingerprints are on nearly every conflict across the Middle East, from Syria to Lebanon to Yemen. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxies are attempting to establish a position on the Golan from which to threaten Israel, and they continue to fund Palestinian terrorists… Iranian provocations, like the recent ballistic missile tests, are also unacceptable and should be answered firmly and quickly including with more sanctions. Those missiles were stamped with words declaring, and I quote, ‘Israel should be wiped from the pages of history.’ We know they could reach Israel or hit the tens of thousands of American troops stationed in the Middle East. This is a serious danger and it demands a serious response.”
Hillary’s extraordinary comments depicting Iran as if it were a latter day Soviet Union or Nazi Germany leave one gasping for an adequate rejoinder. But her observations were more intriguing in that she actually made an attempt to pretend that there is an American interest in joining Israel in confronting Iran consisting of the poor, defenseless tens of thousands of American troops in the region. She inevitably failed to note that the troops are all based in Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, not in Israel, demonstrating the utter irrelevancy of Tel Aviv to U.S. defense. No Israeli has ever died as an “ally” of the United States, but that is perhaps a tale best explored another day.
Donald Trump was, if possible, even more outrageous than Hillary opening his rant with a prolonged encomium on “…our strategic ally, our unbreakable friendship and our cultural brother, the only democracy in the Middle East, the state of Israel,” nearly every element of which is either a lie or a misrepresentation. He then took on Iran, saying “My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran… The problem here is fundamental. We’ve rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion, and we received absolutely nothing in return… The biggest concern with the deal is not necessarily that Iran is going to violate it because already, you know, as you know, it has, the bigger problem is that they can keep the terms and still get the bomb by simply running out the clock. And of course, they’ll keep the billions and billions of dollars that we so stupidly and foolishly gave them.”
“When I’m president, I will adopt a strategy that focuses on three things when it comes to Iran. First, we will stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region… Now they’re in Syria trying to establish another front against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights… And in the West Bank, they’re openly offering Palestinians $7,000 per terror attack and $30,000 for every Palestinian terrorist’s home that’s been destroyed. A deplorable, deplorable situation… Secondly, we will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network which is big and powerful, but not powerful like us. Iran has seeded terror groups all over the world. During the last five years, Iran has perpetuated terror attacks in 25 different countries on five continents. They’ve got terror cells everywhere, including in the Western Hemisphere, very close to home. Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world. And we will work to dismantle that reach, believe me, believe me… Third, at the very least, we must enforce the terms of the previous deal to hold Iran totally accountable. And we will enforce it like you’ve never seen a contract enforced before, folks, believe me… Iran has already, since the deal is in place, test-fired ballistic missiles three times. Those ballistic missiles, with a range of 1,250 miles, were designed to intimidate not only Israel, which is only 600 miles away, but also intended to frighten Europe and someday maybe hit even the United States. And we’re not going to let that happen. We’re not letting it happen. And we’re not letting it happen to Israel, believe me.”
So Trump will both dismantle and strictly enforce the multi-party agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, and, like Hillary, he detects a threat to the United States, for him in the form of missiles that will “someday maybe hit even the United States.” If The Donald is speaking honestly his desire to end America’s role as international policeman will find an exception if Israel is somehow involved. Taking him at his word he would start a worldwide crusade against Iran and its presumed proxies, all on behalf of Israel.
John Kasich repeated the reasons why all true red blooded Americans love Israel, which apparently includes having wealthy Jewish supporters in Ohio whom he identified by name. He boasted of his sponsorship of a Holocaust memorial in Columbus before doubling down on Iran, stating that “we share a critically important common interest in the Middle East, the unrelenting opposition to Iran’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. In March of 2015, when the prime minister spoke out against the Iran nuclear deal before a joint session of Congress, I flew to Washington and stood on the floor of the House of Representatives that was in session, the first time I had visited since we had been in session in 15 years. And I did it to show my respect, my personal respect, to the people of Israel. And I want you all to know that I have called for the suspension of the U.S.’s participation in the Iran nuclear deal in reaction to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests. These tests were both a violation of the spirit of the nuclear deal and provocations that could no longer be ignored. One of the missiles tested had printed on it in Hebrew, can you believe this, ‘Israel must be exterminated.’ And I will instantly gather the world and lead us to reapply sanctions if Iran violates one crossed T or one dot of that nuclear deal. We must put the sanctions back on them as the world community together. Let me also tell you, no amount of money that’s being made by any business will stand in the way of the need to make sure that the security of Israel is secured… And I want you to be assured that in a Kasich administration there will be no more delusional agreements with self-declared enemies. No more.”
One might note that Kasich, who also claimed that Palestinians embrace a “culture of death,” did not even make an effort to identify an American interest. He refers to Netanyahu as “the prime minister.” It was all about Israel. But even Kasich was outdone by Ted Cruz, who started his talk by stating that “Palestine has not existed since 1948.” And he promised that if a resolution on Palestinian statehood might come up at the United Nations he would “fly to New York to personally veto it myself.”
Cruz went on to claim that Palestinian children killed by Israeli weapons in Gaza had died because Hamas was using them as human shields before declaring that he would rip up the agreement with Iran, which he compared to “Munich in 1938,” and demand that it close its existing nuclear research program or “we will shut it down for you.” Like Hillary and The Donald before him he declared Israel to be a “steadfast and loyal ally” before defending military aid to Israel as “furthering the vital national security interest of the United States of America.” He did not elaborate on either point.
My citations from the candidates’ presentations are, of course, selected by me and intended to establish a certain narrative. Anyone who is truly desirous of experiencing just how awful the complete speeches were should look up the YouTube and C-Span originals and watch them. The obscene pandering to a bunch of wealthy and politically connected fifth columnists who are in love with a country and government that is not their own is shameful, particularly as the speakers are de facto ceding national sovereignty by committing Washington to become militarily engaged no matter how Israel behaves. The calls to enter into something not unlike a state of war with Iran, a country that does not threaten the United States, just because Tel Aviv considers it an enemy is something that in another place and time would equate to treason. Excluding only Bernie Sanders, that every other man and woman currently in the running for the presidency of this country representing America’s two major parties should be complicit in this outrage defies belief, but their own words tell the tale.