Bibi the Bamboozler to Settlers: ‘America Won’t Get in Our Way…It’s Easily Moved’
Israel’s Channel 10 secured a video (Hebrew) recorded in 2001 during the height of a Palestinian terror campaign against Israel and the settlements. It records a condolence call Bibi Netanyahu, recently “retired” from politics after losing the prime ministership several years earlier, pays on a group of West Bank widows whose husbands had been killed by Palestinian attacks.
For those on the Israeli right who claim that the Oslo Accords broke down due to Palestinian terror or any such thing, watch this and you will see that Bibi brags that he destroyed Oslo. Even if you discount this by half as the braggadocio of a macho Israeli politician, it’s still eye-opening. Gideon Levy too has written about this footage in Haaretz.
Note in the first passage how Bibi brags that he has America wrapped around his thumb. The cynicism is breathtaking. Here is Dena Shunra’s translation:
Bibi:…The Arabs are currently focusing on a war of terror and they think it will break us. The main thing, first of all, is to hit them. Not just one blow, but blows that are so painful that the price will be too heavy to be borne. The price is not too heavy to be borne, now. A broad attack on the Palestinian Authority. To bring them to the point of being afraid that everything is collapsing…
Woman: Wait a moment, but then the world will say “how come you’re conquering again?”
Netanyahu: the world won’t say a thing. The world will say we’re defending.
Woman: Aren’t you afraid of the world, Bibi?
Netanyahu: Especially today, with America. I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved to the right direction.
Child: They say they’re for us, but, it’s like…
Netanyahu: They won’t get in our way. They won’t get in our way.
Child: On the other hand, if we do some something, then they…
Netanyahu: So let’s say they say something. So they said it! They said it! 80% of the Americans support us. It’s absurd. We have that kind of support and we say “what will we do with the…” Look. That administration [Clinton] was extremely pro-Palestinian. I wasn’t afraid to maneuver there. I was not afraid to clash with Clinton. I was not afraid to clash with the United Nations. I was paying the price anyway, I preferred to receive the value. Value for the price.
In the following segment, Bibi boasts about how he emptied the Oslo Accords of meaning by an interpretation that made a mockery of them:
Woman: The Oslo Accords are a disaster.
Netanyahu: Yes. You know that and I knew that…The people [nation] has to know…
What were the Oslo Accords? The Oslo Accords, which the Knesset signed, I was asked, before the elections: “Will you act according to them?” and I answered: “yes, subject to mutuality and limiting the retreats.” “But how do you intend to limit the retreats?” “I’ll give such interpretation to the Accords that will make it possible for me to stop this galloping to the ’67 [armistice] lines. How did we do it?
Narrator: The Oslo Accords stated at the time that Israel would gradually hand over territories to the Palestinians in three different pulses, unless the territories in question had settlements or military sites. This is where Netanyahu found a loophole.
Netanyahu: No one said what defined military sites. Defined military sites, I said, were security zones. As far as I’m concerned, the Jordan Valley is a defined military site.
Woman: Right [laughs]…The Beit She’an Valley.
Netanyahu: How can you tell. How can you tell? But then the question came up of just who would define what Defined Military Sites were. I received a letter – to my and to Arafat, at the same time – which said that Israel, and only Israel, would be the one to define what those are, the location of those military sites and their size. Now, they did not want to give me that letter, so I did not give the Hebron Agreement. I stopped the government meeting, I said: “I’m not signing.” Only when the letter came, in the course of the meeting, to my and to Arafat, only then did I sign the Hebron Agreement. Or rather, ratify it, it had already been signed. Why does this matter? Because at that moment I actually stopped the Oslo Accord.
Woman: And despite that, one of our own people, excuse me, who knew it was a swindle, and that we were going to commit suicide with the Oslo Accord, gives them – for example – Hebron…
Netanyahu: Indeed, Hebron hurts. It hurts. It’s the thing that hurts. One of the famous rabbis, whom I very much respect, a rabbi of Eretz Yisrael, he said to me: “What would your father say?” I went to my father. Do you know a little about my father’s position?
…He’s not exactly a lily-white dove, as they say. So my father heard the question and said: “Tell the rabbi that your grandfather, Rabbi Natan Milikowski, was a smart Jew. Tell him it would be better to give two percent than to give a hundred percent. And that’s the choice here. You gave two percent and in that way you stopped the withdrawal. Instead of a hundred percent.” The trick is not to be there and be broken. The trick is to be there and pay a minimal price.
Here are a few of Levy’s choice characterizations of Bibi’s performance in this video:
…Israel has had many rightist leaders since Menachem Begin…but there has never been one like Netanyahu, who wants to do it by deceit, to mock America, trick the Palestinians and lead us all astray. The man in the video betrays himself in his own words as a con artist, and now he is again prime minister of Israel. Don’t try to claim that he has changed since then. Such a crooked way of thinking does not change over the years.
Forget the Bar-Ilan University speech…this is the real Netanyahu. No more claims that the Palestinians are to blame for the failure of the Oslo Accords. Netanyahu exposed the naked truth to his hosts at Ofra: he destroyed the Oslo accords with his own hands and deeds, and he’s even proud of it. After years in which we were told that the Palestinians are to blame, the truth has emerged from the horse’s mouth.
…The government of Israel is led by a man who…thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes.
It should be noted that Bibi isn’t the only prime minister who boasted of such manipulation of the U.S. Dov Weisglass, Ariel Sharon’s Mephisto bragged of “putting the peace process in formaldehyde” via the Gaza withdrawal. He too claimed he had George Bush wrapped around his little finger (though he didn’t say which one).
This seems to be a fashion among right-wing Israel prime ministers. They come to believe their own press clippings. But really who is to blame for this but American presidents who allow Israeli leaders to outwit and outmaneuver them? When has an American president, except perhaps George Bush pere, ever stood up to Israel and won? And I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion it won’t ever happen with the current president.
35 thoughts on “Bibi the Bamboozler to Settlers: ‘America Won’t Get in Our Way…It’s Easily Moved’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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I must say, translating that just about turned my stomach. It felt like listening in to a den of thieves.
Reminds me of those old tapes of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger.
I have never liked Bibi, but there is only one word I can use to describe the video, and it will be one in Hebrew: מזעזע.
‘Appaling’ says my machine translation, and I agree.
Richard, what do you say about this Mister X:
An Iranian scientist kidnapped by the US, and held without anyone knowing about it.
Why don’t you make an article about him in your blog?
when it relates to the US, will you condemn the US like you condemned Israel?
I’m always amused by right wing commenters who presume that their interests & priorities should be mine as well.
There are thousands of bloggers blogging about that case. There are very few blogging about the lapses of Israeli intelligence & the IDF.
IT SEEMS THAT THE LIGHT OF TRUTH OUGHT TO SHINE ON THOSE WHO HOODWINK AND DECEIVE OTHERS INTO BELIEVING THAT THE RELATIONSHIP IS ABOUT FRIENDSHIP.
IT IS HARD TO SEE THIS BLATANT ACTING OUT OF PERFIDIOUS SUBTERFUGE, BUT IT REFLECTS ISRAELI DEMOCRACY AS IT REALLY EXISTS! BIBI GOES HOUSE TO HOUSE LOBBYING HIS CONSTITUENCY.
AS REPORTED ELSEWHERE BIBI EMPHASIZES ATTACKING PALESTINIANS AND THEIR REPRESENTATIVE ORGANIZATIONS.
THEY ESSENTIALLY DESTROYED THE PA AND KILLED ARAFAT UNDER SIEGE, A TERRIBLE CRIME.
OSLO, LIKE ALL ISRAELI AGREEMENTS WERE MADE TO BE BROKEN, QUITE CLEARLY.
Unfuckingbelievable. Or, rather, very much believable.
In 2001, Bibi had not left the Sharon govt. He had not been part of it. He entered the first Sharon govt. in late 2002, as a foreign minister, and took the finance ministry in the second Sharon govt. after the January 2003 elections (the way to which was paved by pure Labor folly, but that’s another issue).
Other than that, Bibi’s being a crook is a fact long known. The problem is, first, with a country that elects a crook to be its leader, and second, with a putative mediator in negotiations who allows one side to define unilaterally any of the reference terms.
When has an American president, except perhaps George Bush pere, ever stood up to Israel and won?
Eisenhower at Suez.
And I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion it won’t ever happen with the current president.
Where does that leave JStreet?
RE: “And I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion it won’t ever happen with the current president.” – Ira Glunts
MY COMMENT: I think the only possibility is if he is somehow reelected with enough of a margin to be perceived as a “mandate”.
Yes, but you have to go back a long ways to find one–in fact to a different era in which there was no Israel lobby.
I have an opinion on this matter, but I’ll keep it to myself for a bit. Meanwhile, Richard, when has there been a time when there was no Israel lobby? The Zionist were lobbying Britain first before there was a state, and then the US from the beginning. Read Alan Hart’s “Zionism: the Real Enemy of the Jews”, inter alia. It was the nascent lobby that influenced HST and the US congress to recognize Israel as a state.
The lobby didn’t really take its current intensely powerful form till 1967. There was always a lobbying element, but it was never as powerful or well organized as it became after the 6 Day War.
The lobby in the U.S.? Perhaps, although the fundraising for Israel was conducted by (among others) a man who was granted military rank for the purpose of doing so, and conveyed around the world on U.S. military aircraft.
More importantly, the equivalent lobby in the empire of the time had just as much power and just as insidious behavior.
That’s how the Zionists got the Balfour declaration, and arranged for a pro-Zionist Jew to be the commissioner in the Mandate over Palestine.
I think that the Zionist lobby focuses its efforts at any time on the most likely avenue for manipulating power.
RE: “the truth has emerged from the horse’s mouth” – Gideon Levy
MY COMMENT: Mouth? What mouth? That’s his backup anus.
The Spanish word (or phrase) “sin verguenza” is an accurate
description of Bibi. I’m sure there are some choice words
or expressions to describe him in Yiddish also but, alas, my
knowledge of that language is very limited.
You are so very right “‘Sin vergüenza” is a perfect expression for what Netanyahu says in the video…… shameless is way too mild!
thanks for this important post. I am not surprised the American MSM is not picking this up. they probably never will.
small historical correction: this is mid-2001, Sharon had just become prime minister in a special election that left the Knesset in its 1999 composition. He had a “unity government” with Labor.
Bibi tried to land into the special-election campaign and oust Sharon, who cleaned up the mess he left in Likud after losing in 1999. But after 10 days Bibi got cold feet, supposedly stayed out of the political scene had no official appointment at the time. He only became finance minister in Sharon’s government after the 2003 elections.
It is intriguing: who took the video? External media invited to this semi-private event? The settlers themselves? If so, why did they divulge it, as it hurts their cause?
anyway, I myself have been pondering since Bibi’s re-ascension to the PM post, about the question “who is the real Bibi?”
He is unique among first-string Israeli politicians, in that he has not shared with the public his true world-view regarding the conflict with the Palestinians. Instead he always focuses on what the Palestinians should do and how they have fallen short of what’s needed.
My tentative conclusion has been that this is because he is far more extreme than is convenient for him to disclose.
” anyway, I myself have been pondering since Bibi’s re-ascension to the PM post, about the question “who is the real Bibi?” ”
The real Bibi is the one that stood smiling on the balconey as the Right wing crowd below held pictures of Rabin in SS uniform .
The real Bibi is the one that used incitement against Rabin and Oslo .
The real Bibi’s core is Greater Israel , there cannot and there will not be a Palestinian State under his leadership . It goes against everything Likud stands for .
If anyone has ever seen a good quality image of Rabin pictured thus pls. let me know. I’ve looked for this picture for some time & not found a good quality one.
Only one I could find Richard, there used to be more but that was years ago :
War criminal Netanyahu wants Greater Israel, supported by the 100 000 Likudnik members of AIPAC.
I don’t think slogans and grandstanding offer much in the way of insight.
Well, it is evident that the current PM of Israel is not interested in a two state solution according to international law, by continuing to colonize occupied land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. If it weren’t for the US support, Israel wouldn’t be able to act with impunity. Is that something you dispute? Is it true that the Likudniks wants to usurp more land or not? Do you dispute that Netanyahu is a war criminal? I sense that there is some kind of sensitivity to get down to discuss relevant aspects of the problem here.
I think calling him a “war criminal” is grandstanding & sloganeering. There are a whole lot of issues I’d take up regarding the I-P conflict before comparing Netanyahu to Pol Pot or Stalin or Hitler.
Well, I think it would be correct to call him a war criminal. You don’t have to make the comparisons you mentioned.
Today, a leader who wants to safeguard his/her future and stay in power, and not completely stain the reputation of his country with utter condemnation for several future generations, can’t get away with the atrocities committed by Stalin, etc. However, the PM shows similar symptoms of psychopathy and callousness as the people you mentioned, by showing a complete disrespect for basic human values. Your article is just one example of many. The only difference is that he hasn’t gone as far as Stalin, etc. in his crimes.
To constantly manipulate the so called peace process in an utterly disingenuous and manipulative manner, and to have no respect whatsoever for fundamental international laws and the Geneva Conventions, and to support terrorism as long as it is your own terrorism are clearly evidence of war crimes.
In 2006, this guy even participated in a commemoration and celebration of the King David Hotel terror incident together with other right wing Israelis. He claimed that the tactics undertaken by the Irgun could not be compared to Palestinian terrorism, since it was about freedom fighters and about a just cause. The guy is a complete disgrace to say the least.
If it weren’t for the double standards of the international community, I don’t think it is disputable that many of the current leaders of Israel would qualify for trial at the ICC.
I would be willing to see Israeli generals & leaders (& Palestinian militants as well) tried at the Hague. But I’d rather allow the court to determine their guilt or innocence.
And no one will call “Bibi” a Nazi -_-
Could you delete my comment? Thanks.
I remembered that the New Yorker had published a profile of Netanyahu sometime in the 90’s and was able to find it on their digital archive. I’m not able to link to it (probably due to copyright reasons) but here’s the citation if anyone wants to see it. It’s from the May 25, 1998 issue pp.80-95. If you subscribe to the New Yorker you can see it on their digital archive. If you’re not a subscriber, you may be able to find it at your local public library. It’s worth reading. The other article I found in the archives is about a gambling multi-billionaire named Sheldon Adelson. He owns gambling casinos in Las Vegas and Macao and is a supporter of the Republican Party and lots of right-wing Israeli causes. He is fiercely opposed to a two-state solution and just loves Netanyahu. He tried to buy Maariv and was very determined to get rid of Olmert because of Olmert’s professed support for negotiations and a two-state solution. The story really shows the pernicious influence of money in politics. This is in the June 30, 2008 issue of the New Yorker and it’s by Connie Bruck. Again, because of copyright I can’t link it but it’s worth checking out if you subscribe to the New Yorker or can access it through a library.
If you tell me the name of the Bibi profile I might be able to find it. I’ve also written here about the excellenet profile of Shelly Adelson to which you refer.
The title of the Bibi profile is Letter from Jerusalem: the outsider” or maybe it’s just titled The Outsider. It’s by David Remnick. Sorry I forgot to put the author and title. And me a retired reference librarian.
That is one of the major reasons I find the issue of US influence on Israel so depressing. Even Presidents are limited in what type of pressure they can apply, because Congress is so heavily pro-Israel. Congress could pass aid for Israel right over a President’s veto, and since the Nixon Administration there’s nothing he can do to stop it.
I think it is wholly better for the Jewish and their Plestinias conterparts to fully aggreed that they are all human beings being created from the living God which decend from Adam and Eve
They should be justice and excellent peace within them, fighting one another will not be the lasting solution Pleae gentlemen lets stay in peace without unecessary violence without course