Bibi on ‘Face the Nation’: And the Lies Go On
Remember that Sonny & Cher goldie-oldie from the 60s: The Beat Goes On (h/t, Lynn)? I thought of it when trying to come up with a suitable title for this post.
Bibi Netanyahu appeared on Face the Nation (transcript of full program) and made some of his most egregious misstatements in a long career of them. Curiously, the segment I’m about to discuss wasn’t aired on the broadcast show. That’s why you won’t find it in the transcript linked above. Seems CBS buried the lede!
First, he had the sheer chutzpah to claim that U.S. criticism of Israeli settlement building on occupied Palestinian land was a betrayal of American values. Let’s pause for a second and contemplate the leader of a foreign country telling Barack Obama that he’s disgraced the values of his own country. Imagine David Cameron telling Francois Hollande that the latter embarrassed French values. The entire concept is beyond absurd. What the fug right is it of Bibi to define for Americans what their values are or should be? And to attack Obama’s valued for being un-American. Hey, we’ve been down that road before. We’ve had Americans telling other Americans their values betray this country. We’ve had enough of that. And for a foreign leader to do it? Maddening.
Returning to Bibi’s defense of settlements: ostensibly and according to him, Israeli Jews only want to live in their own country. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to live anywhere inside that country? If Palestinians can live where they like in Israel, why shouldn’t Jews?
Here’s a transcript of the above video, which is a short segment of the entire interview:
First, I had a very good meeting with the president and I was baffled by this [criticial U.S.] statement [on settlements] because it doesn’t reflect American values. What we’re being criticized for is that some Jewish residents of Jerusalem bought apartments legally from Arabs in a predominantly Arab neighborhood. and this is seen as a terrible thing. You know, Arabs from East Jerusalem, Palestinians, thousands of them, but apartment in the Jewish neighborhoods in West Jerusalem. Nobody says: “You can’t do it.” If I said to you [about] some place in the U.S.: Jews cannot buy apartments here, there’d be an uproar.
I don’t accept this thing. Jews can buy private homes in Arab neighborhoods, Arabs can buy private homes in Jewish neighborhoods. It’s their right!
I was absolutely baffled by this, and it’s against American values and it doesn’t bode well for peace. The idea that we’d have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace, I think it’s anti-peace. I think it works against peace. I don’t think it’s a principle that should be condoned, but condemned…
The president raised the general issue of settlements and I said I think we should address the larger issue, which is not the settlements, but the question of are the Palestinians ready to recognize a nation state for the Jewish people, the way we’re willing to recognize a nation state for the Palestinian people? Are they finally willing to come to grips with the existence of Israel. Those are the real issues.
[Concerning the new settlement plan approved by the Jerusalem municipality] It’s not a settlement. These are neighborhoods of Jerusalem. I think anybody who visited my office…this is three minutes from my office. This is just a neighborhood in Jerusalem. And in this neighborhood that is now being planned with about 2,400 units…what they didn’t tell you is 700 of those units are designated for the Arab residents of Jerusalem. They need housing, the Jewish residents of Jerusalem need housing. Why shouldn’t it be? What is this affront to peace? Why can’t Jews and Arabs live together? What is this…I think this whole line which says that Jews cannot buy apartments in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for the last 3,000 years since King David. Or you cannot have mixed housing projects for Jews and Arabs…I think this is anti-peace. I think [the U.S.] condemning it is wrong. I’m frankly baffled by it and it’s against American values.
Now, let’s unpack the lies one by one. “Thousands” of Palestinians own apartments in West Jerusalem. That’s, of course, a lie. Almost no Palestinians own property in West Jerusalem. Israel’s Central Bureau lists 3,400 Palestinian families living in West Jerusalem. Almost all are renting because they cannot find housing in East Jerusalem. The certainly cannot afford to buy in West Jerusalem given the high price of housing there. I consulted with an Israeli expert on Jerusalem issues who told me he only knows of one East Jerusalem family that owns property in West Jerusalem. He said that there may be more, but the number is certainly very small.
In fact, even Israeli Palestinians are severely restricted in terms of where they may live in Israel. The Supreme Court, supposedly a bastion of liberal humanitarian values, ruled last week that Israeli Jewish residential communities may bar non-Jews from living there. Here in the U.S., the Congress outlawed housing discrimination in 1965. Yet in Israel it’s the law of the land. Fair housing, that’s a real American value.
Where does the broad truth lie concerning Bibi’s claim? There are Palestinians who move into Israeli Jewish neighborhoods like French Hill which, by the way, is in occupied East Jerusalem (not West Jerusalem). They move there for several reasons: the housing costs less than in West Jerusalem. And they’re forced to move from Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem because the Israeli government forbids them from building new housing in their existing neighborhoods.
Finally, let’s remember that French Hill, where thousands of Israeli Jews live in territory conquered during the 1967 War, is Palestinian. No one in the world aside from Israel recognizes even this place as falling under Israeli sovereignty. So if Palestinians live there, Bibi’s doing them no favors. It’s their land to begin with under international law.
Bibi also justified the recent theft of seven Palestinian homes in Silwan, which were handed over to the quasi-official settler group, Elad, which promptly installed seven Jewish settler families. The prime minister claimed the property sale was legal and above board. That’s dubious since so many of these property transactions are fraudulent. But even if the sale was legitimate, it takes place within a context in which Elad is explicitly attempting to eradicate any Palestinian presence outside the Old City. It seeks to gradually force out every Palestinian family it can from Silwan and turn Jerusalem Arab-rein.
As for Bibi’s final whopper: he claimed that 700 of the 2,400 controversial settlement housing units in the plan will be allocated to “Arabs.” That’s not true either. There are four different building proposals for the area called Givat HaMatos. Only one (containing the 2,400 units) has been approved. Under the approved plan no housing is set aside for Palestinians. Under one of the plans not yet approved, 700 units have been set aside for private Palestinian construction. So no Palestinian housing has been approved and none may be approved considering what may happen between now and when all four plans are approved (if they are).
There is also a major difference between Jewish housing plans and Palestinian (such as they are) since the government guarantees and helps finances the Jewish construction. No official entity will offer any financial support for the Palestinian construction.
Finally, Bibi’s plaintive Kumbaya moment in which he pleads for Jews and Arabs to live together, and berates Obama for interfering in such harmony-building exercises, is entirely fantasy, if not delusion. Peace Now told USA Today that from 2000-2007 only 91 of 1,694 Palestinian building permits were approved, meaning 94% were rejected. Nearly 19,000 Jewish units were built in the same period. Meaning that many more than that number were approved. In the same period, thousands of Palestinian homes were torn down for allegedly having no construction permit. Almost no Israeli Jewish housing was torn down for this reason, which includes illegal settler outposts.
I’m not opposed to Jews living in Palestinian neighborhoods and Palestinians living in Jewish neighborhoods in the context of a peace deal that recognizes Palestinian rights to territories conquered in 1967 and designates Jerusalem a shared capital in which each people exercises sovereignty in its zones or neighborhoods. But in the absence of such an agreement, what Israel is doing in East Jerusalem is outright theft. It is illegal under international law and under decades of U.S. government policy.
It’s the ultimate irony for Bibi to call U.S. criticism of Israel’s settlement plan a call for “ethinic purification.” That’s precisely what Israel’s policy is in Jerusalem. Elad’s mission is to eradicate Palestinian presence from as much of Jerusalem as it can. And it’s done a remarkable job so far thanks for tens of millions of dollars in government and private funding. THAT is ethnic purification.
So much for Kumbaya moments. Bibi Netanyahu is a fantasist with an underlying psychopathology rooted in a nationalist triumphalist ideology. He talks a good game–and if you didn’t know the facts you might have a hard time penetrating the rhetoric. But when you parse what he’s saying he’s as naked as a settler emperor with no clothes. And as they say about lies, if his lips are moving…
The Obama administration appears to have been unconvinced by Bibi’s performance. Though Reuters characterized the response as withering, it didn’t seem so to me. It seemed pallid, and little more than pandering to the Israel Lobby. But at least it was a rejoinder of some sort:
At his daily briefing, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: “It did seem odd for him to try to defend the actions of his government by saying our response did not reflect American values.
“The fact is, American policy has been clear and unchanged under several administrations, both Democrat and Republican.”
Earnest added: “We oppose any unilateral actions that attempt to prejudge final status issues, including the status of Jerusalem. These can only be legitimately determined through direct negotiations through the parties that this president has worked hard to try to facilitate.”
18 thoughts on “Bibi on ‘Face the Nation’: And the Lies Go On – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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So much dishonesty packed into a 3 minute clip, it’s hard to even dissect it.
A crackpot despot on display, while Bennett and Lieberman are offering
even nuttier platforms!
What will it take for the US government to cauterize the descent into
Jewish fascism within Israel? It’s not their responsibility, as Israelis
have chosen their direction, but the US gov’t needs to distance themselves
from the Israel Project and YESHA. It’s turned from an potentially negotiable
situation into a poisonous land grab and a quadrennial killing spree of Palestinians.
I don’t see any silver lining in their future. And their aggression against their
patron ally is only growing. What’s the endgame for them?
Well, with the US Congress in his pocket, he can say and do almost anything. The US foreign policy apparatus is actually not in the hands of Americans serving American interests regardless of what Chomsky or any other confused liberal suggests.
Congress is a whorehouse, fed by American Jewish capitol. Congress polls at around 15% for years now.
Democracy and just rule have been supplanted by capitalism and special interests – Israel being the biggest
pork pie that Congress worships.
Really Richard? How,does the above post that could been extracted from the protocols forgery get past you?
This is the type of slop that Phil attracts but you seem to have a better filter
@ Sluggo: Comparing me to Phil Weiss whether good, bad, or indifferent doesn’t endear you to my heart or make your argument, such as it is, more persuasive. Not to mention that there’s not a single bit of substance to your comment.
As for American Jewish capitol or “capital” both are true. I’d rather call donors like Sheldon Adelson “pro Israel” rather than “Jewish,” but if you think Adelson denies his wealth represents the interests of the Jewish people, you’re crazy. If he considers himself an avatar of American Jews who am I to deny it?
The only way in which I’d focus this claim more narrowly is to note that pro-Israel money isn’t interested in most other subjects than Israel & U.S. policy toward it. There are a few exceptions like Adelson who’s bought into the GOP agenda lock stock & barrel.
As for this coming from the “Protocols,” I’d suggest you don’t know what you’re talking about & should reread it.
Some of us that are not inside the world of Zionism are very critical of the entire Israel project, so sorry to offend. But, do you disagree with what I said? What part got you upset, the congress whorehouse or the Jewish capitol? Both are true. Take for example Sheldon Adleson and the republican party. The examples of the left are too numerous to list. Put some substance to your critique, otherwise it comes off as trolling.
Chu, I think it was your ‘Jewish money pulling the strings of govt’ line, invoking of one of history’s oldest antisemitic tropes.
@djf: So you deny that the Israel Lobby, aka “American Jewish capital” controls U.S. policy toward Israel?
Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, as the saying goes. There seems to be some rudimentary sense in the old liar that what is happening in Israel is not quite right hence his mendacity. Of course what he feels “to be not quite right” is to observers with a less warped understanding absolutely horrifying. Listen to this recent testimony at the Russell tribunal about genocidal rabbis and the housing situation. It was provided by a Haaretz editor, David Sheen.
Another poke in the eye to Obama and the US. So incredibly dishonest, cynical, brazen, preying on ignorance.
Jerusalem has not been the capital of the Jewish people for the last 3000 years since King David except maybe in fantasy, hopes and dreams.
What do you expect from Mitt Romney’s class mate?
Correct me if I am wrong, but does not international law prohibit the moving of and occupying people, into occupied land or changing the demographics of an occupied land?
Under international law, no sale or transfer of properties in occupied land to Israelis, can be deemed legitimate.
When an army overruns a foreign territory then it becomes an army of occupation, and so under international law “authority” (not “sovereignty”) has just passed into the hands of the commander of that army.
Note: “authority” doesn’t go to the leader of the foreign government that ordered that army to advance into that territory, it always remains with the army commander for as long as his army maintains that occupation.
So in this case the state of Israel is acting illegally by claiming (as it is claiming) that “Israeli law” applies to East Jerusalem.
It can’t, because this is a given: Israeli law doesn’t apply merely because the IDF seizes a territory, and the Knesset can’t legally *extend* its jurisdiction (i.e. *make* its law apply there) precisely because It Isn’t The Sovereign Power There.
Israel only has “authority” over that territory, and that authority is granted to it by international humanitarian law (not by any legislation enacted by the Knesset, and certainly not by some administrative proclamation) and as you rightly point out IHL unconditionally prohibits the transfer of citizens of the occupying power into an occupied territory.
You are not wrong. All housing for Israeli citizens on occupied territory is illegal and has been declared so by the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. There’s a thorough bibliography at the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement
Nothing new here, I don’t trust a word my PM is saying.
Well, after a little sympathetic consideration for the Yahoo in the Knesset, he may have a few points in his favor.
Building on Occupied territory IS very much so, against “American values”. Look around, do you see ANY construction in the US that is not on Occupied territories from which the natives have been depopulated?
Likewise, we made torture to be NOT torutre by re-defining it as “robust interrogation” and we made all the innocents who are killed in our attempts to kill Muslim “suspects” into “insurgents by declaring they had no business being in the proximity of “suspects” unles they were actively supporting them and were thus, “suspects” themselves. Presto! zero collateral losses.
So, Israel re-defines post-1967 territory as “IsraeL, it redefines post 1949 territory as “Israel” and it redefines the Mandate terrotires as “Israel”…all for the exclusive use for Jews….and what’s the problem with building housing where there are no Jews?
YES, yes, I DO smell “American Values”!!
I meant, OPPOSING building on occupied territory. Sorry, thinking ahead of myself.
The example you give is of US conquest of territory that occurred back when “conquest” was not only legal but, indeed, quite the fashion.
Age Of Empire, and all that.
Sooooo, is the USA a ummmm, error, “US occupied territory?
Answer: No, it’s the USA, and the USA stopped acquiring territory by war when it became illegal to acquire territory by war.
Compare And Contrast with Israel, whose entire existence as a colonial-expansionist power post-dates the ” inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”.
You are pointing to “American values” that ceased to be “American values” more than a century ago.
Past wrongs do not a current right .make…