Bibi Netanyahu has sunk Israel to new depths of sleaziness by welcoming Philippine President Duterte to Israel in the coming months. Duterte, who is not welcome in any western countries due to his bizarre history of murdering people in his days as a tough-guy mayor and his outbursts comparing himself favorably to Adolf Hitler, is apparently welcome in Israel. Israel has so few friends it can count them on the fingers of one, or perhaps two hands. It needs all the allies it can get. And any leader who expresses a hankering to purchase Israeli weapons, well that’s a friend of Israel.
Duterte has only visited countries in Asia. No European countries would have him. Ditto for the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. His next visit is to be Russia. That figures: Putin the butcher will find a soulmate in Duterte. They can share war stories of eliminating their rivals and “enemies of the people.”
Regarding the Israel visit: there’s a small matter of 5,000 Filipinos who’ve been murdered since Duterte ordered his police to shoot on sight anyone suspected of drug dealing. Add to that another wee-problem of human rights groups which have called for Duterte to be hauled before the Hague regarding charges of mass murder (he likened ridding his country of drug dealers to Hitler’s ridding his country of “undesirables” i.e. Jews). Israel, a country which makes a specialty of selling weapons and advanced technology to mass murderers like Robert Mugabe, Paul Kagame, the Burmese army, and South Sudan, is delighted to add another butcher to the list.
It is customary for every head of state who visits Israel to make a pilgrimage to Yad VaShem, the Holocaust museum. Such a visit by Duterte would be a schandeh of the worst sort. A national leader guilty of mass murder pays his respect to six-million Jews exterminated by Adolf Hitler, a figure for whom Duterte has expressed admiration.
A group of Israeli activists has petitioned the Israeli government against such a visit. They object to it as a moral travesty. They note that Yad Vashem has been host to previous visits by world leaders with dubious moral legacies like John Vorster of apartheid-era South Africa, the leader of the Burmese military junta (which lately has taken to slaughtering Rohingya Muslims), Uhuru Kenyatta (also charged with genocide), and the Sri Lankan dictator who slaughtered Tamils and is a candidate for the Hague as well. The activists argue that Israel stains its reputation when it allows such leaders to whitewash their previous sins with a visit to Yad Vashem, thus allowing them to purge the dark stains of their past misdeeds.