Netanyahu taps Squatter who called Obama Muslim hate sympathizer, as he demands $5 bn./yr. from U.S.

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed West Bank squatter Ran Baratz to be his director of communications on the eve of his procession Monday to Washington to demand a vast increase in annual US aid to Israel, which includes civilian as well as military grants of some $3 bn. a year. Netanyahu wants $5 bn. now, or $50 billion over the next ten years.

One wouldn’t even complain about this aid if Israel weren’t using it in part to occupy the stateless Palestinians. But it is worth noting that the US doesn’t give such sums to NATO allies like France or Britain or even Turkey. Israel is a wealthy country. It already receives special access to the US market and technology. But there is no point in complaining about this tax on American households for Netanyahu’s brutal policies toward Palestinians. As long as Congress is bought and sold, this sort of thing will continue inexorably. In fact, in the terms of Washington debate, it cannot even be brought up as an issue. It is after all a minor piece of corruption, in a political system that is among the more corrupt in the world.

To underline the brazenness of Netanyahu attempting to dictate to Americans their foreign policy, e.g. toward Iran, and then putting his hand out, he is trying to bring on board Baratz. Baratz doesn’t even live in Israel. He is squatting on land he stole from a Palestinian owner.

Baratz thinks that US Secretary of State John Kerry has “the mental age of a twelve-year-old” for trying to make peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

But his remarks on President Obama take the cake. Reacting to Obama’s response to Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last March, Baratz wrote on Facebook:

“Obama’s way of speaking about Netanyahu’s speech — that is the modern face of anti-Semitism in Western and liberal countries . . . And that comes, of course, with much tolerance and understanding toward Islamic anti-Semitism.”

The press has focused on Baratz’s accusation that Obama is a racist who dislikes Jews on racial grounds. But the charge that he is tolerant and understanding toward “Muslim anti-Semitism” is what is really interesting. Is Baratz a birther, implying that Obama is a Muslim or crypto-Muslim? And that is what drives his alleged Jew-hatred? Baratz’s mental world is hardly shared by all Israelis, but it is symptomatic of the pathologies of the Israeli right wing, which is only tenuously anchored in any sort of normal reality.

Baratz has apologized, sort of (he said these were only Facebook comments ‘appropriate to an individual.’ Where I come from, baselessly calling people racists and sympathizers with other racists is never ‘appropriate.’)

Barak Ravid at Haaretz, the liberal Israeli newspaper, had some fun with Netanyahu over this debacle: “It is not clear who is the man who planted in the head of Netanyahu the idea of appointing [Dr Ran] Baratz as his personal spokesman, the face of the State of Israel and the one who runs for him from one TV studio to another. Perhaps it was the Mufti who persuaded him to do so…It is not that Netanyahu does not agree with a big part of what Baratz wrote, but between thinking something and publishing it in Facebook the difference is great…”

Observers on Twitter are saying that Baratz is actually quite moderate and respectful in his views of Obama and other US politicians as compared to other members of Netanyahu’s circle.

But don’t worry. Israeli skinheads can spit on the US commander in chief all they want from the prime minister’s office, and he’ll just get out a hanky, wipe off the spittle, and meekly ask how much he should write the check for.

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

UpFront – The US and the pro-Israel lobby

16 Responses

  1. Everyone knows how this will play out

    Netanyahu will arrive in Washington and behind closed doors will insist that he is appalled – utterly appalled! – that the normal vetting process has failed so abysmally.

    He will agree with the Americans that such a person is completely unacceptable and, yes, yes, of course this man must be cashiered.

    But you understand how it is, Mr. President – an Israeli PM can’t be seen to buckle under outside pressure, even over someone this vile.

    So give me a week, Mr. President, and then I’ll “come to my own conclusion” and horsewhip this man in public.

    And then……….

    Netanyahu will fly home, and even as his is stepping off the plane he will announce to the Israeli press that Obama said he has no problem with Baratz being employed as Netanyahu’s spokesman. Next question, please?

    And while the Obama Administration fumes he’ll laugh.

    Heck, he may even leak the news himself so that all Israelis can laugh along with him at Obama’s expense.

    • You forgot to mention how he’ll wave around that $5B he shook the the US down for, in return for Israel’s acquiescence on the Iranian deal.

      As you say, it’s all a rather transparent show.

  2. The glacial groundswell of progressive change appears frustrating. However, despite Israel’s unconscionable behaviour, establishment support is ebbing away. It will take another generation.

  3. This most outrageous chutzpah is designed for the collaborators: to test them for any remaining traces of personal dignity and national patriotism.

  4. Bibi is acting like a sulking, disappointed child. There are many ways a nation can commit suicide and electing Bibi was one of them.

  5. OK folks – here’s the deal. The U.S. gives certain countries “foreign aid” and they spend some of the money on high-value U.S. military products. A form of multinational money laundry, some countries receiving “bribe to not war” foreign aid are in on the deal.

    This all very shrewd and clever BUT OBVIOUS. Cunning1970s foreign policies established by clever states-craft has proven highly profitable for all directly involved. As a result, these “foreign policies” have become “chiseled into stone” over time. It’s the old bribe with a kick-back deal which is standard practice for criminals and politicos, worldwide.

    Bribery is money down a rat-hole at best, merely empowering those who could not attain funding through ethical means. But this bribe is tens of BILLIONS of U.S. taxpayer dollars, year-after-year for decades. Perhaps the biggest of them all?

    Who in Congress (which controls ALL budgets and spending) has the courage to question these egregious and unnecessary legacy expenditures?

    Egypt and Israel have received the most by far.

    • Besides, the US now depends on Israel for lots of military technology, so we don’t even do that great with arms sales anymore. They used our past aid money to develop creepy killer robots and Orwell-ware, and that’s now the hot “military” technology that all the governments of the world buy to use against their own citizens.

  6. Netanyahu’s contempt for US taxpayers and the lives of US soldiers is beyond belief … only surpassed by the US taxpayers and US soldiers acceptance of his contempt

  7. How about Sheldon Adelson and other pro-Israel billionaires donating that extra $2 billion a year? Oh, I forgot. We are in the era of bleeding the people to help the obscenely wealthy become more obscene and more wealthy.

  8. “One wouldn’t even complain about this aid if Israel weren’t using it in part to occupy the stateless Palestinians.”

    “in part”????? All the other “enemies of Israel” are its neighbours who don’t like being invaded eg Lebanon, or who accept the Palestinians pushed out of Palestine.
    There is NO MORAL REASON to provide arms and “defense” to a nation illegally occupying (and populating with its “own” ) a country whose people just want human rights and dignity in their own land.

  9. If the U.S. gives Israel the 50 billion dollars Israel demands over the next ten years, this would make the U.S. all the more of an ally to Israel’s destruction of the Palestinian people. Can the American public live with the knowledge, that they aided in supporting this Israeli conspired genocide against the indigenous Arab who, has long occupied this ‘chosen’ land? Will it make any sense to an American taxpayer, why Israel needs a F16 fighter plane, or any Hell Fire Missile, to combat an enemy, who at nothing best might be identified, as a rock throwing street fighter? Any respect to the proportionally of weaponries, in my mine is totally loss, when one side fights with rocks and knifes, against a military armed with fighter jets, nuclear submarines, and the best body armor one can buy. We Americans should this weekend quit worrying about what Ben Carson may have done, when he was fourteen years old. Stop, rattling your brain, to if Donald Trump should appear on SNL. (I’m with you migrant worker, but this SNL thing isn’t where to stage the battle). BTW, I’m not supporting either Republican candidate, and by leaving out the Democrates candidate love fest on display, is not any act of support, as much as my comment here, is already longer than I meant it to be. What should be most observed, is this American Israeli weapons transfer, and the question should be, is this really necessary.

  10. The American media and politicians will give Israel all the cover it needs to do whatever it chooses no matter how outrageous. And if anyone dares step across the line they will be smeared/labelled as anti-Semite and will be obliterated from the public eye like Rick Sanchez and Helen Thomas.

  11. I still think that Netanyahu is trolling everyone. Too bad that he’s doing it IRL, online it might have been funny.

  12. Does this mean that Baratz will replace the unctuous Mark Regev as the Israeli Government mouthpiece, or are we to be blessed with both of them?

    • Mark Regev will henceforth restrict himself to straight-faced lying to the Brits, rather than to all comers.

      Hey, he deserves the break. It can’t be easy being that venal. He needs a cushy job in London to recuperate, after which time he’ll be ready to stand for the Knesset on the Likud ticket.

  13. The Zionist Right now dominates Israel. Fear paralyzes people who are fed up with insecurity to the Two-States solution has few supporters among Sabras fed up with the insecurity. As AZYR, the right wing Zionist journal said, Israel is “losing its minds” in that the graduates from its excellent universities are running to foreign careers. Worst still, the “Great Alyiah” never happened as most Diaspora Jews are inured to the call that they become “olims” to Israel. They are what they are: loyal citizens of their native lands with Zionism fading from their minds, per all alarm ringing Zionist organizations. Consequently, the “Jewish homeland between the two rivers [ie., Nile and Euphrates] is a fading dream for there isn’t even enough of a population to fill the West Bank and Gaza. Worst still, it is not fear of Iran that caused Netanyahu & Co. to act-up like crazies but fear that a settlement with Iran will distract the US from the Middle East, focusing on East Asia instead. This is ironic, as out of office, Netanyahu had been the most sensible “two-states-one-economy” thinker in Israel. But as PM, he became the marionette of the “Ziocrazies.” So now, to stay in office, he has to pay the piper. Israel IS a reality that will never go away as a new generation of Sabras with nowhere else to go become its population. But the ancient Greater Israel dream is more remote than ever. And so, desperation raises scary issues: Do the Zionist rightists realize that they are stoking anti-Semitism by acting as if they dominate the West via the Diasporic Jews, despite their loyalty first and foremost to their homelands? It is certain that this will not work. Yet, under present conditions of insecurity, Israeli voters fear anyone less that Likud. As the Arab World disintegrates at the hands of the Saudis so that even secular states like Syria are destroyed, the region is a festering wound, infected by the MERSA that is ISIS, resistant to American airborne explosive anti-infectives. They say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And yet, with all parties considering their destructive actions “well intentioned,” the Middle East stands to decent into chaos. Israel could well lead the Arabs into modernity. There isn’r much that either Israel or the Arabs need do for them to help eachother out of the current secular [Muslim and Zionist] extremist Jihad mind set. As oil ceases to be a valuable exportable commodity, no one can afford the current destructive path. For every brilliant contribution Israelis and Arabs make to human evolution, the region is still dragged down by the will of the Neanderthals. Prognosis is therefore bleak, no matter how many $billions the US sinks into the region. What could be sadder than the current state of the Cradle of Civilization?

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