Benjamin Netanyahu's Fantasy World

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by Rabbi Michael Lerner


"If you take out Saddam, Saddam's regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region." ~ Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu urging the US to invade Iraq in 2002.



Netanyahu's speech to Congress was brilliantly deceitful because it played to the fantasies that Israeli propaganda and right wing militarists in the US have been popularizing for the past thirty years.

* The biggest fantasy: that we can coerce others through power over them to do what we consider in the best interests of the U.S. or Israel. This is what I call "The Strategy of Domination." A more effective path is "The Strategy of Generosity"--showing others that we care about them and recognize their needs as being equally legitimate to our own. This second approach is the view that made trade between tribes, and eventually between nations possible in the past, and it remains the view that makes it possible for most countries of the world to live in peace with their neighbors. They hate to do business with those who think that they can get their way through power-tripping and manipulations and threats.

This struggle between two world views is the core of the debate today in the U.S. and the reason that the militarists have the upper hand is because the Obama Administration, fearing that it might be ridiculed as believing in "kumbaya politics," used its first six years to pursue policies that better fit the Strategy of Domination than the Strategy of Generosity. Predictably, now it finds itself without a popular base for turning toward a more rational path in regard to Iran, having to frame its policies in terms of his policies' toughness rather than in terms of their humanity and reflection of higher ethical values.

I know so many people who shake their heads in despair at the growth of the right-wing consciousness in the US in every sphere except identity politics, but really what other discourse are they ever exposed to? Obama should embrace the Biblical call for "love the stranger/the other" and challenge Americans to take that call seriously. Instead, he tries to measure up against the criteria set by the militarists. Guess what? In that coercion-oriented arena liberals and progressives will always fail, because you have to be unscrupulous to win there.

Netanyahu is a master of manipulating the fantasies that the right-wing discourse advances. For example, the view of the world that sees "our side" (whether that 'our' be the U.S. or Israel) as always innocent and good, and "the other" as intrinsically evil.

* So consider his claim that it is Iran that has been making war against countries in the Middle East. No...actually it is the U.S. that has been making war against those countries in the past 12 years. You will have to look very hard to find any Iranian troops in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, or Egypt in the past 12 years. But you will find tens of thousands of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past twelve years. Similarly, it is Israel that has been decimating Gaza, not Iran decimating a neighboring city or province or country. From a global perspective, and based on the behavior of these countries in the past two decades ever since the peace-oriented prime minister of Israely Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by a right wing religious Zionist, the world has more to fear from the US and Israel and our indomitable sense of self-righteousness than it does from Iran.

*Iran is the biggest violator of human rights in the region. Not so fast. Iran has some stiff competition with America's ally Saudi Arabia, not to mention the U.S. torture operations in Abu Ghraib. In fact, the US still won't release the full U.S. Senate report on its torture operations around the world because they would be too shocking to the US population. And the CIA chief recently appointed by President Obama insists that the CIA was not involved in torture, and the Obama Administration refuses to bring charges against any CIA agents who were engaged in torture, thus giving a signal to future torturers that they will be exempt from any punishments. We will deplore their behavior, but then let them continue it.

Undermining negotiations with Iran by continuing sanctions and offering no serious benefits for Iran to agree to anything would lead to Iran accelerating its nuclear program out of fear that it might soon be facing a war with Israel and the U.S. and perceiving itself as vulnerable unless it quickly develops nukes for itself. So following Netanyahu's path would actually create the very situation he claims to fear--a renewed commitment on the part of Iran to develop nuclear weapon capability.

* Israel is a beacon of democracy. Well...not so fast. Palestinians living within the West Bank and Gaza are living under the effective control of Israel on most matters of life, pay taxes to the Israeli government, must get permission from Israel to lave those areas, yet have no vote in the elections (though Jews living in the West Bank do have the right to vote). It's certainly better than what faces people in many other middle eastern countries, but it's a stretch to call Israel a democracy as long as the Occupation continues.

* Iran with nuclear weapons would be a danger to everyone. Well, that's partially true and partially false. It's true to the extent that any country having nuclear weapons is a danger to everyone on the planet (though the US is the only country in the world to have ever actually used nuclear weapons in a war). But it's not true that Iran would use those weapons. While I detest the current regime in Iran and hope for its nonviolent overthrow by the people of Iran, I see nothing in their behavior that leads me to believe that they are suicidal. On the contrary, they have a strong desire to make their Islamic republic the model for all future Islamic societies.

Iranian leaders know full well that Israel has the capacity, should Iran strike at Israel, to use its 200 nuclear bombs to wipe Iran off the face of the planet, if the US didn't do that first in the event of an Iranian use of nuclear weapons against Israel. So Netanyahu's paranoid fantasy only seems plausible if you think that Iran is the equivalent of the Nazi regime. And that is precisely where political analysis has to yield to psychological investigation. In my book Embracing Israel/Palestine (check it out at www.tikkun.org/eip) based in part on research I did while living in Israel and doing research at Tel Aviv U. and Hebrew U in Jerusalem, I describe the devastating consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on the capacity of those who have suffered extreme stress or oppression to make rational decisions for themselves. The PTSD is most acute in both the Israeli and Palestinian population, but far less so among Iranians who have never suffered in the past 70 years the way Jews and Palestinians have. So if we have any worries about possession of nuclear weapons, that concern should direct us to seeking nuclear disarmament from Israel. But for the impact of PTSD, having those 200 nukes should have yielded Israel a payoff in feeling secure. Instead, Israel continues to live under the cloud of the 70 year old trauma of the Holocaust, and the Prime Minister of Israel comes to the U.S. to shout "Never Again." But that slogan was originally meant to be a slogan concerning all peoples--so that no one should ever suffer what Jews suffered. The path to a war with Iran would make a mockery of that slogan. So it was tragic to see Elie Wiesel allowing himself to become a political pawn in Netnayahu's fantasy trip.

All this plays well for the US militarists and their cheerleaders among Christian Zionists and the rightwing of the Jewish Zionist movement. They raise the same fears and solutions they raised 55 years ago when they hoped to push the US into a war with the Soviet Union when it developed nuclear weapons. That war would have cost millions of lives, and saner voices prevailed. President Eisenhower warned about the dangers of the military/industrial complex and its ability to push the US toward wars. But Democrats, fearful of being called weak, brought us the War in Vietnam, and refused to cut off funds when the Republicans led us into the trillion-dollar debacle of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now those same moral idiots who led us into the Iraq war want to let Netanyahu's brilliant manipulation of our quite justified desire to see Israel remain safe and strong lead us into a war with Iran. We should resist such a folly. We could have used that trillion dollars to end global and domestic homelessness, hunger, poverty, inadequate health care, inadequate education, and to repair the destruction advanced indsutrial societies both capitalist and socialist have done to the global environment. Such a Global Marshall Plan might be dismissed as "unrealistic," just as the movements to end apartheid and segregation, provide equal rights for women, end legal discrimination against gays and lesbians, were also dismissed at first as unrealistic, naive, utopian or even "dangerous."

But the only way we can succeed in stopping the Republicans and AIPAC Democrats from following like lemmings the Netanyahu path is to present and powerfully advocate for an alternative--the Strategy of Generosity and a Global Marshall Plan modeled on the one we at Tikkun and our interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives have developed (d0wnload the full version of our Global Marshall Plan at www.tikkun.org/gmp).

Please join us in developing this path rather than in the futuile path of domination that will only confirm the fears of the most paranoid elements of all sides.

You dont have to believe in God or be part of a spiritual or religious tradition or practice to be a "spiritual progressive." You are a spiritual progressives by our definition if you want institutions, social practices, government policies, corporations, our educational system, our legal system to be judged "efficient, rational or productive" to the extent that they maximize our capacities to be loving, caring for each other and the earth, supporting generosity instead of domination, and responding to the universe not solely as "a resource" for human purposes but with a sense of awe, wonder and radical amazement at the grandeur and preciousness of life itself and the universe in which it has evolved!

The Fantasy World of Benjamin Netanyahu Responses to His Talk to Congress Rabbi Michael Lerner
 

Jroc

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by Rabbi Michael Lerner


"If you take out Saddam, Saddam's regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region." ~ Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu urging the US to invade Iraq in 2002.



Netanyahu's speech to Congress was brilliantly deceitful because it played to the fantasies that Israeli propaganda and right wing militarists in the US have been popularizing for the past thirty years.

* The biggest fantasy: that we can coerce others through power over them to do what we consider in the best interests of the U.S. or Israel. This is what I call "The Strategy of Domination." A more effective path is "The Strategy of Generosity"--showing others that we care about them and recognize their needs as being equally legitimate to our own. This second approach is the view that made trade between tribes, and eventually between nations possible in the past, and it remains the view that makes it possible for most countries of the world to live in peace with their neighbors. They hate to do business with those who think that they can get their way through power-tripping and manipulations and threats.

This struggle between two world views is the core of the debate today in the U.S. and the reason that the militarists have the upper hand is because the Obama Administration, fearing that it might be ridiculed as believing in "kumbaya politics," used its first six years to pursue policies that better fit the Strategy of Domination than the Strategy of Generosity. Predictably, now it finds itself without a popular base for turning toward a more rational path in regard to Iran, having to frame its policies in terms of his policies' toughness rather than in terms of their humanity and reflection of higher ethical values.

I know so many people who shake their heads in despair at the growth of the right-wing consciousness in the US in every sphere except identity politics, but really what other discourse are they ever exposed to? Obama should embrace the Biblical call for "love the stranger/the other" and challenge Americans to take that call seriously. Instead, he tries to measure up against the criteria set by the militarists. Guess what? In that coercion-oriented arena liberals and progressives will always fail, because you have to be unscrupulous to win there.

Netanyahu is a master of manipulating the fantasies that the right-wing discourse advances. For example, the view of the world that sees "our side" (whether that 'our' be the U.S. or Israel) as always innocent and good, and "the other" as intrinsically evil.

* So consider his claim that it is Iran that has been making war against countries in the Middle East. No...actually it is the U.S. that has been making war against those countries in the past 12 years. You will have to look very hard to find any Iranian troops in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, or Egypt in the past 12 years. But you will find tens of thousands of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past twelve years. Similarly, it is Israel that has been decimating Gaza, not Iran decimating a neighboring city or province or country. From a global perspective, and based on the behavior of these countries in the past two decades ever since the peace-oriented prime minister of Israely Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by a right wing religious Zionist, the world has more to fear from the US and Israel and our indomitable sense of self-righteousness than it does from Iran.

*Iran is the biggest violator of human rights in the region. Not so fast. Iran has some stiff competition with America's ally Saudi Arabia, not to mention the U.S. torture operations in Abu Ghraib. In fact, the US still won't release the full U.S. Senate report on its torture operations around the world because they would be too shocking to the US population. And the CIA chief recently appointed by President Obama insists that the CIA was not involved in torture, and the Obama Administration refuses to bring charges against any CIA agents who were engaged in torture, thus giving a signal to future torturers that they will be exempt from any punishments. We will deplore their behavior, but then let them continue it.

Undermining negotiations with Iran by continuing sanctions and offering no serious benefits for Iran to agree to anything would lead to Iran accelerating its nuclear program out of fear that it might soon be facing a war with Israel and the U.S. and perceiving itself as vulnerable unless it quickly develops nukes for itself. So following Netanyahu's path would actually create the very situation he claims to fear--a renewed commitment on the part of Iran to develop nuclear weapon capability.

* Israel is a beacon of democracy. Well...not so fast. Palestinians living within the West Bank and Gaza are living under the effective control of Israel on most matters of life, pay taxes to the Israeli government, must get permission from Israel to lave those areas, yet have no vote in the elections (though Jews living in the West Bank do have the right to vote). It's certainly better than what faces people in many other middle eastern countries, but it's a stretch to call Israel a democracy as long as the Occupation continues.

* Iran with nuclear weapons would be a danger to everyone. Well, that's partially true and partially false. It's true to the extent that any country having nuclear weapons is a danger to everyone on the planet (though the US is the only country in the world to have ever actually used nuclear weapons in a war). But it's not true that Iran would use those weapons. While I detest the current regime in Iran and hope for its nonviolent overthrow by the people of Iran, I see nothing in their behavior that leads me to believe that they are suicidal. On the contrary, they have a strong desire to make their Islamic republic the model for all future Islamic societies.

Iranian leaders know full well that Israel has the capacity, should Iran strike at Israel, to use its 200 nuclear bombs to wipe Iran off the face of the planet, if the US didn't do that first in the event of an Iranian use of nuclear weapons against Israel. So Netanyahu's paranoid fantasy only seems plausible if you think that Iran is the equivalent of the Nazi regime. And that is precisely where political analysis has to yield to psychological investigation. In my book Embracing Israel/Palestine (check it out at www.tikkun.org/eip) based in part on research I did while living in Israel and doing research at Tel Aviv U. and Hebrew U in Jerusalem, I describe the devastating consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on the capacity of those who have suffered extreme stress or oppression to make rational decisions for themselves. The PTSD is most acute in both the Israeli and Palestinian population, but far less so among Iranians who have never suffered in the past 70 years the way Jews and Palestinians have. So if we have any worries about possession of nuclear weapons, that concern should direct us to seeking nuclear disarmament from Israel. But for the impact of PTSD, having those 200 nukes should have yielded Israel a payoff in feeling secure. Instead, Israel continues to live under the cloud of the 70 year old trauma of the Holocaust, and the Prime Minister of Israel comes to the U.S. to shout "Never Again." But that slogan was originally meant to be a slogan concerning all peoples--so that no one should ever suffer what Jews suffered. The path to a war with Iran would make a mockery of that slogan. So it was tragic to see Elie Wiesel allowing himself to become a political pawn in Netnayahu's fantasy trip.

All this plays well for the US militarists and their cheerleaders among Christian Zionists and the rightwing of the Jewish Zionist movement. They raise the same fears and solutions they raised 55 years ago when they hoped to push the US into a war with the Soviet Union when it developed nuclear weapons. That war would have cost millions of lives, and saner voices prevailed. President Eisenhower warned about the dangers of the military/industrial complex and its ability to push the US toward wars. But Democrats, fearful of being called weak, brought us the War in Vietnam, and refused to cut off funds when the Republicans led us into the trillion-dollar debacle of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now those same moral idiots who led us into the Iraq war want to let Netanyahu's brilliant manipulation of our quite justified desire to see Israel remain safe and strong lead us into a war with Iran. We should resist such a folly. We could have used that trillion dollars to end global and domestic homelessness, hunger, poverty, inadequate health care, inadequate education, and to repair the destruction advanced indsutrial societies both capitalist and socialist have done to the global environment. Such a Global Marshall Plan might be dismissed as "unrealistic," just as the movements to end apartheid and segregation, provide equal rights for women, end legal discrimination against gays and lesbians, were also dismissed at first as unrealistic, naive, utopian or even "dangerous."

But the only way we can succeed in stopping the Republicans and AIPAC Democrats from following like lemmings the Netanyahu path is to present and powerfully advocate for an alternative--the Strategy of Generosity and a Global Marshall Plan modeled on the one we at Tikkun and our interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives have developed (d0wnload the full version of our Global Marshall Plan at www.tikkun.org/gmp).

Please join us in developing this path rather than in the futuile path of domination that will only confirm the fears of the most paranoid elements of all sides.

You dont have to believe in God or be part of a spiritual or religious tradition or practice to be a "spiritual progressive." You are a spiritual progressives by our definition if you want institutions, social practices, government policies, corporations, our educational system, our legal system to be judged "efficient, rational or productive" to the extent that they maximize our capacities to be loving, caring for each other and the earth, supporting generosity instead of domination, and responding to the universe not solely as "a resource" for human purposes but with a sense of awe, wonder and radical amazement at the grandeur and preciousness of life itself and the universe in which it has evolved!

The Fantasy World of Benjamin Netanyahu Responses to His Talk to Congress Rabbi Michael Lerner

The fake Jew quotes the radical leftist so called "Rabbi"

A former 1960s Berkeley radical, Michael Lerner is the founder of Tikkun magazine, a publication whose philosophy is an admixture of Old Testament teachings, medieval cabala mysticism, and Sixties-style campus Marxism. Lerner identifies himself as a duly ordained rabbi. But in fact he was given a controversial private rabbinic ordination by “Jewish Renewal” rabbis, whose ordinations are recognized only by those within the Jewish Renewal community and Reconstructionist Judaism. Orthodox Judaism, the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly all consider such ordinations invalid

At Berkeley, Lerner served as Chair of both the Free Student Union and the Berkeley chapter ofStudents for a Democratic Society. He also was active in the so-called Free Speech Movement, a 1964 eruption that culminated in the occupation of the university administration building and the arrest of 800 student trespassers. It was the first “takeover” of a campus building in the history of American higher education and set the stage for political actions on college campuses for the next generation. The Free Speech Movement was specifically about the right of the political left to agitate and to recruit students for its political activities on the campus itself.

I dig Marx”) to revere the author of The Communist Manifesto, Lerner saw Marxism as a worldview that offered the promise of a psychic liberation akin to the unfettered ecstasy made possible by the use of hallucinogenic drugs. “You have to take LSD,” he said in the early 1970s. “Until you’ve dropped acid, you don’t know what socialism is.”

Also in the early Seventies, Lerner created an organization called the Seattle Liberation Front (SLF), which participated in numerous anti-war protests and at least one riot. During this period, SLF, the Black Student Union (BSU), and the violent terrorist group Weatherman (led by such luminaries as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn) collaborated to carry out a number of direct actionson university campuses. One day, SLF and BSU members -- bearing pipes and clubs while shouting “Power to the people!” and “Smash the state!” -- rampaged through several university buildings and, in some cases, roughed up innocent onlookers. Washington state attorney Slade Gorton, who later went on to become a U.S. Senator, described the tactics of Lerner’s SLF as “totally indistinguishable from fascism and Nazism.”

Shortly after the birth of the Lerners’ son, the couple separated -- the mother and son going to live in Boston, and Mr. Lerner opting to reside in Berkeley. When asked why he had chosen to be so far from his young boy, he answered without hesitation, “You don’t understand. I have to be here. Berkeley is the center of the world-historical spirit.



Vis a vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of recent decades, Lerner has consistently aligned himself with the Palestinian side. He characterizes Israel as a nation whose “repressive” and “fascistic” leadership uses “disproportionate force to repress an essentially unarmed population.” He exhorts Jews everywhere to “allow themselves to hear the cries of pain of the Palestinian people” -- as a first step toward atonement for their own transgressions. When asked about a barbaric October 2000 lynching of two Israeli reservists by Palestinian police in Ramallah, he replied that he understood “how Israel’s occupation can lead to such violence.”
“I believe,” says Lerner, “that the Israeli people will never be safe until the Occupation ends and a new spirit of repentance and generosity spreads through the Jewish people” He urges Jews “to atone for the pain we have inflicted on the Palestinian people in [many] years of brutal occupation, and in forcing so many Palestinians out of their home and not allowing them to return in 1948-49.”

"While insisting that all he wants is peace and justice in the Middle East, Lerner’s prescription for achieving such is essentially the same as Yasser Arafat’s. He demands that Israel return to its 1949 borders and forego all forms of self-defense. Even though the bulk of Palestinians have not lived under Israeli 'occupation' for many years, such occupation is still the justification in his eyes of Palestinians perpetrating atrocities. The only permissible response by Israelis to being butchered by Palestinian terrorists is to offer them endless appeasements and make sure that Israeli soldiers refuse to serve their country. Lerner has never seen an act of Arab terrorism that he does not rationalize, nor an act of Jewish self-defense he is willing to justify."
http://discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=632
 
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X.Onasis

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"While insisting that all he wants is peace and justice in the Middle East, Lerner’s prescription for achieving such is essentially the same as Yasser Arafat’s. He demands that Israel return to its 1949 borders and forego all forms of self-defense. Even though the bulk of Palestinians have not lived under Israeli 'occupation' for many years, such occupation is still the justification in his eyes of Palestinians perpetrating atrocities. The only permissible response by Israelis to being butchered by Palestinian terrorists is to offer them endless appeasements and make sure that Israeli soldiers refuse to serve their country. Lerner has never seen an act of Arab terrorism that he does not rationalize, nor an act of Jewish self-defense he is willing to justify."
Nice.

I'm sure no one can see ad hominem, strawmen and outright lies are your best response.

You go girl.
 

Political Junky

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Several people have described Bibi's speech as Cheney-like. I have to agree.
 
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namvet

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Bibi has a strong military. the coon you elected has eliminated yours. America is a 3rd world sewer hole weak and feeble minded. you will be a conquered people. sooner the better
 

The VOR

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Bibi has a strong military. the coon you elected has eliminated yours. America is a 3rd world sewer hole weak and feeble minded. you will be a conquered people. sooner the better
Why don't you just leave the country then, you anti-American piece of shit.
 

namvet

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Bibi has a strong military. the coon you elected has eliminated yours. America is a 3rd world sewer hole weak and feeble minded. you will be a conquered people. sooner the better
Why don't you just leave the country then, you anti-American piece of shit.
already have. the day you elected that POS coon. my war's over numb nuts. yours is just beginning.
 

georgephillip

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The fake Jew quotes the radical leftist so called "Rabbi"

In 2002, Netanyahu said liberating Iraq would decrease violence levels in the Middle East; today the greedy pig wants the US to liberate Iran when it's actually Israel's colonization of Palestine that drives terrorism in that part of the world.
 

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