After the Republican presidential candidate tried and failed to make political capital out of the killing of the American ambassador and three of his colleagues in Libya, Obama said (on CBS’s 60 Minutes) “Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.” Staying with the shooting metaphor, it seems to me that with his latest gaffe Romney has shot himself in both feet and possibly elsewhere in his anatomy.
Here is what he said to a behind-closed-doors meeting with Republican funders who each paid a minimum of $50,000 to hear him:
“There are 47% of the country who will vote for the president no matter what.” And this 47% were people, he added, “who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. It is not my job to worry about these people.”
(We know that’s what Romney did say because he was secretly filmed saying it).
In a New York Times opinion piece David Brooks argues the case for saying that Romney is running “a desperately inept presidential campaign… There’s no way the country will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own… As a description of America today, Romney’s (47%) comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.”
So to my headline question: What might Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu do when his American sponsors tell him, possibly in the coming few days, that Romney isn’t going to win?
In my view the question is worth asking because Netanyahu already knows there is no way the America of a second-term Obama is going to become engaged in a war with Iran. Netanyahu may also know that though they are now on hold until after the American election, secret talks between the Obama administration through a third party and Iran have made significant progress. According to my source with access to these talks, the clear implication is that early in his second term Obama will bring the nuclear crisis with Iran to an end by politics and diplomacy.
A few weeks ago I would have answered my headline question by saying there was more than a 50-50 chance that if and when he was told that Romney was not going to win the race for the White House, Netanyahu would give the “Go” signal for an attack on Iran, in the belief that in order to best protect his election prospects Obama would be forced to commit American weapons and forces.
But in a few weeks things have changed a lot. Not only is Obama now well placed to secure a second term, if only by default on Romney’s part, there is also a growing realization in America that, on Netanyahu’s behalf, the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress have overplayed their hand in trying to influence the American election and push the US into war. (In my last post I quoted TIME‘s much respected Joe Klein describing this influence as “outrageous and disgusting… as cynical as it is brazen.” I have no doubt that Klein was speaking for many Americans, and probably more than a few Republicans as well as most Democrats).
Most significant of all are poll findings that most Americans do not want their country to go to war with Iran even if Israel starts it. Perhaps most remarkable of all was a poll by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. More than half of the respondents said that if Israel starts a war with Iran, the US should not leap to Israel’s defense.
So if and when he is told that Romney won’t be the next president, Netanyahu will have a problem. He could no longer be certain that he can cause Obama to go to war in what remains of his first term.
While I was thinking about what Netanyahu might actually do, I recalled a conversation I had with Ezer Weizman in early 1980 when he was the defense minister in Begin’s coalition government. What follows is a part of that conversation as set down in my bookZionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, Volume Three sub-titled Conflict Without End?, Chapter 12 The Blood Oath. Ezer was half an hour late for an appointment I had with him and I had been shown into his outer office to wait for him.
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I heard the sound of heavy, weary footsteps coming up the stone stairs. When Ezer filled the frame of the doorway to the outer office of his inner sanctum it was obvious that he was not his usual energetic, breezy self. He had the look of a haunted man. He managed a smile and said “Shalom.” Then, without another word, he put an arm around my shoulder and walked me into his office. He closed the door, nodded me to a seat on the other side of his ministerial desk and flopped into his own chair. He pushed it back and plonked his feet on the desk. He was looking straight at me but through me, to something only visible in his imagination.
I let the silence run and then, eventually, I said: “Ezer, you’ve obviously got a major problem on your mind. Shall I make an appointment for another day?”
Eventually he spoke. On reflection I am sure he told me what he did only because I was there. He needed to tell somebody and it happened by chance to be me.
He said, slowly and with quiet emphasis:
“This lunchtime Sharon convened a secret meeting of some of our generals and other top military and security people. They signed a blood oath which commits them to fight to the death to prevent any government of Israel withdrawing from the West Bank.” Pause. “I know that’s what happened at the meeting because I’ve checked it out, and that’s why I am late.”
In the event of a government decision to withdraw, Ezer said, Sharon was pledged to set up headquarters on the West Bank, and those in Israel’s armed forces who were loyal to him would make common cause with the armed settlers who wanted to fight.
I told Ezer what Peres had said to me weeks previously - that Begin was creating the conditions for a Jewish civil war, knowing, as Peres had put it, that no Israeli prime minister would trigger it by agreeing to withdraw from the West Bank.
Ezer nodded and then asked me a question. Did I think Sharon would act in accordance with the blood oath he and others had signed?
I said: “What I think is of no consequence. I’m a visiting goy. You’re Israel’s defence minister, what do you think?”
Ezer replied: “Of course, he would. He’s mad enough to nuke the entire fucking Arab world!”
Question: Is Netanyahu mad enough to order an attack on Iran in what remains of Obama’s first term without the president’s blessing and American participation?
In his secretly recorded statement to Republican fundraisers Romney also said, according to the Associated Press, that “the Palestinians are committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel” and that the prospects for a two-state solution to Mideast peace are dim. “You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
In what was said to be a “rambling response” to a question about the “Palestine problem” (it’s actually a Jewish problem), he also asserted that “The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace,” and “the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”
And there was more nonsense where that came from. He was, he said, against applying any pressure on Israel to give up “disputed” territory for a two-state solution with the Palestinians. “The idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world.”
It’s because Romney is so ignorant about foreign policy matters that he is delighted to read from Zionism’s script. What a disaster for America and the world a President Romney would be!
In one of his most stupid statements while grovelling for Zionist organized campaign funds and votes, Romney accused Obama of “throwing Israel under a bus.” Perhaps somebody should say it’s time for Obama to throw Romney and Netanyahu under it. (Okay, I just said it).
* Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who covered wars and conflictswherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. Author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. He blogs on www.alanhart.net and tweets onwww.twitter.com/alanauthor