It’s not often that stories about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict make me laugh but one by Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, did. Because he is the corporation’s correspondent supporters of Israel right or wrong most love to hate – from time to time they pressure the BBC to fire him – I imagine he enjoyed writing it.
In a vivid background report for From Our Own Correspondent, headlined Tough Lessons for Obama on Mid-East peace, Jeremy recalled some of the “false dawns” of previous presidential peace efforts.
One was a trip by President Clinton to Gaza in 1998 when Netanyahu was enjoying his first period as Israel’s prime minister. “Yes”, Jeremy added, “an American president in Gaza. It is not conceivable these days.”
After noting that Netanyahu drove Clinton mad, Jeremy went on:
After he (Netanyahu) had lectured the president about the Middle East, Mr. Clinton famously asked his aides: “Who the (bleep) does he think he is? Who’s the bleeping superpower here?” Only he did not say bleep.
What President Clinton actually said was, “Who the fuck does he think he is? Who’s the fucking superpower here?”
After recalling in his own way how President Obama has been humiliated to date by Netanyahu in his second period as prime minister, Jeremy commented that he, Obama, “might be using Bill Clintonesque language about Mr. Netanyahu.”
My own speculation is that Obama behind closed doors might even be outdoing Clinton in his use of expletives about Netanyahu.
But really there’s no cause for laughter. Tears of rage are more appropriate.
The documented truth, which flows through my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, is that every occupant of the Oval Office has at one point or another, and as President Ford once put it, been made “as mad as hell” by Israeli prime ministers. So the use of presidential expletives to describe them and Zionist lobby leaders at moments of great tension probably has a history going all the way back to Israel’s unilateral declaration of independence.
Even before that there were moments when President Truman could not contain his anger at the tactics Zionists were employing to bend him and the United Nations to their will. At one cabinet meeting Truman blurted out, “Jesus Christ couldn’t please them when he was here, so how could anyone expect that I would have any luck.”
In Memoirs published long after the events, Truman was very frank about Zionist coercion in the countdown to the General Assembly vote on the partition plan resolution. He wrote:
The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but the White House too was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders – actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats – disturbed and annoyed me. Some were even suggesting that we pressure sovereign nations into favourable votes in the General Assembly. I have never approved of the strong imposing their will on the weak whether among men or nations.
As it happened, the campaign of threats to cause a number of sovereign nations to turn their intended “No” to partition votes into “Yes” votes or to abstain was executed by the Zionist lobby with the assistance of a hit-squad of 26 U.S. senators. The whole effort to bend the UN General Assembly to Zionism’s will was co-ordinated by Zionism’s eyes and ears in the White House, David K. Niles. (He once confessed that “had Roosevelt lived, Israel probably would not have become a state.” President Roosevelt was opposed to the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, and there is a good case for believing, I make it in my book, that if he had lived, he would have used the United Nations to say “No” to Zionism’s colonial enterprise).
When Truman subsequently learned how one sovereign nation in particular, Haiti, had been threatened in his name, he wrote in a memorandum not de-classified until 1971 that “pressure groups (he meant Zionist pressure groups) will succeed in putting the United Nations out of business if this sort of thing is continued.”
Events were to prove Truman more right than wrong on that account.
Eisenhower was the first and the last American President to contain Zionism (when he insisted in 1956/57 that Israel, after its collusion with Britain and France in war on Nasser’s Eygpt, should withdraw from occupied Arab territory without conditions).
There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that President Kennedy, if he had been allowed to live, was intending in a second term to continue Eisenhower’s containment of Zionism, and that as a result of doing so there would not have been a shift of U.S. policy in favour of Israel right or wrong. In that event, and in all probability, the 1967 war would not have happened – Greater Israel would not have been created; and the Zionist state would not have been allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
Though it contained no expletives, the most explicit statement of anger I am aware of was the one made by presidential candidate Kennedy after he had been taken to a meeting with Zionist funders in New York. After it, back in Washington, he went for a walk with an old and trusted friend, newspaper columnist Chares L. Bartlett. According to his account, Kennedy said:
As an American citizen I am outraged to have a Zionist group come to me and say – “We know your campaign is in trouble. We’re willing to pay your bills if you let us have control of your Middle East policy. They wanted control!”
In my view the question of who the bleep does Netanyahu think he is misses the point. It is that he knows who he is – another Israeli prime minister who, with the assistance of the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress, has got another American president by the testicles. At least for the time being.