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Killjoy Was Here

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INSTEAD, OUR Prime Minister threatened again -- and more sharply than ever -- with an Israeli attack on Iran.

He brandished a revolver which, everybody knows, is empty.

This possibility -- as I have repeatedly pointed out -- never really existed. Geography, world economic and political circumstances make an attack on Iran impossible.

Bur even if it had been real at some time -- it is quite out of the question now. The world is against it. The US public is most definitely against it.

An attack by Israel acting alone, in face of resolute American opposition, is as probable as an Israeli settlement on the moon. Slightly unlikely.

I don't know about the military feasibility. Could it be done? Could our Air Force do it without US assistance and support? Even if the answer were positive, the political circumstances forbid it. Indeed, our military chiefs seem singularly uninterested in such an adventure.

THE CLIMAX of the speech was Netanyahu's grandiose declaration: "if we have to stand alone, we shall stand alone!"

What did it remind me of? In late 1940 there appeared in Palestine -- and, I suppose, throughout the British Empire -- a superb propaganda poster. France had fallen, Hitler had not yet invaded the Soviet Union, the US was still far from intervening. The poster showed Winston Churchill, undaunted, and a slogan: "Alright then, alone!"

Netanyahu could not remember this, though his memory does seem to be pre-natal. I call it "Alzheimer in reverse" -- vividly remembering things that never happened. (He once recounted at length how he, as a boy, had a discussion with a British soldier in the streets of Jerusalem -- though the last British soldier left the country more than a year before he was born.)

The phrase Netanyahu was looking for dates from 1896 -- the year Theodor Herzl published his epochal work "Der Judenstaat." A British statesman coined the catchword "Splendid Isolation" to characterize British policy under Benjamin Disraeli and his successor.

Actually, the slogan originated in Canada, when a politician spoke about Britain's isolation during the Napoleonic wars: "Never did the 'Empress Island' appear so magnificently grand -- she stood by herself, and there was a peculiar splendor in the loneliness of her glory!"

Does Netanyahu see himself as the reincarnation of Winston Churchill, standing proud and undaunted against a continent engulfed by the Nazis?

And where does that leave Barack Obama?

WE KNOW where. Netanyahu and his followers constantly remind us.

Obama is the modern Neville Chamberlain.

Chamberlain the Appeaser. The man who flourished a piece of paper in the fall of 1938 and proclaimed "Peace in Our Time." The statesman who almost brought about the destruction of his country.

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)
 

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