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Benjamin Netanyahu's Ideologically Dictated Worldview

By       Message Lawrence Davidson     Permalink
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Reprinted from To The Point Analyses

From youtube.com/watch?v=73GkuHpZvHY: Hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
Hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
(Image by YouTube)
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Part I - The Delusional Leader

On 3 March 2015 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came before the U.S. Congress and once again painted a false picture of Iran and its ambitions. His vision was both apocalyptic and simplistic: the state of Iran is evil and the source of most of the aggression and terrorism in the Middle East; it is eternally hostile to the West and it aims at the destruction of Israel; the West, with the United States leading the way, must stop this evil regime before it gains the capacity to use nuclear weapons.

He has been saying this for at least 25 years, and like the false prophecies predicting the end of the world, the alleged catastrophe never seems to occur. Iran never seems to come up with a nuclear bomb. However, Netanyahu never stops predicting it.

The truth is that the actions and motives Netanyahu assigns to the Islamic Republic are factually wrong. Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, has not carried on weapons research of this nature in over a decade, and is willing to commit itself to an inspections regime that will keep track of its good intentions in this regard. This stance is attested to by nearly every Western intelligence agency, and the Israeli intelligence organizations as well.

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Indeed, Iran is much less aggressive than is Israel. Iran has not launched an offensive war in 240 years! However, Israel is in a state of constant aggressive expansion. So which one is the greater danger for the Middle East and the world? Apart from leveling a small number of oral threats leveled against the Zionist state, the Iranian leaders have made no aggressive moves toward Israel. On the other hand, Israel appears to be actively working for the destruction of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Therefore, the prime minister's assertions tell us more about the worldview of Netanyahu and his allies than it does about Iran. It tells us that the facts make no difference. Netanyahu and his allies just know, "existentially," that Iran is after nuclear weapons and plotting the destruction of Israel.

Given this disconnect from reality, one can only assume that the prime minister of Israel and his associates are delusional -- that is, they cannot tell fact from fiction, or alternatively, that they are simply liars. My feeling is that while the latter is certainly possible, I would not dismiss the former. Why so?

Netanyahu, and indeed all Zionists of his sort, are committed ideologues. In other words, they do not start with objectively investigated facts as the basis of their worldview. Rather they start with an ideology (Zionism) with which all interpretations of the outside world must be made to conform. Zionism insists on the absolute right to a Jewish state in all of Palestine. For the true believer, anything that might stand in the way of this right must be fought without compromise. That is why there can be no compromise peace with the Palestinians. Their willingness to accept compromise must be ignored or denied. And that is why Iran, whose leaders have publicly, and accurately, called Zionism a dangerous ideology, must be denied any nuclear capacity at all. The fact that Iran's activities in this regard are legal and peaceful must also be ignored, denied or distorted into something evil. That is the only way they will fit the strictures of ideology.

People who are ideologically fixated can be like this -- delusional and obsessive. In the ordinary workaday world they may or may not be annoying. However, if you give them power, their potential goes far beyond annoying to the point of being downright dangerous. That is where we are at with Benjamin Netanyahu.

What sort of history underlies Netanyahu's obsessive delusions? It is the history of European Jewry, which, for him, is overwhelmingly the history of anti-Semitism culminating in the Holocaust. For Netanyahu that history is ongoing. It can never really stop. Because this is so, he and others holding this view have expanded the threat of anti-Semitism beyond Europe into the Middle East. The Muslims of that region are the new Nazis and their leadership comes from Iran (which is really impossible due to the Shiite-Sunni divide - but no matter, facts don't count). Finally, Israel stands in for all of Jewry and, of course, is in everlasting mortal danger.

In the past month Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly claimed that anti-Semitism is growing worldwide and presents a threat not just to Israel, but to all the world's Jews. Take for instance his mid-February declaration that sporadic terrorist episodes in Europe are a sign of rising, revitalized anti-Semitism. As he put it, "Jews have been murdered again on European soil only because they are Jews" -- and the ultimate key to their safety is immigration to Israel -- the same Israel he claims to be threatened with nuclear destruction. Both the president of France and the prime minister of Denmark, who do not share Netanyahu's view of the world, scolded the Israeli leader for implying that native Jews were not integral members of their national communities and would not be protected.

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Part II - What is Left Out

It is typical of minds shaped by ideology that their worldview leaves out important aspects of any given situation. And so it is with Netanyahu. One important thing left out is Israel's role in creating what danger does exist for Jews worldwide.

This fact was noted by the Israeli peace movement leader Uri Avnery who asserted in a column posted on 21 February 2015 that attacks on Jews in France and Denmark "had nothing to do with anti-Semitism." They were caused in good part by "the ongoing Arab-Zionist conflict. ... Practically every Arab in the world, and most Muslims are emotionally involved in the conflict." The fact that Israel refuses to come to a fair and just agreement with the Palestinians, and continues to illegally expand into Palestinian land, seriously exacerbates the situation.

And, as Avnery puts it "When Binyamin Netanyahu does not miss an opportunity to declare that he represents all the Jews of the world, he makes all the world's Jews responsible for Israeli policies and actions." In other words, Netanyahu and the Israeli government are inciting violence against all Jews by making them appear complicit in Israeli crimes against Palestinians and other Arabs, such as those in southern Lebanon.

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http://www.tothepointanalyses.com
Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign
Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest
; America's
Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli
Statehood
; and Islamic Fundamentalism. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

His blog To The Point Analyses now has its own Facebook page. Along with the analyses, the Facebook page will also have reviews, pictures, and other analogous material.


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