By Iqbal Jassat
In a desperate attempt to swing Western nations’ public opinion against Iran, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu – widely viewed in Muslim society as a major villain in promoting Islamophobia – has yet again resorted to vile anti-Islam rhetoric.
In step with an inglorious record of Zionist-colonialism, the bigotry inherent in his irrational utterances raises the specter of an ugly, emotive campaign of renewed Islam-bashing. At an event at Tel Aviv University that was also attended by French President Francois Hollande, Netanyahu contrasted “progressive Israel” with “oppressive” aspirations of “radical Islam”, which he claimed was attempting to take humanity back to the “Dark Ages.”
This brazen assault is a remarkable display by a personality who arrogantly believes that the world is beholden to him. It is symbolic of the regime he leads and represents. The notion that Israel is able to do as it pleases without any accountability to the international community is increasingly turning into a major source of irritation and embarrassment for many of its allies.
Netanyahu regards himself as a modern-day savior of Jews and in order to do so keeps unleashing his bitterness and hatred of Islam. He does so also to ensure that Israel’s enemy is clearly defined. It’s a ridiculous situation that in today’s enlightened era a rightwing leader such as him is able to spew venom and incite anti-Muslim sentiments, safe in the knowledge that neither the USA nor the UN is able to touch him.
While he continues to rant and rave about “radical Islam” he puts his hope on the gullibility of people, expecting that Israel’s hardline repressive policies against Palestinians will evoke sympathy rather than censure. It remains a misplaced expectation and reflects adversely on the fact that Netanyahu is as out of touch with reality as PW Botha (Groot Krokodil) was during his reign as apartheid South Africa’s chief.
This episode is certainly not isolated from Netanyahu’s past. He has a history of fueling hatred against Islam and has done so by dividing Muslims into various camps and categories. As a leading Islamophobia ideologue he can claim “success” if it’s the correct term one may use to describe his influence on America’s neoconservative movement and the range of wars spawned by them across the Muslim world.
Netanyahu may be the premier of Israel, but he remains a central figure in US politics via the disproportionate dominance of AIPAC-influenced legislation in both the Senate and Congress. From the Clinton era’s “Omnibus Counter-Terrorism Act” to George Bush’s infamous “War on Terror”, Netanyahu and his rightwing gang has ensured that Palestine’s freedom struggle is criminalized as terrorism. The arguments advanced to pigeon-hole groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah as terror outfits, have had a disastrous consequence in America. On the one hand, US taxpayers have had to fund their domestic law enforcement agencies to prosecute Palestinians on behalf of Israel. On the other hand, the bastion of freedom and democracy has also had to contend with managing inter-faith relations to prevent anti-Islam sentiments from resembling anarchy in the streets.
Though some hasbara enthusiasts may find it extremely tough to admit, I’m not surprised that every element of Israel’s grip on the lives and destiny of Palestinians resembles apartheid in South Africa. And similarities can justifiably be extended to the personalities who executed apartheid policies. From Verwoerd to Vorster and Botha one will have very little difficulty to recast them as Ben-Gurion to Begin and Netanyahu. It’s truly a gallery of rogues. The Zionist cast has in fact outstripped their apartheid partners and led by Netanyahu seem hell bent to continue excelling in land theft, occupation, war crimes, apartheid barriers, weapons of mass destruction, detention without trial and Islamophobia.
How far will he be allowed to go in his wild pursuit of war is anyone’s guess. What is clear though is that Netanyahu is increasingly behaving and sounding like an idiot whose conduct is not only becoming a source of embarrassment for global Jewry, but also makes Israel’s western allies cringe.
– Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the Media Review Network, Johannesburg – South Africa. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.mediareviewnet.com and follow him through Twitter: @ijassat.