By Ludwig Watzal
The call for early elections brought Benyamin Netanyahu a Pyrrhic victory. The Israeli voters made it clear that his dreams are not up to the sky. Netanyahu and his right-wing partner Avigdor Lieberman scored a heavy defeat. They lost 25 percent of their seats in the Knesset; they downsized from 42 to 31 seats. Both camps, the right-wingers and the so-called Zionist left, are in a dead heat.
Netanyahu has two options: either he forms a purely right-wing government that encompasses the lunatic fringe in Israel, which would lead Israel into total international isolation, or he includes some of the other more reasonable parties from the so-called Zionist left into the new government. There is also a chance for the “progressive” parts of Israeli society to form a government that would include the Sephardic Shas party and United Thorah Judaism; both are only interested to serve their clients.
The main massage that comes out of this election is that the Israelis don’t want to go to war with Iran. The American people have sent a similar message by reelecting Barack Obama. The nomination of John Kerry as Secretary of State and Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary has sent a clear signal to Netanyahu. When rumors of Hagel’s nomination began circulating in December, the neoconservative war party together with the lunatic fringe of the US-American “Israel Lobby” started a smear campaign against Chuck Hagel. They even stigmatized him an “anti-Semite”. Because of the following statement, the “Israel Lobby” and their right-wing cheerleaders will try to prevent Hagel’s confirmation as Secretary of Defense by the US Senate:
“The political reality is that (…) the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here (Hagel meant Capitol Hill L. W.) (…) I’ve always argued against some of the dumb things they do, because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel (…) I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator. I support Israel, but my first interest is, I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel.” Besides this truism, Hagel is not trigger-happy what Iran’s nuclear program and its peaceful use of nuclear energy is concerned. He talked very realistically about the motives of the Iranian leadership and met with Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.
The slandering of Chuck Hagel was formally not done by AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, but by the Neocons and the pro-Zionist “infantry”. The investigative journalist Max Blumenthal gave three reasons why AIPAC kept “its fingerprints off the public campaign to demonize Hagel”: Firstly, they did not want to alienate the most reliable Democratic allies in Congress; secondly, AIPAC did not want to contribute further the bad feelings Obama has about Netanyahu because of his support for Mitt Romney and his public exposure of US-President. Last but not least, AIPAC could lose its privileged lobby status. Foreign lobbies have to register with the US-Department of Justice. This registration of AIPAC could be overdue. The new Obama administration should tackle the issue. J. M. Rosenberg in his article “AIPAC run the Anti-Hagel Campaign, And it lost” from January 16, 2013 gave a meaningful insight into AIPAC’s operations.
According to the author, on his first day with AIPAC, he received a memo from the then deputy director of AIPAC, Steve Rosen, (who was subsequently fired by AIPAC, after being indicted on an espionage charge) which read: “A lobby is like a night flower: It thrives in the dark and dies in the light.” Obama was right when he declared shortly before the Israeli elections that “Israel doesn’t know what its best interests are”. Hagel will go through an intensive questioning and must perhaps demonstrate his absolute loyalty to Israel, but ultimately he’ll get the confirmation by the Senate.
It seems as if Netanyahu is still obsessed with Iran’s non-existing nuclear weapons program that he even talked about it to his party faithful at the Likud headquarter last night. At least, the international community is fed up with the Israeli predictions that are more inexact than the weather forecasts. For the last 20 years, Israeli politicians have warned the world that Iran’s nuclear bomb is just around the corner. Netanyahu and his pro-Zionist supporters in the US should know that the new Obama administration can’t be manipulated into an attack on Iran. If Netanyahu can’t hold back, he should act unilaterally and should take the heat and the repercussions alone. By a possible attack, Netanyahu will definitely drive Israel politically against the wall.
– Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual bog “Between the lines”: http://between-the-lines-ludwig-watzal.blogspot.de. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.