The art of deception


Israeli hyperbole is as old as the State of Israel. It is tautological, serving as the raison d’être and modus operandi of Israel, the garrison state. It is ridiculous, fantastic and also dangerous in that it goes beyond mere rhetoric to shape the country’s strategy in Palestine and the Middle East in general.

For decades, Israel has touted and fabricated threats – grave threats, existential threats – using them as a pretext for preemptive wars and a justification for clinging to the occupied territories. He demonized Palestinians and Arabs as hateful “terrorists” bent on destroying Israel. He overstated Iran’s ability and intention to develop and deploy nuclear weapons. And in recent times, his spokespersons and supporters have consistently accused critics of anti-Semitism.

Israel skillfully and successfully peddled and amplified these and other accusations, especially after its victory and occupation in the 1967 war, making hyperbole an art form of deception, extortion and propaganda. He regularly asserted that for the sake of his national security, even his survival, he had “ein breira” (no other alternative) than to embark on this or that illegal or horrible invasion, occupation, incarceration of mass, assassination or preemptive attack.

So it shouldn’t have been surprising when, last month, Israel designated six Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist organizations,” just days before announcing a large settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank. Though largely fabricated or unfounded, the designation has put Palestinians on the defensive and distracted international attention from Israel’s own occupation and terror.

The Israeli responsible for the two decisions is none other than War General and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz. It was he who led the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip in 2014 and who is accused of war crimes for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including more than 500 children. And it was he who stood for the legislative elections in 2019 on a bloody record, boasting of having killed 1,364 “terrorists”, read civilians.

Does that sound like a person with any legitimacy to judge Palestinians? Indeed, do the occupants have a legitimacy to judge the occupied?

Well, he’s not alone. In fact, Gantz echoes a whole class of hysterical cynics, not least his current and previous bosses, Prime Ministers Naftali Bennett and Benjamin Netanyahu.

In 2015 Bennett, the extremist religious leader of the settlers and minister of education, called Israel’s rather moderate partner, President Mahmoud Abbas, a “terrorist,” and said Israel “shouldn’t talk to him. “. Today Prime Minister Bennett uses the same pretext to boycott Abbas and evade meaningful diplomacy with the Palestinians. Of course, he also punishes the Palestinian president for bringing Israel to the International Criminal Court for its war crimes in Palestine.

Israel is not only exaggerating and deflecting accusations of its own state terrorism; it does the same on the nuclear front.

For nearly three decades, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister Netanyahu has led the charge against Iran, accusing it of secretly developing nuclear weapons for use against Israel, and arguing for nothing less than sweeping sanctions and / or preferably a war against the Iranian regime. Israel has claimed that Iran will produce a bomb by 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and almost every year since.

Netanyahu may not have succeeded in convincing the Western powers to use force against “bad Iran” as they did against Iraq, but he has generally succeeded in blackmailing them into maintain crippling sanctions against the Iranians. The exaggeration of the Iranian nuclear threat has also enabled it to keep Israel’s own nuclear weapons off the table, ensure Israel’s full regional military superiority at no financial cost, and insist on complete freedom of movement. action against Iran and its allies.

In this way, the hyperbole was effective with enemies and friends.

This has proven to be a winning strategy for dealing with Israel’s own allies, especially the United States. Take for example the Israeli tantrums against the two most pro-Israel American presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W Bush.

In 1981 Prime Minister Menachem Begin accused the United States of treating Israel as a “banana republic” and hinted at “anti-Semitic overtones” in some of the punitive measures taken by the Reagan administration after denouncing the Israeli bombing. the Iraqi nuclear reactor, its bombing of the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Beirut which resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians, and its annexation of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, all in violation of international law.

Soon after, the United States rescinded its punitive measures and Israel became by far the largest recipient of American aid, with its status elevated to the United States’ most valuable ally in the Middle East. . Feeling empowered, Israel invaded Lebanon under the pretext of fighting terrorism, claiming tens of thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese victims and an 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon.

Twenty years later, another war general and prime minister, Ariel Sharon, warned the United States against appeasing Arab nations at Israel’s expense as European democracies appeased Hitler on the eve of the Second World War, in response to the Bush administration’s plans for a “global coalition against terrorism” after the September 11 attacks.

Over the next decade, Israel became the closest partner and the biggest winner in Washington’s global war on terror, using its privileged status to violently crush the Second Palestinian Intifada.

In the 2010s, Israel humiliated President Barack Obama over Iran and Palestine, accusing him of supporting dangerous diplomacy with the two, which Bennett said would lead to the “mass murder of Israelis.” Shaken by Israeli hyperbole, Obama then bolstered US security guarantees, subsidized Israeli defense and committed $ 38 billion in military aid.

Israel has not spared its European allies either. In 2015, their then foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, accused them of “treason” and “fueling anisemitism” simply to support the Palestinian state, going so far as to draw parallels with the powers that be. Europeans abandoning Czechoslovakia to the Nazis in 1938.

In this way, the Israeli hyperbole has been a remarkable success. He galvanized Western supporters and blackmailed Western leaders to shut up or speak for Israel, making them conciliatory or complicit in its wars, crimes and war crimes.

None of the above is intended to downplay Israel’s immediate national security concerns. But its hyperbole has been a tool of expansion and domination rather than survival.

Extract: ‘Israeli Hyperbole: The Art of Deception’


About Oscar L. Smith

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