Mondoweiss / September 29, 2021
Naftali Bennett never mentioned Palestinians in his speech to the UN General Assembly, saying only that Israelis want a “good life” and “don’t wake up in the morning thinking about the conflict.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gave a speech to the U.N. General Assembly Monday in which he said that Israel has a diverse democracy “in the toughest neighborhood on earth,” and Iran is trying to destroy Israel through its “terror” proxies.
Bennett never mentioned Palestine or Palestinians (as major media have reported). No, Israel’s refusal to grant rights to Palestinians, and Palestinians’ refusal to accept that discrimination, is a minor issue that Israel wants the world to forget about in the era of Israeli deals with Arab states. Bennett also brushed the Palestinian issue aside when he met with Joe Biden in August.
No one thinks about the conflict in Israel, Bennett said.
Israelis don’t wake up in the morning thinking about conflict. Israelis like everyone else, want to lead a good life, take care of our families, and build a better world for our children.
Bennett is right about “the good life.” Israelis enjoy a GDP per capita that is higher than Japan, France, and the UK. Even as we give Israel billions in aid.
Israel’s American lobbyists have echoed Bennett’s argument, by saying that Israelis and Palestinians can’t live in the same state because Israelis enjoy a GDP that is 40 times that of Palestinians (the indigenous group who live under what human rights groups call apartheid).
When Time Magazine put the high Israeli standard of living on its cover in 2010 and said that this was why Israelis had no interest in achieving any peace deal with Palestinians, Israel’s American advocates slammed Time as being antisemitic.
Bennett takes no responsibility for the distress of Palestinians. He placed blame for the “destruction” and unlivable conditions in Gaza on Iran’s support for “radical Islam.”
These terror groups seek to dominate the Middle East and spread radical Islam across the world. What do they all have in common? They all want to destroy my country. And they’re all backed by Iran..
For the past three decades Iran has spread its carnage and destruction around the Middle East, country after country: Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Gaza. What do all these places have in common? They are all falling apart. Their citizens — hungry and suffering. Their economies —collapsing. Like the Midas touch, Iran’s regime has the “Mullah-touch” — Every place Iran touches —fails.
This argument leaves out the Israeli occupation and blockade of Gaza for the last 14 years, followed by four military bombardments of the tiny place for in one case weeks on end, destroying government buildings and hundreds of thousands of homes. Israel’s collective punishment has turned the strip into an open-air prison for more than 2 million people, and helped make the strip virtually unlivable.
Bennett also leaves out the U.S. responsibility for “destruction” in the invasion of Iraq, and the U.S. bombing of Syria and Yemen, with countless war crimes.
37 million people in the Middle East have been displaced by U.S. wars, former Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif asserts. The U.S. unleashed this instability when it actually had Iran on its side after 9/11, Zarif says. “[T]he US paradigm of coercion & war—with its GWOT [global war on terror]—has brought nothing but death, destruction & misery to the world.”
Bennett also said that Iran is trying to get impunity through nukes.
Iran seeks to dominate the region — and seeks to do so under a nuclear umbrella.
This is of course hypocritical, given that Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons but won’t admit it, and the nukes have allowed it to put off any reckoning with the Palestinian issue. Israeli hypocrisy re the supposed Iranian nuclear program is plain to everyone in the region to the point that Israeli security types think the lying about nukes hurts Israel’s diplomacy.
Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-2006