Uri Avnery is 90, a former Knesset member nailed Netanyahu’s speech” to “a bunch of nincompoops” in the US Congress. The whole pathetic event showed you the parlous state of US democracy—especially the Republicans, an amen corner for Israel.A bunch of bought and paid for illiterates who know nothing of Palestinian life as it is lived today,bloated millionaires with little knowledge of history or the history of Netanyahu, a lifelong expansionist and hater of Arabs.
And who had box seats in the arena?
Sheldon Adelson the billionaire casino magnet who like the Koch brothers funds far right politicians who genuflect to oil and Israel.
And there was the pathetic Elie Wiesel,”the moral impostor” as Avnery labels him who has never managed to universalize the message of the nazi holocaust—never again to anybody!
Suddenly it reminded me of something.
I was watching The Speech by Binyamin Netanyahu before the Congress of the United States. Row upon row of men in suits (and the occasional woman), jumping up and down, up and down, applauding wildly, shouting approval.
It was the shouting that did it. Where had I heard that before?
And then it came back to me. It was another parliament in the mid-1930s. The Leader was speaking. Rows upon rows of Reichstag members were listening raptly. Every few minutes they jumped up and shouted their approval.
Of course, the Congress of the United States of America is no Reichstag. Members wear dark suits, not brown shirts. They do not shout “Heil” but something unintelligible. Yet the sound of the shouting had the same effect. Rather shocking.
But then I returned to the present. The sight was not frightening, but ridiculous. Here were the members of the most powerful parliament in the world behaving like a bunch of nincompoops.
Nothing like this could have happened in the Knesset. I do not have a very high opinion of our parliament, despite having been a member, but compared to this assembly, the Knesset is the fulfillment of Plato’s dream.
This whole charade was beyond the pale.
Avnery summed it up:
What did the speech not contain?
Not a word about Palestine and the Palestinians. Not a word about peace, the two-state solution, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem. Not a word about apartheid, the occupation, the settlements. Not a word about Israel’s own nuclear capabilities.
Not a word, of course, about the idea of a nuclear-weapon–free region, with mutual inspection.