Netanyahu and the GOP See Peace as an Existential Threat

ANN CURRY: Again, I think you’re pointing the finger at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
JAVAD ZARIF: I– I’m pointing the finger at anybody who– sees peace as– as an existential threat.

– NBC News Interview with Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif [3.4.15]

Ann Curry pressed Zarif, whose talks with the P5+1 ended yesterday, relentlessly on a number of issues relating to Iran’s nuclear program (it’s a shame they don’t turn her loose on Bill O’Reilly).

You can trust Iran’s – and his – protestations of innocence or not. There is no doubting that Netanyahu (though evidence suggests not everyone in his government) has an obsessive hatred of Iran that is not at all helping efforts at building peace in the Middle East.

It is certainly interesting that Curry feels the need to say Zarif is pointing a finger at Netanyahu when Netanyahu is without question pointing a finger at Iran, but that says more about Western biases than it does about Iran.

Read the entire transcript or listen to the interview. What stands out are this final question and answer. This is, as Sheldon Cooper of CBS’ Big Bang Theory would put it, the “Bazinga!” moment of the interview, and it was worth waiting for.

Pointing the Finger at Speaker of the House John Boehner

It sounds very much as though Zarif has also correctly and succinctly identified the problem with our own Republican Party. Peace itself is an existential threat to the GOP, which is in the business of fear, of conjuring up new enemies, both home and abroad.

Interestingly Noam Chomsky made the same point to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now on Monday:

For both Prime Minister Netanyahu and the hawks in Congress, mostly Republican, the primary goal is to undermine any potential negotiation that might settle whatever issue there is with Iran. They have a common interest in ensuring there is no regional force that can serve as any kind of deterrent to Israeli and U.S. violence, the major violence in the region.

War should not be a common interest. A perpetual state of war might benefit the military industrial complex, but it does not benefit the American people, and that, ultimately, is whose interest Boehner & Co. are supposed to be watching out for.

Undeniably, they are not. They brought in a foreign leader to attack our president – the man we elected twice – and to challenge his foreign policy.

Chris Matthews nailed it Tuesday on MSNBC, telling MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts:

I’ll get to the heart of this speech now. This man from a foreign government walked into the United States legislative chamber and tried to take over U.S. foreign policy. He said, ‘You should trust me, not your president on this. I am the man you should trust, I am your true leader on this question of U.S. geopolitics. To protect yourself, you must listen to me and not this president.’

It was a startling situation. To allow someone to come in — knowing that was going to be their message — to the U.S. Congress. This was a decision made by Boehner and certainly complied with by Netanyahu and his ambassador [Ron Dermer]. They went into the U.S. Congress to take over U.S. foreign policy from the president.

Think it through, what country in the world would let a foreign leader come in and attempt to wrest from the president control of the U.S. foreign policy?

This was a takeover attempt by Netanyahu with this complying America partners to take American foreign policy out of the hands of the president.

And the Republicans cheered and cheered, leading Jon Stewart to quip Tuesday that Congress gave Netanyahu “by far the longest blow job a Jewish man has ever received.”

Which leads me to fantasize about hearing those words come out of Nancy Pelosi’s mouth.

The GOP as a Radical Insurgency

Chomsky, in his interview, made another valid point:

The Republicans stopped being an ordinary parliamentary party some years ago. They were described, I think accurately, by Norman Ornstein, the very respected conservative political analyst, American Enterprise Institute; he said the party has become a radical insurgency which has abandoned any commitment to parliamentary democracy. And their goal for the last years has simply been to undermine anything that Obama might do, in an effort to regain power and serve their primary constituency, which is the very wealthy and the corporate sector.

And in fact, this is exactly what Ornstein said, writing in a 2012 op-ed at the Washington Post that, “The Republicans are the problem.”

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

To the oft-heard claim that “both sides do it,” Ornstein and Mann responded, “the Democrats may have moved from their 40-yard line to their 25, the Republicans have gone from their 40 to somewhere behind their goal post.” As they wrote, both sides moving to the center is “a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.”

President Obama responded to Netanyahu’s speech with a metaphorical yawn, saying “as far as I can tell, there was nothing new” in the prime minister’s speech and that “The prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives.” This prompted outrage from Jennier Rubin, writing in her column at The Washington Post that Obama’s response was “strange” and “illogical,” that of course Netanyahu offered alternatives.

But as Tamara Cofman Wittes writes at Brookings, Netanyahu “did not present a preferred alternative to negotiations.” Republicans don’t seem to understand that there are alternatives to the use of force.

Rubin actually had the nerve, after Congress brought in a foreign leader to attack our president, to commandeer American foreign policy for his own nation’s selfish purposes, to accuse Obama of chutzpah.

That’s chutzpah.

The Iranian government apparently agreed with Obama, calling Netanyahu’s speech “boring and repetitive” (it was certainly that, which is why Republicans gave it such thunderous applause).

Who knew Iran’s revolutionary regime would ever sound so sensible when placed next to our own Republican Party?

What is to be done?

If you’re talking about Democrats and Republicans, we can do nothing with the Republican Party. They have opted out of governing.

Worse, they have opted out of our shared reality and the fact-filled universe. What they want has trumped what is, and there can be no dealing with people who refuse to recognize that wishful thinking never solved anything. That, in fact, wishful thinking is dangerous – catastrophically so.

As John Kerry said yesterday, “Simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan.” Someone might remind Republicans of the same thing where President Obama is concerned.

We can deal with Iran, however. Trustworthy or not, Iran is still part of our shared reality, in a way neither Netanyahu nor Republicans are. And that, perhaps, is the saddest commentary possible on the state of the Republican Party in 2015.

40 Replies to “Netanyahu and the GOP See Peace as an Existential Threat”

  1. Peace is always a threat to the bottom line and prophets of those who not only seek but enjoy the prophet of suffering of others. The GOTP’s REAL god is Mammon! And btw, I purposely used the word prophet in place of profit because in the GOTP war/hate machine they are interchangeable and integral to the operation of the other, they are symbiotic in a most sickening manner.

  2. I saw some of Netanyahu’s speech and watched the reaction of those so called elected “leaders”, and frankly it was the most sickening display of sycophantic treachery I’ve had the misfortune to witness in my 52 yrs.

    They need to be reminded who they work for and who pays them.

  3. Owing to Netanyahu’s outrageous intrusion into American Politics and American foreign policy, I am fighting some very ugly personal impulses, just now.

    I hate them.
    I know they are wrong-headed.
    I know they are a poison that, unchecked, corrupts the soul.

    They now surge, in unguarded moments,
    and I hate them.

    I must resolve to hold Netanyahu in contempt,
    but to revitalize my good will towards Israel.

    It isn’t easy.

  4. Its sad that so many Americans because of their hatred of President Obama allowed and cheered this debacle.

    If you was against this assault on our national sovereignty you are called a jew hater. It has gotten to the point that its Stalinist in nature because if you didn’t clap loud enough you get called out. Just ask Rand Paul.

    The drunk and bibi yahoo are playing a very dangerous game and the losers will be Israel and American Jews.

  5. GOP generic issue/solution:
    Possibility of change –> insecurity –> fear –> anger –> need bomb –> make bomb –> make money –> use bomb –> kill others –> think change is stopped –> feel good.

  6. This is an open act of TREASON against THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA by the GOP. Charge them all with Treason. And if they are found to be guilty of Treason throw them into prison and then “HANG THEM ALL” !!! Or at the very least “VOTE” them all out of office before they actually “attempt” to assassinate our President and Vice President. Which would then make John Boehner the “President” and some other GOP traitor Vice President (I forgot his name). In my opinion.

  7. John Stewart said it best of all, he had clips of Netanyahu, with the same speech 20 years ago, also a clip where Netanyahu was urging Bush to invade Iraq and saying he guaranteed we would see a favorable outcome.

    I have read reports from Israel saying that the cost of living is the biggest worry, not Iran. Another worry is the 68000.00
    Metanyahu and wife spent last year on themselves for hair and make up.

  8. Operation Rent Seeking

    How the war on terrorism became a business model.

    n present-day America’s politically polarized atmosphere, it is easy to characterize divisive issues like the war on terrorism, the Wall Street bailout, or the Affordable Care Act as symbols of a clash of ideologies. Ideology is present in all of these issues, but it is possible to overrate it as a factor in contemporary policymaking. When I was a congressional staffer, I became acutely aware that elected officials choose issues to put at the top of their agendas mainly for their ability to shake money out of the purses of contributors. The subsequent histrionics in the House or Senate chamber are pure theater for the benefit of C-SPAN and the poor recluses who watch it. Behind every political cause is a racket designed to privatize the profits and socialize the losses.
    Read More

  9. That is the problem, you see. Netanyahu wants to force Iran to it’s knees. By speaking before congress, Netanyahu, Boehner and his minions had hoped to force the President to HIS knees, weakening the U.S.

    Two words; didn’t work. It seems to me that attempting to allow a foreign entity, in this case the Israeli Prime Minister, to dictate policy on Iran to the President has done nothing to enhance the Republicans in the eyes of the American people.

    We will remember this in 2016.

  10. Peace is an existential threat to Netanyahu and every other hawk who is voted in power by people buying in their fearmongering!

  11. I guess the logan act don’t mean jack to these teahadist
    Giuliani Trying To Oust Iranian Regime Obama’s Negotiating With

    Giuliani named the group as MEK, which stands for the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, “a controversial Iranian resistance group,” per the Council on Foreign Relations, “once listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States for its alleged killing of U.S. personnel in Iran during the 1970s, and for its ties to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.”

  12. For the history challenged: Iran was our ally. Following our example, the Iranian people overthrew a tyrannical dictator and elected their own government. The CIA destabilized the government and tried to keep the Shah on the throne.

    The people rose up and revolted, taking hostages to prevent the US from putting in a puppet government.

    They want nukes to protect themselves from US.

  13. Pres. Obama, P5+1 and Iran left them looking like scheming traitors. Who tried to used paranoid, bigotry, hate and America loyalty to Israel to sabotage nuclear talks.
    They underestimate and miscalculated the majority of American people (incl. the Jewish community) loyalty to our country and this president first before any foreign leader or country.

  14. Voters should remind them at the voting booth. Remember what these liars cheats, double dealers, warmongers have done to our country. Remember zero of theirs ever laid their lives on the line. Remember, these money men all made money on the lives lost for their profit. Cheney Shrub, Rummy and Bonehead all made money on the young lives damaged and lost. Remember, Bonehead was planning to make more on the pipe line. regardless of what damage would be to the Nation. Remember them all at the voting booth.

  15. Yes, Peace is an Existential Threat to the “Military Industrial Complex Profiteers” and to the Power Addicted of the Humanity ! ?

    Everything Else is Collateral Damage, of which they have no Qualms About !

    “War should not be a common interest.
    A perpetual state of war might benefit the military industrial complex, but it does not benefit the American people, and that, ultimately, is whose interest Boehner & Co. are supposed to be watching out for. “

  16. Hrafnkell Haraldsson:

    Diplomacy with Iran government is more of a reality (factually) based than trying to negotiate or attempting to get into common sense agreement with the current Republicans increasing so since Reaganomics began.

    What common Americans consider protecting and conserving our civil and human right under Democracy and International Diplomatic Foreign Relationship that honors every human life… IS NON ESSENTIAL OR WORTHY OF ANY CONSIDERATION FOR THE EXTREME RIGHT CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IN THE CONGRESSIONAL LEVEL.

    Thank you for the article… describes the current political reality of Republicans inability to govern in the highest governmental position of America-Congress.

    Thank you for making me laugh out loud through out the article OUT OF AGREEMENT THAT I(WE THE PPEOPLE) KNEW ALL ALONG!!!

  17. Further evidence of what the President had been stating from the beginning of his entrance into national political arena…

    Republicans are out of touch from reality and national electorates needs and voices!!!

  18. The simple truth of the matter is that the real agenda of Netanyahu’s speech was to goad the US into a war with Iran and to use the US troops as the proxy to fighting Israels wars.
    The above was written by a NYC Liberal Jew living in one of the worst states in the USA, South Carolina, a state that turned down 800 million in education grants from the US government because it was a “one time grant”. We rank 49 out of 50 in educational standards and our state motto is “Thank god for Mississippi”, that ranks 50th in the nation in scholastic achievement.

  19. Peace at any time has a deadening effect upon ‘defense’ industries and their profits.

    And the Republicans have demonstrated countless times- that they are beholden to industries head and shoulders above being beholden to those who actually make an honest living.

  20. There have been several Jews come out to say that Netanyahu is a bigger threat to peace in the Middle East than Iran is currently.

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