“It’s very good”: Recalling Benjamin Netanyahu’s words on the day of the 9/11 attacks

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President Barack Obama talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office Monday, May 18, 2009.

(Pete Souza / White House Photo)

Today, the eleventh anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, I was struck by the news in Haaretz:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday launched an unprecedented verbal attack on the US government over its stance on the Iranian nuclear program.

“The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu told reporters on Tuesday.

Eleven years ago on this day, as the world looked on in stunned horror as the towers came down in New York, the same Netanyahu was already thinking strategically. Here’s how The New York Times reported it:

Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, “It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He predicted that the attack would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

Even after generously allowing Netanyahu to “edit” himself, the Times did not conceal that Netanyahu was not thinking in terms of sympathy for the victims of 9/11 and the United States, nor what a “friend” could do to help America. Rather, he was already thinking on the day it happened about how 9/11 could be manipulated to get America to do more for Israel.

9/11, Zionism and Islamophobia

The 9/11 attacks happened at the height of the second intifada and Israeli propaganda went into full gear – with some success – in portraying Israel’s war to steal the land of Palestinians and suppress their rights as a “war on terror” – often a code for a “war on Muslims.” And in the years after 9/11, prominent Zionist propagandists adopted or legitimized Islamophobia as one of their main discourses, something that helped newly virulent strands of Islamophobia enter the American mainstream today.

Now, Netanyahu – once again prime minister – and Israel’s supporters in the US are apparently indignant that the US won’t go to war for Israel in Iran (at least not yet, and I do not put it past Obama).

But here we are eleven years later to the day, and Netanyahu’s approach is the same: ask not what Israel can do for the United States, but what the United States can do for Israel – regardless of the cost to the United States and the rest of the world.

Comments

The elephant in the room always is the silence concerning Israel's nuclear arsenal. All the pressure and focus gets put on Iran, but nothing about Israel and it over zealous willingness to use lethal force. It's crushing blows against Lebanon, it's devastating attacks inside Gaza, it's lethal force unleashed in the Occupied West Bank areas and it's "do nothing" policy against Settler terrorist attacks. Yet, here is Israel, again "crying WOLF!"

The main result of 11/9 2001 was changing the concept Zionism equal racism to Resistance equal terrorism.So we need third Intifada to keep the concept :
.. Resistance equal Freedom .

I agree with your thoughts and your conclusion. However, I am unable to agree with your comments on President Obama. You will have to go a long way to find a world Leader like him always looking for a just solution to every conflict and although as every American politician, subject to pressure and limitation by Lobbyists, he has once again shown that although it's election time, he is not prepared to succumb to what he considers against American interests!

"Cui bono is answered here, and has been many times before.

The Muslim/Arab peoples have suffered terribly. Hell has been brought to earth and especially in Iraq. Thus the story that Muslims, some as ace pilots, caused the massacre and those scenes, must be brought to dust."

Please don't forget that not every Arab is a Muslim and not every Muslim is an Arab. The injustices that are occurring in the Middle East - recently in Egypt, Tunis, Libya, Iraq, etc...and now in Syria, Lebanon, and of course have constantly been occurring in Palestine - Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem - are not exclusive to Muslims. All of these countries have christian populations. Their dictators don't choose to massacre only Muslims or only Christians. Bashar al Assad is cutting them all down regardless of who they are or where they pray. The same with Israel and its policies.

Iraq - when the United States bombed Iraq, it didn't just bomb Muslim neighborhoods or mosques, there were thousands of Christians that were killed too and since the conflict began, there have been insurgents and militants that have targeted Iraqi Christians and Iraqi Jews as well.

Yes, we have "suffered terribly," but it doesn't justify the horrendous acts perpetrated against unarmed, uninformed, uninvolved civilians in New York. Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote that "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." By justifying these acts and others, we are becoming our own monsters and our suffering will become forgettable in the shadow of our own atrocities.

I thought Pres. Obama told Netanyahu that he did not support a war with Iran. Am I wrong? We went to see Palestines a few weeks ago. I pray for them as no has the right to force anyone from their land just because they have a different religion from their own. Religion is a belief & cannot be proven onway or another as it's a belief..
We can only wait until we go over can we know for sure who's right or whose wrong so in the mean time we have to respect others religion.IMO Gramma Ellen