Avi Shamir

Boos for Bibi’s Show

Just one day after Bibi Netanyahu, showman that he is, staged some bad theater to prove that the Iranians were all along conducting secret nuclear weapon development, with thousands of files behind a curtain unveiled for the whole world to see, Abu Mazzen reaffirmed his anti-Semitism by blaming the Jews for the holocaust.

These revelations are not so surprising. All sane Israelis, who without buying into Bibi’s divisive rhetoric have always understood that we live in a bad neighborhood, are well aware that the Iranian jihadists, Abu Mazzen and many other key players in the Middle East are no friends of Israel.

Just the same, Israel today has formal relations and peaceful borders with two unfriendly neighbors whose very being and breathing screams anti-Semitism. The reason we reached a modus vivendi with a hostile Egypt and Judenrein Jordan is because their leaders had the good sense to put hatred aside and do what’s best for their people.

These Arab leaders who came to terms with Israel were no angels by any means. Take Anwar Sadat, who sided with the Nazis in an attempt to oust the British from Egypt and served under Gamal Abdel Nasser when “the Hitler of the Nile” was planning to turn Israel into a killing field. None of this stopped Menachem Begin from shaking Sadat’s hand. Take King Hussein, the “friendly king:” Long before he and Yitzhak Rabin were lighting up Kents by the shore of Lake Kinneret, Jordanians were desecrating synagogues in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, using Jewish tombstones to pave roads and turning the Western Wall into a garbage dump. All this happened under the good king’s watch. But it didn’t stop Rabin from signing a treaty with him, and even befriending him.

Sadat and later King Hussein rewrote their own bad track records and did what they had to do, what was in the national interests of their respective countries. Neither one of them could have done it without help from their Israeli counterparts, who also rose to the occasion and did what’s best for Israel.

To fill the shoes of Sadat or Hussein, Abu Mazzen would have to overcome more than his own hatred of the Jewish state. He would need to refine his balancing act, which now has him sounding like he co-authored the Protocols of the Elders of Zion even while his Palestinian Authority cooperates with Israeli security forces. At the very least he would have to change his tune, stand up to Hamas and commit himself to conflict resolution. And he would need a strong Israeli counterpart who is just as determined.

Prime Minister/showboat Bibi Netanyahu is obviously not that type of leader. It is hard to picture Bibi measuring up to Begin’s shadow, or doing anything more than half-assed to merit the international stature that Rabin so richly deserved.

Bibi is in his element on TV, diverting attention from the criminal files against him to Iran’s nuclear files. Whether at the UN or at home in a TV studio, his whole career is a theatrical forecast of the Iranian threat, a denial of the occupation under our very noses and a seeming indifference to the powder keg we are sitting on. Under Netanyahu, Israel is heading down a road of internal discord and rampant corruption leading to war, apartheid, a weakened Supreme Court and the end of the Jewish-Democratic state.

But rest assured, the Bibi-ists keep reminding us: the Iranians, Abu Mazzen and all those crazy Arabs are the bad guys. That may be old news, but all other discussion is confusing and all other news is fake.

About the Author
Avi Shamir is a freelance writer, editor, translator and the author of "Saving the Game," a novel about baseball. A Brooklyn College graduate with a BA in English, Avi has contributed to the Jerusalem Post, The Nation, Israel Scene, In English and The World Zionist Press Service.