That’s Netanyahu speaking about the United States in 2001. Other titles used for this story that also seem appropriate include ”The Real (And Deceitful) Face of Benjamin Netanyahu” (Israel TV) or just, “Tricky Bibi” (Gideon Levy, Haaretz).
The above title is from a Washington Post article dated yesterday, but this report on it is from the Huffington Post. It reported that a newly released video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “could add some additional strain to the sometimes tense relationship between him and President Obama,” this mainly because it shows Netanyahu boasting about his ability to control American politics, and presidents presumably, in Israel’s favor, and toward the Likud position given Netanyahu’s lifetime perspective.
(The video is in Hebrew and may be accessed on this page.)
Concerning the video, Netanyahu, who apparently did not know his speech was being recorded, spoke frankly, if in Hebrew, about Israeli relations with the Clinton White House and the peace process. As noted in Gideon Levy, Netanyahu seems to boast of his knowledge of the US by saying, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.” He also reportedly boasted about manipulating the U.S. in the ongoing peace process, as the Washington Post article pointed out:
“They asked me before the election if I’d honor [the Oslo accords],” he said. “I said I would, but … I’m going to interpret the accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end to this galloping forward to the ’67 borders. How did we do it? Nobody said what defined military zones were. Defined military zones are security zones; as far as I’m concerned, the entire Jordan Valley is a defined military zone. Go argue.”
In Israel, the video was broadcast on a TV program called “This Week With Miki Rosenthal” (and given the title, “The Real (And Deceitful) Face of Benjamin Netanyahu”). In the Haaretz article (given the title, “Tricky Bibi”), Gideon Levy said: “Israel has had many rightist leaders since Menachem Begin promised “many Elon Morehs,” but there has never been one like Netanyahu, who wants to do it by deceit.”
These remarks are profoundly depressing. They bear out all of our fears and suspicions: that the government of Israel is led by a man who doesn’t believe the Palestinians and doesn’t believe in the chance of an agreement with them, who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes. There’s no point in talking about Netanyahu’s impossible rightist coalition as an obstacle to progress. From now on, just say that Netanyahu doesn’t want it.
In successive announcements recently, Netanyahu has informed the Palestinians that East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, the border with Jordan, and the settlements are not negotiable. So let’s get down to direct talks about what’s left: an obvious Apartheid conclusion.
In almost ten years since Netanyahu’s words were recorded in the video, he has not changed one iota. And there is no question, given the last Netanyahu-Obama meeting, that what he stated about American politics ten years ago, he believes today. And who can contradict him?
UPDATE: Just prior to posting, a translation of the Netanyahu interview became available HERE, on Phil Weiss’s site, Mondoweiss.