PATRICK LAWRENCE: Netanyahu Goes for Broke

The Israeli prime minister has chosen this moment to mount a go-for-broke attempt to bring the U.S. into some kind of once-and-for-all conflict that would leave Israel supreme in the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January 2014. (World Economic Forum, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

It is a matter of record that the Zionist project has had extensive territorial designs on the lands known as Palestine since at least the early 20th century.

As others have argued, the Israelis’ openly racist assault on the Palestinians of Gaza is to be understood not as a sudden eruption of violence, a departure, but as an especially savage continuation of Zionist conduct for more than a century.

When history is brought to bear in this fashion, it becomes increasingly apparent that the invasion of Gaza since the events of last Oct. 7 ought not be seen in isolation. The more pathologically disturbed members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s freak-show regime — notably, but not only, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben–Givr, the finance and national security ministers — have never been shy on this point.

They are entirely dedicated to the restoration of Eretz Yisrael, the mystical Land of Israel, which, variously interpreted through the ages, could extend at the extreme from the Red Sea all the way to the Euphrates Valley.

But the crazed ultras to whom Netanyahu owes his political survival have not yet got far enough to turn their visions into articulated policy. Is this changing?

This is our question, along with another: Is the Biden regime — or at this point its successor — prepared to “stand with Israel,” as American leaders like to put it, if extremist dreams of violent conquest turn into real, live political and military plans?I have been convinced for some time, as I gather that many Palestinians are, that when the Israel Occupation Forces are done in Gaza they will next turn to the West Bank. On this point I now correct myself: In my interpretation the IOF, in close collaboration with brutish Israeli settlers, has already begun its assault in the West Bank.

Attacking Hezbollah

Of late the Israelis have also been openly threatening to launch a full-scale attack on Hezbollah, the political and military movement that controls southern Lebanon. This, too, bears interpretation.

Douglas Macgregor, the retired colonel and now an energetic commentator on politico- military affairs, has no trouble putting together the 2–and–2 of this moment. Here he is last week on “Judging Freedom,” Andrew Napolitano’s webcast program:

“Whatever happened on the 7th of October, and I’m still not convinced that was not allowed to happen, … the decision then to attack had very little to do with what happened on the 7th of October and everything to do with a long-term strategic plan to begin the process of ethnically cleansing, expelling, or murdering, whatever you want to call it, the Arabs in Gaza and, ultimately, the Arabs on the West Bank.”

This seems right but short of the emerging reality. A few minutes later in his exchange with Macgregor, Napolitano played a clip of Netanyahu addressing a table of officials, at least some of whom are American, last Friday:

“Iran is fighting us on a seven-front war. Obviously, Hamas and Hezbollah. The Houthis, militias in Iraq and Syria. Judea and Samaria on the West Bank. Iran itself.

They’d like to topple Jordan. Their goal is to have a combined ground offensive from their various fronts, coupled with combined missile bombardments. We’ve been given the opportunity to scuttle it. And we will.

The first requirement is to cut that hand [he gestures as if to cut through his right forearm], Hamas. People who do these things to us are not going to be there. We will have a long battle, I don’t think it’s that long, but we’ll get rid of them. We also have to deter the other elements of the Iran terror axis. We have to deal with the axis.

The axis doesn’t threaten only us. It threatens you. It’s on the march to conquer the Middle East — conquer the Middle East — conquer. That means conquer Saudi Arabia, conquer the Arabian Peninsula, it’s just a question of time. And what’s standing in their way is a small Satan, that’s us, on the road to the middle-sized Satan, that’s the Europeans — they’re always offended when I tell them that — ‘You’re the great Satan!’ And we have to stop that.”

So far as I know — and more in this line may be said regularly in Netanyahu’s closed-door cabinet meetings — this is the Israeli prime minister’s most explicit statement to date of how apartheid Israel understands the Middle East and its place in it. The danger of this vision will be immediately obvious.

In perfectly clear language, the Netanyahu government has effectively announced that its policy is to widen what is now the assault on Gaza, the IOF’s escalating aggressions in the West Bank and Israel’s provocations along Lebanon’s southern border. However much these statements reflect political pressure the extremists in his cabinet are exerting on Netanyahu, official policy is moving in their direction.

We already see this pattern, as noted, in the West Bank territories. As The New York Times reported last week, illegal settlers, under IOF protection, have stolen more land from Palestinians so far this year, typically at gunpoint, than at any time since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. West Bank sources report that up to 9,000 Palestinians have been arrested since the events of last October — mostly boys and young men, those typically inclined to organize an armed resistance movement.

In my read this is the West Bank’s version of the assault on Gaza. No F–16s, tanks, or heavy artillery this time: Deploying these would risk serious international opprobrium. No, the West Bank campaign will be waged more or less invisibly — a farm or an olive grove, a village or a murdered teenager or a kilometer of road at a time.

The US & Israeli Supremacy 

The larger war, the war beyond the West Bank, is of course another matter. Israel knows full well it is incapable of waging anything like a “seven-front war” on its own: It is failing in the Gaza Strip as we speak.

Netanyahu has chosen this moment to mount a go-for-broke attempt to bring the U.S. into some kind of once-for-all conflict that would leave Israel supreme in the region — and so would instantly threaten to be the world’s most dangerous war — since who knows when.

We come to the second of the questions noted earlier. If Netanyahu proceeds to provoke his many-front war, will the Biden regime or the administration that follows it continue to offer the “unconditional support” the U.S. has extended to Tel Aviv for many decades?

I wish this were a more interesting question than it actually is. If Donald Trump retakes the White House, whatever modest restraints Washington may now feel — as the barbarities in Gaza continue — will disappear. But what about Biden, on the very off chance he runs in November, and the very, very off chance he wins? What about a Democratic successor who defeats Trump?

A couple of week ago, as things heated up along Lebanon’s southern border, Biden told Netanyahu — or says he told Netanyahu — that if Israel invades south Lebanon it will do so without American support. Another red line, it seems. Biden has drawn as many of these as there are stripes on Old Glory.

CIA 2002 map of Lebanon, 2002. (Wikimedia)

CIA 2002 map of Lebanon, 2002. (Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

There is the obnoxiously pronounced confidence Netanyahu displays when describing a wider war well beyond Israel’s capabilities. And there is the power the Israel lobby exerts in Washington, not least over Biden, who has received more funds from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC — more than $4 million during his Senate years alone — than anyone else holding elected office.

Late last month the U.S. Navy made one of those quiet logistical moves that sometimes seem to reveal more than intended. It sent an amphibious assault ship, the USS Wasp, into the waters of the eastern Mediterranean off the Lebanese coast. Among its other capabilities, the Wasp is designed to manage large-scale evacuations.

USS Wasp transits the Mediterranean Sea July 31, 2016. (Official U.S. Navy Page, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

But an American official told The Associated Press, a little defensively I’d say, “It’s about deterrence,” implying the deployment is part of Washington’s diplomatic effort to prevent a dangerous war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Wait a minute. Just who is the Wasp intended to deter? Neither Hezbollah nor Iran wants a war with Israel any more than the U.S. wants to see one. No need of deterrence there.

And a ship off the Lebanese coast is not going to deter Israel: It stands unambiguously to encourage “the Jewish state” in its effort to bait the U.S. into the big war for which it spoils.

While one ship near Lebanese waters does not signal any grand new commitment to a grand new war — let us not over-interpret — the message seems clear: We don’t want a new war on our hands, Bibi, but if you provoke one, well, we’ll have to be there for you, “standing with Israel.”

I have written this previously but it bears repeating now: In Israel the U.S. has a Frankenstein’s monster on its hands, and there seems little prospect of anyone in

Washington having the intelligence and courage to disconnect the electrodes.

However dangerous the Netanyahu regime makes the Middle East, will be precisely the danger in which the U.S. will find itself.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for The International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of Journalists and Their Shadows, available from Clarity Press or via Amazon.  Other books include Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. 

TO MY READERS. Independent publications and those who write for them reach a moment that is difficult and full of promise all at once. On one hand, we assume ever greater responsibilities in the face of mainstream media’s mounting derelictions. On the other, we have found no sustaining revenue model and so must turn directly to our readers for support. I am committed to independent journalism for the duration: I see no other future for American media. But the path grows steeper, and as it does I need your help. This grows urgent now. In  recognition of the commitment to independent journalism, please subscribe to The Floutist, or via my Patreon account.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

24 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Netanyahu Goes for Broke

  1. Camille Gedeon
    July 10, 2024 at 17:46

    Will Russia let Iran down? Patrick Lawrence overlooks this question. The war in Ukraine is occurring parallel to Israel’s expansionist plan. How this is going to play out is the other overlooked question.

  2. Realist
    July 10, 2024 at 12:22

    Exactly the opposite of what the world needs. So, of course, the US will back it to the hilt.

    US leadership would rather self-immolate than to abandon its membership in its mutual admiration society with Israel, never very large but now down to two members world-wide. The necessary commitment to genocide has become a tough membership credential.

  3. Michael G
    July 9, 2024 at 11:51

    The Israel Lobby can’t do it alone. They need the neoconservatives. When Netanyahu speaks to congress on July 24th, they’ll be the idiots standing up and down 56 times.

  4. Steve Naidamast
    July 9, 2024 at 11:15

    What if the US plan has been all along to encourage Israel into attacking Hezbollah?

    This done, the US will only provide a modicum of support while Hezbollah flattens the Jewish State.

    Historically, the majority of the US Congress has always vehemently hated Israel and its minions in the US. Paul Findley wrote about this as fr back as the 1980s.

    It is true however, that currently, many, if not most, in the US Congress rabidly support this genocidal state with the Christian Zionists leading the charge.

    But what if the people in the Deep State\MIC still have this historical hatred for Israel and simply are pushing the Congress to encourage Israel to attack Hezbollah in order for the resistance group to destroy Israel once and for all?

    Remember, it is the people behind the scenes that are manipulating the strings here…

  5. Piotr Berman
    July 9, 2024 at 09:12

    Perhaps USA is less like learned Dr. Frankenstein than like semi-ignorant Sorcerer’s Apprentice, unable to stop his own creation that does more and more mischief.

  6. susan
    July 9, 2024 at 08:19

    Netanyahu is completely deranged!

  7. C,Parker
    July 9, 2024 at 02:47

    The irony here is the mainstream media inform the public that Putin will not stop at Ukraine, he wants to reinstate the Soviet Union, then, march on toward the rest of Europe. Big bad Russia programmed into the minds of many Americans.

    In reality, it is Netanyahu whose plans were decided and perfected and now in process. Of course they won’t stop at Gaza. Israel wants Iran, Syria, Lebanon…all of the Middle East.

    All the tactics to fool the people were played out. Say something nice about Russia, you are a Putin puppet. Criticize Israel you are an antisemitic. First Amendment Right violations played its role, too. How many podcasts were shut down due to the content, pro-Israel is fine, pro-Russia your censored.

    How does a civilized world recover? Many of these characters from Israel, the US, the UK, Germany and those serving in NATO should be sent to The Hague, better yet, to Guantanamo.

    Thanks to Patrick Lawrence for another eye-opening peice.

    • July 9, 2024 at 23:45

      Who says the world is civilized?

  8. Jeff Harrison
    July 8, 2024 at 21:10

    Netanyahoo has been claiming that Iran wants the bomb. He’s been claiming that for over a 1/4 century. Anybody see one? He’s ridiculously confident. The last time Israel attacked Lebanon, they got handed their ass. Hezbollah is much stronger and better armed than it was in the last go around. He is depending on the US to save his ass. Let’s hope we don’t. We might not be able to. He’s pissed just about everybody off.

    • July 9, 2024 at 23:47

      Sadly, Biden probably will allow the U.S. to get sucked into it. Biden’s red lines are meaningless and the whole world knows it.

  9. Fritz
    July 8, 2024 at 19:05

    Sheldon Adleson’s Israeli born widow has given Trump a hundred million dollars “campaign contribution”. Trump honored Miriam Adelson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018.

  10. Bushrod Lake
    July 8, 2024 at 18:06

    I am very impressed with Macgregor’s questioning whether Oct 7 was allowed to happen, in order for Israel to be able to proceed with the eradication of the Palestinians. I’m pretty sure the same ambiguity could surround 911 and the so called War on Terror in the U.S.
    Attack and response subterfuges.

    • Joe Wallace
      July 9, 2024 at 00:14

      Bushrod Lake:

      “I am very impressed with Macgregor’s questioning whether Oct 7 was allowed to happen, in order for Israel to be able to proceed with the eradication of the Palestinians.”

      Shortly after October 7th, Caitlin Johnstone came up with the most succinct description of what the Hamas attack seemingly justified. “Hamas is not the target,” she wrote. “Hamas is the excuse.”

  11. Don
    July 8, 2024 at 17:59

    Is there any way to end the brutal Zionist genocidal regime other than by utterly crushing it militarily? It is so virulent, so evil, that I am beginning to think not.

    • LarcoMarco
      July 9, 2024 at 20:15

      Except that Israel has long touted its deterrence known as the Samson Option.

    • July 9, 2024 at 23:49

      Removing our financial, military and diplomatic support would go a long way to crushing it. Unfortunately, that won’t happen.

  12. hetro
    July 8, 2024 at 16:59

    I take exception to Patrick’s comment following the quotation from MacGregor: “This seems right but short of the emerging reality.” This insinuation is not fair to MacGregor.

    Maybe Patrick needs to listen to more of the prolific MacGregor. He’s been warning for weeks if not months that within this madness from the Netanyahu lies the biggest danger of world war, with the spread of hostilities possibly also into Cypress. He has also pointed out that the people in Jordan and Turkey and elsewhere in the region are angry, they are at boiling point, not happy with leadership that talks big but is doing nothing substantial to help the Palestinians. What MacGregor has been saying for a long time Patrick jumps on here as though just waking up to this reality.

    Here’s a more complete view from MacGregor via Kelley Vlahos’ blog a few days back. Enjoyable and important.


    • Realist
      July 10, 2024 at 13:12

      Macgregor thinks that even the 186,000 Palestinians calculated to have been killed in Gaza by the renowned British medical journal The Lancet is a lowball figure, with thousands of bodies forever buried deep under multiple storeys of pancaked buildings or essentially atomised into the air by the enormous kinetic forces which ripped that city apart. The actual dead must exceed 200,000, which is to say at least 10% of the original population of Gaza. The Lancet is the same entity that scientifically calculated the Iraqi death toll in Dubya’s shock & awe performance to be in excess of one million human beings. Shrub proudly dubbed himself “the Decider,” I think he meant “the Genocider.” As Nutty Yahoo’s chief collaborator, Crazy Old Joe has certainly earned his stripes as a “Genocider Par Excellence.” Not sure how LBJ and RMN divided up the credit for the 3 millions “gooks” they snuffed in Nam. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what a magnanimous and peaceful people are America’s leaders. They are monsters and would feel slighted… and probably send their spooks to pop a cap in your ass.

  13. Lois Gagnon
    July 8, 2024 at 16:40

    The US has no real leadership. It has ownership. Big difference. Israel is a major owner. Big problem.

  14. Vera Gottlieb
    July 8, 2024 at 16:15

    Printable words can’t express my utter disdain for these Zionists!

  15. Chris Cosmos
    July 8, 2024 at 15:50

    Some and maybe most non-oligarch Jews in the US have been socialized in basically Christian-origin ideas like compassion, loving neighbors and even enemies who are at least somewhat concerned about Israeli genocidal tendencies. But there is also a sizable number of Jew, particularly wealthy Jews who accept the tradition view of Jews that non-Jews are either inferior humans or some kind of animal. You see this in Israel that would condone mass-executions, gas chambers, or just mass deportations (to assuage Christians) or Palestinians. We have to understand that not all cultures respect traditional Christian ideas of compassion for enemies even if Christians violated those moral codes rather spectacularly over history.

    The problem with the fanatical Israeli government and people is that any major war with Iran requires a very major US military involvement and probably the use of nuclear weapons from Israel or the USA. We’re already on the edge with Russia where the US and its vassals are ready to mount attacks on Russia which Russia may be forced to us nuclear weapons to stop.

    In short, this is a mess of our own making. As citizens we have been off in fantasy-land with our love of “entertainment,” drugs, hyper-consumerism, and allowing narcissists to take over our institutions. We have to remember that our “leaders” have no moral conscience because of who they are and we’ve allowed that to happen. This means that we kind of deserve what we’re going to get. The best bet for all of us is to get right with Jesus (or whatever higher power we believe in). Only divine intervention can stop the march to war this summer. I’m praying more these days.

    • July 9, 2024 at 23:58

      “We have to understand that not all cultures respect traditional Christian ideas of compassion for enemies ….”
      I’m not sure many who call themselves Christian understand those ideas. In all of U.S. history, I’ve not seen any compassion for anything but wealth and profit – and many of those same people want to declare the U.S. a “Christian Nation”.

  16. Carolyn L Zaremba
    July 8, 2024 at 14:44

    Go, Hezbollah!

  17. Drew Hunkins
    July 8, 2024 at 14:32

    “The Israeli prime minister has chosen this moment to mount a go-for-broke attempt to bring the U.S. into some kind of once-for-all conflict that would leave Israel supreme in the region.”

    Exactly correct.

    Israel’s goal is to pulverize Gaza relentlessly, killing tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians. This will bring Hezbollah into the conflict, which gives Israel the excuse to hammer Lebanon which will bring in Iran. With Iranian forces in the picture it gives much weight to Israel’s call to get Washington involved in a direct war against Iran.

    People must understand that the hegemonic and paranoid Zionists’ number one goal has always been to see Iran get obliterated. It’s the American people’s responsibility to not allow this to happen. Iran is now a serious geopolitical ally of Russia (International North South Transportation Corridor).

    A U.S/Israeli war on Iran brings the risk of World War 3 to all of us.

Comments are closed.