By Alan Hart
28 January, 2014
The expanded and most explicit form of my headline question is this. Is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu of sound mind and knowingly talking propaganda nonsense about threats to Israel’s security in order to fool the world including most of its Jews, or, is he unbalanced, mentally disturbed, even clinically insane? I ask because his rubbishing in Davos of the most important speech any Iranian leader has made since the revolution which brought the mullahs to power 35 years ago sent me to bed recalling something my father said to me when I was a very young boy. “There are none so blind as those who don’t want to see.”
What was there in President Rouhani’s address to the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting for Netanyahu to see if he was of sound mind?
Rouhani’s main message to the region, and probably Saudi Arabia in particular, was that his government is fully prepared “to engage with all neighbouring countries to achieve shared practical solutions on a range of issues.”
His main message to the world, and probably President Obama in particular, was this.
“In recent years a dominant voice has been repeatedly heard. ‘The military option is on the table.’ Against the backdrop of this illegal and ineffective contention, let me say loud and clear that peace is within reach. So, in the name of the Republic of Iran, I propose, as a starting step, consideration by the United Nations of the project The World Against Violence and Extremism, WAVE. Let us all join in this WAVE. I invite all states, international organizations and civil institutions to undertake a new effort to guide the world in this direction… We should start thinking about a Coalition for Enduring Peace across the globe instead of the ineffective Coalitions for War in various parts of the world.”
Of course he was on a charm offensive and taking full advantage of being at the Davos meeting to appeal to the major investors present, but in my view that did not dilute the integrity of his vision of the new politics needed to create a better world. He was surely speaking for most citizens everywhere when he said: “People all over the world are tired of war, violence and extremism. They hope for change in the status quo.”
His message on nuclear matters was unambiguous.
“The Iranian people, in a judiciously sober choice in the recent elections, voted for the discourse of hope, foresight and prudent moderation – both at home and abroad. In foreign policy, the combination of these elements means that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a regional power, will act responsibly with regard to regional and international security, and is willing and prepared to cooperate in these fields, bilaterally as well as multilaterally, with other responsible actors… Iran’s nuclear program – and for that matter, that of all other countries – must pursue exclusively peaceful purposes. I declare here, openly and unambiguously, that, notwithstanding the positions of others, this has been, and will always be, the objective of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s security and defense doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions. Our national interests make it imperative that we remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.”
What was Netanyahu’s response?
President Rouhani’s speech was, he said, “A change of words without a change of deeds… Rouhani is continuing with the Iranian show of deception.” With an engaging smile and giving the impression that he was authorised to speak for the rest of the world, Zionism’s Grand Master of Deception added, “We all know that.”
So as Netanyahu says he sees it, Iran is hell bent on developing nuclear weapons for the purpose of wiping the Zionist (not Jewish) state off the face of the earth. As I have pointed out in the past, the real madness of Netanyahu’s assertion is that even if Iran did posses a few nuclear bombs and the missiles to deliver them, it would not launch a first strike on Israel because to do so would guarantee its own complete destruction. All Iranians know that.
IF Netanyahu was of sound mind he would not only have given Rouhani’s Davos speech the consideration it deserved, he would take full account of Israel’s growing isolation in the world and, also, the fact that an increasing number of American Jews are no longer sympathetic to what one Jewish-American has called “the blood-and-soil nationalism of Zionism”. The conclusion such introspection would invite in a sound Netanyahu mind is that if he doesn’t want to go down in history as the leader who approved Israel’s suicide plan and confirmed that Zionism is (as the title of my book asserts) the real enemy of the Jews, he had better be serious about peace on terms the vast majority of Palestinians could accept.
As to Netanyahu’s actual state of mind… He is obviously deluded (my dictionary tells me that means he is “holding or acting under false beliefs”), but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is certifiable. What it does most probably mean is contained in a truth revealed to me way back in 1980 by then retired Major General Shlomo Gazit, the best and the brightest of Israel’s Directors of Military Intelligence. I put it to him that Israel’s existence had never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab military force. Through a sad smile he replied, “The trouble with us Israelis is that we have become the victims of our own propaganda.”
Though I am not an expert on the subject, it seems to me that what Netanyahu needs most of all is some psychiatric help.
President Obama recently said in an interview with the New Yorker that the chances of getting a real Israel-Palestine peace process going were “less than 50-50“. Perhaps he should take Secretary of State Kerry off the case and put a leading psychiatrist on it.
Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent.