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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

This weekend, The Weekend Reader brings you Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. Here’s a note from author Max Blumenthal:

At the G20 conference in 2011, France’s then-president Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama were caught on an open mic grumbling about a mutual annoyance.

“I cannot bear Netanyahu. He’s a liar,” Sarkozy remarked to Obama.

“You’re fed up with him, what about me?” responded Obama. “I have to deal with him every day.”

Obama was hardly exaggerating. Having been forced to meet with Netanyahu more frequently than with any other foreign leader since entering the Oval Office, he has been transformed into The Bibisitter. When Obama pledged to “get Israel’s back” and Netanyahu has responded by lecturing him on Jewish history, insisting that the lessons of the Holocaust compel the US to attack Iran. When Netanyahu’s summoning of the nightmare of Auschwitz failed to ignite war in the Middle East, he and his billionaire benefactor Sheldon Adelson threw their weight behind Mitt Romney in a campaign to unseat the appeaser Obama. That failed too, and now a panicked Netanyahu has rushed back to the White House following Obama’s landmark phone call with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani.

In my new book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, I present readers with the real Netanyahu: He is the transferist who urged mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians when he thought the world’s attention was elsewhere; the slick salesman who hijacked American airwaves during the Gulf War; the messianist who presents gullible foreign columnists with a magical ring asserting his holy bond with Jerusalem and the exclusively Jewish right to control the city for eternity; and the Holocaust-obsessed scaremonger stoking panic over the “insatiable crocodile of militant Islam” that controls the Iranian “nuclear duck.” As extreme as he might seem, in today’s Israel, Netanyahu stakes out the political center and sits to the left of the young upstarts who control the destiny of his dominant Likud Party.

When Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly, he attempted to present the Iranian regime as dangerously irrational and unhinged — too dangerous to be allowed to “have [its] yellowcake and eat it too,” as he put it. But as the leader of the only Middle Eastern nation with nuclear weapons, could the same not be said about him and the government he leads? Read the following excerpt from my book and decide.

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Raised in suburban Philadelphia and educated in business management at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Netanyahu pitched himself to Israelis as the man best able to explain Israel’s supposedly unique situation to the world, and especially to its chief benefactor in Washington. During the Gulf War of 1991, when Netanyahu served as deputy foreign minister, he emerged as a familiar face on CNN, the first twenty-four-hour American news channel. Following a successful Likud-inspired campaign the previous year to oust CNN’s chief Jerusalem correspondents, branding them as “self-hating Jews” with the help of Jewish American establishment groups, Netanyahu was able to single-handedly turn CNN into what one PLO official called “a propagandist for the Israelis.”

For his extended televised diatribes branding the PLO as a front organization for Saddam Hussein, the Washington Times recommended Netanyahu for an Emmy Award, the honor bestowed on American daytime TV actors. Well before Netanyahu was an internationally recognized figure, veteran Middle East analyst Leon Hadar labeled him, “The Joe Isuzu of the Middle East Wars,” referring to the fictional pitchman who amused American audiences with outrageously false claims about Isuzu cars—“Hi, I’m Joe Isuzu, and I used my new Isuzu pickup truck to carry a two-thousand-pound cheeseburger.” With a straight face and a tone of total conviction, Netanyahu marketed a lemon to American consumers, and arguably faced fewer challenges than most used car salesmen.

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