Robert Fisk: The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Uri Avnery is without doubt the most intellectual, philosophical, prescient leftist Israeli seer I have ever met. Like T.S. Eliot, he has a habit of using the fewest words to tell the greatest truth. Every essay that he writes, this reader always says the same thing: exactly! Yet, for the first time in 40 years, I disagree with the great man.

He has just suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agreement to address the US Congress at the invitation of Republicans – two weeks before an Israeli general election – and US President Barack Obama’s decision not to see the old rogue, has destroyed Israel’s bipartisan support in America. For the first time, says Uri, Democratic politicians are allowed to criticise Israel. Absolute tosh.

Congressmen of both parties have grovelled and fainted and shrieked their support for Bibi (Netanyahu) and his predecessors with more enthusiasm than the Roman hordes in the Colosseum.

Last time Bibi turned up in the Congress, he received literally dozens of standing ovations from the sheep-like representatives of the American people, whose uncritical adoration of the Israeli state – and their abject fear of uttering the most faint-hearted criticism lest they be called anti-Semites – suggest that Bibi would be a far more popular US president than Barack. And Bibi’s impeccable American accent doesn’t hurt…

(Reprinted in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.)