Wednesday, June 1

Hypocrisy - "Bibiocricy" - Double Talk

                                                                    Sami and Yuli Ofer

There is a tendency amongst many Israelis to say that one cannot trust the Palestinians. Those who subscribe to this mantra maintain that the Palestinian leadership engages in double talk. They talk about peace with Israel. In Arabic, they speak about not recognizing Israel's right to exist and that jihad against Israel's right to exist must continue.

Is the Israel right wing coalition of parties under the Likud umbrella any different? Are they any less guilty of double-talk than the Palestinian leadership? Even the 10 month settlement freeze was not observed in its entirety. The excuse for settlement expansion that was prevalent at the time - "natural population growth”.

When P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu was in the US recently, he made a speech in the US Congress and received 30 standing ovations. There is no doubt that Netanyahu is a master of oratory and his excellent English, tainted with an American Philadelphian accent, is an expert at whitewashing and omitting. He won the hearts of many congressmen, whose knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is poor. However, if one reads between the lines as to what was said, it is clear that Netanyahu is not prepared to return to the pre-June 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations, including "agreed land swaps" as President Obama had stated in his speech. The excuse is that the 1967 borders are "indefensible". Netanyahu then rambled on about Iran and the danger it poses to world peace as well as the desire of Iran to destroy Israel. He spoke about increasing sanctions on Iran. This is all very nice! Suddenly a bombshell occurred. The Ofer brothers' (Sami and Yuli Offer) group were blacklisted by US intelligence for trading with Iran.

It is rather difficult to believe that the multi-millionaire Ofer brothers' business dealings were unknown to the Israeli Tax Authority. The Israeli Government also denied any knowledge of the Ofer brothers’ clandestine deals with Iran involving millions of dollars. It is very difficult to believe this knowing how draconian and efficient the Israeli Tax Authority is at catching tax evaders using invasive methods into one's privacy for tax evasion involving far smaller amounts of money.

Is it possible that the Israeli Government and Tax Authority are unaware of the Ofer brothers’ dealings with Iran? It took the US to discover this. This all occurred while Netanyahu was talking about the dangers of Iran's nuclear programme. You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

Well, it is all about money and astronomical amounts of it. We have just witnessed an excellent example of double-talk by Israel's Prime Minister that makes Palestinian double-talk child's play in comparison. Of course, the Ofer brothers will go to great lengths to deny this (does one really expect them to admit this?). The donations of the Ofer brothers to various Israeli causes are tremendous, even to governmental institutions.

Netanyahu's speech in the US Congress is another example of "Bibiocricy" at its best. However, while he returned to Israel on a bubble of success, the Ofer brothers' blacklisting by the US for their business dealings with Iran, using shadowy indirect go betweens to sell an oil tanker to Iran will hasten the bursting of Bibi's bubble of temporary success and popularity.

The Palestinian leadership, which is now also bolstered by Hamas, has strong competitors for the double-talk diploma. The Netanyahu government with its "status quo" policies of occupation and not yielding and the Ofer brother companies dealing with Iran will be a further headache for Israel in its relations with President Obama and the US.

While money comes into Israel and the sources of the business deals are kept secret, all is kosher. Once the bubble bursts then a string of denials becomes the Israeli Authorities’ best line of defense.

We are paying a heavy price for the antics of this fat cat, right wing government of political hacks. The retirement age is pushed up, taxes - indirect and direct, are increasing. Young couples are finding it more difficult to purchase homes. There is something very rotten in Israel's self righteous right wing government. It is also responsible for the lack of progress in solving the important problems of negotiations with the Palestinians. The problems existed even before Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement. The use of this agreement as an excuse for not negotiating with the Palestinians is hollow. If Israel's Ofer brothers did business with the evil Iranian regime and it took US intelligence to discover this while Israel's government pleads ignorance, the conclusions are obvious. Big money whitewashes everything but does not hide the hypocrisy (and Bibiocracy) of Israel's rulers.

September 2011 is coming and with it, the unilateral declaration of independence of a Palestinian state. This will result in Israel's further isolation and further reliance on the goodwill of the US to weather the storm. Maybe Israel will need to take a loan from the Ofer brothers to help them through BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) from their Iranian business dealings.

We have had our fair share of crooked politicians whose behaviour is more suited to rulers of banana republics. Is Israel on that road as well? What we are witnessing today is “Iran gate Israel style”! They plead ignorance in not practicing what they preach. What a dent on what is left of Israel's credibility! Ignorance of what is happening on the turf of the richest family in Israel, if not the world, in their business and profit motives in dealing with the evil Iranian Regime does not exonerate Israel's government's responsibility in this case.

When one confronts the average Israeli government supporter about these activities, the answer one gets is an unapologetic, justification answer: "Israel does what every other country does, so why pick on Israel?"
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