Jon Stewart, Netanyahu, and a Nuclear Free Middle East

Nuclear_free_Middle_East.png

If you haven’t seen Jon Stewart’s spoof on Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress this past week, it’s well worth the viewing. Among many other things, Stewart contrasts several different video clips of Netanyahu across the years, and demonstrates how self-contradictory, and flat-out wrong Netanyahu has been concerning Iran, Iraq, and other regional developments.

Indeed, Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress was an exercise in hubris.  As Stewart jokes, with Israeli elections less than two weeks away, Netanyahu used the US Congress as “the most elaborate campaign commercial backdrop ever.” 

 

Israel introduced nuclear weapons to the Middle East, yet it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As a result, it does not abide by nuclear anti-proliferation conventions and is not subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Israel should be compelled to sign the NPT so as to build confidence in the region, to prevent proliferation, and ultimately to permit disarmament. 

If Iran is a potential nuclear threat, Israel is a very real one.  In one publicly documented example, just after the start of the “Yom Kippur War” in 1973, the Israeli government put a number of nuclear arms on alert.  Among other targets, some warheads were aimed at the Egyptian and Syrian military headquarters near the metropolises of Cairo and Damascus.[1]

CJPME, for its part, has long advocated a “nuclear weapons free zone” in the Middle East.  Under several governments, Canada has supported UN resolutions favouring such a nuclear free zone.  Sadly, however, Canada has often abstained from such votes claiming that Israel was “being singled out.”  Yet it is not far-fetched to believe that Israel’s nuclear program is the primary reason its neighbours – Syrian, Iran, perhaps others – desire to obtain the technology. 

The current Iranian government is unpredictable, and it is certainly no champion of human rights.  Canada, the US, and the rest of the world should keep a close eye on it.  Yet the world should also consider the continued price of sanctions on the population of Iran.  The Iranian economy struggles immensely under the effect of sanctions, and millions of Iranians suffer needlessly as a result.  And while pharmaceuticals and medical equipment are excluded from sanctions, shortages of drugs for dozens of illnesses continue to exist because Iran is prevented from using international payment systems. 

It is right to be vigilant about which countries have access to nuclear technology.  But political positions on this issue should be consistent.  If the world is uneasy with Iran having the bomb, it should also be uneasy with Israel having the bomb.  Over the decades, Israel has consistently resorted to armed force in its relations with its neighbours.  And Israel certainly also has its share of radical voices.  For example, in 2013, Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party said that Palestinian prisoners should be killed and not tried, and is quoted to have said, “I already killed lots of Arabs in my life, and there is absolutely no problem with that.”  

As Obama has stated, the negotiations with Iran have thus far borne fruit. [2]  So let’s see these negotiations advance, the sanctions plaguing on the Iranian people loosened, and a movement toward a truly nuclear free Middle East.


[1] Hersh, Seymour M., The Samson Option, 1991, New York: Random House, ISBN 0-394-57006-5, p. 225

[2] In the introductory letter to his National Security Strategy presented in Feb., 2015, Obama repeated his assertion of the talks’ effectiveness, “We are currently testing whether it is possible to achieve a comprehensive resolution to assure the international community that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful, while the Joint Plan of Action has halted the progress of Iran’s program.  The report repeats the claim in two other occasions, referring in one instance to “a diplomatic effort that has already stopped the progress of Iran’s nuclear program,” and elsewhere to “a first step arrangement that stops the progress of Iran’s nuclear program…”  http://bit.ly/1weZphh

 


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
Join the newsletter Donate

See other recent stories:

Israel is Being Singled Out – For Favouritism


Roger Waters' support For BDS strengthens his anti-war credibility


Israel's War Of Textbooks Comes to Canada


Give The Anti-Palestinian Rhetoric A Rest


Canada Must Do More Than Just Throw Money At Palestinian Refugees


UWO Rejects Pressure From Israeli Lobby Group Over UN Special Rapporteur


Whats Up With Treyf a Debatably Jewish Podcast


Canada's Flip-flop On West Bank Wines Betrays Canadian Consumers' Interests


Canada Now a Hawk On Nuclear Arms


Trudeau Government Blocks Direct Flights to Beirut


Canadian Human Rights Activist Challenges NDP Support for Zionist Lobby Groups


Niki Ashton represents new breed of Canadian leader


Abuse of Prisoners Is Intolerable, Whether in Palestine or Northern Ireland


Liberals Largely Insincere On Arms Trade Treaty Bill


Canadian Politicians Can’t Cherry Pick Malala Yousafzai’s Message


Dysfunction at the UN: The Saudis aren’t the only ones to blame


50 Years Of Israeli Occupation Is Far Too Long


Trudeau’s Simplistic Approach Won’t Work In Syria


Canadian Zionists Join World Wide Campaign to Mark Centenary of Balfour Declaration


Trudeau Must Not Rubber Stamp Trump’s Military Interventions


NDP Leaders Race Should Be About Who Can Beat Trudeau


How To Move Forward From The M-103 Islamophobia Debate


Why Has Israel Arrested The Leading Spokesperson for the BDS Movement?


To Sanction or Not To Sanction


Survey Results Dispel Notion of “New Anti-Semitism”


When it comes to Israel, are Quebec’s political elites out of touch ?


Survey: Government Policy Disconnected from Canadian Attitudes on Israel


Poll: Canada’s politicians out of touch with public on Mideast


Canada Appears More Interested in Supporting a “2 State Solution” Than in Defending Palestinian Human Rights


Dr. Tariq Ramadan’s Message a Challenge to All Canadians