Uri Avnery

Benjamin Netanyahu. AFP/Getty Images

Like Abraham, who was ready to slaughter his son to please God, Netanyahu is ready to sacrifice Israel’s most vital interests for election victory. Image credit: AFP/Getty Images

ISIS stems from the stifling of Arab secularism and nationalism by the West.

The bombs into Gaza and the rockets into Israel will solve nothing. Meanwhile, Israel is losing its moral conscience.


After Hamas murdered three Israeli teens, a leading Israeli activist urges restraint.


Putin and Netanyahu gain, as Obama becomes a bystander.


The greatest danger to Israel is not the putative Iranian nuclear bomb. The greatest danger is the stupidity of our leaders.

Benjamin Netanyahu aroused my pity. From my 10 years of membership in the Knesset I know how unpleasant it is to speak before an empty hall.

His die-hard followers -- a pathetic residue of casino magnates and burnt-out Zionist right-wingers -- sat in the gallery of the U.N. Assembly and an overblown Israeli delegation sat in the hall, but they only underlined the general emptiness.

Years go, I disclosed one of the biggest secrets about Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was an agent of the Mossad.

Suddenly, all the curious details of his behavior made sense:

His public fantasies about the disappearance of Israel;

His denial of the Holocaust, which until then had been typical only of a lunatic fringe;

His boasting about Iran's nuclear capabilities.

Cui bono? Who had an interest in all this nonsense?

There is only one sensible answer: Israel.

His posturing depicted Iran as a state that was both ridiculous and sinister.


IF SOMEBODY steals something precious from you, say a diamond, you may be angry.

Even God himself said so. When He sent a worm to kill the gourd that provided shade for the prophet Jonah in the desert, He asked him maliciously: "Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd?" (Jonah 4:9)

And now somebody has stolen from us something much more precious than a diamond or a gourd.

A war. Perhaps even two wars.

So we have every right to be furious.


Here is another Jewish joke: A hungry young Jew sees an announcement outside a local circus: anyone who climbs to the top of a 50 meter pole and jumps onto a tarpaulin below will win a prize of a thousand rubles.

Out of desperation he goes in, climbs the pole and shudders looking down.

"Jump! Jump!" the ringmaster shouts.

"Jumping is out of the question!" the Jew shouts back. "But how do I get down again?"

That's how Barack Obama was feeling, a moment before the Russians provided the means.

The trouble with war is that it has two sides.



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Real leaders need to lead a push back against the firestorm of fear about Muslims—not fan the flames.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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