Why Israel Slept- James Bamford

The Nation

By 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was content that his military’s deadly rockets, assassination drones, and snipers were keeping the grass neatly mowed in Gaza. He therefore decided to turn his attention toward launching a new front in his war against the Palestinians. This one, however, would be covert. Its target: the growing numbers of noisy and irritating Americans who dared to protest his government’s brutal occupation

The reference to mowing the grass is how Israel describes their targeting of Palestinians, always under the guise of eliminating Hamas

The expression “Mowing The Grass” has been employed by Israelis and Israeli militants for over a decade now. It is a metaphor that describes the military operations that Israel launches on Gaza Strip on a seasonal basis. Such display of brute force has faced criticisms from international human rights groups, especially in relation to the difference in death toll between both parties.

What’s problematic about this phrase is that the grass/lawn requires to be constantly mowed; which suggests that Israel is still planning on conducting similar operation under the same pretext of limiting Hamas’ power. Another important factor that needs to be addressed is that when mowing the grass, one would cut down everything on their path. This would mean that in the process of trying to eliminate their enemies, killing children and women would simply be considered “accidents”.

Con’t from the Nation

The shift began behind closed doors in The Venetian Resort, a neon nirvana on the Las Vegas strip. In a back conference room not far from the imitation Italian gondolas and the faux St. Mark’s Square, attendees of the June 2015 conclave were instructed to avoid leaks. “All proceedings,” they were told, “shall remain strictly confidential.” The invitation warned that that they must agree “not to discuss the events of the conference with media before, during and after” the meeting. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Once the doors were closed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the gathering in a letter read by the host—and owner of the Venetian—multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson. “Greetings from Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Delegitimization of Israel must be fought, and you are on the front lines,” he informed them, adding that “the Israeli government is committed to launching assertive and innovative programs and to joining you and many others around the world to combat the lies and slander that are leveled against us.” Ironically, despite the insistence on secrecy, details of the meeting quickly leaked to the newspaper The Forward and Netanyahu’s remarks were later released by the Israeli government.

Key targets of Netanyahu’s second front in the United States were the Americans taking part in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a dedicated and growing assortment of college students and human rights supporters scattered across the country armed with Twitter followings as bullhorns. Their goal: to rally the world to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel until it ends its brutal, racist, and illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. The organization modeled itself after the successful worldwide nonviolent campaign against South African apartheid.

Among the movement’s supporters was the late South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, who along with Nelson Mandela had long battled the white apartheid government in Pretoria. During an emotional address and press conference in Boston in 2007, Tutu called Israel “worse” than South African apartheid in some respects, including the illegal use of “collective punishment” of Palestinians. He also criticized the government for its brutality and its “gross violation of human rights.” Mandela was likewise outraged by Israeli apartheid—as well as the country’s key role in supporting South African apartheid and undermining the global boycott against it. “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians,” he said during an address in Pretoria at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in 1997.

Netanyahu’s greatest fear was that as a result of the growing strength of the BDS movement, the American public would finally begin seeing Israel in the same light that many people in the rest of the world, and even in Israel, saw it: as a brutal apartheid state. The more Israel’s atrocities came to light, the more the BDS movement gained strength around the country. On the same weekend that Adelson’s secret task force was forming in Las Vegas, an Associated Press news article noted, “In boardrooms and campuses, on social media and in celebrity circles, momentum seems to be growing for a global pressure campaign on Israel. The atmosphere recalls the boycotts that helped demolish apartheid South Africa a quarter century ago…. Increasingly prominent is the so‑called ‘BDS’ (boycott-disinvestment-sanctions) movement, run by Palestinians and leftist activists from around the world.”

Hence Netanyahu’s move to counter the protesters with lots of money to buy political power in Washington to create laws making it a crime to boycott Israel. The group at the Venetian would make up what would become Adelson’s Army, a task force of Gulfstream warriors (since so many of them owned private jets). The objective was the launch of a political and psychological war targeting Americans on behalf of Israel.

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