Bibi Selassie: Dotted Points of Light
A. An historical analogy
When you reach a certain age, events that to younger people seem dim and distant still remain fresh in memory. Watching the events surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation to address Congress, I am reminded of Haile Selassie’s address to the League of Nations.
As he spoke in 1936 and as Auden warned in his poem "September 1, 1939", the likelihood of a coming conflagration grows and yet a few people still stand for civilization:
Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
Bibi’s coming to warn us as did Selassie: “It is us today. It will be you tomorrow.“
As you will recall, the League of Nations was created with high-minded intentions to end war, with covenants between its members to come to their aid in case of attacks. Italy attacked Ethiopia and Haile Selassie passionately addressed the League, begging it for assistance which it had earlier denied, a cowardly breach of promise by the League. Not long after that, fascism engaged the world in the worst, most global battle for civilization, a battle won only after the loss of millions of lives and the infliction of untold suffering. His entire speech is worth reading, but these snippets stand out as particularly relevant today as Israel’s most important ally – us -- clearly prepares to abandon her, leaving Israel ,us and the rest of the world at great risk from a nuclearized Iran. https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/selassie.htm
I, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, am here today to claim that justice which is due to my people, and the assistance promised to it eight months ago, when fifty nations asserted that aggression had been committed in violation of international treaties.
There is no precedent for a Head of State himself speaking in this assembly. But there is also no precedent for a people being victim of such injustice and being at present threatened by abandonment to its aggressor. Also, there has never before been an example of any Government proceeding to the systematic extermination of a nation by barbarous means, in violation of the most solemn promises made by the nations of the earth that there should not be used against innocent human beings the terrible poison of harmful gases.
I have heard it asserted that the inadequate sanctions already applied have not achieved their object. At no time, and under no circumstances could sanctions that were intentionally inadequate, intentionally badly applied, stop an aggressor. This is not a case of the impossibility of stopping an aggressor but of the refusal to stop an aggressor.
B. Sanctions that are “Intentionally Inadequate, intentionally badly applied”
The administration’s response to Iran’s belligerence in the face of inadequate sanctions to stop its drive for nuclear arms is nonsensical blather by the secretary of state and the administration’s Samantha Powers and Susan Rice, among others.
Gerard Ingethron, who identified himself as a “former corporate speech writer,” took aim at the nonsense blather of a Kerry op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:
The more I read it, the funnier it gets. If one has nothing real to offer, use the important words: “global conversation,” “best practices,” “global partnership,” “proactive,” “concrete alternatives,” “empowering leaders,” “transform the environments,” “building alternatives,” “identify the zones of greatest vulnerability,” “tailor our efforts,” “target our resources,” “envision a future,” “positive progress,” “funnel more resources, creative ideas and energy,” “catalyze a global effort,” “but let me be clear,” “send a clear signal,” “we will not cower,” “we will prevail” and “we charge forward.”
I’m surprised he didn’t conclude by saying, “At the end of the day. . . .
In the meantime from what little has been made publicly available, it is crystal clear that as with Ethiopia in the 1930s, "the inadequate sanctions already applied have not achieved their object”, and, in fact, we are about to enter into an even more toothless agreement with the mullahs.
The news from the nuclear talks with Iran was already troubling. Iran was being granted the “right to enrich.” It would be allowed to retain and spin thousands of centrifuges. It could continue construction of the Arak plutonium reactor. Yet so thoroughly was Iran stonewalling International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that just last Thursday the IAEA reported its concern “about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed . . . development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
Bad enough. Then it got worse: News leaked Monday of the elements of a “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.
Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would reenter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview in December, as “a very successful regional power.” A few years -- probably around 10 -- of good behavior and Iran would be home free. The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.
Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations.
Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads.
As if the administration’s slavish concessions to Iran weren’t fueling enough opposition, we learned this week that for three and one-half years it has been sitting on documentary proof of Iran’s secret ties with Osama bin Laden:and South African intelligence exposed Iranian efforts to bypass sanctions using civilian covers
One 2010 document shows that Iranian intelligence had been using various other civilian covers, including an Iranian news agency, the country’s national airline, its shipping services, and much more.
Among other things, these Iranian spies were making contact with citizens of the country considered to be extremists, and who maintained ties with Hizb’allah and Hamas cells in certain target countries, or who recruited people to join them.
One of the more troubling details was the shipment of arms to Iranian embassies, “both the Ministry of Intelligence and the revolutionary committees have used diplomatic tags in order to send weapons to Iranian embassies overseas,” the report said. These weapons are “then stored in the embassies, with full knowledge of the local ambassadors.”
The next step, according to the intelligence report, was to train terrorist cells in various missions against specific targets, which are usually “Israeli or American.” By using local terrorist cells, South African intelligence noted, the Iranians can claim that they are not involved in the subsequent incidents.
The report noted that this, for example, was how between 1989 and 2002, 24 agents carried out accurate and well-planned assassinations in Europe and Turkey, which were personally approved by the Iranian president or the country’s spiritual leader.
C. How Desperate is the administration to Shut Bibi Up?
Very. Because the minute attention is diverted from the usual media nonsense to the reality of the administration’s chicanery with Iran, the second “centerpiece” of this administration (the first being ObamaCare) will be exposed for the equally foolhardy nonsense it is.
When Selassie addressed the League of Nations, Italy withdrew its delegation and Italian journalists in the galleries jeered and blew whistles given them by Mussolini’s son-in-law to drown out his message, Selassie waited for the demonstration to end and then delivered his powerful message.
I don’t know if the administration has handed out whistles to the sycophants in the American media, but it has fed them a bill of goods suggesting falsely that this tiff is merely the result of personal antagonism between the two leaders. But the running dogs of the jihadists are, like Mussolini, boycotting the speech:
The boycott lists consists of two groups. Congressional Black Caucus members who are offended on Obama’s behalf and can smell racism anywhere.
The other consists of opponents of Israel.
It’s instructive to compare the list of boycotters to the 54 members of Congress who signed a letter calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of Hamas in Gaza.
Of the 25 current boycotters, Earl Blumenauer, Raúl Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Peter DeFazio, Betty McCollum, Jim McDermott, Barbara Lee, and John Yarmuth had also signed the Hamas letter in 2010.
Considering how much the makeup of the House has changed then and not in the favor of the Democrats, the overlap is quite significant. A number of these are also among the top recipients of CAIR cash in Congress.
Their boycott isn’t some new response to something Netanyahu did. They’re longtime opponents of Israel.
Here’s what I wrote about some of these creatures back then. The makeup of Congress has changed, for the better, but some of this remains relevant.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum has been waging her own private war on Israel, right down to issuing an imperial demand that Israeli Ambassador Oren attend the national conference of the far left anti-Israel group, J Street. McCollum famously belittled Hamas’ shelling of Israel as nothing more than a drug gang’s drive by shooting and repeated the discredited white phosphorous smear.
McDermott was actually named CAIR’s Public Official of the Year.
And it is instructive to note how many of the congressmen and congresswomen on the list are funded by CAIR money. Keith Ellison, John Conyers, Loretta Sanchez, Betty McCollum, Lois Capps, Bill Pascrell, Elijah Cummings, Bob Filner, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, John Dingell, James Moran, Nick Rahall, Andre Carson, Mary Jo Kilroy, Carolyn Kilpatrick and Jim McDermott are among the top receivers of CAIR money in congress.
In 1963, long after the conclusion of World War II Selassie said: “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.
As memorable and iconic as that speech was, the League failed to create effective sanctions and only six nations members refused to recognize Italy’s occupation.
While the rest of the world may not think a nuclear Iran would threaten them it certainly does, and I, therefore, wish Bibi much better luck at persuading Congress and this country of this than Selassie was about allowing evil to triumph at the League of Nations.