On Tuesday Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goaded the United States into a war with Iran. Demanding that the United States set conditions for war by establishing a ‘red line’ for which the United States would begin another war in the Middle East if Iran crossed it. Conservative Presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney seems eager to appease Netanyahu by whining about President Obama’s work to end the existing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and assuring voters that if he is elected he will move quickly to send America’s young adults back into war.
Netanyahu is no stranger to goading people into violence. In 1996, while throwing roadblocks into the peace process with Palestine, he authorized work in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem that was guaranteed to anger the Palestinians. His ‘in-your-face’ act caused three days of riots and took 80 lives. Like the brother who knows how to get his sibling into trouble, Netanyahu modus operandi is to push others into violent acts by doing something that seems innocent, but is actually extremely insulting.
By stimulating violence, Netanyahu was able to justify moving Israeli forces in to Palestinian-occupied Hebron in January of 1997. Eventually he was able to stop the peace process by refusing to compromise on any significant issue. Netanyahu has a consistent history of being the naysayer to any peace effort between Israel and Palestine since 1996. He also has pushed for issues that are designed to irritate Arabs, such as continue settlement of Israelis in Arab-controlled lands. Netanyahu’s provocation of Palestinians and other Arab countries has left the Middle East in turmoil and set the stage for violent groups in the Arab world to fester and grow.
The interesting coincidence is that just as Netanyahu is pushing America to go to war with Iran, Arabs are once again goaded with a mysterious film¹ on YouTube that mocks Mohammad. Riots in Muslim countries have resulted in attacks on American consulates in Libya and Yemen, killing J. Christopher Stevens, America’s Ambassador in Libya, and three other U.S. diplomats. The cast and crew of the film were misled as to the purpose of the film and the producer’s name has turned out to be fictitious. No one seems to be able to determine who actually produced the film, but it is clear it was intended to incite violence.
In addition, Romney’s reaction to the attack on America’s consulate was so rapid that one has to question if Romney’s campaign was anticipating a significant foreign anti-American event and pulled the trigger on condemning President Obama’s even before there was a reaction from the administration. Romney’s campaign misfired by citing a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo from Tuesday morning that condemned to provocation of the mysterious film prior to the attacks on the American consulate in Libya.
Romney’s campaign is citing America’s “freedom of speech” as the excuse for provoking Muslims with this film; however, conservatives are the first to react with rage over burning the American flag or defacing a Bible. American conservative anti-Muslim groups have now been connected to the latest efforts to promote the film on YouTube, and these groups are known to be rabid anti-President Obama groups.
The timing of this film, Netanyahu’s provocation, conservative promotion of the film, and Romney’s quick, albeit inappropriate, response to the violence seem to indicate that a connection is possible as part of an effort to motivate conservatives to support Romney’s sputtering campaign and his inept foreign policy efforts with allies and foes.
(¹The name of the film and a link to the film are intentionally absent in this article.)
NOTE: The acts of violence toward United States Embassies and personnel cannot be excused regardless of the provocation. This article is not overlooking the shameful thugs who are taking an opportunity to injure and kill innocent people. They should be identified and punished for what they have done. However, just like the person who enters into a theater and yells fire just to create a panic, the person(s) behind this inexcusable film that incited the outrage should be held responsible for lighting the fuse that caused the social bomb to explode.