Israel has been ramping up its global messaging campaign at a time when it faces increased isolation from Global South countries and growing criticism from large powers like China, Russia, and major Latin American countries such as Brazil.
But there have been signs of dissent even within the Biden administration as well, with pushback especially coming from the State Department of late, as US officials want to see the White House become more publicly critical of alleged Israeli war crimes, given also the immense death toll, with over 11,200 Gazans killed, with some half of these believed to be women and children.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now taking his message to the American public in a Monday night appearance on Fox News’ Sean Hannity, warning that the US will be “next” if his military doesn’t decimate Hamas.
“We have to win not only for our sake but for the sake of the Middle East, for the sake of our Arab neighbours. You know what, for the sake of Gazans who’ve been held by this dark tyranny that has brutalised and brought them nothing but bloodshed, poverty, and misery,” Netanyahu introduced.
“We have to win to protect Israel. We have to win to safeguard the Middle East. We have to win for the sake of the civilised world. That’s the battle we’re fighting, and it’s being waged right now. There is no substitute for that victory.”
And that’s when he emphasised the potential dire repercussions for the West if Israel fails to achieve its objectives. “If we don’t win now, then Europe is next and you’re next. And we have to win,” he added.
Netanyahu’s words carried a theme of a war between ‘barbarians’ and ‘civilization’, with an intent to make Americans believe what’s happening in the Middle East is “your fight” as well. According to Fox:
Netanyahu stressed that “our fight is your fight” and that there is “no substitute for victory.”
“We have to have the forces of civilization beat these barbarians because otherwise this barbarism will spread and endanger the entire world,” Netanyahu said. “Every American and every civilised country will be in peril. We have to win. There is no substitute for victory. Total victory.”
Such messaging filled with a ‘good vs. evil’ motif was also heavily relied upon by the Bush administration and neocons in selling the Iraq War in 2003. Netanyahu has in past years also painted such simple contrasts when speaking about Iran and its supposed ‘nuclear threat’ as well.
Netanyahu may have been responding to rare words of restraint issued by President Biden on the same day. “I have not been reluctant to express my concerns about what’s going on and it’s my hope and expectation that it will be less intrusive action relative to the hospital,” Biden said Monday regarding the worsening humanitarian crisis at al-Shifa hospital in the centre of Gaza City.
Zelensky’s playbook of “you’re next”?
Netanyahu on Hannity last night:— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) November 14, 2023
– Israel is invading Gaza "for the sake of Gazans." Sounds very generous and humanitarian
– War boils down to "good guys" versus "bad guys"
– If Israel doesn't occupy the Gaza strip, "Europe is next, and you're next." I guess he means Ohio pic.twitter.com/4GXGDC5khk
“So, I remain somewhat hopeful but the hospital must be protected,” he said. This was in response to growing international condemnation, including from the UN, of Israeli troops laying siege to the large Gaza hospital amid reports that patients, including the very young, are dying and that the hospital has run out of fuel to keep vital generators going.