The Onion is both notorious and beloved for its painfully accurate satire. “CIA Realizes It’s Been Using Black Highlighter All These Years,” and “U.S. Flag Recalled After Causing 143 Million Deaths” are popular examples of the Onion’s knack for humorously pointing out political corruption and tragedy.
Last week, however, the Onion predicted an actual headline, preempting a real development regarding Iran and its relations with the West.
Following agreement on Obama’s much-anticipated deal to reduce Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for lifted sanctions (that the president himself originally promoted and imposed), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was publicly incensed.
In predictable jest, The Onion published an article last Tuesday—as the deal was reached—titled, “U.S. Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles.”
It joked that to pacify the saber-rattling leader, Obama sent him a special shipment of weapons—mocking the United States’sizable contributions to its favorite ally in the region.
“Bibi always gets a little cranky when he sees us talking to Iran, but a few dozen short-range surface-to-surface missiles usually cheer him right up,” the Onion joked a State Department official said.
“Of course, we try not to spoil him by giving him a whole new tactical ballistics delivery system every single time he throws a fit, but our guy’s pretty good at getting his way. At least we’ll have a couple months of peace and quiet around here.”
The very next day, Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a real story called “After Vienna accord, Obama offers military upgrade to help Israel swallow bitter Iranian deal.”
Though Netanyahu ultimately rejected the offer—likely out of spite over his public disdain for the deal (compounded with the fact that the United States has already extensively enabled the nation’s arsenal)—the Onion article was dangerously close to reality.
This coincidence is a reflection of the dangerous relationship between the United States and Israel. Israeli interests dominate Congress with lobbyist funds and political pressure, leading politicians across the board to universally endorse Israel and defend its actions in spite of the country’s repeated human rights violations.
The Onion article was not only predictive, but reminiscent of other occasions. Last summer, Obama criticized Netanyahu’s Operation Protective Edge for its brazen targeting of civilians. The United States continued to provide material support to Israel, however, ultimately rendering the president’s objections hollow. In spite of continued weapons supplies, Netanyahu shamed Obama for failing to support Israel enough.
Fittingly, the Onion article concluded that the State Department spokesperson said “…the U.S. was saving its shipment of missile defense system components in case Netanyahu got worked up during Israel-Palestine peace negotiations later this year.”
Netanyahu has howled about the dangers of a nuclear Iran for years, repeatedly crying wolf with little evidence to substantiate his claims. His objection to the Iran deal—a vital move to avoid further conflict in the region—was the Israeli prime minister’s latest tantrum against diplomacy.
The Onion’s prescient observation highlights a world so absurd, extreme, and hypocritical that satire and comedy are more truthful than the politicians and corporate media that attempt to mold reality.
As Haaretz tweeted alongside its acknowledgment of the Onion’s accuracy, “When The Onion is the most reliable news source about your country, you know you’re a mess.”