Jane Harman retracts comments advocating the ethnic division of Iran

on 22 Comments

NIAC is reporting that Rep. Jane Harman has retracted and apologized for her comments advocating that Iran be divided up by ethnicity. Harman claims she her comments were "taken out of context." Judge for yourself (begin around 1:25):

Seems pretty "in context" to me. Regardless, this is a nice victory for NIAC in its work fostering a more sensible conversation about Iran in Washington, DC.

22 Responses

  1. Craig11
    May 22, 2009, 3:08 am

    "My remarks were taken out of context" is one of those excuse that is probably literally true only about 1% of the time. It's such a handy dodge that politicians, executives, and other slimeballs use it almost by reflex. It usually can be profitably translated into English as, "Whoops, in an unguarded moment I said something I honestly believed and now I'm in trouble again."

  2. Craig11
    May 22, 2009, 3:23 am

    Actually, I should say "meaningfully true" rather than "literally true." In the most nitpickingly literal sense, your words are "taken out of context" almost any time they are quoted. The real issue here is whether the quote was presented in a context that created a misleading impression of the speaker's or writer's intention. It has become an unthinking reaction on the part of many public figures to say, "My words were taken out of context" any time something they said or wrote gets them in trouble, without regard to whether the impression created by the quote is really any different from the impression that would have been created had more context been given. It might be a fun game to play, any time someone quotes the Bible, the American founding fathers, or one of the great philosophers, to immediately reply, "You're taking that quote out of context." It's almost guaranteed to be literally true, after all.

  3. anonymous10
    May 22, 2009, 3:36 am

    A thought: The real Zionists think in fifty year time frames. Minimum. Tactics is day to day, year to year. Strategy is fifty years, or more. Maybe much more. Most people have too much on their plates to think about this kind of thing at all, even the day to day. You have a eight year old daughter, or an eighty year old mother. Israel is not on your radar. Even for those who care, it is not easy. Jabotinsky wrote in the twenties, more honestly than anyone since. He laid it out, but is not in the New Yorker. To understand Ben Gurion you have to spend more time than any normal healthy person has. Shamir and Begin and Sharon are open books, to anyone with six months to spare. Understanding AIPAC doesn't take so long, but if you aren't an Arab American, or haven't already spent months or years in this, then you are unlikely to think critically even about the relatively easy things. And if you are an Arab American you are hypermarginalized, and if otherwise, then just nuts, with no one to talk to. What to do. In my view a short course on what they are actually thinking – the LIkud and their allies here – would include Harkabi's 'Israel's Fateful Hour' which twenty years ago explained what was going to happen, and is unfortunately happening now. A short study of the events of one day at Kafr Kassem in 1956, will deliver everything you need to know about the essence of this version of Israel, before and since. And Israel Shahak's translation of Oded Yinon will explain Harman's original statements. And a great many other things. Yinon was a Likud insider. Harkabi was Begin's Chief of Military Intelligence, and one of the original hard guys. A serious lover of Israel. Just not this version.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    May 22, 2009, 4:11 am

    RE: Harman claims she her comments were "taken out of context" Elect Marcy Winograd to Congress in 2010 – Send Jane Harman home Winograd for Congress – ” target=”_blank”>http://www.winograd4congress.com/

  5. Saleema
    May 22, 2009, 4:43 am

    Hey, guys, the Angry Arab is reporting a "strong rumor" that Mubarak may have died. Wouldn't that be nice if it were true? I, for one, would be happy. I hope Mubarak is dead and standing in front of God with his head hanging in shame and I hope somebody up there pulls out his fingernails as did his security services of inumerable people. With this hope, I'm off to bed.

  6. moonkoon
    May 22, 2009, 4:43 am

    Notice how Jane Harman dismisses the suffering of Palestinians by referring to the recent terrorist attack on Gaza as the "Gaza incursion". I find it "personally and profoundly offensive" that she is unable to acknowledge this crime. She is obviously partisan in her assessments, her loyalty to Israel makes it impossible for her to competently assimilate the information coming out of the region. One-eyed doesn't even begin to describe her views. How such a person can claim to be representing US interests is well beyond my ken P.S. Ken means understanding. In 1864, William Whitney, in the proceedings of the Annual Reports Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institute, made the meaning more explicit: "The conditions of that ancient period, and the degree in which they could quicken the now sluggish processes of word-combination and formation are beyond our ken." ” target=”_blank”>http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/63900.html

  7. Ed
    May 22, 2009, 4:52 am

    Jane Harman, an aggressive Jewish mother (grandmother?). You could just see the four mama's boys surrounding her getting simultaneously intimidated and turned on. "This is a woman who takes control!" Unfortunately her nasalous voice did nothing but drone on with Jewish warmongering talking points (probably scripted in Israel and overnighted to Jane's staff) with all the false confidence of an aged Debra Winger going for an Academy. Zero America-first substance. Zero America-first brains. But a hell of a lot of Zionist-first, American-financed chutzpah. Oye! Move to Israel, Golda. Go wrestle with Bibi for control of the American welfare check, you grasping cow. And get your scrawny Jewish claws out of the American working man’s wallet.

  8. CrazyWisdom
    May 22, 2009, 10:26 am

    the arrogance of these people is freaking unbelievable, right there in plain sight, for anyone who has eyes to see. the countdown has begun for the goddess nemesis to make her move on these people for their hubris.

  9. homingpigeon
    May 22, 2009, 11:55 am

    "Oye! Move to Israel, Golda. " Uh….. are you advocating Zionism?

  10. JES49
    May 22, 2009, 1:01 pm

    Harkabi was Begin's Chief of Military Intelligence, and one of the original hard guys. Yehoshafat Harkabi was most certainly not Begin's Chief of Military Intelligence. He served in that capacity from 1955 until 1959. Begin did not become Prime Minister until 1977.

  11. LeaNder22
    May 22, 2009, 1:41 pm

    It is clearly not taken out of context as far as her statement is concerned. But when I watched the excerpts, I still was somehow puzzled, how this could have escaped me, when I watched to whole discussion earlier. Had I been part of the NIAC circles, I surely would have added the specific questions she responds to. It doesn't feel it would change matters elementarily, but this could in fact be "the context" she is alluding to. Before I signed I wondered should I check it? But her statement felt clear and not selective, or cut. What was the question? What do the others answers? (it is directly addressed to her, see below) In what respect is she confirming or adding aspects to earlier statements? How is her statements and especially the discussion of Iranian ethnicity related to others? Strictly I see from an Israeli power perspective it would be helpful to create a series of smaller states in the ME. But is it for her to decide? That's the stunning thing about it.

  12. LeaNder22
    May 22, 2009, 2:08 pm

    Who was Odet Yinon? Here is the translation of his article: ” target=”_blank”>http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles… Leslie Gelb suggested the same in the NYT in 2003 for Iraq, but who else did?: The Three-State Solution, LESLIE H. GELB, Tuesday, November 25, 2003 ” target=”_blank”>http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/25/opinion/25GELB….

  13. LeaNder22
    May 22, 2009, 2:16 pm

    I love the word ken, obviously, considering its etymology. It felt Scots often use it also as a verb. My impression was her utter complacency, but isn't that often a standard in these political circles? To leave the Israeli angle out for a moment?

  14. LeaNder22
    May 22, 2009, 2:24 pm

    Well, yes, for quite some time now. This seems an anthropological standard too. Whenever I hear it, my head is full of associations in what other contexts I heard or read too. It's the most standard discussion stopper, end to dialog, defense shield against the things one doesn't want to hear or talk about: I don't want to listen anymore. go, if you think they are doing this better, why don't you go there? go … go …

  15. Ed
    May 22, 2009, 2:25 pm

    Political Islam has a state; political Judaism should have one. But just not with infinite American funds and green lights to do what it wants. The latter are the fault of "Americans" like Harman.

  16. anonymous10
    May 22, 2009, 3:09 pm

    That's right. The point is the same, however. See Avi Shlaim's obituary of Harkabi in the Independent: ” target=”_blank”>http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary…

  17. dana
    May 22, 2009, 3:14 pm

    Saleema, a bit vengeful. God not likely to oblige. Were we to assume pearly gates are there, chances are there are better ways of exacting justice. me thinks that the slow elimination of Program Mubarak might be an alternative. As in – letting the sub-routines fade one bit at a time into the great oblivion. Just a passing thought here on the great beyond…

  18. LeaNder22
    May 22, 2009, 3:49 pm

    the enlarged context. I am too lazy to transcribe Woolsey too, whose earlier statement the question relates to. I watch this later again. Question and answer. But here is a slightly enlarged context. Question, can one really tie whatever kind of politics to ethnicity? If you ask me, context makes matters worse. ” target=”_blank”>” target=”_blank”>http://www.aipac.org/about_AIPAC/Learn_About_AIPA… Robert Satloff: [only tuffness economically and in negociations now can prevent war] …[11:17] With the Russians and the Chinese we need to be very tuff with our Arab allies, who have assets. We need to ask the Saudis, go to the Chinese. They need to make a choice. Who is your energy partner? Is your energy partner going to be Iran, or is it going to be us? You choose. There is enough excess capacity now, given oil markets, that now is especially the moment that we need to turn this spigot tight. Dan Senor: [11:45 starts and is slightly interrupted by delayed applause] I want to, Jane, Jane Harman, I wanna pick up on something that Jim Woolsey said earlier about who is in fact in charge in Iran. And there are elections coming up for president in Iran in June. Observers are trying to sort of read between the lines to see if it's Ahmadinedshad or potentially some moderate, (or as ?) Jim alluded to, the suppreme leaders are really in control, Ali Khamenei. I wanna read a quote by one Iran expert, who wrote in the Guardian last march, Mehdi Khalaji, [image/and voice]"Unfortunately, the most likely outcome will be continuing transformation of the Islamic Republic from a civil goverment into a garrison state in which the military plays a major role in determining political and economic matters." [Mehdi Khalaji, "The Guardian", March 17, 2009.] Is this really the likely outcome of the Iranian presidential elections, regardless of who is elected and how should we therefore think about US policy in response? Jane Harman: …

  19. Mooser
    May 22, 2009, 4:13 pm

    "With this hope, I'm off to bed" You will give yourself bad dreams like that. Also, clinical studies, at a Major Unerversity show that vengelful fantasies attract the Evil Eye, almost without fail. Take it from me, I know.

  20. Mooser
    May 22, 2009, 4:23 pm

    "Political Islam has a state; political Judaism should have one." I see, Ed. Is that where you would like the American Jews who don't fit in with "the rest of us" to go? Oh excuse me, I didn't mean "the rest of us" I meant, "the traditional moderate All-American Christian ethic" whatever the hell that is. But Gosh, what a rara avis flutters here? A gen-u-ine anti-Smitic Zionist! How often do you come across one of those? BTW, Ed, I've been meaning to ask you. Which denominations and/or/Christian sects do you rate in the moderate-middle-traditional-Christian ethic, or whatever you call it? First of all, let's get the big one straight, are Catholics included?

  21. JES49
    May 23, 2009, 2:23 pm

    I don't think that Harkabi would agree today. (BTW, I don't recall him as being at all intimidating. In fact, I seem to remember that he had a childlike giggle.)

  22. Maidhc Ó Cathail
    May 31, 2009, 5:05 pm

    You may be interested in my take on Jane Harman, the Israel lobby, and the Iranian "threat" here: ” target=”_blank”>http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/05/japan’s-e…

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