Disagreement over Iran’s threat

on 136 Comments

Opher Pines-Paz, a left member of the Israeli Knesset, was in Washington yesterday at the New America Foundation talking about the Iranian threat, arguing that nothing should be taken off the table by the west (i.e., military action). Taylor Marsh had this report, excerpted:

M.J. Rosenberg, who was sitting a couple of seats away from me came over. Whispering in my ear, he asked if maybe he should say something about the American Left not having the same understanding at all as what Pines-Paz was outlining on ’s nuclear capabilities. It was as if M.J. had read my mind, as I was thinking Mr. Pines-Pas had completely missed the political dynamics by assuming that everyone on the left is aligned on ’s nuclear capabilities and threat, agreeing with ’s assessment.

M.J., getting Daniel [Levy]’s attention, asked to say a word after Pines-Paz’s closing. Watching the reaction as M.J. said that we’re not at all in agreement over ’s nuclear threat, Mr. Pines-Paz’s jaw tightened. It was obvious he wasn’t at all prepared for the dissent. Then it came.

Pines-Paz clapped loudly a couple of times, then strongly and emphatically said, “Wake up!”

The reaction couldn’t have been more defensive or purposefully dismissive. Hearing such reality from M.J. Rosenberg, someone who is as solid on Israeli and politics as anyone writing today, seemed to shock the guest of honor, who immediately turned his head cutting off any engagement on the subject.

136 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    October 1, 2009, 10:18 am

    And, what was this a report of?

    The story of the story of the story?

    There are multiple concerns about Iran:

    1. That it will develop and use nuclear weapons, and find an excuse to do so against Israel in particular as distant from Iran proper.
    2. That it will escalate indirect provocation and encourage provocation of Israel and other states, with the backup threat of “if you go too far we will use our nukes”.

    Iran encourages Hamas and Hezbollah to aggress militarily against Israel, and some assert that they are or only Hezbollah are direct proxies, taking some orders from Iran.

    The definition of threat is not 100% or 0%. It is somewhere in between, at the level of severe concern, more than severe concern.

    You disserve the world by posing the relation to Iran in either/or terms only.

    And, the invocation of “someone confronted my friend” is trivial.

    • Cliff
      October 1, 2009, 10:35 am

      1. That it will develop and use nuclear weapons, and find an excuse to do so against Israel in particular as distant from Iran proper.
      2. That it will escalate indirect provocation and encourage provocation of Israel and other states, with the backup threat of “if you go too far we will use our nukes”.

      Iran has not initiated a war in over 200 years.

      Iran would NEVER use nukes as a first-strike. That would guarantee it’s immediate destruction.

      Furthermore, ISRAEL encourages Hamas and Hezbollah to ‘aggress’ militarily.

      There is no Palestinian State. There is an OCCUPATION of Palestinian territory. There is the daily reality of such an occupation. There is the siege of Gaza. There is the 10k+ dead Palestinians since the beginning of the 2nd Intifada versus the 1000-ish dead Israels. There is the 1300ish dead Palestinians in 22 days last December in Gaza. There is the continued colonization of Palestinian land. The continued abuse of Palestinian human rights and suppression of Palestinian right to self-determination.

      You are such a liar.

      It’s the United States who has destroyed an entire country (Iraq) and continuing to destroy an already destroyed country (Afghanistan) and while it’s fellow terrorist State (the Zionist State) has been at war since inception – is only able to exist as it is, because of the ethnic cleansing of 800K Palestinians.

      Everything you say is alien to the realities of this conflict. It begs the question: what is the context for your comments? Can you SUBSTANTIATE any of this context w/ empirical data? Cite sources? Which in-turn leads you to conclude that Iran would nuke Israel?

    • former coMMenter
      October 1, 2009, 11:04 am

      Richard, Israeli ambassador Michael Oren said recently during Yom Kippur services, “Peace is a great goal, we all desire it, but we’ve accomplished all that we’ve accomplished in the last six decades without peace.”

      Surely you must realize that conducting economic warfare and threatening military attack on Iran is not promoting peace, and not certainly not enticing Iran to come any closer to the bargaining table regarding Zionism.

      For some reason you favor a punitive, paranoid approach to Iran at the very same time that you stress understanding, patience, and trust for Israel as it colonizes, evicts, bombs, assassinates, abducts, and tortures.

      Why do you seem to judge Israel on a different scale than Iran?

    • Citizen
      October 1, 2009, 11:37 am

      OK, Witty, we get that you (as your version of a jew) needs to pretend reality is other than it is, and has been for a long time, especially as to the comparison of the various persian regimes with the Jewish, than Israeli regimes over the last
      century plus. You sow seeds of persian evil potential to the same degree you ignore
      jewish cum Israeli actual evil, all in the name of exclusively jewish “never again.”

      Why do you ignore Iran’s strategic situational and historical reality? Look at a map
      and judge Iran as you do Israel. Especially consider the Persian POV. I know, I know, you don’t have to. How many commenters on this sight come from a persian background? Lots of jews, lots of western goys. Can’t you ever get it in your head
      that this is a blog for those seeking to shed sunlight through the muzzle on US
      foreign policy? Who needs more of the same old hasbara, the same old MSM
      spiel? Bombing Iraq is not enough for you, you want to bomb Iran too? Your
      thought process goes back to PNAC, and it is why this blog exists. Your thought
      process in terms of upsetting the one-sided official and USA tax-paid balance
      is obscene. You’re comments are always peverted. The analogy that comes to mind is Roman Polanski’s rape of that 13 year old child. Too bad for you, Richard Witty,
      Phil, Adam, Guest writers, and commenters here on this blog remain sticklers for
      the key fact: She was 13. Don’t talk to us like we are 13 and drugged up with hasbara
      pills and champaign.

    • Shafiq
      October 1, 2009, 1:36 pm

      Ermm…Iran already has missiles capable of striking Israel.

      Iran has more reason to be fearful of a foreign attack. Just look at its history (what crime did Iran commit to deserve the Iran-Iraq war?) and the sabre-rattling by prominent Israeli and US politicians.

    • Mooser
      October 1, 2009, 3:07 pm

      Richard, why do you continually respond to someone, Phil Wiess, you have already convicted as “brainwashed” or purchased by the Palestinians? You have already judged him and announced he was a tool of the Gazans, in response to his posts from Gaza. And yet you still respond. Seems like it would be pretty useless, don’t it?
      Or do you just hurl around reckless and unsubstantiated charges? Nah, you wouldn’t be that kind of guy.
      Anyway, any time you want to substantiate your charges that Phil is in the pay or thrall to the Palestinians, be my guest. Until then, gosh, it gets just a little hard to take you seriously.

    • Shingo
      October 1, 2009, 3:36 pm

      Just to correct your hasbara proganda Richard:

      1) Not only is Iran not developing nukes, seeing as it has never attacked nother ocuntry in 300 years, there is no reason to suspect they would use nukes in a first strike against Israel.

      2) Israel is the provocateur in the region, not Iran.

      Hamas and Hezbollah exist in spite of Iran, not becasue of Iran and have their own agenda and policies. If anyone encrouages these groups to aggress militarily against Israel, it is Israel, who has shown a tendency to start fights with them.

      The definition of threart is 0% becasue there are zero nukes and none being made.

  2. bob
    October 1, 2009, 10:34 am

    Pines-Paz clapped loudly a couple of times, then strongly and emphatically said, “Wake up!”

    Reasoned debate, that is.

  3. potsherd
    October 1, 2009, 11:01 am

    That’s disappointing. I had thought better of P-P, who is one of the most reasonable Israeli politicians today. There really is no hope for Israel.

    • Mooser
      October 1, 2009, 3:11 pm

      There’s a lot of hope for Israel, actually. They are completely beholden to outside contributions for their level and manner of existence. Tremendous pressure could be brought to bear on them. Possibly even enough to save Israel from its leaders.

      • Citizen
        October 1, 2009, 3:45 pm

        Mooser, have you seen anything to suggest such real leverage might actually be used?
        I agree with you, it could be used “to save Israel from its leaders,” and BTW save
        the USA in the process. I see this obvious leverage withering on the vine, a victim
        of the fact that the USA is bought and sold; the only cure is a electoral campaign finance system that is paid for solely by us taxpayers, coupled with free access TV
        for campaign candidate stumping. Otherwise special interests rule, including the number two focused lobby, AIPAC.

      • potsherd
        October 1, 2009, 3:52 pm

        There will be no pressure on Israel. They will continue to march down the path to hell, dragging the world behind them.

      • Mooser
        October 1, 2009, 4:18 pm

        “Mooser, have you seen anything to suggest such real leverage might actually be used?”

        Nope, absolutely not. But if it was, and the Israelis didn’t instead go all Masada-ass on us, there is hope. Increased anti-Semitism and constant repitition that the Jews are the instigators of race-mixing and socialism will help, I would think.
        It’ll probably come to that.

    • Psychopathic god
      October 1, 2009, 5:21 pm


      There will be no pressure on Israel. They will continue to march down the path to hell, dragging the world behind them.

      If Iran is harmed, either by sanctions, which are, after all, an act of war if not indeed of genocide, or by a military attack, in which US will be held complicit whether or not US actively participates with Israel, if, I say, if Iran is harmed by the US-Israel war & propaganda machine, then the next Shoah will take place in the US.

      Of all the nations where Jews have dwelt, either of their own migratory volition (Egypt, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc) or as long-term “captives,” (Babylon/Persia/Baghdad), it was the Persians who treated Jews best (Egypt is a close second, but mostly shrouded in myth), where they dwelt longest and most prosperously. That Jews now join in vilifying Iran, condemning Iranian innocents to impoverishment through economic sanctions when not actually terrorizing Iranian civilians with threats of military attack, demonstrates a distinct lack of respect for history and an attitude of ingratitude.
      And since it does, Americans must observe and reflect on that ingratitude and how Israelis treat the nation that today shelters as many Jews as live in Israel, and supports militarily and economically those Jews who live in Israel: how does Israel treat the US?
      Why, Israel sticks its thumb in America’s eye by refusing the token step toward peace of disbanding settlements; Israel’s belligerence toward Iran appears to dismiss mindlessly the potential for enormous harm to US military in Iraq that would almost inevitably result from Israel military action against Iran, and is disdainful of the economic harm to the US that would result from economic sanctions on Iran.

      Eventually, Americans will come to understand that Israel was a prime mover in the woeful, if not desperate economic, social, and moral state the US finds itself.

      And then Americans will turn against Jews.

      Americans have been herded into a mob by Israeli propaganda.
      Mobs are fickle things — they have no brain, only brute muscle. It would take only the slightest misstep to turn that brute force against the ‘cowpokes’ who are prodding it toward the cliff.

      If I were Jewish in the US, I would be very afraid.
      As a non-Jew in the US, I am triply afraid: for what my country may be ‘prodded’ into doing to Iran; for how my country may react to that heinous act by turning on the ‘prodders,’ and for the lives of my children, who will be condemned to the same fate as two and more generations of Germans, unwittingly complicit in slaughter, and guilt-ridden for their participation in it, their inability to stop it.

      • Frankie P
        October 1, 2009, 8:09 pm

        Psychopathic God,

        It seems that from some of his recent posts even Mooser has come to the conclusion that the anti-Semitism will rear its head in America in a big way in the future, prodded out by the machinations of Zionists, both Jewish and Christain, and their continued insistence on giving Israel a blank check to both squash Arabs (Palestinian and in other countries) and take American succor and turn around and kick America in the balls.

        It almost reads like a sick real-life tragicomedy in which you know the ending, but you have no ability to influence the actions of the players.


      • Danaa
        October 1, 2009, 9:37 pm

        I agree that the kind of poison Israel is intent on injecting into american discourse – prodding it into actions most unwholesome – is bound to boomerang. It’s funny that Israel seems to be courting security through dragging others into the mud with them. Complain about gaza? what about iraq. they say. Gaza, you say. Falluja, they say. In time, the US and its armed forces will become as sullied as israel’s.

        Then one day, the good times will be over (which we now only dimly perceive). When that happens, american rage will be something to behold. We are seeing, BTW, an inkling of that – in the de-fcused rhetoric of the town hallers. What happens when the birthers discovers that democrats are ruled by brithers?

      • Chaos4700
        October 1, 2009, 9:55 pm

        You know… I would never want to believe that was possible, but I’ve learned over the past decade that there are some very truly awful things that Americans are still capable of.

        And maybe on some subconscious level, that’s what I fear. I don’t think Jews would be the only target if things get that bad in the US… but yes, they will be a target. And history repeating itself in that fashion would be beyond horrible.

        I had ancestors who left Germany and Poland quite a ways before WW2. I’d like to think they left because they had an inkling of the oncoming storm and they wanted no part of it (and maybe I am romanticizing, but still). For many months now (probably going on a year or more, even), I’ve had the urge to leave the United States, as much as I love dearly what this country used to stand for, much as I’d like to see it restored. And the implication of that pains me greatly.

      • Call Me Ishmael
        October 5, 2009, 7:47 pm

        Somebody said above that there would be a second Shoah in the U.S. Wrong.

        All that kind of talk does is create hysteria in the minds of nervous people, and a bunker, circle-the-wagons mentality. America is not Germany of the 1920’s-30’s – and never will be, no matter how bad it gets.

        Absolutely, there is going to be over time a marked increase in obvious anti-semitism. Jewish power in politics and the media seems to be leveling off now, and will steadily decline over the next couple of decades. This means that U.S. support for Israel will fall off markedly. Class warfare on the political front will cause fat cats in Wall Street, both Jews and others, to take cover. The percentage of non-Jews among prominent Americans will rise.

        But there will be no significant organized violence against Jews. Many Jews will continue to play prominent leadership roles in American society. What are you people thinking? Keep it real.

  4. David Samel
    October 1, 2009, 11:08 am

    When does the “threat” made by one country to attack another constitute sufficient cause for a pre-emptive attack, or even sanctions, on the “threatening” country?

    Iran’s “threat” was made by Ahmadinejad, who does not make the final decision, and more importantly, it was not an explicit threat to use the Iranian military against Israel. His explanation that he hoped Israel would disappear the way the Soviet Empire and apartheid South Africa did is completely plausible and consistent. While there has been controversy over the different English interpretations of his remarks, even the most extreme and questionable interpretations do not include a threat to use military force against Israel.

    On the other hand, Israel makes repeated, explicit threats about attacking Iran, and no one talks about a pre-emptive strike against Israel. (Of course, I agree that would be madness, but no more mad than an attack on Iran.) When you add that Israel is a know nuclear-armed country that refuses to sign the NPT and allow international inspections, while Iran signed the NPT and has allowed inspections, the difference in treatment is even more unjustifiable.

    Israel has nukes to deter others from attacking it (and hopefully for that reason only), but Iran must be attacked to prevent it from supposedly acquiring nukes (based upon extremely dubious evidence and analysis) even though Israel and to a slightly lesser extent the US have threatened a military attack. It seems that some countries have a license to attack, and others have no right to even defend themselves from attack. I honestly do not believe that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but if it was, it could be justified considering the threat it faces. If Israel truly feels threatened with annihilation, would it be willing to give up its own nukes as part of a regional no-nuke agreement? Of course not.

    One other point. Israel and its defenders howl in protest about the BDS movement, which will not take food out of the mouths of Israelis or expose them to health risks, yet strong sanctions against Iran, which have been known to take tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq, has now become the “peaceful” alternative to a military strike.

    This is the very definition of Bizarro-World.

    • potsherd
      October 1, 2009, 11:25 am

      I would like to see the “Iranian threat” always placed in quotes of unreliability, as Iranian “threat”. The Israeli and apologist press is constantly doing this with the “war crimes” of Israel in Gaza and Lebanon.

      To speak of “the Iranian threat” is to be complicit in the Big Lie that people like P-P are promulgating.

    • MRW
      October 1, 2009, 3:44 pm

      Good post, David Samel.

  5. potsherd
    October 1, 2009, 11:28 am

    I see that P-P claims, “Real economic sanctions can be very effective… The world should leave all options on the table.”

    Another argument for applying sanctions to Israel.

  6. Richard Witty
    October 1, 2009, 11:28 am


    Of course Iran has aggressed. Are you naive, Cliff?

    What do you do when you are awake is a different question.

    Did you read today’s NY Times report on Iran?

    link to nytimes.com

    Possibility of a Nuclear-Armed Iran Alarms Arabs

    CAIRO — As the West raises the pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, Arab governments, especially the small, oil-rich nations in the Persian Gulf, are growing increasingly anxious. But they are concerned not only with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran but also with the more immediate threat that Iran will destabilize the region if the West presses too hard, according to diplomats, regional analysts and former government officials.

    • Citizen
      October 1, 2009, 12:01 pm

      Of course Israel has aggressed. Are you naive, Witty?
      What you, Witty, do when you are awake is defend Israeli aggression and Uncle Sam’s enablement of same.
      What gives the NYT any credence? This is not the days of Vietnam War. It’s the days where The Israel Lobby had to be published from England as it was muzzled out here.

      I don’t blame the Arabian despot governments for being concerned. Who knows their masses might wake up as if they were ideal Americans who read Ron Paul
      on foreign policy and the Federal Reserve.

      • Colin Murray
        October 2, 2009, 4:50 am

        I don’t blame the Arabian despot governments for being concerned.

        When they are gone, especially Egypt, Israelis will rue the inability of their political establishment to make peace. No one knows when supplies of refinable petroleum will diminish to levels incapable of supporting modern militaries, but you can be sure that general staffs around the world are planning for it.

        This will probably severely reduce Israeli capability relative to neighboring Arab powers. If Israeli pol’s weren’t fools, they would be trying to establish good relations with and acceptance by common people in neighboring nations, not just their ruling autocratic elites who will eventually be deposed, if only by the next set. You can’t buy political compliance. You can only rent it, and only so long as the lessee decides to renew.

    • former coMMenter
      October 1, 2009, 12:43 pm

      The New York Times lied the U.S. into war with Judith Miller’s reports and yet it apparently remains Richard Witty’s go-to news source for information on Iran. How odd.

      Witty has no evidence that Iran has armed Hezbollah or Hamas, but simply parrots unreliable, unsourced speculation emanating from the U.S. media because he trusts certain sources and perspectives more than others.

      Witty did not protest against the invasion of Iraq, nor has he expressed any concern at the war-mongering and economic warfare being conducted against Iran.

      Witty makes it known that he is a proud Zionist.

      My conclusion is that he actually wants to give Americans the impression that Zionists are in favor of American wars of aggression in the Middle East.

      • Mooser
        October 1, 2009, 3:14 pm

        My conclusion is that he actually wants to give Americans the impression that Zionists are in favor of American wars of aggression in the Middle East

        Wait a minute, I would have thought that Zionism, being a creature of the left, would be against the American agressive wars? Right, Zionism is mostly Jews, and therefore, Zionism must be in there with Socialism and Communism, right?

      • Citizen
        October 1, 2009, 3:49 pm

        Why would anyone think that lebensraum Zionism was a creature of the Left?

      • Mooser
        October 1, 2009, 4:20 pm

        Sure, cause “lebensraum” has been the cry of socialists since time immemorial, huh? Isn’t that the name of their theme-song, “The Lebensraum”?

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 5:46 pm

        Bother to find out truth about my attitudes and actions before you shoot, MM.

        I objected to the war in Iraq.

        I am a proud Zionist. I regard the motive, most of the method, and the ideology of Israel’s founding to be morally defensible, and inspiring to those hundreds of thousands that were denied refuge by any Western or eastern powers leading up to, during and following WW2.

        And, I am a currently proud Zionist, even as I severely criticize policies (settlement expansion) and excesses. I do not support the castration of the Israeli defense, just insist that it conduct actual defense and professionally.

        I am very much opposed to Hamas terror and agitation to remove Israel from existence as Israel.

        I describe partition as optimizing self-governance, in contrast to the alternatives which impose on the governed more than they realize consent of the governed.

      • Donald
        October 1, 2009, 10:25 pm

        ” I am a proud Zionist. I regard the motive, most of the method, and the ideology of Israel’s founding to be morally defensible”

        Since the method included ethnic cleansing and had to include ethnic cleansing or there would not be a democratic Jewish state (and included shooting Palestinian civilians who tried to return home), this ringing proclamation sounds remarkably like the ravings of a jingoist.

        A decent Zionist would admit that Israel’s founding was a moral disgrace in many ways, just as sensible Americans admit that our country grew through land theft and ethnic cleansing on a larger scale. But the “proud Zionist” is in the embarrassing position where the expelled population rivals the size of the expellers and seems resentful about the process, so either the “proud Zionist” rethinks his moral position, or he (proud liberal that he is) acts like a jingoistic American upon being told that America tortures–he denies the torture or says it is justifiable.

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 10:59 pm

        Most of the method was developing of community, social institutions, agriculture, economy, social welfare, law.

        The elements that are clearly ethnic cleansing were mostly done by the Irgun.

        A lot of what is called ethnic cleansing early was overt purchases of land in which fellahin resided, and miscommunication and fraud as to what their rights entailed.

        The remaining incidents of ethnic cleansing occurred DURING war. If you find that those are clear and unequivocal, then we live on different planets.

      • Shingo
        October 2, 2009, 5:21 am

        “The elements that are clearly ethnic cleansing were mostly done by the Irgun.”

        The leader of which, was later elected to the office of Prime Minister.

        “A lot of what is called ethnic cleansing early was overt purchases of land in which fellahin resided, and miscommunication and fraud as to what their rights entailed.”

        Rubbish. There was no overt purchases of land, becasue the Palestinian landlords refused to sell. This is what brought on the enthnic cleansing. Why would people who had lived on a land for centuries and had nowhere to go, sell their land?

        ” If you find that those are clear and unequivocal, then we live on different planets. ”

        What you mean is that you have your propaganda and you are lnot letting go of it.

      • Shingo
        October 2, 2009, 5:23 am

        “I am very much opposed to Hamas terror and agitation to remove Israel from existence as Israel.”

        But Hamas have already accepted the existence of Israel by defacto, though their support for a 2 state solution. Rather than accept this reality, you close your eyes to this fact because it is Israel that stands opposed to a settlement when the existence of Israel would become widely accepted in the Arab world.

      • Citizen
        October 2, 2009, 7:51 am

        Jews purchased about 6% of the land, and they began total war on the Pals in 1947, and were expanding, grabbing land left and right before announcement of the Israel state in 1948.

      • Donald
        October 2, 2009, 8:35 am

        “The elements that are clearly ethnic cleansing were mostly done by the Irgun.”


      • Donald
        October 2, 2009, 8:42 am

        More on the ethnic cleansing–


      • Donald
        October 2, 2009, 8:50 am

        And one more link on the ethnic cleansing


        Anyway, what Richard just did in blaming it on Irgun is his usual stance–he tries to blame all crimes on the right and whitewashes the role of the supposed liberal Zionists. And the ethnic cleansing process didn’t stop in 1948–in “Israel’s Border Wars”, Benny Morris describes how several thousand Palestinians who crossed the border were shot and according to him, only a small minority were armed. Preventing the refugees from returning is part of ethnic cleansing and that was policy, accompanied by cold blooded murder.

      • Donald
        October 2, 2009, 12:06 pm

        And yet another link, this time an interview with Benny Morris, where he comes out with his own brands of racism. But he also acknowledges that Haganah forces committed many of the atrocities in 1948. And Ben Gurion covered up for the crimes.

        I actually would have thought everyone here knew all this, especially somebody with Richard W’s proclaimed knowledge of the subject.



      • Richard Witty
        October 3, 2009, 9:12 pm

        Re: Irgun and Haganah.

        The word “most” means “all” to you.

        Also, if you read the Bennie Morris interview, you’d note that he specifically described that the behavior of forced removal and organized violence by Haganah forces was NOT ordered through the chain of command. It was not “official policy” as is described.

        Its hard to know if it was individuals’ bad judgement under extreme stress, or implied by general consent if not overtly ordered.

        I like Bennie Morris’ work, and even much (not all) of his recent interviews, but I tend to read him and other Zionists more charitably than you.

      • Shingo
        October 3, 2009, 9:22 pm

        “Also, if you read the Bennie Morris interview, you’d note that he specifically described that the behavior of forced removal and organized violence by Haganah forces was NOT ordered through the chain of command. It was not “official policy” as is described.”

        Bennie Morris is clearly in denial about this, given that:

        a) Zionists were openyl discussin ghte forced removal of Palestinians since Hertzl.

        b) The aim of a Jewish state with a Jewish majority would never had been realized oir possible without the ethnic cleansing. So according to Morris, we are to believe that, while the Jewish majority was a dream of the Zionists, it all happened b y accident.

        I’m sur eyou do like Bennie Morris’ work, after all, Morris has argued that the problem with the ethnic cleasing of 1048 is not that it happened, but that is was left unfinished.

    • Shingo
      October 1, 2009, 3:44 pm


      You’ve given up even presenting facts.

      How does an article entitled “Possibility of a Nuclear-Armed Iran Alarms Arabs ” prove that Iran is prusuing nukes as is an aggressor?

      The Arab governments that are are growing increasingly anxious are those that are agreeing to or lending support to a US and/or Israeli srtike on Iran. They’re anzious becasue of the consequences of a war and Iran’s retaliation.

      So your logic is that it’s Iran’s fault if the US, illegally and without basis, presses Iran too hard. You remind me of the head of the IAF who consideres anti aricraft missiles in Iran a threat to Israel should Israel decide to attack.

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 5:52 pm

        I don’t know that Iran is pursuing nuclear arms.

        I know that they are actively agitating for Israel to not exist, and pursuing nuclear development in a form that could easily morph to nuclear arms quickly, if “needed”.

        Yesterday, Ahmenidijad stated that Iran would be willing to cease development of high-grade uranium, that they would willingly buy it from third parties. I don’t know if that is even a short-cut to acquiring the highly processed uranium for bomb purposes but without putting in the time themselves. Hard to know. Maybe someone else can comment on 17.5% enriched uranium vs 3.5%.

        The Arab governments are concerned that a nuclear armed Iran will not be a peer, but pressure continually with the threat of retaliation if they are provoked.

        It is a destabalizing escalation on their part.

        Its sad that the logic of the left is so opposition oriented that individuals cannot form independent questions even, but can only address issues in either/or terms.

      • Chaos4700
        October 1, 2009, 7:59 pm

        “I know that they are actively agitating for Israel to not exist,,,”

        Bzzt! Wrong answer. See, this is what happens when you go to MEMRI for Farsi translations.

        link to arbeiterfotografie.com

        Incidentally, I’m curious. Were you in suspended animation when Israel agitated to destabilize Iran by helping us sell arms to dissident Iranian factions during the Iran-Contra scandal? The fact that Israel has been a threat to Iran for a long long time seems to have totally slipped your mind. Fancy that.

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 11:01 pm

        You are the fifth person that I’ve presented this to.

        link to web.archive.org

        This was the source of the Al Jazeera report, which was picked up by the Washington Post, then other major newspapers.


      • Shingo
        October 2, 2009, 5:30 am


        Iran are not “actively agitating for Israel to not exist”, they are actively agitating for regime change in Palestine, which is exactly what Isrle are agitating for in Tehran.

        No, the shift to nuclear arms production is not an easy one either. Even if Iran were to success in achieving 90% + enrichment, the art of producing a fucntional nuke is still very difficult.

        Andfor the record, Ahmenidijad did not state that Iran would be willing to cease development of high-grade uranium, becasue Iran has never enriched high-grade uranium. They have enriched yellowcake to 3-4%, which is the erichment required for nuclear fuel. What Ahmenidijad said that Iran would be pprepared to send low entiched uranium to Russia for processing into fuel for nuclear power.

        17.5% enriched uranium is no more useful for nuclear weapons than 3.5%.

        The only destabalizing escalation is comming from Israel, who just snubbed the idea of signing the NPT, and the West. Even the Emirates are looking to move to nuclear power to maximize profits from oil sales.

        You are a prime example of why a little knowledgel, is a dangerous thing, especially when combined with rigid ideology.

      • Chaos4700
        October 2, 2009, 8:04 am

        Witty do you seriously not care about the ACTUAL WORDS that came out of Ahmedinejad’s mouth? If the Washington Post told you to jump off a bridge, would you do that too?

      • Richard Witty
        October 2, 2009, 9:23 am

        You define the term “I don’t know” to mean a “rigidly held ideology”.


        Experiment with appealing to liberals’ sensitivities, if you desire any change.

        You won’t reach us by habitual condemnation and knee-jerk reaction to wording that you don’t bother to clarify.

        The prior Hamas strategy was successful for Hamas at getting them to majority or significant minority support among impoverished Palestinians. But, it has been a permanent and utter failure at persuasion or progressive social change.

        As a Zionist, I am lumped in with Netanyahu’s cynical ambitions, though I personally reject them. You are similarly now lumped in with Hamas, including their history of gruesome terror.

        The only way either of us can get past those external prejudicial lumping is by our consideration of the other, and by dissenters’ appealing to liberal sensitivity, rather than radical, if they desire any movement beyond the angry and hateful “converted”.

      • Chaos4700
        October 2, 2009, 2:32 pm

        Misery loves company, does it? I don’t think your false equivalences are working Witty. You claim to reject strategies of people like Nentanyahu but then, in the end, you get right behind them like a good little Zionist and tug on the rope anyway.

      • Shingo
        October 2, 2009, 4:38 pm

        “Experiment with appealing to liberals’ sensitivities, if you desire any change.”

        Now that’s what’s odd. First you speak of liberals in the third person, even though you insist you are one, and secondly as for your desire for change, that is highly suspect, seeing as your recipe for change has yielded no change whatsoever, and looks unlikely to.

        Israel’s critics are not interested in reaching you my milyy codding and rewarding your bad behavior, even though you insist this is the only legitimate option. Issraelis propagandists have long argued that the only thing the Arabs understand is foce, which is probably a case of projection.

        The Hamas strategy of achieving majority was to allow Fatah to self destruct.

        In any case, Hamas are in no positioin to affect change. Israle have demonstrated that wthether Hamas are observing a ceasefire, launching rockets or carrying out suicide bombings, the reponse from Israel will always ben the same – collective punichment and contempt for international law.

        You claim to reject Netanyahu’s cynical ambitions, though you reject any measures to force him to change direction, so whether you reject Netanyahu’s policies is doubtful. And if you want to describe Hamas’ terror as gruesome, one need only multiply that by an order of magnitude and tar you with that association.

        Israel has been considered. It has a state. It has what it is entitled to have and it also has what it is not entitled too. Pretending that the magnitude of the grivances and injustice is eually shared on both sides is fraudulent.

      • Richard Witty
        October 3, 2009, 4:55 am

        Well, Chaos and Shingo,
        You are demonstrating how not to appeal to liberal sensitivities.

        First is the straw dog approach. You seem to be addressing me, then insert what Netanyahu states or the “MSM”.

        Its a projection of your fears, rather than an exploration of “what really occurred”, “what is the significance of what occurred”, and “what is possible to do”.

        Its a description of the vanity of outrage, or anger. (Vanity meaning self-advertising, AND inneffective). In contrast, the attitude of responsibility includes the requirement to dissent, but for the purpose of mutually beneficial change.

        So, even as Obama is accused of inneffectiveness and insufficient commitment, I believe that his approach is the right one, and deserves support and encouragement.

        The left FAILS him in its condemnation. “I condemn” as favorite phrase. Rather than shifting the balance of intention and perception (J street), the left then reinforces the regressive.

      • Shingo
        October 3, 2009, 8:18 am

        Your arguments are increasingly patetic Ricahard,

        “The American political editors of the Washington Post should know Farsi better than the Iranian English language press corps”, is what you are saying.

        Has it occured to you that Juna Cole does in fact know English better that the Iranian English language press corps and thus is better able to arrive at a correct translation.

        You’re desperateyl tryign to breathe like into a talking point that has long been debunked. I suggest you give it up.

  7. Donald
    October 1, 2009, 11:37 am

    Juan Cole’s take–


    • Richard Witty
      October 1, 2009, 12:00 pm

      “Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war modern history (unlike the US or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of “no first strike.””

      Those receiving Iranian encouragement, funding, training, weaponry, and some say direct orders have aggressed on Israel by shelling civilians with rockets and other terror incidents.

      The “wipe Israel off the map” came from the Iranian Press Service, NOT from an external translation.

      The ambiguity of the centrifuges is conveniently deniable, and can go military quickly. Iran has demonstrated missiles capable of reaching Israel, if not Europe.

      Again, you dismiss the incremental, “I dare you to mess with me” approach that allows Iran to harass until the “other” strikes first.

      It IS similar to the nazi diplomatic approach of the mid-30’s, relative to Austria and Czechoslavakia.

      • Citizen
        October 1, 2009, 12:08 pm

        Not similar at all. Appeasing Israel makes the problem for the USA. Exactly the reverse. Witty is the appeaser, Israel is the proponent of lebensraum. Nowadays they call it “natural growth.” Uncle Sam is a sucker; ever more American blood and treasure
        to enhance Israel lebensraum.

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 1:27 pm

        Actually Citizen, I oppose settlement expansion.

        Better to get your facts straight. (But that won’t stop you likely).

      • LeaNder
        October 1, 2009, 3:06 pm

        Could you tell us which parts of what country have just been handed to the Iranians and to satisfy the hunger for space? Is it in the east too? Who were the two other countries who got a slice of Iran?

        It IS similar to the nazi diplomatic approach of the mid-30’s, relative to Austria and Czechoslavakia.

        Simply unbelievable our arduous parrot, I am assuming no one has ever heard this meme before. Right? Absolutely innovative.

      • Shafiq
        October 1, 2009, 3:13 pm

        So, you’re allowed to compare Iran to Nazi Germany but comparing Israel to Nazi Germany (which has slightly more legitimacy) is out of bounds? Your hypocrisy is unbelievable.

        And don’t give me the bullshit about alarmed Arabs. Most of them don’t really give a crap. Especially those are the supposed targets, like the Gulf States.

      • MRW
        October 1, 2009, 3:50 pm

        The “wipe Israel off the map” came from the Iranian Press Service, NOT from an external translation.

        Absolute BS, Richard. The original translation came from MEMRI, the ‘free’ translation service. There is no phrase in Farsi that translates into “wipe Israel off the map.” Furthermore, Ahmadinejad was quoting the Ayatollah Khomeini who said that the Zionist regime would pass into the pages of time. Ahmadinejad was quoting the Ayatollah referring to the current government of Israel.

        Here’s a link if you are too lazy to research this on your own. You could not be more wrong, and this has been thoroughly documented.
        link to informationclearinghouse.info

      • Shingo
        October 1, 2009, 3:51 pm

        “Those receiving Iranian encouragement, funding, training, weaponry, and some say direct orders have aggressed on Israel by shelling civilians with rockets and other terror incidents.”

        Thew only onles who say “direct orders have aggressed on Israel” is Netenyahu and Isreli hawks, who’ve been lobbying the narrtive to make any conflict with Hamas or Hezbollah, all about Iran, even though both were created as a conssequence fo Israeli poicy and actions, not Irans.

        The “wipe Israel off the map” statement never happened. It was debunked by those who do speak Farsi.

        There is no ambiguity of the centrifuges, and no they cannot go military quickly. before they go military, Iran woudl have to withdraw from the NPT and kick out the IAEA inspectors, befor they could even begin, which would telegraph any such intentions.

        So what if Iran has demonstrated missiles capable of reaching Israel, Israel has demonstrated missiles capable of reaching Israel, and they happen to be carrying nukes, all 200+ of them.

        Israel has brandished the “I dare you to mess with me”, slogan for decades, but that’s permitted. In your mind, Muslim and Arab states have no right o defend themselves. Only Israel.

        “Iran to harass until the “other” strikes first.”

        How ironic that you have argued for months that this is what Israel did, but it was Hamas’ fault for retaliating. I’m sure you’ll readily shift the goal posts in the case of Iran.

      • MRW
        October 1, 2009, 3:53 pm

        Those receiving Iranian encouragement, funding, training, weaponry, and some say direct orders have aggressed on Israel by shelling civilians with rockets and other terror incidents.

        So the propaganda goes but all you have for proof are American MSM assertions that Iran is funding and training Hamas and Hezbollah. There is equal written proof that the opposite is true.

      • MRW
        October 1, 2009, 3:56 pm

        The ambiguity of the centrifuges is conveniently deniable, and can go military quickly.

        Hunh? This makes no sense. The ambiguity of the centrifuges? can go military quickly?

        (1) There is no ambiguity about the centrifuges. Read the IAEA report.

        (2) Ari Fleischer during a WH Press Gaggle:“The more uranium you have, the fewer centrifuges you need to produce a nuclear weapon. So that, in and of itself, should not surprise anybody.”http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/07/20030712-11.html

      • Citizen
        October 1, 2009, 4:08 pm

        Witty says, “It IS similar to the nazi diplomatic approach of the mid-30’s, relative to Austria and Czechoslavakia.”

        How so, Witty? Considering Iran, not a premptive war regime, yet surrounded by lands suffering from USA attacks, and inundated by “bomb, bomb Iran” in USA recent USA history rhetoric, and given democratic Iran was punished by a USA
        determined to stick in the Shah as a proxy government, and that the USA furnished
        WMD poison for Iraq to kill Iran, who really wonders at Iran’s current stance? Why does Witty bring up Chamberlain a la 1930’s Czechland? Talk about turning the reality on its head. Witty is very dangerous–a guy protected by goy cops who argues goys are the problem. He’s a total traitor.

      • Psychopathic god
        October 1, 2009, 5:32 pm

        Ahmadinejad is Churchill; Obama is Chamberlain

        Israel is expansionist; Obama is doing all in his power to enable Israel and call it “peace in our time.”

        In grand irony, Ahmadinejad stands in Churchill’s shoes (that same Churchill that reduced Iran to Great Britain’s personal oil depot, then destroyed Iran’s rising democracy when Mossadeqh demanded that UK actually PAY for its oil supplies) as a lion that roars against the expansionist entity, and who defends with certain rhetorical, um, flair, as well as irrefutable logic, the integrity and sovereignty of Iran.

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 5:55 pm

        I’ve posted the originating IRIB memorandum a dozen times here, and once specifically for you.

        Here it is again.

        link to web.archive.org

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 6:00 pm

        The similarity between 1935 Germany and current Iran is in the daring to confront us theme.

        The term I used was nazi “diplomatic” approach. Please take care to distinguish what is actually said from what you imagine.

        Iran has not declared an intent for additional territory, but does agitate for regional power through influence, with the proposed power to lead/dominate the Islamic world, as Shia.

        Israel currently is in process of expropriating land, hopefully with some limit.

        The relationships between Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran are not entirely independent.

      • Chaos4700
        October 1, 2009, 8:01 pm

        Yes. Witty. Of course Witty. And al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were in bed together too.

      • Cliff
        October 1, 2009, 10:20 pm

        Witty, that analogy – like most anything else you say – is dishonest and shallow.

        is in the daring to confront us theme.

        How lame. Yes, the ‘daring to confront us’ theme has been exhibited by every country whenever it’s been challenged in some way. Israel has done the same by condeming the Goldstone report.

        You know, I’m giving you too much credit. That line is just total nonsense. You might as well say that Iran is like Nazi Germany because both ‘Nazi’ and ‘Iran’ have 4 letters.

        You are a liar.

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 11:05 pm


        Its information. Take it in and use it as you wish per your conscience.

        I am not advocating armed attacks against Iran, nor EVER suggested anything similar towards Iraq. You boys (I assume that you are young and male) don’t have a clue about others’ attitudes or actions, but you nevertheless impugn.

        It is NOT a moral high ground.


      • Chaos4700
        October 2, 2009, 8:10 am

        Yeah, nobody cares about your fake so-called credentials as a “liberal,” Witty. You can paint the word “liberal” all over yourself as often as you like but your positions have absolutely nothing to do with genuine liberalism.

        The whole stupid argoment you’re forwarding about Ahmedinejad is the prime example. “Well this article says this and that newspaper says that and so forth so I believe it” and then you totally refuse to look at the ACTUAL WORDS. The original source.

        And you expect us to believe you were a strong opponent of Iraq? When you’re still falling for the lies? You expect us to believe that? I think you’re a just dishonest person who’s jumping on the bandwagon after the fact. I was actually at anti-war protests and while we wouldn’t recognize each other on sight, I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t have seen you there anyway. You were too busy giving triple-A ratings to toxic assets.

      • Richard Witty
        October 2, 2009, 9:28 am

        Do you presume that when I post an article’s reference, that that is my voice?

        You presume wrong.

        Its information.

        Perhaps that is your method, should I assume that every word in an article that you reference is your voice? Phil’s?

        You’d have to actually dialog to discern my views, which you really never do.

        I regard you as gullible. There was an old Jefferson Airplane song.

        “Crazy Miranda.
        Lives on propaganda.
        She believes everything that she reads.
        Be it Time, Life, or Free Press.”

        It is possible to be critical and skeptical of Iran’s positions, AND critical and skeptical of likud or neo-conservative.

        Ask, rather than assume.

        I’m not particularly candid relative to insult, so its unlikely that that method will invoke candor.

      • Chaos4700
        October 2, 2009, 2:36 pm

        Yeah, well, Witty, I regard you as a phony liberal with questionable moral fiber and no intellectual integrity whatsoever. Since your not really candid at all, whether or not your insulted doesn’t really matter to me.

        No go back to saying, “B-b-b-but it’s the Palestinians fault! They elected Hamas and Israel has to defend itself with war crimes which I regret and so will only half heartedly endorse!”

      • Diane Mason
        October 2, 2009, 8:42 pm

        Richard, the Iranian Press Service/IRIB does not produce scholarly translations of Persian-language texts on complicated policy issues. It is a news site that produces quick, short, précis-length articles intended to give a brief summary of the major Iranian news events of the day, not deep analysis or explanation or exegesis. Unfortunately, its English-language stories give those quick summaries in very poor English. The level of English proficiency at IRIB is perhaps freshman level for a speaker of English as a second language. The quality of IRIB’s paragraphs in English ranges from A. containing grammatical errors yet still basically comprehensible down to B. a sequence of words that individually exist in English, but not necessarily coherent in the order IRIB prints them.

        Here are the top stories currently on IRIB’s English-language front page:

        1. Spokesman of opposition (sic) in the IRI parliament emphasized on (sic) the right of Iranians in (sic) having nuclear technology.

        2. IRI Ambassador in Damascus said Iran would not yield to the western countries (sic) threats. Answering a Tishrin question about recent accusation on IRI’s nuclear programs Ahmad Mousavi said, “(sic) Islamic Republic of Iran acts in complete accordance with the Islamic codes. Producing nuclear weapons is banned by Islam and the Leader of Revolution’s decree”.

        3. IRI Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said the time is ripe for the United Nations to bring the Zionist regime’s heads (sic) to war tribunals for committing war crimes during the 22-day Gaza war in 2008. Addressing an open session of Majlis on Wednesday, Larijani referred to the recent report of the U.N. fact-finding mission which said the Zionist regime had committed barbaric acts and war crimes against the innocent Palestinians during their war on Gaza.

        Larijani said although the report revealed little parts (sic) of the inhuman acts, it clearly said that the Zionist regime has used phosphorus bombs against the innocent people of Gaza and attacked mosques, hospitals and homes in the city.

        Lrijani (sic) said the Zionist regime was not entitled to commit the sacriligous (sic) act (sic) against Islam’s first qibla, adding the savage action was in fact incited by the new American plans which opened the way for the Zionist regime to take such measures.

        4. Secretary of IRI Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili left Tehran for Geneva to attend the Group 5+1 meeting slated for Thursday. Prior to his departure on Wednesday, Jalili told reporters that the Islamic Republic of Iran will approach the talks with a positive and good resolve. He stated that IRI considers the talks as strategic, long-term and based on cooperation, adding however that the the (sic) look (sic) is related to the 5+1 Group’s interaction and that Tehran hopes it would be an opportunity for further cooperation.

        (sic) Secretary of SNSC stated that IRI’s cooperation with the world is based on peace, justice and in line with development of all nations. He said Iran’s potentials (sic) in national, regional and international arena and its capabilities for cooperation in all fields including the world security and economic issues are good opportunities for talks.

        Your confidence that the IRIB story you repeatedly link to is some kind of definitive insight into the meaning of Ahmadinejad’s original words in Persian is simply misplaced. As with all IRIB articles, that article is simply a brief overview by a news organization that doesn’t offer detailed analysis, doesn’t do English particularly well, and had no idea that its quick summary was going to be seized upon by Western Zionists as some kind of etymologically-definitive account of Ahmadinejad’s speech. IRIB does not claim to provide that kind of news analysis, and its limited English translation skills would simply not be up to it anyway.

      • Richard Witty
        October 3, 2009, 5:01 am

        The significance of the Iranian press service issuing a translation, is that that defines what Ahmenidijad said.

        Al-Jazeera, then the Washington Post then can assume that that is what Ahmenidijad meant.

        It must be a great embarrassment to them. It is a different assertion than Juan Cole, or the gullible here suggest. “Thats not what he said”.

        “The American political editors of the Washington Post should know Farsi better than the Iranian English language press corps”, is what you are saying.

        And, in saying that you are saying that Iran’s adherence to law and clarity in all things, is therefore more trustable.

      • Donald
        October 3, 2009, 8:39 am

        “The significance of the Iranian press service issuing a translation, is that that defines what Ahmenidijad said.”

        It supplied what may have been an inaccurate translation of what he said.

        I’m qualifying my statement because I don’t speak Farsi and have to rely on Juan Cole. You don’t qualify your statement because you have your preferred storyline and you’re going to stick to it even when presented with clear evidence that the people at the Iranian press service have second-rate English language skills.

        Which, as it happens, is consistent with your normal pattern.

      • Chaos4700
        October 3, 2009, 9:01 am

        Like I said, does anybody really buy it when Witty claims now that he was against the Iraq war? If he’s unwilling to confront the truth of Ahmedinejad’s words, does anyone really think he cared about false intel about Iraq?

        You know, a lot of people respect you because they think you’re smart, Witty. I don’t.

  8. eljay
    October 1, 2009, 11:43 am

    North Korea: Nukes. Not attacked, invaded or occupied.
    Iraq: No nukes. Attacked, invaded, occupied.
    Afghanistan: No nukes. Attacked, invaded, occupied.
    Iran: No nukes. You know the rest.

    The head of a prominent research center in Dubai said that it might even be better if the West — or Israel — staged a military strike on Iran, rather than letting it emerge as a nuclear power.

    What is the name of this “prominent research center”? What are its affiliations?

    But Arab analysts are also not sure how the United States and its allies should proceed. Mr. Zaki and others offered little advice, other than to call on Washington to press to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which many see as the root cause of regional instability.

    Someone has failed to inform the “Arab analysts” that the I-P conflict has nothing to do with the state of affairs in the Middle East. It’s about “terror” and nothing else.

    • Citizen
      October 1, 2009, 12:12 pm

      The USA is in cahoots with all those Arab regimes that milk their own populace, in the same way the USA has done in S America. Why not? The bipartisan USA regime does the same thing on the domestic front.

  9. Rehmat
    October 1, 2009, 12:39 pm

    Zionist regime is not worried about the possible nuclear-armed Islamic-regime in Tehran – because it already have over 240 nuclear bombs plus protected by over 10,000 nuclear bombs possessed by the US and France. What the Zionist-regime is worried about is its nuclear-clout in the Middle East being having an “invincible army” – which in fact was shattered during 34-day war in 2006 by the fact that during the last days of the war, Israel dumped 30,000 of its well-equiped soldiers backed by F16s against less than 2000 Hizb’Allah fighters.

    Zionists’ Hasbara lies were exposed by Professor Yakov M. Rabkin (University of Montreal) in
    “A Tale of Two Claims: Ahmadinejad and the Jews”
    link to acjna.org

    How ZOG leaders are obsessed in showing their obedience to the Zionist -regime, can be found here:
    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

  10. gmeyers
    October 1, 2009, 12:51 pm

    At then end of the day this is about the power balance in the region: Iran wants to project power in the region (with or without nuclear weapons and the West doesn’t want to yield any (when’s the last time the West relinquished any power willingly, anywhere?)

    It’s an interesting case demonstrating the US – Israeli symbiotic relationship: Israel plays ‘damsel in distress’ and the US her ‘protector/rescuer’ (who on earth believes Israel cannot fend for herself? Even Ehud Barak is candid about that!)

    This way the US gets to bludgeon the potential usurper Iran, while Israel gets to keep the Palestinian question out of the spotlight as much as possible. Pure genius, really…

    Rewind to 1953 and press ‘Play’…

    • Citizen
      October 1, 2009, 4:15 pm

      Yeah, gemyers, you got it right; press to 1953 after replay. Witty will won’t do it. I’m not even sure Phil will do it. But Average Americans should do it.

      • Mooser
        October 1, 2009, 4:32 pm

        No need to press “rewind”. It would be a lot easier just to wait a bit. Israel is in big trouble, as far as any kind of long-range continuity is concerned. No way they can go another fifty years, even. And with their most uncritical supporters in America beginning to wake up to the facts, I think it’s just a matter of time.

        I tell you again: Israel never inteneded, to be left alone in the Nid East with surrounding “Arab” nations that were free and independent of colonial control.
        Remember, it wasn’t the “Arabs” the Zionists had to finagle permission out of for a Jewish National Homeland. It was the British, and the ZIonists always thought of Israel with in the context of a colonially controlled Middle East. If they can’t drag someone in, and I really doubt they will in the way they need, it’s all downhill for Israel. The only question is whether the idea of living in the Holy Land is so precious to Israelis that they will stay there under new more sustainable conditions, and make the compromises which need to be made, or whether they would prefer to be rescued, or want national suicide. It’s up to them.

        I’m pretty sure they will go with national suicide, but what do I know.

      • Call Me Ishmael
        October 2, 2009, 12:46 am

        Mooser says:

        “No way they can go another fifty years, even. And with their most uncritical supporters in America beginning to wake up to the facts, I think it’s just a matter of time.”

        I’m intrigued. Time for what?

        Fifty years and no more, of Israel as it is, is too long to be of much relief for Palestinians alive today (remember them?).

        On my pessimistic days, which are every other day, I am inclined to agree with your assessment here. But on the days in between I believe that it is technically feasible for Israel to save itself. All that is required is for the Israelis to decide to make peace with the Palestinians. The Palestinians are ready to make peace, given a chance.

        Impossible? Not really. Everyone knows essentially what an agreement acceptable to the Palestinians looks like. It looks like the Geneva agreement and the 2002 Arab League Peace Initiative, reinforced in 2006. With modifications, Israel could live with that agreement if it wanted to, and if it were successfully implemented.

        Besides the need for international peacekeepers for a while, successful implementation requires something special from the Israelis: a determination to form a regional economic partnership with the new Palestine next door and with Jordan and Lebanon. It’s doable if the Israelis simply declare and keep declaring that that is what they want.

        I know this sounds far-fetched given the extreme antagonisms (and racial hatred} existing now on both sides. But on the Palestinian side I do believe (OK, from what little I know) that honest overtures from Israel to reconcile differences (and refrain from state-sponsored and -encouraged violence) would prompt quick reciprocation. The Palestinians are much wearier of all this than are the Israelis.

        You say, “And with their most uncritical supporters in America beginning to wake up to the facts ….” But you see, that’s where the hope lies. The Israelis (like the Palestinians) cannot pull themselves out of the morass by their own bootstraps. They have to understand that America requires them to do it. Especially, they have to understand that American Jews require them to do it. As long as they believe that neocons and the likudnid lobby can control the U.S. government, they will not budge for any American administration.

        That’s why non-Zionist Jews are key. American gentiles are not going to create much effect unless they start rioting in the streets, and I/P is too far down on their list of things to riot about. Jews have more freedom to accomplish things through discussion.

        PIP Jews need to work all available channels with their fellow Zionist tribesmen to convince them that Israel is in need of saving, that there is a way called “peace”, and that it is the only way. Then they need to convince them that something like the process I outlined above can achieve that peace. With pressure and appropriate assistance from America.

        In this way, American Jews can actually save the world if they put their minds and hearts into it.

        PS – I should say, though, that the process I described above will have a lower prospect for success if Israel, and American Jews, insist on maintaining the principle of “The Jewish State of Israel”. What I think liberal-progressive American Jews should try to promote is the ideal of “The Democratic State of Israel”, with what that actually does imply: full rights of citizenship for all citizens, regardless of ….

        For what it’s worth, the ideal that I would envision for Israel is a democratic nation embedded within a regional economic cooperative of nations, one in which Jews (and Arabs) have some freedoms to live, travel, and do business throughout the region. That’s the final status I would like to see and, as I said above, every other day I think it’s doable.

        Perhaps you think that much may be doable, but is not really desirable?

  11. gmeyers
    October 1, 2009, 12:53 pm

    Does anyone believe neocons care about ‘women’s rights’ or ‘Persian gays’?

    • Dan Kelly
      October 1, 2009, 4:51 pm

      Excellent point.

      And on the other “side,” liberals care about these issues so much that they eventually end up endorsing wars in order to eradicate the hatred.

      Either way, the targeted country is ripe for military aggression.

  12. Citizen
    October 1, 2009, 4:16 pm

    Neocons simply want to use American bodies and money to bolster Israel uber alles,

  13. Mooser
    October 1, 2009, 4:36 pm

    “It IS similar to the nazi diplomatic approach of the mid-30’s, relative to Austria and Czechoslavakia.”
    Richard Witty

    Richila, don’t ever complain when people compare something Israel does to something Nazi. You lost your right to that.

  14. MRW
    October 1, 2009, 4:42 pm

    From a link given above, Richard, published in The American Council for Judaism journal:

    Wipe Israel Off the Map

    In his speech, when the Iranian president reportedly first made the remark, the word “map” does not even appear. In fact, he was rehashing one of Ayatollah Khomeini’s decades-old anti-Zionist diatribes: Esrâ’il bâyad az sahneyeh roozégâr mahv shavad, which means “Israel must vanish from the page of time.” After the canard about “wiping Israel off the map” circled the world and entered the public mind, some Israeli instigators of the anti-Iran campaign quietly dropped it from further use. A recent report about Iran published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), a Zionist think tank particularly active in stirring the anti-Iran campaign, attributes the offensive quote to Khomeini and translates it correctly, insisting, however, that the quote is “genocidal.” The latter term has become a favourite in recent Zionist publications: the same report also refers to “the failed genocidal 1948 war of several Arab states and Palestinians against Israel.”

    These accusations are being spread in spite of the fact that, according to the official Iranian news agency IRNA, Ahmadinejad “called for a need to solve the problems facing the world, including the Palestinian issue, through dialogue.” He went on to propose “a free referendum to establish a government based on the will of the Palestinian nation in which all Palestinians, including Jews, Christians and Muslims will be given the chance to vote.” None of this seems to imply military action and cannot be interpreted as a threat. This may explain why none of this catches the attention of Western media. While Ahmadinejad’s statements make headlines, little attention is paid to Ayatollah Khamenei, who actually is in charge of Iran’s foreign relations, when he says that Iran calls for normalisation of relations with Israel if it accepts the Arab League proposal for a two-state settlement.

    According to the Associated Press, the Iranian president also said that “the Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.” Just as the Soviet Union collapsed peacefully, he expects Israel to fall apart peacefully under the weight of its internal contradictions. Just as the Soviet Union was not wiped out in a hail of nuclear weapons, the Iranian president does not suggest using force to bring about the demise of Israel. (Nor would this be even remotely serious since Israel enjoys an overwhelming military superiority in the region.) He believes that just as communism lost its legitimacy and unfolded, so will Zionism vanish one day. In the same speech, he mentions the collapse of the Shah regime, which also used to look invincible. And, just as the end of Soviet communism and the Islamic revolution in Iran never meant wiping out Russia or Iran from the face of the earth, neither does the call for an end to Zionism mean the destruction of the country and its population. Jonathan Steel of The Guardian, commenting on his speech, concluded that the Iranian president was expressing no more than “a vague wish for the future.”

      • Chaos4700
        October 1, 2009, 8:02 pm

        See, that’s all well and good, I’m sure, but when you translate the actual source — the original Farsi — what you’re showing us is demonstrably wrong.

      • potsherd
        October 1, 2009, 8:31 pm

        Witty – when is the last time you had a new thought? Or made a new comment?

      • DG
        October 1, 2009, 9:46 pm

        Richard, PLEASE look up who runs “IRIBNews.”

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 11:07 pm

        “Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting” as the page is headed.

      • Chaos4700
        October 2, 2009, 8:12 am

        “See these here? These slides are labeled ‘mobile weapons labs.’ That’s our proof!”

    • Call Me Ishmael
      October 1, 2009, 10:37 pm

      “Esrâ’il bâyad az sahneyeh roozégâr mahv shavad, which means ‘Israel must vanish from the page of time.'”

      I’ve seen it translated as “Israel will vanish from the page of time.” “Will” seems a lot gentler than”must”.

  15. Sin Nombre
    October 1, 2009, 4:45 pm

    If this Pines-Paz is such a Leftist then how come he isn’t screaming out for a nuke-free Middle East accord, together with a verification scheme to ensure same?

    The *only* answer: In Israel the Left means believing in Israel’s right to supremacy too.

  16. syvanen
    October 1, 2009, 5:57 pm

    This story complements something that I have seen in my Jewish friends. These are educated people with progressive political views that really do not spend too much time thinking about Israel but they are reflexively supportive. What is so striking is that they are totally ignorant about the racism that pervades Israel. For example, no one I queried was aware that most of the real estate in the Tel Aviv area carries covenants against Arabs. Basically, American Jews really have no idea what Israel is. This post illustrates an opposite point. That is, Israelis seem quite oblivious to the world view of American Jews. It was clear from “Feeling the Hate” videos that the man on the street Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Jews had to be oblivious to American attitudes towards overt racsim. PP, on the other hand, is supposed to be an informed member of the political intelligentsia but he is also oblivious. I find this a surprising change. I remember back 20 to 40 years ago and found Israeli intellectuals some of the most insightful people I had ever encountered. Something has changed. And I don’t think this is good news for Israel.

    • Richard Witty
      October 1, 2009, 6:02 pm

      I agree with you that Israel has changed, and likely not for the better.

    • potsherd
      October 1, 2009, 6:16 pm

      They are guided on tours through Israel, carefully shown the shining facade and kept from the ugly foundation.

      It’s like The Portrait of Israel Gray – people are shown Bar Refaeli, they never get up into the attic to look at the hateful face of Daniella Weiss.

    • Mooser
      October 1, 2009, 6:57 pm

      syvanen, I’m just plucking at my memory, but I think a poll was done on college campuses, and a good proportion of the students thought that it was the Palestinians who were “occupying” Israeli land!!. And most American Jews are completely ignorant of what happened what had to take place and under what conditions to bring the Zionist project to fruition.
      And further more, and most significantly, any Jewish person who had questions or doubts about Zionism had no voice. Like I said the Zionists will say the entire Jewish community is behind them when there is only one of them left.
      If there is one thing the Zionists know well, it’s publicity. Also all the great colonial projects were over by the early twentieth century, and one by one, after WW2, the colonial regimes in Africa and the ME were turned back to the natives of the countries. This left the last great colonial project, in which Britian generously consented to give the Zionists a portion of its colonial gains, without similiar projects to compare it with. The most recent, and the one still used as a comparison, is white South Africa.

      • potsherd
        October 1, 2009, 7:31 pm

        The settlers do claim that the Palestinians are occupying Israeli land, it’s not too surprising that this lie gets a hearing.

      • Citizen
        October 2, 2009, 8:22 am

        What Mooser says is correct; I would add only that most Americans are even more clueless about Israel, and still more ignorant of the Palestinians–the most they can conjure up is ragheads atop camels with primitive teeth bared–like those WW1 propanda posters of the devil Huns spiking babies with the spike on their helmets.

    • Donald
      October 1, 2009, 7:23 pm

      My opinion is based totally on what I read here in the US, but I think you’re right. It seemed to me that during the Oslo period, when the Israelis at least thought things might be heading towards a peaceful resolution, there was more willingness to look back at their past without the patriotic blinders (similar to the way Americans finally started to realize that our own history wasn’t the child’s story of good vs. evil that I was still being taught in grade school). Some people were talking, I think, of a post-Zionist Israel.

      In this very limited respect I actually agree a little bit with Richard–if the Israelis felt more secure about their future they might also be more willing to be honest about their past and present (more honest than Richard, come to that). At this stage, though, Israel appears to be a country that is almost unanimous in denial about what they’ve been doing. Giving in to them isn’t the answer. BDS might or might not be the answer. (Certainly I don’t think we should be allowing them to purchase Caterpillars.)

      • Chaos4700
        October 1, 2009, 9:15 pm

        On the other hand, all the while the Oslo Accords were being hammered out, Israel accelerated settlement construction. Then, they actively broke parts of those agreements to build even more settlements… and then they waged a PR campaign to frame Arafat as the reason the Accords are meaningless. And then find out that all along through the Bush administration, Israel had the nudge nudge wink wink to ignore the accords without fear of reprisal (and frankly, it seems to be yet another Bush policy that Obama is perpetuating).

        I’d like to think Israel could be trusted to be genuine, to conform to its own treaty agreements let alone human rights standards, cease fires, Geneva Conventions, etc. but one is hard pressed to find an example where Israel did not go back on its word.

      • Call Me Ishmael
        October 1, 2009, 9:44 pm

        “one is hard pressed to find an example where Israel did not go back on its word.”

        That’s what “exceptionalism” comes down to: Israel doesn’t expect that anyone expects them to keep their word.

        Keeping one’s word is what freiers do.

      • Call Me Ishmael
        October 1, 2009, 10:13 pm

        “In this very limited respect I actually agree a little bit with Richard–if the Israelis felt more secure about their future they might also be more willing to be honest about their past and present (more honest than Richard, come to that).”

        Donald, all my study about Israel convinces me that you (and Mr. Witty) are flat wrong about this. But if you are a Pollyanna, that’s OK because I can think of lots worse things to be. (Consider Witty, and try to avoid too close an intellectual association.)

      • Donald
        October 1, 2009, 10:32 pm

        Oh, I’m not optimistic–right now I think the Israelis seem to be in a massive state of denial, at least on moral issues. (Politically, setting aside morality, I’m not sure they’re wrong, in the short run anyway. They seem to think Obama can be stared down and so far they are correct.) I don’t know how to snap them out of it–right now, pandering to them doesn’t seem likely to do the trick. It would probably just drive them deeper into their moral self-delusion.

      • Richard Witty
        October 1, 2009, 11:10 pm

        “More honest than Richard”.

        You don’t have a clue. My reading and understanding includes the supportive and the critical.

        Take the time to actually inquire, rather than presume.

      • Donald
        October 1, 2009, 11:18 pm

        But Richard, you have provided us all with numerous clues about your consistency on human rights issues. You have double standards on human rights issues. This has been pointed out to you on a daily basis, often in detail.

      • Cliff
        October 1, 2009, 11:18 pm

        There is nothing to inquiry. If you were truly well-read, you would have made a well-sourced and substantiated argument – which you have never done. Your main tactic is abstraction.

        When challenged to substantiate and fully-explain your talking-points, you mysteriously disappear.

      • Call Me Ishmael
        October 2, 2009, 1:45 am

        Donald: “I don’t know how to snap them out of it….”

        If you would like to see an example of my own semi-, sort-of optimism, you can refer to my long comment above replying to Mooser’s pessimism. In it, I sort of agree with your sort-of optimistic statement in a roundabout kind of way. I was suggesting a way (only way I think) to “snap them out of it”.

    • Call Me Ishmael
      October 1, 2009, 9:28 pm

      “That is, Israelis seem quite oblivious to the world view of American Jews.”

      Syvanen, except for one possible reservation about the statement above, my information from ex-Israeli friends leads me to think that your comment above is right on.

      But, “the world view of American Jews”? I’m wondering why Mooser didn’t jump all over you about that. (You know, “American Jews are the most diverse group of people in the world”, and all that.) Maybe it’s because he assumes you meant “the world view of American Jews concerning racism”, and not a unified general world view. That’s what I’m assuming.

    • Danaa
      October 1, 2009, 9:59 pm

      Syvanen – your post hits the theme I’ve been trying to put in play for some time now. You are certainly right about American jews knowing next to nothing about what israel has become, and just how very far it has strayed not only from american values, but from it’s founders’ values. It’s worse though. many leftist israelis, especially intelligensia like bernard avishai, are in denial, shielded from the unbearble truth by an impenetrable cadre of similarly inclined intellectuals. All is well, they think – we are just missing some grand idea that’ll push through.

      For those who know and hear what the everyday discourse in israel is, hope for the “better israel” has all but been lost. because that discourse is even more racist and ignorant than blumenthal’s videos could ever convey. And guess who the Israelis despise almost as much as they do the gentiles? maybe even more so for being more annoying?why – it’s the hapless american jew. the occasional tourist with his bermuda shorts, wads of money and bright eyed at all the pretty girls walking in the streets and the handsome soldiers, so strong and manly. That’s what israelis see when they see the average jewish american tourist, buying yet another chair in a lecture hall.

      I think it’s high time to reconsider planting some other kind of trees – something in line with actual values, perhaps? something really green for a change?

    • Todd
      October 2, 2009, 3:02 pm

      Syvanen, I don’t buy that at all. I saw too many American Jews in Israel, and there is too much collaboration between American Jews and Israeli Jews to believe that the American Jewish community is ignorant about what Israel is, or that the American Jewish community has had no hand in what Israel has become. PEPs aren’t called PEPs because they are ignorant of their own views–and there are plenty of PEPs among American Jews.

      I can understand Jews wanting to cloud the issue or deny trends within the Jewish community, but when non-Jews do the same, I find it baffling.

      • potsherd
        October 2, 2009, 3:30 pm

        Todd – there is wilfull ignorance. I’ve read Gideon Levy saying that the average Israeli has no idea what the conditions in the territories is really like, and doesn’t want to know. Americans go over there with rose-colored blinders, determined not to see what doesn’t fit their disneal visions.

        And of course the Germans claimed to have no idea what was going on being the walls of those camps.

  17. potsherd
    October 1, 2009, 6:29 pm

    Here link to arabnews.com is some commentary on Iran from Dubai.

  18. edwin
    October 1, 2009, 8:28 pm

    I’m pretty sure they will go with national suicide, but what do I know.

    I think it will be a murder suicide type of affair. With Israel being a psychopathic country I wouldn’t rule out that a European or even the US would not end up being one of the victims.

    • DG
      October 1, 2009, 9:47 pm

      All we know for certain is that it will all be blamed on “antisemitism.”

  19. Citizen
    October 2, 2009, 8:30 am

    And in 2,000 years Jews will be reading their version of the USA as it did with ancient Persia and ancient Egypt.

  20. Todd
    October 2, 2009, 4:18 pm

    potsherd October 2, 2009 at 3:30 pm
    “Todd – there is wilfull ignorance. I’ve read Gideon Levy saying that the average Israeli has no idea what the conditions in the territories is really like, and doesn’t want to know. Americans go over there with rose-colored blinders, determined not to see what doesn’t fit their disneal visions.”

    I don’t even see how Israelis or American Jews could claim wilfull ignorance, since Palestinians had to be removed or killed to make way for Jews in the first place. When I see the rabid support that Israel gets from many American Jews, I don’t believe that it matters if the supporters know exactly how bad things are in the OT or West Bank.

    Also, any visitor to Israel proper can figure out that something is wrong with the picture without knowing any history, or spending any time in the OT or West Bank. The feigned ignorance of American Jews, who would mostly skewer their fellow Americans for similar treatment of minorities at home, as is blatently on display in Israel proper on a daily basis, doesn’t wash. I see no reason to make excuses for the support of Israel within the American Jewish community–how many had to go to South Africa or to the black communities throughout America during the 50s and 60s to understand what was wrong? Why are they suddenly stupid rather than universally caring?

  21. potsherd
    October 2, 2009, 4:25 pm

    Because they lie, and because they want to believe the lie.

    “The Grand Mufti told all the Palestinians to leave and come back after the Arab armies had pushed all the Jews into the SEEEEEEEEA!”

    I think some of them would poke out their own eyes and ears to keep the truth at bay.

  22. eljay
    October 2, 2009, 9:25 pm

    Apparently, this is how clear and unambiguous the threat is:

    The Iranian government is building nuclear weapons so it can blow the Jews off the face of the earth, and our leaders have neither the spine to act nor the wit to perceive their own shameful paralysis. It’s that bad.

    (link to ottawacitizen.com)

  23. eljay
    October 2, 2009, 10:03 pm

    Hmmm…for some reason, the closing bracket has decided to make itself part of the URL. Here’s the correct link:
    link to ottawacitizen.com

  24. Shingo
    October 2, 2009, 10:54 pm

    “Apparently, this is how clear and unambiguous the threat is”

    Apparently, the Ottawa Citizen is nont concernewd with reality ir facts, and neither are you it seems.

    The IAEA and 16 US intelligence agencies have concluded that Iran is NOT building nuclear weapons.

    And if the Iranian government was interested in blowing the Jews off the face off the earth, why haven’t they started with the 25,000 Iranin Jews who are evidentally not frightened enought to accept bribes from Israel to move to ghet upand leave?

    One has to wonder why Israel bothered to create 200 nukes of it’s own if it doesn’t believe they will protect it from an Iranian attack that’s never going to happen.

    • eljay
      October 2, 2009, 11:02 pm

      My reply (which may or may not get published) to the newspaper:

      Re.: ‘We’ are not the world (John Robson)

      Mr. Robson’s assessment of the “crisis” with Iran – “The Iranian government is building nuclear weapons so it can blow the Jews off the face of the earth” – is, by far, the most vacuous and ill-informed piece of fearmongering propaganda I have read to date. In his attempt to scandalize, he ignores or dismisses numerous pieces of factual information.

      Unlike nuclear-armed Israel, Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) and, under that treaty, it is entitled to pursue nuclear technology for energy-related purposes. Unlike Israel, Iran has inspectors monitoring its facilities and its activities and, to date, they have reported nothing of significance.

      Unlike Israel, Iran is not an oppressive colonial power bent on lebensraum-style expansionism. Unlike Israel, Iran is not an aggressor nation. Unlike Israel – which has threatened numerous times to attack and bomb Iran – Iran has not militarily threatened Israel. President Ahmedinejad’s “wipe off the map” quote has been thoroughly debunked: It refers to regimes (similar to the Soviet regime) and not to populations or religious groups. Iran supports – and Israel continues to oppose – a genuine two-autonomous-states solution: Israel has a right to exist, but not at the expense of Palestinians.

      The only thing more disturbing than the tabloid-like simplicity of Mr. Robson’s commentary is that it merited printing in the Ottawa Citizen.

  25. LeaNder
    October 3, 2009, 6:47 am

    What makes Richard construct such peculiar phrases?

    The relationships between Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran are not entirely independent.

    Hamas and Hezbollah are partially funded by Iran? Just as the Jewish Aliyah was funded by Jewish citizen all over the world? Likely. So this is essentially a power struggle in which each side funds his team? Is this ultimately the source of the odium concerning the Arabs (& Persians) possession of oil. Due to sheer dumb luck they sit on the world’s biggest oil reserve. And in this power struggle, fairness is for the six year old only? How does that sentence fit into your ethical posture and scapegoating? The Left.

    “After the end of the Cold War and the defeat of Iraq in the 1991 Persian Golf War, the strategic considerations that had put Iran and Israel on the same geopolitical side in the latter part of the twentieth century evaporated. Soon enough, absent any common foes, Israel and Iran found themselves in a rivalry to redefine the regional order after the decimation of Iraq’s military. Fearing that Israel’s strategic weight would suffer if Iran emerged as the undisputed power in the Middle East, Israeli politicians began painting the regime in Tehran as fanatical and irrational. Clearly, they maintained, finding an accomodation with such “mad mullahs” was a nonstarter. Instead they called on the United States to classify Iran, along with Saddam Hussain’s Iraq, as a rogue state that needed to be “contained”. Israel’s change of heart on Iran was inititially met with skepticism in Washington, though the Israeli advanced the same argument they do today, namely that Iran’s nuclear program would soon afford the black-turbaned clerics access to the bomb. “Why Israel waited until fairly recently to sound a strong alarm about Iran is a perplexity,” Clyde Haberman of the New York Times wrote in November 1992. Haberman went on to note: “For years, Israel remained willing to do business with Iran, even though the mullahs in Teheran were screaming for an end to the ‘Zionist entity’.”

    Any day now. Right? If you turn up the heat, it will finally come true?

    Richard, I always wanted to ask you, why you think Israel is the ultimate source of Jewish success in the US and not e.g. the fact that it was the main destination for European Jewish elites in the thirties to choose just one of many factors. …

  26. Shingo
    October 3, 2009, 8:14 am


    Seeing as Chaos and I are liberals and it is you that speaks of liberals in the 3rd person, it’s safe to suggest we have a better handle on what appeals to liberal sensitivities than you do. You’re a faux liberal on issues not related to Israel, but a right wingers on matters concerning Israel.

    While you try in vain to distance yourself from what Netanyahu states, what you fail to realise is how algned your views are with Netanyahu’s.

    If Obama’s goal it to achieve practical and tangiable results and his approach fails to bear any fruit, then it is by definition a failure and the wrong one. Like Einstain said, the definitino of insanity is repeating the same pattern, while expecting a different outcome.

    So what you are saying is that you are confortable with a failed stratergy, because in your idelogically rigid view, a failed stratergy that brings no harm or incovenience to the state fo Israel is preferrable to one that yields success, but holds Israel to account.

    Yes, we already know that about you Richard.

    • Richard Witty
      October 3, 2009, 9:14 pm

      So, which element of Obama’s strategy do you consider a failure?

      And, what would constitute an improvement on his part?

      What specifically would you recommend that he do differently, and why?

      • Richard Witty
        October 3, 2009, 9:17 pm

        You know that he hasn’t been in office a year yet.

        Most foreign policy initiatives take a great deal of time to realize tangible results. You are aware of that?

        I personally observe that his policies and communications are having a positive affect, specifically on the progress of Palestinian institution building.

        I view Hamas’ “leadership” as utterly destructive to the Palestinian cause (if that is improvement for Palestinians’ lives).

      • Shingo
        October 3, 2009, 9:25 pm

        “So, which element of Obama’s strategy do you consider a failure?”

        The cessatino of settlements. Netenyahu laughed in Obama’s face and is now openly flauting his beligerence.

        “And, what would constitute an improvement on his part?”

        Harsh measures to punich Israel for ignoring his demands. Cutting off aid and military aid.

        After all, Israelis only undertsand force don’t they?

      • Shingo
        October 3, 2009, 9:42 pm

        “You know that he hasn’t been in office a year yet.”

        And you know perfectly well that US presidents have a maximum of 2 year, maybe 3, to enact their policies, becasue the last year is a campaigning year and ties the hands of presidents.

        While “Most foreign policy initiatives” take much time, the Israeli/Paletine issue has been going for decades, so it doesn’t need to start from scratch.

        The consensus is unambiguous. Isrlae must withdraw from theoccupied terirtoris and dismantle the settlements, and permit a Palestinian state, with full sovereignty to emerge.

        There is no Palestinian institution building taking place. The only affect is that Netenyahu has figured out that he just needs to stonewall until Obama leaves office.

        I view Israel’s ’ “leadership” as utterly destructive to the Palestinian cause. After all, it is the Israelis who are killing and starving Palestinians, not Hamas.

      • Richard Witty
        October 4, 2009, 2:31 am

        I think the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu is inconclusive yet, influencable.

        I agree with you that Netanyahu responds to force more than persuasion. The Israeli populace however are not swayed by force in the way that you would hope. They resent being isolated and will elect someone like Netanyahu if they feel threatened.

        That is why I’ve often stated that “Hamas elected likud” (even though Kadima won the most seats), in that the introduction of threat (as a hundred strategic times before) shifted Israeli attitude to the right.

        Rather than think of incremental strategic effect, Hamas opts for the dramatic. It seeks street cred, even if it results (and VERY predictably in the case of December, 2008) in Israeli military overreaction.

        I hope you acknowledge that Obama’s task is not an easy one, for the complexity of the politics involved.

        One significance of the PA withdrawal of pressing on the Goldstone report, I imagine (I don’t know), is that it may be part of a deal or strategy TO compel Netanyahu to stop settlement expansion.

        I hope that is the case.

        Its a game of “GO” (do you know the Chinese game “GO”?). Among artful players, you cannot tell who is “winning” until the end, and then sometimes only the skilled observers can determine who actually “won”. Its a bit unnerving to watch a game, and not know yourself who won.

      • Shingo
        October 4, 2009, 3:31 am

        The relationship between Obama and Netanyahu has been established. Obama does not have the will, or the political clout to put his money where his mouth is and Netanyahu knows it.

        Isreal might resent being isolated but in the end, they know they cannto survive without US support.

        It wasn’t Hamas that elected likud, it was the settlers, whom exist in sspite of Hamas, not becuse of them.

        After 40 years of zero progress, Hamas have no reson to believe in incremental strategies. The onlnly incremental change that has take place is the expansion of settlements.

        Obviously Obama’s task is not an easy one, and what makes it most difficult is that he needs to achieve it in a short space of time. It’s likely that his scucessor will fall back into line and become an AIPAC puppet.

      • Richard Witty
        October 4, 2009, 9:51 am

        I think it was Hamas that elected likud, in that fear was what drives people to vote conservative/reactionary, and Hamas historically and recently has used terror (fear) as its primary means of “diplomacy”.

        The settlers are still a small minority of Israelis, and the settlement effort is not considered inexpendible in Israel.

    • Chaos4700
      October 4, 2009, 10:38 am

      So out of curiosity, Richard, could you produce the polling data that led you to believe that Hamas cast a lot of votes for Likud? I’d be most impressed if you did. Or are you suggesting that the Qassam rocket shells which kill at a rate of, what, one or two people a year, have some sort of mind control effect on the Israeli populace?

      Funny how your “small minority” effectively commanded the attention of Knesset even during the reign of “moderates” like Livni and Barak.

      • Chaos4700
        October 4, 2009, 10:41 am

        Also, must have been real threatening to Israelis, that ceasefire where Hamas cut the number of attacks coming out of Gaza from hundreds of rockets to three a month, average. Those Hamas and their crafty diplomacy! Outmaneuvering Israel by actually making an honest effort to adhere to agreements! How totally unfair.

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