Obama has reaffirmed double standard for Israel/Iran on NPT

The other day Mike Desch asked on this site why amid all the pressure on Iran not to get a nuke there’s no talk about Israel’s many nuclear warheads. Eli Lake answers that question in today’s Washington Times.

President Obama has reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections, three officials familiar with the understanding said.

The officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing private conversations, said Mr. Obama pledged to maintain the agreement when he first hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in May.

Under the understanding, the U.S. has not pressured Israel to disclose its nuclear weapons or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which could require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs.

Israel had been nervous that Mr. Obama would not continue the 1969 understanding because of his strong support for nonproliferation and priority on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons…

The secret understanding could undermine the Obama administration’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons. In particular, it could impinge on U.S. efforts to bring into force the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, two agreements that U.S. administrations have argued should apply to Israel in the past. They would ban nuclear tests and the production of material for weapons.

A Senate staffer familiar with the May reaffirmation, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said, "What this means is that the president gave commitments that politically he had no choice but to give regarding Israel’s nuclear program. However, it calls into question virtually every part of the president’s nonproliferation agenda.The president gave Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card."

Piece says that this hypocrisy began after Kennedy/Johnson had failed to stop the nuclear program in Israel and Kissinger said, Well let’s just not let it become an "international fact." 35 years later, who’s in the dark? (h/t Helena Cobban, who’s for the Olympics in Brazil. Agreed.)

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Iran, Israel Lobby, US Politics

{ 147 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Stoler99 says:

    Philip Weiss why didn’t you mention this?

    link to iran-press-service.com
    RAFSANJANI SAYS MUSLIMS SHOULD USE NUCLEAR WEAPON AGAINST ISRAEL
    TEHRAN 14 Dec. (IPS) One of Iran’s most influential ruling cleric called Friday on the Muslim states to use nuclear weapon against Israel, assuring them that while such an attack would annihilate Israel, it would cost them “damages only”.

  2. Sin Nombre says:

    ” “What this means is that the president gave commitments that politically he had no choice but to give regarding Israel’s nuclear program. ”

    Aside from all else this observation/apology is just baloney. Either Obama is 99% rhetoric or more—such as seriously being against nuke proliferation—or he’s stupid. Here after all was one thing he himself could choose to do without anyone in Congress having even a scintilla of power over: talk about Israel’s nukes. A huge huge lever. Just like talking aboust settlement expansion. Or deciding on the U.S.’s position on the Goldstone report.

    Now however, just like with those others, it turns out he’s given this too away.

    Again, either his passion for non-proliferation (esp. in the Mideast) is baloney, or he’s stupid, and I for one think its the former. Combined alone with his almost immediate betrayal of his big, grand, soaring talk in Cairo almost daily the man is revealing himself to be just somewhat of a big steam organ: Blowing out huge clouds of utterly meaningless smoke. Indeed, given how quickly and totally he betrayed his own words on the alleged unacceptability of Israel continuing to expand the settlements, or even on his “public option” with health care, it’s at the point that whichever direction his rhetoric points to, you can just absolutely know he will do the exact opposite.

    A fakir, in other words. With a big vocabulary.

    • potsherd says:

      Or he’s been blackmailed. If anyone were harboring doubts about the strength of the Israel lobby’s control of this government, they ought to be blown away by now.

      What exactly does “politically he had no choice” mean?

    • Chaos4700 says:

      You give those choices about Obama as if they were mutually exclusive, Sin. I’ve come to the impression that Obama is intelligent, as in “book smart,” but not really wise or clever. Hell, his “miracle campaign” was built on the back of Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy.”

      Speaking of Howard Dean, anyone else notice how badly progressives of every stripe — Al Gore and his environmentalism, Cynthia McKinney and her socialist leanings, Jimmy Carter — are all being marginalized by so-called marketable candidates like John Kerry and Barack Obama who are all talk and no substance (Kerry’s a war hero to be sure, but as a politician he’s rather tepid). Hell, the Democratic Party will even open up to Joe “Connecticut’s Senate seat belongs to me! I bought it!” Lieberman while they most of their allies on the left.

      I actually honestly don’t know what’s going to happen in the 2010 elections. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are abject failures. I’d like to think Americans will show some spine and vote independent… but then again, I’d like think atrocities like Operation Cast Lead weren’t possible in the 21st century.

  3. DG says:

    As Americans we’re always indignant at stories like this. But more important than our indignation is the outrage and hatred they must engender in the rest of the world. (And even those backward Arabs can read newspapers too.) Will our government still be telling us that the next terrorist attack was from people who hated our freedoms?

    • James says:

      yes, it will never be about double standards!!! american politicians are directly responsible for dumbing down americans… this is just a small part of it…. see sin hombres post for more details!

    • potsherd says:

      Anybody want to doubt this fed into the rejection of the Chicago Olympics bid – which Obama put his personal prestige behind?

      • Chaos4700 says:

        And on top of that, it’s not practical to hold international events in the US anymore. Heck, science conferences are getting moved out of the US because getting anybody who’s not white past the TSA no matter how clean they are, is a crap shoot. Add to that our crumbling infrastructure, lacking public transportation systems, absurd health care system and violent crime rates and seriously, how many people from elsewhere in the world want to risk coming here on vacation anymore?

  4. Shafiq says:

    I have to applaud CNN for bringing up the double-standards issue (which I was very surprised by).

    I wonder what happens when the US and Russia reduce their stockpiles to such a level that Israel will have more than them? Will the US continue to turn a blind eye? And that’s not even mentioning India or Pakistan, neither of whom (in my opinion) can be trusted with such weapons.

  5. The parallel is NOT a parallel.

    Israel does not fund, arm, encourage proxy armies on Iran’s borders.

    Israel has not stated that the Iranian regime does not have a right to exist, and should vanish from the map.

    Israel’s nukes are a done deal. The presence of Israel’s nukes is currently stable. The insertion of Iranian nukes is currently destabalizing in the actual provocative relationships between Iran and other regimes.

    Israel’s expansion of sphere of influence OVER others is limited to a very small geographic region. Iran’s active coercive sphere of influence extends over the entire Persian Gulf.

    To imply a parallel is frankly ignorant Phil.

    Hypocrisy is the wrong word, the wrong logic to seek to demilitarize the region or to expose Israeli nuclear mystery to the light of day.

    Fairness is for eight year olds.

    • Shafiq says:

      Israel does not fund, arm, encourage proxy armies on Iran’s borders.

      What do you call the US army then? It ‘encouraged’ the US army on Iraq and is ‘encouraging’ the US army on Iran.

      Israel DOES invade its neighbours. Israel DOES use the threat of nuclear weapons to get the diplomatic support of European states. Israel DOES hold a lot of influence over the Middle East through its proxy, the United States. You can bullshit all you like but all your exposing is the fact that you’re no different to Netanyahu and the Israeli-right wing – one rule for Israel, one rule for the rest of the world.

      • carnas says:

        “Israel DOES use the threat of nuclear weapons to get the diplomatic support of European states.” No. How would Israel threaten to use something it doesn’t admit to having?
        “It ‘encouraged’ the US army on Iraq and is ‘encouraging’ the US army on Iran.”
        No, again:
        “Israel Warned US Not to Invade Iraq after 9/11″
        link to ipsnews.net
        In any case, your analogy is inane. The US is not a militia founded with Israeli money and manpower. Hizballah certainly is, and Hamas to a lesser extent. Say whatever you want about Israeli influence on US policy, but there’s no comparison to be made.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        So the Israeli government talked out one side of their mouth while they patted Bush’s corrupted intel machine on the back and gave that fake into the thumbs up with the other. Funny, that.

        And incidentally, isn’t anyone curious at all where those forged documents about Nigerian yellow cake came from…?

      • Shingo says:

        “And incidentally, isn’t anyone curious at all where those forged documents about Nigerian yellow cake came from…? ”

        Or the forged docuements that alluded to Iran’s so called nuclear weapons program pre 2003?

      • Shingo says:

        “How would Israel threaten to use something it doesn’t admit to having?”

        Golda Meir admitted that Israel were considering the use of nukes sduring the 1973 war.

        “The US is not a militia founded with Israeli money and manpower.”

        No, the truth is the opposite. Israel is a militia founded witrh US money and weapons.

      • Shafiq says:

        How would Israel threaten to use something it doesn’t admit to having?

        It doesn’t admit it in public. What happens in private, is a completely different domain.

    • Israel has not stated that the Iranian regime does not have a right to exist, and should vanish from the map.

      The Israel Lobby calls for regime change in Iran, and Iran calls for regime change in Israel.

    • Koshiro says:

      You’re right. There are many differences. None of which come out in favor of Israel.

      1.) Iran actually mostly played by the rules until others began to harrass it over its – perfectly legal – nuclear power program. Israel refused to play by the rules from the get-go.
      2.) Iran still officially says its nuclear program is for civilian use only. And actually, the previous complaints by IAEA admitted that there was no sign of a military program. Israel has openly admitted (yes, openly, just not officially – different things) that it has nukes.
      3.) Iran, polemics by its leaders nonwithstanding, has never started a war against anybody.
      4.) On the other hand, an extremely bloody and aggressive war was waged against Iran by US proxy Saddam Hussein.
      5.) Finally, while current Iranian leaders deny the legitimacy of the Israeli “regime”, they have not threatened Israel in concrete terms. Both Israel and its main ally, the US, have openly threatened Iran with military action.

      Yep, there is no parallel. Iran is a poster child for international legitimacy compared to rogue state Israel.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      “Israel’s nukes are a done deal.”

      God, I’m glad your in finance and not in law, Witty.

    • Citizen says:

      And for 90 year old Germans formerly living the USA? Or is that, for each generation
      of Germans living in Germany?

    • Citizen says:

      And the insertion of Israeli nukes has always been stabalizing, as has its cloaked OPS
      around the world, for example in Georgia and the Sudan, not to mention in Iran in collusion with the USA in the 20th century.

    • potsherd says:

      Witty – MEK And Kurdish militias. Funded and trained by Israel to operate inside Iran.

      Hypocrisy is the right word – for your positions.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        And let’s not forget Iran-Contra, the grand daddy of Western terrorist funding hypocrisy.

      • potsherd says:

        Through Iran-Contra and afterwards, Israel armed Iran. That same Islamic Republic that is suddenly such a “threat” now, with the Ayatollah that Ahmadinejad quoted as saying “Israel should be wiped off the map erased from history.”

        Can anyone believe that Israel would have shipped arms to Iran if they actually believed in this “threat”?

    • Donald says:

      “Israel’s expansion of sphere of influence OVER others is limited to a very small geographic region.”

      That’s not quite true even in its own terms, but that aside, Israel has a big brother called the US whose influence is slightly greater. For the US and Israel to make a big stink about Iranian aggression seems a little peculiar to anyone who has noticed which countries have been fighting wars, including a rather large one right next door to Iran which was unprovoked.

      Israel was just about the only country in the world where George Bush was popular, if I recall correctly. Gee, I wonder why?

      Ah, I see Shafiq made the same point and maybe others have as well. It’s really an obvious point to anyone except maybe Richard.

    • jimby says:

      “Israel does not fund, arm, encourage proxy armies on Iran’s borders.” witty

      That is WRONG. You are not taking the Kurkish militias “peshmurga” into account. Israel is or was actively training the Kurds who are also past of Iraq.

  6. Israel’s establishng itself as a European settler-colonial state in the Middle East at a time when much of the world was moving towards decolonization is what has destablized the region and it will continue to be that until it is transformed into something whose existence does not depend on the subjugation of its rightful inhabitants and the intimidation of its neighbors.

    When you add up what Israel has not allowed the US to do, 1.e., to speak abut Israel’s nuclear weapons, to speak with with PLO until it recognized Israel, and in the past two decades, to speak with Hezbollah and Hamas, and to routinely humiliate US presidents, regardless of party, it becomes clear that Israel and its American friends are calling the tune in Washington and by implication, for the America people. One day the latter will wake up and throw the rascals out. The manner in which that happens will depend on the speed and the degree that its Richard Wittys come to their senses.

  7. eljay says:

    Israel does not fund, arm, encourage proxy armies on Iran’s borders.

    Clearly, then, Iran should stop doing that and, instead, pursue targeted assassinations, like Israel does.

    Israel has not stated that the Iranian regime does not have a right to exist, and should vanish from the map.

    Israel has a right to exist. The current colonial / occupational / aggressor Israeli regime does not have a right to exist. Iran is correct to voice this opinion. Funny how eliminating Saddam’s regime did not (despite America’s best efforts) result in the death of all Iraqis. Or how the elimination of the Soviet regime did not result in the death of all citizens of Russia or the former Soviet states.

    Israel’s nukes are a done deal. The presence of Israel’s nukes is currently stable. The insertion of Iranian nukes is currently destabalizing in the actual provocative relationships between Iran and other regimes.

    IF Iran were to acquire nukes, Israel would be required to reform its conduct. That would certainly “destabilize” Israel’s ability to act with impunity.

    • Citizen says:

      Israel would no longer be the hands-down hegemony in the Middle East. Stability would actually be increased, especially for the Palestinians.

      • Dan Kelly says:

        Exactly, that’s the irony of it all. I’m not advocating more nukes for anyone, but if Iran develops nuclear weapons, it will greatly stabilize the region.

      • potsherd says:

        Citizen – you’re not the only one to say this: Asaf Gefen

        They like to scare us with words like “strategic change” and “balance of terror,” but after 50 unbalanced years where we had nuclear ambiguity and the other side had nothing, perhaps it’s not such a bad idea. The world existed for more than 40 years in the shadow of a balance of terror and survived. In the Middle East, a cold war could be a refurnishing change after all the sweaty wars we’ve been through.

  8. Citizen says:

    They read that article in the Washington Times on C=SPAN this morning (Washington Journal)–if memory serves it was on page 32.

  9. BluePearl says:

    israel has 1 atom bomb for about 30,000 people in her population. that is the highest ratio for any nuclear country.

  10. LeaNder says:

    Today’s Mondoweiss Comment Section Top Quote:

    Fairness is for eight year olds. by Richard Witty

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Well, there’s the problem. I suppose they won’t be teaching that in Witty’s class until he hits second grade.

      Yeah, I know I’m only just beating up on him at this point but frankly, if he’s going to give liberalism a bad name by making social Darwinist comments like that, then he invites ridicule upon himself as far as I’m concerned. I get enough flack from right wing loonies calling me names and mocking progressive ideology, I don’t need an armchair “liberal” doing that too.

    • The significance of that is in context of the entire post. Why post a line out of context LeaNder?

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Oh, please. It’s bad enough that you’re an apologist for Israeli war crimes, now you’re so desperate you have to play apologist for yourself?

        You really are a massive joke.

    • Citizen says:

      Thank you Herr Witty.

      XOXOXOSO

      Anne Frank
      Rachel Corrie

  11. Frankie P says:

    Jeffery Blankfort, your second paragraph is really right on the money, but if history serves as any kind of oracle, the RWs will NEVER come to their senses, and the manner in which America jettisons the “rascals” will involve tar and feathers in its mildest forms.

    The issue of Obama’s blatent hypocracy concerning the “4 decade year old secret understanding” has not escaped the notice of the emerging economic and military powers in the world. The icing on the cake, of course, was Secretary of State Clinton, who, with a straight face, claimed that the onus was on Iran to prove that it is not using its nuclear capabilities to develop weapons. People, think about that for a minute. How would you feel if the policeman, prosecutor, or judge confronting you asked you to prove your innocence or face punishment? How does one prove one’s innocence?

    “Who’s in the dark?” Indeed, this is a valid question, but it is predicated by analysis which raises the question: If they’re not in the dark about it, and they watched Obama make the speech, totally ignoring the 200+ elephants in the room, what conclusions does the rest of the world reach? The conclusion is that America is a nation of double standards, controlled by American friends of Israel, be they Jews, Christains, Zionists, Martians. I live here in Asia in a Chinese metropolis, and the majority of educated people here would say that “the American Jews control the American government throught their economic, political and media control”, and they would say it in a way that showed their admiration for said Jews. “Smart people.” Perhaps they say that because they’re “anti-semites”, perhaps they say it because they call things the way they see them. The Chinese continue tight currency controls over their people and economy, and they continue to forbid foreign banks from exercising ANY significant power in their nation. “Smart people.” The Chinese feel no holocaust guilt, and I doubt that they can be convinced that they were responsible in any way for the deaths of European Jews in the Second World War. Ditto this for other rising powers in the world: India, Russia, Brazil. In conclusion, if the American people never throw the rascals out and the status quo ante in America continues, the rising countries in the world will provide a balance that will make the world a better place. American empire does not serve the people of the world in any way, hell, it doesn’t even serve the American people!!!

    FPM

  12. Kathleen says:

    Barbara Slavin brought up this article today on the Diane Rehm show. Had never heard about it.

    Does anyone know if you can access the agreement on line? Or how long this agreement last? Did anyone in the MSM or blogoshere write about this when the meeting happened?

  13. Rehmat says:

    It seems that after calling for the crippling sanctions against Islamic Iran – but after watching Iran’s Tondar missile test (picture on the left) – the Zionist entity has decided to withdraw from ring and let the western ZOGs deliver threats on its behalf – which they did at G20 conference.

    Alan Hart, the author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, in his latest article Nuclear Non-Proliferation – The Missing Words, wrote: “President Obama declared, “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow.” That’s not a true statement. It’s missing five words. The truth required him to say all nations “with the exception of Israel“.

    “Israel dialed down its rhetoric against Iran”
    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

    • potsherd says:

      Yep – there’s only one word for a man like that – Liar.

      OK, there are a lot of other words. Hypocrite comes to mind. But Liar has to be there. And these are the lies that get innocent people killed.

  14. Kathleen says:

    Recent interview with Former Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter about the “gotcha” situation with Iran

    Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter discusses the overblown “gotcha” revelation of the “secret” Iranian nuclear facility, how the wonkish debate over IAEA Additional Protocol minutiae turned into accusations that Iran is building nukes, the secret Saudi, U.K. and U.S. funding of opposition candidates in the Iranian election and the likely disastrous results of a war with Iran.
    link to antiwar.com

    • MRW says:

      Thanks, Kathleen. This is wonderful, wonderful radio interview. 45 minutes and chock full of facts I didn’t know.

      • Kathleen says:

        Worth the listen folks. Scott was right in the run up to the invasion of Iraq and few listened.

        Let’s hope some folks are listening now.

        Scott makes so many great points. forgot about how much money the Bush administration and the Israeli firsters had sent over to undermine the Iranian elections.

        the 24/7 coverage of the Iranian election and protest was so telling. The warmongers still in control of the MSM and still pushing for an escalation with Iran

  15. I just read of the reason for the article in the Washington Times, in this morning’s Haaretz.

    Like my recommendation that Israel take seriously the Goldstone report, I believe that Israel should join the non-proliferation protocol, and declare itself a nuclear state (if it is one, which is very likely), and submit to international inspections.

    The secrecy is a different issue than the right for Israel to be a nuclear power.

    The case with Iran IS an example of the childishness of “fairness” as an issue. You and Iran are complaining that it is “unfair” that Iran should be discouraged from nuclear weapons capacity but Israel should be encouraged. or accepted, that a prospectively long-standing and long-presumed nuclear power is destabalizing if it retains its nukes, while a new and otherwise internationally unaccountable state (voluntarily without diplomatic relations with many primary international states) is “stabalizing”.

    That the only question around the issue is one of “fairness”, that international stability around issues of weapons of mass destruction is inconsequential.

    The other issue that the Haaretz article referred, was that the issue was precipitated by a General Assembly vote that did NOT refer to the preservation of the NPT as it applied universally including to India, Pakistan, North Korea, but solely to Israel.

    The spirit of the general assembly resolution was specifically directed at Israel, and therefore was partisan, rather than an effort to preserve international law.

    A parallel political process would be if India were to author a general assembly resolution to censure Pakistani nukes as not subject to the non-proliferation protocols.

    Another danger illustrated is the ambiguous performance of the AIEA in maintaining confidentiality in the process of its investigations and oversight, instead permitting politically opportunistic leaking of data.

    A better question for someone that is seeking change would be “HOW can we enhance the effectiveness of the NPT?”, so that it is feasibly universal.

    I agree that in enabling the three largest non-compliant states (India, Pakistan, Israel), the US is not helping that effort.

    • Shingo says:

      “You and Iran are complaining that it is “unfair” that Iran should be discouraged from nuclear weapons capacity but Israel should be encouraged.”

      Rubbish. Iran is not complaining about being denied nuclear weapons because a) there is no evidence they are trying to make nukes and b) they have said they are not interested in trying to produce them.

      What we and Iran are complaining about is the demands from a non NPT signatory like Israel making demands about what a NPT signatory should or should not be entitled to.

      “A parallel political process would be if India were to author a general assembly resolution to censure Pakistani nukes as not subject to the non-proliferation protocols.”

      Which is that Israel and the West are doing with respect to Iran, with the exceptono that unlike Pakistan, Iran has no nukes.

      “Another danger illustrated is the ambiguous performance of the AIEA in maintaining confidentiality in the process of its investigations and oversight, instead permitting politically opportunistic leaking of data.”

      And who side are those politically opportunistic leakers on Richard? Is it not Israel’s?

  16. Further complexities include the non-proliferation portion of the treaty, which is considered its most important feature and purpose.

    That is that to date, China as a signatory has historically been implicated in proliferation of nuclear technologies without international discipline.

    And, North Korea and Pakistan as non-signatories have been implicated in nuclear proliferation. It is feared that Iran would as well. (Just a fear admittedly.)

    Israel has not. India has not.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Witty, get it through your skull:

      A) Iran is a signatory to NPT. Israel is not. Furthermore, it is not in violation of any part of the NPT.

      B) There is no evidence that Iran is actively seeking nukes. Israel has hundreds at this point.

      C) Iran can’t proliferate technology it doesn’t have. Meanwhile, Israel tried to proliferate nuclear weapons technology to the apartheid regime in South Africa — oooh, either you thought we forgot or didn’t know that, or you’re not half as informed as we are.

      I’m starting to understand why you were dispensable as an auditor, considering.

      • You illustrate the danger of disclosing too much about oneself on the web. Abusive others with questionable ethical standards take pot-shots in areas outside of their knowledge or business.

        Get more disciplined please.

        I get that you are anonymous, which I consider partially a cowardly approach. I assume it frees you write candidly, but sadly without scruples.

      • Shingo says:

        Take your own advice Richard,

        You’ve accused me personally of dihonesty for not agreeing with you about Iran’s nuclear program, even though I do have expertise in the field of nuclear power.

      • Donald says:

        For once I have to side with Richard here. Taking potshots at him regarding his career and how it might be going is a cheap shot and should be out-of-bounds, in my opinion.

        His views on the I/P conflict are often appalling to me, but it’s normal for people to have appalling views on political issues and be responsible people in their jobs and personal lives. (When you consider how many votes Bush and McCain have won, that’s a good thing).

      • If you bothered to understand my views actually, you would not consider them appalling. You would identify a path for actual progress in improvement for the lives of Palestinians.

        But, if your politics are determined primarily by what irritates you, you won’t go beyond surface objectives and sensitivities.

      • Donald says:

        Richard, it’s actually funny how you constantly assume that people who disagree with you don’t understand your views. You’ve said this over and over again. You obviously think you’re the deep sensitive, well-read person around here, surrounded by ignorant lefties more interested in revenge than peace and anyone who disagrees with you is either malicious or immature or ignorant. If only we’d listen to you–that’s your constant refrain. I’ve seen your views espoused here and at Realistic Dove long enough to know what they are. I reject them because I think they are the same old one-sided stuff we’ve been getting from mainstream liberal American pundits on this subject for at least 20 years. I was initially impressed by some of what you’ve said about your long term goals, but upon closer acquaintance you make excuses for Israeli violence and Israeli coercion and Israeli blockades while denouncing even the mildest suggestions for boycotts of Israel and your solution for the Gaza blockade is one that tacitly assumes that only Hamas weapons are a danger to peace. Tell the Palestinians that we want to block rockets being imported into Gaza, but we also want to block weapons and bulldozers for Israel and that we won’t tolerate collective punishment inflicted upon an entire people and I think that’s the kind of evenhandedness that would impress the Palestinians. I would support that–do you? I would not support the sort of draconian sanctions on Israel that you think Israel has the right to inflict on Gaza, even if you do prefer a less draconian solution. The point is that you acknowledge what you think is Israel’s right to impose a blockade and your preferred solution (keep weapons out of Gaza) is incomplete unless we also prevent weapons from being imported into Israel.

        Get it through your head. I subscribe to Tikkun–I admire Michael Lerner, though I don’t agree with him on everything, and I am appalled by the antisemitic sentiments that are sometimes expressed in the comments sections here. I am familiar with your views and I reject them because you mix rhetoric about reconciliation with one-sided apologetics for some of Israel’s crimes. That’s no way to achieve reconciliation. (And note I said “some of”–I am well aware that you are also opposed to some of Israel’s actions, particularly the settlement-building which you quite properly call an expression of “land lust”.)

      • Chaos4700 says:

        You guys starting to understand why it’s pointless to even stand up in defense of Witty? Get in front of him, and you end up with a knife in your back. A dull and small knife, granted, but still.

      • Shingo says:

        We have bothered to understand your views and in the end, your path for progress can be summed up as follows. The Palestinians should surrender all notions of self determination, sovereingty and dignity and maybe, just maybe, the Israelis might stop butchering them. If the Israelis should choose to continue the brutalization of the Palestinians, then it simply proves the Palestinians have not tried hard enough to placate Israel.

        How’s that?

      • Shingo’s summary is innaccurate.

        Donald,
        Would you care to summarize what you think my views and objectives are, for the sake of some clarity?

      • Donald says:

        I did that already, Richard. Your long term goals are reasonable–where you fall short is in how to get there. You have double standards. I said some of what I found objectionable already and am starting to get bored with it. You’re useful to have around as an example of somewhat well-intentioned, but subconsciously biased individual–you’re much like the sort of person that writes NYT editorials on this subject. There’s no shortage of handwringing liberals in the US who say they want a fair solution and probably mean it, in some sense, but in practice lean heavily towards the Israeli side. We don’t need enthusiastic Hamas supporters either–but your approach is what we’ve had for decades and it’s a failure, if reconciliation is the goal.

      • Shingo says:

        “Shingo’s summary is innaccurate.”

        Translation: Isreali propaganda doesn’t work when they come up against reality.

    • Citizen says:

      How do you, Richard Witty, know that Israel has not been engaged in nuclear proliferation when it’s the only country in the world who has nukes but nobody can even say so due to its ambiguity partnership with the lone superpower? How can Israel be “implicated “when the starting talking point is the principle don’t-ask-don’t tell
      whether it has nukes in the first place? Not to mention it has never joined the NPT.
      Talk about fiction viewed as fact.

      ““HOW can we enhance the effectiveness of the NPT?”, so that it is feasibly universal?” First, by recognizing all the states that currently have nukes. Is that
      too logical for you, Witty? It’s not a question of fairness, but of reality. Or do you think no child has a sense of fairness, let alone any adult? Phil Maher skirted all around this, as did his latest show’s panel. Nobody ever mentioned Israel. Witty, one would think you’ve been on this blog long enough to know that while most
      commenters here value Maher’s satire and nuggets of brazen truth, he does have his sacred cows, same as the Catholic Church he loves to disparage. Fuck the Pope, and priestly predators. Same goes for Israel and its state-sponsored predators. At least Americans don’t have to fork over hard-earned tax bucks for the Vatican.

    • Donald says:

      “And, North Korea and Pakistan as non-signatories have been implicated in nuclear proliferation. It is feared that Iran would as well. (Just a fear admittedly.)

      Israel has not.”

      Actually, there’s suspicion that apartheid South Africa acquired the bomb with Israeli help.

      link

      • Donald says:

        There are a fair number of links about the possible Israeli connection to the South African nuclear bomb. Here’s another–

        link

        And here’s another, with information about the friendly relations between Israel and apartheid South Africa after 1973–

        link

        If there was a link, helping South Africa acquire the bomb was a wildly irresponsible thing to do, since nobody knew to what lengths that government would go to in order to protect its apartheid system.

      • Read the links. From what I read they did not demonstrate any nuclear proliferation on the part of Israel.

      • Shingo says:

        “. From what I read they did not demonstrate any nuclear proliferation on the part of Israel. ”

        Of course not Ricahrd, unless you ignored this:

        In June 1980, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) reported to the National Security Council that the 2-3 kiloton nuclear test had probably involved Israel and South Africa. U.S. intelligence had tracked frequent visits to South Africa by Israeli nuclear scientists, technicians and defense officials in the years preceding the incident and concluded that “clandestine arrangements between South Africa and Israel for joint nuclear testing operations might have been negotiable.” Such speculation was fueled in 1986 when Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu was interviewed by the London Sunday Times. Vanunu said that it was common knowledge at Dimona that South African metallurgists, technicians, and scientists were there on exchange programs.

        and…

        The biggest secret of all was the nuclear one. Israel provided expertise and technology that was central to South Africa’s development of its nuclear bombs. Israel was embarrassed enough about its close association with a political movement rooted in racial ideology to keep the military collaboration hidden.

      • But, China was similarly implicated, and no comment from you on that.

        It sounds like Israel did assist South African nukes. Not something that I would be proud of.

        The condition that created that was Israel’s forced isolation by the rest of the world.

        My own view is that the expansion is THE issue that creates Israel’s isolation, and is THE issue then that should be the focus of dissent to improve its ethical and international standing.

        The distraction of the left from that, instead being asked to and actively endorsing Hamas and Iran’s excesses and ethical and legal failings, on the basis of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, is a tragedy in the world.

      • Shingo says:

        “But, China was similarly implicated, and no comment from you on that.”

        China are not insisting that a signatory to the NPT be scruitinzed or denied it’s rights under the NPT.

        “The condition that created that was Israel’s forced isolation by the rest of the world.”

        Rubbish. Israel were not isolated by the rest of the world. Isrel wanted to violate international law and they sought a partner that would facilitate those aims. Israel were seeking nukes before 1967.

        Ethics have never been of any conseuquence to Israel, because Israelis have convinved themselves that the Holocaust guarnatess they beyond reproach and above the law.

      • Look at the current situation, Shingo, and from the US perspective.

        Iran’s behaviors are not dismissable, not innocent, not fully compliant with non-proliferation protocols.

      • Again, relative to a prospectively objectively destabalizing change in current geo-politics (Iran not having nuclear capability to Iran having nuclear capability), it is a reasonable question whether “fairness” or “hypocrisy” is the appropriate measure of US or others’ policy.

        It is necessary to examine the objective change in relationships, even as many are dynamic and not entirely predictable.

      • Donald says:

        “But, China was similarly implicated, and no comment from you on that.

        It sounds like Israel did assist South African nukes. Not something that I would be proud of.

        The condition that created that was Israel’s forced isolation by the rest of the world.”

        I think the people at JSF talk about this–it’s one of the standard defenses of Zionism. This one is “everyone sucks”. I never thought China’s behavior was one that others should emulate.

        Incidentally, Richard, someone as well read as you claim to be on this subject should have heard of these allegations before.

        Anyway, the notion that Israel was isolated and therefore forced to help apartheid South Africa acquire nuclear weapons is a spectacularly stupid claim even for Richard. It makes no sense at all. For one thing, Israel had this ally, a rather important one, called the “United States” (perhaps you’ve heard of it, Richard?). I suppose, though, that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons and is isolated for it, by Richard’s standards they will have no choice but to give nuclear weapons to the few allies they have left. Let’s see, who would those be? Starts with an “H”–wait, it’ll come to me. Anyway, Richard can’t complain if that happens because by his logic they have no choice.

        I’m leaving out the crucial part of Richard’s logic–Israel is not bound by the rules that others should follow.

        Richard, if you ever made an effort at moral consistency or even just logical consistency you might have a little bit better luck making your case around here. For instance, I bet you favor sanctions on Iran, and if not that then military force. Isolation, economic suffering, and then violence if necessary. Yet the thought of very much milder pressure on Israel sends you into a frenzy. With Iran you are an advocate of realpolitik, looking at the situation without reference to “fairness”, yet when Israel is involved your notions of “fairness” (which means favoritism to Israel in your mind) dominate your thinking.

      • Shingo says:

        Richard,

        Sometimes I wonder if you cringe as you type some of these rediculous posts.

        You want me to loook a the current situation from the US perspective? Is that not the only perspective we’ve ever been presented? Is that not the fundamental root of the problem?

        Iran’s behaviors are completely in compliance with non-proliferation treaty. If you would like to explain otherwise, feel free to do so, but don’t try and use this platitude from your positioon of ignorance.

        As for the so called destabalition of the ME, has anyone stopped to ponder what that means? Does is not mean a challenge to the power of the vile and corrupt Saudis? How is that status quo ideal?

        What do we mean by objective change in relationships? The removal of US suported dictators perhaps? Is that your idea of stability?

        Perhaps what you mean by destablilization, is a usurpatino fo Israel’s mlitary dominance and it’s ability to intimidate others, which Israel has long prided itself on. We know how you despise the notion of Isreal being subjected to checks and balances.

      • From the intention, the effort to avoid a mid-east arms race, to identify CURRENT destabalization is critical.

        Please don’t get caught up in the trees.

        See clearly, so you can actually propose an approach that improves the context, rather than is only irritated.

      • MRW says:

        Donald,

        For instance, I bet you favor sanctions on Iran, and if not that then military force. Isolation, economic suffering, and then violence if necessary. Yet the thought of very much milder pressure on Israel sends you into a frenzy.

        Kudos for writing a clear comparison that applies to so many of the cheerleaders for more Middle East mayhem.

    • Kathleen says:

      And Israel has gotten into trouble trying to sell China

      U.S. Arms Sales to Israel End Up In China, Iraq
      link to commondreams.org

      This was after Israel got caught
      link to globalsecurity.org

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Great, so now not only can we look forward to all that top notch American made military equipment being wielded against Palestinian civilians, we get to watch it used against Tibetan and Hong Kong civilians in years to come as well.

  17. Shafiq says:

    Richard, you’re clasping at straws in your attempts to justify Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons and justify its sabre rattling over Iran’s supposed attempts at building its own.

    Israel has no right to talk about nuclear weapons. And the nations that helped Israel build them (and those that are shielding it from questions over the issue), also have no right to talk about the Iranian nuclear programme.

  18. The rest of the world is very concerned about Iranian historical and present behavior.

    If you can drop your anti-Israeli rage, you’d be able to understand the basis for that concern, and then you could responsibly participate in the debate as to policy proposals.

    In the knee-jerk, “Iranian is innocent” theme, you will have to invest far far more effort into rationalization, than into creative proposal.

    As I’ve said a few dozen times, noting that Iran aggresses does not determine the appropriate response to that. There are many options, some of which result in conflict, some prospectively in reconciliation.

    If the choice for the US is with Iran or with Israel, I frankly think that with Israel is the most progressive of those choices.

    But, to get to that point would be a state of war in the world, a bad outcome, an avoidable one.

    It is furthered by partisan approaches though. “Iran is innocent” is one of those partisan approaches.

    • Shafiq says:

      The rest of the world is very concerned about Iranian historical and present behavior.
      Historical? The rest of the world being the US, Britain, France, Germany and Israel. Oh Gee! Let me start building my nuclear bunker. Iran has not and is nowhere near building a bomb.

      Personally, I don’t think Iran should get the bomb (I’m not worried by the prospect of them getting one), but it infuriates me that Iran is being used as an excuse for Israel to delay on peace. It’s Iran this, Iran that and YOU Richard continuously use this tactic in an attempt to divert attention from Israel.

      If you have even the slightest bit of honesty, you would admit that Israeli bombs are as destabilising as any future Iranian bomb would be. You would admit that Israel can’t be trusted with the bomb for the same reasons you wish to deny Iran the bomb. But then, you’re not honest (or pro-peace for that matter), you’re just slimy and deceptive. At least Lieberman doesn’t put on a charade.

      • You are straw-dogging again. Imagining that I am the mass media that you object to.

        I urge Israel to work for peace, specifically to cease settlement expansion as the tipping issue, the indicator of intent.

        You are speaking angrily from little irritations rather than seeking to persuade anyone.

        Go further than stimulated irritation so that you may actually get someone to listen to the valid and sympathetic perspective that you bear.

      • Shingo says:

        “I urge Israel to work for peace, specifically to cease settlement expansion as the tipping issue, the indicator of intent.”

        Urging is not producing any results.

        Pursuing a policy that produces no results is insanity, therefore if you are serious about the ceassation of settlement expansion, then you would advocate firmer mearures. Ultimately, your fixation with Israel is stronger than your desire for peace and justice.

      • Shafiq says:

        I never mentioned the mass media.

        I’m responding angrily to your fallacious arguments. I do usually put a bit more effort into my posts, but yours recently have been taking the biscuit, so I’ll reply to them with the contempt they deserve.

      • But Shafiq, you are not responding to my words, instead putting someone else’s words into my mouth, imagining what my positions or actions are.

        Thats the straw dog process, putting someone else’s words into another’s mouth.

      • Shafiq says:

        So you didn’t attempt to justify Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons by saying ‘it’s a done deal’?

        Or say that Israel is less aggressive than Iran, and therefore we shouldn’t be complaining about ‘fairness’?

        Or dismiss the parallel between the two, by making minute distinctions between the two countries (nearly all of which are false)?

        And you don’t parrot the ‘Iran is evil’ card every time something related to Israel is mentioned?

        You say you’re pro-peace and you’re for a just solution but blame everything on the Arabs/Iranians and attempt to justify even the most horrific of Israeli actions by playing the usual canard ‘this is not representative’.

      • Israel ALREADY has nukes. The presence of Israeli nukes is not currently destabalizing.

        The CHANGE of Iran’s status to a nuclear power is destabalizing.

        Personally, I favor a world in which Israel did not have nukes. There is the possibility that it could be persuaded that nukes are unnecessary. Iran acquiring even close to nuclear capability is NOT that condition by which Israel could consider voluntarily giving up its nuclear capability.

        Any threat of weapons of mass destruction in any form enthusiastically developed by those that might willingly use them (even if the “first time” – an ODD description of Iran’s foreign policy) requires Israel to retain its deterrance, given the history of external sovereign and militia attacks on Israel and the assertion by many parties that Israel does not have the right to exist.

        Change the conditions, rather than blame.

      • Shafiq says:

        I’d call the Middle East pretty damn unstable already. The fact that Israel has nuclear weapons and invades a country almost every two years, doesn’t help things.

        The Middle East is already the most militarised region in the world. Stopping Iran from getting nukes is like re-arranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship.

        And maybe, you should use the same tactics on Iran that you would like used on Israel, to give up their nukes – ‘persuaded that nukes are unnecessary’, instead of the threat of sanctions and regime change.

        You keep re-iterating the myth that Israel is threatened by Iran. If anything, it’s the other way round. If you thing Israel needs a deterrence, then for precisely the same reasons (the external attacks, sanctions, talk of regime change), Iran needs one too.

        All you’re doing is pointing out the parallels between Israel and Iran and your hypocrisy by turning a blind eye to one’s nukes and condemning the other’s.

      • Shingo says:

        How do we know that the presence of Israeli nukes is not currently destabalizing? The ME is regarded as volatile, and Israel’s presence alone has been the single most destabilizing element, so why not it’s nukes?

        No, the change of Iran’s status to a nuclear power is not destabalizing, it’s a neutralizing effect, which is what really upsets you, isn’t it Richard? It cancels out Israel’s ability to attack Iran, and that cannot be tolertaed, becasue only Israel has the right to defend itself.

        The threat of weapons of mass destruction is a carnard, becasue Israel develoepd it’s nukes long before there were any WMD in the region. Israel developed it’s nukes not for deterrance, for for dominance.

        Israel created the conditios, and therefore deserves the blame.

      • If Iran accepted Israel’s right to exist, it wouldn’t need a deterrance.

        It only needs a deterrance from Israel reacting to its own escalation, and the behavior of its clients.

      • Shingo says:

        Israel’s prusuit and aquisition of nukes preeded the Iranian revolutino by decades, and in fact, took place during a period when Israel and Iran were allies. In any case, Israel’s contempt for world opinion mean that anyone’s opinion regarding their right to exist is of no consequence.

        The word deterrance is as isleading as the term self defence. They are both code for agression and domination.

      • Shafiq says:

        Oh please,

        Iran has every reason to need a deterrence. The sanctions, the US refusal to hold diplomatic links, the Iran-Iraq war…do I need to mention more?

        Quit the bullshit, it’s embarrassing.

    • Koshiro says:

      “Historical”, yeah. That’s a good one. Reminds me of a transcript of one German stand-up comedian’s take on it. I’ll paraphrase:

      Iran, according to the treaties it signed, is allowed to build nuclear facilities and enrich uranium for civilian purposes – just as Germany is. Now, unfortunately, you can very easily use the same type of facility to produce weapons-grade materials – to build nukes.
      Of course, nobody would suspect us Germans of that. We have developed a spotless reputation for peacefulness over the centuries. Iran, however, has started several world wars in the past – so of course we can’t trust them.

    • potsherd says:

      Since Iran does not aggress, there is no noting it. A “responsible” discussion does not begin with lies.

      • Of course Iran aggresses.

        You have seen the hundreds of photographs of Farsi on multiple parts of the rockets in Sderot?

      • MRW says:

        You have seen the hundreds of photographs of Farsi on multiple parts of the rockets in Sderot?

        Produce just one, Richard. Just one photo. Or are you working off jazz like this:
        link to mojahedin.org

        This Farsi on bombs bullshit did a run or two in Iraq, and was found to be false. Want to know why? Iraqis DONT SPEAK FARSI. They speak Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian.

        Palestinians DONT SPEAK FARSI, Richard. Neither do they read it. They speak Arabic, not Persian. They need to be able to read what’s on the bomb/rocket/weapon. There is an international language used on all weaponry, Richard, and if you would do a modicum of research, just a little, you would discover this. There are international standards for these things, just as there are for airplane parts. The identifying marks on all weaponry and airplane parts are numbers. Serial numbers. And there’s a big book that everyone has worldwide that identifies the source of manufacture. These numbers are engraved into the parts. That’s how Robert Fisk was able to discover the lies in the Serbian war. He walked the countryside and photographed the serial numbers on the parts of bombs that fell.

        Again, as you did above, in #59, you take Ha’aretz as gospel, in fact any article written by a source you approve of, as gospel as your source. You dont research the source documents. Of course, that’s a lot of labor. I’ve been following this thread and I dont have the time to find the sources that throw water over your arguments, but I have detected a pattern: you rely on written articles ABOUT sources. You dont investigate the sources themselves.

      • MRW says:

        To wit, Richard’s quote:

        The other issue that the Haaretz article referred, was that the issue was precipitated by a General Assembly vote that did NOT refer to the preservation of the NPT as it applied universally including to India, Pakistan, North Korea, but solely to Israel.

        The spirit of the general assembly resolution was specifically directed at Israel, and therefore was partisan, rather than an effort to preserve international law.

        What’s the link to the article you derived this insight from?

      • Shingo says:

        “You have seen the hundreds of photographs of Farsi on multiple parts of the rockets in Sderot? ”

        How do you know they are Farsi?

        And Hezbollah are known to use m16 semi automatics. Does that mean that the US arms Hezbollah?

      • MRW says:

        Shingo,

        You are right about pointing out the Farsi angle on bombs. In one hilarious attempt at implicating the Iranians in the Iraq War a couple of years ago, the neocon press breathlessly promulgated photos that showed weaponry with Farsi words stamped on them as proof of Iranian involvement. The idiots who stenciled Farsi on the metal casing also photographed these missiles with their serial numbers, their real serial numbers, having no clue what they would indicate. The serial numbers embody the country and year of manufacture. The missiles they were trying to pass off as Iranian were American.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Maybe somebody with a bit more authority can back me up, but from what I understand Farsi and Arabic share the same alphabet. So unless you literally had the Farsi word for “bomb” painted on the rocket…

        I’d also like to see if any of these so called “Farsi” markings were, you know, painted right on top of the scorch marks and impact fatigue and such. Not, you know, that the Israelis have ever been caught in a lie before…

      • MRW says:

        I mean, think about it. If you’re going to make bombs for sale and you speak a language that no one but your country speaks, why would you mark up your goods with a language that no one can understand on the instrument of sale?

        Gore Vidal said it best in a recent interview:

        “Does anyone care what Americans think? They’re the worst-educated people in the First World. They don’t have any thoughts, they have emotional responses, which good advertisers know how to provoke.”

        The same applies to the drivel that I hear constantly apologizing for Israel: twisted tales of logic straight out of Mother Goose. What annoys me is that I have to spend hours sometimes daily capturing the original news before forces-that-be get the initial reports wiped off the web. My collection should be worth a fortune someday to a worthy historian. I’m up to 70 GBs.

    • potsherd says:

      Iran has alliances. So does Israel. This is not the same as aggression.

      Or would you admit that Israel is committing aggression all over Africa when warlords use Israeli weapons to make war?

    • Shingo says:

      “The rest of the world is very concerned about Iranian historical and present behavior.”

      Are they realy Richard or are you assuming that the US and some countries in Europe comprise the rest of the world?

      China, Russia and India, who’s population is more than double the West, are not concerned with Iran.

      Historically, Iran have not attacked oir invaded any other contry in 300 years.

      Presently, they have attacked and invaded no one.

      If you can drop your Israeli centric view of the world, you’d be able to understand there is basis for concern.

      In the knee-jerk, “Iranian is to blame” theme, you will have to invest far far more effort into rationalization, and indeed ignoring the fact, than into creative proposal. And speaking of cretive proposals, isn;t that just doubel speak for hypcrisy and double standards?

      • Russia and India issued very strongly worded criticism of the Qum reactor recently Shingo.

        Weren’t you reading?

      • Iran has trained, funded, encouraged Hamas and Hezbollah and is reported by some to have given orders to Hezbollah to undertake military operations against Israel.

        I guess that is “not attacking another country for 300 years”.

      • Shingo says:

        “Russia and India issued very strongly worded criticism of the Qum reactor recently Shingo.”

        Empty words. Neither will back harsher sacntions against Iran and furthermore, Russia continues to do business with Iran.

        “Iran has trained, funded, encouraged Hamas and Hezbollah and is reported by some to have given orders to Hezbollah to undertake military operations against Israel.”

        Iran has not trained Hamas.

        Israel has trained, funded, encouraged Kursih terrorists and is conducting terorsit activities inside Iran.

        Iran does not give orders to Hezbollah to undertake military operations against Israel. Hezbollah don’t operate inside Israel. It’s Israel that do the invading remember?

        So as it stands, Iran has definitely NOT attacked another country for 300 years.

        Try harder next time.

      • Shingo says:

        BTW Richard,

        An ionternationa poll shows that the intrnational cimmunity regards the US and Israel as bigger threats to world peace that Iran.

        I guess you’ll now have to dismiss this as a product of irrational anti Israeli sentiment?

      • potsherd says:

        Supporting one’s allies is not the same thing as aggression. Particularly when those allies are engaged in self-defense against a true aggressor.

      • You accused me of stating assertions authoritatively, yet your tone is authoritative.

        “Iran does not train Hamas.” If Hamas is using Iranian sourced rocket construction requiring any technical skill in the use of materials supplied, then it does train Hamas. I wasn’t there. You weren’t there.

        “Iran does not give orders to Hezbollah to undertake military operations against Israel. Hezbollah don’t operate inside Israel. It’s Israel that do the invading remember?”

        The critical 2006 abduction was in Israel, remember. Or, do you still believe Nasrallah’s lie (later recanted) that the abduction was in Lebanon? Again, I’m not privy to Iran-Hezbollah conversations. Are you?

        Although not a first attack, Iran did retaliate against Iraq strategically. It is the semantic game of “my pressure is not an attack, but your attack is”.

        “He started it”.

        You make a moral mistake by urging ANY of the parties to escalate in any way.

      • Shingo says:

        ” I wasn’t there. You weren’t there.”

        But you assert that Iran trains Hamas. There is no evidence of that and furthermore, operating primitive rockets does not require training.

        “The critical 2006 abduction was in Israel, remember. ”

        Rubbish. The critical abduction took place on Lebanon’s side of the border. Israle had been vilatring LEbanon’s borders and air space frequently. It was not Nasrallah’s assertion but simple fact. Furthermore, Israel chose to esclate the incident, to carry out a long planned invasino of Lebanon, as Olmert admitted to the Wonigrad Commision.

        “Although not a first attack, Iran did retaliate against Iraq strategically.”

        Funny that. When Israel do it, you call it self defense, but when Iran does it, you cast aspetions to imply that Iran were to blame.

        “It is the semantic game of “my pressure is not an attack, but your attack is”.”

        Yes, it’s one we’ve seen Israel play many times.

      • The abduction in Lebanon occurred in Israel, as Nasrallah later proudly declared had been planned for months.

        Juan Cole repeated Nasrallah’s assertions and maps that the abduction occurred in Lebanon (for weeks actually), in spite of published UNIFIL reports pointing to all of the accompanying diversionary rocket strikes and the specific site of the abduction.

        I’m sorry you didn’t read that in your suspicion of the mass media.

        You are arguing that Iran is innocent. I claim that they aggress.

        I never claimed that Iran’s actions relative to Iraq weren’t primarily self-defense. They did undertake some offensive actions in what was clearly defensive general setting. (The words “defense” and “offense” are used opportunistically by those that seek to call themselves blameless by either punitive or reformative definitions of the term.)

      • Citizen says:

        Witty: “(The words “defense” and “offense” are used opportunistically by those that seek to call themselves blameless by either punitive or reformative definitions of the term.)”

        A good example is “IDF.”
        ALSO, Israel was pursuing its nuclear weapons stash in 1963, when JFK was killed.

      • Shingo says:

        Richard,

        You don’t even kow which way is up anymore.

        “The abduction in Lebanon occurred in Israel, as Nasrallah later proudly declared had been planned for months”

        How can an abduction IN LEBANON occur in Israel?

        Firstly, it took place on the Lebanese side of the border.

        Secondly, it was a capture, on an arrest, as Israel like to call it when they do it to Hamas or Hebollah fighers.

        Thirdly. it was Olmert who admitted to planning the attack for up to A YEAR before it too place, to the Wonigrad Commission.

        Olmert ‘planned Lebanon war before soldiers’ kidnap’
        link to independent.co.uk

        Lastly, Isrel and Hezbollah had been having corss border skirmishes ever since 2000, so this one was no different, but Israel seized it as an opportunity to escalate it into a war.

        I’m sorry you didn’t read that in your Israeli propaanda.

        Iran are not the aggressors. You wil always insis that Israel are defending themselevs and that everyone esle are the agressors, becasue that’s par for the course when you’re an Israeli applologist.

      • You are one gullible individual to believe that the abduction occurred in Lebanon, in spite of UNIFIL and Nasrallah’s own admissions.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Yeah! You are one gullible person if you don’t fall in line with Richard’s blind condemnation of all things Arab!

        Does anyone wonder what Witty thinks about the USS Liberty incident, considering? I’d love to hear him justify that to us.

  19. Dan Kelly says:

    Obama, Nuclear Arms Reduction, and the Immense Power of the Israel Lobby

    As the US berates Iran for its nuclear program—-though there is no substantial proof that Iran even intends to develop nuclear weapons—-the United States intentionally overlooks Israel’s existing nuclear arsenal so that it will remain free from international inspection. As an article in the “Washington Times” by Eli Lake (October 2) points out, Obama has apparently pledged to Israel that the US will continue this “head-in-the-sand” approach towards Israel’s nuclear arsenal despite his pontificating about the need for a nuclear-free world.

    As Lake’s article indicates, this secret agreement between the US and Israel was initially made in 1969, and Israel successfully sought to have Obama reiterate it. Obama has, in fact, put this agreement on much firmer ground since no formal record of such a previous agreement actually exists.

    Undoubtedly, such a secret agreement makes a mockery of Obama’s idealistic talk of a nuclear-free world as well as his call for government transparency. It is quite reminiscent of the idealistic preaching of the Allies in the World War I period about a just peace based upon national self-determination and “open treaties openly arrived at” while at the same time having secret treaties to enable the victors to carve up the spoils of war among themselves. When revealed, this hypocrisy caused popular disillusionment with the post-war peace settlement and helped pave the way for World War II.

    Is Obama simply a hypocrite, with his anti-nuclear arms preaching being only empty rhetoric? The nations of the world can see the obvious double standard, making any real international agreement impossible. However, even if Obama were totally indifferent to improving the world, which I don’t think is the case, he would derive personal benefits (e.g., international acclaim) if his nuclear arms reductions proposals achieved some type of implementation.

    Why does Obama, the head of the most powerful country in the world, allow the parochial interests of a small foreign country, Israel, to stand in the way of his global agenda for the reduction of nuclear armaments? As one Senate staffer told the author of the “Washington Times” article: “the president gave commitments that politically he had no choice but to give regarding Israel’s nuclear program.” Let’s emphasize and then analyze those key words: “POLITICALLY HE HAD NO CHOICE.” The Senate staffer (and it should be noted that Senate staff make their living by understanding political reality) presented this lack of choice as an objective fact, not a subjective fear on Obama’s part. It is not simply that Obama fears the power of Israel and the Israel lobby; rather, according to the Senate staffer, if Obama went against the interests of Israel on the nuclear issue, the Israel lobby would wreck his presidency and prevent his re-election. This would explain why Obama did not even dare to try to get the Israeli government to make any compromise on its position of ambiguity regarding nuclear weapons, such as declaring itself a member of the nuclear club and allowing inspections.

    While the idea of a powerful Israel lobby is vociferously denied by the mainstream and is often excoriated as an example of “anti-Semitism,” the power of the Israel lobby over the president of the United States in this case underscores the very immensity its political influence. Of course, the Israel lobby is so powerful that every significant mainstream figure who wishes to remain in an august position must never publicize its real power.

    This is not to say that the power of the Israel lobby is unlimited. Israel and the Israel lobby have not yet demonstrated the power to directly force the United States into a war on Iran. And the war on Iraq required skillful propaganda manipulation by the neoconservatives who were strategically ensconced within the Bush administration. Israel and its lobby’s inability so far to pressure the United States to attack Iran is largely due to resistance from the old foreign policy establishment and the military, along with the general realization of the likely catastrophic consequences of such military action. However, Israel and its lobby have been able to get the US to pursue policies that bring the US close to war, and without that pressure the relations between the US and Iran would be far more tranquil. (See, for example, the CFR-sponsored report “Iran: Time for a New Approach,” 2004, discussed on p. 259 of “The Transparent Cabal”)

    Unless greater resistance to the Israel lobby is demonstrated by politicians, especially the president, it is quite likely that the United States will eventually drift into war with Iran. And effective resistance to the Israel lobby would require politicians to take positions that could lead to their political destruction. Perhaps this is not possible.

    Stephen Sniegoski

    (Sorry for the long post, I had no link for that. I just received it via email from Mr. Sniegoski, and it doesn’t appear to be up on the web yet. -Dan)

  20. Can we conduct a poll?

    Can those that are personally confident that Iran is NOT developing nuclear weapons, please say so? (And, if so, what would be the appropriate response by Israel, US and Europe)

    How about those that think that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons? (And, if so, what would be the appropriate response by Israel, US and Europe).

    I think that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons, and the appropriate US and European response is to demand consistent compliance with inspections protocols and voluntary disclosures. Equal carrot and stick, including insistence that Iran cease saber-rattling towards Israel and cease funding, training and arming Hamas and Hezbollah.

    • Shingo says:

      “Can those that are personally confident that Iran is NOT developing nuclear weapons, please say so?”

      Yes I am confident that ran is NOT developing nuclear weapons and as someone with a background in nuclear science and engineering, I challenge anyone to prove that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

      Of course, an honest poll would be:

      “Can those that with expertise in nuclear proliferation, that are personally confident that Iran is NOT developing nuclear weapons, please say so.”

      I am confident that the audience of Fox News all believe Iran already has them.

      “How about those that think that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons?”

      Under what circumstances? For example, if Iran were attacked, there is a strong chance that they would. If Iran is left alone and brougt into the international fold, then no.

      Saying you think that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons is irrelevant, esepcialy comming from an Israeli propagandist like yourself, who has no knowledge fo the subject.

      And if it is “appropriate” that the US and European demand consistent compliance with inspections protocols and voluntary disclosures, then sthe same conditions must be imposed in Israel, India and Pakistan.

      In 2003, Iran offered to cease funding, training and arming Hamas and Hezbollah, and that offer was rejected by the Bush Administration.

      Iran does not train Hamas, but perhaps the US should also cease funding and arming Israel, who do have nukes and are regarded as a bigger threat to world peace than Iran.

      • In a post a little while ago, you asserted authoritatively that Iran was not training Hamas and Hezbollah.

        The assertion of the international community is one of danger, and always has been. If you are arguing with Fox News, then you are arguing with a straw dog here.

        I don’t believe that you are honest in describing that Iran is confidently NOT working to build nuclear weapons. I think you similar to me, don’t know.

        And, then the question for policy makers is, “not knowing, what do you do?”

        Those that consider risk aversion as any element in their foreign policy must then prepare for the downside, the less than hopeful, especially given the historical reluctance of Iran to cooperate fully with the non-proliferation protocols, its willingness to deceive (the Qum reactor is an example).

        Its a dilemma relative to Iran. Trita Parsi and others have stated that Iran feels isolated, under threat. By parallel logic to what I propose, the rest of the world should then assure Iran, “we don’t mean to harm you, you are a member of the international community and your sovereignty is to be preserved.”

        But, in recent history, Iran actively advocates and acts for the elimination of another sovereign state from the map (Israel), lies about its nuclear program, and conducts a fraudulent election with the killing of 100′s and arrest of 1000′s of objectors to the fraud.

        And, doesn’t undertake a review, instead is defended by dissenters as “innocent”.

        Iran could change its relation to Israel, to one of reluctant acceptance of Israel’s existence, its right to exist.

        It would relax a great deal of tension.

      • Shingo says:

        “The assertion of the international community is one of danger, and always has been. ”

        Absoluet rubbish as always from you Richard. There is no element fo danger becasue a) Iran is not making nukes, b) it states it has no intention of making nukes, c) it has singed the NPT and submitted to the most intrusiev inspection in history and d) the IAEA and 16 US intelligence agencies have concluded there are no nukes being made.

        I am being absolutely honest abotu my beliefs that Iran NOT working to build nuclear weapons. You don’t know becasue you are ignroant and you are driven by a desire to propagate the fear of Iran.

        There is no historical reluctance of Iran to cooperate fully with the non-proliferation protocols. None. They have cooperate fully, and more than any other state has.

        There was no deceptihno with regard to Qum buklding. For a start, it is NOT a reactor, but an empty building that will house 3000 centrifuges in 18 months. Iran are not required to declare such a facilty until 6 months prios to the introduction of nuclerar material.

        The fact that they declred the facility 18 months early proves that there was not deception and that you are a liar.

        Iran has NEVER advocated the elimination of another sovereign state from the map. You knwo that statement has been debunked and you have had this explained repeatedly, but you cling to your lies becasue without them, you have no argument.

        Iran has nver lied about its nuclear program. Never.

        The election that was held in Iran is none of anyone’s business but Iran’s.

        Iran tried to ghange its relation to Israel, as have the 22 Arab states that signed the peace initiative, offerin gto recongize Israel and normalze relatios. The Bush Admintation, Israel’s best friend rejected Iran’s offer and Israel has rejected the peace initiative.

        Israel doesn’t give a damn about anyone’s opinion, much less whether a neighboring states recongizes it.

      • I am NOT driven by any desire to propagate fear, but am driven by a desire to see clearly, so as to make good rather than wishful-thinking decisions (even on the actions that I can control).

        The reality of both judgements: “Israel is criminal” and “Iran is innocent”, contain truths and falsehoods.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Actually, no Richard. Let’s frame this:

        A) “Israel is criminal.” Are you going to deny that they have rogue nuclear arms capacity?

        B) “Iran is innocent.” What part of the NPT has Iran violated, specifically?

      • “Iran has NEVER advocated the elimination of another sovereign state from the map. You knwo that statement has been debunked and you have had this explained repeatedly, but you cling to your lies becasue without them, you have no argument.”

        Do you want me to post the IRIBnews reference again for you? It is an ambiguous translation. It could go to “Israel like all sovereign states will melt into the sea.” (Like Iran, like the Islamic Waqf, and like dust to dust). But with the exception of “with our help”.

        Or, the translation can plausibly be “we will wipe Israel from the map” as the native Farsi professional translators opted to present.

        “Iran has nver lied about its nuclear program. Never.”

        “This is part of a pattern of deception and lies on the part of the Iranians from the very beginning with respect to their nuclear program. So it’s no wonder that world leaders think that they have ulterior motives, that they have a plan to go forward with nuclear weapons. Otherwise, why would they do all this in such a deceptive manner?” Gates said Sunday in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

        Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that Iran has until Thursday to agree to inspections and voluntarily halt its hidden nuclear program, or the United States and its allies will seek crippling sanctions.

        Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Sunday that Tehran’s intention to produce weapons-grade uranium in the Qom facility has not yet been proven, but the indications are strong.

        Clinton spoke on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Feinstein appeared on “Fox News Sunday.”

        U.S. officials said the site was secret and guarded by elite Iranian troops. And there are too few centrifuges to play a meaningful role in Iran’s civilian energy program.

        However, there are enough centrifuges to refine a small amount of uranium suitable for a warhead, according to U.S. intelligence and administration officials.

        Read more at: link to huffingtonpost.com

        “The election that was held in Iran is none of anyone’s business but Iran’s.”

        Interesting interpretation.

      • Shingo says:

        “Do you want me to post the IRIBnews reference again for you? It is an ambiguous translation.”

        Do you want me to post Juan Cole’s correct translation for you? It is an ambiguous and correct translation.

        “It could go to “Israel like all sovereign states will melt into the sea.” ”

        And what do you think that means Richard? Regime change perhaps, like Israel is demqanding of Tehran?

        “Or, the translation can plausibly be “we will wipe Israel from the map”"

        Not when there is no such phrase in Farsi and not when the phrase was never uttered to begin with. Disspeared from the pages of time is what was said.

        ” Gates said Sunday in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”"

        Gates is a liar. He was among those who lead the WMD chrge against Iraq. IN fact, Gates is on the record as admitting he believes Iran wants nukes, but can’t explain why. Yeah, he’s a real yardstick for objectivity.

        Where did Gates cite a vilation of the NPT?

        “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday”

        Hillary Clinton is just a big a liar and is on the record as saying that nothing Iran could say woudl change her mind about Iran. In other words, her poisitonb is base not on facts, but ideology.

        Where did Clinton cite a vilation of the NPT?

        “Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.”

        Where did Feinstein cite a vilation of the NPT?

        “U.S. officials said the site was secret and guarded by elite Iranian troops. ”

        hardly a secret when Iran had already declared it to the IAEA. And given that Israel have been itiching to attack Iran, it’s no surprise that the site is guarded by elite Iranian troops. As Scott ritter explained, positioning it among a miliatry fcility means not having to install missile defenses.

        “And there are too few centrifuges to play a meaningful role in Iran’s civilian energy program.”

        iran have already explained that the purpose of the facility is to serve as a pilot program to perserve their know how should Natanz be destroyed.

        “However, there are enough centrifuges to refine a small amount of uranium suitable for a warhead, according to U.S. intelligence and administration officials.”

        Rubbish. It has taken all of Iran’s centrifugeds to produce enough LEU to produce ONE bomb, if they decided to enrich it to HEU and Natanz has been enriching for years.

        All you are able to link to are vague assertions and specualtion, but not a single case of Iran violating the NPT.

        0/10 Ricahrd.

      • VR says:

        Hey Richard, I thought you did not own a TV, if you are so distrustful of TV news why do you quote it?

        “Otherwise, why would they do all this in such a deceptive manner?” Gates said Sunday in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.””

        Like always, you always contradict yourself when it is convenient. You, as well as others, better learn that the terminal point on any argument does not fall to the assumption that the USA or Israel own the world – they don’t. If you do not want this intrigue than get American troops off Iran’s neighbors soil now, and stop the Israeli cheer leading bullshit for another war.

    • Dan Kelly says:

      First the facts: As a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran’s nuclear facilities are open to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which carefully monitors Iran’s nuclear energy program to make certain that no material is diverted to nuclear weapons.

      The IAEA has monitored Iran’s nuclear energy program and has announced repeatedly that it has found no diversion of nuclear material to a weapons program. All 16 U.S. intelligence agencies have affirmed and reaffirmed that Iran abandoned interest in nuclear weapons years ago.

      In keeping with the safeguard agreement that the IAEA be informed before an enrichment facility comes online, Iran informed the IAEA on Sept. 21 that it had a new nuclear facility under construction. By informing the IAEA, Iran fulfilled its obligations under the safeguards agreement. The IAEA will inspect the facility and monitor the nuclear material produced to make sure it is not diverted to a weapons program.

      Ali Akbar Dareini, an Associated Press writer, reported, incorrectly, over AP: “The presence of a second uranium-enrichment site that could potentially produce material for a nuclear weapon has provided one of the strongest indications yet that Iran has something to hide.”

      Dareini goes on to write that “the existence of the secret site was first revealed by Western intelligence officials and diplomats on Friday.” Dareini is mistaken. We learned of the facility when the IAEA announced that Iran had reported the facility the previous Monday in keeping with the safeguards agreement.

      Dareini’s untruthful report of “a secret underground uranium enrichment facility whose existence has been hidden from international inspectors for years” helped to heighten the orchestrated alarm.

      There you have it. The president of the United States and his European puppets are doing what they do best — lying through their teeth. The U.S. “mainstream media” repeats the lies as if they were facts. The U.S. “media” is again making itself an accomplice to wars based on fabrications. Apparently, the media’s main interest is to please the U.S. government and hopefully obtain a taxpayer bailout of its failing print operations.

      Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a rare man of principle who has not sold his integrity to the U.S. and Israeli governments, refuted in his report (Sept. 7, 2009) the baseless “accusations that information has been withheld from the Board of Governors about Iran’s nuclear programme. I am dismayed by the allegations of some member states, which have been fed to the media, that information has been withheld from the Board. These allegations are politically motivated and totally baseless. Such attempts to influence the work of the Secretariat and undermine its independence and objectivity are in violation of Article VII.F. of the IAEA Statute and should cease forthwith.”

      As there is no legal basis for action against Iran, the Obama regime is creating another hoax, like the nonexistent “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.” The hoax is that a facility, reported to the IAEA by Iran, is a secret facility for making nuclear weapons.

      Just as the factual reports from the weapons inspectors in Iraq were ignored by the Bush regime, the factual reports from the IAEA are ignored by the Obama regime.

      Like the Bush regime, the Middle East policy of the Obama regime is based in lies and deception.

      Who is the worst enemy of the American people, Iran or the government in Washington and the media whores who serve it?

      link to creators.com

    • DG says:

      Richard, this isn’t about an Iranian nuclear weapons program (which doesn’t exist). It’s about a nuclear weapons program CAPABILITY. Just possession of the KNOWLEDGE of how to create a weapon is more than Israel is prepared to live with, since it would put a check on Israeli belligerence.

      This is a little embrarrasing for our politicans to admit (what’s next, banning advanced calculus classes in Iranian universities?), but it’s really just a continuation of Israel’s long-term strategy of making sure the region is comprised only of weak, destabilized, strife-ridden cantons. This was first elucidated as the Yinon policy in the 80s, and was updated in “A Clean Break.”

    • potsherd says:

      I think Iran has every right to develop nuclear weapons for its defense and every right to support the resistance movements of Hezbollah and Hamas.

      And anyone who demands compliance with inspections should first demand that Israel comply with the terms of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty or be subjected to “crippling sanctions.”

      • How is Hezbollah a resistance movement? The Shaba farms? Not really. Syrian territory (according to Syria). Who is Hezbollah resisting? The Lebanese?

      • Shingo says:

        Hezbollah is a resitance movement beause that is how it came into being, during the Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon.

        It is now resistance movement, because it is the only military group that is willing and capable of resiting an Israeli invasino, as it has done on 2 occasions.

      • potsherd says:

        Hezbollah is the movement prepared to resist the next Israeli invasion of Lebanon, just as it resisted the previous invasions and occupation, which is why it came into being.

      • tree says:

        Shebaa Farms, which has been militarily occupied by Israel since 1967, is claimed as Lebanese territory by Lebanon AND Syria, although Syria and Lebanon are not willing to submit exact demarcations of their border in that area until Israel ceases its occupation of same. They have proposed that the area be put under UN jurisdiction while the borders are finalized. Israel, the occupying party, has refused.

        The UN’s position used to be that the Shebaa Farms area is Syrian territory, but after the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War the UN sent a cartographer to the area to delineate the area and, according to a Deutsche Press-Agentur report on October 27th, 2007:

        Israeli daily Haaretz reported Friday that [UN Lebanon Envoy Geir] Pedersen, during a recent meeting with senior Israeli Defence Ministry official Amos Gilad, said that the evidence boosts the Lebanese claims that Shebaa is Lebanese.

        ‘It may be advisable for Israel to agree to separate negotiations with the government of Lebanon on the Shebaa Farms to resolve the issue,’ the newspaper quoted Pedersen as saying.

  21. Citizen says:

    Scott Ritter is on CSPAN’s Washington Journal right now; he’s completely demolished
    the case for any military action against Iran. He makes me pround to be an American who
    knows facts trump faith every time. Too bad there’s only one of him compared to the
    many propagandists will the biggest bull horns.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Agreed. People like Scott Ritter make me think there’s hope for the US yet. However faint it may be at this point.

      • Citizen says:

        Very faint. Fox News just gave a lot of air time to some Israeli spokesperson reciting all the usual Hasbara, totally ignoring all the historical & cultural knowledge and scientific precision Scott has as a weapons inspector. The Fox news guy treated the Israeli with more than kid gloves, asking him questions akin to, so how often do those
        Pals beast their wives and terrorize good Israelis?

  22. Kathleen says:

    Juan Cole helping to take the spin out of the Iran issue. Also a great clip of Ron Paul talking about the Iran “hype”

    Saturday, October 03, 2009
    Russia, China, Satisfied with 10/1/09 Talks

    The US plan to place further sanctions on Iran for its nuclear energy research program may founder at the United Nations Security Council because of the reluctance of Russia and China to see the sanctions ratcheted up.

    link to juancole.com