Goldberg/Netanyahu: Because of Spanish Inquisition, and Holocaust, Israel gets to have a nuclear monopoly

on 38 Comments

At the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies conference, Jeffrey Goldberg gave a plug for the worldview of Ben Zion Netanyahu, the 100 year old father of Israel’s prime minister who is reportedly much more a nationalist extremist than his son Bibi. In his essay published last September in The Atlantic, Goldberg sought to convey a semblance of journalistic neutrality about the wisdom of an Israeli attack on Iran, and his depiction of Ben Zion Netanyahu was in that vein: he simply characterized the elder’s Netanyahu’s writing and quoted a lot of Israelis who believe he holds great influence over his son.

But before an enthusiastic neocon audience Friday morning in Washington, Goldberg acknowledged his admiration. “I’m a huge reader of his [Bibi’s] father’s work” Goldberg said, adding that the elder Netanyahu’s interpretation of the Spanish Inquisition as not primarily religious but a form of proto-Nazism, once thought radical, was now “generally accepted.” The implication Goldberg drew from the work is that anti-Semitic rhetoric “inevitably turns into to anti-Semitic physical violence.”

There are real world consequences in this mode of thought. The elder Netanyahu (and hardly him alone) elide hostility to Zionism with hostility towards Jews. The implication is that rhetoric critical of Zionism is but a precursor to exterminationist violence. Those who criticize the policies of Israel are nothing more than proto-Nazis. For Israel, such a doctrine would seem to rule out meaningful negotiation or peaceful coexistence with enemies.

It doesn’t surprise me that Goldberg is a fan of Netanyahu senior, but to the extent that Goldberg is influential for framing American foreign policy, it signals a doctrinal departure for the United States as well.

Following Goldberg on the panel was Israeli general Yaacov Amidror. He reiterated Israeli strategic doctrine, which holds that neither Iran nor any other enemy of Israel can ever be allowed nuclear capability, and made it clear that when he is involved in decisive governmental counsels, he would be pushing for a war that he acknowledged would be “long” and “dirty”. No one in Israel wants war, he said, but they would prefer it to a nuclear Iran.

This is a familiar refrain, now voiced by many American politicians. Republican candidate John McCain used virtually the same words. Still it is jarring to hear it expressed succinctly in person.

To sum up, the Netanyahu/Goldberg/Amidror argument is

1) that any rhetorical expression of anti-Zionism is a close cousin to rhetorical anti-Semitism, which is the precursor to genocide; 

and 2) that only Israel, of all the countries in the Middle East, can be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

Whatever the sustainability of this doctrine—and I doubt that Israel will be able to maintain its nuclear monopoly for another generation, regardless of what happens with Iran–it certainly would seem to undermine one of the main selling points of Zionism, that the Jews should have a state “like all the others”. For it requires that Israel be treated not “like the others”, but instead be given an exemption from the rules of statecraft as they have evolved in the nuclear age. Israel is demanding that it be allowed to act as the United States did not act, when it failed to start a preemptive war against the nuclear programs of Soviet Union in the late 40’s or China in the early 60’s. It asks to be guaranteed in perpetuity the sort of nuclear monopoly the United States had from 1945 to 1949.

And through the medium of Jeffrey Goldberg and others, the American establishment is being induced to accept this view.

About Scott McConnell

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of the American Conservative. The former editorial page editor of The New York Post, he has written for Fortune, The New Criterion, National Review, Commentary and many other publications.

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38 Responses

  1. Shingo
    December 11, 2010, 5:28 pm

    It appears that as Israel’s desperation (and that of it’s supporters) increases, they are becomming less guarded and dishonest about their fanaticism.

    Let’s be clear, there was nothing neutral about Goldberg’s piece about the attack on Iran. The piece was a cynical attempt to rachet up the discussion, just as Meir Dagan was threatening that Israel was going to attack Iran if the US didn’t do it first.

  2. pabelmont
    December 11, 2010, 5:50 pm

    We — Israelis — define what the standards are, and we tell you (authoritatively) that no enemy of Israel’s (that is, neither any country which has declared itself an enemy of Israel and, more important, no country which Israel has chosen and declared to be ITS enemy) may be permitted to have nuclear arms because that would remind us of the Nazis (and, really, everything reminds us of the Nazis, even the Grand Inquisitor, who was not even religious for God’s sake, I mean, come onnnn, doesn’t he remind YOU of the Nazis?), and what reminds us of the Nazis IS LIKE ENOUGH to the Nazis, and “LIKE ENOUGH TO” is a comparison which (when WE make it) gives us the right, and duty, to STRIKE FIRST AND DESTROY THEM ROOT AND BRANCH.

    So there. But if some-one thinks that Israel is like the Nazis (in any respect, mind you, not just w.r.t. exterminations), then GOOD LUCK CHARLEY.

  3. rosemerry
    December 11, 2010, 6:01 pm

    “Foundation for the Defense of Democracies” always a code name like ADF, IDF,NED.
    Also, of course, it is unfair to expect Israel to sign the NPT

  4. DICKERSON3870
    December 11, 2010, 6:29 pm

    RE: “only Israel, of all the countries in the Middle East, can be allowed to possess nuclear weapons” – Netanyahu/Goldberg/Amidror argument

    …Without a ‘just, comprehensive and lasting’ peace which only America can bring to pass, Israel will remain at least as likely a candidate as Iran, and a far more enduring one, for the role of ‘nuclear-crazy’ state.
    Iran can never be threatened in its very existence. Israel can. Indeed, such a threat could even grow out of the current intifada. That, at least, is the pessimistic opinion of Martin van Creveld, professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem
    …In this situation, he went on, more and more Israelis were coming to regard the ‘transfer’ of the Palestinians as the only salvation; resort to it was growing ‘more probable’ with each passing day. Sharon ‘wants to escalate the conflict and knows that nothing else will succeed’.
    But would the world permit such ethnic cleansing? ‘That depends on who does it and how quickly it happens. We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force. Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” I consider it all hopeless at this point. We shall have to try to prevent things from coming to that, if at all possible. Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.’

    SOURCE – link to

  5. silencenolonger
    December 11, 2010, 6:45 pm

    Ben Zion Netanyahun Netanyahu version of the Inquistion has been almost totally discredited accept as political misinformation. The leading authority is Henry Kamen link to

  6. Kathleen
    December 11, 2010, 6:48 pm

    ” anti-Semitic rhetoric”

    The huge problem is that any criticism of Israel, the I lobby, so many Jews inablity to deal with the issue honestly is “anti-semitic”

    • eee
      December 11, 2010, 7:28 pm

      No, if there is any problem it is that Israel’s critics are so thin skinned. So what if someone is called antisemitic? If it is obviously not true why would you care? Just defend yourself and that is it. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech. Say what you want, but don’t expect others to say what you want also.

      • alec
        December 12, 2010, 8:03 am

        You’re a pedophile, eee.

        I’ve just informed your boss about your illicit relationship with his ten year old daughter. Just wait until you get to work tomorrow.

        If it is obviously not true, why would you care? Just defend yourself and that is it. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech. Say what you want, but don’t expect others to say what you want also.

  7. Sin Nombre
    December 11, 2010, 7:39 pm

    One thing that’s always struck me about the mentality of Israel’s leadership is what can almost appear to be a kind of aphasia: Just an absolute and utter lack of recognition that Israel’s actions have anything to do with the actions or positions or views of anyone else.

    Yes yes, that is, of course there is the “hasbara” PR efforts of Israel and its partisans and yes they are sophisticated and yes they are massive. Even then though the *substance* of those PR efforts is just weirdly, uniformly the same: Whatever bad anyone is saying about Israel or whatever tough situation it might be in has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel’s actions. And of course perhaps the ultimate expression of this is the claim that no, the forcible displacement of the Palestinians and the settlement of their former lands has nothing to do with the Palestinians’ gripes. Forget even that that displacement and those settlements are what the Palestinians of course *say* is their major gripe: No, contrary to every molecule of common sense the Israelis maintain that such gripes are irrelevant.

    Perhaps this then is the most amazing thing of all about the Israeli situation; their apparent belief that absolutely nothing they have done or could do has anything to do with their situation. And its continued vis a vis their situation with Iran: Read that Goldberg piece cited by McConnell—which is a very good piece one has to say, heavy with comments from and about Israeli officials—and there is not one speck of reflection about how Israel might lessen whatever hostility Iran has towards it. None whatsoever. Neither jot nor tittle.

    So pronounced is this it seems to me to almost amount to a kind of psychosis. Forget, for instance, the idea that this is just a refusal to accept any “guilt” for anything that Israel has done: Most humans resist seeing themselves as guilty of anything. But only the deeply deluded just utterly divorce from consideration the idea that what they do has an effect on others, and yet this is what I at least see as being damn near the unbroken record in the Israeli leadership.

    The bad news about this is of course how dangerous it can make Israel. But the good news is that it probably establishes somewhat of a limit on the degree to which everyone else—including America—can go along with Israel. And indeed I think I just saw even Bill Clinton quoted to the effect that a resolution of the Palestinian situation would work wonders on the problems in the Middle East generally. Thus it seems to me recognitions like this that are perhaps the most dangerous poison to Israel’s situation: That there are simply limits to the degree to which anyone is going to accept or excuse Israel’s actions given their natural consequences.

    Maybe this then is the fundamental nature of the race being run: Since the Israelis seem so immune to any realization that their actions have consequences, it is then a matter of just how extreme their actions will get before the world says stop before the flames you fan engulf us all. Might of course be a long way off, but at least there would seem to be *some* limiting factor that exists, as chilly a degree of comfort that may offer….

    • wondering jew
      December 11, 2010, 9:28 pm

      Sin nombre- Israel does have blinders on regarding how their policies affect the reactions of others. but in the case of Iran, in fact, these blinders make no difference. What types of actions do you think would get Iran to change its attitudes, other than turning back the clock to November 28, 1947. In fact, there is nothing short of that for Israel to do to get a reaction from Iran that would be friendly rather than inimical. So in this case, the blinders make no difference. Iran ruled by the mullahs with their front man Ahmadinejad are enemies. The judgment of how to react to that enmity is a separate question.

      • MRW
        December 11, 2010, 11:47 pm

        “So in this case, the blinders make no difference. Iran ruled by the mullahs with their front man Ahmadinejad are enemies.”

        The blinders make all the difference. Those blinders have created a strawman enemy. Ahmadinejad never said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map; that was MEMRI or CAMERA who did that in October 2006; and it’s been refuted many times over with people refusing to believe it. Ahmadinejad said, quoting Khomeini, that the right-wing Zionist government would pass into the pages of time. He was talking about a government, like we bitched about the Bush admin.

        But the Israeli Likudniks always go for the melodrama. Decades of the backs of their palm attached to their foreheads, mouths open, manufacturing enemies and threats to their existence under every rock. [Even if Israel did pay off Assange last March to lose the touchy Israeli cables, as reported by IndyMedia on Monday, the cables they have released show that there was no threat to Israel in the region, no enemies, they’ve all, apparently, wanted Iran gone for nearly two decades. ;-) Netanyahu crowed about it as proof he was right; whereas, it proves the opposite. They’ve been BS-ing and hyping about their security threat to get money out of us.]

      • Sin Nombre
        December 12, 2010, 7:33 am

        Hi wj. (Always appreciate seeing your comments.)

        C’mon though, even *if* it is true, as you say, that “nothing short” of turning back the clock to before November, ’47 would change Iran’s attitudes for anyone to do anything (and therefore to matter at all) they need instrumentalities. So, for instance, making peace with the Palestinians would deprive Iran of what? The vast majority if not the totality of the Palestinians for a start, and gee, that’s something isn’t it?

        Moreover, thinking even a second further about your fundamental assumption, Israel once had simply great relations with Iran, right? And for a long time too. So the idea that even absent the I/P issue Iran would still be at sword points with Israel at the very least seems a-historical, no?

      • wondering jew
        December 12, 2010, 1:11 pm

        Sin Nombre- Hello.
        You are correct in part. If Israel were to reach peace with the Palestinians that would go a long way to removing the enmity of Iran. But in part you are not correct: Israel’s friendship with Iran before Khomeini is relevant (only) once Iran’s mullahs are removed from power. But while the revolutionary Islamic ideologues rule that territory, it is in fact a serious enemy.

      • Sin Nombre
        December 12, 2010, 10:10 pm

        wj wrote:

        “Israel’s friendship with Iran before Khomeini is relevant (only) once Iran’s mullahs are removed from power. But while the revolutionary Islamic ideologues rule that territory, it is in fact a serious enemy.”

        Yeah, I wouldn’t gainsay that it is a serious, serious enemy of Israel now. No doubt, and yet is too often just not even considered.

        I have a question for you though:

        We are of course repeatedly told that the present … mullah regime in Iran is a fragile, unstable, brittle thing, and even perhaps stole the last election. And regardless if it did or didn’t one sees these periodic protests against it right in Iran and that’s kind of amazing and … maybe even “significant” in the sense of showing that brittleness/fundamental instabililty right?

        Okay, so just how much of whatever support the mullah regime has is attributable to its arguments that Iran *needs* to be … aggressive, because Islam is under attack/being stolen from and etc? And then what subset of *that* is attributable to the mullah regime being able to point to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and J’slem and the absence of a peace deal with the P’s as evidence of Islam being under attack/being stolen from?

        That is, it seems to me as regards whatever support the mullahs do have that, to at least *some* degree, it exists or at least is bolstered by the Iranian people being upset at Israel’s handling of the Palestinians, right?

        So my question is just how … significant do you think this is?

        My suspicion is that it is indeed *fairly* significant, because without it the mullahs would have a much harder time persuading the Iranian public that in fact Islam is under serious attack or being seriously insulted. (Just as I believe this is the case with Islamic radicals across the entire ME and the general Islamic public.)

        Not being an Iranian expert though and feeling that Iran might be different from the rest of the ME I’d sure appreciate hearing your views, although unless you are such an expert I’d further love to hear if there is anything close to an expert consensus on this, wouldn’t you? If so, and if it is indeed that the I/P issue is really significantly helping the mullahs, then my point about Israel just ignores the idea that its own behavior has consequences has even more power than I thought it did.

        On the other hand though maybe I’m wrong at least as to my initial point being *this* valid, and in any event and again would like to hear your views. (Or indeed anyone’s on the subject.)

        Nice talking with you wj: Always a pleasure to chat with people who are not only knowledgeable but know what reason is too. The species seems to be getting rarer all the time, doesn’t it? (Global warming?!)

      • wondering jew
        December 13, 2010, 12:25 am

        Sin nombre- At the moment a resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict seems so far away that invoking it (a resolution) as the key to overthrowing the rule of the mullahs, seems like a means to justify their power.

        My knowledge of Iran is shallow. (Whenever Persian/Farsi, is spoken on t.v. I comment to myself how foreign it sounds compared to Arabic, which I am studying and which sounds similar to Hebrew, whereas Farsi may be similar to Turkish but is quite distant from Arabic.) The overthrow of the Shah over 30 years ago had very little to do with Israel and I don’t think the current regime is significantly bolstered by the I/P conflict.

        From the little that I’ve read it seems like the backing of the current regime comes primarily from the rural population and the opposition comes from the urban population (which reminds me of Tianamen Square where the urban student rebels were attacked by soldiers from the rural areas.) I do not know how fragile the regime is, but when they say the leaders say “There will be no Velvet Revolution here!” I tend to believe them.

        Even the rebels after the June election speak in terms of Islam and justifying their rebellion in those terms, so the shape of the post mullah government is still unclear and may be many years away.
        (It took 20 or so years after the Prague Spring of ’68 for Soviet rule to fall and we can go back to the Hungarian revolt of ’56 as a landmark of the hollowness of the rule of the Communist party and thus it was 30 plus years from that to the fall of the Communist regime. So there is no way of knowing how long the regime can last.)

      • wondering jew
        December 13, 2010, 12:31 am

        Sin nombre- On the topic of civil discourse: it is a rarity. The internet seems to reinforce one’s ability to only talk or listen to people of like minds. And when a resolution of the I/P conflict seems so distant, there seems little to encourage civil discussion when conflict seems to be the future that we face.

      • Potsherd2
        December 13, 2010, 12:44 am

        Israel was selling arms to Iran during its war with Iraq, while the mullahs were firmly in charge. You don’t sell arms to your “serious enemy.”

        But Israel can’t exist without enemies, so Iran was selected for persecution.

      • Psychopathic god
        December 20, 2010, 7:40 pm

        the real question is how long can the racist regime running Israel last?

        until the US Treasury is completely drained? until the last Palestinian Arab’s home is bulldozed?

        when will the world say, Enough!

      • Psychopathic god
        December 12, 2010, 1:07 pm

        What types of actions do you think would get Iran to change its attitudes, other than turning back the clock to November 28, 1947.

        a. Maybe it’s Israel that needs to “change its attitudes.”

        b. Iran and Ahmadinejad have stated repeatedly what it thinks should happen in Israel/Palestine: Palestinian people should be given the right to vote in a referendum, on their own future. Iran and Ahmadinejad have stated repeatedly, including from the podium at United Nations, that Iran would fully support decisions with which the Palestinian people were given the full right to participate, by voting.

        c. A recent poll of Iranian attitudes, conducted by an American polling firm, indicates that a majority of Iranians STILL support their government’s support for Palestinians and refugees in Lebanon. It’s not just Ahmadinejad, he is not the boogeyman.

        As was posted a day or two ago on Mondoweiss, since Obama took office and “changed” the US stance toward Iran by “reaching out” and “offering to engage”, the number of Iranians who register a negative impression of US has risen by about 35%.

        Robin Wright was on C Span Washington Journal this morning and accidentally made some truthful statements about US-Iran relations: Obama is carrying on Bush’s policies toward Iran. No change.

      • yonira
        December 12, 2010, 2:37 pm

        c. A recent poll of Iranian attitudes, conducted by an American polling firm, indicates that a majority of Iranians STILL support their government’s support for Palestinians and refugees in Lebanon. It’s not just Ahmadinejad, he is not the boogeyman


      • Psychopathic god
        December 20, 2010, 7:37 pm

        eloquent as ever yoneeera.

        maybe with the next fundraiser Phil & Adam will add emoticons.

      • Shingo
        December 20, 2010, 7:40 pm

        c. A recent poll of Iranian attitudes, conducted by an American polling firm, indicates that a majority of Iranians STILL support their government’s support for Palestinians and refugees in Lebanon. It’s not just Ahmadinejad, he is not the boogeyman

        Why would this make Ahmadinejad a boogeyman either way?

      • tree
        December 13, 2010, 1:10 am

        What types of actions do you think would get Iran to change its attitudes, other than turning back the clock to November 28, 1947. In fact, there is nothing short of that for Israel to do to get a reaction from Iran that would be friendly rather than inimical.

        I think you have forgotten who is threatening whom with an attack. Again, it is massive blinders to think that Israel’s threatening to attack Iran and threatening to get the US to attack Iran is not the least bit responsible for Iran’s attitude towards Israel. Likewise its threats toward Lebanon and Syria affect those countries attitudes as well as Iran’s.

        “Gee, Mom, I only threatened to beat them up several times, and actually did so once or twice. Why do they all hate me so?”Is it really so hard to figure out?

  8. RoHa
    December 11, 2010, 7:56 pm

    The Holocaust, yes, anti-Semitism, yes, but I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.

  9. olive
    December 11, 2010, 9:17 pm

    Wasn’t the Spanish Inquisition a Catholic attempt to Christianize a recently conquered MUSLIM Spain (this isnt to say that Jews were not effected). Its kind of weird that certain Jews would wish to imply the inquisition for “themselves” as well…

    • MRW
      December 11, 2010, 10:10 pm


      Yes. But Netanyahu Sr. claims to be a Spanish Inquisition expert. The truth, however, is that Isabella kicked out the Muslims first in the 1480s. The Jews came later, starting in 1492.

      Isabella wanted the Pope to move to Spain. This was how she thought she could accomplish it. The Spanish Inquisition had nothing to do with getting rid of Jews; it was getting rid of the Muslims, who had ruled Spain for centuries and made it a seat of knowledge and learning with ties all the way to Baghdad, but the Muslims conquered had Constantinople in 1453….another fear for Isabella. She had to get rid of them first.

      So the Muslims asked the Jews to come to Constantinople and help them run one of the greatest empires, the Ottoman Empire, which they did in harmony for over 400 years until 1923. The Grand Sanhedrin had its seat in Constantinople in 1492.

      • wondering jew
        December 12, 2010, 1:19 am

        MRW- There was no Grand Sanhedrin in Constantinople in 1492 or in any other year. You’ve been reading info on web sites of questionable veracity and taking their word for gospel. The Sanhedrin was disbanded in the 4th Century and Napoleon attempted to re-form it in the 19th Century.

      • Eva Smagacz
        December 12, 2010, 1:20 pm

        But under millet system Ottomans gave plenty of autonomy in matters of law and religion to various groups under its umbrella, and as long you paid haracz on time, your people were unmolested. The lack of Sanhedrin is more likely due to internal strife of various Jewish groups each with its own Beit Din, than due to lack of permission from the Sultans.

      • MRW
        December 14, 2010, 4:28 pm

        wondering jew,

        Wrong. There were two Sanhedrins. A political one and a religious one. Even in 70 AD. (And you can find scholarly papers written about this. re: Solomon Zeitlin.) The religious one prevailed after the 4th C. The political one did not. The religious Jews were invited to set up shop in Constantinople in 1453 when the Muslims conquered it, which was done in the spirit of Genghis Khan who was known for his great religious tolerance as one of the strengths of his rule. Even though Khan died in the mid 1200s, he still ‘ruled’ for another 150 years in the counties he conquered because of certain fairness doctrines (especially religious) that he adopted towards the vanquished.

        That lesson was not lost on the succeeding Muslim conquerors.

        I dont know what questionable sites you’re referring to. I prefer historical sources.

      • RoHa
        December 12, 2010, 4:40 am

        “the Muslims, who had ruled Spain for centuries and made it a seat of knowledge and learning with ties all the way to Baghdad, ”

        And without the inspiration of Ibn Rushd and his Commentary on Aristotle, Aquinas would probably have just been a fat drunk who wrote a few comments on Augustine.

    • silencenolonger
      December 20, 2010, 7:10 pm

      No, the Inquisition was brought into Spain because of Jewish zealots. Isabella of Castile was for her age a very enlightned ruler, she was also very unprejudiced, her chief financial officer, doctor and other ministers were Jews. These leading Jews decided to convert to Christianity, which offended what I call Jewish Zealots, who went to the Inquistion to say that they only pretended to convert.. and worse set up some phony cases. It was important to Spain, because the provinces Aragon, Castile etc all spoke a DIFFERENT language (and still do to this day). Religion was the only glue to hold them together, these zealots caused such paranoia, there were riots in Spain. This is very much like the 50s here with the McCarthy Red scare. So the crown came decided to ask the Jews to convert or leave and made pork the National Dish. Henry Kamen is the best expert on this stuff, his books are in most libraries.
      So the Inquisition in Spain was initially about making sure conversos were not fifth columnists for the recently ejected Muslims. Muslims rarely convert to Christianity. They are thrown out of their families if they do, and can be executed. The Muslims took in the Jews, a lot went to Baghdad and others to Morocco and Constantinople. These Jews form the Sephardic communities that still live in countries like Morocco.

  10. Nevada Ned
    December 11, 2010, 9:34 pm

    The predictable people say predictable things.

    The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a spin-off of AIPAC.
    Check them out on Sourcewatch
    link to

    And since Yaacov Amidror is an Israeli General, and since Jeffrey Goldberg (originally an American Jew, who became an Israeli) has served in the Israeli military, it’s not surprising that those two people agree.

    Nothing surprising here. But it’s useful to put together the chronology of Israeli claims that Iran is “just about to” get nuclear weapons. The chronology goes back a couple of decades! Every few months, the Iranians are “just about to” get the Bomb, according to the Israelis and their spokesmen (including Amidror and Goldberg). Nobody who matters (or almost nobody) ever points out that the Israelis have been crying wolf for decades.
    One of the few exceptions came in 2009 when Roger Cohen wrote in the NY Times about the long-standing Israeli hasbara campaign.
    link to
    Shimon Peres claimed in 1992 (“only” 18 years ago) that Iran would have the Bomb by 1999 (“only 11 years ago). Roger Cohen was responding to Netanhayu’s claim (in 2009) of Iran’s supposedly immanent Bomb, as relayed by “Netanyahu’s faithful stenographer” (Cohen’s phrase), who is none other than…Jeffrey Goldberg! No surprise here.
    The title of Roger Cohen’s 2009 NYT piece: Israel Cries Wolf.

    • Psychopathic god
      December 12, 2010, 11:39 am

      pinning Israel’s psychosis about Iran on the rhetoric of Ahmadinejad is pure bogosity.

      Ephraim Sneh latched onto “Iran nukes = existential threat to Israel” in 1992, when he created a powerpoint presentation, repeated it in Knesset, and finally convinced enough Knesset members that Israel should fatten the defense budget (of which Sneh was in charge) in order to counter the Iran “threat.”

      1992 that was.
      Ahmadinejad was not elected until 2005.

      AIPAC got its marching orders, and, according to Keith Weissman, by 1995, had convinced Bill Clinton to sign the first executive order sanctioning Iran. The Order was targeted at a CONOCO contract bid to develop Iranian oil fields, that Iran had accepted even though it was not the best proposal Iran had received. Iran (in Khatami’s government) accepted the otherwise disadvantageous bid as a gesture of good will toward the USofA; an outstretched had inviting a renewed attempts to reestablish US_Iran ties. Israel could not tolerate the possibility of a US-Iran rapprochement, so the deal was sandbagged.

      AIPAC was aware that an executive order could be undone by a future president. To encase sanctions on Iran in the concrete of legislation, in 1996, the Libya-Iran sanctions act was pressed through Congress and became law.

      Meanwhile, Khatami’s gesture having been rebuffed, his moderate reform party was voted out: Iran had tried outreach to the US, it had failed. Obviously, a new tack was called for. Iran’s subsequent governments were increasingly less willing to grant concessions to the US.

  11. yourstruly
    December 11, 2010, 10:09 pm

    If it’s generally accepted that rhetorical anti-Zionism is equivalent to rhetorical antisemitism, which (according to Netayahu/Goldberg/Amidror) is the precurson to genocide, will rhetorical anti-Zionists be charged with plotting to commit genocide and sent to the Hague for trial? Likewise, considering the fact that there’s been a genocide of the original people in the “New World”, will those who say disparaging things about indigenous people (rhetoric which, who knows, might be a precursor to genocide) also be sent to the Hague? Or is the Zionist’s equating criticism of their settler-entity with genocide merely a desperate last ditch attempt to ward off the inevitable – The dissolution of Israel (not its people) and its replacement by a new nation that’s based on one equals one with liberty and justice for all? But no matter what’s behind the Zionists’ claim that rhetoric = genocide, they’ll soon learn that hardly anyone’s paying attention to their verbal nonsense. And the explanation for the Zionists’ predicament is that the struggle for justice in Palestine will have captured not only the public’s imagination but its support. Isn’t this what always happens now when a people in pursuit of freedom and independence ask for help? Standing by, looking the other way, doing nothing – forget it!

  12. Kathleen
    December 11, 2010, 11:19 pm

    Sorry unable to link:

    Think this is worth it
    Obama Should Let the UN apply Economic Sanctions to Israel
    Posted on 12/10/2010 by Juan Cole over at Informed Comment
    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his far rightwing government have slapped President Obama in the face with mail gloves by refusing to extend the freeze on new colonies in the Palestinian West Bank. Palestine Authority president Mahmoud Abbas reaffirmed his refusal to go forward with direct negotiations if Israelis were going to be seizing land that was being negotiated for while the talks were ongoing!

    President Obama has few options in forcing Netanyahu back to the negotiating table. The US Congress controls the purse strings, and Obama cannot punish the obstreperous Likud government by cutting aid or military weaponry, without the cooperation of Congress. Republican Eric Cantor has already pledged to run interference for Netanyahu in Congress, against Obama.

    But there is one thing Obama has in his control. He can instruct the US ambassador to the UN to abstain from United Nations Security Council resolutions on Israel. Obama could simply let the UNSC be the body that forces Israel into accepting a two-state solution.

    Israel is already in profound contravention of numerous UNSC resolutions, with regard to their refashioning of Jerusalem, treatment of Occupied Palestinians, the Gaza blockade, etc.

    The UN Security Council should start giving Israel the Iran treatment, putting economic sanctions on it until it complies with international law and with UNSC resolutions.

    Everyone is contrasting a Palestinian unilateral action such as declaring statehood with a bilateral negotiation with Israel.

    But there is a third possibility,which is a multilateral process. By letting the UNSC assert itself on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Obama could achieve the main goals of his sponsored bilateral talks, even in the face of Israeli intransigence.

    If push comes to shove, Obama should let the UNSC give Palestine a formal seat as a nation-state at the UN. Once Palestine is a recognized nation, it would have standing to sue Israel in international courts over the theft of Palestinian property.

    Obama has nothing to lose in unleashing the Security Council on Israel. He is already being defied by the Israel lobbies,which will surely oppose his reelection bid in 2012.

    The beauty of it is that Obama does not have to instruct the US ambassador to the UN to vote against Israel. A series of abstentions would do the trick.

    The UN Security Council is now the last best hope for an equitable resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. If Obama continues to curb it with regard to sanctions on Israel, then he will in essence be complicit in ensconcing an Aparteheid regime. (Anyone in doubt of the Apartheid analogy should read this.

    • Citizen
      December 12, 2010, 12:02 pm

      You imagine Dennis Ross will tell Obama to abstain when Israel is the issue on the UN CS table? And Penny Pritzer et al will ASAP call Obama’s chickens home to roost where he started. Who’s more aware than Obama of who his biggest funders have been from the start of his political career when he became a community organizer in Chicago? He won’t be having another forgetfull moment as he did in Cairo.

  13. Eva Smagacz
    December 12, 2010, 2:44 am

    “1) that any rhetorical expression of anti-Zionism is a close cousin to rhetorical anti-Semitism, which is the precursor to genocide;”

    By the same token, using the same conceptual pattern, should we consider that rampant Islamophobia in Israel, followed by practical and not only rethorical anti-Arab racism is a precursor to genocide?  

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