Keith Weissman says American Jewish community is pushing war with Iran (not Iraq)

on 33 Comments

I know this is days old, I missed it. Keith Weissman formerly of AIPAC, talking to Robert Dreyfuss of the Nation, on PBS:

“Now, for the first time, one of the two AIPAC officials, Keith Weissman, is speaking out. In a series of extended interviews with Tehran Bureau, Weissman tells his story. He’s come forward, he says, because he’s concerned that if a confrontation between the United States, Israel, and Iran leads to war, it will be a disaster — one that Weissman fears will be blamed on the American Jews. ….

“The reason why I want to tell this story now is, we may be going down a path, helped along by the American Jewish community, and maybe even Israel, that is going to be worse even than the one we’re on now – some sort of military confrontation with Iran. That worries me. Because they will be able to blame [it] on the Jews, to a great extent,” says Weissman, who worked at AIPAC from 1993 until 2005, much of that time as the group’s deputy director of foreign policy. Though Weissman disagrees sharply with those who say that AIPAC played a critical role in pushing for the 2003 U.S. decision to invade Iraq, he believes a war with Iran — which he says “would be the stupidest thing I ever heard of” — might well be blamed on AIPAC’s leaders and their constituents. “What the Jews’ war will be is Iran,” he says. “Not Iraq.”

I find this slightly irresponsible. I mean, it’s a good thing, to stop a war on Iran. But it’s defensive, inasmuch as the argument is, Jews qua Jews had nothing to do with the Iraq war, when plainly they did. As I argued just the other day. As Jonathan Franzen apparently says in his novel Freedom (the post above this). This ain’t going away, Keith and Robert, this is something the Jewish community must come to terms with, the neoconservative complicity in the burning of Iraq as a means of improving Israel’s security, and the liberal Jewish complicity of silence, not diming their neocon cousins out.

33 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    June 15, 2011, 10:22 am

    The trouble I have is that the concern seems to be where the blame for such a war will land, and not for the victims of said war.

    • iamuglow
      June 15, 2011, 10:45 am


      He is against it for purely strategic reasons.

    • RoHa
      June 16, 2011, 2:57 am

      But the victims will just be Persians.

      • Citizen
        June 16, 2011, 4:10 am

        RoHa, somehow, I don’t think a war with Iran will just result in a little contained thing; if anything leads to a WW3, it will be an Israeli war on Iran, with US joining Israel, or a War by the US, with Israeli instigation and help. The victims will not just be Persians, it will involve the whole ME and it will come directly to the USA too.

      • RoHa
        June 16, 2011, 10:50 pm

        So important victims, and not just a bunch of expendable ragheads?

  2. Kathleen
    June 15, 2011, 10:24 am

    “one that Weissman fears will be blamed on the American Jews. .” and that would be where the blame should land.

  3. Kathleen
    June 15, 2011, 10:31 am

    Right wing radical Jews absolutely piled on for the invasion of Iraq. Plenty of non Jews also. But no way to get around a disproportionate amount of radical Jews. Too much evidence to back up those claims
    link to
    The Honorable William J. Clinton
    President of the United States
    Washington, DC

    Dear Mr. President:

    We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War. In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

    The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam’s secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.

    Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.

    Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

    We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration’s attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

    We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.


    Elliott Abrams Richard L. Armitage William J. Bennett

    Jeffrey Bergner John Bolton Paula Dobriansky

    Francis Fukuyama Robert Kagan Zalmay Khalilzad

    William Kristol Richard Perle Peter W. Rodman

    Donald Rumsfeld William Schneider, Jr. Vin Weber

    Paul Wolfowitz R. James Woolsey Robert B. Zoellick

    Men from Jinsa
    link to

    A Rose By Another Name
    link to

    New Pentagon Papers
    link to
    “From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.

    I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.

    I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.”

    • Leper Colonialist
      June 15, 2011, 1:07 pm

      Hey, don’t forget that other great smoking gun “A Clean Break”

      link to

      ” Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. ” [I think the Turkey end of this great geopoloitical gambit is pretty much a nonstarter today].

      Participants in the Study Group on “A New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000:”

      Richard Perle, American Enterprise Institute, Study Group Leader

      James Colbert, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
      Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Johns Hopkins University/SAIS
      Douglas Feith, Feith and Zell Associates
      Robert Loewenberg, President, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
      Jonathan Torop, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
      David Wurmser, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
      Meyrav Wurmser, Johns Hopkins University

      • Kathleen
        June 15, 2011, 4:46 pm

        Oh yes the “Clean Break” a very important read and blueprint for hegemony in the middle east. Spent a great deal of time at the PNAC website quite a few years ago. You can learn a great deal about the plans over there

  4. Kathleen
    June 15, 2011, 10:39 am

    Yeah Weissman more concerned about a military confrontation with Iran being blamed on Jews in the US and Israel which would be the individuals to blame. He is not concerned about loss of life in Iran. Pathetic and telling.

    Weissman and Rosen belong in prison.

    Selected case files for the 9 time delayed and then dismissed Aipac espionage investigation and trial

    link to

    April 23, 2007
    Is the Media Sabotaging the AIPAC Spy Trial?
    link to

    • Leper Colonialist
      June 15, 2011, 12:58 pm

      Yeah, well it would be awfully hard to make a case to blame Espiscopalians, Congregationalists, Unitarians, Disciples of Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses or pretty much any other body of organized superstition for a pointless US war with Iran.

      Maybe the Wiccans and the Druids can be made the scapegoats – there’s not a whole bunch of them, and I sense that they like to keep a low profile.

      • Kathleen
        June 15, 2011, 4:48 pm

        Give the I lobby or Israel a chance and they certainly will try to make a case…flip the script..look over there. It was the “wiccans who pushed for the invasion” They control the US congress.

  5. casaananda
    June 15, 2011, 10:50 am

    One of these days the far right and AIPAC are going to overplay their hand and the majority of Americans will finally “get it” and realize the US is being used and abused. The sooner the better.

    • Chu
      June 15, 2011, 12:47 pm

      ‘and the far quasi-left, like weiner’

    • Kathleen
      June 15, 2011, 4:49 pm

      Hey the two top officials were caught red handed passing classified US intelligence onto Israeli agents…nothing happened. Nothing.

      • Chu
        June 15, 2011, 6:08 pm

        Rosen sued AIPAC. And then they said he looked at porn on
        his computer. what ever happened with that? Likely settled.

      • Citizen
        June 16, 2011, 4:20 am

        Nothing happened because he retorted that all the guys at AIPAC were into pornography while “at work.” This echoed his original defense that he had always acted as any normal AIPAC employee would. The case was dumped because it would have opened up the fact that AIPAC is an organization devoted to furthering a foreign state’s interests as its number one priority (and apparently also dedicated to more conventional pornography). In short, US classified documents would expose how the US is really run, and that would have pinned all the outside helpers to the treason wall too. This time AIPAC didn’t even need a fortunate death of some new Bobby Kennedy (and his brother).

  6. munro
    June 15, 2011, 11:19 am

    “the neoconservative complicity in the burning of Iraq as a means of improving Israel’s security.”

    Phil, wasn’t the Iraq war an offensive action for Israeli expansion and dominance, not defensive for “security” (which is how they justify everything)?

    • Citizen
      June 16, 2011, 4:25 am

      munro, you need to get with the program, the one where “security” means
      expansion and dominance. All wars in the contemporary age are initiated for defensive/security purposes. Hence you have acronymns such as IDF.

  7. eGuard
    June 15, 2011, 11:21 am

    Does Weissman not understand his own logic?… we may be going down a path, helped along by the American Jewish community, [to war] with Iran. […] they will be able to blame [it] on the Jews. So: the America Jewry helps “us” down the war path — and then will be blamed! (Clearly, he does not want to prevent such a war, nor prevent Jewish help into that. He only wants to disconnect the blaming part).

    • Mooser
      June 15, 2011, 12:02 pm

      He only wants to disconnect the blaming part.

    • Charon
      June 15, 2011, 3:08 pm

      If he wants to disconnect the blaming part then he should worry about both of the “paths”

      I pray that nobody is foolish to start a war with Iran or another war period. Israel is still on a self-destructive path toward a pariah state regardless of which of those “paths” were to be taken. The end result will still be a blame game likely on American Jews leading to global antisemitism.

      Jews all over the world, especially in Israel, need to distance themselves from this militarized nuclear war mongering regime because that blame game has already begun on the Internet. My personal fear is that even if all the Jews in the world condemned Israel that their voices would still not be as loud as the Zionist lobbies which are ironically not really run by Jews.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        June 17, 2011, 3:33 am

        the Zionist lobbies which are ironically not really run by Jews.

        This is an interesting contention which I see raised here from time to time. It seems to fly in the face of all available evidence. Can you back up your assertion with any reputable documentation – books, articles, papers? Reminds me of that old argument that the real Zionists were Lloyd George and Churchill and the German anti-Semites.

        You also refer to a “blame game.” Though the rhyme does have a ring to it, the word “game” is inappropriate. There would be nothing fun, or funny, or humorous about a reckoning, when it comes. Truth commissions, even in a figurative sense, are a grim, unpleasant business.

      • annie
        June 17, 2011, 3:57 am

        thomson, i’m still wondering who charon is referring to wrt this militarized nuclear war mongering regime. i first assumed it was israel, naturally. but he said Jews all over the world, especially in Israel, need to distance themselves …how can jews in israel distance themselves from a regime they themselves elected? could he mean iran? war mongering? compared to whom?

        maybe i’ve been away too long and just cannot keep up..

      • Citizen
        June 17, 2011, 6:29 am

        Thomson, ditto here; certainly Weissman’s fairly recent expose (geared to show himself as a masked Palestinian-loving peacenik who did his best as an AIPAC insider to keep us out of wars in the ME) regarding AIPAC it’s frenzy to isolate Iran, and “inside Aipac,” is loaded with Zionist Jews, many mentioned by names most here will recognize, althouth there’s a few new ones.

    • Mooser
      June 15, 2011, 3:18 pm

      That’s exactly what I meant about the line between the lack of philo-Semitism and anti-Semitism.

  8. American
    June 15, 2011, 3:02 pm

    The Jewish neocons weren’t in on pushing the Iraq war?
    Since whose revision?

    Does ‘stovepiping”…Feith at the pentagon”….”Leeden and the yellowcake forgeries from Italy”.. ring any bells?

    • Kathleen
      June 15, 2011, 4:51 pm

      To get our congress’s justice juices flowing it takes lies under oath about bj’s. Intelligence snowjobs resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, injuries millions displaced…just does not get them going. More important priorities…

  9. ig
    June 15, 2011, 4:50 pm

    Weissman doesn’t dispute that the FBI, CIA, and others were correct in blaming the neocons for the debacle in Iraq. “I do,” he says. “I agree with them.” [from Dreyfuss article]

    Although Weissman claims that AIPAC did not play a critical role in the Iraq War, he claims that the neocons did.

    Weissman’s claim that he was a left-winger at AIPAC seems a bit hard to accept. Still, I liked his long rap, his dissent against attacking Iran, his pro-negotiation with the Palestinians stance and his stand against the neocons, accusing them of starting the Iraq War.

    I may regret saying this, but why not cut Weissman a bit of slack? Many seem to cut some slack for people like Meir Dagan, Peter Beinart, Ehud Olmert although it could be argued they done much much more harm.

    Maybe we should even throw our President, Barack Obama into this group for those who are still giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  10. eGuard
    June 15, 2011, 5:06 pm

    Just read most of the piece. This Weissman keeps repeating he really is a “left-wing guy”, with a “Free Palestine” bumper sticker. In the end he brags about having prevented the Iran war all these years, while all these rightwing likudish donors in AIPAC kept asking for it. Yeah sure.

    Weissman, if you were that smart, you could have helped you own case by letting it explode: why not let those likudniks go ahead with their selfexposing calls for war. Instead “[Weissman] quietly did what he could to steer the group away from direct calls for regime change in Iran“. And in the end you are complaining that US Jewry might be blamed … for what you have just described and admitted.

  11. radii
    June 15, 2011, 6:26 pm

    it seems to me that the innocent don’t spend a lot of time worrying about being blamed for something … whereas the guilty do

    • Citizen
      June 16, 2011, 4:35 am

      radii, guilt is not a factor, fear is a factor for them–the fear of getting caught in a charge of treason.

  12. American
    June 15, 2011, 8:21 pm

    Everyone–who was anyone–knew that it was Jews or Zionist who were pushing for the Iraq war. All you had to do was go to the AIPAC site read their propaganda. One of the earlist articles I saw on this was in the Charleston SC paper by Senator Hollings saying this war was made by the lobby and Israel and the Jewish neos in the Bush adm.
    And who can forget CIA Director George Tenet’s rant to Prince Bandar that “the Jews” caused this war and they were setting him up to take the blame for their ‘stovepiped’ and fake intelligence.

    If there any doubt how heavily the zios were involved take a look at all the footnotes in W&M’s “Israel Lobby” on who called for the war and on who called out the zios for pushing it.

    link to

    If we get involved in a war with Iran it will be blamed on the Jews, some of them rightly, some not, but the public knows too much now to be deceived as usual next time around…not that that will stop it.

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