Israeli officials say Iran’s ‘existential threat’ is– braindrain of 200,000 ‘best and brightest’

Israel/Palestine
on 29 Comments
panetta
Panetta

As you surely know the Washington Post’s David Ignatius has reported that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June.” 

Well, here is some excellent followup reporting by NBC’s Robert Windrem on the thinking among US and Israeli officials.

Panetta’s reported view has been echoed in recent interviews by NBC News with current and former U.S. and Israeli officials who have access to their countries’ intelligence. Those officials, all of whom spoke to NBC News on background, estimated the odds of an Israeli attack on Iran as better than 50-50.

Most of the officials said it is highly unlikely that the war-weary U.S. would mount a military attack on Iran, instead relying on financial sanctions and diplomatic pressure to squeeze Tehran.

Then Windrem offers this beautiful important Question-and-Answer from those unnamed Israeli officials:

Q: Why would Israel launch such an attack?

A: Putting aside Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s inflammatory comments that Israel should be “wiped off the face of the Earth” (which some Iranians claim privately was a mistranslation), some Israeli officials believe the continuous threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon would lead as many as 200,000 of their best and brightest citizens to leave for the United States and other Western nations. That is the “existential threat” Israeli officials worry about, not that Iran could destroy Israel.  An Iranian nuclear weapon would give Israel a lot less latitude to respond to Iranian threats, the Israelis believe.

Repeat: Israeli officials. Remember, it is routine to hear about a second Holocaust posed by Iran. Jeffrey Goldberg talked Auschwitz in his big piece pushing an attack. Newt Gingrich has talked the same poppycock.

As Scott McConnell says: 

A first perhaps, for MSM explanations of how Israel feels its citizens cannot (unlike Americans, Chinese, Russians, etc) deal with the psychology of nuclear deterrence.

Yes, let our MSM finally cover this question in depth. Let Americans have an open discussion of what is at stake here, what Ahmadinejad really said (Charlie Rose was quoting the “wipe off the map” line last night talking to the PM of Qatar), and what an attack would mean for us.

Also, this gem from Ignatius today:

Some Israelis have also likened a strike on Iran to the 1976 hostage-rescue raid on Entebbe, Uganda, which was followed by a change of regime in that country.

As a friend writes, I know there are people who will say this. But are there Israelis who actually believe this?

Oh and here is Juan Cole. Good:

What is striking to me is the glibness with which the Right wing speaks of an attack on Iran. The UN Security Council has not authorized the use of force against Iran, and Tehran has not attacked any other country. A strike on Iran is therefore a war crime, more especially since it would release radiactive toxins on the people of Isfahan and of the Middle East more generally.

Besides, proponents never say how they would pay for such a war. Iran is three times as populous and geographically much larger than Iraq. ..

Anyone who advocates such a thing is a sort of monster, in my view.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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29 Responses

  1. teta mother me
    February 3, 2012, 11:01 am

    One other problem with reliance on “Ahmadinejad said Booo! to Israel” is that Israel has been itching to harm Iran since at least 1992; the first set of sanctions AIPAC put in place were signed by Bill Clinton in 1995 (executive order) and 1996 (D’Amato Amendment).

    In September 2002 THREE YEARS before Ahmadinejad became pres of Iran, Netanyahu told a Congressional panel chaired by Dan Burton that US MUST attack Iraq because it was the “keystone” of a “network of terror” that Iran was a part of. Therefore, decapitating Iraq would cause changes in Iran. Dennis Kucinich questioned Bibi closely on this: “Do you have evidence?” “Who would be second?” “Would Iran be second?” link to c-spanvideo.org

    Ahmadinejad was a student in civil engineering in those years; he became mayor of Tehran ~2000; Ahmadinejad was not elected to presidency of Iran until 2005.

  2. pabelmont
    February 3, 2012, 11:08 am

    Because I believe that Israel will survive, I want the most civilized and humane Israelis possible to remain. It is too depressing to imagine an Israel ruled and populated substantially (or more substantially than today) by religious maniacs/fundamentalist/zealots — facing off with a sea of ever-angrier neighbors.

    Whether the so-called 200,000 “best and brightest” (phrase of unnamed Israeli official) are also “civilized and humane” (in my phrase), I have no way of knowing, particularly as an exudus of Israelis may already be under way (and independent of consideration of Iran) and also because this whole phrase may be total propaganda anyhow (like: from what hat was “200,000” plucked?).

    I do, however, like the idea of an abandonment of Israel by Jews — not because it is in danger — although that idea is a hoot, since Israel was created for Jewish safety in a dangerous world — but because Israel today is a horrible, disgusting, depressing place for those abandoning-ship Jews to live in. Not everyone really, really wants to live in a despotic, cruel, dispossessing, lawless society. Not fun for everyone.

    If 200,000 Jews or 2,000,000 Jews did decide to leave Israel (and had somewhere to go — not like the Jews of Europe who in 1945 sought but failed to find refuge in USA and UK — I’d be delighted. It would not be Arabs “pushing Jews into the sea” but Jews abandoning a self-torpedoed sinking ship, and entirely proper.

    And would such an abandonment constitute an “existential threat”? Perhaps. But, also perhaps, a motivation for peace-making by Israel while there is still time.

    • john h
      February 3, 2012, 4:46 pm

      I do, however, like the idea of an abandonment of Israel by Jews — not because it is in danger — although that idea is a hoot, since Israel was created for Jewish safety in a dangerous world — but because Israel today is a horrible, disgusting, depressing place for those abandoning-ship Jews to live in. Not everyone really, really wants to live in a despotic, cruel, dispossessing, lawless society. Not fun for everyone.

      How true. Not much fun to be in the firing line…

      Israeli right wing blacklists the best and brightest

      Almost anyone who dares to think aloud, promotes social justice, works on behalf of peace and the cause of human rights, dares to dream (as did Herzl so many years ago) or believes in freedom of speech, has a chance of finding himself / herself on the list. Indeed, anyone reading this column and who perceives themselves as a law abiding upright citizen of the State of Israel could well find themselves on this list.

      It is always easy to hide oneself under the cloak of patriotism. It is a favorite trick of the right wing to present themselves as the defenders of the national spirit while categorizing all others, including Presidents, government ministers, ambassadors and prominent university professors, as traitors, anti-Zionists, and abettors to the enemy.

      In a country which is in perpetual conflict with its neighbours and where fears concerning the security and safety of the State is always at the top of the national agenda, such language is easy to sell to the public and the tabloid media…

      We are delighted to share this with you, but saddened about the state of assault on free speech in Israel, which mirrors the absence of free speech and debate in much of the Jewish community and its newspapers in the United States.

      link to jfjfp.com

  3. Krauss
    February 3, 2012, 11:29 am

    I do not wish to be rude, but the notion that Leon Panetta’s careful leak to a WaPo columnist about his inner thinking on Israel would somehow be genuine or a real scoop is truly beyond naïve.

    Anyone who has ever read a good book on the Mossad/MI5/CIA knows that all three agencies use Western media to plant storylines on a regular basis.

    Whatever Israel is planning, it’s not going to tell Iran in advance what and when it will strike in a U.S. mainstream publication. And Panetta would never leak this if the Israelis weren’t on it, and if they weren’t, there would be volanic rage in Israel now and there isn’t.

    This sort of reminds me when I read Larry Derfner’s response to the total propaganda snowjob at the NY Magazine by Ronen Bergman. He was writing as if Mr. Bergman was really independent and not into the whole charade. Again, why would the Israeli top brass let a frontpage opportunity go to waste instead of planting a careful story.

    The whole point of all these stories is psychological warfare. Make the regime scared and think that a strike is soon to come. What the Israelis really plan is a totally different story. My guess is that we’ll either see a strike on Iran very soon or next year. Most likely next year. Remember that the head of Mossad said that Iran can’t get a bomb in at least 5 years.

    After getting attacked in public through a torrent of leaks to the Israeli press suggesting he’s a bit of a loon and maybe even a traitor, Mr. Dagan went underground. When he resurfaced, several months later, Iran was all of a sudden ‘very close to getting a bomb’.

    I’m routinely surprised how easy it is to fool people who should know better. Derfner and Mr. Weiss included. The leak to Ignatius serves a specific purpose and should be seen as part of the ongoing psychological warfare campaign, not serious journalism. Ditto for the NY Mag piece by Mr. Bergman.

    • teta mother me
      February 3, 2012, 1:00 pm

      Krauss, there might be a concept you haven’t figured out —
      My guess is most of MWers get it that stories in NYT & WaPo are planted and are psyops.
      We get it.
      What I’m suggesting you don’t get is that US is sending signals to ISRAEL, not Iran.
      You say,

      And Panetta would never leak this if the Israelis weren’t on it, and if they weren’t, there would be volanic rage in Israel now and there isn’t.

      I think it’s just possible Panetta is acting in America’s interests and is telling Israel this in no uncertain terms, and doesn’t give a fig if Israel goes volanic [sic] or not.
      And the fact that Israel has NOT registered public rage indicates that Israel is seething.

      Israel has crossed too many red lines. Panetta is not a wuss. He pulled Clinton’s nuts out of the fire and saved his admin. He doesn’t have to be doing what he is doing; it happens that he is the best man for the job, and is patriotic enough to put his 74 year old life to the service of his country. That country is USA, not Israel. You’ve never seen Panetta wearing the trademark blue necktie, have you? He’s not an Israel firster.

    • bigbill
      February 3, 2012, 1:21 pm

      He’s right. Keep your eye on the airport. When Saban and Bronfman simultaneously take off in their private jets for Canada or the USA I figure you have 24 to 48 hours before the balloon goes up.

      No way are Jewish money guys going to be stuck in Israel when TSHTF. The Great Rav of Doofus, Lithuania, yeah sure, but not the guys with the money.

    • JohnAdamTurnbull
      February 3, 2012, 2:07 pm

      News about the strictly military assessment of attacking Iran makes the idea seem colossally stupid, so I have to agree with you that the weekly threats are feints.

      But what’s the counter move? Is Israel planning a “manageable” attack closer to home?

      JPost ran this strange piece last week : link to jpost.com

      Putting aside the “knocking on the roof” admission of a war crime, what’s going on behind the Bomb Iran story?

  4. tombishop
    February 3, 2012, 11:37 am

    An excellent column by Glenn Greenwald showing the parallels in the propaganda to the buildup to the invasion of Iraq and what is being directed now towards Iran:
    “Iran is the root of all evil” at: link to salon.com

  5. hass
    February 3, 2012, 11:49 am

    Note that Panetta pointedly refused to comment on the view that Ignatius attributed to him via an anonymous source.

  6. seafoid
    February 3, 2012, 11:50 am

    “Israeli officials believe the continuous threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon would lead as many as 200,000 of their best and brightest citizens to leave for the United States and other Western nations. That is the “existential threat” Israeli officials worry about, not that Iran could destroy Israel”

    Maybe the best and brightest don’t want to live in a theocracy run for the benefit of the settlers. Maybe they have figured out how bad the education system is and how things can only get worse. Maybe they don’t want to pay the taxes for YESHA.

    Israel is like a bully with a loud mouth that has just met a challenge it can’t master
    and is screaming for Mommy.

  7. brenda
    February 3, 2012, 11:59 am

    thanks, teta mother. this is an excellent piece of research. we need all the help we can get to keep our memory intact in the face of this huge propaganda barrage.

  8. Kathleen
    February 3, 2012, 12:47 pm

    ” Putting aside Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s inflammatory comments that Israel should be “wiped off the face of the Earth” (which some Iranians claim privately was a mistranslation), some Israeli officials believe the continuous threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon would lead as many as 200,000 of their best and brightest citizens to leave for the United States and other Western nations.”

    It is not just Iranians who claim that this was a mis translation it is Professor Juan Cole who has confirmed that this is endlessly repeated mistranslation is false. We know that this mistranslation is repeated over and over in our MSM with no challenges. Phil and Annie since you quote from Prof Cole anyway you might just want to put his translation (he speaks the language) of the Iranian Presidents comments about Israel in your piece. It would be appropriate.
    Hitchens Hacker And Hitchens | Informed Commentwww.juancole.com/2006/05/hitchens-hacker-and-hitchens.htmlCached – Similar
    Hitchens Hacker And Hitchens
    Posted on 05/03/2006 by Juan
    Hitchens the Hacker; And, Hitchens the Orientalist
    And, “We don’t Want Your Stinking War!

    “But the actual quote, which comes from an old speech of Khomeini, does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all. The second reason is that it is just an inexact translation. The phrase is almost metaphysical. He quoted Khomeini that “the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.” It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks.

    Since Mr. Hitchens wants to splash my private mail all over the internet against my will, as though he were himself an agent of the Bush Administration’s electronic spying on the private conversations of Americans, I’m glad to share the message that encapsulates the results of our deliberations at Gulf2000.

    Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 15:34:18 -0400 From: “Cole, Juan”

    The speech in Persian is here:

    Sorry that I misremembered the exact phrase Ahmadinejad had used. He made an analogy to Khomeini’s determination and success in getting rid of the Shah’s government, which Khomeini had said “must go” (az bain bayad berad). Then Ahmadinejad defined Zionism not as an Arabi-Israeli national struggle but as a Western plot to divide the world of Islam with Israel as the pivot of this plan.

    The phrase he then used as I read it is “The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).”

    Ahmadinejad was not making a threat, he was quoting a saying of Khomeini and urging that pro-Palestinian activists in Iran not give up hope– that the occupation of Jerusalem was no more a continued inevitability than had been the hegemony of the Shah’s government.

    Whatever this quotation from a decades-old speech of Khomeini may have meant, Ahmadinejad did not say that “Israel must be wiped off the map” with the implication that phrase has of Nazi-style extermination of a people. He said that the occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the page of time. “

  9. Kathleen
    February 3, 2012, 12:54 pm

    Did Ahmadinejad really say Israel should be ‘wiped off the map …www.washingtonpost.com/…say-israel…wiped-off-the-map/…/gIQAB…

    “The Facts

    The firestorm started when Nazila Fathi, then the Tehran correspondent of The New York Times, reported a story almost six years ago that was headlined: “Wipe Israel ‘off the map’ Iranian says.” The article attributed newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks to a report by the ISNA press agency.

    The article sparked outrage around the globe, with then-President George W. Bush and other world leaders condemning Ahmadinejad’s statement. The original New York Times article noted that Ahmadinejad said he was quoting Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, but that aspect was largely overlooked.

    Then, specialists such as Juan Cole of the University of Michigan and Arash Norouzi of the Mossadegh Project pointed out that the original statement in Persian did not say that Israel should be wiped from the map, but instead that it would collapse.

    Cole said this week that in the 1980s Khomeini gave a speech in which he said in Persian “Een rezhim-i eshghalgar-i Quds bayad az sahneh-i ruzgar mahv shaved.” This means, “This occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the arena of time.” But then anonymous wire service translators rendered Khomeini as saying that Israel “must be wiped off the face of the map,” which Cole and Nourouzi say is inaccurate.

    Ahmadinejad slightly misquoted Khomeini, substituting “safheh-i ruzgar,” or “page of time” for “sahneh-i ruzgar” or “arena of time.” But in any case, the old translation was dug up and used again by the Iranian news agency, Cole says. In fact, that’s how it was presented for years on Ahmadinejad’s English-language Web site, as the Times noted in a somewhat defensive article on the translation debate.

    But the story doesn’t end there. Karim Sadjadpour, an Iranian specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, notes that Iranian government entities began to erect billboards and signs with the “wipe off” phrase in English. Joshua Teitelbaum of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs compiled an interesting collection of photographs of these banners, such as one on the building that houses reserve military forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “Israel should be wiped out of the face of the world,” the sign reads in English. ”

    Washington Post
    ” “Wipe off the map,” in other words, has become easy shorthand for expressing revulsion at Iran’s anti-Israeli foreign policy. Certainly attention needs to be focused on that — and Iranian behavior in the region. But we’re going to award a Pinocchio to everyone — including ourselves — who has blithely repeated the phrase without putting it into context.

    One Pinocchio”

  10. Justice Please
    February 3, 2012, 1:00 pm

    “Anyone who advocates such a thing is a sort of monster, in my view.”

    Damn right, and monsters must be neutralized.

    Also, some organization should sue anybody who still peddles the LIE about “wipe off the earth” for defamation.

    • teta mother me
      February 3, 2012, 2:02 pm

      speaking of monsters —

      Earlier MW posted an article about Israeli soldiers stealing Palestinian libraries of 70,000 books. The Great Book Robbery

      The actions advanced by several Jewish-American families to force the auction sale of priceless Persian clay artifacts, most of which are on loan to the University of Chicago, is a barbaric act equivalent to the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas.

      Now the Senate has been drawn into complicity with this crime against civilization.

      this just in from NIAC, the National Iranian American Council:

      Alert: Persepolis Tablets Threatened By Senate Sanctions Bill

      Persepolis Tablets A Senate committee voted yesterday to make it easier for individuals to seize and auction off priceless ancient Persian antiquities held by American museums and universities in order to collect court judgments against the Iranian government. Already, lawyers are in court trying to seize the Persepolis Tablets – priceless 2,500 year-old artifacts that provide a unique first-hand account of life in the Persian Empire under Darius the Great. If this proposal becomes law, the Persepolis Tablets are almost certain to be confiscated from the universities and museums and sold to the highest bidders.

      The Persepolis Tablets are a part of our rich heritage that should continue to be shared at museums and universities, not auctioned off like cheap items on eBay.

      Take action now to protect our heritage!

      This proposal by Senator Menendez (D-NJ) will soon be considered by the full Senate as part of its latest Iran sanctions bill – which builds on the broad Central Bank of Iran sanctions spearheaded by Senator Menendez just last December. This is perhaps one of the starkest examples yet of how broad sanctions punish ordinary Iranians and Iranian Americans, not the Iranian government.

      With the Iranian people facing unprecedented repression at home and economic warfare from abroad, we must stand united against collective punishment and the looting of our very heritage.

      The Iranian government has harmed many innocent lives, and its victims should receive just compensation. But we must be able to protect the rights of victims without attacking our Iranian heritage.

      Take action now to stop Congress from looting our history!

      NIAC has led the Iranian-American community’s efforts to protect the Tablets, fighting in the courts, the Congress, and even the White House to protect them. In order to permanently secure these and all other priceless Persian artifacts under threat, NIAC has called on Congress to change the law to protect all cultural artifacts held by American museums and universities so our heritage will never again come under attack.

      Take Action

      Regards,

      Jamal Abdi
      NIAC Policy Director

      • yourstruly
        February 4, 2012, 11:09 pm

        destroying a nation’s sacred heritage? sound familiar? shades of the post-invasion robbery of baghdad’s museum of history.

  11. lysias
    February 3, 2012, 2:13 pm

    Stopping people from emigrating is a piss-poor casus belli.

    • Shingo
      February 3, 2012, 3:21 pm

      Stopping people from emigrating is a piss-poor casus belli.

      It’s also monumentally stupid if they think that a war will prevent it. Surely a war where Iran retaliates with missiles will lead to the same brain drain.

      This is typical Massada complex on display.

    • Charon
      February 4, 2012, 1:18 am

      Agreed. It’s an existential threat to Israel because almost (if not) 1/4 of Israel proper is not Jewish. The more people emigrate, the less children the Jewish Israelis have, and the more children the non-Jewish Israelis have eventually spirals upward. Tomorrow (down the line) it could be 33%… and then 51%. That is what the existential threat is. The demographic end of Israel. They’re already a demographic minority within their unofficial borders, the reason one state is not likely to happen. I’m sure the extremist leaders would annex and secede territory of Israel proper in order to maintain a majority too.

      Ironically, war with Iran would probably cause more people to emigrate in fear of a regional conflict.

  12. BillM
    February 3, 2012, 2:16 pm

    I do love the honesty. What this really says is that the existential threat is that a nation that is built to a large extent around its ability to militarily dominate its neighbors is threatened, and if that nation goes then its population might go as well.

    This is actually the exact same argument for not ending the Occupation: Israel is a nation built around dominating all of historic Palestine for religious, cultural, military, and economic reasons. If you change that fundamental concept you change the nation, and you might end up changing the population.

    • Tuyzentfloot
      February 5, 2012, 6:15 pm

      A bit of honesty maybe, but I agree. The threat to Israel is not that brains and money are chased away by a nuclear theat. It’s that the country goes from a strong threatened oasis to something irrelevant: no longer regionally relevant, no longer attractive to business and no longer attractive to live in. Not threatened either, but who cares. A nuclear iran wouldn’t directly chase away people, but an assertive Iran would come at the cost of Israel influence and regional dominance is a big selling point for western support.
      Imagine a vicious circle where less people think it’s necessary to support Israel, less businesses are likely to invest there, and less brains and money inclined to stay there.

  13. HarryLaw
    February 3, 2012, 3:24 pm

    There is no way the Israelis will bomb Iranian nuclear facilities without the consent of the US, first of all the most the Israeli air force could do is destroy part of these facilities without the capacity to do what is just as important and which would be fatal to Israel /US interests ie, leaving Irans retaliatory capacity intact, they would be breaking every military and political rule in the playbook [ Dan Pletch Director, centre int studies and Diplomacy]. It is for this reason alone that Israel will not go it alone, and the Iranians could be confident that such an attack did indeed have US permission and act on that basis.

  14. Proton Soup
    February 3, 2012, 6:58 pm

    Seems that the writing is on the wall wrt the demographics in Israel. So much so that the IMF and Bank of Israel are speaking about it publicly. link to globes.co.il

    And this isn’t just a sudden realization. Remember the government has been targeting those young, educated, successful expatriates for a while now.
    link to mondoweiss.net
    link to mondoweiss.net

    Now, the rhetoric really heats up, and those expatriates are reminded that they are not even safe in America.
    link to abcnews.go.com

    “We predict that the threat on our sites around the world will increase … on both our guarded sites and ‘soft’ sites,” stated a letter circulated by the head of security for the Consul General for the Mid-Atlantic States. Guarded sites refers to government facilities like embassies and consulates, while ‘soft sites’ means Jewish synagogues, and schools, as well as community centers like the one hit by a terrorist bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people.

    Interesting how economics and the concerns of bankers are driving much of this, no? Whose existence is really threatened here?

    • teta mother me
      February 3, 2012, 10:36 pm

      Proton soup wrote:

      “Interesting how economics and the concerns of bankers are driving much of this, no? ”

      Israel’s Bypass Foreign Policy

      Israel has developed a number of “formal partnership agreements” with American states. These agreements cover a number of areas, including economic and business relations, cultural ties, exchange trips by American state and Israeli government officials, technology exchange and research, and education. With some local jurisdictions and university and college campuses advancing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) initiatives against Israel, the Israeli government is confident that any attempts to take such proposals to the state level will be stopped dead in their tracks.

      Virginia is one example of a state that has established a number of formal agreements with Israel. A number of joint operations have been created, including the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB), the Virginia Israel Partnership – created by Governor George Allen in 1995, and the Virginia Israel Technology Alliance. In September 2008, Virginia and Israel established a formal government-to-government partnership agreement when Governor Tim Kaine and Israeli ambassador Sallai Meridor signed a formal research and development agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Israel. The agreement, like many between Israel and the states, includes military and security technology exchange. The important factor is that the agreement was signed between Richmond and Jerusalem, by-passing the U.S. Department of State, the federal department that has overall authority over the foreign relations of the United States and other nations.

      Defense links between the United States and foreign nations are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Defense. In 2003, Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich and the Israeli government signed the Maryland-Israel Partnership in Homeland Security, the first of its kind among America’s states.

      Formal agreements have been established between Israel and Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (Governor Rick Perry received the “Defender of Jerusalem” and “Friend of Zion” awards from Israel), Virginia, and Wisconsin. Most of the state agreements with Israel have been concluded over the past five years.

      Some state legislatures have passed joint Senate-House/General Assembly resolutions supporting a continued strong relationship between the United States and Israel, which also by-pass the State Department’s responsibilities to sign agreements with foreign nations. On March 18, 2011, one such resolution, which called for “continued support” by the Colorado legislature for a strong relationship between the United States and Israel, was enacted by the Colorado Senate and General Assembly.

      Even more peculiar is Israel’s government-to-government agreements with Native American tribes, which enjoy varying degrees of sovereignty from the U.S. federal government. Israel has established close links to the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. The Coushatta Tribe was the first U.S. tribe to recognize the State of Israel and officially welcome an Israeli delegation to the reservation. Israeli companies have staked a claim in the 700-acre Coushatta reservation in Louisiana. In 2008, the Coushatta Tribe issued an “Affirmation of Friendship” with Israel, recognizing May 14, the Israeli date of independence, as a Coushatta national holiday. The Israeli Consulate General in Houston maintains contact with the tribe and it has sought to expand trade and agricultural links between the Coushattas and Israel.

      In 2001, the Coushatta Tribe retained the lobbying services of Republican Party lobbyist and noted Israel supporter Jack Abramoff. Abramoff squeezed money out of the tribe for himself and the Republicans by double-crossing the Coushattas into believing they would be spared from competing with native gambling casinos nearby in Texas if they donated money to anti-gambling GOP Christian conservatives.

      One of the factors, in addition to casino interests, that are behind Israel’s interest in establishing state-to-state relations with U.S. tribes may be the application of pressure on the United States dissuading Washington’s recognition of a Palestinian state. Israel may believe that if the United States moves to formally recognize Palestine as independent, it can take similar steps toward the Native Tribal Nations of the United States.

      By establishing relations with state governments, Israel is also free to involve itself in state-level politics. “

      Residents of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina are complaining that hi-level technical jobs at the regions new aerospace research center are going to visa holders from Israel and Russia rather than from the USA. With the phasing out of many NASA programs, plenty of highly trained US aerospace professionals are looking for work.

      • MRW
        February 4, 2012, 5:07 am

        This is a disturbing article. Imagine if these italicized paragraphs from the article you cite read, instead:

        Virginia is one example of a state that has established a number of formal agreements with Russia. A number of joint operations have been created, including the Virginia Russia Advisory Board (VIAB), the Virginia Russia Partnership – created by Governor George Allen in 1995, and the Virginia Russia Technology Alliance. In September 2008, Virginia and Russia established a formal government-to-government partnership agreement when Governor Tim Kaine and Russian ambassador XXXXXX signed a formal research and development agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Russia. The agreement, like many between Russia and the states, includes military and security technology exchange. The important factor is that the agreement was signed between Richmond and Moscow, by-passing the U.S. Department of State, the federal department that has overall authority over the foreign relations of the United States and other nations.

        Defense links between the United States and foreign nations are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Defense. In 2003, Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich and the Russian government signed the Maryland-Russia Partnership in Homeland Security, the first of its kind among America’s states.

        Formal agreements have been established between Russia and Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (Governor Rick Perry received the “Defender of Moscow” and “Friend of St. Petersburg” awards from Russia), Virginia, and Wisconsin. Most of the state agreements with Russia have been concluded over the past five years.

        Or substitute any other country for Russia in the above and there would be an uproar in the nation.

        What are these “formal agreements” subjecting American citizens to? And why the hell don’t we know about this?

      • Proton Soup
        February 4, 2012, 3:35 pm

        Or substitute any other country for Russia in the above and there would be an uproar in the nation.

        What are these “formal agreements” subjecting American citizens to? And why the hell don’t we know about this?

        states actually expend a lot of effort wooing foreign investment in industries in their states. the usual incentives are things like tax breaks. as for “technology exchange”, the only place i can think of where that can occur is at universities, which often have their own patent portfolios, most of it supported by the taxpayer.

        and, coincidentally, i did have a russo-israeli lab instructor not so long ago, and you have to wonder how much of the grad student gravy train may be due to these sorts of agreements. it’s not just israel, btw. you hear quite a bit of frustration these days from grad students being shut out by even less qualified people from india, china, etc. i do wonder if the H1-B situation is related to why teta mother me posted that.

  15. MRW
    February 3, 2012, 9:46 pm

    “Israeli officials say Iran’s ‘existential threat’ is– braindrain of 200,000 ‘best and brightest’”

    This artful logic and excuse-making for the over million Israelis who have already left in the last five years (Danaa says there are over 950,000 Israelis in the US alone) shows you how brain-dead Israel has already become: it expects people to buy this line.

    [Gee...it couldn't be because Israel is rapidly becoming a theocratic Sparta? And Shmuel left to protect his daughter's mind.]

  16. CigarGod
    February 4, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Somehow this old thing popped into mind:

    “Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood.

    But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

    Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    –Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

  17. talknic
    February 4, 2012, 4:37 pm

    It’s bizarre. It stares people in the face like a giant elephant’s rrrrrs… But no one sees it as they wade around a room full of elephant sh*te

    If a country wants Nukies, it does not sign up to an NPT. It can legally acquire Nukies.

    Israel is an IAEA member, has Nukies and receives IAEA assistance for nuclear research, without fully supporting the IAEA by signing an NPT.

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