Larry Derfner has a genius post up at +972 on a gathering of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, and a panel it held on Iran. The post is titled, "On Iran, U.S. Jewish leaders will defend Israel down to last drop of our blood." Derfner says that the American Jews were far more hawkish than the Israelis on the panel, and he rightly singled out Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, the foolish CUNY trustee who took the stand against Tony Kushner's honorary degree last year.
"The best question came from from Rabbi Basil Herring, executive vice president of the (Orthodox) Rabbinical Council of America. Noting the difficulty in destroying Iran’s underground nuclear installations, Herring asked if Israel would consider “the use of tactical nuclear weapons in areas that aren’t so populated, or in the open desert? To show the Iranians that their lives are on the line, that Israel won’t go quietly?” 'Before anyone could answer, the Israeli moderator, eager to keep the discussion sane, jumped in and said that since Israel doesn’t acknowledge having nuclear weapons, this was an awkward question for the panelists, better left alone."...............
One of the very few liberals in the group told me he knew of three organizational leaders who sounded like they wanted to use tactical nuclear weapons on Iran “right now.”
“A military attack on Iran may take longer that we think. It won’t be over in six days. What if it lasts two or three months? Israel cannot go into a big war,” [David Menashri] said.
He didn’t like the constant references to Iran’s nuclear program as an “existential threat” to Israel, either, or all the comparisons of Iran to Nazi Germany and Ahmadinejad to Hitler. “Kaddafi was Hitler, Arafat was Hitler, Nasser was Hitler and now Ahmadinejad is Hitler,” he pointed out.
This didn’t go down well. Ken Abramowitz from American Friends of Likud insisted that there was no such thing as overstating the case for Iran’s being an existential threat to Israel, the U.S. and everyplace else. Then came Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, the New York political fixer who tried last May to stop playwright Tony Kushner from getting an honorary doctorate because of his views on Israel. Comparing Iran to Nazi Germany and making sure everyone knew that he was the son of Holocaust survivors, Wiesenfeld said, “The Iranians can’t sell their oil, they have no consumer goods on their shelves, the mullahs are fighting with each other, so now’s the time they gotta kill the Jews.” ...
In the lobby afterward, I asked Wiesenfeld, a loud, glad-handing, Yiddish-sampling New York type, if I could interview him. (When it comes to hating American Jewish chickenhawks, I am a stone junkie.)
He starts telling me that it’s not enough for Israel, or America, or Israel and America to bomb Iran’s nukes. ”Israel can’t go on living with 200,000 missiles pointing at it,” he said – they had to be destroyed, too. I saw no use in mentioning Israel’s deterrent power, or questioning the morality of war as a means of arms control, so I asked Wiesenfeld how Israel could survive the wars that would follow its attacks on Iran, and Syria, and Lebanon, and Gaza, and the other countries that have missiles aimed our way.
“It’s going to happen sooner or later,” he replied.
And when the missiles are falling on Israel, would he come here with his family and sit it out?
“At that point,” he said, “Jews will be targets all over the world. There won’t be any difference being in Tel Aviv or Times Square.”
PS. Great reporting. And Derfner is a great free-spirited 70s-era lefty. Which raises the question: Why can't he get his head around the idea of a democracy in Israel and Palestine now that two states is as likely as my moving into the Trump Tower penthouse tomorrow? I met Derfner on my recent trip to I/P and I'll have a report on that meeting before long.