Brian Williams suggests that Israeli attack on Iran will invite terrorism to London Olympics

US Politics
on 44 Comments
Brian Williams
Brian Williams

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Last night, boldly seeking to educate the American public on the error of making war on Iran, NBC Nightly News highlighted Brian Williams’s interview with David Cameron, the British prime minister, in which Cameron said Israeli should not attack.

“I don’t think the Israelis should take that action now. we told them they shouldn’t and said we wouldn’t support it if they did. We’ve been very clear.”

The piece was most remarkable for Williams’s advocacy. He said that the British are saying just what the U.S. is saying to Israel– “Not so fast!”– and he brought up an angle no one has focused on: the threat to the London Olympics this summer if there is an attack.

Prime minister, can you afford to contemplate the possibility of hosting the world for the Olympics here during or after an Israeli military action in Iran?

Williams’s question seemed argumentative, in a great way– these military plans are thoughtless. And of course there is the shadow of Munich, 1972.

(I guess this is right up there with the Israeli fans asking Netanyahu to put off attacking Iran till after Madonna’s concert, May 29? Priorities!)

Then Williams also brought up “containment,” the idea that few want to address in the MSM, that we can live with an Iranian nuke. I think we can clearly count Williams among the doves. And good for him.

Next he should take on Cameron’s claim that Iran has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” This translation has been repeatedly impeached.

NBC transcript:

Cameron: I don’t think as we stand today that military action by Israel would be justified. I don’t think the Israelis should take that action now. We told them they shouldn’t and said we wouldn’t support it if they did. We’ve been very clear. I’m a friend of Israel. Israel has a right to exist as a democratic state. It’s very, very important it knows it has strong allies like America, like the United Kingdom, but I don’t support action now because, frankly, we’ve got more road to run in putting in place sanctions and putting in place tough measures against the regime and saying to them they need to take a different path. they can have civil nuclear power, if they give up the ambition of having military nuclear power, they can have a future as a country that has more normal relations with the rest of the world. We need to keep up the pressure to encourage them to make the right choice.

Williams: Do you believe containment can and will work?

Cameron: What I’m arguing for is massive pressure. Europe has an oil ban on Iranian oil.

Williams: Prime Minister, can you afford to contemplate the possibility of hosting the world for the Olympics here during or after an Israeli military action in Iran?

Cameron: I’m very confident we’ll do that come what may. I don’t support Israeli action at this time. I think there is a lot more we can do to put pressure on Iran to get them to take a different path. We take nothing off the table. Britain is very clear just as America is. We don’t rule out taking action or supporting  action, but that’s not where we are right now. Right now, turn up the pressure. Get Iranians to think again.

Williams: Is it tougher to deal with when the Israelis say this is about us, about our existence? 

Cameron: I completely understand why the Israelis feel as strongly as they do. I feel strongly. I do not want to see an Iran with a nuclear weapon. This is, of course, about Israel and the middle east because an Iranian nuclear weapon would meet a state of a city that wants to wipe Israel off the map. countries that don’t have nuclear weapons would want to acquire them.

Haaretz is highlighting the comments.

44 Responses

  1. Winnica
    March 16, 2012, 10:28 am

    Got to keep our priotities straight here. A nuclear Iran or smooth olympic games in London? Which is of greater historical importance?

    If memory serves, during the Olympic games of 1972 it was Israelis who were murdered.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 16, 2012, 11:14 am

      ‘Got to keep our priotities straight here. A nuclear Iran or smooth olympic games in London? Which is of greater historical importance?”

      These are not our only options. You forgot to put in the interest in the world in muzzling the mad dog of Israel.

      • pabelmont
        March 16, 2012, 7:26 pm

        You can think that, as I can, but no TV-person in UK or USA can say it and keep his job. (They are well paid jobs, NPR anyway, in USA.)

    • seafoid
      March 16, 2012, 11:21 am

      Israel is of minor historical relevance . Nobody under the age of 50 really knows anything about Prussia today. In years to come who will remember Zionism ?

    • David Samel
      March 16, 2012, 1:45 pm

      Memory serves you well but only partially, Winnica. It was Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed in Munich in 1972. So what was the Munich death toll? Eleven? Actually it was a good deal higher. In the days following the Munich events, Israel bombed Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon and Syria in “retaliation.” How many were killed? I’ve seen estimates from a low of 60 (in the film “Munich”) to a high of 500. How many of those killed were actually involved in the planning of the Munich operation? Probably zero. Certainly Israel was not trying to identify and retaliate against guilty parties in these refugee camps. They just wanted to show that they would indiscriminately kill civilians if they thought it was in their interest. Of course, it was not really Israeli “terrorism” because “terrorism,” by tortured definition, is something that states cannot commit (unless those states are in the duly designated Axis of Evil or are aspiring members). Even more importantly, Israelis by definition are incapable of “terrorism,” because that is only a crime committed by Arabs/Muslims against Jewish/Israeli/American/Western targets. When Israel kills civilians, it’s called self-defense from an existential threat. Finally, the Israeli PM at the time was Golda Meir, a kindly grandmother, and any attempt to call her a terrorist or murderer is inherently anti-Semitic.

    • eGuard
      March 16, 2012, 1:48 pm

      Winnica: A nuclear Iran or smooth olympic games in London?

      Why not have both?

      Winnica: during the Olympic games of 1972 it was Israelis who were murdered

      So? Any rights have build up for Israel?

    • kalithea
      March 16, 2012, 3:49 pm

      “Got to keep our priotities straight here. A nuclear Iran or smooth olympic games in London?”

      Sounds like a Zionist false flag threat to me as opposed to an ultimatum.

  2. Scott
    March 16, 2012, 10:38 am

    I thought the Cameron visit was pretty great, coming right after AIPAC and Netanyahu and what a contrast. They spent a lot of time together, the dinner and the basketball game on Tuesday. What do you think they say about Bibi to one another? Cheered also that Andrew Sullivan was at the state dinner, and Obama seems to have told him he’s a regular reader of his blog. Andrew is excellent, I think, on all these issues. I interpret the thing Phil posted yesterday about Obama’s “tacit approval” according to Haaretz as false and an Israeli attempt at damage control.

  3. Scott
    March 16, 2012, 10:42 am

    Let me add, I like his “Israel has a right to exist as a democratic state.” Which is something other than the status quo.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 16, 2012, 10:47 am

      i really noticed that too scott. when he started to say israel has a right to exist as….i was expecting to hear something else and my heart skipped a beat when he said…democratic state.

    • weindeb
      March 16, 2012, 1:23 pm

      Yes!

    • Fredblogs
      March 16, 2012, 3:09 pm

      Actually, Israel is the most democratic state in the world. Their proportional representation system ensures that almost none of their citizens’ votes are wasted, unlike the votes of Democrats in a Republican district or vice versa in America. It’s why Israel has always had Arabs in the Knesset and why it has never had a majority government, only coalitions.

      Israel doesn’t allow Palestinians to vote because they aren’t citizens. Is America not a democracy because the Chinese can’t vote in our elections? How about because Puerto Ricans can’t vote for President or Congressmen or Senators?

      • David Samel
        March 16, 2012, 6:42 pm

        Fredblogs: Israel is the most democratic state in the world. Nonsense. You are damning with faint praise. Israel is the most democratic state in human history and the most democratic state that humankind could ever conceive. Its overt discrimination between its citizens based on their ethnicity, and its 45-year military rule over millions of stateless people are mere insignificant blemishes that do not detract one iota from the majesty of Israeli super-democracy. Get with the program, Fred.

      • straightline
        March 16, 2012, 7:53 pm

        I just love the contorted logic of the hasbarists. We’re comparing Chinese immigrants (or perhaps visitors to the US) with Palestinians who have lived there all of their lives and whose parents and grandparents also lived there. And in fact many Chinese visitors can get permanent residence and later citizenship unlike the Palestinians – even if they marry an Israeli.

        link to ifamericansknew.org

        • Fredblogs
          March 19, 2012, 5:01 pm

          No, we are comparing the people who live in China to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. And comparing Palestinians who live in Israel (mostly in East Jerusalem), who were offered citizenship in Israel after the 1967 war and turned it down, to Resident Aliens in the U.S.

          As for David Samel’s sarcastic comment: Israel could be more democratic by getting rid of the 2% threshold that a party must have before getting any seats.

          As things stand now though, Israeli Arabs are able to vote just like Israeli Jews. There is no official government discrimination in Israel by ethnicity, only by citizenship (except that Arab Israelis have a choice about whether to serve in the IDF, while Jews don’t have a choice, other than draft dodging). Israel doesn’t have a perfect record on unofficial minority rights, but then again neither does any other country. We in the U.S. incarcerate a lot more blacks than their percentage in the population, but we’re still a democracy as the term is currently used. Though if you want to be pedantic, there are no “democracies” only republics with democratically elected representatives.

          When you compare Israel (or the U.S.) to other real countries, and not to some utopian ideal, Israel (and the U.S.) compares very favorably.

      • Inanna
        March 17, 2012, 12:51 am

        Yeah, it’s real democratic how Israeli flagrantly abuses the rights of its minorities. I guess that’s what you call Jewish democracy, though.

      • CigarGod
        March 17, 2012, 12:46 pm

        The Democracy Index differs with you.

        Norway = #1
        Uruguay = #17
        USA = #19
        Botswana = #33
        Israel = #36

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        • Fredblogs
          March 19, 2012, 5:21 pm

          We’re supposed to take seriously a list that puts the U.S. behind the Czech Republic? Kidding aside, they include “civil liberties” and “functioning of Government” in their list of criterion. Israel is a country under assault by terrorism, of course they aren’t going to score as high in civil liberties as Sweden and such, which have occasional terrorist attacks, but aren’t under constant threat. Also, the very fact that the Israeli election system is so democratic is why the government doesn’t function very well. If it had election districts, some party would usually have a majority and the coalitions wouldn’t be necessary.

          I’m just talking about how close Israel is to the “one man, one vote, majority rules” ideal of democracy, not all those other issues. However, I should have said “one of the most”, not “the most”, since there are countries with proportional representation and no threshold. When I wrote that first post here I didn’t realize they had a threshold in Israel.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 19, 2012, 6:25 pm

        “Actually, Israel is the most democratic state in the world.”

        Except for the half of the people who aren’t allowed to vote for the government that runs their lives.

        “Israel doesn’t allow Palestinians to vote because they aren’t citizens.”

        And they aren’t citizens because the Israelis don’t believe in democracy. Because it covets the Palestinians’ land, but discriminates against the Palestinian people.

        “Is America not a democracy because the Chinese can’t vote in our elections?”

        Stupid analogy. A correct anology would be America, in 1900, not letting Mexican-Americans whose ancestors lived in California, Arizona and New Mexico even before the Mexican-American War, vote because they “weren’t citizens.” And basing that decision on their ethnicity.

  4. FreddyV
    March 16, 2012, 10:45 am

    ‘i do not want to see an iran with a nuclear weapon. this is, of course, about israel and the middle east because in iranian nuclear weapon would meet a state of a city that wants to wipe israel off the map.’

    Why does everyone pull the ‘Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map’ misquote out of their backsides?

    As a British Citizen I’m going to write to Mr Cameron on this.

    • Fredblogs
      March 16, 2012, 5:48 pm

      It’s not really a misquote. It is a translation from an idiomatic expression in Farsi to an idiomatic expression in English that means the same thing. He would not have said the actual words “wiped off the map” in Farsi, because there is no such expression in Farsi. He literally said the Farsi words for “must vanish from the page of history”. But that means the same thing in Farsi as “wipe off the map” means in English, that Israel (the country and its people, not the physical land) must be utterly destroyed.

      • tree
        March 16, 2012, 6:32 pm

        He literally said the Farsi words for “must vanish from the page of history”. But that means the same thing in Farsi as “wipe off the map” means in English, that Israel (the country and its people, not the physical land) must be utterly destroyed.

        The Soviet Union “vanished from the page of history” as did Apartheid South Africa and Tanganyika. In none of those instances were its people “utterly destroyed” or even partially so. I suspect that most people would realize that “wipe off the map” and “vanish from the page of history” do not mean the same thing. If you have another agenda though, it might make it difficult for you to perceive the difference.

      • David Samel
        March 16, 2012, 6:37 pm

        Thanks, Fred, for your wholly unbiased, objective viewpoint informed with your deep knowledge of Farsi. But Ahmadinejad also has stated that he wishes to see Israel as a Jewish State disappear like the Soviet empire and apartheid. He thinks Israel should transform from a Jewish State to a state that gives all its citizens (and the non-citizen subjects of its military rule) equal say. Or at least so he says. But I guess you know better. In his darkest heart of hearts, he wants to see Israel militarily destroyed and its Jewish population slaughtered. btw, which country has explicitly threatened the use of its own military against the other? The score on that is roughly Israel 17 billion threats, Iran 0. Even in the “wipe off the map” translation, Iran has never hinted that it wants to be the map-wiper.

      • straightline
        March 16, 2012, 7:57 pm

        Check out Juan Cole who is a Farsi scholar.

        link to nuclear-news.info

      • FreddyV
        March 16, 2012, 9:23 pm

        @Fredblogs:

        ‘He literally said the Farsi words for “must vanish from the page of history”.’

        And the start of the sentence was ‘This regime’. He wasn’t referring to the state of Israel, it’s people or it’s territory. He was talking about the Zionist regime.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        I’m sorry, but that’s pretty poor. If you were dealing with idiots who don’t know their subject or even how to jockey a search engine, I could see where you’d get away with that post, but all it does here is demonstrate either poor research or outright propaganda. I don’t if Hasbara pays per post irrespective of the quality or veracity of what’s written, but if that’s the case, then I’d sharpen your pencil and your wit before they start implementing quality controls and get yourself ahead of the game.

      • CigarGod
        March 17, 2012, 12:54 pm

        You skipped right over the key words: entity/regime, refer to the government/illegal government, not the people.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 19, 2012, 6:38 pm

        “It’s not really a misquote.”

        Yes, it is absolutely a misquote.

        “It is a translation from an idiomatic expression in Farsi to an idiomatic expression in English that means the same thing.”

        No, it doesn’t.

        “But that means the same thing in Farsi as ‘wipe off the map’ means in English, that Israel (the country and its people, not the physical land) must be utterly destroyed.”

        Wrong. That is a stinking lie and a complete libel. He said, specifically, the regime occupying al-Quds should vanish from the page of history — meaning the racist Zionist system. He said nothing about the people and has repeatedly called for nothing more than to let all of the people (including the people you are happy to keep in ghettos) choose their government. Your assertion that he was talking about “the country and the people” is another bloody lie you Zionist war mongers are pushing. Don’t you have enough blood on your hands?

    • CigarGod
      March 19, 2012, 10:17 pm

      Fred:
      The ranking is based on actual/present conditions.
      Of course the ranking would be different if conditions were different. If they were different for everyone…then everyone would be #1.
      Of course civil liberties and functioning of government are valid criteria.

      btw, The Economist is a conservative/business magazine/organization, not a liberal organ. For that very reason, the report would seem to be more credible.

      The report is to help businesses determine the quality of conditions for successful business operation…including safety of employees.

      Just for perspective purposes, 50 USA citizens die each year…worldwide… as a result of terrorist activities. Last year, 19 in Israel died. Yes, it is a higher %, but when you look at how many died from tobacco, alcohol, driving, slip and fall and even choking…the global war on terror is a joke.

  5. Opaleye
    March 16, 2012, 10:46 am

    Phil, there’s a typo on the main page display of this piece, with “Israeli nuke” instead of Iranian.

  6. Dan Crowther
    March 16, 2012, 10:50 am

    “as we stand today”

    that seems to be the key part of this. and it dovetails with what the Russians said Clinton told them about Iran: This (the new talks) is their “last chance”
    link to trust.org

    its important to feign a “diplomatic effort” — but nowhere did he say, we are against an attack period – he just meant “not right at this moment”

  7. marc b.
    March 16, 2012, 10:54 am

    great. but apparently not too many are concerned about the slow-motion strangulation of iran, on the basis of . . . what . . .. 60 minutes can interview HRC five years from now and ask her if the increased child mortality rate among iranians as a consequence of sanctions was ‘worth it.’

    Swift, the body that handles global banking transactions, says it will cut Iran’s banks out of the system on Saturday to enforce sanctions.

    The move will isolate Iran financially by making it almost impossible for money to flow in and out of the country via official banking channels.

    It will hit its oil industry, but may also have a heavy impact on Iranians who live abroad and send money home.

    The move follows EU sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

    link to bbc.co.uk

  8. Pixel
    March 16, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Oops.

    It looks like Williams just blew Israeli plans for a false flag operation at the London Olympics meant to incite the world into action against Iran.

    Darn!

    • kalithea
      March 16, 2012, 2:49 pm

      The British authorities should especially be on the lookout for suspicious white vans and dancing Israelis with videocams.

  9. giladg
    March 16, 2012, 12:53 pm

    Olympic games .. preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Olympic games …preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East? Brian Williams goes for the Olympics. Thanks a lot Brian.

  10. unverified__003e7ka2
    March 16, 2012, 1:53 pm

    Another Neville Chamberlain!

    Of course, David Cameron must have read Winston Churchill’s The Gathering Storm and Lynn Olson’s Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England. But he has learned absolutely nothing from history. He is repeating the same mistakes. Fortunately, Israel has not forgotten.

    On May 7, 1940 Leo Amery spoke in the Commons, attacking Neville Chamberlain’s government, quoting Oliver Cromwell: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

    On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister.

    There is nobody to play Leo Amery’s role today. But it is obvious that Netanyahu is destined to play Churchill’s and become the leader of the Free World. MAD is Dead http://www.madisdead.blogspot.com

    • kalithea
      March 16, 2012, 3:42 pm

      “But it is obvious that Netanyahu is destined to play Churchill’s and become the leader of the Free World.”

      Netanyahu will be leader of the “free” world in…HELL first!.

  11. Les
    March 16, 2012, 1:55 pm

    Remarkable that this is coming from a media so nearly completely under the aegis of the Israel Lobby.

    • CigarGod
      March 17, 2012, 12:58 pm

      So, the world of the octopus is not effectively/completely under his control…if once in awhile, he needs 9 arms?

      Just arguing with your logic.

  12. kalithea
    March 16, 2012, 3:55 pm

    If Israel doesn’t get its way before the Olympics; Israelis will pull a false flag that’ll get everyone on their page so they get their way after the Olympics. Israelis are crybabies: meee-meee-meee; waaaaah, I want my way or it’s the highway!

  13. jimmy
    March 16, 2012, 10:04 pm

    Israel will not attack Iran…period.

    too many variables that they can not control…nukes or no nukes…

    Iran has had so much time to prepare for anything….

    plus did israel constantly blabber on about attacking Iraq’s nuke activity before they did…I dont think so

    I dont think that the US congress has any real respect for nuttyyahoo….

    so it is a stalemate….

    world wins

  14. piotr
    March 16, 2012, 10:41 pm

    About wiping from the map. How many maps printed or posted by “mainstream Israeli” show Palestine? Wiping from the map, erasing from history books etc. are symbolic attacks. Cartographic or historiographic aggression is not a valid reason for mass hysteria or launching bombers.

    I actually have some doubts abount the meaning of vanishing from history.

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

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