AIPAC president (tries to) defend Israel’s rejection of WMD-free zone

Israel/PalestineMiddle East
on 53 Comments

Out of curiosity, I stopped by an AIPAC lecture last week in Westport, Connecticut. To my surprise, AIPAC national president Michael Kassen was in attendance and took questions at the end of the event.

“Why,” I asked, “do you think that Israel boycotted last year’s planned international conference on establishing a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East which was based on a proposal made by Iran in 1974? What is the downside of a WMD Free Zone as an alternative to war and sanctions against Iran?”

Mr. Kassen’s answer, or lack of answer, was fascinating.

“I barely consider myself knowledgeable about American policy let alone Israeli policy. But I think that Israel felt that it was…it was…they would be…uh…in a very, very small minority…uh…at…at…such a conference. I think that Israel felt…that…that…the…the…the region in which they…they are thrust…is…is…uh…um…you know…”

Event staffers had to come rescue him. They said the question-and-answer session was suddenly off-the-record. Although I’m not a journalist, AIPAC staffers followed me outside and tried to make me delete the video from my phone.
 

One would expect the president of AIPAC to coherently answer what’s wrong with a peaceful alternative to sanctions and covert war hurting innocent Iranians. His organization lobbies for “strangling” sanctions (AIPAC’s words) and a “military option” against Iran. Their website celebrates that because of the sanctions, “[y]outh unemployment is over 28%” in Iran and “Iran’s currency, the rial, has lost eighty percent of its value since 2011”. “Iran’s GDP is falling by the largest margins in the past 25 years, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.”

Iran and the Arab countries agreed to attend last December’s scheduled conference to establish a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East. Finland agreed to host, and the U.S., the U.K. and Russia agreed to sponsor it. Even a majority of Israeli Jews supported the proposal. Israel, however, declined to participate, and the U.S. announced its cancellation in November just before the conference was scheduled to occur.

As a precondition to negotiating a WMD-Free Zone, Israel demands that “peaceful relations exist for a reasonable period of time in the region”. The Israel Atomic Energy Council’s Dr. Shaul Chorev reiterated this bold demand to the IAEA last September. AIPAC defends Israel’s precondition on one hand while on the other hand it chastises the Palestinian Authority for “Refusing to Negotiate, Demanding Preconditions“.

If Israel and AIPAC were minimally serious about avoiding war, they would support talks regarding peaceful alternatives instead of lobbying for “strangling” sanctions and a “military option” against Iran. Why couldn’t Mr. Kassen answer a simple question? Because his job is to defend the indefensible.

About Dan Fischer

Dan Fischer is a community organizer, substitute teacher and math tutor living in New Haven, Connecticut. He is a member of Capitalism vs. the Climate and the Middle East Crisis Committee. Dan can be reached at [email protected]

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53 Responses

  1. Citizen
    April 8, 2013, 3:46 pm

    Only Dick and Jane don’t get what Israel is all about at Dick and Jane’s expense, and on their children’s backs. Who is more ignorant than the average American as to how their government’s foreign policy in the Middle East sucks them dry and saddles their future for people who ridicule them?

  2. hophmi
    April 8, 2013, 3:59 pm

    “Even a majority of Israeli Jews supported the proposal.”

    Yeah, I guess so. Here’s the question from the poll: ” First, all countries in the region, including Iran and Israel, would agree to have a system of full international inspections of all facilities where nuclear components could be built or maintained. Once the effectiveness of this inspection system was fully demonstrated to all countries involved, then all countries in the region, including Iran and
    Israel, would commit to not having nuclear weapons.”

    So yes, assuming there was an effective inspection regime, Israelis would support a WMD-Free Zone. We’re not quite there.

    In any event, you left out this little tidbit:

    “While Iran announced that it would attend on November 7, it also said it would not engage with the Israelis at the conference, and some experts believe Iran only announced it would attend because Tehran knew that the December 2012 meeting would not take place.”

    http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/mewmdfz

    I don’t know about Kassen’s rhetorical skills, but plenty of people can answer the question: there’s little incentive for Israel to give up its nukes in a region where everybody hates them and they clearly serve a deterrent purpose. And there is no need for Israel to show up to an NGO meeting on establishing a WMD-Free Zone just to be subjected to the anti-Israel hatefest these international meetings routinely become. What’s the point? Do you think Iran will magically dismantle its nuclear program because an arms control NGO held a conference? Why should the Israelis and the Americans for that matter lend a pointless conference legitimacy by showing up?

    You might sooner ask why on Earth the French need nukes or why the Russians still need them before asking why the Israelis do.

    • Hostage
      April 10, 2013, 9:03 am

      So yes, assuming there was an effective inspection regime, Israelis would support a WMD-Free Zone.

      Please provide a citation. The government of Israel has always refused to join the NPT under any conditions.

      plenty of people can answer the question: there’s little incentive for Israel to give up its nukes in a region where everybody hates them and they clearly serve a deterrent purpose.

      The State parties that authored and adopted the NPT recognized that threats to national security justified the proliferation of nuclear weapons.That criteria applies to Iran too under the terms of Article X of the Treaty:

      Article X

      1. Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.

      Please keep in mind that Israel and the US have publicly discussed plans to launch military strikes against Iran and have conducted covert operations, including assassinations that have targeted Iranians engaged in legal nuclear research permitted under the NPT.

      And there is no need for Israel to show up to an NGO meeting on establishing a WMD-Free Zone just to be subjected to the anti-Israel hatefest these international meetings routinely become.

      Hophmi as usual you are in diversion mode. The article above isn’t discussing “an NGO meeting”. It merely cites another informative article on the Arms Control Association website. That article explains that meeting on a WMD-free Middle East was an official one scheduled by the UN and IAEA as a result of a recommendation made during the scheduled 1995 Review Conference conducted by the signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in accordance with Article VIII(3) of the NPT:

      3. Five years after the entry into force of this Treaty, a conference of Parties to the Treaty shall be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in order to review the operation of this Treaty with a view to assuring that the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realised. At intervals of five years thereafter, a majority of the Parties to the Treaty may obtain, by submitting a proposal to this effect to the Depositary Governments, the convening of further conferences with the same objective of reviewing the operation of the Treaty.

      http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/npttext.shtml

      Israel should attend because it is proliferating nuclear weapons which are contrary to the object and purpose of the international community and the NPT.

      • hophmi
        April 10, 2013, 12:16 pm

        “Please provide a citation. The government of Israel has always refused to join the NPT under any conditions.”

        Read the post. The links to the poll are there. I said the Israelis would support it. I don’t know what the government would do.

        “The State parties that authored and adopted the NPT recognized that threats to national security justified the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

        That’s nice. Israel didn’t sign it, and doesn’t have to abide by it. Iran did sign it, and does have to abide by it. Countries don’t tend to sign treaties that are against their national interest.

        “Please keep in mind that Israel and the US have publicly discussed plans to launch military strikes against Iran and have conducted covert operations, including assassinations that have targeted Iranians engaged in legal nuclear research permitted under the NPT. ”

        Thank you, counsel. Iran was developing its nukes before the US and Israel began discussing strikes, but even that discussion would not constitute an “extraordinary event.”

        “Hophmi as usual you are in diversion mode. The article above isn’t discussing ‘an NGO meeting.'”

        The post is in large part about Israel’s refusal to attend an NGO conference on establishing a WMD-Zone in the Middle East. The diversion is the author’s, who ignores the fact that the article he cites suggests that the Iranians had no plans to attend either, and only accepted because they knew Israel would not attend.

        “Israel should attend because it is proliferating nuclear weapons which are contrary to the object and purpose of the international community and the NPT.”

        Yes, we all know what your politics are, Hostage. The country with the most nukes is the United States, which, unlike Israel, is not surrounded by hostile countries. Of the other countries with nukes, the only ones that face real threats today are India and Pakistan, and neither one has signed the NPT. The threat of a nuclear exchange on the subcontinent is infinitely greater than it is in the Middle East.

        It’s funny that you defend the NPT, a treaty that preserves and enshrines the global power structure if there are was one. What possible reason is there, in this day and age, for the UK, France, and Russia to possess nuclear weapons?

        You continue to ignore the reality in the region, which fears an Iranian nuke much more than the entire Israeli arsenal because the country is run by religious fanatics and is a state supporter of terrorism. No matter how much Israel-bashing you engage in, it will not change that fundamental reality.

      • Hostage
        April 12, 2013, 12:12 pm

        I said the Israelis would support it. I don’t know what the government would do.

        Ask Mordechai Vanunu about public support “the Israelis” provide their government and its nuclear weapons program. BTW, you don’t need a crystal ball to know what the Israeli government will do. It wouldn’t even attend the NPT review conference as an observer state and published a press release condemning the resolution calling for the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East. See Statement by Govt of Israel on NPT Review Conference Middle East resolution http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2010/Statement_Government_Israel_NPT_Review_Conference_29-May-2010.htm

        The post is in large part about Israel’s refusal to attend an NGO conference on establishing a WMD-Zone in the Middle East.

        No its not. It’s a discussion about a UN diplomatic conference that was going to be conducted under the auspices of the Secretary General and the IAEA acting upon a request from the official Review Conference of the NPT signatory states.

        Israel didn’t sign it, and doesn’t have to abide by it. Iran did sign it, and does have to abide by it.

        Correction: I pointed-out above, that the explicit terms of the NPT allows a signatory to withdraw if a nuclear-weapons state or states openly threaten its national security or sovereignty. The US and Israel are violating a half-dozen UN and IAEA resolutions by even discussing military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. That’s a flagrant violation of international law.

        It’s funny that you defend the NPT, a treaty that preserves and enshrines the global power structure if there are was one. What possible reason is there, in this day and age, for the UK, France, and Russia to possess nuclear weapons?

        That’s another of your illiterate diversions. Under the explicit terms of the NPT each nuclear-weapons state has assumed a legal undertaking regarding general and complete nuclear disarmament. Monitoring that disarmament process is one of the purposes of the periodic review conferences. Here is the text on complete disarmament:

        Article VI

        Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

        http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/npttext.shtml

        I have no trouble defending that requirement.

      • James Canning
        April 12, 2013, 7:27 pm

        Polls have shown most Israelis would support Israel’s adherence to NPT and getting rid of nukes.

    • Cliff
      April 10, 2013, 6:08 pm

      hoppy says:

      in a region where everybody hates them

      And rightly so.

      And likewise, Israel hates everyone in the region. The US hates everyone in the region (except Israel and the Arab States that it has not smashed into client States).

      Iran is surrounded and subject to threats by your racist, apartheid, terrorist State and our country – which has destroyed Iraq and is destroying Afghanistan.

      So it’s perfectly reasonable for Iran to obtain nukes. It will deter Israeli lunatics and their American Jewish supporters like you, Christian eschatologists, ‘new atheist’ Islamophobic ultra-nationalists like Sam Harris, etc., who are bloodthirsty war-mongerers.

  3. irmep
    April 8, 2013, 4:16 pm

    Congrats, a VERY revealing video. “Give me your phone and he’ll answer the question….” Now THAT would have been a decent trade…if there had been another camera in the room.

    AIPAC has been trying to cover up the Israeli nuclear weapons program for decades. Just as more were beginning to pay attention to Dimona, AIPAC executive director Isaiah Kenen ran Judy-Miller type articles in the Near East Report about why Israel would never be able to produce an arsenal. At the same time, Abraham Feinberg (Israel’s North American nuclear fundraising coordinator according to Avner Cohen) was writing checks to AIPAC. Coincidence?

    The US National Security Council will still not release any documents outlining official US policy on the nuclear arsenal. If the policy were in any way defensible, surely some from the 1960s and 70s would have been released by now. But it’s logical to conclude that since Israel has stolen material, know-how and technology from the U.S., the political thinking is it’s easier to continue with the policy of “strategic ambiguity” than reveal to taxpayers just how corrupt this particular lobby/Israel/US policymaker issue is. Americans are children who aren’t welcome into this adult discussion.

    • lysias
      April 9, 2013, 10:34 am

      Any discussion of how Israel got nukes in the 1960’s will inevitably raise questions about the JFK assassination. That is a matter that the powers that be in this country most definitely do not want discussed.

      • Citizen
        April 13, 2013, 8:34 am

        @ lysias,
        Yes. The timing of JFK’s assassination with his strong pressure on Israel to allow inspections, to prevent Israel from getting the bomb–all documented by JFK’s letters to the Israeli PM, leaves a “connect the dots” scenario wherein reasonable people would play, and too much evidence of disparity between US and Israeli values would come out, be accessible to the American masses.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 9, 2013, 12:25 pm
      • hophmi
        April 9, 2013, 5:24 pm

        “AIPAC has been trying to cover up the Israeli nuclear weapons program for decades.”

        I don’t think anyone has covered up the Israeli nuclear program in awhile.

        “But it’s logical to conclude that since Israel has stolen material, know-how and technology from the U.S., the political thinking is it’s easier to continue with the policy of “strategic ambiguity” than reveal to taxpayers just how corrupt this particular lobby/Israel/US policymaker issue is. Americans are children who aren’t welcome into this adult discussion.”

        If you spent five straight days taking out ads in the newspaper in every major American media market saying that Israel has 200 nukes, I don’t think you’d hear much blowback from the American taxpayer. Most of them would understand immediately why Israel would have them. I don’t think they could care less how Israel got the know how.

      • James Canning
        April 12, 2013, 7:30 pm

        Surely Israel no longer needs nukes. Did Israel in fact ever needed them?

      • Citizen
        April 13, 2013, 7:48 am

        @ hophmi
        Such a distributed add that told the American taxpayer how Israel stole its nuclear material and knowhow from the USA, and that JFK was doing his best to prevent Israel from getting the bomb when he was assassinated, and telling said audience also of Israel’s history of preemptive warfare and its Samson Option–would cause blowback. The could end with a question, “With all those nukes, why does the US waste such a disproportionate share of its taxpayer foreign aid money funding the Israeli war machine?”

  4. amigo
    April 8, 2013, 4:45 pm

    “I think that Israel felt…that…that…the…the…the region in which they…they are thrust…is…is…uh…um…you know…”

    Duh…ah…ugh…um…well…gee… Who the …. left that ……..in to ask me questions I am not prepared for.

    You gotta love these idiots.

    And they are on Israel,s side.

  5. Scott
    April 8, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Amazing. Bravo Dan Fischer.

  6. Don
    April 8, 2013, 4:59 pm

    “As a precondition to negotiating a WMD-Free Zone, Israel demands…”

    Israel seems to love “preconditions”…when it is convenient to do so.

    “There can be no peace with a corrupt, rotten and dictatorial regime of terror,” he said. ” (this statement is almost funny…)

    http://www.sptimes.com/2002/05/15/Worldandnation/Sharon_adds_reform_to.shtml

  7. justicewillprevail
    April 8, 2013, 6:08 pm

    There is something very repellent about an organisation which celebrates the impoverishment of a country and its people, as if it is an achievement. Far from achieving any outcome favourable to peace and security they appear to want to encourage yet more violence, instability and jihadism. Do these people ever learn anything? A nuclear free zone is by far the best solution, and one which is achievable without any loss of life. AIPAC, like Israel, always opts for destructive, aggressive brainless policies which will rebound on themselves. Kassen’s inability to give a coherent answer speaks volumes for the mindset of these idiotic and dangerous ideologues.

    • dbroncos
      April 9, 2013, 1:27 pm

      jwp-
      “There is something very repellent about an organisation which celebrates the impoverishment of a country and its people, as if it is an achievement.”

      Set apart from any strategic goals, I suspect there’s an element of cruelty for its own sake at work here, for the peasure it brings to suporters of Israel.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 10, 2013, 5:53 am
      • seafoid
        April 10, 2013, 3:45 pm

        The everyday cruelty and petty sadism is what keeps the system going. So many are implicated and so few have the balls to stand up and say anything.
        It is desperately sad for the religion that Israel has never been challenged internally. The thugs always win in the end, always . And that has shaped the culture.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 10, 2013, 4:20 pm

        i think they cannot hear themselves seafoid. that is why comments are so important. it really gives us a window into the souls/voices of the everyman inside the hasbara. and for the most part, cruel it is.

  8. Keith
    April 8, 2013, 6:45 pm

    “Why couldn’t Mr. Kassen answer a simple question? Because his job is to defend the indefensible.”

    Why, of course his job is to defend the indefensible. Yet, I was surprised by his ineptitude. For the record, both the US and Israel oppose a nuclear weapons-free Middle East for strategic reasons (Including all WMD muddies the waters), the US rhetorically finessing its opposition. Furthermore, I believe that the US still has nuclear missiles on ready alert capable of launch in minutes and potentially subject to error and miscalculation resulting in planetary annihilation. For those who lust for power, the survival of the species is but an afterthought.

  9. Mike_Konrad
    April 8, 2013, 7:05 pm

    corrupt, rotten and dictatorial regime of terror,

    As opposed to the halcyon freedom in the Arab states?!! </sarcasm>

  10. Eva Smagacz
    April 8, 2013, 7:33 pm

    Publishing this video is cruel.

  11. EUR1069
    April 8, 2013, 7:34 pm

    Another SNL-grade flick.. LOL!

  12. a blah chick
    April 8, 2013, 9:12 pm

    What would have been REALLY funny was if you had asked him to draw a picture of Israel’s borders. Please someone get Oren on film trying to evade that question.

  13. American
    April 8, 2013, 9:34 pm

    That uh,uh,uh uh ‘ing….was hysterical….roflmao!
    Zios can’t and won’t ever answer a unscripted question– they have to rack their brain for some appropriate spin or jingo when caught out off guard.
    I can answer for them though…..they don’t want a nuke free ( including them) ME….because nukes for them are about ‘dominating’ the region, being the powerful Satan Jr. hegemon of the ME, …not so much about protecting themselves.

  14. Krauss
    April 8, 2013, 11:26 pm

    I didn’t even know about this!!

    Where is the MSM on this issue? Oh, that’s right, they will never ask such a question. Like, “why isn’t Israel joining the WMD-free agreement?”. The answer, of course, is that Israel wants to be the only nation with nukes. And it rather goes to war to prevent another nation getting one instead of aboloshing nukes in the region alltogether.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 9, 2013, 12:08 pm

      I didn’t even know about this!!

      we’ve covered it krauss.
      there’s some background here:

      (bold is added)

      http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/un-call-on-israel-to-open-its-nuclear-program-is-opposed-by-us.html

      Last month, four days after Iran announced that it planned to attend a high-profile meeting on the banning of WMD’s in the Middle East, the US backed out, saying that the “time is not opportune.”

      But along with Russia and the UK, the U.S. was one of the key sponsors of the conference, set to take place in Helsinki, Finland, by the end of 2012. 189 member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty had agreed to attend, but not Israel. Now the meeting has been called off.

      That is the backdrop behind the UN General Assembly’s approval of a resolution last week calling on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and open its nuclear program for inspection:

      Time Magazine, UN Calls on Israel to Open Nuclear Facilities:

      [ time magazine link has now been scrubbed, but i included this blockquote in the article]

      (UNITED NATIONS) — The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backing a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East which was just canceled.

      All the Arab nations and Iran had planned to attend the conference in mid-December in Helsinki, Finland, but the United States announced on Nov. 23 that it wouldn’t take place, citing political turmoil in the region and Iran’s defiant stance on nonproliferation. Iran and some Arab nations countered that the real reason for the cancellation was Israel’s refusal to attend.

      The resolution, approved Monday by a vote of 174-6 with 6 abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty “without further delay” and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting “no” were Israel, the U.S., Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

      fyi while fraser’s supporting link from armscontrol.org states:

      2012 Meeting Postponed
      “On November 23, the United States issued a statement postponing the December 2012 conference….. The U.S. statement cited “present conditions in the Middle East” and the lack of agreement by participating states on “acceptable conditions” for the December conference. …… While Iran announced that it would attend on November 7, it also said it would not engage with the Israelis at the conference, and some experts believe Iran only announced it would attend because Tehran knew that the December 2012 meeting would not take place.”

      how would iran have known the december meeting would not take place on november 7th? in “time is not opportune” link(above), dated nov 10th, a saturday it states:

      The two diplomats said the United States, one of the organizers, would likely make a formal announcement soon saying that with tensions in the region remaining high, “time is not opportune” for such a gathering. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge the cancellation ahead of the formal announcement.

      …..Hopes for such a meeting were alive as recently as Tuesday, when Iran joined Arab nations in saying that it planned to attend, leaving Israel as the only undecided country.
      ……..
      The two diplomats who spoke Saturday are from nations that were invited to the Helsinki meeting, which was to be open to all NPT-member nations. The diplomats also are from member nations of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.

      While Syria’s civil war, nuclear tensions with Iran and other Mideast frictions will be cited as the official reason for the cancellation, one of the diplomats acknowledged that the decision is mainly being taken because Israel has decided not to attend. The diplomat – from a Western nation sympathetic to Israel- said Arabs countries have refused to budge from positions that made it impossible for the Jewish state to participate.

      Israel has long said that a full Arab-Israeli peace plan must precede any creation of a Mideast zone free of weapons of mass destruction. The region’s Muslim neighbors in turn have asserted that Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal presents the greatest threat to peace in the region. They insist that Israel declare its arsenal and join the NPT as part of any peace talks.

      The diplomat said that while the announcement that the Helsinki meeting has been canceled might be made in the name of all three co-sponsors – the U.S, Russia and Britain – it would likely be delivered only by the United States, reflecting tensions between Moscow and Washington on the issue. He said the Russians have opposed declaring the meeting dead at this point.

      iow, the meeting was called off because of israel. iran announced they would attend 4 days before the diplomats leaked the US backing out and 3 weeks before the US announced the meeting was called off. the US was likely taken by surprise by iran’s announcement they would attend, hence they didn’t announce til NOV 23, 2 weeks after it was leaked to the press and 4 days after iran’s announcement.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    April 9, 2013, 12:07 am

    RE: “Why,” I asked, “do you think that Israel boycotted last year’s planned international conference on establishing a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East…? What is the downside of a WMD Free Zone as an alternative to war and sanctions against Iran?” ~ Dan Fischer

    ANSWER: Simply put, AIPAC wants Israel to have to have a monopoly on nuclear weapons in the Middle East. The regional exclusivity of Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal is a keycomponent of Israel’s “Iron Wall”. It allows them to act unilaterally at will, maintain their regional hegemony, and continue their colonization of the West Bank.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Iron Wall (essay)]:

    “The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs)” is an essay written by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in 1923. It was originally published in Russian, the language in which Jabotinsky wrote for the Russian press.[1]
    He wrote the essay after the British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill prohibited Zionist settlement on the east bank of the Jordan River, and formed the Zionist Revisionist party after writing it.[2]
    Jabotinsky argued that the Palestinian Arabs would not agree to a Jewish majority in Palestine, and that “Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”[1] The only solution to achieve peace and a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, he argued, would be for Jews to unilaterally decide its borders and defend them with the strongest security possible.

    • References
    1^ a b Jabotinsky, Ze’ev (4 November 1923). “The Iron Wall”. – http://www.jabotinsky.org/multimedia/upl_doc/doc_191207_49117.pdf
    2 ^ Zionist Freedom Alliance – Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky – http://www.zfa.org.il/articles/jabotinsky.html

    • External links
    Lustick, Ian S. (2007). “Abandoning the Iron Wall: Israel and ‘The Middle Eastern Muck'”. Middle East Policy (Middle East Policy Council) (Fall 2007). – http://mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/abandoning-iron-wall-israel-and-middle-eastern-muck

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Wall_(essay)

    P.S. ● ENTIRE ‘IRON WALL’ ESSAY: The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs), By Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1923 – http://www.marxists.de/middleast/ironwall/ironwall.htm

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 9, 2013, 5:18 am

      ● P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “We don’t intend to build nukes, Israel told US in 1975”, By Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, 4/08/13

      [EXCERPT] Israel’s leaders, in private exchanges with senior US officials in 1975, flatly denied that Israel possessed nuclear weapons, and foreign minister Yigal Allon also claimed Israel had no intention to build such weapons, according to diplomatic cables published this week by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
      This despite the fact that, according to foreign reports, Israel is now believed to have begun full-scale production of nuclear weapons soon after the 1967 war, and to have stockpiled a number of nuclear weapons by the early 1970s. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.timesofisrael.com/we-dont-intend-to-build-nukes-israel-told-us-in-1975/

  16. Sumud
    April 9, 2013, 2:47 am

    If you believe Mike Konrad’s comment on another article [of course Israel isn’t going to attend such a conference] Israel needs those nuclear weapons so they can incinerate every living soul in the Middle East, if ever they are ever in a situation where right of return for Palestinian refugees looks like it is going to be enacted:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2013/04/conference-realization-palestinian.html/comment-page-1#comment-553997

    Mike doesn’t like saying it, but he pitches himself as a realist. As if nuclear annihilation of hundreds of millions of people is a “realistic” foreign policy option.

    Still, if the alarm bells aren’t already ringing, this kind of comment from a supposed realist, should alert readers to the real nuclear threat in the ME and wider world.

  17. Sin Nombre
    April 9, 2013, 5:26 am

    Dan Fisher wrote:

    “Why couldn’t Mr. Kassen answer a simple question?”

    Well of course because it would involve openly coming out and saying that what he and Israel are demanding is the double-standard right to be the only power in the region with the ability to obliterate everyone else, and because he’s not schooled enough on this particular issue of Israeli double-talk to say the official Israeli baloney about oh-so-wanting a nuke-free accord but only after “peaceful relations exist for a reasonable period of time in the region.”

    And you know something? While I (respectfully) think that most people in the commentariat on this site are far too starry-eyed and romantic about the arabs and Islamists (which is why I would just like the U.S. to be neutral in the I/P conflict), and do tend to downplay arab acts of terror and savagery, I will say that I wonder just how much of same has been caused just a sort of craziness over this sort of Israeli dealing.

    Put it this way: How long could you maintain your sanity trying to deal with someone who just constantly constantly dealt with you like Israel does the Palestinians and its neighbors? Always and forever demands upon you to do X, Y and Z immediately and always in exchange for mere promises on their part to do something in the future, which are never kept because there’s just always some excuse used to avoid same, and when there’s not even any excuse offered there’s some brand new A, B and C demanded (“now that you’ve recognized us as a state, recognize us further as “the jewish state!”), and always always the insistence on a double-standard as to everything.

    After awhile of course I think it would drive you simply crazy, and indeed I think it was Henry Kissinger of all people who once said that he thought that was the true object of the Israeli negotiating style which obviously hasn’t changed.

    How the hell do you deal with a party that regards “negotiating” in this way? As not really a means to an end of some conflict, but as just a means towards winning that conflict in toto?

    Of course this doesn’t absolve the Palestinians for keeping on trying such negotiations now at least. It’s way past the point of foolishness for them to keep trying and if they don’t recognize they are losing by continuing nobody can save them. I see that Abbas has now got Kerry urging him to do X, Y or Z to re-start the “negotiations” with the Israelis and the fact that he hasn’t thrown Kerry out on the street for bringing this message says it all.

    The Israelis wanna play for the whole enchilada the Palestinians ought to do the same and start demanding a One-State solution in full, in full-democratic form, in full stop, period. And if they don’t, well, you might still end up sympathizing with them when they are left with nothing, but you can’t save someone who refuses to save their own self.

  18. Citizen
    April 9, 2013, 7:59 am

    WMD-Free Zones are a tried and true concept, for example in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Yet the US goes on with its double standard so obvious to the whole world, pretending Israel has no nuclear arsenal, pretending Iran would be a threat even if it achieved the capability to make a single nuke bomb, imposing draconian economic sanctions on the Iranian people: http://consortiumnews.com/2012/12/08/still-pretending-on-israels-nuke-arsenal/

    • hophmi
      April 10, 2013, 4:41 pm

      “WMD-Free Zones are a tried and true concept, for example in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa.”

      Southeast Asia? India and Pakistan are both nuclear states.

  19. piotr
    April 9, 2013, 11:19 am

    “Because his job is to defend the indefensible.”

    This is a actually easy and I bet that he has spend a lot of time doing that. However, Israeli nukes officially have indeterminate status, not quite existing and not quite non existing, and the only correct pro-Israel stand is not to mention them AT ALL.

    Given that non-mentioning Israeli nukes may well be an intrinsic (if temporary) part of Jewishness, a conference on the issue is anti-Semitic. But poor pro-Israeli Jews cannot voice the complaint clearly.

    Shame, Fischer, shame! This question was pure and simple sadism. (Warms my cockles though.)

  20. Kathleen
    April 9, 2013, 12:22 pm

    Dan this is fabulous. Thank you. When Israel and the U.S. refused to attend that conference it barely got a whisper in the MSM. Incredible work

    • lysias
      April 10, 2013, 4:39 pm

      Who are the MSM? Ex-CNN Reporter: I Received Orders to Manipulate News to Demonize Syria and Iran:

      PRAGUE, (SANA)- Ex-CNN reporter Amber Lyon revealed that during her work for the channel she received orders to send false news and exclude some others which the US administration did not favor with the aim to create a public opinion in favor of launching an aggression on Iran and Syria.

      Lyon was quoted by the Slovak main news website as saying that the mainstream US media outlets intentionally work to create a propaganda against Iran to garner public opinion’s support for a military invasion against it.

      She revealed that the scenario used before launching the war on Iraq is being prepared to be repeated where Iran and Syria are now being subject to constant ‘demonization’.

      The former reporter clarified that the CNN channel manipulates and fabricates news and follows selectiveness when broadcasting news, stressing that the Channel receives money from the U.S. government and other countries’ governments in exchange for news content.

  21. RJL
    April 9, 2013, 1:14 pm

    Iranian defenders, is that what MDW has become? You totally throw out all evidence from the IAEA, American intelligence (which definitely has its limits), and Israeli intelligence and pretend Iran has a zero nuclear weapons program, and that they’ve never once threatened to annihilate Israel and its peoples, which would include the Palestinians, too. Israel learned early on it needed those nukes as a deterrent, and last resort. Maybe you believe North Korea only launches the good ship Lollypop? Got to love you; really, and Mr. Weiss in particular has an impressive educational and journalistic history. Sorry to see it’s being misused.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 11, 2013, 1:50 am

      You totally throw out all evidence from the IAEA, American intelligence (which definitely has its limits), and Israeli intelligence and pretend Iran has a zero nuclear weapons program

      iran doesn’t have a weapons program. don’t you remember when the nyt had to step back their framing. http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/01/nuclear-iran-nyt-introduces-new-propaganda-line.html

      and kershner tried this out:

      Though Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program is only for civilian purposes, Israel, the United States and much of the West are convinced that Iran is working to develop a weapons program.

      Working to develop a weapons program”? What is that supposed to mean?

      Since the NYT ombudsman has admonished the paper for being to casual with references to the non existing Iranian nuclear weapon program, Kersher can no longer refer to it directly.

      • hophmi
        April 11, 2013, 10:29 am

        “iran doesn’t have a weapons program”

        That is NOT what the IAEA said, and the ombudsman report you cite says:

        “[T]he IAEA moved much closer with this report toward stating absolutely that Iran is pursuing a nuclear bomb.”

        The omsbudman felt that the Times was wrong to characterize the report as stating outright that Iran’s nuclear program had a military objective because the IAEA report hasn’t said so. It did not say that there was no evidence of such a program.

        The ombudsman quoted this from Times reportage on the report itself approvingly:

        “United Nations weapons inspectors have amassed a trove of new evidence that they say makes a ‘credible’ case that ‘Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device,’ and that the project may still be under way.”

      • RoHa
        April 12, 2013, 11:17 pm

        “United Nations weapons inspectors have amassed a trove of new evidence that they say makes a ‘credible’ case that ‘Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device,’ and that the project may still be under way.”

        “Activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device”? Relevant to that end only, and not to any other end?

        “…the project may still be under way.” Or it may not.

        We are back to “weapons of mass destruction related program activities”.

    • RoHa
      April 11, 2013, 2:23 am

      “all evidence from the IAEA,”

      What is the evidence (as distinct from vague “maybe, maybe not’) from the IAEA?

      “American intelligence (which definitely has its limits),”
      “We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” the US intelligence community’s annual worldwide threat assessment, delivered by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to the Senate intelligence community Tuesday, states.”
      http://backchannel.al-monitor.com/index.php/2013/03/4708/us-iran-nuclear-weapons-decision-matter-of-political-will/

      “and Israeli intelligence,”

      And this is …?

      “that they’ve never once threatened to annihilate Israel and its peoples,”

      When did the Iranian government ever make such a threat?

    • talknic
      April 11, 2013, 6:01 am

      RJL

      “Iranian defenders, is that what MDW has become?”

      Na. Bullsh*t detectors is a far better description

      “You totally throw out all evidence ..”

      You’ve come to the wrong place to post bullsh*t. There are only accusations and speculation against Iran, neither of which are actual ‘evidence’.

      “, and that they’ve never once threatened to annihilate Israel and its peoples

      A regime is a Government. A regime in Jerusalem is not Israel. Jerusalem is not Israel. Jerusalem is not in Israel or legally Israeli territory or the Israeli people.

      The UNSC agrees with Iran. http://wp.me/pDB7k-W8

      The UNSC goes a step further than Iran by saying it will examine “practical ways and means “

  22. James Canning
    April 9, 2013, 2:10 pm

    Yes, why would Aipac oppose a nuke-free zone for the Middle East? Both Saudi Arabia and Iran support the proposed zone.

  23. James Canning
    April 9, 2013, 2:13 pm

    Dickerson3870 – – Israel has no need today for nukes. Zero threat of attack by massed Arab armies. This is the key point, in my view. Interesting post on your part.

  24. James Canning
    April 9, 2013, 2:17 pm

    It does appear highly likely that Israel will refuse to sign NPT and get rid of its nukes unless Israel is recognised by most Arab countries. All the more reason to pressure Israel to accept 2002 Saudi peace plan and get out of the West Bank (and Golan Heights).

  25. Justpassingby
    April 9, 2013, 3:34 pm

    Great move Dan!

    Typical that they want to suppress your question like that, but how did you get into an aipac-meeting since its not open for all, right?

  26. talknic
    April 10, 2013, 11:30 am

    I’m surprised no one has come up with ye olde ‘but Israel has never threatened anyone with nukies’ cannard, oblivious to the fact that having nukes is a threat to use ’em, otherwise there’s no point in having ’em

  27. James Canning
    April 11, 2013, 2:15 pm

    Shouldn’t the president of Aipac be expected to be knowledgeable about the effort to create a nuke-free zone in the Middle East? And Israel’s role in trying to block it?

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