‘NPR’ suggests that opponent of Syrian intervention has dual loyalty

Israel/Palestine
on 39 Comments

The other afternoon on NPR, Melissa Block interviewed an opponent of intervention in Syria, Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma–who argues that Syria would be another Iraq– and promptly brought up Landis’s marriage to a woman from a prominent Alawite family, suggesting that Landis was guilty of dual loyalty in his ideas about Syria.

You will see that the supporter of intervention in Syria who was on the show, Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (the thinktank spinoff of the Israel lobby group AIPAC), then ran with Block’s theme; and Landis, on the defensive, was compelled to assert, “I’m an American… I’m an American trying to keep us out of another Iraq-type of venture.”

BLOCK: Joshua Landis, I’d be curious to hear your perspective, as somebody who married into what I gather is a prominent Syrian Alawite family. Alawites are the minority in Syria, party of President Assad and other elites. Help us understand the Alawite perspective on the rebel movement and the future of their country.

LANDIS: Well, as I said, this is a ethnic war and it’s devolving increasingly towards minorities, who are 20 percent of Syria, led by the Alawites, 12 percent, who have monopolized the military and security forces. They have had their foot on the throats of the Sunni-Arab majority for the last 40 or 50 years. Sunni-Arab majority has finally had enough of this and they’re trying to overthrow this regime…

LANDIS: Could I have one rejoinder? Andrew just said that I’m a regime-supporter for making this argument and therefore trying to scare Americans away. I think that’s an unfair accusation. I’m an American.

TABLER: You’ve got to be kidding, Josh. You have been one of the biggest supporters of Bashar al-Assad for a long time, and look, that’s your position. And I think the argument you make…

LANDIS: That’s completely untrue. And I’m an American trying to keep us out of another Iraq-type of venture.

TABLER: I think that you are…

LANDIS: What you are saying is that Syria’s not like Iraq.

TABLER: I’m sorry I don’t agree with you.

LANDIS: And Syria’s exactly like Iraq. This is not about the regime. This is about America staying out of a quagmire, Andrew.

TABLER: Josh, I just think that your positions have come consistently on side of the regime.

LANDIS: Well, that’s because I want Americans to stay out. I think the Syrians have to settle their own problems.

I find this fascinating. For if Landis’s marriage is fair game– and I think it is– then so are the social and ideological adhesions of neoconservatives. Are they Zionists? Do they have family living in Israel? Why did neoconservatives Richard Perle and David Wurmser– who is married to an Israeli-American– write “A Clean Break” for Netanyahu in 1996, calling for regime change in Iraq? Given these connections to a rightwing foreign regime, should these men have served in George Bush’s foreign-policy braintrust? Did not Elliott Abrams and Paul Wolfowitz, who also were part of that brain trust, have family living in Israel?

What about liberal Aaron David Miller, who tells us in his book that concern for Israel was part of his “ethnic DNA.” Should he have been a peace processor? What about Chuck Schumer, who says his name means guardian in Hebrew and he is a guardian of Israel?

Do we ever hear mainstream media buttonholing these people about their connections to Israel or asking, sincerely, Can you help us understand Zionism in Jewish life? No.

Americans have a right to know about these things. From the very beginnings of political Zionism, when Herzl approached French and English Jews and had the door slammed in his face, Jews expressed the fear that Zionism would cast a question on their patriotism. Eric Alterman has said that to be a Zionist is to be dual loyal:  

I was raised dually loyal my whole life. When I went to Hebrew school, the content of my Hebrew school was all about supporting Israel. When my parents who I think are here tonight sent me to Israel when I was 14, on a ZOA [Zionist Organization of America]-sponsored trip… it was drummed into me that I should do what’s best for Israel.

Dual loyalty doesn’t mean disqualification. As Louis Brandeis established, such affinities are just part of the American salad. Fine. We are worldly people. We all have adhesions– some of which go across borders. But as Melissa Block believes, it is sometimes fair to discuss those adhesions. Too bad that principle is only honored when it comes to an opponent of neoconservatism.

About Philip Weiss

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

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39 Responses

  1. lysias
    May 3, 2013, 10:55 am

    Interesting fact from Landis’s Wikipedia entry:

    Landis has been noted for his friendly relationship to the Ambassador of Syria, Imad Moustapha, but when Landis wrote during the first weeks of the Syrian uprising of 2011 that there was “no soft landing”[3] for the Syria regime and that it was “deeply sectarian”,[4] Ambassador Moustapha cut off further contact with him on the grounds that he was a “revolutionary.”

    Doesn’t sound exactly like a stooge of the Assad regime.

    • Justpassingby
      May 3, 2013, 11:30 am

      Who cares really even if he were pro-Assad?
      WINEP/The israel-lobby that have openly supported occupation, aggression and human rights abuses for decades, they are of course angry that people are speaking out against another lobby-pushed, possible, middle-east chaos/war.

  2. Justpassingby
    May 3, 2013, 11:27 am

    Applying the Melissa Black-argumentation on the Israel/Palestine debate in America would sure expose dual loyalty/citizenship…
    Of course Melissa wont do that because THAT would be racist according to her. But stereotyping muslim affiliation is ok.

    These people dont even realize that they are using xenophobic arguments…

    • marc b.
      May 3, 2013, 1:27 pm

      it’s beyond orwell. bejamin kunkel (I think) just wrote an article on the pathology of political debate in America, basically arguing that objective discourse isn’t even possible at this late date. by way of example, apparently the DOJ is prosecuting an 18-year old American because he intended to travel to Syria through turkey to fight for the Syrian rebels, because, well they’re terrorists. for a significant portion of the US population the irony or absurdity of this will pass completely over their head, just as they’re incapable of registering the possibility of the hypocrisy of block and tabler.

    • Kathleen
      May 3, 2013, 3:23 pm

      “These people dont even realize that they are using xenophobic arguments…”

      I believe they do and know they can and do get away with it

  3. pabelmont
    May 3, 2013, 11:29 am

    Phil, nicely put. NPR’s dual-loyalty is nailed, but (no doubt) will not be admitted.

    Can you think of a way to stick to NPR this particular blatant display of dual-loyalty, NPR’s Melissa Block’s willingness to identify the political and familial associations of Arab-connected folk “on air”, but NPR’s general across-the-board unwillingnes to do the same for Israel-connected folk?

    Of course, NPR (Melissa Block) did not say the words “dual loyalty” although it may have been implied to any reasonable hearer’s ear. But why bring up his wife at all if not to inject the idea that familial (and maybe also ideological or political [Alawite]) “loyalty” or “affiliation” may skew the reliability/credibility of a talking-head’s presentation.

    • MRW
      May 3, 2013, 8:25 pm

      Phil, nicely put.

      I agree completely. I’ve been reading Landis for years. He’s a fair and square reporter.

  4. Qualtrough
    May 3, 2013, 11:57 am

    Simple rule in operation in the USA: If the other country is not Israel, any ties are fair game. If Israel, it’s anti-semitic.

  5. Kathleen
    May 3, 2013, 12:13 pm

    “I find this fascinating. For if Landis’s marriage is fair game– and I think it is– then so are the social and ideological adhesions of neoconservatives. Are they Zionists? Do they have family living in Israel? Why did neoconservatives Richard Perle and David Wurmser– who is married to an Israeli-American– write “A Clean Break” for Netanyahu in 1996, calling for regime change in Iraq? Given these connections to a rightwing foreign regime, should these men have served in George Bush’s foreign-policy braintrust? Did not Elliott Abrams and Paul Wolfowitz, who also were part of that brain trust, have family living in Israel?

    What about liberal Aaron David Miller, who tells us in his book that concern for Israel was part of his “ethnic DNA.” Should he have been a peace processor? What about Chuck Schumer, who says his name means guardian in Hebrew and he is a guardian of Israel?

    Do we ever hear mainstream media buttonholing these people about their connections to Israel or asking, sincerely, Can you help us understand Zionism in Jewish life? No.”

    Have been finding this hypocrisy on NPR fascinating for decades So great that you have turned the spotlight on NPR’s dual loyalty and unwillingness to be fair in their lines of questioning. Asking Landis about the possibility that a dual loyalty could trump loyalty to the U.S. That same line of questioning should have and should be always asked of Perle, Kristol, Feith, Wolfowitz, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Schumer, Tabler etc etc. They should be asked the same line of questioning.

    And of course Brandeis would know about the dual loyalty issue trumping loyalty to the U.S. He used his power and position to disproportionately support Israel over what would be best for the U.S.

    ot
    But not sure if you folks have done a post about how absurd it is that Israel a country that has absolutely used chemical weapons is the country coming up with the alleged intelligence that Syria has used chemical weapons. So friggin absurd one would think we would just get used to this hypocrisy. And the fact that the Obama administration is just not rolling over to this questionable Israeli intelligence. Good sign in many ways

    Israel’s Illegal Use of White Phosphorus During ‘Operation Cast Lead’
    And How the U.S. Media Tries to Cover Up Israeli War Crimes

    link to foreignpolicyjournal.com

  6. David Doppler
    May 3, 2013, 12:54 pm

    I think it is fair game to ask any Jewish American politician whether (s)he is a Zionist and what Zionism and political support for Israel means to them. I’m sure there will be a unique answer for each one of them. Justice Kagan, in carefully staged testimony, said that Israel and some Israeli judge role-model were very important to her. She wasn’t going to get any flak for that from the Senate, but the point is, it is a relevant question to ask, and the existing habit of avoiding discussing it should be discarded. I think it would also be appropriate to ask every elected official to disclose publicly any position paper or similar statement they’ve prepared and submitted to AIPAC, as I’ve heard that is part of AIPAC’s process, and I’m sure their AIPAC-savvy staff people are ever-present to help draft such documents for Congressional newbies. A sort of Mondoweiss meets Roll Call disclosure would make it possible for the constituents back home to know what their Congress person is committing too, and open the door to a fuller discussion of these topics. Netanyahu wants to flaunt his control over Congress, let the American people see how that process works. Same as to the Gun Lobby and other powerful single interest groups. Get it all out on the public record.

  7. Binyamin in Orangeburg
    May 3, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Phil has hit on an important point when he say’s there is nothing inherently wrong with “dual loyalty.”

    I think we make a mistake when we play that card against Jewish-American supporters of Israel. Merely supporting a foreign state’s policies, and championing them as an example, is not wrong, provided those policies and that example are in accord with human rights. The problem is not their support for a foreign country, it is support for a certain country — Israel — which undermines our nation’s commitment to democratic principles.

    I feel we fall into a bit of left-wing McCarthyism when we play the “dual loyalty” card. It is not so dissimilar from the Zionist claim that we are anti-semites, self-hating Jews and even proto-Nazis if we criticize Israel.

    • W.Jones
      May 3, 2013, 2:03 pm

      Binyamin,

      Let’s give an example. Imagine that a charity has a dispute with one of the staffperson’s in-laws. Does the staffperson have “dual loyalty”? Is it possible that the staffperson might be biased against the place where he works?

      In normal terms we consider this a conflict of interest. Note that it doesn’t mean the staff person will necessarily feel conflicted: he/she might have a disagreement with his/her in-laws, or might be quite capable of putting simple ideas of equality above his/her family relations.

      And for some people, the analogy to “in-laws” doesn’t work either, because they might not perceive such a relationship.

    • lysias
      May 3, 2013, 3:39 pm

      As an Irish-American, I generally support Ireland, but I wouldn’t dream of claiming that people who do not are somehow morally defective.

      And I suspect that the same may be said of most ethic groups in this country.

  8. American
    May 3, 2013, 1:55 pm

    ”Dual loyalty doesn’t mean disqualification. As Louis Brandeis established, such affinities are just part of the American salad.”..Phil

    No they aren’t. There is a difference between an affinity, a liking of or relationship to something and a ‘allegiance’ .

    Dual foreign loyalties create a national’ schism’ when they have national influence –where various self interested bodies do not work for the common national good. It destroys the social/collective cohesion necessary for a national conscience and stability.
    No where is this more obvious than what is going on right now regarding the foreign or alien influence brought on by the zionist. But the schisms aren’t limited to the zionism alien, it’s apparent in most all sectors of the ‘salad”.
    I don’t know how many examples from history people need to understand how this causes ‘breakdown’ in a civilization and it’s government.
    Or how many historical leaders and figures who witnessed these schisms have to keep warning populations.
    Brandis was a fool motivated by his sympathy for zionism…he was a zionist, not an American.
    But let them trot right on with the self serving and agenda ridden re-definitions of loyalty to a salad bar …they will learn the hard way that Jews as minorities will be among the first victims to get tossed from the ‘salad’ as schism antagonisms grow and there is no collective or common interest left to protect them.

    What do people not understand about what happens to them when they ‘subvert’ democratic engines and destroy those engines in the process? ..once the democracy they have perverted is finished, they are finished, they have no protection.

    ‘’>They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

    However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. ‘’

    • yonah fredman
      May 3, 2013, 3:07 pm

      Finally American has clarified for us the implications of naming himself American. He gets to decide who is American and who is not American. He does not propose legislation for the future, but merely threatens with nonspecific historical consequences: “they will learn the hard way that Jews as minorities will be among the first victims to get tossed from the ‘salad’ as schism antagonisms grow and there is no collective or common interest left to protect them.”

      But it is not only regarding the future that American rules: he has the right to revoke citizenships of the past. Brandeis was no American, he informs us, he was a Zionist. How about Lindberg? Was he a German because he cozied up to Herr Hitler? Or maybe Lindberg thought an American Germany alliance would be good for America and therefore his statements in favor of Hitler were American whereas Brandeis was merely playing colonial lord by suggesting Zionism and therefore Brandeis’s hobby makes him unAmerican whereas Lindberg’s pro American pro Nazi stance does not lead him to lose his designation as an American. We will await “American’s” judgment. Because he gives out citizenship both past and future.

      • American
        May 4, 2013, 9:32 am

        @ yonah

        whine,whine.,whine… citizens of empires and nations haven’t changed their views or beliefs about allegiance and loyalty since the beginning of time .
        Whether it was Caesar being assassinated for taking on the foreign battles of his Queen of Egypt consort or Benedict Arnold being executed or Jonathan Pollard being imprisoned for betraying the US or Hamas killing collaborators or Israel disappearing their own traitors……thus it has always been…and always will.

  9. W.Jones
    May 3, 2013, 1:57 pm

    I tend to sympathize with the idea in the headline: Call me kookoo, but since he comes from the Alawite minority, he might not want to see the country taken over by fundamentalists allied with the Taliban.

    • Sumud
      May 3, 2013, 5:47 pm

      Call me kookoo, but since he comes from the Alawite minority, he might not want to see the country taken over by fundamentalists allied with the Taliban.

      Not the Taliban W.Jones, Al Qaeada. Al Nusra Front has recently declared they have long been aligned with and supported by Al Qaeda in Iraq.

      I think it is a big stretch to accuse someone of dual loyalty because they don’t agree with America’s support of an Al Qaeda front group in Syria.

  10. yonah fredman
    May 3, 2013, 2:03 pm

    Regarding the situation in Syria- I don’t think Assad will survive until 2020, unless he leaves the country or unless there is a negotiation that creates a mini Alawite state. I think the weakening of the Hezbollah, Assad, Iran axis is to Israel’s advantage, but chaos or a type of Hamas in Syria is not to Israel’s advantage.

    Kathleen, white phosphorus is a dubious weapon especially when used near civilians. But if some expert categorizes it as a chemical weapon, please link. Categories of thought are useful as thought experiments, but chemical weapons have a definition, I believe and white phosphorus does not fit the definition, I believe, unless clarified otherwise.

    • Cliff
      May 3, 2013, 2:28 pm

      Wondering Jew,

      You are only concerned with the technical definition of ‘chemical weapons’ because of the moral resonance it has vis a vis the shock/disgust factor of using chemical weapons or witnessing chemical weapons.

      White phosphorus may not be classified as such. Who cares? It’s used for illumination and then it lands on civilians and burns them to death.

      Israel used White phosphorus in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

      What does that say about the Israeli government and army?

      If you launch something into the air, it will eventually land. If what you’re launching into the air has the capacity to destroy human life indiscriminately – but is not the text-book ‘intention’ of said device – why use it?

      You sure do like to grasp at what little rhetorical points you can get, don’t you?

    • marc b.
      May 3, 2013, 2:45 pm

      from the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998:

      1) Chemical weapon. — The term “chemical weapon” means the following, together or separately:
      (A) A toxic chemical and its precursors, except where intended for a purpose not prohibited under this Act as long as the type and quantity is consistent with such a purpose.
      (B) Ammunition or device, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through toxic properties of those toxic chemicals specified in subparagraph (A), which would be released as a result of the employment of such munition or device.
      (C) Any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of munitions or devices specified in subparagraph (B).

      (13) Toxic chemical. —
      (A) In general. — The term “toxic chemical” means any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals. The term includes all such chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production, and regardless of whether they are produced in facilities, in munitions or elsewhere.
      (B) List of toxic chemicals. — Toxic chemicals which have been identified for the application of verification measures under Article VI of the Convention are listed in schedules contained in the Annex on Chemicals of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

      A. Toxic chemicals: (CAS registry number)
      (1) Amiton: 0,0-Diethyl S-[2-(diethylamino)ethyl] phosphorothiolate and corresponding alkylated or protonated salts (78-53-5)
      (2) PFIB: 1,1,3,3,3-Pentafluoro-2-(trifluoromethyl)-1-propene (382-21-8)
      (3) BZ: 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate (*) (6581-06-2)

      B. Precursors: (CAS registry number)
      (4) Chemicals, except for those listed in Schedule 1, containing a phosphorus atom to which is bonded one methyl, ethyl or propyl (normal or iso) group but not further carbon atoms,

      so chemical precursors containing the phosphorous atom bonded to an alcohol group but not other carbon atoms, are chemical weapons. is there a chemist in the house?

      • marc b.
        May 3, 2013, 2:51 pm

        ope. it looks like the FAS says it is not a chemical weapon under the convention, although there are other sources, including apparently US military intelligence who (sometimes) say otherwise:

        The Italian journalist who launched the controversy over the American use of white phosphorus (WP) as a weapon of war in the Fallujah siege has accused the Americans of hypocrisy.

        Sigfrido Ranucci, who made the documentary for the RAI television channel aired two weeks ago, said that a US intelligence assessment had characterised WP after the first Gulf War as a “chemical weapon”.

        The assessment was published in a declassified report on the American Department of Defence website. The file was headed: “Possible use of phosphorous chemical weapons by Iraq in Kurdish areas along the Iraqi-Turkish-Iranian borders.”

        In late February 1991, an intelligence source reported, during the Iraqi crackdown on the Kurdish uprising that followed the coalition victory against Iraq, “Iraqi forces loyal to President Saddam may have possibly used white phosphorous chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels and the populace in Erbil and Dohuk. The WP chemical was delivered by artillery rounds and helicopter gunships.”

        According to the intelligence report, the “reports of possible WP chemical weapon attacks spread quickly among the populace in Erbil and Dohuk. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled from these two areas” across the border into Turkey.

        so there you have it: it depends who’s using them.

    • Kathleen
      May 3, 2013, 3:27 pm

      link to independent.co.uk
      “The assessment was published in a declassified report on the American Department of Defence website. The file was headed: “Possible use of phosphorous chemical weapons by Iraq in Kurdish areas along the Iraqi-Turkish-Iranian borders.”

      In late February 1991, an intelligence source reported, during the Iraqi crackdown on the Kurdish uprising that followed the coalition victory against Iraq, “Iraqi forces loyal to President Saddam may have possibly used white phosphorous chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels and the populace in Erbil and Dohuk. The WP chemical was delivered by artillery rounds and helicopter gunships.”

      According to the intelligence report, the “reports of possible WP chemical weapon attacks spread quickly among the populace in Erbil and Dohuk. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled from these two areas” across the border into Turkey.

      “When Saddam used WP it was a chemical weapon,” said Mr Ranucci, “but when the Americans use it, it’s a conventional weapon. The injuries it inflicts, however, are just as terrible however you describe it.”

    • Kathleen
      May 3, 2013, 3:31 pm

      Here you go Yonah
      link to hrw.org

      Israel: White Phosphorus Use Evidence of War Crimes
      Indiscriminate Attacks Caused Needless Civilian Suffering
      25 mars 2009

      Email

      Related Materials:

      Q & A on Israel’s Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza
      10 janvier 2009
      Q & A

      More Coverage:
      Witness accounts and additional analysis of IDF use of white phosphorus
      Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza

      Video: White Phosphorus Use in Gaza

      Photos: White Phosphorus Use in Gaza

      Maps: White Phosphorus Use in Gaza

      “For the needless civilian deaths caused by white phosphorus, senior commanders should be held to account.”
      Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report

      (Jerusalem) – Israel’s repeated firing of white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

      The 71-page report, “Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza,” provides witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza. Human Rights Watch researchers in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school. The report also presents ballistics evidence, photographs, and satellite imagery, as well as documents from the Israeli military and government.

    • Kathleen
      May 3, 2013, 3:33 pm

      Here you go Yonah
      link to hrw.org

    • Daniel Rich
      May 3, 2013, 5:47 pm

      @ yonah fredman,

      The term chemical weapon is applied to any toxic chemical or its precursor that can cause death, injury, temporary incapacitation or sensory irritation through its chemical action. Munitions or other delivery devices designed to deliver chemical weapons, whether filled or unfilled, are also considered weapons themselves. LINK.

      So, yes, even those teargas canisters are chemical weapons containers.

      Nice try, but try again.

    • eljay
      May 3, 2013, 6:42 pm

      >> Categories of thought are useful as thought experiments, but chemical weapons have a definition, I believe and white phosphorus does not fit the definition …

      “Self-determination” also has a definition, but the creation of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state for citizens of the Jewish faith in countries around the world does not fit that definition.

      Unfortunately for the Palestinians, hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists were able to make into – and to maintain as – a very ugly reality their little “thought experiment”.

    • MRW
      May 3, 2013, 8:36 pm

      yonah, you could have answered this yourself with google.

      The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to which the United States is a party is monitored by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague. Its spokesman Peter Kaiser was asked if WP was banned by the CWC and he had this to say: [re: White phosphorous being used over Falluja]

      “No it’s not forbidden by the CWC if it is used within the context of a military application which does not require or does not intend to use the toxic properties of white phosphorus. White phosphorus is normally used to produce smoke, to camouflage movement. [None of which applied to gated civilians of Gaza.]

      “If that is the purpose for which the white phosphorus is used, then that is considered under the Convention legitimate use.

      “If on the other hand the toxic properties of white phosphorus, the caustic properties, are specifically intended to be used as a weapon, that of course is prohibited, because the way the Convention is structured or the way it is in fact applied, any chemicals used against humans or animals that cause harm or death through the toxic properties of the chemical are considered chemical weapons.”

      BBC. Google it.

    • Taxi
      May 4, 2013, 12:09 am

      ” I don’t think Assad will survive until 2020, unless he leaves the country or unless there is a negotiation that creates a mini Alawite state. I think the weakening of the Hezbollah, Assad, Iran axis is to Israel’s advantage, but chaos or a type of Hamas in Syria is not to Israel’s advantage.”

      Oh crumbs of jesus! Do you zios ever get your heads outta where the sun don’t shine? LOL what on earth would make you think that “Hezbollah, Assad, Iran axis” is “weakening”?! Do please show us how israel has ANY advantages left in this day and age?

      Better still, keep mainlining the ziocaine. An ideology where members are sooo high on delusions of power and grandeur can only be good for Palestine at the end of the day.

  11. Les
    May 3, 2013, 2:08 pm

    Has the NPR ever examined the dual loyalty of American Jews who enlist in the IDF rather than the US military? Does Corporal Jeffrey Goldberg’s experience as an IDF campguard of Palestinians make him a useful Israeli agent wearing the disguise of an American?

  12. Edward Q
    May 3, 2013, 2:25 pm

    Someone from WINEP accuses another person of bias?? Since when has WINEP been a bastion of objectivity and neutrality? Where does Tabler’s salary come from?

  13. hughsansom
    May 3, 2013, 2:41 pm

    The obvious question for Melissa Block or anybody from NPR (and, of course, WINEP) is why the many personal connections between NPR (or New York Times, or WINEP) reporters or experts doesn’t call into question their own objectivity or possible dual loyalties.

  14. Rusty Pipes
    May 3, 2013, 5:24 pm

    Joshua Landis is not pro-Assad — far from it. Up until a few weeks ago, the poll question on his site was “Will Bashar Assad be gone by June?” Now the question is “Will Syria maintain territorial integrity post-conflict?” Judging from many of his recent statements, he doesn’t think it will — he’s projecting an Assad retreat to an Alawite coastal region. Yes, he says that American involvement in Syria could end up like our adventure in Iraq, but here’s his rationale:

    The US should not lead the way in Syria. Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have a much greater stake in Syria and should lead the way. Their interest will be sustained. They have the money, advanced weapons, and strong religious motivation to help the rebels and defeat Iranian and Shiite influence in Syria. The US should not be taking sides in the larger regional contest pitting Shiites against Sunnis.

    I am sure the US can help, but to take the lead as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan would be the height of folly. The US should definitely spend much more money to aid Syrians, but others should take the lead in using military force and in helping Syria build a new state and common sense of national identity.

    Putting Landis on a panel about Syria is about as far as the MSM has been willing to veer from the neocon narrative. Over the past two years, they certainly haven’t been willing to bring on someone who has been harshly critical of American saber-rattling toward Syria , like journalists Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb, Charles Glass or Patrick Seale. They’re also not putting Glenn Greenwald or As’ad Abu Khalil on their panels — even when they think that it is necessary to have someone “balance” the proposals from an Israel Lobby thinktank, like WINEP.

    Yesterday morning, David Green introduced the segment about Syria by saying that Americans are not paying close attention to Syria. Considering NPR’s role in banging the drums for intervention in Syria with its daily coverage of that country to the neglect of other developments in the Middle East (like Palestine and Bahrain), it is more that the coverage of Syria has become background noise. The American public has heard these drums before and many of us remember where they led us.

    I take Block’s mention of Landis’ Alawite connections as less an accusation of dual loyalty than as setting Landis up as a foil for the guest from WINEP.

    I do see some hopeful signs that the MSM narrative about Syria might be getting more challenges (especially from liberals who stick closely to the neocon-led angle and don’t touch the rest of the Israel Lobby) in the past week from Matthews, Maddow and Stewart.

  15. ToivoS
    May 3, 2013, 6:17 pm

    Two people have already pointed out Landis actually supported the beginning of the Syrian uprising before the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists turned it into a civil war. And to some extent he still backs them.

    However, he is deviating from the neocon party line by arguing for the US not to become militarily involved so they will try to smear him for having dual loyalties. This coming from a WINEP clown is too much. With them we are not even talking about dual loyalty, their only loyalty is to the state of Israel, pure unadulterated agents for a foreign state.

  16. traintosiberia
    May 3, 2013, 10:19 pm

    This is deeply disconcerting. It is a slippery slope to adopting nazi like attitude by the media What essentially they are saying is that anytime anybody does not follow the script written by the Zionist or their co brethren in secular clothing in relation to ME has to be first evaluated by ethnic and religious background and discarded or respected accordingly .
    This is flabbergasting from every angle this is viewed andI hopeLandis should sue NPR for bias and slander. This is from an environment where remote but fact based negative reference to any pro Israeli or Anti American activities by any person or group or government functionary or media or cultural icon with Jewish background is castigated ,berated,denounced and portrayed as reemergence of dark Antisemitism of Europe of the past 1000 years . This is the depth of the moral degeneration and clearly out of fear that is stalking these folks. it is shame that these moronic minions can get away with this kind of personal attack.

  17. valency
    May 4, 2013, 9:35 am

    I’m find with “dual loyalty” charges if they are applied consistently. As mentioned, when does Jeffrey Goldberg get interrogated about his dual loyalty? When does Alan Derschowitz?

  18. HarryLaw
    May 4, 2013, 3:09 pm

    Just heard Landis arguing for a buffer zone along the Golan Heights to protect Israel from Jihadists, yes you heard that right a buffer zone to protect their stolen property, also speculating that the Syrian Opposition could do a deal with the Israelis, to help oust Assad, now that would be a hard sell. I think Landis is barmy.

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