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American Jewish leader calls Iranians manipulative ‘bazaaris’

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Malcolm Hoenlein of Conference of Presidents, seated amid Israeli Knesset at Auschwitz, photo by Shmuley Boteach

Malcolm Hoenlein of Conference of Presidents, seated amid Israeli Knesset at Auschwitz, photo by Shmuley Boteach

From Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev, who interviewed Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations:

When Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Zarif was his country’s envoy to the United Nations, he invited Malcolm Hoenlein to have dinner at his New York home. “I keep kosher, so I didn’t eat,” Hoenlein recalls, “but we had plenty to talk about.”

“He’s a charming guy,” Hoenlein says, “I don’t dispute it. He’s intelligent and clever. Iranian President Hassan Rohani is also clever.” He pauses for a few seconds before delivering his punch line: “But we forget: These guys have been ‘bazaaris’ [bazaar merchants] for 2,000 years, while we come in as novices. They can run circles around us. They know how to negotiate and how to manipulate every situation.”

Heard any good stories about shifty-eyed Jews lately?

Hoenlein’s organization represents Americans for Peace Now, and 51 other constituent groups. I wonder whether APN endorses Hoenlein’s view of Iranians as bazaaris– and his support for Senate sanctions legislation that would delegate an American decision about war in the Middle East to Israel? Imagine if any leader associated with APN made stereotypical racial comments about blacks, or Jews.

Hoenlein has been upset by challenges to the sanctions suggesting that its supporters are war-mongerers. And he is afraid of any daylight showing between the Obama administration and the Israel lobby. To Shalev:

“We support [the sanctions]. But we don’t want to be pitted against the administration and we are not on a collision course.”

But the news is that the sanctions legislation has lost. Obama destroyed the opposition to the deal, for now, in his State of the Union speech by warning of the “risks of war” in such action and stating: “For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”

Three Democratic supporters of the sanctions in the Senate have now abandoned the bill, one of them Kirsten Gillibrand. MJ Rosenberg says Obama crushed the opposition by implicitly suggesting that Israel lobbyists might have dual loyalty:

Sen. Menendez scurried for the elevators the second the speech ended, dodging reporters, and muttering that “the president has the right” to defend the national interest. So he does. Schumer had nothing to say. He really has no interest in the issue, he’s just dialing for dollars…

In 1983 or thereabouts, during my four year stint at AIPAC, I asked Tom Dine, its executive director, if a president of the United States could ever defeat the lobby, even in a case where US national security interests, and lives, were clearly at stake.

Dine responded that AIPAC would win on matters not directly related to U.S. national security but not on an issue that was.

He elaborated: We can never defeat a president who reaches over the heads of AIPAC and Congress and invokes his prerogatives as president of the United States or, even more, the national interest.

The logic behind Dine’s thinking was simply that American Jews would never allow themselves to be perceived as putting Israel’s interests over America’s.

And Paul Blumenthal reports that several pro-Israel PACs went all-in on the Iran legislation, and lost:

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has received the lion’s share of attention for its support of and potential failure to pass a new Iran sanctions bill in the face of fierce presidential opposition. But the pre-eminent pro-Israel lobby group in the U.S. has not been alone in this fight. It has been joined by a network of lesser known pro-Israel PACs equipped with one persuasive tool that AIPAC lacks: campaign contributions.

Representing communities of Jewish Americans from Long Island to Florida, from northern New Jersey to Tucson, Ariz., and the San Francisco Bay Area, these PACs have pumped more than $5.4 million into federal campaigns while hosting dozens of fundraisers and other events for members of Congress since 2011. Usually they receive little coverage, but as Chuck Gannon, president of the pro-Israel Desert Caucus PAC, told the Arizona Jewish Post, “It’s not a secret among politicians.”

And these pro-Israel PACs have tended to be as determined as AIPAC in their call for tougher sanctions against Iran.

Blumenthal says that NJ Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker raised a lot of money from NORPAC, whose president Ben Choake calls the Iran deal “Munich.”

NORPAC, which is located in northern New Jersey, is the single largest donor among the pro-sanctions groups based on its direct campaign contributions and its members’ so-called conduit contributions through the PAC.

Howard Dean has come out against Obama on the deal. Amazing. Still waiting for Hillary Clinton to speak up. At the Guardian, Stephen Kinzer says she’s quiet because of money:

[She] would risk outraging pro-Netanyahu groups and individuals who have been among Clinton’s key supporters since her days as a Senator from New York. Having spent years painstakingly laying the ground for a presidential campaign, she does not want to risk a misstep that would alienate major campaign contributors.

Clinton’s choice is clear. If she opposes détente with Iran, she will look like a warmonger who prefers confrontation to diplomacy. If she supports it, she will alienate a vital part of the base she is relying on to finance her presidential campaign. With this in mind, she has chosen to remain silent on the central foreign policy issue of the age. It is a classic act of political cowardice – the kind that often leads to victory at the polls.

So an American Democratic leader sides with a rightwing prime minister.

About Philip Weiss

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

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114 Responses

  1. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    January 31, 2014, 12:22 pm

    I remember a few years ago a senior British politician – can’t remember who exactly – openly said in TV interviews that negotiating with Iranians was so infuriating because Iranians were devious and slippery, or words to that effect. Can you imagine if he’d said something similar about negotiating with Israelis? At the very least, he’d be forced to make a grovelling apology and visit Yad Vashem to do penance. More likely, he’d be fired and his political career would be over.

    • Krauss
      January 31, 2014, 4:34 pm

      Well, the first part of your comment, doesn’t that kind of validate Hoenlein’s statement?
      And as for the second, well, yes.

      I think it is less about Iranians and more about the Middle-East more broadly and here is where Hoenlein erred. The political climate – or lack thereof in the Middle-East is so radically different than the more stable/democratic climate that most Western countries have. Also, remember that Hoenlein is an American, he grew up in ‘Murica(not saying that is where his heart is). So he has that frame of reference. Israeli intelligence officials are probably less gullible about the Iranians, but they are fooling themselves if they think that these negotiations are happening only because of PR or “tricks”. The world needs Iranian oil. Sanctions have produced no stop in nuclear enrichment, there are now 19,000 centrifuges up from just a few hundred in 2006. The status quo is unsustainable if you actually want to stop them getting a nuclear bomb. It’s either diplomacy or war at this point.

      Sanctions have run their course and they’ve failed. Those who advocate more sanctions say that the fact that the Iranians are even at the table is the reason why sanctions succeeded, but these people move the goalposts. The original argument was that sanctions in themselves would be enough hinder the growing amount of centrifuges. It didn’t happen.

      • ahmed
        February 1, 2014, 12:37 am

        I don’t think the first part validates Hoenlein’s argument, it’s just another example of Orientalism/bigotry.
        It reminds me of this classic piece at the satirical website Tiny Revolution. It’s called “Help, We’re Surrounded By Sneaky Foreigners!”
        http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/003692.html
        His jumping off point is this quote: “RICHARD HELMS: We discovered there were some Eastern Europeans who could defeat the polygraph at any time. Americans are not very good at it, because we are raised to tell the truth and when we lie it is easy to tell are lying.”

      • Krauss
        February 1, 2014, 4:23 pm

        Whether Iranians are better at deceiving people than Westerners is hard, if not impossible, to measure. But you reading comprehension could use a useful boost, since what I wrote wasn’t that Meridus’ first part of his comment proved beyond doubt that Hoenlein was right, but merely that it reinforced/validated Hoenlein’s argumentative point, i.e. Iranians are slippery and hard to deal with in negotiations. And that was Hoenlein’s point which Meridus tried to rebut, but ended up providing another source saying the exact same thing.

        This doesn’t follow that they are slippery/deceiving by nature just in these settings, by the circumstances. And whether that is true or not, Ahmed, neither you nor I can judge because neither of us have been in those settings or had extensive conversations with people who have been. So the question remains open to the fact that Hoenlein may be right. (Although I wouldn’t use his kind of language, which crossed the line).

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        February 2, 2014, 7:07 am

        I think you are completely misunderstanding my post, Krauss.

        My point isn’t that the British politician whose words I paraphrased is ‘right’ in saying Iranians are ‘slippery’. The idea that ‘Orientals’ are inherently duplicitous and sly, just like the idea that Jews are cliquish and money-grubbing, are racist slurs which go back centuries. This in no way implies that there is any truth to them.

        My point is that open bigotry towards Iranians is widely accepted in places like Britain or the US, in a way it would never be were Jews or Israelis the object of said bigotry. Like I mentioned above, if a British politician were to say that it’s impossible to negotiate with Israelis because their culture encourages them to be shifty and double-dealing, there would be a major scandal, and the politician concerned would either have to resign or do obeisance to his local Israel lobby – possibly both. But with Iranians, or indeed Muslims in general, such slurs are considered quite alright.

  2. just
    January 31, 2014, 12:23 pm

    I’m grateful then.

    Grateful that neither Dean nor Clinton became President.

    As for Hoenlein– he’s a racist. No real surprise there.

  3. Justpassingby
    January 31, 2014, 12:31 pm

    Ugly racist! Nothing more to say.

    • just
      January 31, 2014, 12:51 pm

      Yep. And an ungrateful and rude one at that…he was saying this after being INVITED to Zarif’s HOME.

      I wonder how many Iranians, Palestinians, Afghans or Iraqis he’s invited to his home…

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 3:21 pm

        That reminds me of Amos Oz’s autobiography. In 1947 he was invited with his dad to the home of a wealthy Palestinian in one of the newer Jerusalem suburbs that are now in West Quds. The family were ethnically cleansed the following year. The father said they deserved it.
        Oz’s mother took her own life not long after. She must have been a Mensch.

        And Middle Eastern people are known for their hospitality. Except for the blow ins who are known for their thuggery.

      • yonah fredman
        January 31, 2014, 3:43 pm

        seafoid knows the thought processes of Oz’s mother before her suicide. He sees all and knows all. If Oz read the comments section I would accuse seafoid of callousness. But Oz does not. Seafoid is merely stupid, not callous.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 4:11 pm

        I read the book. did you? He said she took the susenki forest with her to Palestine . She couldn’t just “get over” the wars and all the gore she had seen . She was different to his father.

        “I have the feeling that my mother wanted me to grow up to express the things that she could not express” P 258 english version

        His father was a womanizer.

        Oz would be delighted someone understood his mother FFS.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 4:30 pm

        Come on yonah. Come up with something else to diss me.

      • yonah fredman
        January 31, 2014, 4:34 pm

        seafoid- If you really think Oz would FFS think that it was great that somebody FFS understood his mother then FFS you are too thick to insult.

      • K Renner
        February 1, 2014, 3:17 pm

        Lol somehow it’s ‘callous’ to surmise that his mother had some sense of morality or a conscience and so killed herself over not being able to live with what was done to Palestinians in the creation of the Israeli state.

        What would you rather think? She killed herself because she “saw some of those awful Arabs in a newspaper”?

      • marc b.
        January 31, 2014, 4:22 pm

        you beat me to it, seafoid. it’s not as if Oz hasn’t written and spoken of his mother and his family’s experiences extensively, so one need not be a mind reader to have gained some insight into her death. I haven’t read the book myself, just some reviews and transcripts of interviews with Oz. i’ll see if it’s on the library shelf tomorrow. nothing like a good read to sharpen your insight into the thought processes of others.

      • adele
        January 31, 2014, 4:23 pm

        Seafoid,
        one should never ever speculate or make a rather casual and insensitive assumption of what causes someone to take their own life. The effects on a family are devastating, especially on a child’s emotional well-being and development. Suicides happen in every culture, every society, under all sorts of socio-economic situations. From my understanding, Amoz Oz’ mother suffered from depression and she took her own life when he was in his early teens. This event could have happened anywhere, anytime, and I don’t necessarily think it is for any of us to make any correlations. All any of us can wish for is that she found peace.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2014, 5:59 pm

        Adele
        It is pretty clear from the book that his mother would never have voted for Sharon. She had a big influence on him. His father was an asshole.

  4. pabelmont
    January 31, 2014, 12:32 pm

    P#1: “Dine responded that AIPAC would win on matters not directly related to U.S. national security but not on an issue that was.”

    P#2: “We can never defeat a president who reaches over the heads of AIPAC and Congress and invokes his prerogatives as president of the United States or, even more, the national interest.”

    These two paragraphs are at odds.

    P#1 says that USA’s “national security” trumps Israel’s.

    P#2 says that a [widely perceived] American national interest [even if not a security interest] would trump an AIPAC (or its cut-off, Congress’s) attempt to have its way.

    Interesting to hear AIPAC saying, through Dine, that it WOULD (or HAD once) tried to have its way in a matter that was against the USA’s national interest. Funny way to say it!

    If I were the speaker, I’d have said that Jews are Americans and their voices should be heard in the marketplace of ideas. And, closer to the bone, that Jewish millionaires are as American as non-Jewish millionaires and therefore their voices should be heard when computing the millionaires’ version of the national interest, the one that matters..

  5. doug
    January 31, 2014, 12:35 pm

    I recall a conversation with a colleague, a former IDF who had moved to the US, advising me similarly to be very careful when our business was looking into working with another company that was owned by a fellow with Palestinian ancestry.

    It struck me as particularly odd because the guy was otherwise quite liberal. He would steer me away from “Commentary” to “Tikkun.

    • seafoid
      January 31, 2014, 2:52 pm

      I remember an English person writing about sharing a rented apartment in London with an Israeli. All letters addressed “to the occupier” were given to the bot.

  6. a blah chick
    January 31, 2014, 12:37 pm

    “They know how to negotiate and how to manipulate every situation.”

    And what, may I ask, is wrong being being a good negotiator and being able to get what you want without shooting people in the head?

    I have heard that Iran hasn’t invaded a neighbor in 200 hundred years, how many other countries in that region can say that?

    • ritzl
      January 31, 2014, 12:58 pm

      @abc- “And what, may I ask, is wrong [with] being a good negotiator and being able to get what you want without shooting people in the head?

      F’n words to live by. Well asked.

    • JennieS
      January 31, 2014, 5:13 pm

      “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” – Winston Churchill

    • Philip Munger
      January 31, 2014, 6:41 pm

      I have heard that Iran hasn’t invaded a neighbor in 200 hundred years, how many other countries in that region can say that?

      Technically speaking, that is incorrect. Although Iraq brazenly invaded Iran on September 23rd, 1980 (having launched several surprise aerial attacks against Iran the day before), after a series of Iraqi defeats in 1981 and early 1982, that were terribly costly to both sides, Iran counter-attacked, beginning on March 22, 1982. Throughout the spring and summer, the Iranians took back most of their territory the Iraqis had seized.

      In mid-July, 1982, the Iranians launched Operation Ramadan. Around July 16th they began probing Iraqi border defenses east of Basra. The Iranians lost the battle, but remained along the border between the two countries for the remainder of the war. Incursions across it into Iraq were frequent, but not deep. Also, in the northwest, the Iranians occupied two Iraqi enclaves to the north and south of As Sulaymaniyah. After the cease fire, the Iranians withdrew. Their incursions into Iraq were intended to have positive strategic effects, but they never claimed any Iraqi territory as their own.

      • Giles
        February 1, 2014, 8:47 am

        You do understand there is a difference between Iran invading a country and defending itself after invaded by Iraq — during which war it enters Iraq? Please tell me that you do.

      • just
        February 1, 2014, 9:35 am

        I think that he does, Giles. I would like to hear more.

        I think that Iran has been extremely patient with the US/West/ Israel, while we have used crippling sanctions to cause injury and death, provided others with WMDs to murder Iranians, and a free pass to assassinate Iranian scientists, etc.

      • talknic
        February 1, 2014, 10:08 am

        @ Philip Munger

        Once war has been initiated it is quite legal for bothy parties to launch cross border counter offensives on the opponents military command, infrastructure supplying the military, military personnel and equipment and to take the opponent’s territory for military advantage.

        At wars end territory taken for military advantage must be either withdrawn from OR by agreement of the legitimate population of the territory or their representatives, it can be legally annexed to the victor.

      • Philip Munger
        February 1, 2014, 1:37 pm

        I’m not arguing against the notion that Iran has not initiated an expansionist military campaign on its own in a long, long time. But I used to use the same argument as a blah chick until I realized that the 1982 counter-offensives made the argument technically incorrect. This map shows the Iraqi territory they temporarily occupied (marked in light brown):

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Karte_Frontverläufe_im_ersten_Golfkrieg.jpg

  7. seafoid
    January 31, 2014, 12:39 pm

    Hoenlein is a moron.

    Where was Israel when Rumi was writing, BTW?

  8. ritzl
    January 31, 2014, 12:51 pm

    Kinda surprised at Paul Blumenthal’s seeming epiphany. That’s how AIPAC works. It’s not a Political Action Committee (PAC). It cannot donate funds directly. It sets the agenda, then suggests when and where the NORPACs in its orbit send their funds. It’s always been that way.

    Maybe more deflection than epiphany?

    Bazzaris? When you stoop to that kind of attempted slurring, you’ve lost the argument, if you were actually meaningfully engaged in one to begin with. Sign of the changing times.

  9. seafoid
    January 31, 2014, 1:00 pm

    Calling persians bazzaris would be antisemitic in a parallel universe. Interesting that Hoenlein cites 2000 years of trouble. Was there much horsetrading in carpets between Iran and Poland? Did the iranians ever stay for gefilte fish? I guess it would have been.more than a 24hr roadtrip. Did every shtetl have a hilton?

    • yonah fredman
      January 31, 2014, 1:08 pm

      Hoenlein is stupid. But the headline is false, it says manipulated us, whereas Hoenlein says nothing about manipulating us for 2000 years. He says 2000 years of practice, so that now they can manipulate us. And of course seafoid takes the MW headlines at their word, which is pretty stupid in this case.

      • Philip Weiss
        January 31, 2014, 1:29 pm

        Thanks Yonah, will have another look

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 1:32 pm

        How does hoenlein know about 2000 years of persia? Did the jews hate zoroastrianism or shiism? Surely bazzariism is a speciality of hoenlein’s side. Is AIPAC not thus?

      • Citizen
        January 31, 2014, 4:46 pm

        Baazar merchants with charm, wit, and very manipulative, shady snakes, eh? I guess he didn’t want to characterize them as having invented chess, eh?

    • Ellen
      January 31, 2014, 1:46 pm

      Isn’t the largest Jewish community in the Middle East (outside of Israel ) in Iran of Iranians who are also Jewish?

      • The JillyBeans
        January 31, 2014, 5:53 pm

        Ironically the Iranian Jews have representation in the Iranian parliament. Like the Arabs in the Israeli parliament. The Israeli’s making comments against Iran, is basically pot calling kettle black. Both have religious populations they like to “keep in check.”

  10. DICKERSON3870
    January 31, 2014, 1:25 pm

    RE: “And Paul Blumenthal reports that several pro-Israel PACs went all-in on the Iran legislation, and lost . . .” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “Pro-Israel PACs Went All In For Senators Supporting Iran Sanctions, But They’re Still Losing”, by Paul Blumenthal, huffingtonpost.com, 1/30/14
    LINK – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/iran-sanctions-pacs_n_4695417.html

  11. MHughes976
    January 31, 2014, 1:35 pm

    Well, it’s a combination of myths. The manipulative, charming easterner from an old civilisation, Iran, meets someone from a western civilisation, America, that is young, innocent, unversed in these old urban bazaari ways, ie rather pastoral. So if ‘us’ = ‘us Americans’ strictly, the manipulation has not been going on that long. But this is myth, not science, and the meaning ‘us of comparatively innocent ways’ is also there and in that respect the manipulation has been, allegedly, going on for ever.
    abc rightly asks what’s wrong with being a good negotiator. This is a quality praised in some of the scriptures, notably Proverbs. And Abraham, the god-fearing Iraqi immigrant, negotiates effectively with God himself in the interest of righteous Palestinians, should any be found. Rather more than 2000 years ago there was quite a lot in common between Jewish and Iranian civilisation and Ezra and Nehemiah were good negotiators with the Iranian King, who was quite a generous, open sort of person.

    • seafoid
      January 31, 2014, 2:55 pm

      Bazzaris would never have invaded iraq. Fact. Bazaaris prefer to wait until the dumb yanks led by know nothing zionists fuck everything up. Then they get involved. Bazaaris are still in business. The PNAC carpet shop is deserted.

      • gamal
        February 1, 2014, 4:37 am

        “Bazaaris are still in business.” I think an aspect that is often overlooked is that of course one of the hoped for results of sanctions on any given nation is to cause the business class to, either pressure the regime to accede to imperial demands or split with it as Sami Ramadani says of Syria in ‘Between Repression and Imperialism’, obviously Mr. Hoenlein is disappointed in them, he said he didnt eat but did he perhaps drink the Bazaari Kool-Aide

        “The powerful, mostly Sunni, merchant classes of Syria, particularly in Damascus and Aleppo, have close links with the regime. Indeed, the US-led economic sanctions are partly directed at this merchant class to force it to shift its stance. Sections of the middle and upper middle classes also tacitly support the regime. Syria’s religious minorities, including Christians who form 10% of the population, are fearful of the Moslem Brotherhood’s social and cultural agenda for Syria. They too would rather have the secular regime than a state dominated by a Saud-Qatari backed Brotherhood. Importantly, the Kurdish minority are also fearful of the influence of Turkey on the Muslim Brotherhood and the fact that the Syrian Free Army is headquartered in Turkey, which has a horrific record of killing over 20,000 Kurdish people in Turkey. Millions of women also fear the social programme of the Brotherhood.

        In the context of the current conflict, the poor, the unemployed and students who were supportive of the initial, largely spontaneous protest movement are now much more reticent, partly due to regime repression but primarily because of their opposition to the NATO-Saudi-Qatari meddling and the militarisation of the sections of the opposition, particularly the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Free Syrian Army which are dominated by the Brotherhood.”
        http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/between_imperialism_and_repression

      • seafoid
        February 2, 2014, 5:12 am

        The bazaaris were the ones who swung Khomeini’s revolution as well.
        Money is money.

  12. The JillyBeans
    January 31, 2014, 1:37 pm

    I have to chuckle. As someone who has friends who are jewish (of varying EU backgrounds), iranian jew and iranian muslim it is often very amusing to hear one complain about the other. It is very much like someone hearing people of various christian sects make comments about the others, not to mention their assertion catholicism is not christianity.

    People. So amusing.

  13. Ellen
    January 31, 2014, 1:44 pm

    Normalization of relations with Iran is happening. That train has left the station. Israel missed getting on board.

    The world is much bigger than the Zio sandbox.

    Israel can either keep narcissistically crying that everyone hates them or become a real grown up country and catch the train. Their survival depends on it.

  14. ThorsteinVeblen2012
    January 31, 2014, 1:50 pm

    Makes me recall reading Theodore White’s autobiography where he talks about the first time he at pork at a function where it would have been awkward to turn down his guest’s offering. He then at pork the rest of his life.

    Turning down a person’s offering of food probably set a icy tone for the conversation. He probably didn’t have to call him a “bazaar” to his face and I’m sure his rejection of his food was only one of his signals to convey his contempt.

    What is more important, keeping kosher or world peace?

    I think we have Mr. Hoenlein’s answer.

    • piotr
      January 31, 2014, 3:29 pm

      I think that in Asia it is understandable that various creeds have their own dietary restrictions. I wonder if Zarif had some packaged kashrut snacks and drinks.

      I understand that “bazaar” handles both retail, wholesale and what we call merchant banking, so “bazaari” is more-or-less a capitalist. If you are not a Communist (and I have seen no indications that Hoenlein is one), it should not be an insult. Bazaaris can flood your country with pistachios but should be less prone to the use of nukes. It is actually possible that the true message of the story is that negotiations with Iran deserve careful consideration.

      • Citizen
        January 31, 2014, 4:57 pm

        @ piotr
        Maybe the true message of the story is also that the Iranians better pay close attention to the AIPACked US negotiations? I’m sure the Iranian team has studied US negotiations acting as “honest broker” in all those I-P negotiations for peace/piece.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 31, 2014, 5:17 pm

        “If you are not a Communist (and I have seen no indications that Hoenlein is one), it should not be an insult.”

        It was intended as an insult. One cannot reasonably argue against that.

    • Kris
      January 31, 2014, 3:37 pm

      It struck me as extremely rude to come to someone’s house and then refuse the food, but I was thinking that this might be a custom on the east (rude) coast, since Hoenlein was obviously not ashamed of his behavior. Maybe insulting your host is also a “kosher” behavior on the east coast?

      My background is Texas and the west coast, where such behavior would mark Hoenlein as a jerk.

      • yonah fredman
        January 31, 2014, 4:05 pm

        I am “sure” that Hoenlein informed his host that he kept kosher at the git go, on the phone when there was an invite. Muslims are aware of people and their halal meat problems and therefore Jewish kashrut problems would not strike them as blatantly as it would a Texas or a west coast host. Kosher people are quite often invited to people’s homes and like vegetarians or people with allergies they inform their hosts about their eating habits quite quickly to avoid any embarrassment. Maybe in Texas and the West Coast there are no vegetarians or people with food allergies, no people who eat only halal meat or only kosher.

        It’s a wide world with many different types of people and usually people can handle these differences without calling people jerks.

      • adele
        January 31, 2014, 6:23 pm

        Yonah,
        very eloquently explained. Hats off to you.

      • Sumud
        January 31, 2014, 8:11 pm

        It’s a wide world with many different types of people and usually people can handle these differences without calling people jerks.

        You’re undercutting your own point aren’t you? I’d be very surprised if Zarif didn’t have kosher food available for Hoenlein. If that was the case and Hoenlein still refused might that have been done to deliberately insult his host?

        It strikes me as very rude to accept a dinner invitation then refuse to eat – behaviour of a jerk.

      • Ellen
        February 1, 2014, 5:16 am

        It is extremely likely that one such as Zarif was well prepared to offer Hoenlein a Kosher meal, especially assuming that Hoenlein was polite and thoughtful enough to first inform Zarif .

        So either Heonlein is telling a stupid story for some reason or he did not have the graciousness to inform his host and instead refused all offers of food.

        Something more than rude, but disgraceful in Middle Eastern and Iranian culture.

      • Shmuel
        February 1, 2014, 7:11 am

        So either Heonlein is telling a stupid story for some reason or he did not have the graciousness to inform his host and instead refused all offers of food.

        Assuming a Modern Orthodox level of observance, nothing could be simpler, so, yes, either Hoenlein was intentionally rude to his host, or wished to appear to be, after the fact.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 31, 2014, 5:15 pm

        “east (rude) coast”

        “My background is Texas and the west coast, where such behavior would mark Hoenlein as a jerk.”

        Yeah, well my background is from the east coast and having someone from Texas make a comment about an entire coast marks them as a jerk.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    January 31, 2014, 1:58 pm

    RE: “Blumenthal says that NJ Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker raised a lot of money from NORPAC, whose president Ben Choake calls the Iran deal ‘Munich’.” ~ Weiss

    FROM THE CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS (opensecrets.org) as of 12/21/13:

    Pro-Israel: Money to Congress (for the 2013-2014 election cycle)
    • All Recipients
    • Top 20 Recipients

    Candidate /// Amount

    Booker, Cory (D-NJ) $245,569
    Durbin, Dick (D-IL) $104,750
    McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $94,837
    Cantor, Eric (R-VA) $87,810
    Graham, Lindsey (R-SC) $80,400
    Schneider, Brad (D-IL) $76,150
    Udall, Mark (D-CO) $75,750
    Begich, Mark (D-AK) $72,266
    Scott, Tim (R-SC) $69,950
    Collins, Susan M (R-ME) $63,660
    Landrieu, Mary L (D-LA) $60,716
    Hoyer, Steny H (D-MD) $58,500
    Hagan, Kay R (D-NC) $55,366
    Roberts, Pat (R-KS) $49,725
    Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH) $47,166
    Franken, Al (D-MN) $43,500
    Engel, Eliot L (D-NY) $43,400
    Royce, Ed (R-CA) $41,550
    Udall, Tom (D-NM) $40,829
    Coons, Chris (D-DE) $36,500

    The numbers on this page are based on contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more.

    All donations took place during the 2013-2014 election cycle and were released by the Federal Election Commission on Monday, December 16, 2013.

    SOURCE – http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/summary.php?ind=Q05&cycle=2014&recipdetail=M&sortorder=U

    P.S. FOR SOME REASON, NOTHING AT ALL SHOWS FOR SEN. MENENDEZ IN THE 2013-2014 ELECTION CYCLE. PERHAPS HE WAS LATE FILING HIS REPORT. SEE THIS CHART FROM BLUMENTHAL’S ARTICLE AT HUFFPO.

  16. Kathleen
    January 31, 2014, 2:22 pm

    “Clinton’s choice is clear. If she opposes détente with Iran, she will look like a warmonger who prefers confrontation to diplomacy. If she supports it, she will alienate a vital part of the base she is relying on to finance her presidential campaign. With this in mind, she has chosen to remain silent on the central foreign policy issue of the age. It is a classic act of political cowardice – the kind that often leads to victory at the polls.”

    The Republican Presidential candidate and the teabaggers would be smart to grab a hold of every comment that then Senator Clinton said about Iran. During the campaign she was on one Sunday program after the next beating the drums of a military confrontation with Iran. Often referring to Iran’s nuclear program as a “nuclear weapons program.” Often tossing out threats towards Iran based on unsubstantiated claims. There is plenty of evidence out there confirming that Hillary Clinton is a warmonger. One of those pieces of evidence is her vote for the 2002 Iraq war resolution. At the exact time that Senator Dick Durbin on the Senate Intelligence Committee voted against the Iraq war resolution. If Rand Paul is the Republican candidate he will repeat these facts over and over again. My belief is that if Clinton gets in Iran will indeed be the next U.S. military target just as former IAEA weapons inspector warned us about close to 12 years ago.

    While Huff Po and other outlets have been putting up front page pieces about the fall back of co sponsors of Senate Bill 1881. Some of these pieces have even held the front space at Huff Po’s for a few hours http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/senate-democrats-iran-vote_n_4688110.html

    But most of us know the Aipac conference is coming up in early March and there will either be a huge focus on rebirthing S.B. 1881 or drafting and creating new warmongering legislation undermining negotiations with Iran that will be lobbied for by thousands of Aipac attendees. Who will be standing out in front of congressional buildings in long lines, well dressed, generally well spoken and ready to push for whatever warmongering legislation that Aipac tells them to lobby for. This effort to undermine negotiations between the U.S. and Iran is not over yet.

    So I am lobbying Code Pink and other groups to put out a call to all who are concerned about this push for more sanctions against Iran to really lay it on this month before the Aipac conference. Tens of thousands (more) of us should continue to apply pressure on our Reps NO NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN. The effort to undermine those negotiations is far from over. Contact your Reps

    • Citizen
      January 31, 2014, 5:11 pm

      @ Kathleen
      Absolutely!

    • dbroncos
      January 31, 2014, 11:30 pm

      @ Kathleen

      Not to forget Hilary’s campaign threat to “obliterate” Iran.

      • Kathleen
        February 1, 2014, 12:01 pm

        She has repeatedly threatened Iran and repeated the neocons unsubstantiated claims about Iran. Yea on the 2002 Iraq war resolution, lots of threats towards Iran. If she gets in the next stop will be Iran.

      • James Canning
        February 1, 2014, 2:12 pm

        Hillary does seem to have a tendency to act as an Aipac stooge.

  17. American
    January 31, 2014, 2:22 pm

    He elaborated: We can never defeat a president who reaches over the heads of AIPAC and Congress and invokes his prerogatives as president of the United States or, even more, the national interest.

    The logic behind Dine’s thinking was simply that American Jews would never allow themselves to be perceived as putting Israel’s interests over America’s”……mjrosenberg>>>>

    Naw, Dine wasnt afraid of Jewish reaction bringing down the Lobby— he was afraid majority not Jewish Americans might go for the Lobby’s throat if they knew what was going on.
    For the Lobby its always been the ….”if Americans knew”……fear.

    ”Appearing on CBS television’s “Face the Nation” in 1973, [Senator William J.] Fullbright declared that the Senate was “subservient to Israeli policies” which were inimical to American interests.’

    Been a long time coming since ’73 but the ‘nightflower’ is no more—

  18. DICKERSON3870
    January 31, 2014, 2:28 pm

    RE: “These guys have been ‘bazaaris’ [bazaar merchants] for 2,000 years, while we come in as novices. They can run circles around us. They know how to negotiate and how to manipulate every situation.” ~ Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

    MY COMMENT: Hoenlein’s racist characterization of Iranians very much reminds me of the time recently when a couple of Republican county chairmen in the great state of South Carolina wrote in a newspaper op-ed: “There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves.”*

    * SEE: 2 South Carolina Republicans Apologize for Reference to Jewshttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/21/us/21carolina.html?_r=0

    • seafoid
      January 31, 2014, 3:00 pm

      The implication is that walmart scorched earth is more civilised than haggling. Jewish orientalism is incoherent. Either you are polish and you diss the middle east or you STFU.

  19. James Canning
    January 31, 2014, 2:42 pm

    Great piece.

  20. James Canning
    January 31, 2014, 2:44 pm

    Surely Zarif is the kind of Iranian foreign minister, that the US benefits from having in the Iranian government.

    Too much of the Israel lobby is unwilling to admit this fact.

  21. Kathleen
    January 31, 2014, 3:01 pm

    The language over at Aipac focused on SB 1881 has changed. I did not copy the previous language but am sure it has changed. Lightened up but still strong effort to undermine negotiations. Do not remember the language stating that there would a one year waiting period. Am I wrong?

    http://www.aipac.org/learn/legislative-agenda/agenda-display?agendaid={E9465F79-9380-4A00-BAA9-18DB524F23C8}

    http://www.jinsa.org/
    http://www.jinsa.org/publications/strategy-prevent-nuclear-iran

    • Citizen
      January 31, 2014, 5:52 pm

      @Kathleen
      I think it was originally 6 months, but I’m too lazy to go back and check right now. The Aipac post also doesn’t mention the bill would delegate US war power to Israel’s whim.

  22. Kathleen
    January 31, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Still pushing for a military confrontation with Iran. Kristol and Makovsky. Makovsky who should be on trial at the Hague for war crimes against the people of Iraq. Well Kristol was seriously complicit too. In huge ways

    The Obama Complex

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/obama-complex_775998.html?page=1

    “That leaves Israel. As a bipartisan group of national security experts convened by the Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs argued in a recent report: “The United States should move immediately to impose new sanctions and consider even tougher actions against Iran if no acceptable final agreement is in place 180 days after the JPA’s formal implementation on January 20. At that time, the United States should do nothing that would impinge upon Israel’s ability to decide what actions it must take  .  .  . and indeed should support Israel if it takes military action
    The American public understands that Israel may have to act, since Obama won’t. And polls show the public would want America to support such an Israeli action if it’s necessary to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons breakout capability. When it comes to complexity, the public sides not with Barack Obama but with Ronald Reagan: “They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”

    Obama is no Reagan. If he were, we might not have to use force, because a credible threat of military action often means you don’t have to use it. But no serious person now believes President Obama will act. And that’s why Prime Minister Netanyahu may well have to.”

  23. Shmuel
    January 31, 2014, 3:52 pm

    These guys have been ‘bazaaris’ [bazaar merchants] for 2,000 years, while we come in as novices. They can run circles around us. They know how to negotiate and how to manipulate every situation.”

    Slur aside, I have 2 questions:

    1. Assuming the “us” Mr. Hoenlein is referring to is the US, is he really suggesting that the United States is a novice at the art of diplomacy?

    2. Is Mr. Hoenlein really suggesting that tougher sanctions and even military attack are the preferred courses of action, because the Iranians happen to be better negotiators?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 31, 2014, 4:28 pm

      Assuming the “us” Mr. Hoenlein is referring to is the US

      shmuel, was mr. hoenlein there representing the US? and if so in what capacity. as head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, by ‘us’ i assumed he was referencing american jewish organizations.

      more from hoenlein

      “We didn’t initiate the new legislation,” Hoenlein says emphatically, though some dispute that narrative. “This is coming from the members of the Senate

      when he says ‘we’ and ‘us’, i assume he’s talking about who he represents. hence my response down thread ” i never realized jewish merchants were ‘novices’”

      • Shmuel
        January 31, 2014, 6:39 pm

        as head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, by ‘us’ i assumed he was referencing american jewish organizations.

        That thought crossed my mind, but why would the Conference of Presidents be negotiating with the Iranians in the first place, and why would Hoenlein (ass though he his) think that he and his associates would be fit to go up against professional diplomats and negotiators of any nationality or ethnic stereotype?

        And if (speaking to an Israeli correspondent) he meant Jews in general and Israelis in particular, I wasn’t aware that negotiations between Israel and Iran were on the cards, which would mean that those “legendary” Persian bargaining skills would simply go to waste.

        Maybe he meant that the Iranians are able to manipulate the US (and the Europeans) in ways that we (Jews/Israelis) never could — babes in the woods that we are (parallel stereotypes notwithstanding).

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2014, 10:35 pm

        hmm, good points. and i did wonder why he was invited to dinner anyway. it wasn’t the food.

    • marc b.
      January 31, 2014, 5:32 pm

      two perfectly related questions, shmuel.

      1. my impression is that US representatives are not particularly skillful negotiators, not because the US is a novice, but because
      2. the art of negotiation is not an appreciated or cultivated skill for an unrivaled military power.

      so, yes, if ‘we’ start feeling like ‘we’ are out of our element, we can always launch a missile or two to make a point, while hoenlein keeps his hands firmly on his pockets to make sure the bazaaris haven’t stolen his lunch money. (similarly, why innovate when you can just spy on your competitors with a little help from the NSA?)

      this reminds me of a WSJ article on the Korean wild west bazaar of freelance tutors competing for schoolchildren clients, analogous to the ‘big dumb sex’ mindset that has become the ideological fashion in the US:

      It is about as close to a pure meritocracy as it can be, and just as ruthless. In hagwons, teachers are free agents. They don’t need to be certified. They don’t have benefits or even a guaranteed base salary; their pay is based on their performance, and most of them work long hours and earn less than public school teachers.

      how’s that for a non sequitur? it seems to me that the system as described, the cause of so many premature ejaculations among Rand acolytes, will always reward the most ‘ruthless’ operator, no matter the context, and yet ruthlessness (the willingness to drop bombs on people’s heads, for example) might not be a particularly valuable trait for a tutor, or a nurse, or even an indicator of that person’s underlying teaching/nursing skills. so here, everything is reduced to the war metaphor, the ‘negotiations must be won’, the ‘US negotiating team was outgunned’, and on and on. there isn’t even of crumb of recognition that there might be a shared purpose in avoiding an open war, that Iran might willingly concede points or retreat from positions, as it has apparently done, in the interest of, say, preempting the Israeli plans to drop bombs onto Iranian stores of radioactive materials.

      • Shmuel
        January 31, 2014, 6:42 pm

        You’re right, marc. Negotiating is unmanly, best left to those crafty Middle Easterners … and the French of course.
        (Joke).

      • marc b.
        January 31, 2014, 7:48 pm

        Negotiating is unmanly

        That’s why I favor negotiations. Testosterone levels ain’t what they used to be.

  24. adele
    January 31, 2014, 4:12 pm

    Does Hoenlein care to explain how the Iranian Bazaaris are going to negotiate themselves out of this?

    Military Bases Surrounding Iran in the Persian Gulf

  25. Annie Robbins
    January 31, 2014, 4:24 pm

    gee, i never realized jewish merchants were ‘novices’. and what about money lenders.

    this is a very entertaining article phil. very. why i love mondoweiss.

    • yonah fredman
      January 31, 2014, 4:38 pm

      merchants, moneylenders, this is why I think annie robbins is a negative to this web site.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2014, 4:44 pm

        i didn’t bring up merchants, it’s the topic/highlight of the article. and my point about money lenders, was that if experience denoted manipulation (his inference, not mine) then a persons experience or expertise would work against someone, as opposed to buttressing their qualifications.

        i do not bring that up because i agree with him. rather my point yonah, was that his ‘theory’ applied to his own ethnic group would turn around to bite him. and it’s racist, of course. no different that phil saying Heard any good stories about shifty-eyed Jews lately?

        but if all you’ve got is a hammer everything looks like a nail eh?

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 4:47 pm

        Carry on Annie. Yonah has run out of hasbara.
        The factory in the Ma’aleh Adumim Industrial Zone ran behind on its electricity payments, apparently and all they had left was ad hom.

      • yonah fredman
        January 31, 2014, 4:49 pm

        and always ready to reply bigot tit for tat. that’s why we love you, annie. because whenever there is a line where anti semitism meets anti zionism you’re there to play hopskotch.

      • just
        January 31, 2014, 5:14 pm

        wtf?

        My guess is that you are not accustomed to the truth as evidenced by your comments which are awash in hasbara and screed.

        (and, I’m being polite)

      • Bumblebye
        January 31, 2014, 5:39 pm

        And you, yonah, love to kick out with your hob-nailed hasbara boots, throw around the anti-semitism club – but SCREEECH when a simple soda-bubble pops against your own oh so tender, terribly thin skin!

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2014, 10:48 pm

        always ready to reply bigot tit for tat.

        yeah, what he said was bigoted obviously. and i can throw it back at him which was clearly my intention. you construing i was adopting his ptv because i doubled down on him just makes you seem vindictive.

        and zionism (or anti zionism) wasn’t even mentioned! but i do love a good game of hopscotch. chinese jumprope too. i’m coordinated if you know what i mean.

      • yonah fredman
        February 1, 2014, 12:32 am

        annie- you have already informed us that you wouldn’t mind if MW only preached to the choir and I assume that your “jokes” were meant for the choir. But in fact there are nonchoir members listening in. Phil’s “shifty eyed Jews” was sufficient to make the point. Your point was not necessary. But you couldn’t resist. And you feel no need to resist. The mark of a preacher to the choir. They laugh at all of your jokes and you think you belong on Johnny Carson.

      • just
        January 31, 2014, 4:50 pm

        yonah hon’, you’re often one of many “negative”(s) on this web site. Have you been asked to leave?

        Annie is very much a positive, and is a valued contributor and editor here. She’s also a mother, an artist, and a humanitarian/human rights activist.

        What do you do for a living? What are your talents?

      • Sumud
        January 31, 2014, 8:22 pm

        Your intention was clear to me Annie. Yonah either doesn’t get irony or chose to misinterpret.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 8:34 pm

        Yonah is way out of his depth post Sodastream.
        Nobody buys the you hate Jews if you love justice crap any more.
        And now he’s just petty and vindictive.

        He had a go at me for something I said about Amos Oz’s autobiog- he didn’t even read the book FFS.

        The hasbara is useless against real information.

        It is sad to think of all the Jewish energy that has been wasted defending the indefensible for the last 60+ years.

        And you know what? The end doesn’t justify the means.

      • Sumud
        February 1, 2014, 8:06 am

        because whenever there is a line where anti semitism meets anti zionism you’re there to play hopskotch.

        Your point was not necessary. But you couldn’t resist. And you feel no need to resist. The mark of a preacher to the choir. They laugh at all of your jokes and you think you belong on Johnny Carson.

        Make up your mind yonah ~ is Annie is a jew-hating bitch or the class clown? Seems you’re just trying to provoke a reaction at this point.

  26. yonah fredman
    January 31, 2014, 4:25 pm

    Fareed Zakaria is warning of the nature of the agreement that the US might sign with Iran. (Warning that it will not satisfy those who want Iran to pull back from their advances.) Leaving the negotiating talents of the US and Iran aside, it is worthwhile to get an idea what the agreement will look like. An agreement that will be opposed by many people who have reasonable concerns. An agreement that will be supported by an American public that is tired of war and not interested in details. An agreement that is probably worse than an agreement that the US could have reached with Iran in 2002, if the US had focused on such an agreement rather than chosen to go to war on Iraq. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fareed-zakaria-on-iran-compromise-needed/2014/01/30/361e788a-89f3-11e3-916e-e01534b1e132_story.html

    • seafoid
      January 31, 2014, 4:29 pm

      I have a Zakaria piece in my diary from 2002. He was writing about how Iraq would change the game in the Sharq al Awsat. And it did, but not as he imagined.

    • Shingo
      February 1, 2014, 7:14 am

      An agreement that will be opposed by many people who have reasonable concerns.

      How many and what would make their concerns reasonable when they are based on lies anyway?

      An agreement that will be supported by an American public that is tired of war and not interested in details.

      Which is an improvement over an American public that was in favor of of war and not interested in details back in 2003.

  27. just
    January 31, 2014, 4:37 pm

    ““But we forget: These guys have been ‘bazaaris’ [bazaar merchants] for 2,000 years, while we come in as novices.”

    aha! I’ve been bothered by his statement for many reasons, and it’s finally dawned on me:

    He’s just admitted that the Jewish folks that run Israel are not the original occupants in the region.

    LOLOL!

  28. seafoid
    January 31, 2014, 7:16 pm

    There is something about that picture of all those- how do I put it- let’s say “on message” Jews (so publicly Jewish, look at the headgear) at Auschwitz.

    A lot of these people – Hoenlein, Boteach etc- wanted war in Iraq.
    and they are in Auschwitz talking Zionism.
    It’s like they never learnt ANYTHING.

    I think that is saddest thing about WW2. The Germans learnt. The Japanese learnt. The Americans didn’t. And American Zionism didn’t. And here we are now in 2014 . I wonder what Yamada Futaro would say to Hoenlein.

    “During the war we were taught that Japan, the land of the Gods, was a righteous, divine country and that America was an evil, barbaric country. We didn’t actually believe this, but merely followed along, thinking that, since there was no such thing as a just war , such poisonous, simple minded rhetoric was a way to whip up a state of furious belligerence in the people. Again, we had doubts as to whether or not Japan would be capable of guiding the Greater Asia c0-prosperity sphere.. We did not think we would be defeated. It was not that we were so convinced of victory we never thought of defeat. It was simply unbearable to contemplate it, and because we could not imagine what our fate would be afterward we shielded our eyes from the possibility and went on believing in certain victory.
    ….
    People of the future will find it strange that during the war we so easily accepted an education smacking of distorted self esteem and hostility that advocated such preposterous ambitions, but for us the reasons seemed compelling”

    Diary of writer Yamada Futaro, October 1945, quoted in “So Lovely a country will never perish” p 152-153

    • just
      January 31, 2014, 7:43 pm

      We learn nothing…………it’s the biggest shame that we have earned, over and over.

      Reminds me of a song by PS…..RIP.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 8:43 pm

        That’s a great song esp with the Menschheit .
        It reminded me of this guy who was arrested in Israel for telling his students that the IDF is not a moral army

        http://www.timesofisrael.com/indoctrinating-teacher-to-remain-in-classroom/

        you can tell he’s a Mensch just by looking at his eyes. Noor al ain is what the Arabs call it. Light in the eyes.

        I bet he’d be a laugh at a party with PS and Yamada. Language no barrier.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2014, 11:58 pm

        wow this really takes me back. my very first anti war song. i was twelve. there was a rope swing inside a redwood grove down a little path off casacade drive on my walk home from school. i’d ride that swing and sing that song over and over. me and tracy. mill valley/vietnam. we were gonna change the world and here i still am. the same girl, the same dreams. onward.

      • Kathleen
        February 1, 2014, 12:16 pm

        Love that memory Annie. The Catholic Notre Dame Nuns had us singing these peace songs in school in the early to mid 60’s. Cultivated a real awareness about suffering of our Vets, of others, unions etc. Damn commie pinko nuns

        These commie sisters lived across the alley from us. Had a huge outside deck where they would sit out on warm spring, summer, fall evenings singing “where have all the flowers gone” and “If I had a hammer.” Strong memories of these radical (tee hee) anti war ladies. I would be running around with my siblings, riding bikes in the alley separating houses listening and singing along with them. And here we are…still working hard for peace. Thank you to Pete Seeger and these other examples of reaching for social justice and human rights

      • just
        February 2, 2014, 8:31 am

        How beautiful, Annie. My journey is much the same.

        Onward, indeed!

  29. Taxi
    January 31, 2014, 8:34 pm

    An Iranian friend once said to me: “We are the ancient carpet weavers; we think everything through stitch by stitch.”

  30. piotr
    January 31, 2014, 11:20 pm

    I really view the anecdote as Hoenlein backpedaling. Until recently, the standard reference to Iran was “mooollas” and “ayatollahs” preceded with “fanatic” or worse. “Clever bazaari” is not particularly negative. Concerning commercial acumen, Jews perhaps started behind Persians (or not), but they had and have their share of financial activities during the last 2000 years.

    In the meantime, the fate of “AIPAC 16” of Democratic senators co-sponsoring sanction legislation reminds 10 little Indians of Agata Christie. 16 little senators sit around the fire, plan severe sanctions and a little war. One spoke with the President and there were 15. One said he never wanted to vote for it and then there were 14. One said sorry, never meant it, and then there were 13. I think the count is still above 10, but lately there was no roll-call on the issue so who knows.

    The problem is that the issue is much larger than Israel, so AIPAC is a bit like a fleet of river boats that entered the ocean. Such paragons of supporting Israel like prime ministers of Canada and Australia were warning against “war option”. There are signs that if American posture will not be reasonable, there may be a rebellion in EU swiftly picked up (or preceded) in Asia, so sanctions on Iran would have to be continued by the time-proven coalition of USA. Israel, Marshall Islands and Palau. It is not the case that Obama suddenly got a backbone. He is inflexible because his back is against the wall.

  31. Talkback
    February 1, 2014, 6:57 am

    But we forget: These guys have been ‘bazaaris’ [bazaar merchants] for 2,000 years, while we come in as novices. They can run circles around us. They know how to negotiate and how to manipulate every situation.

    If only Jesus had thrown them out of their temples.

  32. The Hasbara Buster
    February 1, 2014, 9:51 am

    It gets to the point where we would need to know Zarif’s version of the events. It’s quite unlikely that a diplomat would treat a kosher-keeping Jew to dinner without seeing to it that appropriate food is served. Since Jews overwhelmingly do not follow the religion’s dietary rules, it’s quite probable that Zarif was not aware that Hoenlein did.

    Another possibility is that Zarif ran into Hoenlein in the street and improvised the invitation, in which case he served the food he had planned to eat, which Hoenlein politely turned down because it was not kosher.

    In any event, I don’t see the point in Hoenlein’s recalling that he refused to eat. It’s irrelevant and it may be construed as painting Zarif in a bad light when it’s plain obvious that the embarrassment was unintended.

    • piotr
      February 1, 2014, 11:28 am

      I think that we need to appreciate the perspective of Iranians — why the heck invite a top American Zionist — and the inner circles of the Lobby — why the heck accept the the invitation and talked about it. Neither the invitation nor the acceptance is what we would expect.

      Iran is clearly deploying “charm offensive”. By presenting very reasonable position they can portray rejection of those positions as irrational and convince a number of key countries to relax sanctions against American protestations, and this effect is magnified by the charming wrapping. Right now, they have considerable momentum. None of that would be helpful if the sanction regime was not hurting economic interests of a huge number of corporations and countries, but they do. There is also geo-political dimension, Saudi efforts to further the cause of extremist Salafists and terrified reactions in many countries, and even bewilderment in Israel; these efforts are effective because Iran that is in the best position to counteract is short of cash.

      This explains what Zarif did. On the other hand, it would not make sense for Hoenlein to accept the dinner invitation and talk about it later if he did not contemplate a major position change. The remarks about not eating and being vigilant in the face of crafty bazaaris can be simply saving face. The Lobby, however powerful, cannot achieve the impossible, so I expect a grumpy acquiescence.

  33. Rusty Pipes
    February 1, 2014, 7:53 pm

    The article about Howard Dean is from the Free Beacon. Dean’s comments came in the context of a speech he gave to MEK supporters about the neglect of human rights (especially MEK members) in the administration’s negotiations with Iran. I have no idea why Dean was criticizing Obama to MEK supporters (he certainly wasn’t treated well by Obama when, after his successful leadership of the DNC, he was replaced by Wasserman Schultz). In that piece, Dean’s criticism of the negotiations do not mention Iran’s nuclear capacities.

    To get an idea about how the Free Beacon spins stories, there’s one headlined: “ScarJo Quits Group That Supports Judenrein West Bank”.

    • just
      February 2, 2014, 8:28 am

      Many thanks, Rusty. I have supported Dr. Dean for a long time.

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