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State Dep’t says Netanyahu speech is not inappropriate, disrespectful, humiliating or embarrassing

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to both Houses of Congress to rebut President Obama’s Iran policy is a full-on fiasco. It keeps stirring things up and getting attention. Opposition to the speech is mounting on Capitol Hill, say both the US Campaign to End the Occupation and Jeffrey Goldberg. And any reasonable person has to wonder, Wait, why are the warmongering Israelis messing in our negotiations? Where did a rightwing foreign prime minister derive the power to take on the president on equal terms?

Here are some developments.

First, the US Campaign to End the Occupation and Jewish Voice for Peace are calling on Congresspeople to “boycott” Netanyahu’s speech, planned for March 3. The US Campaign reports that opposition to the speech is “mounting” on Capitol Hill:

Can you believe it? The day after President Obama’s State of the Union address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in a bid to undermine US efforts to broker a deal with Iran on its nuclear capabilities.

If you are as outraged as us that Congress would invite a foreign leader to scuttle the president’s attempts to resolve this issue with Iran peacefully, then take action right now…

Wouldn’t it be great to see lots of empty seats in Congress as Netanyahu war-mongers and justifies Israel’s oppression of Palestinians?

We know what you’re thinking: this is futile. Last time he addressed Congress in 2011, Netanyahu got 29 standing ovations! Well, things are different this time around. We’re already hearing from Congressional offices that opposition to his speech is mounting on Capitol Hill.

Here JVP’s message, by Cecilie Surasky:

Unless we raise our voices now, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who continues to obstruct progress towards a just peace, will be handed a high-profile platform on March 3 to promote war—using his usual bigoted rhetoric, deception and outright lies.

Surasky dismisses all the etiquette/protocol issues and gets at the real reason this speech is dangerous:

Join us—and our partners at RootsAction and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation—in raising our voices to protest Netanyahu’s speech, not merely because it’s a partisan snub, nor because the date is close to the Israeli elections, but because Netanyahu is going to Washington to undermine diplomacy with Iran.

Instead of letting diplomacy work, Netanyahu wants the US to impose harsher sanctions on Iran, all but ensuring that talks collapse and the necessity of military action.

Equally troubling, Netanyahu will also generate hysteria about Iran and the “war on terror”, as he has for years, to distract U.S voters from the truth: under Netanyahu’s leadership, the Israeli government has ramped up illegal settlement building, increasing the population of Jewish settlers by over 23%, made the biggest land grab in a generation, committed countless human rights abuses and killed thousands of civilians in the West Bank and Gaza, and done everything possible to maintain the status quo of Israeli occupation and domination.

Raise your voice now and tell Congress to boycott Netanyahu’s speech.

The petition at SkipTheSpeech.org also emphasizes the war question:

Further, he will advocate for additional harsh sanctions on Iran that will undermine the diplomatic process and possibly lead to war. We call on all members of Congress to refuse to attend Netanyahu’s speech before Congress and to send the message that anyone who promotes war over peace is not welcome.

Netanyahu surely regrets accepting this assignment. His ambassador Ron Dermer is trying to walk the deal back. The matter got kicked around at the State Department yesterday. A little comic relief:

QUESTION: Is it not appropriate for [Netanyahu] to be speaking on this issue–

State Department spokesperson Jen PSAKI: I don’t think I or anyone else said it was inappropriate for the prime minister of Israel to talk about Iran…

Question: Ambassador Dermer, with whom Secretary Kerry had a meeting last week in which he expressed – after which he expressed surprise that he was not told of the potential or impending visit by the prime minister – said in a speech on Sunday night that it was not the prime minister’s intention to embarrass or humiliate or somehow denigrate the President of the United States.  Do you accept that explanation

PSAKI: I don’t think anyone said we were embarrassed or humiliated, so I’m not sure why they used those terms.

QUESTION:  They didn’t use those terms…. the Ambassador said it is not the Prime Minister’s intention to show disrespect to the President of the United States on this trip.  Do you accept that explanation?

PSAKI: I think we’re not losing much more sleep about this particular issue.  (Laughter.)

QUESTION:  And then the other thing that the ambassador said was that – was also not the prime minister’s intention to somehow interfere in the American political process.  Do you believe that?

PSAKI: I don’t think I have any more to add on this, Matt.  We’ve discussed and debated this quite a bit.

QUESTION:  And just one more, then.  Do you believe that the invitation was given with a political motive in mind?

PSAKI: I’ll let others evaluate that question.

MJ Rosenberg opines that Congresspeople will not skip the speech. He also points out that those who are trying to blame House Speaker John Boehner for the fiasco are cutting the Israelis and the Israel lobby a break:

How do u know a member of Congress or pundit is owned by the lobby? He blames Bibi speech disaster on Boehner, not Netanyahu.

Watch how carefully some (far from all) media types avoid blaming Netanyahu. Very telling. Boehner is an insignificant tool in all this.

This is the beauty of the scandal in my view. The naked overreach by Israel supporters is pulling the curtain back on the power of the lobby to incite war. In the end, it will call attention to that earlier deadly combination of US neoconservatives and Netanyahu: when Richard Perle, Doug Feith and David Wurmser drafted “A Clean Break” for Netanyahu in ’96 calling for regime change in Iraq, and the next thing you knew Perle, Feith and Wurmser were working for the US government and we were invading Iraq.

More. The former Iraq war-campaigner Jeffrey Goldberg has a column up called the “Netanyahu disaster,” angrily listing everything Netanyahu is risking. Goldberg rues the fact that Israel support has been politicized. An elected official texted him over the weekend to say that “the damage Netanyahu is doing to Israel’s relationship with the U.S. may be ‘irreparable.’”

Goldberg reminds Netanyahu that you’re supposed to play the U.S. in “discreet” and “respectful” ways, i.e., behind closed doors, not make Israel support a public issue.

unfortunately for Netanyahu, it is incumbent upon the junior partner in the Israel-U.S. relationship to maintain an even keel in the relationship. Netanyahu, grappling with a fear that Obama will go wobbly on Iran, could have tried a long time ago to create a discreet, continuous, and respectful dialogue in advance of the conclusion of negotiations, in order to try to shape the president’s thinking, and—this is important—to work with Obama on issues that interest the United States (advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, for instance, by taking the initiative once in a blue moon) in order to make the American side understand that his government is interested in giving, not merely in taking…

Goldberg even gets out the lobby playbook: maintaining US support is an “existential” issue (as I used to say, the lobby leaders sincerely believe they hold the breathing tube for Israel by maintaining US political support):

Israeli prime ministers, in fact, have two main tasks. The first is to protect their country from existential threats. The second: To work very hard to stay on the good side of the president and people of the United States. Success in accomplishing this first task is sometimes predicated on achieving this second task.

Israel has been, for several decades, a bipartisan cause in Washington. Bipartisan support accounts for the ease with which Israeli prime ministers have historically been heard in Washington; it accounts for the generous aid packages Israel receives; and it also explains America’s commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge.

Now Netanyahu’s hubris potentially alienates Democrats and American Jews:

[It] puts American Jewish supporters of Israel in a messy, uncomfortable spot, and it is not in Israel’s interest to place American Jews in a position in which they have to choose between their president and the leader of a Jewish state whose behavior is making them queasy.

Exactly. If you tell American Jews you have to choose allegiance to Israel or allegiance to the U.S., overwhelmingly they will say the U.S. This is an old issue. From the beginning Zionism was plagued by its apparent contradiction to the patriotism of Diaspora Jews. Louis Brandeis resolved the contradiction by saying it was OK to pull for two teams, that’s an American tradition. Now Netanyahu is reestablishing the contradiction by demonstrating that national interests are so different.

And why has he done it? I believe because he’s a simple and hubristic soul. In 2001 Netanyahu said that the U.S. was something that can be easily moved. He does not believe that Israel is the “junior” partner in the relationship. He’s helping everyone wake up from a very bad dream.

About Philip Weiss

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

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111 Responses

  1. just
    January 28, 2015, 11:40 am

    Well done, Phil.

    “He’s helping everyone wake up from a very bad dream.”

    For that, I thank him.

    I really hope folks are calling their reps and the WH. The phones should be ringing off the hook, and the email boxes should be overflowing.

  2. CloakAndDagger
    January 28, 2015, 11:40 am

    This is the beauty of the scandal in my view. The naked overreach by Israel supporters is pulling the curtain back on the power of the lobby to incite war.

    You are exactly right on this, Phil. This is why I am an ardent fan of Netanyahu getting re-elected – his words and actions will do more to expose the power of the Lobby than if he is replaced by someone more diplomatic and less obnoxious.

    • just
      January 28, 2015, 11:51 am

      Agreed. But really, is there anyone “more diplomatic and less obnoxious.”?

      I can’t think of anyone.

      Here’s Elsner from J Street:

      “Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. is planting a rotten seed

      WASHINGTON – When Ron Dermer took up his post as Israel’s ambassador to the United States in July 2013, I wrote in Haaretz about the challenges facing him, particularly the need for a representative who could heal the emerging partisan split between Republicans and Democrats over Israel.

      Memories were fresh of the 2012 presidential campaign when Republicans tried to turn Israel into a partisan issue, arguing to Jewish voters that U.S. President Barack Obama and the Democrats could not be trusted to act in her best interests. This effort to peel away Jewish votes from Obama largely failed, but the issue was still sensitive when Dermer, a former GOP operative, stepped into his new post.

      At the time, I made the point that the key to Dermer’s success would be inclusivity – reaching out to all segments of the American Jewish community and both political parties equally, because Israel needs all the friends it can get. Taking sides in the U.S. political arena would not only be inappropriate, but a recipe for failure.

      Sadly, far from healing that partisan divide, Dermer has done much to widen it – and never more than with his role in helping to engineer an invitation from the Republican speaker of the House to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress at the height of an Israeli election campaign.

      At a time of growing diplomatic isolation, Israel only has one firm ally that it can depend on – the United States. Does it really want to further narrow that base of support by depending entirely on Republicans, as Dermer seems to want to do?”

      http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.639576?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      No mention of AIPAC…

      • Doubtom
        February 5, 2015, 8:18 pm

        No mention of Israel?? Take that as a measure of their influence.

    • David Doppler
      January 28, 2015, 12:33 pm

      The “settler mentality” is contagious, C&D. More Netanyahu-Likud-Neocon leadership comes at the high risk of stimulating (or “false flagging”) some big attack that makes that fear and siege mentality more palpable among the American and European publics, now being fed a steady diet of the global threat of Islamic extremism. It is irresponsible to be a “fan” of this process in the mistaken belief that more people will see and understand how power is being abused. That settler mentality is similar to the Lucifer Effect, under the spell of which ordinary people do horrible things. It is much better nipped in the bud by an election, than having to be defeated in an all-out, multi-generational clash of civilizations, which is what Netanyahu-Likud-Neocon leadership is intent upon achieving: a contagion of war-crime-minded-mob hysteria.

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 5:17 am

        Agree. Reach for the sane path. The insane path has become far too common in this conflict and in the middle east in general. Millions have died, been injured and displaced over the last several decades due to U.S. and Israeli meddling. Sanctions, invasions, support for rebels that no one really knows who they are.

  3. JeffB
    January 28, 2015, 11:49 am

    Where did a rightwing foreign prime minister derive the power to take on the president on equal terms?

    Come on now you’ve seen the Hill and Politico. He didn’t take on the president on equal terms. The Speaker of the US House of Representative, the co-chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a majority of both houses of congress and a substantial chunk of the public however can take a president on, on equal terms.

    I agree with your analogy regarding 1996 however. I still think you have this backwards. If negotiations are successful then Obama’s strategy of engagement will be proven to have produced results in this case. There is going to lot of momentum towards trying to work constructively with Iran in the future. To be honest I think we were on that road. I think Iran is going to sign and all this Israel stuff is really a message to Iran’s hardliners about what the alternative to the treaty is. Obama is helping the Iranian moderates swallow a deal.

    I think Obama is sending a message of what the situation is going to look like in 2 years when Hillary (or a Republican) is in power who doesn’t want a deal. If negotiations fail or don’t product result soon, the pro-war with Iran side is going to draft legislation that is going to fly through, quite possibly overriding a veto. If not then by 2017 it gets signed regardless. That’s going to establish American policy in a place where it just short of war. At that point it is going to be up the Iranian government to decide to either:

    a) Cave
    b) Undergo regime change
    c) Hope to get lucky like North Korea

    That in the end unless Iran wants regime change they can negotiate with Obama / Kerry or they are going to have to negotiate with the hawks… Boehner / Menendez / Clinton. Good cop, bad cop.

    But if I’m wrong then so what. Israelis mostly want war with Iran. American Jews want peace with Iran even on less than ideal terms. Jews are allowed to disagree, that doesn’t mean they are getting a divorce.

    • Mooser
      January 28, 2015, 5:47 pm

      “Israelis mostly want war with Iran.”

      I hope the Mondo comment servers are big enough to contain the flood of comments from ordinary Israelis saying “Yup, war with Iran is just what I want”, to back up JeffyB.

      Shorter JeffyB: “Everybody is obligated to fight for Israel, because, uh, something, wait, Arabs!”

    • just
      January 28, 2015, 5:58 pm

      “Israelis mostly want war with Iran.”

      If true, then that certainly certifies them as a really crazy bunch of “settlers”, and explains the 90%+ approval rating of the latest Gaza slaughter.

      Why would any French citizen (or anyone) want to go there?

      Yech. No American ( nor any other nationality) should ever lay down their lives for these nutsy Zios!

    • Kathleen
      January 29, 2015, 5:39 am

      I don’t agree with what many have said (have not seen any polls to support) that American Jews would support President Obama over Netanyahu. Just don’t buy this. Hope someone provided a link to a poll that substantiates this claim. I have many so called “liberal” Jewish friends who have and continue to take a hard turn to the right (use military aggression) when it comes to Israel. And it is not just so called “liberal” Jews. Within months after the invasion of Iraq I heard so called “liberal” non Jews repeating the Cheney, Feith, Rumsfeld false lines about Iran. Cheney and the warmongering team (Ledeen, Hadley, Rice etc) were everywhere on the MSM talking about how Iran was a huge problem, how they wanted to “wipe Israel off the map” Remember that purposely mistranslated line was being repeated everywhere.

      When I heard a retired lefty county commissioner friend repeat the exact line “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” at a fund raiser that a friend in Athens and I organized for then Ohio Congressman Ted Strickland. Went a few rounds with my friends and others who joined in about how absurd this was that she was repeating the too often repeated line without substantiating such claims. Now that was in 2003. Since that point false claims about Iran have been repeated on Rachel Maddows, Chris Matthews, lots on NPR’s Diane Rehm, Scott Simon etc. Hell I have heard both Diane and Scott repeat these claims themselves.

      Now things have gotten a bit better only because of sites like Informed Comment, Going to Tehran, Mondoweiss, Democracy Now etc etc. Where real discussions about just what the facts are…that we know. The fact sharing has not happened on Chris Matthews etc up until more recently. Even then Chris Matthews (on Wednesday) evening continue to feel the need to infer that Iran has a nuclear weapons plan. Which has never been proven.

      We have yet to see Matthews and most other so called liberal talking heads really try to inform the public by doing programs on the NPT who signed who has not…Israel. We have yet to witness Matthews, Al Sharpton, CNN, Diane Rehm really try to inform the public based on hard cold facts from the IAEA, Leveretts etc. People are still pushing them to expand the public’s awareness instead of having pre approved guest (contributors really inhibitors to real fact based conversations about Iran). Still time.

      I monitor shifts in awareness, attitude by callers into C-span’s Washington Journal. Over the last 7 or so years the calls into open phones etc have shifted dramatically about the middle east, the I/P conflict. Callers are far more aware and fact based, They are not buying the Iran has a nuclear weapons program, Iran “wants to wipe Israel off the map” fueled misrepresentations that Cheney,, Wolfowitz etc so carefully cultivated as easily as they once did.

      • JeffB
        January 29, 2015, 12:20 pm

        @Kathleen

        I don’t agree with what many have said (have not seen any polls to support) that American Jews would support President Obama over Netanyahu. Just don’t buy this.

        There is a tendency on Mondoweiss to grossly overestimate both how leftwing the American population is. There is a mistrust that polls accurately measure and that mainstream news sources accurately reflect. I think this also reflects in a fantasy of how leftwing the Jews are. For a white middle+ class demographic Jews are very leftwing. But they have been drifting right for decades. While still the most liberal minority in America relative to income and race they aren’t off the charts like they used to be.

        . Since that point false claims about Iran have been repeated on Rachel Maddows, Chris Matthews, lots on NPR’s Diane Rehm, Scott Simon etc. Hell I have heard both Diane and Scott repeat these claims themselves.

        I think we disagree those claims are false. Khamanei has called for a government that exists only of the descendants of the original inhabitants which will either expel them or have them live in permanent servitude. The Jews are to be made to accept this fate through “armed resistance”. There have been explicit calls like, ” Israel, which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated.” I think the claim is true. If an American rose up and said he wanted to conquer Iran and then possibly subject the Persian population to a degree of terror so that great deport that they would voluntarily leave what would that be other than a call to wipe Iran off the map?

        Now I think this is overheated rhetoric. But let’s not claim this is merely a translation error. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/images/Iran/9ptplan.jpg

        to feel the need to infer that Iran has a nuclear weapons plan. Which has never been proven.

        No it hasn’t been proven. What has been proven is that Iran is engaging in activities inconsistent with a purely power generation nuclear weapons program and they refusing inspections and they are being secretive. Those together have led most intelligence agencies to conclude they have one. It is possible that like Iraq they are trying to fake the world out, and being successful at it. But the level of proof and the consensus among experts for Iran’s nuclear program is well beyond the level that Matthews uses for most claims about intent on his show everyday when he does analysis.

        The debate in the USA government is not whether Iran has a nuclear weapons program but rather the debate is over whether any activities short of war and if so which ones will stop this program in time. Matthews et. al are taking the liberal position but I get that you are to the left of that. The population is much more scattered on Iran. I think there is a fairly large chunk of the American people that would be OK with a nuclear Iran, while that chunk is rarer in government. But that’s to be expected since when people’s views are scattered not by party or geography congressmen would tend to represent something like and average between them.

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 6:57 pm

        Prof Cole cleared out the lie that was endlessly repeated by Gaffney, Kristol, McCain, Lindsay Graham, Schumer etc etc that Iran wanted to “wipe Israel off the map” That is the specific line that I referred to.

        Tell us which country is actively, publicly and aggressively going after the other. That would be Israel going after Iran and doing their best to convince the U.S. to do their bidding.

        I noticed you did not say anything about the massive hypocrisy that Israel is the nation demanding, pushing that Iran abide by the NPT. No not abide stop enriching uranium all together which is their legal right. That Israel sits on top a massive pile of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that to un checked by the International community. Is that not a huge hypocrisy in your book?

        I have read many of the letters that nations in that part of the world have written the head of the IAEA, the Un etc demanding that Israel sign the NPT and play by the same rules that they demand others abide by. Iran has pushed for a middle east nuclear free zone.

        It was Israel and the U.S. that refused to participate in a IAEA conference some years back because they knew Israel was going to get called out on this hypocrisy. Iran was coming. Israel is the aggressor in this case. Stuxnet, refuses to sign the NPT and the Chemical Weapons Convention Agreement

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 7:04 pm

        And I don’t think Matthews is left at all on the issue of Iran. I believe in fact he is to the right on this issue as so many so called “liberals” are. I am with the Leveretts (who are clearly beyond brilliant and been on the deep inside) that there is no hard proof supporting he repeated claims, that Iran has the right to enrich and nothing Iran does will appease Israel. They are gunning for Iran and they want the U.S. to do the heavy lifting and killing

      • just
        January 29, 2015, 7:04 pm

        Well done, [email protected] 1857 and 1904

        Thank you.

        “They are gunning for Iran and they want the U.S. to do the heavy lifting and killing”

        And the dying.

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 9:38 pm

        Jeff “no it has not been proven” You can say that again and again. “no it has not been proven” Yet Matthews (right of center on this issue) Maddow, Al Sharpton not of these talking heads has the integrity to really have a debate about the Iran claims between real experts about this issue on their programs. Matthews needs to grow a pair on this issue. Have the Leveretts on up against Kristol or another flaming Iran warmonger. The Leveretts would wipe up the floor with Kristol like he was a mop. Just the way Glenn Greenwald and Dylan Ratigan did with Cliff May’s rants about Iran etc.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BDIv_0kPhE

        This was classic http://www.lobelog.com/cliff-may-vs-glenn-greenwald-and-dylan-ratigan-on-msnbc/

        Just a shame that Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews do not have the integrity to have a real discussion on their programs about Iran…And not with their pre-approved contributors

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 9:51 pm

        Jeff on your argument that everyone knows Israel has nuclear weapons. So what? Are you saying that they are exempt from playing by the same rules as Iran etc. Sure sounds like it. As if Israel does not pose a real threat to peace in the middle east.

        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/rossin.html

        ” 4.4 Setting an International Example

        Argument: For the U. S. to set a convincing example, it was necessary to treat all nations alike. And obviously, if it wanted others to refrain from reprocessing, it had to refrain itself.

        Counter: In fact, other nations wanted their fuel reprocessed in order to use, save or barter their plutonium, and so that they could dispose of their nuclear waste and thereby satisfy environmental concerns.

        Discussion: The U. S. could have offered commercial reprocessing services, just as Britain, France and Belgium did. This action would have offered a clear way to reduce perceived risks related to reprocessing in unstable regions of the world.

        Actually, some Europeans leaders suspected that the U. S. (with its huge coal, oil and gas resources) was trying to get an economic advantage in energy, and by calling for them to abandon their programs, might be trying to recover its world leadership in nuclear energy. They believed this, because to them, the Administration’s economic and proliferation arguments against reprocessing did not make sense.

        Proliferation threats from advanced nations, rogue states and terrorists were not differentiated. Jimmy Carter wanted a comprehensive policy that solved all proliferation problems. The goal was a leakproof regime, but that was unrealistic in view of all the alternative paths to nuclear weapons. Far from being comprehensive, the Carter policy affected only possible path: from commercial reprocessing in industrialized nations. These nations had better, more secure and secret ways if they wanted to make nuclear weapons.”

        Israel’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons a real threat to peace in the middle east. Has and continues to be so.

        http://www.cfr.org/israel/israels-nuclear-program-middle-east-peace/p9822

        http://www.iaea.org/About/Policy/GC/GC53/GC53Resolutions/English/gc53res-17_en.pdf

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 10:10 pm

        Jeff still wondering where you come up with a statement that most intelligence agencies say that Iran is developing nuclear weapons? Can you provide some links?

        http://antiwar.com/blog/2011/11/08/iaea-on-iran-a-colossal-non-event-as-casus-belli/

        “…But the report—arguably the most anticipated document of its kind since the NPT was first advanced in 1968—does not in any way demonstrate that Iran is “developing a nuclear weapon”. Rather, it once again affirms, as the IAEA has for decades, Iran’s “non-diversion” of nuclear material. In other words, even if the Islamic Republic wanted to build nuclear weapons (and Tehran continues to deny, at the highest levels of authority, that it wishes to do so) it does not have the weapons-grade material essential to the task.”

        IAEA and Iran
        https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iran

  4. just
    January 28, 2015, 11:55 am

    “WATCH: Bill O’Reilly, ‘It’s important for all Americans to know what Benjamin Netanyahu knows’

    Fox News host defends Israeli prime minister’s decision to speak before the U.S. Congress saying, ‘The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, is one of the best in the world, so Netanyahu has information about Iran.’

    Now, the bigger picture — Americans are in danger. We’re all in danger from Islamic terrorists and from the nation of Iran. Some estimates say Iran is within two months of being able to put together the key components of a nuclear weapon. President Obama believes he is making progress in a new deal with Iran, but the current negotiations have been going on for 14 months and have been extended twice. The next dead line the end of June.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The President didn’t spend but a few seconds talking about the threat, the terrorist threat that we as Americans face. This problem is growing all over the world. And, you know, the President is trying to act like it’s not there but it is there. And it’s going to be a threat to our homeland if we don’t address it in a bigger way.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    O’REILLY: It’s a threat now. Speaker Boehner is correct. And, again, his invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is not out of line. President Obama should be able to counter whatever Netanyahu says with an effective strategy. Note the words “should be able”.

    So let Netanyahu speak his mind. Let him spell out the danger he sees to the world. That will be instructive and maybe, maybe some Americans will finally pay attention — probably not.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/video/1.639543

    Idgit.

  5. David Doppler
    January 28, 2015, 12:20 pm

    She said, while wiping the spittle from her face, and smiling a phony smile, reminiscent of the abused woman trying to change the subject and hide the bruises at the same time, unwilling yet to face the elephant in the room.

    Time for intervention.

    • Kathleen
      January 29, 2015, 6:00 am

      Way over due not just for her but for our nation. We have more than 12 steps to take.

  6. American
    January 28, 2015, 12:47 pm

    ” Louis Brandeis resolved the contradiction by saying it was OK to pull for two teams, that’s an American tradition. – —-“”

    No, its not an American tradition to pull for two teams in a situtation such as US interest vr Isr interest.
    There is no win win when dealing with /israel interest /demands….one team has to lose.
    The Jewish history, holocaust, israel etc. etc…are not part of America and do not belong in our government……its jewish not american, they need to keep it to themselves and get it out of our politics and policies.

    • a blah chick
      January 28, 2015, 2:19 pm

      “Louis Brandeis resolved the contradiction by saying it was OK to pull for two teams”

      Yeah, the Yankees and the Cowboys.

    • Kathleen
      January 29, 2015, 6:01 am

      Brandeis was pulling for one team and one team only

      • CigarGod
        January 29, 2015, 9:17 am

        Yes, Kathleen.
        Most of these polls only reflect the impact of the most recent PR campaign. But, the poll results are then used to influence the sheep again. Sheep go in the direction of the majority of the flock. It becomes all about the effect of polls on ever increasingly agitated sheep. It proves how stupid we are.

      • Doubtom
        February 5, 2015, 8:23 pm

        Many Jews of note, are Jewish first and American second.

  7. hophmi
    January 28, 2015, 12:51 pm

    ” In the end, it will call attention to that earlier deadly combination of US neoconservatives and Netanyahu: when Richard Perle, Doug Feith and David Wurmser drafted “A Clean Break” for Netanyahu in ’96 calling for regime change in Iraq, and the next thing you knew Perle, Feith and Wurmser were working for the US government and we were invading Iraq.”

    I’d like to know why you included exclusively Jewish names on this list and omitted non-Jewish ones like Charles Fairbanks and James Colbert, both of whom worked on A Clean Break.

    The notion that John Boehner is an insignificant tool here is beyond silly, and reminds us once again how people who believe this nonsense about Israel controlling US foreign policy will cherry pick the facts to support the ideology. It is within character for this Congress to break protocol to one-up the President, and they’ve been doing it for a long time. It is also within character for them to use Israel as a wedge issue to fundraise, which they did in 2012.

    And you ignore this in Goldberg’s piece:

    “There is hypocrisy in the discussion of the Netanyahu-Boehner end-run. It is not unprecedented for foreign leaders to lobby Congress directly; the Arab states opposed to Iran do it all the time, and the British prime minister, David Cameron, lobbied Congress earlier this month on behalf of Obama’s Iran policy, and against the arguments of the Republicans.”

    • Philip Weiss
      January 28, 2015, 12:55 pm

      Hophmi I forget that they were even on the report. Besides, I was referring to men who later worked in the Bush administration.

      • hophmi
        January 28, 2015, 1:04 pm

        The main person who worked on the report was Perle. The rest just contributed ideas. In any event, much as everyone wants to argue that the tail is wagging the dog here, or that this was just an idea cooked up by Ron Dermer, it is very much something that I would expect out of a Congress like this one, and it’s wrong to minimize their role here.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 28, 2015, 2:41 pm

        much as everyone wants to argue that the tail is wagging the dog here, or that this was just an idea cooked up by Ron Dermer, it is very much something that I would expect out of a Congress like this one, and it’s wrong to minimize their role here.

        reminds me of what MJ wrote

        How do u know a member of Congress or pundit is owned by the lobby? He blames Bibi speech disaster on Boehner, not Netanyahu. –

        fyi, tho everyone says it was the “brainchild of Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer” http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2015/01/25/bibi-netanyahu-aka-the-republican-senator-from-israel-may-have-made-a-fatal-political-mistake/ i don’t agree, nor do i think congress calls the shots in the relationship with israel. none the less and regardless of whose idea it was, as the israeli ambassador he should have been well aware it was a diplomatic nightmare for this to be announced publicly without going thur regular channels to the WH. and for him to engage in a couple hr meeting with kerry and not mention it, surely you can blame dermer for that can’t you? or do you also think congress tells the israeli ambassador how to do his job?

      • Annie Robbins
        January 28, 2015, 3:02 pm

        The main person who worked on the report was Perle. The rest just contributed ideas.

        hops, where did you get that information?

      • MRW
        January 28, 2015, 4:09 pm

        fyi, tho everyone says it was the “brainchild of Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer”

        Yeah, as if it’s a ‘Let Mikie do it” commercial. Netanyahu, led around by the nose by Dermer? “Ronnie made me do it.”

      • Kathleen
        January 28, 2015, 4:39 pm

        Annie (below) I asked the same question about Hop’s statement that Perle was the main architect of “Securing the Realm” From what I have read Perle, Feith, Wurmsers. Hop do you have a link directing us to where you have read this about Perle being the main creator of “Securing the Realm”

    • just
      January 28, 2015, 2:51 pm

      From wiki:

      “Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote in their controversial and critical “The Israel Lobby” article of March 2006, published in the London Review of Books that the Clean Break paper called for Israel to take steps to reorder the entire Middle East. Netanyahu did not follow their advice, but Feith, Perle and Wurmser were soon urging the Bush administration to pursue those same goals. The Ha’aretz columnist Akiva Eldar warned that Feith and Perle “are walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments … and Israeli interests”.[14]

      Sidney Blumenthal criticized the report, writing:

      Instead of trading land for peace, the neocons advocated tossing aside the Oslo agreements that established negotiations and demanding unconditional Palestinian acceptance of Likud’s terms, peace for peace. Rather than negotiations with Syria, they proposed weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. They also advanced a wild scenario to redefine Iraq. Then King Hussein of Jordan would somehow become its ruler; and somehow this Sunni monarch would gain control of the Iraqi Shiites, and through them wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria.[9]”

      and then you have PNAC.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

    • American
      January 28, 2015, 4:10 pm

      ” I’d like to know why you included exclusively Jewish names on this list and omitted non-Jewish ones like Charles Fairbanks and James Colbert, both of whom worked on A Clean Break —–hoppie

      Dont worry about it….we are keeping a list of e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e.

    • MRW
      January 28, 2015, 4:12 pm

      And you ignore this in Goldberg’s piece:

      “There is hypocrisy . . . . against the arguments of the Republicans.”

      That’s the preamble for this:

      But the manner and execution and overall tone-deafness of Netanyahu’s recent ploy suggest that he—and his current ambassador—don’t understand how to manage Israel’s relationships in Washington. Netanyahu wants a role in shaping the Iranian nuclear agreement, should one materialize. His recent actions suggest that he doesn’t quite know what he’s doing.

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 6:03 am

        Goldberg supported the Israeli manipulation as long as it stayed behind the curtain.

    • MRW
      January 28, 2015, 4:20 pm

      @JeffB,

      But if I’m wrong then so what. Israelis mostly want war with Iran. American Jews want peace with Iran even on less than ideal terms. Jews are allowed to disagree, that doesn’t mean they are getting a divorce.

      So what, you ask? The majority of Americans don’t want war. Two percent of the population doesn’t get to determine foreign policy.

      It is also within character for them to use Israel as a wedge issue to fundraise, which they did in 2012.

      Then the pro-Israelis should desist, shouldn’t they, if they are so superior and ethical. But they don’t, do they? So don’t put this on the Boehners of the world.

      • JeffB
        January 28, 2015, 5:49 pm

        @MRW

        So what, you ask? The majority of Americans don’t want war. Two percent of the population doesn’t get to determine foreign policy.

        If you read what I wrote I’m saying American Jews favor an Iranian peace not oppose it. Second, your description is simply not an accurate description of the polling or the attitudes.

        Most polls show about 50-65% would support a negotiated solution of less sanctions in exchange for Iran dropping their nuclear program. However 60% don’t believe what the Iranians say and are going to want monitoring (example ABC News/Washington Post Poll. Nov. 14-17, 2013). Jews are slightly less pro war than the population at around 45% vs. 55% for the population as a whole and 65% for Republicans. There is only a moderate partisan divide, Republicans are moderately pro-war Democrats are moderate pro-heavy negotiations. American Jews look like Democrats. Obama is slightly outside the mainstream a bit to the left of most Democrats. Netanyahu also outside the mainstream a bit to the right of Republicans.

        This sort of issue could become partisan or it could remain confused. But the idea that everyone in America wants peace and Jews want war is a total fabrication on your part. America’s current behavior fairly accurately represent the polling.

        http://www.pollingreport.com/iran.htm

        hophmi: It is also within character for them to use Israel as a wedge issue to fundraise, which they did in 2012.

        MRW: Then the pro-Israelis should desist, shouldn’t they, if they are so superior and ethical. But they don’t, do they? So don’t put this on the Boehners of the world.

        That was Hophmi not me. Regardless since you aimed the response at me. No I don’t think “pro-Israelis” should desist. I think they should fully participate in the American political process like any other interest group or lobby would. Either Jews are American citizens or they aren’t. If they are Americans then they entitled to full participation. If they aren’t then stop whining about Zionism.

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 6:12 am

        Interesting polls Jeff B. When asked about “ally” status of Iran not hard to figure out why the majority of the American public can not imagine Iran as an ally. If all day every day you have Wolf Blitzer, Ed Shultz, Scott Simon, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Diane Rehm etc being willing to strongly infer that Iran has a nuclear weapons program then what can we expect.

        Interesting the question asked about whether U.S. should back up Israel militarily if they attacked Iran 49% oppose to 49% approve.

        I keep pushing all of these outlets to talk about how Israel has not signed the NPT and sits on massive stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that go un checked by the international community. Enough of this special status. Enough. Abide by the same rules that they want everyone else to abide by

    • aiman
      January 29, 2015, 1:11 am

      “the Arab states opposed to Iran do it all the time, and the British prime minister, David Cameron, lobbied Congress earlier this month on behalf of Obama’s Iran policy, and against the arguments of the Republicans.”

      Goldberg can’t help himself mentioning Iran getting that subliminal thing going, shamelessly setting his target in the official eye every chance he gets. This guy is not a journalist.

    • traintosiberia
      January 29, 2015, 5:02 am

      Sorry . It is Oded Yinon in 1982

  8. snowdrift
    January 28, 2015, 1:53 pm

    Just wait until Israel is run by someone like Lieberman or Bennett. Netanyahu at least knows what can and cannot be said in an American context; compared to him the other two seem completely uninhibited. The amount of liberal Zionist damage control required to paper over the nuttiness will keep increasing, while Israeli hubris continues to wax unabated.

    • MRW
      January 28, 2015, 4:21 pm

      Bennett is from Brooklyn.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 28, 2015, 4:40 pm

        nope, his parents were from san francisco but he was born in israel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naftali_Bennett

      • MRW
        January 28, 2015, 4:52 pm

        Yes, annie, I was mixing him up with someone else. But he did live in NYC for over a decade, so he’s hip to American ways. Maybe too hip.

      • snowdrift
        January 29, 2015, 3:30 am

        He’s nonetheless completely unfiltered when he talks about the I/P conflict and the outcomes he prefers–he didn’t get the Frank Luntz memo and doesn’t seem to care, which is why the liberal Zionists are giving him the cold shoulder (e.g., his reception in Washington at the Saban Forum). But if he comes to power one day, they’ll still have to run interference for him, and it will keep getting harder and harder.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 29, 2015, 5:03 am

        smart, i agree snowdrift.

    • JeffB
      January 28, 2015, 5:55 pm

      @Snowdrift

      Lieberman is doing badly in the polling. Bennett very well could be the next Prime Minister after Netanyahu (i.e. this or next Knesset). Bennett is known and is popular here. I suspect his much more humanitarian approach to the Palestinians will play well in the USA among liberals. Under Bennett Liberals will be able to point to Israel taking serious measures to improve the quality of life. Palestinians who “resist the occupation” will be attacking a government who claims to and is interested in their welfare. American Liberals often like the idea of welfare economics where an educated aristocracy benignly provides for lower classes. That and the fact he just offered citizenship to another 60k Palestinians.

      Will it go over with the BDS crowd? No but nothing Israel could do (in the real world) would ever satisfy them. But will it go over well with the NYTimes, absolutely. Bennett and thus Israel will be seen as a model.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 28, 2015, 6:10 pm

        . I suspect his much more humanitarian approach to the Palestinians will play well in the USA among liberals.

        you must be living in a fantasy land

        Palestinians who “resist the occupation” will be attacking a government who claims to and is interested in their welfare.

        uh huh. maybe you think we’re stupid.

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.639176

        In the protest letter, which was sent to Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and the heads of the Intelligence Corps and Unit 8200, the signatories said they would not continue to be an “instrument in deepening military rule in the occupied territories,” and thus would cease doing reserve duty in the unit.

        The reservists maintained that information the unit gathers is being used to harm innocent people, and is “serving political persecution and the creation of division in Palestinian society, by recruiting collaborators and turning portions of Palestinian society against itself.”

        The signatories, the most senior of whom was a major, wrote that their consciences did not allow them “to continue to serve this system, and to do harm to the rights of millions of human beings.”

        we know all about what these “loyalty oaths” are about. any sane person would resist an occupation. no amount of “humanitarian” gestures is going to replace civil rights and equality in the eyes of either palestinians or “american liberals”. nothing

      • just
        January 28, 2015, 6:27 pm

        “Bennett and thus Israel will be seen as a model.”

        Oh, yeah~ it’ll be seen as a model alright. From May 29, 2014:

        “As far as Economy Minister Naftali Bennett is concerned, his nighttime tour of Jerusalem early Wednesday was a great success. Bennett said he had expected 80 people to join him in walking and singing around the capital to welcome Jerusalem Day. I had also anticipated an intimate walk, during which I planned to learn a bit more about this mysterious Naftali, who came into our lives out of nowhere. But in the end, about 1,500 people showed up.

        The event began on Ammunition Hill after midnight. The atmosphere on the trip there was very cheerful, thanks to some teenagers from Birthright who snuggled quite loudly with each other on the bus. I started liking Jerusalem Day.

        But Ammunition Hill at night is a pretty disappointing place — in terms of parking first of all. Israeli Sephardi crooner Yehoram Gaon played in the background. So we crowded into a parking lot, listening to Yehoram Gaon, which was not a good start to the trip.

        A unilateral history

        Bennett got up and said, “This is not a political rally,” and began, like an over-enthusiastic tour guide, to tell us his version of the story of Jerusalem, which began with King David, followed by Ezra and Nehemiah and the Hasmoneans (“who controlled what is now Highway 443,” Bennett said). Then, 2,000 years went by in a flash, during which nothing important seemed to happen here. Finally, came the Six Day War. I began to miss the Birthright teenagers, who had gone out to get drunk and lose their virginity. “Break the glowsticks,” said Bennett, who was being filmed by three television crews, and off we went.

        The next station was the predominately Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. “We can visit the tomb of Shimon Hatzadik, and we should,” someone said. Bennett started realizing what he had accomplished. “This is going to become a new tradition among the Jewish people every year,” he said. He then began describing the days of waiting for the Six Day War, mentioning the word “Holocaust” several times. He concluded the story by saying, “the army destroys the Syrian and Egyptian air forces. You can applaud.”

        Bennett mentioned that the cabinet said we were “going to conquer the Old City.” “Liberate it,” someone corrected him. “Liberate the Old City,” he repeated.

        I was evidently not Bennett’s target audience, because the audience did not look bored at all. I blame the fact that I am a left-winger. But when I was on a walking tour of Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighborhood with MK and presidential candidate Ruby Rivlin, he talked about the people of Jerusalem and his childhood, speaking from the heart. There are no people in Bennett’s stories. He speaks fluently and with the Israeli-style charisma of an army commander, but he offers only unilateral history and arcane battle tradition: On our side, there were soldiers, many of who fell, and on the other side there were Arabs who wanted to destroy us. It seems to me that Jerusalem, liberated or occupied, deserves more.

        Stuck in 1967

        In Sheikh Jarrah, former MK Moshe Peled (Tzomet) got up and spoke about the liberation of the Temple Mount. He told how he had seized an old security guard from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf who held a key. “We grabbed him by the chain and said to him in Arabic, ‘Open the gate,’” Peled recalled. After that, naturally, Bennett started singing “Jerusalem of Gold” with all the verses — there are lots of verses — and we continued onward. When we passed by Arab houses, the drumbeats grew stronger and the teenage boys sang “When You Go to War.” It was almost 2 A.M. No Palestinians stuck their heads outside; they waited for the commotion to pass. On the entire walking tour, we didn’t see a single Arab, except for the young men working in the parking lot of the American Colony Hotel.”

        more @ http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.595903

        rotflmao! Thanks, JeffB.

  9. a blah chick
    January 28, 2015, 2:22 pm

    It’s the Gaza Blowback.

    Butcher Bibi is overreaching because he saw how everyone was giving him and his government a freedom to slaughter this summer and he just thought that that extended to everything he did. Can’t really blame the man.

  10. eGuard
    January 28, 2015, 2:45 pm

    MJ Rosenberg and Jeffrey Goldberg mentioned together (good), but with a different introduction (not good).

    Rosenberg will call anyone he disagrees with an anti-Semite. He’s a “Liberal Zionist”.

  11. MRW
    January 28, 2015, 4:31 pm

    This is the kind of bullshit you get when you get rid of the professional Foreign Service Arabists in the State Dept., which the neocons engineered while Reagan was recuperating for two years. That’s why we’re so Israel/Jew-centric in our foreign policy. We have supposed separation of church and state domestically but not in our foreign policy, and it’s getting worse. Our congressmen don’t even have time to pay attention to, and deal with, the growing middle-class and student poverty in this country because of this insanity, and because the majority of Jews in Israel don’t know how to make peace.

    Adam Curtis’ latest film is up on BBC’s iPlayer. It’s called Bitter Lake. 2:16:00 It will be available until around Feb 25. He had 26 terabytes of BBC footage in Afghanistan to play with, as well as the rest of BBC’s morgue. People should watch it.

    Where is Chas Freeman when you need him?

    • Kathleen
      January 28, 2015, 4:42 pm

      Not much that I am aware of out of Freeman in awhile. Feith and team must have dug up something dark and ugly to keep him so quiet. Although Freeman’s tongue lashing of the I lobbies was so thorough and delightful after they did everything to take Freeman down. It would be hard to top what he has all ready said

      Hope folks keep contacting Reps all month. Keep banging on their emails, doors, FB pages etc all month. Bang away at the MSM too. Do not let them get away with ignoring Israel’s prints all over this one

    • MRW
      January 28, 2015, 4:56 pm

      I think we should call the Israeli Embassy in DC. They’re so sure America is behind them.

      Here’s their main number: (202) 364-5500
      Here are their departments. Pick your poison: http://www.israelemb.org/washington/AboutTheEmbassy/Pages/About-the-embassy.aspx

  12. baruch
    January 28, 2015, 8:51 pm

    Since when is it tolerated to have a genocidal theocrat speak to Congress? This is way over the top and exemplifies Netanyahu’s demagogic aspirations as well as the ugly hypocrisy that is zionism.

  13. traintosiberia
    January 28, 2015, 9:34 pm

    “Bill O’Reilly, ‘It’s important for all Americans to know what Benjamin Netanyahu knows’

    Fox News host defends Israeli prime minister’s decision to speak before the U.S. Congress saying, ‘The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, is one of the best in the world, so Netanyahu has information about Iran.’

    The FOXesque reasoning is expected to sway the dead and numb Americans to switch to this view before falling asleep .They will regale their audiences nextday with the wisdom over the water fountain or at the church pew .

    Bill O reily doesnt know that the most informed Mossad never shares any information with CIA until its own interssts ahve been clearly articulated and secured . Using that impression ( that it has solid intelligence and should be trusted ) it can also and does make America accecpt all the Israeli B*S*as manna from the heaven.

  14. Kathleen
    January 28, 2015, 10:24 pm

    Chris Matthews opens Hardball tonight (Wed) with a segment about the Netanyahu/Boehner debacle. Guest David Corn and Eugene Robinson discuss the issue. Chris Matthews must have repeated four times that no American President can accept a “nuclear” weapons Iran. David Corn corrected Matthew saying that there is no real evidence that Iran is headed towards a nuclear weapon. That they have a nuclear program. Not one of the guest discussed that Iran as a signatory to the NPT has the legal right to enrich for peaceful purposes. That Israel has a stockpile of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that go unchecked by the international community. Not a whisper that Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Chris Matthews kept covering his ass by repeating the no American Pres can allow a nuclear Iran. What a wienie. When will CM have the Leveretts on to discuss this issue in depth instead of the safe and approved MSNBC contributors. Eugene Robinson made sure he repeated the pledge of allegiance to Israel that seems to be required of all big shot MSM talking heads “Israel has will always be one of our closest allies” When are they going to stop repeating this line?

    They pounded Aipac publicly. But what they did not say is that Aipac has been pushing this attack Iran agenda for over a decade. Along with Jinsa

    • JeffB
      January 28, 2015, 11:05 pm

      @Kathleen

      Everyone in the planet knows Israel has nuclear weapons, what’s to check? For Israel to sign the NPT it would have to come in as an acknowledged nuclear power. China, France, USA, Russia, UK are the acknowledged nuclear powers. Israel, India and Pakistan are the new kids. Israel and India both have high military expenses like Germany and Japan as well as nuclear weapons.

      When the world is ready to give Israel and India a permanent seat on the security council with veto and make them an acknowledged nuclear power. Then sure they’ll sign. Otherwise why would the have any interest in the NPT?

      Iran is a hostile county towards the USA. Also the UN found them to be non-compliant. You all like to treat the UN as gospel when it comes to Israel, at least be consistent on whether the UN dare not be questioned.

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 8:29 pm

        Jeff talk about “grossly overestimating” Can you provide any proof that the majority of intelligence agencies agree that “they (Iran” have one (a nuclear weapons program” Can you provide any hard and reliable evidence that this is so.

        From everything I have read that is not the conclusion at all.
        http://fcnl.org/issues/iran/us_israeli_intelligence_officials_iran_is_not_pursuing_nuclear_weapons/

        U.S. & Israeli Officials: Iran is NOT Building Nuclear Weapons

        The White House, the Pentagon, U.S. intelligence, and reportedly even Israeli intelligence and leaders of the Israeli military, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) all have reached the same conclusions about Iran’s nuclear program:

        1) Iran does not have a nuclear weapon-it only has a civilian nuclear program at this point
        2) Iran is not building a nuclear weapon
        3) Iran has not made the decision of whether or not to build a nuclear weapon in the future

        “Reuters put it another way: “The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.”

        Below are a sampling of quotes from U.S. and Israeli officials clarifying that while Iran’s nuclear program is a source of concern, Iran is not currently pursuing nuclear weapons. See more quotes from U.S. and Israeli officials warning against an attack on Iran.

        U.S. Officials

        Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta:

        “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.” 2/8/12, Face the Nation

        “I think [Iran is] developing a nuclear capability [but] our intelligence makes clear that they haven’t made the decision to develop a nuclear weapon.” 2/28/12, Senate Budget Committee

        Director of National Intelligence James Clapper:

        “We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.[…] We continue to judge Iran’s nuclear decisionmaking is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran.”

        01/31/12, Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

        Responding to question from Senator Lindsey Graham: “You have doubt about the Iranian’s intention when it comes to making a nuclear weapon?”

        JAMES CLAPPER:

        I do […] I think they’re keeping themselves in a position to make that decision but there are certain things they have not yet done and have not done for some time. […]”

        02/16/12, Senate Armed Services Committee

        Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey:

        In response to Fareed Zakaria’s question, “Do you think that is still unclear, that [Iran is] moving on a path for nuclear technology, but whether or not they choose to make a nuclear weapon is unclear? Dempsey:

        “It is. I believe it is unclear, and on that basis I think it would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us. I mean, I think that the economic sanctions and the international cooperation that we’ve been able to gather around sanctions is beginning to have an effect. I think our diplomacy is having an effect, and our preparedness.”

        2/1912, CNN

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 8:34 pm

        Israel needs to be required to sign the NPT, be inspected to see just what they do have. Also sign the Chemical Weapons convention Agreement.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/05/29/us-israel-nuclear-treaty-idUSTRE64S1ZN20100529

        (Reuters) – Israel on Saturday rejected as “flawed and hypocritical” a declaration by signatories of a global anti-nuclear arms treaty that urged it to sign the pact and make its atomic facilities subject to U.N. inspections.

        All 189 parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the United States, called on Friday in a declaration that singled out Israel for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

        “As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this conference, which has no authority over Israel,” the Israeli government said in an emailed statement.

        “Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation,” it said.

        The 28-page declaration said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and key states would arrange a conference that would include all nations in the region, by implication including bitter enemies Israel and Iran.

        Israel is presumed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal but neither confirms nor denies it. It is the only Middle East state that has not signed the NPT and, like fellow non-members India and Pakistan, did not take part in the review conference.”

        Israel lined up with Myanmar, Angola, Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan for nations refusing to sign the Chemical Weapons Treaty. Great company Israel is in. http://www.opcw.org/about-opcw/non-member-states/

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 8:37 pm

        Israel has plenty of veto power through the U.S. At the UN Israel owns the U.S. when it comes to vetos

      • oldgeezer
        February 1, 2015, 11:20 am

        Israel also needs to sign the biological weapons convention. Another treaty it refuses to sign while complaining about, and calling for the destruction of, others.

  15. Pixel
    January 29, 2015, 12:13 am

    .
    “America Won’t Get in Our Way” (+ English transcript) Netanyahu 2001

    Bibi, in his own words…

    http://youtu.be/hkN1KMLZH4o
    .

    • Kathleen
      January 30, 2015, 9:23 am

      Too bad Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow etc do not have the chutzpah to show that one on their programs…says it all

      • CigarGod
        January 30, 2015, 9:28 am

        Yep…we can be moved very easily…in another direction.

  16. ApolloSpeaks
    January 29, 2015, 4:35 am

    WHERE’S THE EQUALITY BETWEEN NETANYAHU AND OBAMA?

    Compared to Churchillian Bibi Obama (who banished Churchill’s bust from the White House) is a mental and moral pipsqueak-a caricature of a US President and world leader. Churchillian Bibi has the respect of Israel’s armed forces while only 15% of active US servicemen approve of his weak, blundering, feckless Chamberlain-like counterpart in the White House-which tell us a great deal about the leadership skills of both men.

    How are American Jews like myself who patriotically and geostrategically want regime change in Iran (not useless negotiations and lack of support for Iranian dissidents) any less American and supportive of the US for wanting anti-mullah Bibi to speak to Congress given that Obama (who laughably and embarrassingly calls Iran “the Islamic Republic”) is the greatest and most dangerous enabler of anti-US Iran and its growing regional power since Jimmy Carter? I love my country right or wrong. But not my president right or wrong. With Bibi we’ll get moral clarity about Axis of Evil Iran. With Obama we get fawning and butt kissing of the Islamofascist mullahs-the only hope he has left of leaving office with a meaningful foreign policy achievement to rescue his legacy from ashes and dust. Pathetic.

    http://www.apollospeaks.com

  17. JeffB
    January 29, 2015, 8:03 am

    @Kathleen

    Interesting polls Jeff B.

    Yep. This whole AIPAC / Jews are doing it meme is ridiculous. Like in most things, American policy broadly reflects Americans opinion. We may be a propagandized people, but our democracy works pretty well at aligning policy with our opinion. Not perfect, but well.

    When asked about “ally” status of Iran not hard to figure out why the majority of the American public can not imagine Iran as an ally. If all day every day you have Wolf Blitzer, Ed Shultz, Scott Simon, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Diane Rehm etc being willing to strongly infer that Iran has a nuclear weapons program then what can we expect.

    I think there are two things. Those same people would also say that Israel has a nuclear weapons program and they come 2nd to Canada in terms of country that most Americans consider an ally. The issue is the Iranian regime frequently expresses deep hostility to America.

    The talk isn’t just coming from our media, Khamenei , ““On the one hand, I insist that the current officials in the negotiations be supported. They need help, and I, too, help them. On the other hand, I insist that they do not retreat one step from the nuclear rights of the nation — the red lines must be observed.”.

    or

    The nonsense approach of trying to say that the problem is not with the American people but only the America government never flies. Americans understand their government represent them. There is n distinction between the government and the people. It would be like me saying “I hate Mr. X collectively his person, but I don’t hate his individual cells”. “ Even with the American people we do not have enmities, we have a problem with the US government and its arrogance. Arrogance is a term from the Quran, and today the leader of arrogance is the US government.”

    And of course anti-Zionist rhetoric is taken as a desire to start a war with Israel, so language like, ““Sometimes this is heard from the enemies of Iran, such as from the sinister mouth of the unclean rabid dog of the region in the Zionist regime

    ( http://iranpulse.al-monitor.com/index.php/2013/11/3310/khamenei-slams-israel-arrogance-before-negotiations/)

    The reason Americans think the Iranians (and by that I mean the government and the regime’s supporters) hate them is because they do and they express it pretty freely.

    Interesting the question asked about whether U.S. should back up Israel militarily if they attacked Iran 49% oppose to 49% approve.

    I agree. That’s a pretty high level of support for a situation where Israel would be directly violating USA policy and starting a war.

    I keep pushing all of these outlets to talk about how Israel has not signed the NPT and sits on massive stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that go un checked by the international community. Enough of this special status. Enough. Abide by the same rules that they want everyone else to abide by

    I’m not sure who the “they” in this sentence is. I think I responded to you elsewhere on this, not sure if it got through. What putting Israel under the NPT that would mean would be admitting Israel to the NPT as an acknowledged nuclear power. That’s a very big deal. For example it usually comes with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. I can see how this makes sense for Israel and India. I think both of them are regional powers who can effectually project power in their respective spheres at least as much as France can.

    I don’t think disclosure is in the interests of world peace. We know that by the Carter administration Israel had developed a meaningful nuclear second strike capability including the ability to penetrate Soviet air defenses.
    We know that in the 1980s the estimates of the number of warheads was about 300.

    since the 1970s Israel has had 3rd state warheads (Iran is working on a 1st state warhead)
    since the 1990s Israel has had advanced guidance systems.
    since the early 2000s Israel has had a rocketry system capable of putting satellites into orbit.

    Those 3 means they have ICBMs. Israel started their nuclear weapons program in 1958. Iran is probably somewhere around where Israel was 1962 maybe 1963. People are having a lot of trouble accepting the Jewish state as an equal. Do you really think the countries like Iran need to know they are decades behind Israel (if they would ever catch up) and can’t meaningfully defend themselves even against her if it really came to an all out war?

    The answer might be “yes”. But that’s a big change in policy.

    • Kathleen
      January 29, 2015, 9:17 pm

      Jeff “We may be a propagandized people, but our democracy works pretty well at aligning policy with our opinion. ” Oh yeah like when our Reps voted against what 98% of the American public polled were saying..deeper background checks for gun ownership. What a totally bullshit statement “our democracy works pretty well at aligning policy with our opinion. What a crock.

      Jeff “Those same people would also say that Israel has a nuclear weapons program and they come 2nd to Canada in terms of country that most Americans consider an ally.” It is truly part of the unspoken litmus test of our MSM talking heads to repeat over and over again that “Israel is one of our closest allies” There is little to wonder why many Americans repeat what the parrot MSM host constantly repeat.

      • JeffB
        January 30, 2015, 12:20 am

        @Kathleen

        Oh yeah like when our Reps voted against what 98% of the American public polled were saying..deeper background checks for gun ownership

        First off it wasn’t 98% though it was over 90% Second our reps did not uniformally vote against it. It passed in blue states and Democrats overwhelming voted for it.

        There are two ways of measuring public opinion:
        1) Raw percentages ( left)
        2) Percentages intensity weighted (right)

        There are lots of people who when asked favor gun control. There are very few who will change their vote based on gun control. That is there are almost no Republicans who while liking gun control will vote for a Democrat on the issue. Conversely there are quite a lot (i.e. several percentage points, more in some areas) of Democrats and independents who will treat this as their number 1 issue. We just lost the Colorado Senate seat over this issue as a case in point.

        I think it is healthy that we have both a left and a right who uses those two strategies. That is reflective of public opinion. Generally it doesn’t matter because they both align but in the case of gun control or abortion they do produce different results.

        ” It is truly part of the unspoken litmus test of our MSM talking heads to repeat over and over again that “Israel is one of our closest allies” There is little to wonder why many Americans repeat what the parrot MSM host constantly repeat

        it gets very hard to disentangle the whys of public opinion. To what extent does the media lead the public, and to what extent does the public lead the media. I suspect far more of the latter than the former. After all the purpose of TV news is to create a slightly higher susceptibility to being influenced by advertising . That can’t happen if the viewer is rejecting too much of the message and is being critical.

        But regardless the point was the situations with an enemy and a friend are not the same. Americans don’t worry about the UK’s nuclear arsenal either.

  18. just
    January 29, 2015, 8:33 am

    “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that it was Iran that stood behind Hezbollah’s deadly attack on northern Israel a day earlier, in which two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed while on patrol near the Lebanon border.

    “It is Iran that stands behind the attack on us yesterday from Lebanon,” Netanyahu said at a memorial marking a year since the death of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “This is the same Iran that is trying to reach a deal now with world powers that will leave it with the capability of developing nuclear weapons, a deal which we vehemently oppose.”

    “We will continue to defend ourselves against every threat, both near and far. Arik (Sharon) understand very well the Iranian regime’s character, and what he said then still stands today,” Netanyahu added.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.639691?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    While lauding the butcher, Netanyahu continues to rant against and blame Iran.

    I hope that the WH and Congress are listening as he undermines the US in another spew~ AGAIN. He’s no “friend”.

    • eljay
      January 29, 2015, 8:49 am

      “It is Iran that stands behind the attack on us yesterday from Lebanon,” Netanyahu said … “This is the same Iran that is trying to reach a deal now with world powers that will leave it with the capability of developing nuclear weapons, a deal which we vehemently oppose.” “We will continue to defend ourselves against every threat, both near and far. …

      Nuclear-free Iran stands behind Hezbollah; nuclear-armed U.S. stands behind Israel. Sure. So, Bibi, do you support the right of Palestinians to continue to defend themselves against every threat, both near and far? I didn’t think so. Hypocrite.

    • Kay24
      January 29, 2015, 9:44 am

      Here is something that should make the Beebs humiliated.

      Sara Netanyahu brings embarrassment to the PM. We should call her the bottle lady.

      “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, kept thousands of shekels from deposits on empty bottles that were returned, on her orders, to supermarkets in Jerusalem over the course of several years even though the bottle deposits were state property.

      Two years ago, the Netanyahus returned 4,000 shekels for the bottle deposits to the state, estimating that the deposits totalled 1,000 shekels per year. However, according to a former employee of the Netanyahus the amount they owed the state for the bottle deposits — which she had been collecting since her husband became prime minister in 2009 — totalled thousands of shekels more than what they returned — and that the prime minister must have been aware of that.”

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.639717

      • Pippilin
        February 2, 2015, 1:10 pm

        Were they beer bottles?

    • lysias
      January 29, 2015, 10:30 am

      I was shocked when the PBS News Hour only reported that the Spanish peacekeeper had been killed, not whose fire had killed him. But I was even more shocked to read in this morning’s front-page story in the Washington Post only that how the peacekeeper had been killed was being investigated.

      The leading Spanish newspaper El Pais is in no doubt that it was Israeli fire that killed him:

      La ONU no será el único organismo que investigue la muerte del casco azul español Francisco Javier Soria, muerto este miércoles en el sur de Líbano por un proyectil israelí.

      • oldgeezer
        January 29, 2015, 10:47 am

        Neither is Spain in doubt and they have condemned the killing of their soldier by Israel. Israel officials conceded it was their fire that hit the UN troops early on.

        wapo is guilty of reporting only selected facts. While it’s known whose fire killed him the question as to why still needs to investigated. Errant round? Valid target nearby? Intentional?

        So yeah it is being investigated but wapo is either negligent or intentionally misleading it’s readers. Given it’s stand on other issues I would suspect the latter.

      • lysias
        January 29, 2015, 11:13 am

        I just heard the report on the killing of the peacekeeper on this morning’s Democracy Now! The report is quite clear that the peacekeeper was killed by Israeli fire.

      • Whizdom
        January 29, 2015, 12:03 pm

        Lysias,

        After action reports are starting to dribble out. Narrative is IDF was on a fam tour with Givati company grade reinforcements or rotating replacement force in soft sided vehicles. There was an order to return to base, and they were hit by Kornet Spriggan ATGMs while queued at a checkpoint near Qunetra. Everybody doing the CYA hustle.

      • Walid
        January 29, 2015, 12:23 pm

        “The report is quite clear that the peacekeeper was killed by Israeli fire.” (lysias)

        You are surely aware that Israel has the exact coordinates of all UN posts in Lebanon, Syria, and the occupied by Israel areas everywhere. The Spanish corporal was inside the UN compound that received a direct hit from Israeli shelling.

        Killing UN observers is a passion for Israel. In 2006, a clearly marked white-towered UN position was shelled repeatedly in spite of 16 pleas by the UN to Israel that they were being shelled; four UN soldiers, from China, Austria, Finland and Canada, were killed after at least six hours of Israeli bombing and shelling, when it was destroyed by what UN sources say was a precision-guided aerial bomb. It’s obvious Israel wanted these observers dead. You’d remember the Israeli shelling of the UN compound at Qana in 1996 that killed 4 Fijian soldiers and 106 of the 700 civilians that had taken shelter in the compound. The compound had been in the same location since 18 years and very well known to Israel.

        Same thing happened this week that resulted in the death of the Spanish soldier. And that story too will go nowhere because Israel gets a free pass every time.

      • Walid
        January 29, 2015, 2:57 pm

        As anticipated, Hizbullah’s operation was videotaped. This video should show that Israel lied about having only 2 soldiers killed. I’m also guessing that the video will be released tomorrow during Nasrallah’s speech because everybody is expecting something spectacular, but this is being denied.

        Israel is in the habit of hiding the actual number of its soldiers killed. Hizbullah is saying there more than 2 dead during the operation and that 6 anti-tank missiles were used to attack the convoy of 8 or 9 vehicles. Israel is going to have to explain how Hizbullah was able to inflitrate the electrified fences, the cameras and listening devices to get inside Chebaa Farms carrying 6 heavy missile launching equipment (and cameras) complete their operation and get back safely to their base without being detected. Israel fired 50 shells into an open farm field for show because it’s under threat of tit-for-tat retaliation by Hizbullah if it hits anything in Lebanon.

        In 1996, Israeli sent a batallion of commandos into Lebanon for an operation at Ansar. Hizbullah was waiting for them where the helicopter dropped them. 9 Israeli commandos died in the ambush and the parents of the dead soldiers were told by Israel that their sons had died during an excercise. About 3 years ago, Hizbullah released a video of the ambush showing that the 9 soldiers had been killed and when the parents of the 9 dead soldiers found out about it, they took legal action against Israel for having lied to them during the past 13 or 14 years. All this to say that Israel lies about the actual number of its casualties and lies especially to the parents of the soldiers.

        The Hizbullah tapes once released will expose Israel’s lies. Tomorrow’s Nasrallah speech will surely be watched by most people in Israel (at 8 am EST).

      • Walid
        January 29, 2015, 3:09 pm

        I forgot to add that sadly, the only thing that Israel hit in its silly shelling was a Spanish UN soldier.

      • oldgeezer
        January 29, 2015, 3:23 pm

        @Walid

        Whether Israel intentionally targetted the UN soldiers remains to be seen. Past practice says yes but accidents do happen.

        I think that they didn’t hit anything else was certainly intentional. They didn’t want to escalate the situation any further and they knew a hit was coming. At the same time they wanted to appear tough to the electorate. Look at the videos. The rounds are all in the middle of nowhere. Israeli weaponry is not that inaccurate.

      • Kathleen
        January 29, 2015, 9:26 pm

        Lysia to be sure Israel will say that whether it was Israeli fire that killed the UN worker is “disputed”

      • piotr
        February 1, 2015, 10:04 pm

        I tried to check what Walid posted. CNN posts a video “Hezbollah attack kills 3 IDF soldiers”.

        It opens with a joyous jingle, but that was GEICO commercial, so perhaps others will see a more somber opening. Next comes a static photo of missile smoke in a verdant mountain valley and an interview with IDF spokesman, who inform that seven civilian vehicles travelled on a civilian road, and they were attacked with “five lethal anti-tank missiles”, and it just so happened that there were only soldiers inside. The explanation that anti-tank missiles are lethal signifies low confidence in the intelligence of the listeners, and the other tidbit, high confidence in having stupid listeners.

        Since it comes a few days after IDF killed six Hezbollah members without a provocation, I suspect that even Palau will not support an escalation, so killing a UN observer can be IDF masterstroke, showing that “they will respond to any attack without hesitation etc. etc. etc.” while actually avoiding escalation, i.e. killing more members of Hezbollah.

    • Kathleen
      January 29, 2015, 9:13 pm

      Israel is going to do everything in their power to create a false flag operation having to do with Iran

      False Flag

      A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran

      http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/01/13/false-flag/

      • piotr
        February 1, 2015, 10:10 pm

        I think that there is a reasonable suspicion of CIA creating the “false flag” to cover their asses. Pakistani intelligence and military would have few regrets over supporting “Sunni extremists”, but those extremists are also Beluchi separatists, so they were livid, and to continue operating within Pakistan, CIA needed some placating story.

  19. Kay24
    January 29, 2015, 8:39 am

    Ron Dermer gets blasted by WH official. He truly deserves to be deported back to Israel, where he can continue campaigning for Chickenshit. He is a pathetic little skunk.

    “http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/29/us/politics/white-house-expresses-displeasure-over-speech-planned-by-netanyahu.html?_r=0

  20. just
    January 29, 2015, 10:03 am

    The RNC is not faring well: (lololol!)

    “Haaretz’s Debra Nussbaum Cohen sat down with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to talk about the impact of her article about a controversial planned trip to Israel by Republican National Committee members paid for by the American Family Association (AFA)

    On the segment, Maddow broke the news that Bryan Fischer, the organization’s long-time director of issue analysis, has been fired.

    “It does seem surprising that at this juncture, at this moment, he would be fired,” said Nussbaum Cohen on the show, noting that “he’s been around for a long time, saying essentially the same things.”

    In the past, he has said that black people “rut like rabbits” that the US is “a Christian nation and not a Jewish or Muslim one” calling gay activists “jack-booted homo-fascist thugs,” and depicting Islam as “an Ebola virus that is lethal and deadly.””

    video @

    http://www.haaretz.com/video/1.639721?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    • just
      January 29, 2015, 10:23 am

      I daresay that he would not have been fired had it not been his comments wrt Jewish folks, etc. The rest of his/their trash stands, I guess!

      “When “The Rachel Maddow Show” asked AFA President Don Wildmon what prompted Fischer’s ouster, Wildmon specifically referenced Fischer’s bizarre assertions connecting Nazis and homosexuality. Fischer, of course, originally made these remarks years ago, and has repeated related comments in the years since, but talking to us last night, Wildmon now says, “We reject that.””

      http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/afa-ousts-bryan-fischer-group-spokesperson

  21. JeffB
    January 29, 2015, 8:50 pm

    @Kathleen

    Tell us which country is actively, publicly and aggressively going after the other.

    I think they both are going at each other. Iran is arming Hezbollah and has tried to send them more advanced missiles. The purpose of those missiles was to be used (not deterrence) to hit Israel. They also armed Hamas until recently similarly. They’ve been involved in other anti-Israeli activities abroad and are the major proponent of the classic Arab nationalist approach from a century ago that all Jewish Israelis should “return to the countries they came from” whatever that would mean in 2015.

    That being said it is absolutely Israel is encouraging a USA / Iranian war. Iran is being really annoying while Israel’s threats are much more likely to result in hundreds of thousands of millions of casualties.

    As far as I’m concerned.

    a) Israel and Iran were friendly until 1979. Iran started the hostile relationship.
    b) Israel has several times reached out to Iran to go back to their old friendship. Iran has been uniformally hostile.
    c) Iran is a PIA for the USA attacking America regularly. I’m not sure if USA / Iran war is necessary and I like Obama’s approach but if it happens, given their aggression, I won’t think of it is a horrible crime.

    I noticed you did not say anything about the massive hypocrisy that Israel is the nation demanding, pushing that Iran abide by the NPT.

    I think I responded to that point twice in this thread, but we are criss-crossing. If you still don’t think I have let me know.

    No not abide stop enriching uranium all together which is their legal right. That Israel sits on top a massive pile of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that to un checked by the International community. Is that not a huge hypocrisy in your book?

    A huge hypocrisy in my book from whom about what? Israel don’t want Iran to have a nuclear weapon or nuclear capacity. They could care less about the NPT. Israel doesn’t want their enemies doing stuff they do, there is nothing hypocritical about that. Your goal is to be beat your enemies not match them, that’s the way the game is played. If you mean something else then I guess clarify.

    I have read many of the letters that nations in that part of the world have written the head of the IAEA, the Un etc demanding that Israel sign the NPT and play by the same rules that they demand others abide by. Iran has pushed for a middle east nuclear free zone.

    In general declining powers want weapons control agreements while rising powers want weapons advances so I don’t find Iran’s position surprising. They more primitive the weaponry used the greater the advantage Iran’s population and real estate provides. The more advanced the weaponry the greater the advantage Israel’s technology provides.

    Though even better then open competition for Israel is Iran being hindered. Israel’s development in the 1950s and 1960s was very difficult both politically and economically. Iran has so far had an easier time of it. Is that hypocrisy?

    It was Israel and the U.S. that refused to participate in a IAEA conference some years back because they knew Israel was going to get called out on this hypocrisy.

    What hypocrisy? Israel would prefer to be an open nuclear power. It is the rest (or most of the rest?) of the world that would object to admitting Israel with that status. I don’t know how much longer it will be avoidable as Israel keeps climbing up the weapons export chain in terms of weapon advances.

    And I don’t think Matthews is left at all on the issue of Iran. I believe in fact he is to the right on this issue as so many so called “liberals” are.

    We know that somewhere between 50-70% of the senate wants to increase sanctions now. We know the number is much higher than 2/3rds in the house. That means Obama is to left and Matthews is to the left.

    I am with the Leveretts (who are clearly beyond brilliant and been on the deep inside) that there is no hard proof supporting he repeated claims, that Iran has the right to enrich and nothing Iran does will appease Israel.

    The question is whether Iran can appease the USA not Israel. The USA has made it clear that a well monitored purely peaceful nuclear program is acceptable to the USA. That goes beyond what the NPT demands but is in keeping with the spirit of the NPT. Israel will not be happy about such a solution. They know from their own experience that the USA can be fooled. That being said they likely will not take drastic actions on their own, though they may do other things to slow Iran down somewhat even if the USA is satisfied

  22. Kathleen
    January 29, 2015, 9:10 pm

    Looking for the Tim Russet (Meet The Press) interview with then VP Cheney where Cheney goes off on Iran makes all sorts of unsubstantiated claims and Russert does not challenge him. This interview does not have Cheney’s rant about Iranis classic about the Iraq invasion based on lies
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3080244/ns/meet_the_press/t/transcript-sept/#.VMrgdcnO-Xg

    “MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to weapons of mass destruction. I asked you back in March what you thought was the most important rationale for going to war with Iraq. There’s the question, and here is your answer:

    “…the combination of [Saddam’s] development and use of chemical weapons, his development of biological weapons, his pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: And the tie to terror.

    MR. RUSSERT: Where are they?

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I think that the jury is still out in terms of trying to get everything pulled together with respect to what we know. But we’ve got a very good man now in charge of the operation, David Kay. He used to run UNSCOM, a highly qualified, technically qualified and able individual. He’s in charge of the operation now. And I also think, Tim, that if you go back and look at what we found to date, that we—there’s no doubt in my mind but what Saddam Hussein had these capabilities. This wasn’t an idea cooked up overnight by a handful of people, either in the administration or out of the CIA. The reporting that led to the National Intelligence Estimate, upon which I based my statements to you, that was produced a year ago now, the essence of which has since been declassified, that was the product of hundreds of people working over probably 20 years, back at least to the Osirak reactor in 1981. The conclusions in that NIE, I think, are very valid. And I think we will find that in fact they are valid. What we’re dealing with here is a regime that had to learn after we hit them in ’91 that anything above ground was likely to be destroyed in an air campaign. They’d gone through many years of inspections. They knew they had to hide and bury their capabilities in this region inside their civilian structure. And I think that’s what they did. And if you look—we’ll talk about the nuclear program. The judgment in the NIE was that if Saddam could acquire fissile material, weapons-grade material, that he would have a nuclear weapon within a few months to a year. That was the judgment of the intelligence community of the United States, and they had a high degree of confidence in it.

    What do we know ahead? Well, we know he had worked on the program for 20 years. We know he had technicians who knew how do this stuff because they had been working on it over that period of time. We believed, the community believed, that he had a workable design for a bomb. And we know he had 500 tons of uranium. It is there today at Tuwaitha, under seal of the International Atomic Energy Agency. All those are facts that are basically not in dispute. And since we got in there, we found—we had a gentleman come forward, for example, with full designs for a process centrifuge system to enrich uranium and the key parts that you’d need to build such a system. And we know Saddam had worked on that kind of system before. That’s physical evidence that we’ve got in hand today.

    So to suggest that there is no evidence there that he had aspirations to acquire nuclear weapon, I don’t think is valid, and I think David Kay will find more evidence as he goes forward, interviews people, as we get to folks willing to come forward now as they become more and more convinced that it’s safe to do so, that, in fact, he had a robust plan, had previously worked on it and would work on it again.

    Same on biological weapons—we believe he’d developed the capacity to go mobile with his BW production capability because, again, in reaction to what we had done to him in ’91. We had intelligence reporting before the war that there were at least seven of these mobile labs that he had gone out and acquired. We’ve, since the war, found two of them. They’re in our possession today, mobile biological facilities that can be used to produce anthrax or smallpox or whatever else you wanted to use during the course of developing the capacity for an attack.

    So on CW and chemical weapons, my guess is it’s buried inside his civilian infrastructure. That’s not an unusual place to put it. And, again, David Kay’s task is to look for the people that were involved in the program, to find documentary evidence to back it up, to find physical evidence when he can find that. It’s a hard task, but I have got great confidence that he can do this. And again, the whole notion that somehow there’s nothing to the notion that Saddam Hussein had WMD or had developed WMD, it just strikes me as fallacious. It’s not valid now. Nobody drove into Baghdad and had somebody say, “Hey, there’s the building over there where all of our WMDs stored.” But that’s not the way the system worked.
    Advertise

    MR. RUSSERT: There’s real debate about those labs. But I want to talk about something very specific. And that was the president’s State of the Union message when he said that the British had learned that Saddam was acquiring uranium from Africa. That was in January. In March the head of the International Energy Atomic Agency, ElBaradei, issued this statement: “A key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated, the United Nations’ chief nuclear inspector said in a report…Documents that purportedly showed Iraqi officials shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were deemed ‘not authentic’ after carefully scrutiny by U.N. and independent experts, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the U.N. Security Council. Also, ElBaradei reported finding no evidence of banned weapons or nuclear material in an extensive sweep of Iraq using advanced radiation detectors. ‘There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities,’ ElBaradei said.”

    Eight days after that, you were on MEET THE PRESS, and we…

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Right.

    MR. RUSSERT: …talked about that specifically. Let’s watch:

    (Videotape, March 16, 2003):

    MR. RUSSERT: And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency said he does not have a nuclear program, we disagree.

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: I disagree, yes. And you’ll find the CIA, for example, and other key parts of our intelligence community, disagree.

    And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei, frankly, is wrong. And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency and this kind of issue, especially where Iraq is concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing. I don’t have any reason to believe they’re any more valid this time than they’ve been in the past.”

    (End videotape)

    MR. RUSSERT: Reconstituted nuclear weapons. You misspoke.

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Yeah. I did misspeak. I said repeatedly during the show weapons capability. We never had any evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon.

    MISSPOKE MY ASS. The Bush administration knew exactly what they were doing

    —————————————————————————————————————-

    Cheney’s interview with Russert where Iran is brought up.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3080244/ns/meet_the_press/t/transcript-sept/#.VMrih8nO-Xg

    “MR. RUSSERT: But you’ve also lost—you’ve also lost a buffer to Iran, and that’s what I’m going to come back and talk about, if I could.

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Mm-hmm.

    MR. RUSSERT: A quick break with the vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney, right after this.

    (Announcements)

    MR. RUSSERT: More with Vice President Dick Cheney after this brief station break.

    (Announcements)

    MR. RUSSERT: And we’re back with the vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney. Let me show you what Mr. Khatami from Iran, visiting the United States, had to say and read it to you and our viewers.

    “Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned that U.S. military action in the Middle East has backfired, producing greater terrorism, imperiling the future of Iraq and damaging America’s long-term interests.

    “But the danger of even great instability in the region will ultimately prevent the U.S. from launching military strikes against Iran over disputes about its nuclear intentions, he predicted. …

    “America will not make the” same “mistake of attacking Iran. … Iran is not Iraq.” Is he right?

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, we certainly understand Iran is not Iraq. I’m not sure I would agree with much of what else he said. Obviously, we’re concerned about what Iran is up to. We think their pursuit of enrichment capability that would allow them ultimately to produce nuclear weapons is fundamentally a problem for that part of the world. That’s a view shared by most of our friends in the international community.
    Advertise

    MR. RUSSERT: How do you stop them?

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, we’ve started through the process of working with the other nations involved. The EU 3, the Russians and the Chinese, we’ve got resolutions for the U.N. Security Council, a tough resolution in July, that basically calls on them to give up their nuclear aspirations. And since they have not responded affirmatively to that, we’re now in the process of negotiating with the U.N. Security Council members and part of that P5 process on a set of sanctions that could be approved by the United Nations and imposed on Iran.

    MR. RUSSERT: Will we do anything to stop the Iranians from having a nuclear bomb?

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: We have said repeatedly that we think they should not have a nuclear bomb. And we have also made it abundantly clear we want to solve the problem diplomatically. But the president has always emphasized no options have been taken off the table.

    MR. RUSSERT: Is there a problem with our country and the world if the president came forward and said, “I have intelligence which says Iran is this far advanced,” and people in the world and the people in the country say, “Is that the same intelligence that you had on Iraq, Mr. President?”

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, the—of course, much of the information that’s been available on what Iran is doing is the result of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Inspectors have been kicked out of Iraq. Obviously, here you’ve got more access from an international body that I think most people wouldn’t question.

    MR. RUSSERT: But you rejected their intelligence leading up to Iraq.

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Right.

    MR. RUSSERT: I asked you on this very program…

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: That’s correct.

    MR. RUSSERT: …about ElBaradei and you said he’s wrong.
    Advertise

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Yes. It wasn’t consistent with our report.

    MR. RUSSERT: But he was right about Iraq.

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: I haven’t, I haven’t looked at it. I’d have to go back and look at it again. But your point, Tim, in terms of the credibility of the reporting, there’s not much dispute within the international community—and that includes the Russians, that includes the Europeans—that in fact the Iranians are pursuing capabilities that would allow them to produce nuclear weapons.

    MR. RUSSERT: Do we have the military wherewithal to take out the Iranian program?

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: I, I don’t want to speculate on military options. It’s not wise. And Rumsfeld would probably object.”

  23. Kathleen
    January 29, 2015, 9:40 pm

    Remember when Dr. Zbig Brzezinski said:

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2009/09/zbig-brzezinski-obama-administration-should-tell-israel-us-will-attack-israeli-jets-if-they-try-to-a/

    Zbig Brzezinski: Obama Administration Should Tell Israel U.S. Will Attack Israeli Jets if They Try to Attack Iran
    Email 7 Smaller Font Text Larger Text | Print

    By MichaelJames
    Sep 20, 2009 11:10am

    The national security adviser for former President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, gave an interview to The Daily Beast in which he suggested President Obama should make it clear to Israel that if they attempt to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons sites the U.S. Air Force will stop them.

    “We are not exactly impotent little babies,” Brzezinski said. “They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? … We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a ‘Liberty’ in reverse.”

    The USS Liberty was a U.S. Navy technical research ship that the Israeli Air Force mistakenly attacked during the Six Day War in 1967.

  24. Kathleen
    January 29, 2015, 9:55 pm

    And who can forget Norman Finkelstein on this one “Israel is a lunatic state”

    http://normanfinkelstein.com/2014/08/07/the-word-is-out-israel-is-a-lunatic-state/

    Carter, Finkelstein and Dr. Brzezinski have brought up the possibility of Israel using their nukes in the middle east

  25. Kathleen
    January 29, 2015, 10:33 pm

    If you really want to understand the situation with Iran read former IAEA weapons inspector Scott Ritter’s book “Target Iran” A must read http://www.amazon.com/Target-Iran-Houses-Regime-Change/dp/1568583567

    Watch and listen to his many interviews about Iran and other middle east issues on Cspan

    http://www.c-span.org/person/?scottritter

    Remember this is the inspector that did everything in his power to alert the American people that the Bush administrations WMD claims were to be seriously questioned ..before the invasion. Chris Matthews sure did not have experts on his program before the invasion who were questioning the validity of the intelligence. Yet he claimed after the invasion that he was against those actions.

    He will try to pull the same thing off if the U.S. or Israel attacks Iran “oh I was against military intervention’ Yet Chris and his ilk will not have real experts on his program to discuss the Iran issue in a very serious and accurate way..like the Leveretts, El Baradei, Prof Cole Dr. Zbig etc Just keeps having the MSNBC contributors on. STay tuned for Melissa Harris Perry because she will surely go out on a truth limb far more than her colleagues at MSNBC. Possibly Joy Reid too.

  26. JeffB
    January 30, 2015, 1:07 am

    @Kathleen

    Jeff on your argument that everyone knows Israel has nuclear weapons. So what? Are you saying that they are exempt from playing by the same rules as Iran etc. Sure sounds like it.

    Yes. Nuclear states under the NPT participate in joint meeting whose goal is to avoid proliferating to non-nuclear states. Non-nuclear states agree not to develop. Nuclear states agree not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states (even if acting in concert) except in response to a nuclear attack, non nuclear states agree not to receive weapons from a nuclear state that is proliferating…. The NPT is an asymmetrical treaty.

    They wouldn’t be in the situation that Iran is in because they already have an advanced nuclear program. Nuclear states BTW do not reveal the extent of their weapons program.

    As if Israel does not pose a real threat to peace in the middle east.

    What does peace have to do with it? The question is not whether a country poses a threat to peace but whether it poses a threat to the USA and/or the other nuclear powers. Again no one cares about the UK’s nuclear arsenal while Iran’s attempts to build one are likely to result in regime change.

    To be honest I agree with the French of the 1950s and 60s. I think Israel’s nuclear weapons are a stabilizing force not the reverse. There were and still are fantasies that Israel can be dismantled and Zionism reversed. Making it clear to everyone the end of Zionism is going to require a full on nuclear confrontation with a country with 2nd strike capability I think removes the option of seriously threatening Israel lightly. I can’t think of anything which is more effective in keeping the peace than knowing that Israel in 1973 was willing to nuke its own villages to stop an advancing Syrian army if it came to that. That knowledge was a big part of why countries like Egypt and Syria began to give up entirely on a military solution and turned. The Soviet position of the 1960s (which is basically the BDS position) required repeated wars: no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and ‘maintenance of the rights of the Palestinian people in their nation.’ By making it clear to the Arab parties that there was no possibility for victory at an acceptable cost, a desire for peace started to emerge.

    More importantly for peace, Israel’s nuclear forces were effective in deterring the Soviets. While the Soviets could believe that America might be willing to sacrifice Israel to avoid a collapse in the world oil market the Soviets knew that Israel would not sacrifice itself to avoid a collapse in the oil market. As Israel in the late 1970s developed the ability to deter the Soviets (i.e. at least a reasonable 2nd strike capability) the Soviets backed off their aggression towards Israel and as a result the Israeli / Egyptian peace and Israeli / Syrian detente became possible.

    It’s been 40 years since there has been a major middle east war involving Israel. I think it is quite possible that Israel’s nuclear forces were a major contributing factor to that peace. For example I don’t think Iran would be nearly as aggressive with Israel as they are being if they understood America’s internal political dynamics and how close to the line where we decide on regime change they really are.

    So FWIW I don’t think Israel nukes are a threat to peace in the same way Iranian nukes are. Iranian nukes are anti-American nukes. Israeli nukes were anti-Soviet and while today don’t serve much purpose I can easily see them again being useful to keep the peace.

  27. JeffB
    January 30, 2015, 8:16 am

    @Kathleen

    Jeff still wondering where you come up with a statement that most intelligence agencies say that Iran is developing nuclear weapons? Can you provide some links?

    I think you are confusing two things. Let me start with a link which I think is a fair summary. You tell me if you agree or disagree with their presentation of the status. That is what facts we disagree on:: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/world/middleeast/us-agencies-see-no-move-by-iran-to-build-a-bomb.html?_r=0

    To comment on the above though. I didn’t say that Iran was building a bomb, I said that Iran has a nuclear weapons program which is a slightly lower bar.

    nuclear weapons program = engaging in activities to get a country closer to having a nuclear weapon. I.E. reducing the time between when they decide to build a weapon and when a weapon will be built.

    building a nuclear weapon = the point in a nuclear weapons program where a country has processed enough uranium or plutonium to create a warhead, and has a delivery mechanism and spends the resources to put those together.

    Let’s take the United States for example. In Aug 1939 in a serious way we had discussions about whether to do the research for an atomic bomb and the answer was, “yes”. We weren’t doing much about it though. Right after Pearl Harbor, December 18, 1941 we meaningfully start doing the work. At that point we aren’t building a bomb or anything remotely close. In 1942 we are just discovering if we can produce plutonium at all. In 1943 we are failing in some ways and succeeding in others in extracting uranium-235. Its pretty clear that these steps were getting us closer to a bomb. But in 1943 we did not build a bomb and still had no specific plans to build a bomb (we didn’t even know how yet). Of course we had general plans that’s why we were doing all this but in the most minimal literal sense in 1943 we were not building a bomb.

    India btw during their phase argued they weren’t building a nuclear weapon when they did everything to get towards a nuclear bomb but final assembly. Israel to keep the cost of their program down has reduced their state of nuclear readiness. So if you asked how many functional nuclear devices Israel has it might just be a handful. And that’s all during a massive upgrade of their capacity that has occurred since 1995.

    Q to the Israelis: How many weapons do you have?
    Honest Answer based on what we know: Oh almost none. We just over the last 15 years have spent a fortune to more quickly be able to build parts for weapons. But those are just steps. We have kept are at least 3-7 days of assembly away from having around 100 nuclear missiles.

    Do you consider that building weapons? If the answer is “no”, then absolutely Iran isn’t building a weapon. Most answer that yes. Iran is engaging in behaviors that a country uninterested in nuclear weapons would not be engaging in and that are expensive. They clearly have some sort of nuclear program. They clearly want it to be secret. As far as I know everyone agrees on this. The debate between the hawks and the doves (in congress, the American people have a wider range) is how close to let Iran get. And there certainly is some level of disagreement about how close Iran is or intends to get. But if one really does believe it is completely unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons than their current nuclear program is unacceptable since it is constructed in a way different than what a country with 100% non-military intentions would have used.

    That’s the problem. That’s why people say they have a weapons program. A lot of the quotes you have been providing in context are assessments about how close. I agree those are all over the map. It appears that right after 9/11 Iran took some major steps towards a nuclear weapon but backed off once they began interfering with US operations in Iraq. It appears, they decided, wisely that building a nuclear weapon and funding terrorism was a good way to get invaded so they could do one or the other and they picked funding terrorism. In 2007 when the CIA made the claim that Iran had stopped its program that opinion was rejected by most intelligence services, i.e. the CIA is and remains more dovish than the Europeans (and the Israelis). Which is why I was saying most intelligence services… because we know the CIA is one of the most dovish on this issue.

    So anyway take a look at the NYTimes article and get a bit more specific about where you disagree with me and them. You don’t have to provide evidence but I want specifics for your assessment. Otherwise I think you aren’t disagreeing with the hawks on what is happening you just want to allow Iran to get really close.

    • Kathleen
      January 31, 2015, 10:29 am

      Will read. But just glancing there is no hard evidence that they have a nuclear weapons program. In fact the most recent IAEA reports and other intelligence groups say it is not the case. They have the right to enrich uranium up to 20% for proven peaceful purposes. Israel does not want them to enrich at all. And along with the U.S. refused the deal that I believe Iran was willing to accept (according to the Leveretts over at Going to Tehran) for Brazil and Turkey to do their enrichment.

      Will read your whole post and link later.

      This morning had this thought wondering if Charlie Hebdo mag or its equivalent will be doing a cartoon of Netanyahu and Boehner giving getting felatio b.j. favors. Anyone here at Mondo capable of drawing this image? Could be the first place the image surfaces Look do not get me wrong those killings of political cartoonist were horrific and the killers got what they deserved. However I am of the thinking just because you can does not mean you should. Although with all of the screaming about freedom of the press and all I am surprised someone has not drawn the image of Boehner and Netanyahu pleasing one another

    • Kathleen
      January 31, 2015, 11:25 pm

      Jeff read and will read again tomorrow. Can’t say that there is much to disagree with. Intelligence agencies say there is no hard evidence to confirm that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. How can anyone really argue with their right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. This is part of the NPT agreement. They signed, Israel has not. They have a legal right to enrich. However Israel does not want them to enrich at all.

      Jeff you have not said anything in response to the U.S., Israel refusing the deal that the Leveretts have said Iran was willing to accept which was Brazil and Turkey enriching uranium for them. Iran just can not win with Israels agenda being in the drivers seat. No enrichment and no one enriching for them. You have to be out of your ever loving mind if you cannot see the dangerous contradictions here. Israel calling Iran out is absurd,,,ludicrous!

      • CigarGod
        January 31, 2015, 11:54 pm

        1. Jeff is the crazy guy on the corner. If you argue with him, who’s the crazy one?

        Or

        2. He’s not crazy, he’s an actor and his job is to keep an otherwise intelligent and moral person…away from productive work.

      • JeffB
        February 1, 2015, 5:57 am

        @Kathleen

        Reread the comment about the distinction between building a nuclear weapon and having a nuclear weapons program.

        Jeff you have not said anything in response to the U.S., Israel refusing the deal that the Leveretts have said Iran was willing to accept which was Brazil and Turkey enriching uranium for them.

        I’m not a nuclear weapons expert. What I’m going to say is that Obama has taken a clear position of trying to avoid war and towards negotiations from 2007 on. So I give him the benefit of the doubt, when he rules something out as BS and gives a reason I’m going to accept that unless it doesn’t make sense. Quite simply if Iran can’t reach agreement with Obama then they can’t reach agreement with the USA.

        Obama dismissed the 2010 enriching arrangement with Turkey and Brazil. What’s clear is that the USA agreed to Iran pushing all of its low enriched uranium to those countries and get 20% enriched uranium back. What they refused to have is a situation where Iran was enriching some uranium themselves, shipping some of the low-enriched stuff off and getting some of the 20%-enriched end stuff back. Enriching uranium is part of a weapons program and that’s unacceptable to the USA. Having less low-enriched uranium was good and the USA certainly indicated it pushed the clock back on taking drastic action but it solved only a small part of the problem.

        So our (the USA) position seems reasonable given a country who can’t be trusted. They can do power but they can’t do stuff that is dual usage. If it good for power but also advances them more than slightly on the road towards a weapons system then it is unacceptable.

        This is part of the NPT agreement.

        Iran is a country that engaged in terrorism against the USA steadily for decades. They have consistently taken a position to thwart USA interests and aggression against the USA. They have also done so against USA allies. They are a well known bad actor and as such their development towards a weapons system is a much more serious matter than France’s or India’s is. They aren’t being held to the NPT standard interpreted as flexibly as possible, they are being held to a higher standard. No one, including the USA, is disputing they are being held to a higher standard by the USA than the NPT requires.

        However Israel does not want them to enrich at all.

        Israel doesn’t want them to have a nuclear program at all even one that doesn’t involve enrichment. The USA is a more tolerant than Israel with Iran-hawks being only a bit more tolerant and Iran-doves moderately more tolerant. Everyone is less tolerant than the NPT. There is a range between “absolutely no nuclear program” and “full rights under the NPT interpreted in the most flexible way possible”. The USA is going to be somewhere in that range not at either extreme. Israel is pushing for the USA to adopt a position as close as possible to the least flexible extreme and Iran is pushing for the USA to adopt a position at the most flexible extreme.

        You have to be out of your ever loving mind if you cannot see the dangerous contradictions here.

        There is no contradiction here. They aren’t being held to the same standard. One country is pro-USA one country is anti-USA. One country has had weapons for decades and has not used them. Once country has freely proliferated to groups with the full knowledge and understanding those groups were going to use weapons to kill Americans. The world is OK with Israel having nuclear weapons that are quite sophisticated they are not OK with Iran making progress on primitive ones. One country is a threat the other is not. A convicted felon cannot own the same kinds of weapons I can.

        As for the NPT and Israel. I addressed that above. If Israel were to be admitted to the NPT, they are admitted as a nuclear power. The spectrum for Israel is somewhere between Pakistan where we know they have weapons don’t like that fact and are mildly discouraging about their program about it and the UK where we have not only actively cooperated on making their program more sophisticated but also allow them to openly set policies for other countries. That’s not the same spectrum.

        I also have the problem that you are using a definition of weapons program that most nuclear powers wouldn’t qualify for. For example the USA under Truman post WWII might not be “building a weapon” in the strictest sense. So you applying this incredibly minimalist definition to Iran while applying a common sense definition to everyone else.

        If your point is that Iran’s program isn’t being treated like Israel’s program you are right they aren’t and they aren’t going to be. While Kennedy was unhappy when Israel was at this phase of their weapons program we never discussed going to war to stop it. Ben-Gurion is not Khamenei and the USA doesn’t and shouldn’t treat them the same.

        What is a somewhat better analogy is Israel’s slow annexation of all of mandate Palestine and Iran’s slow progress towards a nuclear weapon. There both countries are facing similar pressures. Israel had to fight several wars already over this issue and has had quite a lot of pressure applied since then. But over a period of decades Israel has slowly moved the ball down the field regarding what other countries will accept. Similarly I suspect Iran over a period of decades is going to move the ball down the field about how far along and how a big a weapons program they can have.

      • Kathleen
        February 1, 2015, 10:36 am

        Cigar surprised you have not put that below Annie and Hops conversations/arguments. I watch Hop pull folks deep down a rabbit hole all of the time.

        Now can’ t say that I follow everything that JeffB has to say however I don’t find his arguments too far fetched. Actually damn consistent with the Chris Matthews of the world. Disconnnected to the facts, running on the arguments of the warmongers “what ifs” “existential threats” it is perfectly acceptable for Israel to operate by different rules. Well I have just demonstrated how far fetched has become normalized in JeffB’s arguments and Chris Matthews and Eugene Robinson’s sweeping statements with all logic dissappearing. “Israel always has been and will continue to be one of our best allies” Chris Matthews, Jeff B, Eugene Robinson and their ilk ignore that Israel’s persistent and shameless building of illegal settlements, theft of Palestinian lands, destruction of their agricultural lands, destruction of homes, humiliation of Palestinians at checkpoints, killing of innocent civilians, systematic oppressive laws ending up with an apartheid state has and continues to undermine U.S. national security but Israel based on internationally recognized borders security. This is what has become normalized.

        JeffB’s link to the New York Times actually supports many of my points. That intelligence agencies, the IAEA etc generally have made statements supporting that there is no hard evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. What Jeff, Chris Matthews and many others refuse to talk about is Irans legal right to enrich, Israel and the U.S. refusing the deal that Brazil and Turkey put forward years ago to do Irans enrichment. That Israel continues to refuse to sign the NPT, Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty yet demands that other nations in their neighborhood abide by. But in regard to Iran Israel does not want Iran to abide by the NPT they want Iran not to be able to enrich at all or have enriched uranium which they are legally allowed to have.

        Israel is being the extremely spoiled brat in this circumstance. Which has become their MO. Do as we say not as we do.

      • CigarGod
        February 1, 2015, 11:13 am

        Hi Kathleen,
        I’m sorry for making my comment sound like a personal attack. I didn’t mean it that way. I’ve spent my fair share of time arguing with the crazy guy on the corner, too. Especially over at Huffpo, before she sold it. I just don’t find much maturity or honesty in offivial Israel positions or their defenders. They seem to think the point of debate…is the debate…not the discovery of common/workable thought. There is a philosophical divide. We say: Equality for all will bring peace. They say: Stop resisting our oppression and we’ll give you peace. Immature and dishonest but they won’t admit it. So, i disagree. Israel does not have a right to impose unreasonableness as if it is reasonable.

      • Kathleen
        February 2, 2015, 4:08 pm

        Cigar..know you did not mean anything personal. Just do not think Jeff B is the “crazy guy” at the corner of the Mondoweiss block (there are others I might put in that category). Do think Jeff B knows Israel is in the wrong…the very wrong and he is trying his best to defend the indefensible. Jeff knows Israel is in deep doo doo because the lid has blown off this issue, the facts are out and there is no going back. Israel has been exposed as the apartheid state that it is…Jeff knows this.

        On talking with the “crazy guy” at the corner. Have to admit I sometimes do talk with the so called “crazy” ladies and men at the corner. Often the men are Vets and women are in need of real mental health treatment. And they often have some very deep insights mixed in with their mental health issues. Broken people who often don’t stand a chance. Sometimes really worth hearing their stories and lending a hand

      • CigarGod
        February 2, 2015, 8:46 pm

        Thanks, Kathleen. I see now my comment was insensitive. I’m in solidarity with your last paragraph.

  28. bintbiba
    January 31, 2015, 11:35 am

    : ))

  29. JeffB
    February 1, 2015, 2:21 pm

    @oldgeezer

    Israel also needs to sign the biological weapons convention. Another treaty it refuses to sign while complaining about, and calling for the destruction of, others.

    Who has Israel demanded sign the CWC or BWC? When Egypt, Syria and Israel all had active programs in the 1960s there was no call for any of them to be destroyed. Obviously they objected to (and prevented) Iran / Syria proliferating chemical weapons to Hezbollah. But other than that I haven’t heard them say much of anything on this front. So what are we talking about.

    As for signing the CWC. I think that’s a reasonable ask. I’m not sure anyone really cares but I can easily see it happening. Of the 3 this one doesn’t present a problem.

    BWC OTOH does,. IF rumors are correct they have the normal BW stuff which doesn’t really matter and some rather powerful viral agents. And those viral agents are strategic. The USA could easily win a nuclear war easily against Israel is the USA. USA missiles are just too fast and too numerous for Israel, our air defense too good, they don’t have 2nd stroke capability against us today. We are going to spend about as much this coming decade on our nuclear weapons systems upgrade as Israel’s entire defense budget, which means we are likely to pull further ahead by 2025. If the USA ever becomes anti-Zionists Israel does not have a plausible nuclear deterrent against the USA. Everyone is buddy buddy of course but you’ve seen those campus rallies. Things can change. I don’t think they will but the chance isn’t 0, after all the point of this board is to work towards that change (though obviously there is some differences between even a strong sanctions regime and a massive nuclear attack). Assuming the rumors are correct and Israel does have a plausible BWC deterrent against us, I can see why they would and they should be reluctant to give that up. As Sharon put it, “This time we do not go to Auschwitz alone”.

    When people talk about “forcing Israel out of the West Bank” BWs may put a ceiling on how much force can be applied. Israel is still a 2nd rate power but in the 1970s it was vital for Israeli security that they had a nuclear 2nd strike against the Soviets. I don’t know what 2030s look like and I doubt it will matter but I’m not wiling to bet the lives of 7m Israelis on doubting it will matter.

    • Kathleen
      February 1, 2015, 5:59 pm

      Yes I meant the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty. Look Jeff you and I will clearly have to agree to disagree. I believe based on the sizeable amount that I have read about this issue at the IAEA’s website, Leveretts, Informed Comment, numerous reports that Iran is in the right on this issue. That it is Israel who is pushing this agenda based on a desire to have partial control over the region based on their weaponry and threat to use it.

      That the U.S. and Israel are the aggressors. That given the history of the U.S. and U.K. creating and supporting a coup to overthrow democratically elected Mosedegh in the 70s so that they maintained control over the oil and gas industry in Iran is reason enough for Iran to never want to do business with the U.S. Israel and the I lobbies in the U.S. have and continue to push this disaster waiting to happen.

      Who knows maybe Israel’s intent is to take down the U.S. economy (they certainly have conciously undermined U.S. national security) as well as have quite the influence on the region

      • JeffB
        February 2, 2015, 4:35 pm

        @Kathleen

        Just wanted to make sure you saw the 2/1 5:57 am comment.

        That it is Israel who is pushing this agenda based on a desire to have partial control over the region based on their weaponry and threat to use it.

        Of course Israel is doing that. Which is the same reason Iran has involved itself in the I/P dispute. They are physically attached to the Arabian peninsula without about Arabs. For both of them their quality of life depends on having partial control of the region. They used to work together, now they are on opposite sides, but the basic principle is the same for both. Nuclear weapons increase regional power.

        That the U.S. and Israel are the aggressors.

        Yes, we do disagree on that. I certainly think Iran has been aggressive to the United States and its openly stated policy towards Israel is one of almost unlimited aggression. If the USA and the Israelis were the aggressors, what did the USA do to Iran that caused Iran to start killing USA troops in Iraq?

        upporting a coup to overthrow democratically elected Mosedegh in the 70s

        Mosaddegh was in power 1951-3. He was dead all during the 1970s. The Iranian government in the 1970s was quite friendly to the United States and decent towards Israel. Which I think disproves the idea of aggression. When the Iranians were cooperative we were friendly.

        Obviously that was a mistake. But the fact that you could make that mistake means you don’t understand the context of what happened. The British and Iran were arguing about how to split up British investment in Iran. The United States under Truman sided with Iran not Britain and condemned the “rule-or-ruin policy in Iran”. That changed over the course of a year to use supporting the British position. as Mosaddegh started to openly align with the Soviets. Mosaddegh wasn’t a child he understood that aligning with the Soviets was a direct threat to USA interests and meant he was on the other side.

        There is a tendency in leftwing propaganda to not hold 3rd world people to the same standards that first world people are held to. They are always the acted upon, never the actors. I don’t do that. Mosaddegh made a choice of allies. Mosaddegh choose badly.

        When you join the enemy camp you get treated like an enemy. Iran made that choice in 1952 not the USA which had stood behind Iran’s claims and supported them. Everyone is dead so I don’t see the point in even worrying about it, but if we are the Iranians need to start owning their part in the events of 1951-3.

  30. Kathleen
    February 3, 2015, 12:08 am

    I totally know that Mosadegh was overthrown in the 50’s. Total slip up. My point being Iran has no reason to trust U.S. in any way shape or form. Leverett’s have written that the I lobbies have interfered in back room U.S. Iran negotiations for decades.

    So is Israel a “third world nation? ” Is that why you don’t expect them to abide by the same standards that they want other nations to abide by. Leaders and people in that neck of the woods are sick and tired of Israel expecting special status.

  31. JeffB
    February 3, 2015, 6:52 am

    @Kathleen

    I don’t see that. Based on its history Iran has very good reason to trust the United States to respond to friendship with friendship and hostility with hostility. We have a long solid track record of reacting to their positioning of themselves. I think they have every reason to trust that.

    As for the lobbies interfering. Lobbies are the mechanism by which people collectively approach government for a redress of grievances. When an American can say the “lobbies interfered” that’s like saying that legislation / executive action X was different than it would have been if the legislative and bureaucratic bodies had been left to their own devices. It is generally a complaint about a lobby and often a request for another lobby to step in and counter their influence. From an external perspective though the lobbies are part of the decision making system of the USA government. Iran is and should be well aware their are components of our government both with official titles and on K street that want war with Iran. That group comprises something between 1/2 and 2/3rds of the senate more in the house. It does not include Obama. The Iranians can and should trust that Obama is trying to avoid war, huge chunks of the rest of the government are not and the likely effect of undercutting Obama is war.

    So is Israel a “third world nation?

    While it might make sense to classify Israel as part of the 1st world because of the high standard of living you need a fairly strong asterisk that culturally it is still very much a 3rd world country and becoming moreso. I’d compare it to countries like Lebanon or Turkey more than France; or another point of comparison would be something like Japan where you have 1st world economics combined with highly non western culture. About 1/2 the Jewish population of Israel has a 3rd world outlook still and of the remaining 1/2 something like 70% have a 2nd world outlook. Of course the Palestinians vary in terms of their outlook but they are 3rd world as well and so insofar as you want to count them that drives down the 1st world culture numbers even further. As Israel is getting more democratic the government is better reflecting the outlook of its population in 2015 not its elite founding population and that is pulling it in the direction of being less western. As Israelis interacted with Palestinians up until the 2nd intifada they absorbed a lot of Palestinian culture.

    I think longterm it is good that Israel is becoming culturally more like its neighbors and having less and less in common with France or Germany. For Israel to integrate into the neighborhood it needs to stop feeling like a European implant. While Europe’s economic support is helpful, Europe’s cultural influence is pernicious in terms of constantly pulling Israel towards Europe

    Is that why you don’t expect them to abide by the same standards that they want other nations to abide by

    On NPT the standard that should apply to Israel is the one that applies to France, UK… not the one that applies to Iran. The NPT has 2 sets of standards not one set of standards with 2 totally different sets of obligations. If you don’t like that, your problem is with the NPT not Israel. Israel didn’t write that treaty. I do want Israel held to the standards under the NPT that apply to nuclear powers but that is not the standard that Iran is being held to.

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