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Tail has stopped wagging, so dog can stop talking about war with Iran

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NYT Magazine cover
The New York Times fed the hysteria 3 months ago with this cover story. Now Israeli leaders have given it permission to staunch the hysteria

The Israel/Iran story is suddenly exploding (as my friend Ilene Cohen puts it). The solid argument for war that Israel and its friends built in the last year is crumbling. What follows is the latest news. And let me highlight a topsy-turvy theme underlying these accounts: the Israeli discourse is driving the American one. 

Most importantly, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (who authorized the slaughter in Gaza) yesterday joined the chorus of prominent Israeli critics of the rush to war. He attacked Netanyahu in New York, and was booed by Americans for doing so. Ann Barnard in the Times reports on a conference held in Manhattan by the Jerusalem Post:

Drawing boos from a largely American audience in New York, he fired off a wide-ranging broadside against Mr. Netanyahu’s foreign policy, saying that the prime minister was unprepared to offer meaningful compromise to Palestinians, disrespectful to the United States and dismissive of the international community at a time when Israel particularly needs foreign support to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons…

some in the crowd peppered Mr. Olmert with shouts of “Naïve!” and “Neville Chamberlain!” and booed loudly when he called for a less confrontational stance toward President Obama, whose political opponents Mr. Netanyahu has openly courted.

This difference among Israeli leaders is giving American leaders permission to step away from the missiles. James Risen in the Times:

After a winter of alarm over the possibility that a military conflict over the Iranian nuclear program might be imminent, American officials and outside analysts now believe that the chances of war in the near future have significantly decreased.

They cite a series of factors that, for now, argue against a conflict. The threat of tighter economic sanctions has prompted the Iranians to try more flexible tactics in their dealings with the United States and other powers, while the revival of direct negotiations has tempered the most inflammatory talk on all sides. A growing divide in Israel between political leaders and military and intelligence officials over the wisdom of attacking Iran has begun to surface.

Obama surely deserves credit for ratcheting down this craziness; last month he boldly denounced “loose talk” of war. But he did so politely, while deferring to Netanyahu. As Gideon Levy observed at the time, America was the ant, Israel the elephant.

The American conversation on this question of war has been– except for an entertainer, Jimmy Kimmel, calling Netanyahu a yahoo– far more restrained than the Israeli one. “Are Israel’s leaders coming down with mad Jew disease?” Chemi Shalev asks in Haaretz— a question you would not see from an American columnist, it would get him fired.

And what do the three outgoing heads of the revered [Israeli] security services, hitherto the most widely-respected experts on these matters in the international arena, have to say about [our leadership]? That Israel is being run by a couple of morally-lapsed loony-tune leaders who hear voices in their heads while laughing themselves silly mouthing the words “two-state solution” and who pour over the maps of bombing runs over Iran while quoting General “Buck” Turgidson from Dr Strangelove to each other: “I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.”

Yes and who made the argument for those Strangeloves? Ethan Bronner, on the front page of the New York Times, two months ago, wrote the following slop:

Israeli intelligence estimates, backed by academic studies, have cast doubt on the widespread assumption that a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would set off a catastrophic set of events like a regional conflagration, widespread acts of terrorism and sky-high oil prices.

And of course Jeffrey Goldberg also made the case for war. At the Atlantic, strong Jim Fallows, obviously disturbed by this recent campaign, politely challenges Jeffrey Goldberg to concede that the bomb-Iran threat is receding:

It has been convenient for Benjamin Netanyahu to present the following maxims to America:
    – If you care about Israel’s security, you must agree with me;
    – If you don’t agree with me (about bombing Iran, settlements, etc), it therefore follows that you must not care about Israel’s security, and further that you probably are callous about the lessons of the Holocaust and the welfare of Jews worldwide.

This argument is bad from America’s perspective, because it presents a glossed-over version of disagreements within Israel. I think it’s not just bad but dangerous from Israel’s perspective, since an Israeli attack would drag the US into a war our own military and political leadership opposes — and which, we now can see, many influential Israelis view in the same way.

To bring this back to my one question for you: Is it right to think that the odds of an Israeli strike are lower than they were a month ago?

Note that Fallows grants Jeffrey Goldberg power. And why: because he has power. Again, my question: Why is the bomb-Iran threat receding in the press? Not because of American realists like Steve Walt and Zbig Brzezinski– or Mike Mullen and David Petraeus–who objected to these war plans from the start. No, because the Israeli consensus is shattering. And that Israeli consensus was, as Fallows implicitly concedes, driving the American discourse.

How did it drive the discourse? Through the offices of the Israel lobby, including the zealots who cried Neville Chamberlain at Olmert yesterday, and including the likes of Goldberg, who mouthpieced hysterical thinking to the American mainstream.

Consider that just three months ago the New York Times Magazine ran an incendiary cover story, Israel Vs Iran, When Will It Erupt? with an image of fire on its cover. The article was written by Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman.

Would the Times publish such views now that the Israelis are defecting? Why did it publish those views then?

Here is some of the slop the Times ran in its ad for the story:

“For the first time since the Iranian nuclear threat emerged, the conditions for an Israeli assault have been met. With all other options for containment exhausted, will Israel attack Iran. And when?”

Gary Sick wrote, brilliantly:

Will Israel Really Attack Iran? The real answer is no, they will not. But you would never figure that out by reading the New York Times.

The sensationalist article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine (Jan. 29) adds to the hysteria surrounding U.S. and Israeli relations with Iran. Ronen Bergman, a columnist with the leading Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, concludes that Israel will probably attack Iran this year.

And the issue, I insist, is why Gary Sick has less influence in the U.S. discourse than a crazed Israeli journalist.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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86 Responses

  1. pabelmont on April 30, 2012, 12:05 pm

    The “crazed Israeli journalist” rather than Gary Sick (or Mearsheimer or Chomsky or * * *) was invited to mouth off by the NYT not because of who he was but because of who the NYT is, which might — for this purpose — be well described as a “crazed pro-Israel newpaper”. Americans do not get USA’s foreign policy from our MSM; rather we get THEIR policies.

  2. American on April 30, 2012, 12:46 pm

    “No, because the Israeli consensus is shattering. And that Israeli consensus was, as Fallows implicitly concedes, driving the American discourse.”

    I don’t think the Israeli consensus came about on it’s own…nor is it driving American discourse. But it is driving the Jewish discourse on it thru the press because of the Israeli interested members of the press.
    Obama and the US Military “public statements”have been full of little dropppings that are tiny warnings and can still be said publically in a way that comes out as concern for and supportive of Israel without totally blowing out the Lobby support. They have been subtle, but warning enough while still supportive enough to raise a question mark among Israelis who are finely tuned in to any sign of wavering US support for Israel.
    What doesn’t get diseminated for the general public, for political reasons, is the ‘private conversations’ between the US officials and the Israelis. Olmert and the former intelligence and military officials who are speaking out know how to read the fine print in those private conversations. “If” the message they were getting was full US support for Israel on Iran they wouldn’t be crossing either the US or Israel quite so publically. They are getting some under the radar US ‘suggestions’ and backup to go after Netanyahu and the other crazies. It’s a stab at containing Israel, at least for the time being.
    Regime change isn’t only for Arab countries.

    • Jeff Klein on April 30, 2012, 1:13 pm

      I completely agree. Not to underestimate the power of Israel’s supporters in the US, our military/security complex is not exactly without influence either. The military brass, the Pentagon leadership and the intelligence agencies have recognized the catastrophe of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars and are less than eager for a replay in Iran.

      Although domestic politics constrains them from speaking out forcefully in public over here, they are in close and constant contact with their Israeli counterparts — who recognize that the military calculus and the necessity for close US cooperation is different from the way politics plays out in the US. And in Israel, the generals have more scope for speaking out publicly than they do here. Clearly they are singing their song with lyrics supplied from the US military.

      At a recent Iran Teach-In held in Boston, Andrew Bacevich emphasized three points arguing against the likelihood an Iran war in the immediate future:

      1-the political dangers — and uncertain consequences — of a new war for Obama’s reelection, so the reluctance of the current administration
      2-the opposition of the military command in the US and Israel
      3-the Israeli leaders are risk takers but likely to be “rational actors”

      Becevich, a West Point grad and former colonel, is no mere outside observer, but clearly has good contacts within the military command hierarchy.

      Of the three factors, I think we can be pretty confident of the first two. Not so much of the third. Much of the Israeli Right is operating from a “Messianic” mind set, as cautioned by former Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin.

      The war danger is not over, however. The likely continuation of Iran sanctions and the relentless US military build-up in the Gulf continue to stoke tensions that could spark a conflict, intentionally or not. And if our own Messianic Mitt becomes president — with his stable of Neocon foreign policy advisers — then possibly all bets are off.

      • dahoit on May 1, 2012, 11:20 am

        C’mon,laying the blame or speculation at Obombas bobsey twins feet is laughable.The only reason war is receding in the US is because the feathers in the Zionist wind haven’t found the breeze from American public opinion to their liking and are tacking like Kerry on a windsail.
        Kagans(the donut warrior) wife advises Obomba.What else do you need to know?
        Jumpin jimini.
        Any word from the used Iranian car salesman,or is he at Guantanamo to pay for his weirdness and unusability by criminals itching for war?
        Talk about an impeachable offense.

    • ToivoS on April 30, 2012, 2:42 pm

      Well written American. I was planning on making the same point. There was no consensus that was shattered. Israel was in agreement that the US should attack Iran. What changed was that the US clearly signaled that they were not going to do it and Israel would have to go alone if they wanted it done. Netanyahu and Barak’s crazy threats that they would in fact do so was a threat to isolate the Israel from the US — now that would have been a consensus shattering event. The grownups in Israel have been forced to come out publicly and challenge N&B to prevent that from happening. Hopefully they succeeded.

    • ahhiyawa on April 30, 2012, 3:20 pm


      >>>Regime change isn’t only for Arab countries.<<<

      I second that.

  3. seanmcbride on April 30, 2012, 12:52 pm

    Exhibit A for the argument that Phil Weiss is the best blogger on the net on Mideast politics. Masterfully written, with crystal clarity — cuts cleanly through all the hysterical slop.

    Also worth reading: Alex Kane, Andrew Sullivan, Antony Loewenstein, Gershom Gorenberg, Glenn Greenwald, Jeff Blankfort, Jim Lobe, Juan Cole, M.J. Rosenberg, Maidhc Ó Cathail, Max Blumenthal, Philip Giraldi, Richard Sale, Richard Silverstein, Shmarya Rosenberg, Stephen Walt, Tony Karon and Trita Parsi.

    Likud Zionists (and their liberal Zionist fellow travelers) have already lost the war of ideas where it counts — on the cutting edge of informed opinion. But they are likely to try to win the intellectual debate by lashing out with massive indiscriminate physical violence directed at nearly everyone. That’s how they roll. They are not about making sense — they are about playing out an apocalyptic melodrama. As Yuval Diskin put it, they are “messianic.” Fasten your seat belts.

    • annie on May 1, 2012, 3:05 am

      no women.

      • Sumud on May 1, 2012, 3:33 am

        no women

        Hillary Mann Leverett, Phyllis Bennis, Amira Hass!!

      • annie on May 1, 2012, 3:47 am

        yep. there are actually quite a few women who report on the ME. some decent bloggers, Roqayah Chamseddine comes to mind. too many to mention actually.

        and if i had a dollar for everything helena cobban said first…

      • Erasmus on May 1, 2012, 12:59 pm

        and not forget the whole long list of female activists of the

        Jewish Voice for Peace

    • Sumud on May 1, 2012, 3:26 am

      seanmcbride ~ worth a listen if you do podcasts is Scott Horton from Antiwar Radio – you can subscribe through iTunes or direct from their web site. He has a great rotation of regular guests including Phil Weiss and [from your list] Glenn Greenwald, Jeffrey Blankfort, Juan Cole, and many others.

      Antiwar Radio is a libertarian outfit – while I disagree with some aspects of libertarianism, Horton primarily focuses on US Foreign Policy and does a *great* job. He doesn’t get hung up on right/left issues as the GPO and Dems are equally corrupt, “The War Party” as he labels them.

      • annie on May 1, 2012, 3:30 am

        sumud, i was just listening to horton interview marcy wheeler, on iran/afghanistan

      • Sumud on May 1, 2012, 3:33 am

        I listend to that too. I really like AW Radio, listen to every show via podcast.

      • annie on May 1, 2012, 3:57 am

        i should remember to listen more. he’s really good and his guests are excellent.

      • Shingo on May 1, 2012, 4:10 am

        I grew Annie.

        Scott Horton has been ahead of everyone in debunking the Iran nukes BS.

        They even got Nina Shirazi on after I pinged Angela Keaton and told them about Nima’s superb work documenting the decades of failed predictions about Iran nukes.

        His guests include Gareth Porter, Pepe Escobar and Hillary Mann-Leveritt, Phill of course, MJ, Trtia Parsi, you name it. His last 2 interviews with Sy Hersh were really eye opening.

      • annie on May 1, 2012, 4:26 am

        oh i’ve heard some pepe escobar interviews. i’m a huge fan of escobar. listening to bennis now, she’s absolutely accurate about iran and israel.

      • Shingo on May 1, 2012, 4:49 am

        Same here.

        The guy makes me smile justy by talking with his wonderful Brazilian infectuous enthusiasm. He must have an abundance of serotonin in his system.

      • Sumud on May 1, 2012, 5:28 am

        Pepe Escobar FTW!!!

  4. Pixel on April 30, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Netanyhu’s father, Benzion, just died.

    Will it make a difference to any of this?

    When generations change, it always makes a difference.

    • dahoit on May 1, 2012, 11:29 am

      Yeah,a hawkish Yoda,another midget with a bad attitude.
      Are all these stay puft marshmellows making up with institutional power what they lack themselves,as none could or would fight their way out of paper bags on their own.

  5. Kathleen on April 30, 2012, 2:13 pm

    great post phil..but “The solid argument for war that Israel and its friends built in the last year is crumbling. ” That argument or pr campaign to attack Iran started soon after the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. Soon after the invasion Cheney was on Tim Russerts Meet the Press repeating inflammatory claims about Iran. Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley etc followed. The Iran has a “nuclear weapons program” was being repeated everywhere. On the Diane Rehm show, All Things Considered, Face the Nation , George Stephanpoulous program, Talk of the Nation with Reuel Marc Gerect, Micheal Rubin, Terri Gross, Rachel Maddow and many more repeating the misrepresented Iranian Presidents statement “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” over and over again. The drive to create a receptive environment to attack Iran started 10 years ago.


  6. CloakAndDagger on April 30, 2012, 2:55 pm

    Interesting article on VT about Netanyahu twisting the story of Esther to incite war on Iran at AIPAC:

    • Blake on April 30, 2012, 6:41 pm

      Yeah read that as well.

    • lysias on April 30, 2012, 7:25 pm

      Some people say it was outrageous for Grass to say in his poem that Israel might eradicate (auslöschen) the Iranian people.

      But is that idea so far-fetched when Netanyahu tries to use the Esther story to justify an attack on Iran?

      • Sumud on May 1, 2012, 3:39 am

        lysias ~ on two separate occasions I recall Netanyahu called Iranians ‘Amalek’, something that can easily be interpreted as genocidal in intent:

        Wikipedia: Amalek / War against the Amalekites / Commandments to exterminate Amalekites

        Worth keeping in mind when Netanyahu next lies about Iranians threatening to wipe Israel from the map…

        From 17th May 2009, in settler rag Arutz Sheva:

        Netanyahu Sees Iran as Amalek, Advisor Says

        From 28th January 2010, in Jerusalem Post:

        ‘A new Amalek is appearing,’ Netanyahu warns at Auschwitz

      • Antidote on May 1, 2012, 4:24 am

        Unbelievable. Amalek, Book of Esther, and then Bibi has the chutzpah to say, in a recent interview with the Welt am Sonntag:

        “First of all I think what Grass says is an absolute outrage. That it comes from a German Nobel laureate and not from a teenager in a Neo-Nazi party makes it all the more outrageous. And it demands a very strong response. I think what Grass has said shows a collapse of moral clarity.

        He has created a perfect moral inversion where the aggressor becomes the victim and the victim becomes the aggressor. Where those who try to defend themselves against the threat of annihilation become the threat to world peace. And where the firefighter and not the arsonist is the real danger.

        Here is a simple fact that apparently has eluded Mister Grass: Israel doesn’t seek to destroy Iran, Iran seeks to destroy Israel and openly calls for it and works for it by building atomic bombs for that expressed purpose.

        What do we do with such statements? In every society you have extreme statements. A society is not judged by those statements but by how the leadership responds to them. And I think the fact that there was a broad condemnation by the leaders of Germany is important and positive. I am concerned that there is an undercurrent of support for this, at best it reflects a great ignorance on the facts that I have just put forward.

        Welt am Sonntag: Would you call that way of thinking Anti-Semitic, the way Grass put it in words?”

      • Shingo on May 1, 2012, 5:14 am

        Iran seeks to destroy Israel and openly calls for it and works for it by building atomic bombs for that expressed purpose.

        It goes to shosw what a demented and pathological liar Bibbi is when both claums in this one statement have been refuted by Israel’s government and intelligence agencies.

      • Antidote on May 1, 2012, 5:21 am

        see also: “Judaism: This war is for us”

  7. ahhiyawa on April 30, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Gideon Levy presciently said it all back in March.

    “…But one day the rope could snap and the whole thing could blow up in the face of power-drunk Israel: Israel doesn’t know when to stop, and it could pay dearly as a result.”

    Even when Obama was publicly kissing Netanyahu’s ass and humiliating himself before AIPAC, he was at the same time fingering the dagger under his shirt he had every intention of using, when the time was right.

    Netanyahu’s hell is just beginning.

    • Pamela Olson on April 30, 2012, 4:29 pm


    • lysias on April 30, 2012, 5:02 pm

      Discouraging report in the Boston Globe: Netanyahu has edge if Israel holds early vote:

      JERUSALEM—Israel was gripped by election fever Monday, with new ballotting expected as early as the summer and polls suggesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands a good chance of re-election — largely because of a divided opposition.

      Israeli elections generally come down to a race between a conservative bloc — led by Netanyahu’s Likud Party and backed by religious parties — against a more dovish bloc. The story of this election could turn out to be the divisions in the opposition center-left bloc, where three different parties — two of them led by former journalists — plausibly contend for the top position.

      UPDATE: Oh, I see that’s an AP report by Jerusalem AP bureau chief Dan Perry.

      • CloakAndDagger on April 30, 2012, 6:45 pm

        Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands a good chance of re-election

        The silver lining in that cloud is that if Netanyahu is re-elected, it will not only prove that most Israelis are just as insane as he is, it may also be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back as far as the rest of the world is concerned.

        Our own elections will shortly be over after theirs, and there will be one more opportunity rid ourselves of this boat anchor around our neck, if Obama has a shred of the decency that Phil believes that he does, and is merely impaired by the need to get re-elected.

      • Antidote on May 1, 2012, 5:22 am

        “The silver lining in that cloud is that if Netanyahu is re-elected, it will not only prove that most Israelis are just as insane as he is, it may also be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back as far as the rest of the world is concerned.”

        That’s what I thought about Americans before Bush was reelected. Surely, I wasn’t the only one?

      • CloakAndDagger on May 1, 2012, 11:55 am

        That’s what I thought about Americans before Bush was reelected. Surely, I wasn’t the only one?

        No, you are right. If Israel’s elections are equally susceptible to be Diebold’ed, then I guess it won’t say much. I hold out the hope that perhaps in this much smaller region, it is harder to fake the elections.

    • American on April 30, 2012, 5:03 pm

      “Gideon Levy presciently said it all back in March.
      “…But one day the rope could snap and the whole thing could blow up in the face of power-drunk Israel: Israel doesn’t know when to stop, and it could pay dearly as a result.”……Ahhiyawa

      I believe that…..they do not know when to stop. I believe that is how they will end….by arrogantly dropping that one last final straw on the world and/or the US.

  8. radii on April 30, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Netanyahu and Barak are now boxed in – any attack upon Iran will be theirs and theirs alone and will result in losses no israeli leader could survive politically … they are done … the israeli leaders behind the scenes need to position a responsible adult into power over there and soon – time’s a-wasting to make the deal for two states

  9. gracie fr on April 30, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Perhaps Yuval Diskin’s recent statement that Benjamin Netanyahu had a latent “messianic complex” frightened the more rational minds in Washington. The article appeared in Ha’aretz ( “I don’t believe in either the prime minister or the defense minister. I don’t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings”) and made the front page of the Huffington Post ( Yuval Diskin said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – who have been saber-rattling for months – have their judgment clouded by “messianic feelings” and should not be trusted to lead policy on Iran…..)
    Messianism is the belief in a messiah, a savior or redeemer. For decades, the Jewish intelligentsia has fought a long hard public relations campaign to vilify Muslims and largely succeeded. The state of the world is seen as hopelessly flawed and unmanageable (primarily due to radical Islam, Communism’s convenient replacement) far beyond normal human powers of correction, and intervention through a specially chosen and divinely supported human is deemed necessary. Jews received benevolent treatment in ancient Persia (as the Vetran’s Today article points out), until the 16th Century Savavids and late 19th century Qajars. Both later day kingdoms initiated pogroms on par with those of the Russian Tsars.
    Plucky little Israel as a country, claims to have defeated its Arab neighbors in 1948 and again in 1967 by way of tactical military and intelligence superiority, still has a strange inferiority complex even though it’s nuclear stockpile and vast compendium of weapons and surveillance technology are cutting edge.
    This being said, imagine the consequences of an Israeli total eradication of the remnants of the ancient Persian Empire. Does Netanyahu’s messianic obsession ( with the support of the Lubavitcher Rebbe,now deceased with Iranian nuclear capabilities have roots in the annals of history?

  10. DICKERSON3870 on April 30, 2012, 4:46 pm

    RE: “…while quoting General ‘Buck’ Turgidson from Dr Strangelove to each other: ‘I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.’ ” ~ Chemi Shalev

    MY COMMENT: You’ve just got to love that über-turgid General ‘Buck’ Turgidson!

    Miss Scott: “It’s 3 o’clock in the morning!”
    General “Buck” Turgidson: “Weh-heh-heh-ll, the Air Force never sleeps.”
    Miss Scott: “Buck, honey, I’m not sleepy either…”
    General “Buck” Turgidson: “I know how it is, baby. Tell you what you do: you just start your countdown, and old Bucky’ll be back here before you can say ‘Blast off!’ ”

    SOURCE –

    P.S. “Think of the closing scene of ‘Dr. Strangelove’. That’s Israel sitting astride the speeding nuclear missile waving the cowboy hat.” ~ William Blum, Counterpunch, 8/6/10
    SOURCE –

  11. lysias on April 30, 2012, 5:32 pm

    The same New York Times that ran that cover story on its magazine has now refused to print a letter from 148 U.S. college professors protesting an ad the paper ran by David Horowitz that equated BDS with Nazism: 148 professors sign letter objecting to New York Times Nazi ad, but paper refuses to run it:

    One hundred and forty-eight US college professors signed a letter objecting to an advertisement in The New York Times by notorious racist David Horowitz naming indvidual faculty members at several US colleges and accusing them of inciting murder of Jewish children, and likening the movement to boycott Israel (BDS) to Nazism.

    The Times, however, failed to print it.

  12. yourstruly on April 30, 2012, 6:10 pm

    now that their momentum has stalled isn’t it time to pounce on these israel firster traitors in msm & government for almost bringing on a nuclear winter? specifically, demands for an official enquiry into how it is that israel firsters took us so close to the brink, with the purpose of said effort being to discredit israel firsters such that they’ll no longer be a factor in u.s. politics. an orchestrated twitter campaign, for example; once in motion it would have a life of its own. not that we’d attain such numbers, but i heard that during the european soccer championship tournament last week (one of the games played by the barcelona team), soccer fans were tweeting to the tune of 15,000 tweets/sec, a record number which surpassed by a thousand or so the previous record established a few months ago during the superbowl. not that we’d get anywhere near those numbers, but israel and its israel firster appendages here in the u.s. of a. sure have made a lot of enemies, so who knows how many
    tweeters would sign on?

    • CloakAndDagger on April 30, 2012, 6:51 pm

      now that their momentum has stalled

      It a’int over yet, and the well-fed lady is some distance from clearing her throat.

      Standby by for a false flag in a target rich world – the NATO conference, London Olympics, or just another Gulf of Tonkin, except this time in the Persian Gulf.

      These villains have been at it for a long time, and they aren’t about to pack up and go home.

      • yourstruly on April 30, 2012, 11:47 pm

        which is why we can’t just sit around, tut-tutting & waiting for the villains to trick us into a doomsday scenario; instead, we have to find ways to preempt them, alerting the public, for example, via widespread online advisories about the liklihood that they’re going to try to trick us into another war and mentioning some of the possibilities. more importantly, what with a good offense being the best defense, we have to take it to them (the villains). no problem, though, because we’re the ones seeking change (a creative process & therefore unpredictable), whereas, they’re merely protecting the status quo (same old same old and therefore predictable). it’s not as if we have a choice in this matter, cause we stand by and let them get away with this and how long before there’s this call for the last one out to please turn off the lights? twenty years? fifty years? we can do this. the only thing lacking is confidence

      • dahoit on May 1, 2012, 11:46 am

        Yep,they are scheming and planning at this very instant to get the sheeple up in arms to back their wars of choice,and with the help of all the minions of Israel in our government,look out world.
        Until the MSM either is FCCed out of this stranglehold of misinformation,or the sheeple finally bleat their despair at 120 decibles,we will pay the consequences.
        At Wapo,the posters not once(well I gave up after 50 or so) said that the FBI has, had, no evidence to tie OBL to 9-11, a sign of a brainwashed populace grasping straws of nonsense over rational thinking,and until this borg is neutered we are screwed.

  13. Keith on April 30, 2012, 8:48 pm

    “Most importantly, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (who authorized the slaughter in Gaza) yesterday joined the chorus of prominent Israeli critics of the rush to war. He attacked Netanyahu in New York, and was booed by Americans for doing so.”

    The objection which I have always had with Mondoweiss’ interpretation of events is the extent to which the “Israeli lobby” is said to implement some alleged Israeli consensus. I would suggest that American Zionist Jews tend to be more militaristic and uncompromising than Israeli Jews, and profoundly impact Israeli policies through their funding of Israeli politicians and settlements, and through their money and power in the US. So much so that when an Israeli politician such as Olmert deviates from the American Zionist script, he is booed. And don’t forget that Netanyahu graduated from an American high school and has two degrees from MIT, working for the Boston Consulting Group as well. Some of his political opponents have criticized him for a lack of Israeli national identity and loyalty. He is ideologically aligned with the American neocons and followed their neoliberal economic recommendations contained in “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” I continue to believe that the center of Zionist power is the US, not Israel, and that the dog and tale analogy is meaningless.

    • dahoit on May 1, 2012, 11:48 am

      American Zionist Jews may talk a good massacre,but the Israelis carry it out.

  14. Ira Glunts on April 30, 2012, 9:02 pm

    Great post Phil. Still I am not convinced the battle between the dog and the tail concerning Iran is over.

    Askenazi, Diskin, Dagan and Olmert are all out of government. Bibi and Barak are in and are popular in Israel. They wield at lot of power both in the US and in Israel. The B brothers are experienced formidable players in this game of nations, especially when it comes to manipulating the US. Look what happened with Obama’s attempt at “the peace process.”

    I am not sure these opponents of the Israeli leadership will continue to be effective critics in the coming months. They all are subject to intense governmental and societal pressure to cease publicly criticizing the leadership on military issues. Askenazi seems timid, Dagan and Diskin appear a bit out of control and have credibility issues. Olmert is seen as corrupt and ineffective. It was pathetic how he was defending his war in Gaza and Lebanon, calling both great successes at the Jerusalem Post Conference. I hope I am wrong but these guys could be non-factors in a couple of months.

    The Israeli public is on board for this adventure, more or less, from what I read. That support will increase if there is an Israeli attack. I do not know if the dissidents will continue to buck the public pressure to fall in line.

    I think the lobby and its Congresspeople will be of great service to Bibi and Barak. The Romney campaign will pound Obama for being soft on Iran and not enough of a friend to the Israelis. That will restrict his maneuverability. The media will be the same media that you have been documenting for the past five years — all in for Israel. I think it has already convinced many Americans that Iran must be neutralized.

    Obama will have to be tough and decisive to stand up to the pressure. I do not have a lot of confidence that this guy has the nuts for the job. He is a compromiser and politician. Maybe he will be tougher in his second term, but by then it could be too late.

    Anyway who knows how committed the President is to diplomacy? Maybe he will try to squeeze Iran with sanctions. If they do not work, Bibi will be back to his door demanding military action. A failed sanctions campaign usually leads to military action.

    Israel has been concerned about the growing hegemony of Iran for the last 20 years. Rabin declared that Iran was Israel’s foremost enemy just after he signed the Oslo Accords. He assumed that the Palestinians were already taken care of! The Israelis have been in a covert war with Iran for at least 15 years with the appropriate government campaign to get the public on board. The US has been involved in covert action also and you know there is a many military people and the whole arms lobby who want to for the gusto. Why stop now? Right?

    I think Netanyahu thinks of Iran not only as a direct military threat but more as a dangerous growing hegemonic power in the region. He believes that attacking Iran will not only degrade it militarily but may lead to regime change. (A very debatable notion.) He is looking to weaken Hamas and Hezbollah through weakening Iran. Maybe remove Iran from his enemies list.

    The Israeli leadership worries that any successful diplomacy on the nuclear front with Iran could lead to better relations between the US and Iran. This would necessarily mean the US recognizing Iranian interests in the region. This is the last thing that the Israelis want.

    I imagine, as been reported in the press, that the US will agree to Iranian uranium enrichment to a level of something like 5%. The Israelis have repeatedly warned they will not accept any Iranian enrichment. Danny Ayalon stated this at the Jerusalem Post Conference this Sunday. I am not expecting the Israelis to back down without a fight and that they will launch a massive campaign through the lobby to get the Americans to withdraw the offer of the right to enrich if that indeed is what is planned. We will see what happens in the next months.

    Just the constant public threats and pressure from Israel may convince Tehran that the US is unable or unwilling to control its ally and thus is an unreliable negotiating partner. Obama has given public notice that Israel has the right to act in any way it deems appropriate and if it does attack Iran you know that it will have American cover. Obama will have Israel’s back. The Iranians fear this.

    I imagine that Netanyahu and Barak do have a messiah complex. They both have had larger than life careers in the belly of the beast that is the Zionist delusion. Especially the last three years of humiliating Obama has to have inflated their enormous egos.

    I have a theory about those that have returned to power after an absence. Like Cheney and Rumsfeld coming back to power for a second round. They do not feel the daunting responsibility and challenges of the office as they did the first time around. The familiarity of power makes it much much more tempting to go out on the limb when you already made it through the first time and are being brought back for a second go. Go for it. Be the savior. Be more powerful than you were before. Those siren calls to be tough and make history may be hard to ignore. I think Cheney and Rumsfeld were emboldened just by being being back the second time.

    Bibi is a leader with a messianic complex in a messianic Zionist society. The logic that could drive him to continue confronting Obama and the real risks of war with Iran are the same forces that make Israel the occupier and the aggressor that it is. Barak is no different.

    Repeatedly crying wolf is not consistent with the Israeli military doctrine of deterrence. If you keep threatening, but continue to not carry through on the threats you lose credibility. That is something that the Israeli military and leadership want to do.

    I think that this confrontation between Obama and the Israelis is just heating up. The public posture of Tel Aviv during the second round of Iran negotiations will probably indicate if the Israelis are backing off or not. Personally I think that we are all going to be playing a guessing game in the months to come.

    Military intervention in Iran is madness. So was Gaza, Defensive Shield, and Lebanon.

    • CloakAndDagger on April 30, 2012, 11:56 pm

      That’s an excellent analysis, Ira. I tend to agree with most of it. As I had written in an earlier post following the P5+1 talks, I expect the May talks to fail. This will be as a result of all the rhetoric from the usual suspects, resulting in an overreach of sanctions – which will bring the whole thing to a halt.

      However, I am also convinced that Israel will not attack Iran.

      What worries me more is whether they will be able to coax the US to attack, probably after a false-flag on our fleet in the Persian Gulf. If that happens, I am afraid that we are looking at WW3 in all its glory.

      I really do not expect Russia or China to abandon their interest in the region. Could that lead to nuclear exchange? Heaven forbid, but I am not about to rule that out. People (neocons) have been cavalierly talking about tactical nukes as if they are conventional weapons.

      2012 may well end a lot worse than it began – and the beginning isn’t all that great.

      • Citizen on May 1, 2012, 9:53 am

        New Poll: 64% of USA Jews support US
        war against Iran (if diplomacy & economic BDS fail) 75% support Israeli war against Iran

        What will Obama do with these numbers, if he feels he needs to for his reelection campaign? The GOP has a chance here?

      • annie on May 1, 2012, 10:50 am

        not sure i would trust the polling. AJC polling is carried out by Synovate:

        Our clients always come first, driving us to continually develop more innovative research solutions…..Synovate generates insights to help clients drive competitive brand, product and customer experience strategies.

        sometimes polling is agenda oriented. it says right on top of their website “global jewish advocacy”, they are anything but neutral.

      • yourstruly on May 1, 2012, 11:04 am

        in addition to questioning the poll’s validity, a couple days of presidential bully pulpiting would easily reverse those poll numbers as well as send israel firster traitors frantically scurrying to find a cubby hole to hide in.

      • CloakAndDagger on May 1, 2012, 11:34 am

        I agree. Go to the nation Obama and make your case. Those of us who would otherwise write-in Ron Paul will vote for you. He would win by a landslide.

        And as stated by yourstruly, it would totally defang AIPAC and congress.

  15. piotr on April 30, 2012, 9:07 pm

    There were interesting stories about “messianic complex” of Ahmedinejad. I got impression that when Armageddon comes, the scene can be awfully crowded, with Shia’s Hidden Imam, a Sunni Mahdi, Jewish Messiah and at least one Christian. However, in Iran the talk of imminent return of Hidden Iman was cut short by clerics of Qom in the most decisive way possible.

    Not surprisingly, theocrats of Iran and Israel (Ovadia Josef) agree: Messiah will make short work from our enemies, but in the fullness of time. In the meantime, the talk about military action is foolish. Being rather secular, it is hard to see how Netanyahu and Barak can be messianic, I would rather see Napoleonic complex.

    In the meantime, an attack on Iran would be a disaster. For starters, it is hard to see how it would damage Iran: the nuclear program, such as it is, really has no military importance. Israel may fail to make significant damage to that program, loose some planes and look foolish, or make significant damage to that program, and provoke “Iranian wrath”, or attack some targets outside that program, and open itself to more general outrage. Iranians had years to prepare various calibrated ways to respond.

    In the first case, they will simply declare victory.

    In the second case, American fingerprints on the action will be used to direct the retaliation at USA and NATO. Number one, the transit rights of USA and NATO through Central Asia can go. Russia and China will concur. Number two, I am not sure if Pakistan restored such transit rights, the relationship of Pakistan with USA is pretty bad right now, and they can make a ban on transit as well. Foreign forces in Afghanistan will be under siege. There is potential there for bloody and humiliating disaster. And Iran will not have to do much at all, Russia and China already threatened bad consequences of an attack on Iran, and Pakistan is also already royally pissed off.

    With Iran being more damaged it can get away, diplomatically, with more direct retaliation directed at US navy and tanker traffic. This would start diplomatic three ring circus, and Iran would need some degree of support from Eurasian powers. There is no way to tell where it would go. A direct American attack on Iran could get a direct Russian counter-threat of the highest degree. This is WWIII material. Perhaps far-fetched, but for decades Soviet-American clash over Iran was the most plausible scenario how WWIII may start.

    It seems that a number of leaders repeated to GoI in very stern terms that attacking Iran would be foolish, including every single one leader of a government of an Anglo-Saxon country (well, I am not sure about New Zealand), Russia, China and Germany.

    My conclusion is that Bibi and Ehud use grandiose talk to divert attention from the fact that IDF is the most expensive tree-cutting force in the word. Goons to harass villagers. Yeah, but we are ready to take on Iran!

    • dahoit on May 1, 2012, 11:53 am

      Notice the story about the island in the Persian Gulf being contested between Iran and UAE? or another of our puppets.
      Let’s run it up the flagpole and see who salutes,neh?

  16. yourstruly on April 30, 2012, 10:49 pm

    obama has one big advantage, the bully pulpit, that if he only had the cajones to use, he’d be able to keep the israel firster neocon traitors on the defensive. and there’s a precedent for its use in quieting the israel firsters, namely, george bush the elders 1992 questioning of their loyalty when they opposed his withholding a 10 billion dollar loan guarantee for wb settlement expansion. most importantly opinion polls back then showed that he had overwhelming public support, and if there’s one thing that scares the bejeezies out of israel firsters (there worst nightmare has to be their being awakened at night by a mob shouting “traitor, traitor, traitor”), it’s a president who’s willing to take them on and has popular support. alas, it’s extremely doubtful that president obama has the cajones to take on these traitors, even though if he doesn’t he loses the election.

    • lysias on May 1, 2012, 10:20 am

      There’s another precedent. Eisenhower spoke to the American public in 1956, and thus forced Israel, against the wishes of the leaders of Congress, to pull out of Sinai.

      • CloakAndDagger on May 1, 2012, 11:30 am

        Exactly right. Obama can prevail by going to the nation and making his case. A bold move such as that would not only guarantee him the election, but would also defang congress and AIPAC.

        Will he do it? Smart money says no.

      • dahoit on May 1, 2012, 11:58 am

        Because he aint that smart.
        Bottom freakin line.
        And he is soulless.
        I read somewhere yesterday that his association with all the 1% affected him in his outlook.
        I wish I read that in 08.
        The only Constitutional scholar and honest man left in American politics is unmentioned by our criminals,so I will;Dr.Ron Paul.

  17. ToivoS on May 1, 2012, 12:20 am

    But is that idea so far-fetched when Netanyahu tries to use the Esther story to justify an attack on Iran?

    Not at all. Netanyahu still refers to the Palestinians as ‘Amaleks’. According to the ancient texts (old testament, or talmad, or whatever) that gives the Israelites permission to not only kill every man, woman and child but their goats, donkeys and asses. We do know that modern day Israelites slaughtered the animals in the Gaza zoo, not to mention their slaughter of the Gazans during their assault in 2009.

    That is what Israelis do.

    • Sumud on May 1, 2012, 3:49 am

      Exactly Tovio – I’ve just linked above to two articles in the Israeli press quoting Netanyahu calling Iranians ‘Amelek’.

    • Talkback on May 1, 2012, 8:14 am

      Commiting genocide against Palestinians or Iranians (and their childrens and domestic animals) is one of the highest spiritual thing to do, IF they are regarded as being Amalek, because G-d commands to annihilate Amalek. (Of course only antisemites wouldn’t appreciate this.)

      Netanyahu knows what he’s calling for and that he is understood. Ironically the Hasbarautists keep repeating that it is Achmadjenidad who wants to commit genocide.

    • seanmcbride on May 1, 2012, 11:13 am

      Anyone who uses the following terms in various combinations should be suspected of being a genocidal racist:

      1. Amalek
      2. antisemites
      3. blood libel
      4. dhimmis
      5. enemies of the Jews
      6. Eretz Yisrael
      7. G-d
      8. Haman
      9. Islamofascists
      10. Jew haters
      11. jihadists
      12. Judea and Samaria
      13. leftists
      14. Moshaich
      15. Third Temple

      “Amalek” is resonant with ideological racism and extremism — it’s a key index point into a deranged belief system. Chabadism and Kahanism are steeped in these myths and concepts.

  18. Shingo on May 1, 2012, 2:00 am

    What makes these developments particularly interesting, is the fact that the neocon BS about the mullahs having a collective messianic death wish has blown up in their faces. As these former Israeli intelligence insiders have revealed, it’s the Iaraeli leadership that are afflicted with messianic fanaticism.


  19. Shingo on May 1, 2012, 2:07 am

    Drawing boos from a largely American audience in New York, he fired off a wide-ranging broadside against Mr. Netanyahu’s foreign policy…

    What a turnaround!

    When he was the Israeli PM, Olmert received standing ovations from such audiences, obviously not because of his policies, but in spite of them.

    I’m sure every one of them fully supported Cast Lead.

    And I’d bet my right arm that those booing would be the first to pull out the “Olmert offer to Abbas” card in a debate.

  20. annie on May 1, 2012, 2:28 am

    this is a fantastic post phil. it took me til now to read all the links and get lost following them (gary sick too). even risen quoting dennis ross..

    the climate has really changed since istanbul/P5=1. could it swing back? yes, but still i am hopeful. i’m at the edge of my seat curious about what will take place in baghdad.

    there’s no doubt the iran rhetoric will be ratcheted up in the coming months due to both our and israel’s elections. but this provides a balancing breather of course. and an opportunity to blast netanyahu for a much deserved chastizing on the settlements/blame for zero negotiations.

    excellent analysis.

  21. NickJOCW on May 1, 2012, 5:37 am

    No, because the Israeli consensus is shattering. And that Israeli consensus was, as Fallows implicitly concedes, driving the American discourse.

    There is a danger in imagining that Israel is the only factor in US/Iran relations. The US has global purposes that far exceed Israel’s domestic preoccupations. For over half a century the US hoped to keep Iran out of the big league, and Israel’s paranoia has been useful but it is becoming less so. When the chips are down, Israel is an ally of the US, just as Rhodes was an ally of Rome, and the apparent corollary is simply courtesy.

    • lysias on May 1, 2012, 10:31 am

      When Rhodes tried to mediate peace between Macedon and Rome in 167 B.C., the result was an economic attack by Rome on Rhodes. The Romans established a duty-free port on the island of Delos, a move which deprived Rhodes of most of its commerce.

      • dahoit on May 1, 2012, 12:07 pm

        Damn Lysias,not to be a sycophant,but you are a good source of info,maybe the best on the web,from what I’ve seen.
        Me,I’m just a prejudiced Amakelite,so know quid pro quo is necessary or looked for,just pointing out your wealth of knowledge.

      • lysias on May 1, 2012, 12:18 pm

        Classical philology (with a concentration on ancient history) is what I have my Ph.D. in. So it’s natural for me to know about ancient Rhodes.

        Thanks for the compliment.

      • annie on May 1, 2012, 12:22 pm

        i agree with dahoit, lysias. it’s hard to miss how smart you are, a wealth of information.

      • ahhiyawa on May 1, 2012, 12:33 pm

        Though its universally known Rome mercilessly crushed the Jewish Revolt in 60 AD, and in 135 AD exterminated Judah after the Bar Kokhba revolt, its little known that Rome was a patron of the Maccabees, waged war against the Seleucid Empire and instigated rebellions within and wars on Syria’s borders.

        If it weren’t for Roman meddling in the Levant and near M/E, and a formal treaty of alliance made by Judah Maccabee with the Roman senate before his death, the Jewish revolt of the 2nd century BC would have concluded in annihilation the same way the later revolts against Rome ended.

        Its one of those peculiar twists of fate, that the nation so instrumental in the creation of a state, would in the end be the agency that exterminates it root and branch.

      • NickJOCW on May 1, 2012, 2:01 pm

        lysias, My point precisely, although I am not entirely persuaded Rhodes was mediating rather than playing to hedge her bet.

      • NickJOCW on May 1, 2012, 2:12 pm

        And recall how contrite she was when the cards fell to Rome, and how little good contrition did her.

  22. piotr on May 1, 2012, 11:16 am

    Iran as Amelek indeed justifies suspicion that Israel may resort to nuclear missiles launched from submarines in an attack on Iran. I guess that Israel has very limited credibility now.

    On the diplomatic front with Iran I think that there are promising signs. My suspicion is that “when the chips are down” Russia and China will side with Iran if Iran stays within some reasonable parameters. These two countries have limited but powerful influence here. On the eve of the last round of talks our Administration floated an Idea that Iran should dismantle Fordow facility because it is resistant to bombardment. This idea was gently ignored not to be seen again. I guess it was outside the envelope of international consensus. After that round Netanyahu had some negative comments which basically enhanced the impression that the talks were productive.

    Moreover, attacking Iran is NOT popular in USA. I read that on no issue Obama has higher advantage over Romney than on foreign policy. And where is the difference between the two?

    • dahoit on May 1, 2012, 12:10 pm

      Absolutely nothing,say it again!War;Uh,Good God what’s it good for,absolutely nothing,say it again…………….

  23. dahoit on May 1, 2012, 12:11 pm

    That was a know no.

  24. lysias on May 1, 2012, 12:14 pm

    Tzipi Livni has just resigned her seat in the Knesset, but says she will not leave politics. Ha’aretz: Tzipi Livni quits Knesset, says Israel’s leaders put country at existential risk: Former Kadima chief, who lost her party’s chair in March to Shaul Mofaz, says she is leaving the Knesset, but cares too much about the State of Israel to retire from public life.:

    Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni resigned from the Knesset on Tuesday, warning in her resignation address that Israel’s leaders are putting the country’s existence at risk by choosing to ignore the mounting impatience on the part of the international community.

    What is the significance of this?

    • Woody Tanaka on May 1, 2012, 12:27 pm

      Who cares? She should be spending her life in a cell after trial in the Hague, along with every other criminals responsible for the policies in the Zionist state since its inception.

      • lysias on May 1, 2012, 12:34 pm

        Oh, I agree. But I wonder if this is one more sign that the prospects of war with Iran are receding.

      • Woody Tanaka on May 1, 2012, 4:51 pm

        I don’t know if it is a sign, but if it is, it is a welcome one.

    • ahhiyawa on May 1, 2012, 12:45 pm


      >>>What is the significance of this?<<<

      Politics. She probably senses blood in the water, Netanyahu's, and is positioning herself as a successor.

      • CloakAndDagger on May 1, 2012, 3:05 pm

        She probably senses blood in the water, Netanyahu’s, and is positioning herself as a successor.

        I don’t know. I think Ira Glunt is right and news of Netanyahu’s demise is exaggerated. I fear that he may yet prevail. She may be leaving as her own poll numbers are receding.

      • annie on May 1, 2012, 3:56 pm

        i don’t know if this is about her running but it’s certainly about electioneering. i wouldn’t be surprised if there was a huge push against lieberman and the ultras. i don’t know enough about israeli politics but if things are progressing in the direction they’ve been going even likud could look middle( relative to israel’s other parties) in a couple years.

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