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Obama confidante says Iran would not use nuke against Israel, but ‘I still think he will pull the trigger’

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Lester Crown, the Chicago billionaire who has been President Obama’s advocate to the Jewish community and to Israeli leaders, says that he is confident that Obama “will pull the trigger” if Iran develops a nuclear weapon– even though Iran would not use a nuclear weapon against Israel.

Nukes pose a threat to the Jewish state, Crown says, because Iran would use them to achieve power-parity with Israel and become a “bully in the area,” encouraging Hezbollah to attack Israel every two years, and so wear Israel away by attrition.

Crown, 88, rarely expresses his views publicly. He doesn’t have to. A leading philanthropist, he has the ear of the president. But speaking on July 2 at the Aspen Ideas Festival, interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg, surely the most important journalist on Jewish issues and Israel in the country, Crown acknowledged that he often interprets Obama for Israeli leaders.

Crown described the establishment of Israel as a “miracle”– “To me it isn’t the eighth miracle of the world, it’s the number one miracle”– and Goldberg, who once emigrated to Israel and served in the Israeli military, spoke admiringly of Crown’s “loyalty or service” to Israel: “You’re Lester Crown, no one in Israel can doubt your loyalty or your service to the state of Israel.”

Here’s their exchange on Iran, beginning at minute 42:

Goldberg: “I know you’ve talked to the president about the Iran issue. [Crown nods]. I know you’ve talked to Israeli leaders about the Iran issue.”

Crown: “Yes sir.”

Goldberg: “In fact, I know that Israeli leaders come to you to try to have you explain to them President Obama’s thinking on some occasions. So give us your sense of his thinking on what remains the most pressing foreign policy national security decision in the wider Middle East for the president in the next couple of years.  Do you think that if push comes to shove he will actually order a strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities?”

Crown: “…The answer to your question, as far as I am concerned, which is, I’m probably in the minority in saying to it– I said Yes, I think he would. I think two things have happened. I think the Israelis have really at this point have subcontracted that decision to the United States, which really is surprising. I think the time has passed when the Israeli air force with a surgical strike can do the damage that they think needs to be done.

“The Iranian nuclear program– both– in all ways is right near the top, whether it be in missiles, whether it be in centrifuges, weaponization, mineralization– it is right at the point where they can have a nuclear weapon. It is so close. Now whether it’s within two months or six months or a year, obviously– I obviously don’t know.”

Goldberg: “But you feel confident that President Obama has this in hand?”

Crown: “I think first the eight– I guess– Have a vote in the room!– the American public in my opinion wants nothing to do with the Middle East at this point. They’d love  it to go away. It’s been a problem. They just would love to see it go away. And with good reason. The American public after Afghanistan and Iraq doesn’t want any more military action in the Middle East at all. And I think the vote would be unbelievably heavily against it.

“I still think he will pull the trigger when that particular point comes. The real question is, Will it be in time or will it be a day  late?”

Goldberg: “My final and hardest question is this: What poses a greater threat to Israel, the Iranian nuclear program or Israel’s own policies in the West Bank that as you would argue hurt Israel’s legitimacy and make it difficult to imagine Israel moving forward into the coming decades as it is right now, a Jewish majority democracy? External or the internal?”

Crown: “You have to put it on a time scale… The Iranian thing has to be solved. It just has to– If they have nuclear weapons, what I think will happen, they won’t use them on Israel. But they will become the bully in the area to the point, to our tremendous detriment, the United States’s tremendous detriment and Israel, and they will just authorize Hezbollah to attack Israel, let’s say, every two years. And by attrition, you get ten years from now, you have no country. So that has to be taken care of…

“After that is, the internal part of it. They have to solve themselves. People on the West Bank and the situation with the ultra-Orthodox has to– They can’t allow this to go on because it’s corroding the inside and the whole core of the country.”

The exchange begs the question of why the U.S. should take military action when Crown obviously think deterrence works with nuclear powers. And why the U.S. should take military action when the public want no more wars in the Middle East and the threat is Hezbollah, an Islamist military and political force in Lebanon.

The interview is also interesting for Crown’s expression of dedication to the state of Israel as a haven for Jews because of the legacy of the Holocaust. He says his businessman father bought up aviation parts in the U.S. on behalf of the Israelis in violation of US laws in the 1950s, and that almost all American Jews support Israel. 

Crown also states that the two-state solution is imperative and the Palestinians deserve a state in the West Bank. He deplores the Orthodox Israeli settlers as “absolutely impossible” and says he has urged Israeli leaders not to subsidize settlements, but to pull settlers back into Israel.

Crown is a billionaire supporter of Barack Obama, a philanthropist involved in the Council on Foreign Relations, the Chicago Global Affairs Council, and the Aspen Institute. In 2008, he reached out to the Jewish community to win them over to Barack Obama on Israel. In 2010, he reportedly applied pressure on Obama to have him stop criticizing Israel on settlements.

The exchange also features some racism against Arabs.

Goldberg had joked that there were “3 million Jews” in the room and when Karim Kuwar, the Jordanian ambassador to the United States, rose to ask a question about the Arab Peace Initiative, Kuwar introduced himself as “probably the only Arab” there.

“Oh I doubt it,” Goldberg says.

Crown quips: “If you had to have one in the room, this is the best.”

Goldberg laughs raucously.

Thanks to Max Blumenthal.

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68 Responses

  1. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace
    July 23, 2013, 11:51 am

    Thank you Phil for this peek into the inner workings of the Israel project. I found this piece from Norman Finkelstein about the ongoing breakup of American Zionism; the slow motion train wreck, ongoing, even as the old timers continue to believe and gloat that they still control of the locomotive.

    Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; 1
    Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.
    Friedrich, Freiherr von Logau

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      July 23, 2013, 1:00 pm

      The Mills of God proverb evolved slowly in the ancient world. Sextus Empiricus (200 or thereabouts?) gives a Latin version ‘Est mola tarda Dei, verum molit illa minutim’, but Plutarch seems to refer to its evolved form earlier, around 100 CE, though he expresses some scepticism about it. The prior form was Euripides Bacchae line 883 of around 400 BCE – ‘divine power moves slowly but it is to be trusted’.
      Well, the 2-staters like Crown apparently have a grand opportunity if the Kerry Conference goes ahead and does not vanish into the desert mirages. The purpose of this school of rhetoric seems to be to threaten both sides, the Palestinians with the destruction of their real or supposed patron, Iran, and the Israelis with the eventual exhaustion of American patience. What he says about public opinion and the ME – they don’t want to hear about but particularly they don’t want war – is surely true. Crown admits that he’s in the minority in believing that Obama will attack Iran and I must say that I just don’t hear those war drums at least as yet and that there has to be major preparation of public opinion, something like but better than Colin Powell at the UN, if there is to be war. I also think his balancing threat is a bit hollow – the status quo in the Territories is not unsustainable in the medium term. There’s still a long, hard road ahead.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        July 23, 2013, 9:50 pm

        I must say that I just don’t hear those war drums at least as yet and that there has to be major preparation of public opinion, something like but better than Colin Powell at the UN, if there is to be war.

        It was Tony Blair who wanted to get permission from the Security Council again. The Bush Administration claimed they already had it under existing resolutions. Ask for permission proved fruitless.

        Obama certainly won’t go to the UN, since bombing nuclear facilities violates UN resolutions, international law, and the Charter. He might follow Clinton’s example. He didn’t build support prior to attacks. He just destroyed aspirin factories and bombarded camps in Afghanistan suddenly and without any warning.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        July 24, 2013, 1:37 pm

        @MHughes976 – – If Iran fails to make a deal with P5+1, Obama will be obliged to seek further sanctions. I would expect him to blockade Iranian oil exports, rather than launch an attack on nuclear facilities.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        July 24, 2013, 6:59 pm

        If Iran fails to make a deal with P5+1, Obama will be obliged to seek further sanctions. I would expect him to blockade Iranian oil exports

        It’s doubtful that he will get additional sanctions passed the Russian or Chinese veto. A blockade is by definition a constituent act of the crime of aggression – and we’ve already been down that road once before. In the judgment concerning Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v United States of America) the ICJ had already found that the attacks by the United States violated the prohibitions on the use of force contained in the UN Charter and international treaties on freedom of commerce and trade between the United States and Iran. See:
        * http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/?sum=634&code=op&p1=3&p2=3&case=90&k=0a&p3=5

        That sort of finding has legal consequences that are very messy to deal with:

        The Iran-United States Claims Tribunal was established on 19 January 1981 by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America to resolve certain claims by nationals of one State Party against the other State Party and certain claims between the State Parties. To date, the Tribunal has finalized over 3,900 cases. Currently on the Tribunal’s docket are several large and complex claims between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America.

        http://www.iusct.net/

        Any state that unilaterally tries to blockade oil exports to Iran’s customers in this day and age will probably end up getting sanctioned by the international and regional trade organizations and sued by the oil companies and commodity traders.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        July 24, 2013, 7:02 pm

        Strong comments, Hostage. However, I continue to think Obama would prefer an illegal blockade of Iranian oil exports, to an illegal attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

  2. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    July 23, 2013, 12:25 pm

    Walter Isaacson “it is because Lester Crown has been the heart and soul along with Renee Crown his father Henry Crown, Steve, Jim, Paula everybody else here the heart and soul of the Aspen Institute. This place (Aspen Institute) exist because of now for generations of the Crown family.”

    Kept this issue from being discussed factually for decades. Along with Isaacson

    I have not attended the conference for about 15 years. But the I/P factual gates were closed then and had been for years. Friends who have attended for years have said there have been many years where the pro Iraq war and go get Iran guest were loaded up to promote the pro Israel no matter what they do warmongers agenda

  3. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace
    July 23, 2013, 12:40 pm

    And i believe that this story below coming from a man who lived in the bowels of U.S national security is an example of the resentment that is an ongoing seething sore within one segment of that community, namely the analyst side of the house, as opposed to the more troglodyte operational side which would tend to be less informed and thus more easily manipulable side of that community. Phil Giraldi and Paul Pillar along with Ray Macgovern serve as samples of a sentiment seething.

    The flaunting of this sort of in your face power will one day backfire against the Israel firsters, if history is any guide for the future.

    http://consortiumnews.com/2013/07/22/how-israel-lobby-trained-a-diplomat/

    ‘The now well-known background to this is an interview more than a decade ago, in which Power suggested that to quell Israeli-Palestinian violence at that time the United States should consider deploying a large protective force even though this might mean “alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.” The constituency in question, as is its custom, denounced Power as anti-Israeli.

    Power’s later means of retaining her confirmability in the face of such accusations was to disavow, totally and tearfully, her own observations. A key event was a meeting with American Jewish leaders at which, according to the meeting’s organizer, she “became deeply emotional and struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her.”

    This sequence has made Samantha Power a more valuable commodity to the Israel lobby than if she had never made any comments to offend the lobby in the first place. Sustaining the lobby’s power depends on repeated demonstrations of submission to that power. The lobby could not have gotten a better demonstration of submission than to have the nominated chief U.S. diplomat at the United Nations abandon all evidence of any independent thought on the issues concerned and to make herself indistinguishable from Israeli diplomats.

    Besides making for more dysfunction in the confirmation process, this kind of response from a nominee, as when Power said at her hearing that the United States has “no greater friend in the world” than Israel, badly distorts the larger public discourse on important issues. To appreciate how much it is distorted, we have to listen to distinguished and experienced people who are not up for a confirmation vote, do not expect to be in the future, and thus can voice their observations in an honest and untrimmed manner.

    One such person is retired Marine Corps General and former Central Command head James Mattis, who last weekend explained some of the cost to the United States of the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I paid a military security price every day as a commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel,” said Mattis.

    Moderate Arabs “who want to be with us,” he said, restrict their support for the United States because they “can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t want to show respect for the Arab Palestinians.”

    Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 23, 2013, 4:36 pm

      Problem is Dick and Jane are not listening to Mattis, as they did not listen to Petraeus. The whole bullshit Israel depends on the US mainstream media not latching onto any US person of influence, or, if retired of proven credibility re career devoted to US interests.The Israel First folks absolutely depend on the US media not giving the truth a chance for the US public to digest re anything Israel-related.

      • Castellio
        Castellio
        July 24, 2013, 2:11 pm

        The Israel First folks are the US Media.

    • American
      American
      July 23, 2013, 5:30 pm

      ”The flaunting of this sort of in your face power will one day backfire against the Israel firsters, if history is any guide for the future.”..atime forpeace

      I think so too but they are riding such a wave of success and hubris they are deaf to all warnings and cautions.

  4. American
    American
    July 23, 2013, 12:43 pm

    ””You’re Lester Crown, no one in Israel can doubt your loyalty or your service to the state of Israel.””

    Don’t doubt the US Zionist loyalty to Israel.
    Self fulfilling prophecy, always fleeing to that appointment in Samara.
    If victory over Iran isnt their death bed something else will be, they cant stop themselves.

    • Les
      Les
      July 23, 2013, 6:31 pm

      Why hasn’t Crown emigrated? Until he does that duty required of zionists, consider him to be an Israeli agent.

  5. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    July 23, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Such a total rah rah Israel interview. So far no criticisms at all. Goldberg has come to the Aspen Ideas festival for seven years and been involved with 55 panels and intereviews. Mix it up for heavens sake. Did they say that 64 members of the Crown family were in the audience?

    Goldberg and Crown cover the creation of Israel after WWII but somehow just somehow conveniently avoid talking about the confiscation of Palestinian land and the Zionist dream starting in the mid 1800’s.

    Goldberg “rebuilding the Jewish state” as if Israel had existed before 1949.

    Goldberg “let’s go up to the present”
    Goldberg “you can start with Iran if you want to”

    Such a fair and balanced interviewer (choke). Holy smokes…line up better people to interview. Such a set up

    Lester describes his father being asked to buy illegal military equipment from North American Aviation to ship illegallly to Israel because there was a US embargo against shipping arms to Israel. Then goes onto talk about someone named I think Teddy Colleague who he calls a “master smuggler” Audience laughs as if illegal shipping and “smuggling” of arms is a ok as long as you are a Jew and in particular shipping to Israel

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich
      July 23, 2013, 8:10 pm

      @ Kathleen,

      Well, madam, you deserve a standing ovation [for clarity as well as perception].

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    July 23, 2013, 1:27 pm

    A bit of clapping when Crown says settlers should not be given incentive to continue to illegally settle and given incentive to get out of there. Earlier he talks about the Israeli blocs which are part of Israel”which are going to stay”. Then goes on to talk about the settlements 25:15″out in the area” as if what he calls Israel’s “blocs” are not illegal or not more stolen land.

    He also talks about the strong possibility of a real push for a one state solution “not going to happen” so matter of factly.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      July 23, 2013, 2:32 pm

      @Kathleen – – The EU wants Israel out of the West Bank. 1967 borders. Do we assume Obama is so beholden to rich and powerful Jews, he feels the need to coerce the Palestinians into allowing Israeli annexation of most of their illegal colonies?

  7. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride
    July 23, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Would one have to rank Lester Crown among the top 1,000 most powerful players in American politics? Perhaps among the top 100 most powerful?

    # Lester Crown; categories=
    1. age 88 in 2013
    2. American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science member
    3. arms billionaire
    4. Aspen Institute member
    5. Barack Obama funder
    6. Barack Obama supporter
    7. billionaire
    8. Cantor for Congress member
    9. CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) member
    10. Chicago billionaire
    11. Chicago Global Affairs Council member
    12. Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University funder
    13. Democrat
    14. Eric Cantor supporter
    15. Forbes billionaire 2002 rank 53
    16. Forbes billionaire 2008 rank 222
    17. Friends for Harry Reid member
    18. Friends of Giuliani Exploratory Committee member
    19. General Dynamics billionaire
    20. General Dynamics director
    21. Harvard University MBA
    22. Iran War ringleader
    23. Israel lobby leader
    24. Israeli op
    25. Jerusalem Post world’s richest Jews 2010 rank 39
    26. Jewish activist
    27. Jewish billionaire
    28. Jewish lobby leader
    29. Jewish nationalist
    30. Jewish pro-Israel billionaire
    31. Joe Lieberman for President member
    32. Joe Lieberman supporter
    33. net worth $4+ billion
    34. Northwestern University BS
    35. pro-Israel activist
    36. pro-Israel billionaire
    37. Rahm Emanuel funder
    38. Rahm Emanuel supporter
    39. Rudy Giuliani supporter
    40. Tel Aviv University board member

    Here is Lester Crown’s NNDB social network map: http://mapper.nndb.com/start/?id=128592

    I found myself in agreement with several of his remarks — but find his overall pattern of remarks to be strangely incoherent and self-contradictory.

    He acknowledges that the American people are weary of Mideast wars, but advocates a war against Iran. (If that war occurs and goes badly — potentially worse than the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars — well-informed Americans are likely to blame powerful pro-Israel activists like Crown for the mess.)

    He acknowledges that Iran is not likely to use nuclear weapons against Iran, but advocates a war against Iran.

    He opposes Israeli settlements, but pressured Obama (and the American government) to stop expressing public opposition to the settlements (which is the same line that Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk have promoted).

    And a question: how much has General Dynamics profited from the Global War on Terror, the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War? How much would it profit from a war against Iran?

    • seanmcbride
      seanmcbride
      July 23, 2013, 2:28 pm

      What may account for Crown’s intellectual incoherence:

      Crown described the establishment of Israel as a “miracle”– “To me it isn’t the eighth miracle of the world, it’s the number one miracle”

      He is intensely emotional — even messianic — about Jewish nationalism. I haven’t encountered an ethnic nationalist yet who can think logically and straight about the world — they bend everything out of shape to fit their emotional ethnic nationalist agenda.

      Also notice that Crown’s power reaches deeply into both the Democratic and Republican Parties — his pro-Israel agenda transcends and takes precedence over American politics. The Democratic and Republican Parties are mere tools for achieving his objectives.

      When you add Crown’s power to that of other pro-Israel billionaires — Haim Saban, Sheldon Adelson, etc. — you have an unstoppable juggernaut that can easily run roughshod over the Congress and any sitting American president.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        July 24, 2013, 1:45 pm

        @seanmcbride – – Crown does offer a vivid example of how rich American Jews have done a great job of ensuring the US Congress is unable to act in the best interests of the American people, in matters pertaining to Israel. This situation in my view actually is not in Israel’s own best interests.

  8. James Canning
    James Canning
    July 23, 2013, 2:23 pm

    The understanding I have is that Obama has assured Netanyahu he will not allow Iran to build nukes. There seems little doubt this is correct assessment.

  9. James Canning
    James Canning
    July 23, 2013, 2:30 pm

    I think more attention needs to be focused on the reasons the George W. Bush administration so very stupidly blocked Iran’s application to buy replacement nuclear fuel for the Tehran medical research reactor. The US in effect forced Iran to begin enriching uranium to 20 percent.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 23, 2013, 4:49 pm

      Bush Jr didn’t care about what you see. Bush Jr doesn’t give a shit at all about savvy pundits. He knows, and has said, the doer does, the pencil necks pencil, and the doers live life in comfort and luxury, not concerned about the pencil necks who scribble for future readers, of no account anyway.

  10. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    July 23, 2013, 2:38 pm

    Why would US attack? Did US attack Pakistan, Israel, India when they got nukes?
    Besides why would US attack Iran? Even if this was a problem (Iran) which is not why doesnt the might miraculous Israel take care of it itself? Cowardice!

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      July 23, 2013, 7:07 pm

      @Just – – If Iran is unable to make a deal with the Six Powers, I expect more sanctions and then perhaps a blockade of Iranian oil exports. Which in turn may provoke an Iranian military response. Leading to . …

      Bear in mind Obama has assured Netanyahu he will not allow Iran to build nukes.

      • Abierno
        Abierno
        July 23, 2013, 10:36 pm

        The US can embargo Iranian oil – ostensibly closing their ports, but any map of oil pipelines would indicate that they are well connected to Pakistan for natural gas and to Iraq for crude. China and Russia are purchasing these supplies and I would doubt, particularly given the Syrian status that they would get behind an oil embargo. Israel on the other hand would have no difficulty in in bombing their oil pipelines and refineries as well as their nuclear resources. This is I believe part of their policy of bombing their enemies back to the Stone Age. However, allowing/aiding or abetting this would create intense confrontation with Russia and China as well as further instantiating them in the region as the major power players. This is another example of where our current foreign policy is not only short sighted but directly conflicts with what is best for the USA. The current Netanyahu government has no considered foreign policy and acts against the best advice of their military leaders
        as does our country.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        July 26, 2013, 6:29 pm

        No blockade could be undertaken without prior tacit approval of China.

        Grave governmental financial crisis is certain, in Iran, in event of a blockade.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        July 24, 2013, 11:53 am

        I tried to challenge the discourse but with your reply I obviously failed.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        July 26, 2013, 1:53 pm

        @Just – – Your comment is unclear, at least to me. Are you suggesting Obama will not be forced to attack Iran, if Iran fails to make a deal with the Six Powers?

  11. Taxi
    Taxi
    July 23, 2013, 3:08 pm

    Policy makers in tel aviv and D.C. are wicked dreamers. They talk about attacking Iran like there won’t be ANY consequences and they would surely, handily win – and win quick.

    Oh Harvard professor of Law & Justice oh Pulitzer Peace Prizer where art thou? Are the rumors true that the President’s brain is in a pickle jar in a lab in a bunker somewhere in the Negev? Sure hope not!

    And why is Hizbollah so dangerous to israel? Why are American billionaires, who operate in the political shadows, so fixated on the Lebanese resistance? Because it managed to do what all the Arab armies combined failed to do: force-feed israel a can ‘o whipass. Man! Israel, Arab zionists (oil Gulfies) and American neocons (libs and cons) have spent so much money and resources trying to neutralize the hizbollah thang. Including poking at Syria and stirring at Iran, not forgetting the numerous (failed) plot after plot to drive Lebanon into a civil war – all this activity just to teach Hizbollah a “lesson”. How dare a few thousand Arab peasant resistors humiliate the jewish army and all it’s finest American-made military hardware?!

    They’re chasing up on hizbollah relentlessly, obsessively, and they have failed to put even a single dent in the hizb’s armor. Not even yesterday’s news that the EU will now put Hizbollah’s military wing on it’s terrorist list will make a difference: “ink on paper”, was the hizb’s response. And the timing of this announcement? It was all Kerry’s doing, to help push israelis to the negotiating table with Abbas – part and parcel of the EU giving the sweet to israel after giving it the vinegar several days before (settlement boycott).

    And it’s like, if they can’t even wrap their lasso around the hizb good and proper, how the hell are they gonna manage to snare Iran’s heavier body? And MOST importantly, what exactly is their morning-after strategy post an Iran attack? Everyone whistles at the wind when you ask them this.

    It’s not certain or completely clear whether Iran and israel will have a direct confrontation. Though for sure Hizbollah and israel will clash again, but next time it will be inside israel too and all over the Golan Heights. Till then, the many covert ops against the hizb will keep being rolled out…. and failing.

    It’s like a noire Tom and Jerry, with hizbollah as Jerry.

  12. dimadok
    dimadok
    July 23, 2013, 3:58 pm

    I would to suggest a different perspective here:
    Mr. Obama will pull the trigger not because of the threat to Israel- Israel can and will certainly defend itself.
    He will do it due to the immense pressure and hysteria coming from all the Iran’s neighbours, lead by the Gulf states. They are freaking out about the mere possibility of nuclear Iran. Imagine Syria v. 2.0 with nuclear armed Shia state and its proxies.
    So the scapegoating Israel and pushing your anti-Zionist agenda seems as an overstretch here.

    • annie
      annie
      July 23, 2013, 6:55 pm

      oh plllllease

      • tree
        tree
        July 23, 2013, 7:08 pm

        Come on, annie. We all know that Netanyahu did his little Wiley Coyote routine at the UN because he was paid off by the Saudis. He’s the biggest mole they’ve ever had in the Israeli government!

      • Walker
        Walker
        July 24, 2013, 1:34 pm

        We all know that Netanyahu did his little Wiley Coyote routine at the UN because he was paid off by the Saudis.

        I don’t think any of us knew, tree. Do you have a link?

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        July 24, 2013, 1:40 pm

        @tree – – You are joking?

      • tree
        tree
        July 24, 2013, 3:11 pm

        Wow, I think you have troubles detecting sarcasm. Yes, I was joking- making fun of dimadok’s bs.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        July 26, 2013, 1:55 pm

        @Walker – – What is a “Wiley Coyote” routine?

      • tree
        tree
        July 26, 2013, 3:09 pm

        What is a “Wiley Coyote” routine?

        Wow, you seem to have just fallen off the turnip truck.

        Explanation in one photo here: (The second and third photos are funny too.)

        http://underthemountainbunker.com/2012/09/29/jon-stewart-on-netanyahus-wile-e-coyote-bomb/

        And please don’t ask me what “just fell off the turnip truck” means. Google it if you need to.

      • dimadok
        dimadok
        July 24, 2013, 6:47 am

        @Annie. I’m open to your suggestions, Annie. Please provide some arguments against. Also, would you like to add your “in depth” analysis of the Hizbollah situation, its connection with Iran and it’s nuclear ambitions?

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        July 26, 2013, 9:21 pm

        Also, would you like to add your “in depth” analysis of the Hizbollah situation, its connection with Iran and it’s nuclear ambitions?

        There is no Hizbollah connection with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Even your wn intelligence agencies agree there are no such ambitions.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      July 23, 2013, 7:10 pm

      Gulf monarchies have mixed feelings about any US attack on Iran. Sentiment as a whole is opposed to such an attack, from what I can ascertain.

    • Keith
      Keith
      July 26, 2013, 6:46 pm

      DIMADOK- “He will do it due to the immense pressure and hysteria coming from all the Iran’s neighbours, lead by the Gulf states. They are freaking out about the mere possibility of nuclear Iran.”

      Where are you getting your information? Recent polls consistently show Israel and the US are considered the biggest threats to peace by the people, and that Iran’s nuclear program is generally supported. Below I provide a quote and a link to a recent Zogby poll.

      “…support for Iran and its nuclear program appears to have risen over the same period, according to the new survey, the sixth in a series designed by University of Maryland Prof. Shibley Telhami and carried out by Zogby International since 2002.

      Nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, of more than 4,000 respondents in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said they held a “very unfavorable” attitude of the United States, up from 57 percent in late 2006, while 19 percent more said their views were “somewhat unfavorable” — roughly comparable to the results of 17 months ago.

      At the same time, support for Iran and its nuclear program appears to have risen over the same period, according to the new survey, the sixth in a series designed by University of Maryland Prof. Shibley Telhami and carried out by Zogby International since 2002.
      The poll found that two-thirds of the Arab public (67 percent) believes Tehran has the right to pursue its nuclear program and that international pressure to freeze it should cease. That compares to 61 percent who took the same position in 2006.

      Remarkably, nearly three out of four Saudi respondents said that if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, it would have “positive” influence on the region, while 51 percent of UAE respondents agreed. Pluralities in Morocco and Egypt took the same position, while pluralities of roughly one-third in Lebanon and Jordan said Tehran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon it would make no difference.

      The new survey also found that fears regarding both US and Israeli designs in the region have also increased over the past 17 months, despite the length of time that has passed since the summer 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon which inflamed anti-Israeli and anti-western opinion throughout the region.

      Asked to name two countries that, in their view, posed the “biggest threat” to them, a whopping 95 percent and 88 percent of respondents named Israel and the US, respectively. That compared to 85 percent and 72 percent, respectively, in late 2006.
      By comparison, the sense of threat posed by Iran appears to have diminished over the same period. While 11 percent of Arab respondents named Iran as one of the two greatest threats in late 2006, only seven percent did so in the most recent survey.”
      http://electronicintifada.net/content/poll-israel-us-greatest-threats-middle-east/7461

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      July 26, 2013, 9:19 pm

      Mr. Obama will pull the trigger not because of the threat to Israel- Israel can and will certainly defend itself.

      If by defend itself, you mean destroying Iran’s nuclear program, not it can’t.

      He will do it due to the immense pressure and hysteria coming from all the Iran’s neighbours, lead by the Gulf states.

      No he won’t because there is nos such pressure.None of Iran’s neighbors support an attack on Iran. They kn ow how devastating it would be for the region.

      Mind you it’s funny that you suggest Obama would do as the Arab states tell him with respect to Iran, yet he refuses to do as they tell him with respect to Israel and Palestine.

      They are freaking out about the mere possibility of nuclear Iran.

      Frwaking out? No, you might be, but they are not.

      This is about Israel, Israel, Israel.

  13. lysias
    lysias
    July 23, 2013, 4:23 pm

    Crown talks as if it’s inevitable that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons. I think it’s much more likely that Iran will avoid taking that step.

    • NickJOCW
      NickJOCW
      July 24, 2013, 10:50 am

      I agree. Nations of Iran’s antiquity possess a patience unknown to Israel or the US. I believe the principle at the heart of Iran’s perception of Israel is that it will undo itself in time since its trajectory is not sustainable, and it would be foolish to intervene to try to provoke something that is happening anyway; just wait until it’s over. One problem with Israelis seems to be a conviction that if you don’t love them you must hate them, they seem unable to grasp how many have no emotional response at all to them but increasingly see them as an irritant.

      I stumbled on this earlier. http://www.bdsmovement.net/timeline

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        July 26, 2013, 1:51 pm

        Khamenei apparently sees that Israel likely will fail if it refuses to get out of the West Bank.
        Iran, however, apparently will accept Israel within 1967 borders, IF the Palestinians do so.

  14. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    July 23, 2013, 6:22 pm

    “”The Iranian nuclear program– both– in all ways is right near the top, whether it be in missiles, whether it be in centrifuges, weaponization, mineralization– it is right at the point where they can have a nuclear weapon. It is so close. Now whether it’s within two months or six months or a year, obviously– I obviously don’t know.”

    Bibi Netanyahoo has been predicting [as a fact] that Iranian nukes are about to rain down on Eretz since the early ’90s.

    If I were a betting man, the odds of striking gold based upon this yahoo’s tealeaves reading capabilities are close to zilch, as is the morbid, on life support, pieces peace process.

  15. Les
    Les
    July 23, 2013, 6:27 pm

    Corporal Goldberg is an Israeli veteran, not to be confused with American journalists.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 24, 2013, 6:12 am

      What American journalists? You mean Snowden and Glen Greenwald?

  16. Shingo
    Shingo
    July 23, 2013, 10:08 pm

    Crown also states that the two-state solution is imperative and the Palestinians deserve a state in the West Bank. He deplores the Orthodox Israeli settlers as “absolutely impossible” and says he has urged Israeli leaders not to subsidize settlements, but to pull settlers back into Israel.

    This guy exemplifies the stereotypical cognitive dissonance of Israeli firsters. On one hand, he has urged Israeli leaders not to subsidize settlements, but to pull settlers back into Israel while at the same time he In 2010, he reportedly applied pressure on Obama to have him stop criticizing Israel on settlements.

    That makes as much sense as imploring an alcoholic to stop drinking but refusing to take away the key to the liquor cabinet.

    What kind of insanity is this?

  17. just
    just
    July 23, 2013, 10:53 pm

    Absolutely disgusting– can’t our President get better “confidantes”. Or is it really all about $$$$$$$$$$?

    Iran is not stupid– they are not building nukes, and would not use them if they did. They have, however, had two horrific wars launched by us on both sides of their nation. Israel is behaving like a petulant brat. I certainly don’t want them to rule the region by their own particular brand of terror and apartheid, backed by us. I have been profoundly disappointed in much that Mr. Obama has/ has not done, but he’s pulling no “trigger”. And Netanyahu braying for decades about the Iranian ‘threat’ is just so much BS. It’s about Israel’s desire for regional hegemony.

    Chicken Little Bibi: The sky is falling.

    (Hillary just might, though.)

  18. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough
    July 24, 2013, 12:11 am

    We are now fully in an era of pre-crime, wherein Iran (and anyone else) must be destroyed for even the possibility that they may one day be able to create a nuclear bomb or anything else that could conceivably threaten Israel, a logical extension of Israel’s ‘Beggar thy Neighbor’ policy. The only question in my mind now is whether or not the US can stop this madness before it is pulled down by it.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      July 26, 2013, 2:04 pm

      @Qualtrough – – Of course Iran has the ability to build nukes.

      The real question is how close Iran is willing to try to get, to ability to build nukes quickly. If P5=1 do not make a deal with Iran.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        July 26, 2013, 9:25 pm

        Of course Iran has the ability to build nukes.

        That’s not a foregone conclusion. We won’t know if they have that ability until they actually test one.

  19. surewin
    surewin
    July 24, 2013, 1:28 am

    I don’t think Obama will attack Iran, but I think he might attack Syria. The main reason for attacking Syria will be to diminish Hezbollah’s ability to threaten Israel and thereby to diminish one of Israel’s main excuses for refusing a two-state deal. Everyone with a brain believes that Iran won’t actually use nuclear weapons against Israel. No one has ever used them since the first time, in 1945. In a multi-polar nuclear world, using nuclear weapons is not part of the logic of having them. Lester Crown tells us that Iran won’t use nuclear weapons, but that if they get them it will exacerbate the Hezbollah problem. The problem is Hezbollah, not Iranian nukes. I think Obama will address the problem, not the non-problem.

    The real problem that Crown doesn’t want to identify is that a nuclear-armed Iran will circumscribe Israel’s imperial ambitions. That is the “emergency” that requires a “committee”. The fear is of continued loss of imperial momentum, which has been happening for about six years now, and which I think will continue. The fear is not of a physical threat to Israel, which hardly exists, especially given America’s unwillingness to tolerate such a threat.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      July 26, 2013, 6:32 pm

      Syria offered peace and recognition to Israel for many years. Decades, in fact. Ask Jimmy Carter.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      July 26, 2013, 9:31 pm

      The main reason for attacking Syria will be to diminish Hezbollah’s ability to threaten Israel and thereby to diminish one of Israel’s main excuses for refusing a two-state deal.

      That’s absurd and a real stretch. Attacking Syria could lead to a confrontation with Russia. Obama is not going to risk such a dangerous possibility just to diminish one of Israel’s main excuses for refusing a two-state deal.

      In fact, as we have seen before, removing threats to Israel or empowering them only leads to Israel being more arrogant and belligerent. Even Indyk admitted as much.

      Iran won’t use nuclear weapons, but that if they get them it will exacerbate the Hezbollah problem.

      Rubbish. Hezbollah’s raison d’ etre is no longer keeping Israel out of Lebanon. They are part of the Lebanese government. Contrary to your stereotypes of crazed jihadists, they are not waiting to pounce on Israel.

      Hezbollah only present a problem insofar as they are an impediment to Israel’s regional ambitions. They are the only group that has been able to stand up to Israel and defeat them, sol that alone is seen as unacceptable.

  20. dbroncos
    dbroncos
    July 24, 2013, 1:44 am

    Elite Zionists gatekeepers who work at the highest levels of American society – billionaires and millionaires, policy makers and policy advisors, media moguls and media personalities: Lester Crown, Haim Saban, Sheldon Adelson, Charles Krauthammer, Jeffrey Goldberg, Isabel Kirshner, Mort Zuckerman, William Kristol, Marty Pretz, Anthony Weiner, Eric Cantor, Dianne Feinstien, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, Paul Wolfowitz – to name a few. There is a sinister dynamic in play with this elite crowd. They will eagerly employ their collective influence to promote sending nameless, faceless American soldiers to war, to kill and die for the Jewish State. They’re willing to see hundreds of thousands die or become refugees (Iraq) in a war to protect their Zionist ideal, all while repeating the manipulative mantras: “democractic Israel”, “shared values”, “shared threats”.

  21. Gus
    Gus
    July 24, 2013, 4:42 am

    Imagine a world in which the Israelis have been imprisoned in 20% of their current landholding as the result of an invasion by the Saudis (citing historical ownership of the temples). Imagine that the Saudis undertook this activity with the political and financial support of the US Congress, and maintained oppressive control over the 20% with the political connivance of the US Congress. Imagine that the US Congress does all of this because the Saudis are using their money to manipulate the US political system.

    Imagine that the Saudi lobbyists hold endless meetings to boast about their control of the US political system and that one of these meetings is attended by a tired, good-hearted, Israeli who is willing to give anything for peace.

    Imagine that the Israeli asks a question and the Saudi billionaire says “If you had to have a Jew in the room, this is the best one”. I am stunned.

  22. talknic
    talknic
    July 24, 2013, 7:33 am

    “Crown described the establishment of Israel as a “miracle””

    Scheming, lobbying, dishonesty, dispossessing non-Jews in order for there to be a Jewish state isn’t a miracle.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 24, 2013, 12:06 pm

      Miracle = playing on goy guilt (for what? thinking the best way to stop oppression of jews was to defeat Hitler, which had the added bonus of freeing all the other millions of people [non-Jews, slaves especially], controlled by the Nazis, rather than bomb a few railroad tracks leading to the concentration camps, easily fixed or the camps themselves & killing the jews imprisoned there along with a handful of SS guards? Better to bomb the ball bearing factories) to aid Israel no matter what it does, and at the direct expense of Palestinian and Persian goys, and the indirect blood and direct treasure of 98% goy America?

      Yet Jewish standup comedians always have trotted out how jews are the ones with the flaming guilt compex, always feeling guilty about everything that flies past the head and heart of the goys.

  23. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    July 26, 2013, 12:32 pm

    Crown flat out lies at 29:31 “Israeli’s are not looking into killing the Palestinians” The facts on the ground defy this statement.

    He goes onto say that 70% of Israeli citizens would support a peace agreement requiring settlers to get out of the West Bank. That is another flat out lie

  24. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    July 26, 2013, 1:10 pm

    Whoa then Crown really tells the whopper of whoppers when he and the very biased Goldberg are talking about Obama’s approach to the Peace Process at 40:13. Crown “he (Obama) could not accomplish with the Muslim world a lot of what he had hoped to accomplish. ” Crown blames the Muslim world for Obama’s inability to deal with the conflict honestly. What a bunch of hooey . Israel kicked both Obama and Biden squarely in the cajones when they brought up illegal settlements during Obama’s first four years.

    That comment by Crown “if you had to have one in the room, this is the best” and then folks laugh. Talk about some serious racism just comfortably spewed out and no one is alarmed.

    Crown “I don’t attempt to be completely objective.” That statement says it all about the Aspen Institute’s “Ideas Festival” Crown etc.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      July 26, 2013, 6:48 pm

      @Kathleen – – Crown is only too well aware that rich and powerful Jews like Crown himself, wrecked Obama’s effort to reach out to Iran and to stop the growth of the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank.

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