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‘Weak and retreating’ US policy on Iran is ‘bad for the Jews’ — Foxman

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Foxman and the vice president at ADL centennial gala last week

Foxman and the vice president at ADL centennial gala last week

I missed this last week, Abe Foxman’s speech to the ADL centennial gala (Thanks to Max Blumenthal). A paean to American militant engagement in the world, to support Israel.  Notice that the Holocaust survivor says Iran will rise from “fascist” Syria the way that Nazi Germany rose from fascist Spain. Oh but Syria isn’t a “slam dunk.”

And: Iran is “playing” the U.S. government, because of our “desperation at all costs to avoid a military confrontation.” So why does this man get the attention of the Vice President– and meeting Obama, too, month after month? Excerpts:

 One doesn’t have to agree with every American foreign policy decision to recognize that American leadership in the world has been a good thing.  It protected democratic Europe following WWII; it rehabilitated Japan into a thriving democracy; it brought an end to the Cold War and threats of nuclear annihilation with the demise of the Soviet Union; and its ideas of democracy have spread around the world, unevenly, but still overall a force for good.

As to the impact on Jews, as noted, the contrast is self-evident.  Before WWII when America retreated from the world, it enabled the greatest disaster ever to the Jewish people.  And, since, American leadership has helped produce the exceptional accomplishments we spoke about.

Now we are seeing growing indications of a desire for America to retreat from the world.  Interestingly, the bi-partisan support for America leadership came about after WWII when Republican isolationists from the 20’s and 30’s were transformed, led by Senator Robert Vandenberg, into internationalists in order to combat the Soviet threat.  When the Berlin wall came down, there was talk that a new isolationism would rise up.  Now that Republicans didn’t have the communist threat to contend with, it was argued, they might return to the old ways.  It happened in some instances, note Pat Buchanan.  Overall, however, it didn’t take.

Now, however, some two decades later, more serious trends are developing.  The combination of America’s unsatisfactory involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq together with the financial crisis at home have generated a broader opposition to American military involvement overseas.  The recent issue surrounding Syria’s use of chemical weapons highlighted this trend.  When President Obama announced he would attack Syria and then decided to obtain Congressional approval, he met a wall of resistance on both the Democratic left and the Republican right.  Mistrust of government and entanglements overseas abounded.  Members of Congress seemed merely to reflect the wishes of their constituencies.  And when the President then turned to a Russian solution of ridding Syria of chemical weapons, a huge sigh of relief was heard throughout the nation.  But what was also heard was questioning around the world whether America could be counted on — it was bad enough that the American people understandably wanted out, but where was the leadership in Washington to stand up?

This is not to say that anything about Syria is a slam dunk.  There are no angels in this conflict.  But the same thing was true about the Spanish Civil War between 1936-39, fascists on one side, communists on the other.  But it was a testing ground for fascists and when they saw that the democracies did not meet the test, it helped lead directly to WWII.

In Syria, chemical weapons aside, allowing Assad the murderer of many thousands, to stay in power supported by Iran and Hezbollah, with America largely on the sidelines will send a terrible message.  Iran will emerge the victor.  Allies of America are wondering, the good potential outcome on Syrian chemical weapons notwithstanding, whether America’s desperation at all costs to avoid a military confrontation signals a dangerous weakening of American resolve.

And then on top of that comes this drive to find agreements with Iran on the nuclear issue.  Now let me be clear: if we can reach a satisfactory deal with Iran that ensures that if Iran is deceptive or abnegates that agreement, it couldn’t in a short time break out and speedily move to a bomb, I’d be all for it.  The concern is the context: America seems desperate to avoid a confrontation with Iran; the Iranians, aware of that, are playing it to a fare-thee-well.

Not only are they talking the language of moderation, but they are already offering substantive proposals that may appear more giving than they really are.  Again, it’s not impossible that things can work out well, but when it appears to come from a perception of American weakness, it doesn’t bode well.

Arguments could be made to counter these points but often perception is reality.  America is being seen as weak and retreating.  The world looks at our choices, looks at our public opinion polls, looks at congressional reactions, looks at the paralysis in Washington on budgeting matters and wonders.

I hope that we get our act together.  I hope Congress starts to think of the bigger picture.  I hope we are truly able to keep all options on the table, whether vis-à-vis Iran or Syria, without rushing to military action.

Make no mistake about it.  If what we are seeing now is the beginning of a deep change in American foreign policy it will be bad for the Jews.

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20 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    November 6, 2013, 11:43 am

    Foxman only happy when he see dead [insert whatever israel-enemy] in a war.

    • Krauss
      November 6, 2013, 3:31 pm

      The speech is an encapsulation of his entire career. Since the ADL is a mostly useless organization, it’s all about supporting Israeli apartheid now. That this guy gets to pretend to be a civil rights advocate and have people like Obama endorse his work is a testament to the farce that is American politics.

      Abe Foxman shouldn’t be in the U.S. His loyalties does not lie with America. They are with Israel first and foremost. He should just be done with it and move to Israel. At least the right-wing settlers are consistent with their beliefs and are where their heart is; in the midst of Israeli apartheid.

      • seafoid
        November 7, 2013, 10:15 am

        The ADL is like an organization that was started off by feminist activists and now is one of the biggest porn lobbying groups in the world.

        I don’t understand how anyone can take it seriously.

  2. pabelmont
    November 6, 2013, 12:39 pm

    As if USA’s interventions had no cost and no danger, only motivation to spread peace, security, and democracy (whatever happened to OIL? RARE METALS?), etc.

    As to the Spanish Civil War, yes, he’s right, USA could have backed the anti-fascists (who had USSR/communist support) and defeated the Nazi intervenors in what proved to be an early round of WWII.. We didn’t (being trapped then as so often later in simplistic ideology, in that case anti-communism).

    Today, the USA could have fought the Israeli attackers (attackers of Lebanon, occupied Palestine, Gaza, Syria sometimes), but we didn’t, being trapped in a different simplistic ideology — pro-Israelism.

    Seems the USA cannot walk and chew gum at the same time (or at least cannot appear to think complex thoughts). It doesn’t look to be a matter of not having brains. It looks to be a matter of having permitted the dominance of a political system whereby The Establishment consisting of non-elected big-money folks (chiefly but not at all only CEOs spending the money of their big corporations) call the shots. Judging by results (apart from the apparent decision not to attack Iran), these BIGs are motivated (by whatever passes as reasoning among them) to protect Israel no-matter-what. Or not in general to demur when BIG-ZION speaks.

    • pabelmont
      November 6, 2013, 1:09 pm

      OTOH, USA big business had a lot more investments in Germany than in USSR in those days. The oligarchs who made up The Establishment may have had a hand in preventing USA’s entering WWII until rather late in the game (or Spanish Civil War at all, and Franco stayed in power long after Hitler did.) See American supporters of the European Fascists

      Charles Lindbergh attending Nazi party in Berlin – 1935

      A number of prominent and wealthy American businessmen helped to support fascist regimes in Europe from the 1920s through the 1940s. These people helped to support Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War of 1936, as well as Benito Mussolini, and Adolph Hitler.

      Some of the primary and more famous Americans and companies that were involved with the fascist regimes of Europe are: William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Kennedy (JFK’s father), Charles Lindbergh, John Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon (head of Alcoa, banker, and Secretary of Treasury), DuPont, General Motors, Standard Oil (now Exxon), Ford, ITT, Allen Dulles (later head of the CIA), Prescott Bush, National City Bank, and General Electric.

      It should be noted that businessmen from many countries, including England and Australia, also worked with the fascist regimes of Europe prior to WWII. The fascist governments were involved in a high level of construction, production, and international business.

      I.G. Farben, a German company, was the largest chemical manufacturing enterprise in the world during the early part of the 20th century. As such the company had many holdings in a variety of countries, including America. The American holdings of I.G. Farben included Bayer Co., General Aniline Works, Agfa Ansco, and Winthrop Chemical Company.

      I.G. Farben was critical in the development of the German economy and war machine leading up to WWII. During this time I.G. Farben’s international holdings along with its international business contracts with companies like Standard Oil, DuPont, Alcoa, and Dow Chemical were crucial in supplying the Nazi regime with the materials needed for war as well as financial support.

      The Spanish Civil War was the precursor to World War II. Fascist Francisco Franco was aided by Hitler and Mussolini during the Spanish Civil War. At this time GM, Ford, DuPont, and Standard Oil were working with Franco and supplying the fascist powers of Europe. At this same time many Americans were protesting the goings on in Europe as well as the involvement of American companies in helping the fascist powers. A group of American volunteer soldiers known as the Abe Lincoln Brigade went to Spain during this time to fight against Franco in defense of the Spanish Republic. This group was made up primarily of leftist American groups, such as members of American socialist parties and communist parties.

      Abraham Lincoln Brigade song: “No tenemos ni aviones, ni tankes ni cannones, ¡Ay, Manuela!

  3. seafoid
    November 6, 2013, 2:03 pm

    Foxman’s permanent war hard on is “bad for the Jews”.
    BTW who elected him as spokesman “for the Jews” ?

    • American
      November 6, 2013, 3:33 pm

      There are no efforts to depose the Foxman types are there?—-don’t make me tell my monkey story again to explain why.
      Establishing Israel for the Jews has been the longest running example of an act with ‘unintended consequences” in US history.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      November 6, 2013, 4:29 pm

      Foxman is self-appointed. But with backing of some very rich and powerful American Jews.

  4. Cliff
    November 6, 2013, 2:14 pm

    I guess Foxman believes never-ending war for Zionism is ‘good for Jews’.

    • seafoid
      November 7, 2013, 10:01 am

      That ended real well for the Spartans, the Mongols and the Prussians.

  5. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    November 6, 2013, 4:15 pm

    So a country that has invaded, occupied and destroyed two whole countries, and operates clandestinely – killing all sorts of people – in many others is weak. A greasy tub of lard who’s never put on a uniform in his life is, what – strong?

    Foxman is the guy who starts the bar fight by throwing a beer, then hides behind his friends. What a wretched person.

  6. James Canning
    James Canning
    November 6, 2013, 4:27 pm

    Abe Foxman wants endless war in the US, at a cost of trillions of dollars to the US taxpayers, to “protect” Israel (and enable continuing subversion of national security interests of the American people, by allowing growth of illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank).

  7. Ellen
    November 6, 2013, 4:53 pm

    Revolting statements from Foxman. On the US:

    Before WWII when America retreated from the world, it enabled the greatest disaster ever to the Jewish people. …

    Here we have it. According to Foxman, the US enabled the Nazi Holocaust. But this is to warm up to where he is going with on this line.

    When President Obama announced he would attack Syria and then decided to obtain Congressional approval, he met a wall of resistance on both the Democratic left and the Republican right. Mistrust of government and entanglements overseas abounded. Members of Congress seemed merely to reflect the wishes of their constituencies.

    Read: the Americans are at it again and will enable another Holocaust for the Jewish people. (As an aside, under the US system of Goverment, that is exactly what Members of Congress are supposed to do — “reflect the wishes of their constituencies!” )

    …with America largely on the sidelines will send a terrible message. Iran will emerge the victor….Make no mistake about it. If what we are seeing now is the beginning of a deep change in American foreign policy it will be bad for the Jews.

    Foxman starts with the assertion that the US enabled the Holocaust and concludes that America is at it again.

    This is disgusting rhetoric and that picture of Biden cuddling up to Foxman possibly right after that talk is beyond acceptable language.

    Why is Foxman tolerated by anyone?

    • RoHa
      November 6, 2013, 6:48 pm

      “If what we are seeing now is the beginning of a deep change in American foreign policy it will be bad for the Jews.”

      Tough. It will be good for the rest of us.

      It will be good for the people of the USA, since they will not lose more lives in wars for Israel.
      It will be good for the people of Australia, since there will not another US stupid war for our stupid Government to drag us into.
      It will be good for the 76m Iranians, since they will be spared “Shock and Awe”. It will be good for the people living around Iran, since they will be spared the inevitable direct effects a war in Iran will have on them.
      It will be good for the people of the world in general, since they will be spared the economic turmoil such a war would create.

      (I was going to start by saying “Stuff the Jews”, but then I realised this would make fnlevit die of apoplexy, and then his family would sue MW. See how considerate I am of you, Phil?)

  8. piotr
    November 6, 2013, 7:37 pm

    Foxman is really to old to be a good Hasbaratist. As far as I can see, he present a rather lucid and correct versions of events, relying on sudden non-sequiturs to obtain desired conclusions. To recap (a) recent military interventions resulted in FUBAR outcomes (b) we really could not afford them, as the public is well aware now (c) so we should do more of that stuff, lest we disappoint unnamed nations that count on our leadership.

    It really gives me the feeling of watching three card monte. After (a) and (b) I would be ready to bet 100 bucks on the conclusion “we have enough of it for the next 100 years”.

    However, quite possibly this is much more effective rhetoric than I am ready to give credit for. Essentially, this is a gambit that the listener does not comprehend the initial points fully but has a passing familiarity. Recitation of these points establishes the confidence of the listeners, like showing the cards face up at the beginning of the three card trick. You see, I do not hide anything. Then a blindingly fast movement of hands and the conclusion: pay us a trillion dollars because you have to prove your leadership. You wouldn’t like to be a follower, WOULD YOU!? Actually, the price of leadership only seems to be steep, it is a mere 10k per family.

    Then Foxman makes a surprisingly accurate historical analogy.
    ” There are no angels in this conflict. But the same thing was true about the Spanish Civil War between 1936-39, fascists on one side, communists on the other. But it was a testing ground for fascists and when they saw that the democracies did not meet the test, it helped lead directly to WWII.”

    So if we observe Stalinist slugging it out with Nazis, we should firmly support the Stalinists, because the proper time to slaughter them will come few years later. But how to apply such moral teachings when the local fascists are pro-American and local Communists are anti-American — as it was the case in Latin America? Are you ready, Mr. Foxman, to denounce good Jewish neo-cons like Elliot Abrams?

    Again, I am laughing at Foxman from the perspective of modern history, and that does not mean that this rhetoric cannot be effective with the general public. However, an average person on the street after loosing a bet in three card monte develops aversion to those blindingly fast hand movements. (Been there, done that.) Right now America has to show leadership in support of jihadists in Libya, and against the jihadist in Libya, and against jihadists in Somalia and Yemen and firmly in support of jihadists in Syria (wait, wait, am I loosing track here?!) and also firmly in support of Saudi Arabia against Iran because they support gay rights (OMG, I am totally lost, should we bomb Iran because of their support of gay rights or because they are against).

    OK, once more. We are showing the leadership to our allies in ME like Israel and Saudi Arabia because they share our values, e.g. by supporting gay rights (I do not support gay rights! — from Tea Party) or by sharing our family values (e.g. by opposing marriage contracts of limited duration which are legal is Iran but not in Saudi Arabia and not in USA and not in Israel), ah, forget about the marriages, we just love the folks who do not shout “death to America” (OK, that I can at least understand), and we show that leadership by doing what they want.

    Damn it, a fast hand movement again.

    PS. Been there, done that –> I mean that I had lost money to a three card monte operator. Piotr is not, and never was, operating three card monte.

    • RoHa
      November 6, 2013, 8:37 pm

      “after loosing a bet in three card monte”
      “(wait, wait, am I loosing track here?!) ”
      “OMG, I am totally lost”

      Don’t you mean “I am totally loost”?

  9. Bandolero
    November 6, 2013, 10:59 pm

    Was that a late laudatio for Walt & Mearsheimer’s book on the Israel lobby?

    Back then, when it appeared, the ADL claimed that book was an “Anti-Jewish Screed” and reasoned the following:

    Again, on the Bush Administration’s entry into Iraq there obviously is much room for criticism, including criticism of the neoconservatives. What is unacceptable in this paper is the charge that the neocons encouraged the war totally or primarily to serve Israel’s interests, not America’s. Neoconservatives going back to the Cold War days always had a very particular view of American interests in the world, which they argued strenuously. Whether one agreed with that view or not, there is no basis ever for suggesting then, or now, that Israel’s interests superseded those of the U.S. in their thinking.


    And now, Abe Foxman claims that the US military has to be used to fight wars in the muslim world to serve “the jews” – meaning Israel. I think, Walt & Mearsheimer should update their book for the next edition and take this speech as a recommendation of the correct analysis laid down in their book.

  10. eljay
    November 7, 2013, 10:36 am

    >> Make no mistake about it. If what we are seeing now is the beginning of a deep change in American foreign policy it will be bad for the Jews.

    There’s no reason it will be “bad for the Jews”, although it may bode ill for the great beacon-of-light Western democracy known as Israel.

    But Israel continues to act as though it doesn’t give a sh*t about potential repercussions from its 60+ years (and counting) of aggressive, immoral, unjust and supremacist behaviour.

    And, anyway, Zio-supremacists routinely insist that Israel is tough enough to handle its own problems, so what’s Abe whining about?

  11. traintosiberia
    November 7, 2013, 7:22 pm

    A number of U.S. military officers think the Israelis already know they can’t take out the Iranians, but once the bullets start flying Israel calculates that the U.S. will join in. “All this stuff about ‘red lines’ and deadlines is just Israel’s way of trying to get us to say that when they start shooting, we’ll start shooting,” retired Admiral Bobby Ray Inman told Perry. Inman specialized in intelligence during his 30 years in the Navy.

    There is current legislation before the Congress urging exactly that, and Obama did say that the U.S. had “Israel’s back.” But does that mean U.S. forces would get directly involved? If it was up to the American military, the answer would be “no.” Lt. Gen. Robert Gard told Perry that, while the U.S. military is committed to Israel, that commitment is not a blank check. U.S. support is “so they can defend themselves. Not so they can start World War III.”

    Isarel is ready to behave like a “ma d dog” of Dyan’s description. It plans to force US to join in the barkings. It is also the evidence of a standard israeli thinking that the west would pick up the tab , and despite all naysayers, reluctantly contribute to its murderous impulses . To Israel , it will be the successful replay of 1967 and 1973 but combined in its scope and dimension incorporating the preemtive illegality of the 1967 war with the threat of nuclear escalation of 1973 wars , forcing the rest of world to step in .Israel will make sure by that time its objectives are met on the ground ( and the sky)
    Foxman has not yet termed the reference to the WW3 as antisemitism but sure he would if it ever came to happen with negative results for the world economy and for US .

    • Bumblebye
      November 8, 2013, 8:53 am

      Bibi is most unhappy today!
      An agreement has been reached with Iran on the nuclear issue. One of the things he grumbled about (via radio) was that they would not have to *reduce* the level of enrichment. Which goes to show that all along, he knew fine well that they weren’t enriching for weapons, had no such program!

      And from

      “In a bitter outburst, Netanyahu denounced on Friday the contours of an Iranian agreement leaked to the media, once again putting himself in direct conflict with Washington.

      “This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it,” Netanyahu said as he headed into his third round of talks in just 48 hours with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

      “Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and to defend the security of its people,” he told reporters.

      Tellingly, Kerry did not appear in public with the Israeli leader on Friday and instead flew off in silence to Geneva to join talks between Iran and six world powers, including Russia, China and the European Union.”

      “But Kerry’s visit has laid bare the tensions once more and one senior Israeli official, who declined to be named, said Netanyahu might be tempted to use his influence at the U.S. Congress to try to temper the brewing Iran deal.”

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