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Questioning Obama’s nerve, Oren imagines ‘massive’ bombing campaign to ‘flatten all of Iran’

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Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren

Earlier this week, Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com picked up a tweet from Al-Monitor’s Laura Rozen.

Rozen linked to a Times of Israel interview by David Horovitz of former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, in which the men dismissed the Iranian deal out of hand and Oren repeatedly questioned President Obama’s resolve to take action against Iran because of the war-weariness of the US public. Obama needs to pose a “credible military threat” of pinpoint bombing to neutralize the nuclear program, Oren said. Because if that fails to stop Iran, the US might have to go in later and “flatten” the country. And though Oren said such bombing was not a “real option,” he also refused to rule it out.

Read some of this dialogue to see how other-worldly it is. First, Oren on the peculiarities of the US public:

So one of the differences [between the US and Israel] is of structure. There are differences of public opinion, where in the United States you have a lot of war-weariness, and actually support for the interim agreement [with Iran]. You have to acknowledge that there is an American public out there, whose opinion is not always heard here because all you see are American leaders. You don’t often see the American public. We learned from the Syrian episode last summer (when Obama pulled back from a threatened punitive strike after the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons) that that public can be pivotal in decision-making.

Implication being: we’re not war-weary in Israel.

And here’s Oren saying that Obama isn’t doing what needs to be done, a real threat of attack, now, which would obviate the need for a massive attack later, in which “you’re going to flatten all of Iran.” As you read this, note that he doesn’t rule out that massive attack. When Horovitz says it’s unthinkable to carry out such an attack, Oren deflects him. “Much more difficult.”

O: The constant paradox of the military threat, as we always said, was: the more credible, the less the chance you have to use it.

But it’s also: If you do have to use it, the earlier you use it, the less damage there will be than later. Why? Because if you can still stop [the Iranian program] at the enrichment cycle, then you are neutralizing certain facilities before they can move out [the enriched material]. But once they move it out, and it goes underground, you’re going to flatten all of Iran. Then you’re talking about massive, massive bombing campaigns. So the military option is only a real option if it’s used, you know, incredibly early on.

It’s only credible if it’s pinpoint, if it’s surgical. Because if you miss that moment, then you’ve got to bomb all of Iran. You don’t know where this room is [to which the Iranians would move their highly-enriched uranium and fuses].

H: And nobody would contemplate doing that?

O: Much more difficult.

H: Unthinkable because of the civilian casualties…

O: Everything. You’re talking a much bigger operation.

H: How credible is [the talk of a resort to force] at any point? The Russians and the Chinese would not go along under any circumstances, surely, would not be part of or sanction military intervention even if it’s clear that Iran is becoming a nuclear weapons state.

O: I know the American part. President Obama says that he’s serious, that all options are on the table — he just said this again in Washington — and that he’s not bluffing. They certainly have the capabilities.

The question is not whether the president says, All options are on the table. The question is whether the Iranians believe it. And there is nothing that would indicate — at least to us, to Israeli observers — so far that the Iranians believe it. On the contrary, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the Iranians don’t believe it.

H: Such as?

O: The Iranians planned to blow up a restaurant in Washington. They planned to blow up Israel’s embassy, in downtown Washington. Same plot… Now a country that’s planning that type of terrorist attack in the capital of the United States is not particularly afraid of military retribution. Agree?’

Then there’s this about the special relationship between the countries. I wonder how much these two militant religious nationalists are taking American support for granted:

H: So here you are trying to serve the interests of our country in its relationship with its best ally, in a situation of different contexts, and different threats. How are we doing in terms of that relationship. Is it okay? Are the personal withering assessments by the leaders of each other impacting on that relationship?

O: They had 11 meetings. Personal meetings. I was in all of them. They’re perfectly fine. They were open and candid and friendly. There were some laughs. There were some real laughs in those meetings. Obama claims to have spent more time on the telephone, and in his personal relations [with Netanyahu] than with any other foreign leader, and I think he’s probably right. A lot of hours. At the end of the day, we’re dealing with two countries whose interests on this issue cannot be entirely confluent — because of the structural differences and because of the circumstances in which they find themselves.

H: But who are intertwined.

O: They are intertwined.

I wonder how long the US and Israel will be intertwined so long as bombing its neighbors is Israel’s recommended policy.  Even special relationships can come to an end, when the thrill is gone.

Raimondo says that Iran is the big issue of 2014. He fears that Israel will drag us into war. Despite Oren’s backhanded acknowledgment of the US public’s resistance:

Aha! The public! The forgotten factor in American foreign policy decision-making is – finally! – making a comeback. That’s good news for those of us in the US who want a more peaceful, less confrontational US policy in the Middle East and around the world – and decidedly bad news for the Israeli far-right government that has as its Foreign Minister a man who once threatened to bomb the Aswan dam.

The Israelis have an extensive propaganda operation in the US, and a vocal fifth column in Washington: yet that hasn’t been quite enough to push us into war with Iran. What would do the trick? Aside from a terrorist attack on the US – like the alleged (and, in my view, completely bogus) Iranian plot to blow up a Washington restaurant and kill the Saudi ambassador – which would change the political dynamics by 180 degrees, the Israelis have some options.

An Israeli attack on Iran would not only end US-Iranian negotiations, it would inevitably drag us into the conflict. And while that might not be the best way to improve Israel’s fast-degenerating alliance with the US, it would certainly accomplish the goals the Israelis have set for themselves: the crushing of Iran and the shoring up of Netanyahu’s right-wing base in Israel, which is braying for war with the mullahs – and seething with resentment against the “incompetent” and untrustworthy Americans.

Israeli foreign policy, in a nutshell, aims at getting the Americans to pay the price for Tel Aviv’s aggression – against the Palestinians, against the Lebanese, against the Syrians, and most of all against the Iranians. The Israeli strategy has been to keep their own indigenous Arab population and neighboring Arab states in a state of pre-modernity so as to ensure the regional hegemony of the Jewish state.

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80 Responses

  1. John Douglas
    John Douglas
    January 4, 2014, 1:17 pm

    “Intertwined”? Did Horovitz and Oren say the U.S. is “intertwined” with Israel? As an American I’d say “ensnared”. Note the one-step-at-a-time strategy. Insult Obama until he makes a “credible threat” and then hit him over the head with his threat until he orders a credible attack. Americans die and Israel maintains its MI military supremacy. Israel, America’s ally in the Middle East.

    • American
      American
      January 4, 2014, 2:08 pm

      Yes ‘ensnared’ by zionist political corruption is the accurate description of the US relationship to Israel.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      January 4, 2014, 2:12 pm

      John, might note here that Obama has made it very clear indeed, that he would not allow Iran to build nukes. Oren knows this.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      January 4, 2014, 6:19 pm

      @ John Douglas
      More like enmeshed in the clinical psychiatric sense of that word. Not healthy for Parent or Spawn.

  2. Krauss
    Krauss
    January 4, 2014, 1:40 pm

    I don’t think Oren would make this wide-ranging, often very angry, interview for no reason. It isn’t done with the Israeli press, because the Times of Israel is an American outfit funded by neocon Wall Streeter Seth Klarman who has compared the 2010s to the “1930s” with an interview with Charlie Rose(meanwhile Klarman is funding large settlement projects).

    Why give this interview now? Why to an American publication? I believe this is Oren’s way, and by extention Netanyahu’s, of mobilizing American Jewish support for a confrontation. In this sense, I think Raimondo picks up the correct thread.

    Oren is basically telling the Jewish Establishment; gear up because there will be a fight. And then he goes on to name Iran not only an existential threat but a “multiple existential threat” – despite the fact that the heads of the Shin Bet and the Mossad have on numerous occassions denounced the use of “existential threat” in the discourse over Iran.

    That he is more or less saying that Israel could be nuked is a way of scaring American Jews by using the Holocaust.

    His interview must mean that the feeling in Jerusalmen is that the negotiations are probably going better than they thought, and that they are frozen out. Most of the negotiations prior to the Geneva deal was done outside of Israeli purview as was later reported. Geneva was done when the deal was so close as to only finalize the most crucial issues. There could easily be such progress yet again, which is why Oren is coming at this stage, to that publication.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      January 4, 2014, 1:46 pm

      By the way, there was a striking admission being made by Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in an interview recently. (I can provide link if someone wants to double check what I write about).

      He shone a light, without realizing I think, on just how distanced the Obama administration has become from key members from the Israel lobby. He said that he specifically asked the administration if there were negotiations going on between them and Iran. He said he never asked for details, only if they were happening(he asked this about a year ago and the interview was done shortly before the new year).

      He said in response that the administration strenously denied any negotiations all along until it leaked and became impossible to deny it. When he asked on the issue, if what they did with the Iranians didn’t contradict what they previously said they replied that they were negotiating per se but “talking”.

      They probably did the right thing by covering up the negotiations, but it is striking nonetheless. Is there any other issue except Iran that the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations which is given higher priority?

      I don’t think this is tangential. I think despite all the fluff about the contrary, Washinton and Tel Aviv are more on a different course than they have been for decades and this is reflected in Oren’s interview. He outright admits that there are now different interests at stake and that the campaign to scare the American public to believing into the hasbara that Iran could nuke America has failed. He admits as much, although tinged with bitterness and resentment.

      Obama’s 2nd term could mark the first time in a very, very long time that the U.S. begins to slowly shift away from Israel. It wouldn’t be a year too soon.

      • Krauss
        Krauss
        January 4, 2014, 1:51 pm

        Also, a final point.

        In 1992 the implicit message was that you couldn’t cross the lobby and win an election. In 2012 the message was that you could seriously strain relations with the lobby and still win elections if you’re a Democrat.

        I think this is an underappreciated and underreported development.
        Demographics will mean a Californication of the American political scene, and as Oren himself admits, the American people are tired of war.
        Chemi Shalev of Haaretz wrote a few days ago that the trailblazing HuffPost front page with Menendez pictured at an AIPAC event with the headline “Saboteur Sen. dragging U.S. to war” is a coming clash between the Jewish Establishment and the American people. Beinart more or less seconded his assessment. Oren now uses the Holocaust to rally Jewish support.

        But in 2016, if Obama successfully completes his decoupling from Israel, Clinton will face much less pressure to conform than before. She will still be a favourite, as the Clintons are reliably in the pocket of the Sabans and others in a way that Obama never was. But it also opens the possibility for a more progressive candidate. In 2012 the main attack on Ron Paul was his refusal to support interventionism and he talked openly about the malign influence of the Israel lobby. He had many other retrograde issues in his past but it was only Israel that mattered in the opposition against him. If there is a strong progressive candidate in 2016, there could be a similar backlash. But given all these developments, would the base defy the media elites and the party establishment? We already saw in 2012 at the DNC where the issue is headed among the activist base.

      • philweiss
        philweiss
        January 4, 2014, 3:32 pm

        I think you’re right about this Krauss. The decoupling has begun for any # of reasons, from Pew to “war-weariness” to Max Blumenthal, and they’re going to call on their loyal minions in naked desperation.

      • John Douglas
        John Douglas
        January 5, 2014, 9:35 am

        When the Lobby is way out of the shadows, will it “play in Peoria”? I don’t think so.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 1:37 pm

        One might ask: what percentage of a dult Americans are aware of the Israel Lobby?
        20%? 15%?

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      January 4, 2014, 3:08 pm

      Is Oren actually trying to block a deal between Iran and the P5+1?

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        January 4, 2014, 6:46 pm

        @ James Canning
        Cute rhetorical question.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 2:43 pm

        Thanks. Oren would deny any such intent on his part.

      • annie
        annie
        January 5, 2014, 1:01 am

        Is Oren actually trying to block a deal between Iran and the P5+1?

        i’m like so shocked! a little late to the party james. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.565980

        the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has pushed hard to derail the talks and encouraged Congress to undermine the president’s effort.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 2:42 pm

        Oren would not admit this.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      January 4, 2014, 6:31 pm

      Israeli leaders are still in shock because the blindfolded, milked out pawns of normal America caught a glimpse through their AIPAC blindfold and rang the phones off their Congress critters’ desks when war on Syria loomed, and now their ears are a tad open to the war drums beating for Iran.

      And now the US government cut military troop hazard pay by one third.

    • American
      American
      January 5, 2014, 9:02 pm

      ‘Why give this interview now? Why to an American publication? I believe this is Oren’s way, and by extention Netanyahu’s, of mobilizing American Jewish support for a confrontation. In this sense, I think Raimondo picks up the correct thread.”……Krauss

      That didnt occur to me about this interview but I have mentioned earlier the proliferation of articles on the net in Jewish publications—like in the Forward, which I would have thought wouldnt run such articles—questioning and/or promoting the US Jewish loyalty to Israel thing…iow the articles try to ‘rationalize ‘ loyalty to Israel and disagreement with the US on Iran for the Jews.
      I have puzzled over this zio game of saying accusing Jews of dual loyalty is anti semitic out of one side of their mouth and then out of the side of their mouth urging Jews to be dual loyal or even more loyal to Israel.
      I have finally decided that they do it because they can keep the media from exposing their forked tongues about this to the public. Their ‘appeals’ to the Jews for Israel loyalty dont appear to the public.

  3. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    January 4, 2014, 1:42 pm

    Here’s a MAD idea.

    Since according to Oren Americans are so ‘war weary’, and Israelis are gung-ho, why don’t they do something novel and fight their own battles? Why can’t the sooper dooper IDF take a break from beating up kids in the OPT, or sidling moronically down civilian aid ships, and go and fight the country we’re constantly told is such an ‘existential enemy’ to Israel? I thought the whole POINT of Israel was that Jews would no longer have to depend on inherently anti-semitic gentiles for their protection?

    Or – perish the thought – are Israelis only gung ho about wars that other people are going to fight and die in?

    • American
      American
      January 4, 2014, 3:47 pm

      ‘why don’t they do something novel and fight their own battles? ‘…Maximus

      Because they cant…and their military leaders know this. I dont know if Netanyahu is delusional enough or not to think they can…..from the chest beating we see in Isr gov officials a lot of them are delusional about Israeli capabilities.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 4, 2014, 3:58 pm

        It was a rhetorical question. I agree with you: Israel cannot take on Iran and its military leaders, if not the general population, know this very well. The army which literally ran away from Hizballah is not going to send its mammas’ boys to Tehran.

        Of course to admit this would be to reveal that Israel’s famed ‘deterrence’ isn’t quite what it’s made out to be, so Israel will continue to play the ”We reserve the right to defend ourselves” game. And no doubt many Israelis, and their apologists elsewhere, will buy into it. But anyone with a clue knows that Israel is something of a paper tiger. For all their talk about not being able to trust anyone but themselves (because of course the world is congenitally anti-semitic) they know they are dependent on maintaining the goodwill – and the military capacity – of those nasty gentiles.

    • Djinn
      Djinn
      January 4, 2014, 6:47 pm

      You’re unlikely to get a response from the Zionists on this one, much like the question of Israel deserving/needing billions a year in aid when the Zionists keep telling us it has a strong raging economy.

      On both the question boils down to is Israel greedy and cowardly OR is the propaganda not quite as robust as the bots would have it. It’s a hard one to weasel out of and consequently when you ask you just get a deafening silence.

  4. doug
    doug
    January 4, 2014, 2:11 pm

    The key point Oren makes is that while the American public is war weary, the (bipartisan) leadership, outside possibly of Obama, isn’t. Israel, of course, is not war weary if they can get America to “flatten Iran.”

    I saw that when it was first posted at LR and read the link. Chilling is right. It also reads like a bit of inside baseball that wasn’t intended for our delicate ears over here in the colonies.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      January 5, 2014, 7:31 am

      The key point Oren makes is that while the American public is war weary, the (bipartisan) leadership, outside possibly of Obama, isn’t.

      If that were true, then why didn’t the US attack Syria?

      • doug
        doug
        January 5, 2014, 10:30 am

        Syria is emblematic of the split between the interventionists and war weary public. Look at Kerry and State’s full court press to bomb Syria. Look at Laura Rozen’s tweets at the time. She was quite supportive of bombing. The FP community had a hissy fit when Obama scotched the bombing after the chem. weapons agreement. However, there was widespread relief in most of the rest of the country.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 1:33 pm

        The US is fortunate that a way to get rid of Syrian CW became available. To avoid “necessity” of attacking Syrian government.

      • annie
        annie
        January 5, 2014, 1:37 pm

        it was syrian/assad CW, obama knew that.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 1:53 pm

        Do we know for sure who used the CW (in Aug 21 event)? Issue still unclear, but the users may have been insurgents (or rogue Syrian soldiers).

      • Denis
        Denis
        January 5, 2014, 6:01 pm

        Bombing was scotched? I don’t think so. It was put on ice, but the ice is melting as the clock tics.

        Remember the goal here for USG and GoI is regime change, and that is going to be a lot easier once the CWs are out of Assad’s hands. Just like it was a lot easier after Saddam pulled back on the Scuds prior to 2003 and Gaddafi gave up his nuke aspirations in 2005. Middle East despots who suddenly make nice with the USG to avoid being attacked have never fared will so far as I know.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 6, 2014, 7:06 pm

        Gaddafi’s dumping of his primitive nuclear weapons programme had nothing to do with the subsequent attack by the French, British and Americans.

        Saddam Hussein was an ignorant bonehead, who could have avoided a US attack in 2003.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        January 5, 2014, 6:35 pm

        I agree Doug,

        But the interventionists are poking increasingly like a fringe faction.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        January 6, 2014, 7:56 pm

        “Saddam Hussein was an ignorant bonehead, who could have avoided a US attack in 2003.”

        He tried to avoid a US attack by offering an alternative to war. Instead of dragging in whole countries, he wanted to keep it between leaders. He challenged Bush to a duel. Bush refused the challenge and thereby showed himself to be a dishonourable coward. (No surprise there.)

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 8, 2014, 7:29 pm

        Funny, in a sad way. And sadly, Saddam Hussein could have avoided war if he simply had let Tariq Azziz control all dealings with the US and the UK.

      • annie
        annie
        January 5, 2014, 1:36 pm

        If that were true, then why didn’t the US attack Syria?

        what oren really means by “the (bipartisan) leadership” is “the congress the lobby has by the balls”. those congresspeople can act to always support israel as long as their constituents are silent about dissent. there was such an immediate outpouring from american citizens (it was reported 99% of calls to congress were NO on invading syria) the senators couldn’t act in mass against that. whereas, an uninformed citizenry doesn’t respond en mass to legislation designed to bind the law down the road in 6 months (like this new iran sanction bill) in the same way. whereas if it was announced we were going to attack iran tomorrow or next week they’d raise a stink but congress would already be bound to strangle iran or follow israel if they attacked iran.

        so that’s why the US didn’t attack syria, because the citizenry rose up and the senators can’t, en mass, blatantly defy their constituency.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 1:50 pm

        Bravo, Annie. Flood of messages into Congress caused members to want to avoid backing an attack on Syria, and eager for way out of the problem (deal with Russia and Syria to get rid of Syrian CW).

      • Denis
        Denis
        January 5, 2014, 6:43 pm

        As per above, my reading is quite different.

        Once Assad said, “Here take the CW’s,” Obama would have to be a total fool not to take him up on it before taking him out. CWs was all Assad had. Once they’re gone, he’s gone.

        99% ??? Would love to see that reference. I don’t think the US public has ever been in 99% agreement on anything, least of all taking out despots.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 6, 2014, 7:17 pm

        Assad’s CW were a threat primarily to himself. Zero use in civil war.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        January 6, 2014, 9:20 pm

        Once they’re gone, he’s gone.

        You’d have to get rid of Putin to get rid of Assad.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 7, 2014, 7:41 pm

        Russia would not intervene in Syria in effort to save Assad, if it looked like the insurgents were getting close to overthrowing him.

  5. James Canning
    James Canning
    January 4, 2014, 2:11 pm

    What total nonsense, for Oren to claim the US might need to “flatten” Iran. Stupidity of a very high order. Or, perhaps, dishonesty of a very high order?

  6. ritzl
    ritzl
    January 4, 2014, 2:57 pm

    IOW, “Are you paying attention, Hillary?”

  7. chet
    chet
    January 4, 2014, 3:01 pm

    “…What would do the trick? Aside from a terrorist attack on the US – like the alleged (and, in my view, completely bogus) Iranian plot to blow up a Washington restaurant and kill the Saudi ambassador – which would change the political dynamics by 180 degrees”

    Given that the Israelis have shown themselves to be completely willing to risk US wrath with the calculated murder of US servicemen on the USS Liberty and given their frustration (desperation?) about the American public’s preference for negotiation rather than war, is it unreasonable to expect an Israeli false-flag “terrorist” operation on a prominent US target?

  8. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    January 4, 2014, 3:10 pm

    I wrote about the Oren interview last week at firedoglake. Phil W. correctly observes that Oren and the Times interviewer question Obama’s nerve. Re-reading that section, some of the inner gist of their exchange strikes me as racist.

    Just as important, though, is what both Laura Rozen and Justin Raimondo observed about the interview. Rozen:

    Contempt expressed for US in this interview by interviewer & interviewee striking

    Raimondo:

    The contempt comes through more on the part of the interviewer, although Oren joins in bashing the administration’s alleged lack of “competence” in negotiating with Tehran.

    In my diary at fdl, I noted further:

    Even though the Obama administration’s record of supporting Israeli policies is perhaps the most disgustingly pro-Israeli in our country’s history, that matters less to the Israelis than that Obama is black and that they can sow seeds of distrust toward him in our country through Republican politicians, and through Democrats up for close elections in red states. Is that cynical, or what?

    http://my.firedoglake.com/edwardteller/2014/01/02/how-many-times-will-sos-kerry-let-pm-netanyahu-kick-him-in-the-nuts/

    Justin Raimondo’s worries about pressures on Congress to push the administration over the edge on Israel’s behalf are fully justified.

    • American
      American
      January 4, 2014, 3:55 pm

      @ Munger

      I agree that Isr uses Obama’s blackness to stir hatred of anything he does in elements of the right….they try to stir hatred of “him” personally so it will also stir hatred of his policies. And they also use it to reduce the US vr Israel interest to one of Obama alone and /or of Obama vr Netyanyahu.
      Obama is a incompetent black man and probably a Muslim and hates America….is the message behind the message from zionist to the right.

    • Denis
      Denis
      January 5, 2014, 7:12 pm

      Rozeb: Contempt expressed for US in this interview by interviewer & interviewee striking

      Oren said: “There are differences of public opinion, where in the United States you have a lot of war-weariness, and actually support for the interim agreement [with Iran].”

      Consider the arrogance of that word “actually.” It’s the most telling word in the entire interview.

      “Actually” emphasizes the incredulity of this Zionist prick at America’s balking to bleed and bomb for Israel — as if to say how dare Americans have the chutzpah to support a peace initiative over a war Israel demands.

      We get a lot of talk about how Americans should be better informed on how $8M/day of their tax dollars is going to GoI. What they really need to be better informed about is how Zionists like Oren dream of acquiring the Levant with American blood. And it’s certainly working out that way. Getting Assad out of the way will be a big step. Then Iran. If they can keep the Shia and Sunni fighting over control of the Levant, and if they can keep the Americans in their current state of dumb acquiesce, they may be able to pull this off.

  9. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    January 4, 2014, 3:24 pm

    RE: “Raimondo says that Iran is the big issue of 2014. He fears that Israel will drag us into war.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: If Israel drags us into war with Iran, it will be with more than a little help from AIPAC and its agents in Congress!

    SEE: “47 Senators Take AIPAC’s Word Over U.S. Intel Community”, by Jim Lobe, LobeLog.com, 1/03/14

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has published the list of senators who so far have agreed to co-sponsor the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, aka the Wag the Dog Act of 2014. You’ll recall that the initial list, which was introduced by its principal engineers, Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, Dec 19, included 26 co-sponsors equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, to which newly elected New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker quickly added his name. Since then, 20 other senators — all Republicans, unsurprisingly — have added their names, for a grand total of 47 — still short of a majority, let alone one that could survive an Obama veto that the White House has already committed the president to cast if the bill is passed in its present form.

    According to the AIPAC list, which is reproduced below, 53 senators, including 36 Democrats and the two independents who normally vote with the Democratic caucus, have not agreed to co-sponsor the bill, or, in the dreaded moniker used by AIPAC to score lawmakers’ voting records (presumably for the benefit of the “pro-Israel” PACs that decide how to dole out campaign cash), are labeled “DNC.” They will undoubtedly be the top targets for AIPAC’s legendary powers of persuasion when the Senate reconvenes early next week.

    What is remarkable about this list, however, is that very few of the 47 co-sponsors have chosen to publicize their support for the bill to their constituents through local media or other means. A handful of the original co-sponsors put out press releases, as did Rob Portman, a late joiner. Lamar Alexander, another late-comer, courageously “tweeted” his backing for the bill. “If this were a bill senators were excited about; that is, something they thought they’d earn a lot of credit for — and not draw a lot of heat — from their voters, you’d think all of the co-sponsors would be proudly touting their support,” one veteran Hill observer told me. “Clearly, even for the Republican [co-sponsors], that doesn’t seem to be the case with this bill.”

    In other words, the co-sponsors appear to be targeting a very narrow constituency — AIPAC, which is now touting their names — rather than their voters back home, most of whom probably have no idea of what their senator’s position is or what may be at stake. Which raises an interesting question: If the folks back home knew that their senator was supporting a bill that would make another war in the Middle East more, rather than less likely, would there be an outcry as there was after Obama (and AIPAC) asked Congress to approve military action against Syria? Would some senators feel compelled to reassess their support? . . .

    • 47 Members Who Cosponsored

    First Name / Last Name /State / Party / Status
    Lamar Alexander TN R C (C=Cosponsor)
    Kelly Ayotte NH R C
    Mark Begich AK D C
    Richard Blumenthal CT D C
    Roy Blunt MO R C
    Cory Booker NJ D C
    John Boozman AR R C
    Benjamin Cardin MD D C
    Bob Casey PA D C
    Saxby Chambliss GA R C
    Daniel Coats IN R C
    Thomas Coburn OK R C
    Susan Collins ME R C
    Chris Coons DE D C
    Bob Corker TN R C
    John Cornyn TX R C
    Ted Cruz TX R C
    Joe Donnelly IN D C
    Michael Enzi WY R C
    Deb Fischer NE R C
    Kirsten Gillibrand NY D C
    Lindsey Graham SC R C
    Kay Hagan NC D C
    Orrin Hatch UT R C
    Jim Inhofe OK R C
    Johnny Isakson GA R C
    Mike Johanns NE R C
    Mark Kirk IL R C
    Mary Landrieu LA D C
    Mike Lee UT R C
    Joe Manchin WV D C
    John McCain AZ R C
    Bob Menendez NJ D C
    Jerry Moran KS R C
    Lisa Murkowski AK R C
    Rob Portman OH R C
    Mark Pryor AR D C
    James Risch ID R C
    Pat Roberts KS R C
    Marco Rubio FL R C
    Charles Schumer NY D C
    Tim Scott SC R C
    John Thune SD R C
    Pat Toomey PA R C
    David Vitter LA R C
    Mark Warner VA D C
    Roger Wicker MS R C

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.lobelog.com/47-senators-take-aipacs-word-over-u-s-intel-community/

    • American
      American
      January 4, 2014, 3:33 pm

      Interesting to note is that of the 47 signers 20 are up for re election this year—another 9, 5 dems and 4 republicans, are retiring. Of the ones not up for re election most can be recongized as ones who usually support AIPAC bills anyway.

    • DICKERSON3870
      DICKERSON3870
      January 4, 2014, 3:56 pm

      P.S.

      “The proof one truly believes is in action.” ~ Bayard Rustin

      DOCUMENTARY – Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, 2003, NR, 1hr 24m
      This powerful documentary chronicles the life of openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who, among many contributions to the cause, is best known for organizing the 1963 March on Washington, D.C., involving hundreds of thousands of people.
      Cast: Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Mohandas Gandhi, A. Philip Randolph, Stokely Carmichael, Liv Ullmann, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Andrew Young, John Rodgers, A.J. Muste, Devi Prasad, Rachelle Horowitz, Robert Ascher, Dorothy Jackson, Walter Naegle, Davis Platt, Michael Thelwell, Ernest Green, Dave McReynolds
      Director: Bennett Singer, Nancy D. Kates
      Genres: Documentary, Gay & Lesbian, Biographical Documentaries, Historical Documentaries, African-American Documentaries, Political Documentaries, Gay
      This movie is: Inspiring, Emotional
      Netflix Formats: DVD and streaming
      Average of 24,037 ratings: 3.7 stars
      Netflix listings:
      DVD – http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/70139371
      Streaming – http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/70139371
      Internet Movie Database – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337902/
      SYNOPSIS – http://newsreel.org/video/BROTHER-OUTSIDER-BAYARD-RUSTIN
      TRAILER: Brother Outsider – the Life of Bayard Rustin [VIDEO, 03:58] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxhKgnyWcuw

      • DICKERSON3870
        DICKERSON3870
        January 4, 2014, 4:10 pm

        P.P.S. RE: “The proof one truly believes is in action.”

        SEE: Don’t Let the Senate Sabotage Historic Diplomacy with Iran
        12/20/13 – Write a Letter to the Editor
        While experts from the top echelons of the U.S. and Israeli security establishment have hailed the first-step deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the senate could sabotage this historic diplomatic achievement with new sanctions. Senators Robert Menendez (NJ), Mark Kirk (IL), and Charles Schumer (NY) have introduced legislation (S. 1881) that would impose sanctions on Iran and encourage Israel to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran.
        If these sanctions passed, it would violate the first-step nuclear deal and likely lead to the collapse of the negotiations with Iran, which is why the White House has issued a veto threat. …
        TO WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITORS – http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=63042516

        TO THE EDITORS (OF FIVE NEWSPAPERS IN GEORGIA):

        The Editors:

        From the agreement to eradicate Syria’s chemical weapons to the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, 2013 will be remembered as a year of historic diplomatic accomplishments. I hope 2014 is not the year the U.S. Senate passes sanctions that sabotage our diplomats’ achievements.

        While experts from the top echelons of the U.S. and Israeli security establishment have hailed the first-step deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the Senate could sabotage this historic diplomatic achievement with new sanctions. Apparently at the behest of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Senators Robert Menendez (NJ), Mark Kirk (IL), and Charles Schumer (NY) introduced legislation last year (S. 1881) that would impose sanctions on Iran and encourage Israel to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran.

        If these sanctions passed, it would violate the first-step nuclear deal and likely lead to the collapse of the negotiations with Iran, which is why the White House has issued a veto threat.

        Consequently, I was very disappointed to learn that both Senators Chambliss and Isakson have co-sponsored S. 1881, the deceptively titled Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013 (sometimes more appropriately referred to as the Wag the Dog Act of 2014).

        Senators Chambliss and Isakson should instead oppose the very dangerous S. 1881, thereby heeding the advice from a recent U.S. Intelligence Community assessment which stated that “new sanctions would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.”

        Sincerely yours,
        John Dickerson

  10. American
    American
    January 4, 2014, 3:39 pm

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/2014/0103/Israeli-Palestinian-peace-talks-Is-Kerry-offering-up-US-troops

    ”Israeli-Palestinian peace talks: Is Kerry offering up US troops?”

    Unconfirmed news reports out of Israel signal that an offer of US troops to secure the borders of a new Palestinian state is in the mix in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. US defense analysts urge caution>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I would be totally for a ‘international force’ between Israel and Palestine—but not US forces. They would constantly be ‘set up’ and false flagged by Israel for conflicts with the Palestines just as Israel did to our forces in Beriut.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      January 4, 2014, 5:04 pm

      Disgusting, now Israel want to use american lifes again to protect their regime.

      • annie
        annie
        January 5, 2014, 1:27 pm

        no israel doesn’t want it, they want to be the only forces who control all borders. if kerry is offering this israel will reject it hands down.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 1:56 pm

        Kerry should press Israel to pull all troops out of West Bank. I am not holding my breath, waiting for him to do this.

      • annie
        annie
        January 5, 2014, 2:12 pm

        Kerry should press Israel to pull all troops out of West Bank.

        yes it sort of goes without saying we want to end the occupation.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 2:29 pm

        I think the issue is control of Palestine’s borders. Which is not the same thing as ending the occupation, in my view at least.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        January 5, 2014, 6:30 pm

        It’s not just control of borders. Israel wants to continue building illegal settlements, which would not be possible with an international peacekeeping force.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 6, 2014, 7:18 pm

        Important point. Israel wants to continue to scr*w the Palestinians.

      • Denis
        Denis
        January 5, 2014, 6:49 pm

        Boy, am I with you on this one.

        If Kerry can get the Green Line back and the IDF out of Palestine on the condition that US forces take over the role and the UN administers Palestine, I’ll re-enlist.

        Ok, ok, . . . wet dream, I know. Just sayin’.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 6, 2014, 7:15 pm

        Maybe Kerry needs to keep telling Netanyahu the Green Line is the border, with perhaps a few tweaks.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 1:47 pm

        @Just – – More precisely, Israel would welcome a fantastically expensive US war with Iran, to make it easier for Israel to continue to scr*w the Palestinians, grow the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank, etc etc etc etc.

  11. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw
    January 4, 2014, 3:57 pm

    Oren..”Obama claims to have spent more time on the telephone, and in his personal relations [with Netanyahu] than with any other foreign leader”. Sarkozy.. “I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar”. Obama…”Your fed up with him, but I have to deal with him everyday”. The unvarnished truth caught on that live mike.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      January 5, 2014, 5:32 am

      @ HarryLaw
      Netanyahu is wise to the limits of top elected leaders’ individual power; he was schooled in the higher ivy league, right here in America. Those limits are due to the power of super rich Zionist Jews in every significant campaign finance event touching on Israel now and in the foreseeable future, and also due to a very disproportionate number of higher academic funding by said Jews & their partners in the handful of big-time mainstream media TV news & infotainment departments.
      In Obama’s case, his political ambitions have always been motivated by his domestic vision to “spread the wealth around.” With this goal, he learned that to get this done, he needed the Jewish Establishment, and the price for his broadband community organizing has been kowtowing to AIPAC. As POTUS, he has done three things that flag he pushed the limits of how deep he will kowtow to AIPAC: (1) Cairo Speech, and (2) Pushing Hagel for SOD, and (3) doing the Iran interim deal behind the back of Israel. Does anyone here see any significant followup? Re Israel most directly, Israel has taken a giant chunk of his time and Kerry’s time. Yet Kerry’s negotiation team seems to be a knockoff of Clinton’s, which is not hopeful. I don’t know what the heck Hagel’s been doing as to any of these matters.

      PS. As Oren noted, the decision not to go hit Syria was not a result of Obama’s or US regime leadership generally, but a decision by the Great Unwashed to defy their elected leaders.

      As MJ Rosenberg wrote a long time ago, remembering his AIPAC days, a POTUS can defy AIPAC and get away with it anytime he/she wants to speak over the head of AIPAC and its whore Congress, directly to the Great Unwashed, outlining to them why it’s in America’s best interests, and the World’s to curb Israel.

  12. Mike_Konrad
    Mike_Konrad
    January 4, 2014, 5:02 pm

    You know, I am not thrilled with Oren’s attitude; but we really have no choice. Iran is a menace to the West, not just Israel.

    • talknic
      talknic
      January 6, 2014, 8:34 am

      Mike_Konrad ” but we really have no choice”

      Nonsense. Israel could begin to withdraw from all non-Israeli territory TODAY! That is the Iranian and Arab complaint. Israel is not complying with the law.

      “Iran is a menace to the West, not just Israel”

      Strange the UNSC agree with Iran re Israel

      “3. Reconfirms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;” http://wp.me/pDB7k-W8

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 6, 2014, 2:38 pm

        Once again: Iran has given signals over the years that it will accept whatever deal the Palestinians make with Israel. So, Israel creates the “threat” by refusing to get out of the West Bank and Golan Heights.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      January 6, 2014, 9:29 pm

      You know, I am not thrilled with Oren’s attitude; but we really have no choice. Iran is a menace to the West, not just Israel.

      Iran is a threat to no one. It only presents a problem for Saudi and Israeli regional ambitions. I fact, the Israelis are not even arguing that Iran is trying to make nukes, only that there is a possibility they might decide to one day.

      The Israelis are the real menace to the world, as polls have. Insistently suggested for a decade.

  13. flyod
    flyod
    January 5, 2014, 11:26 am

    “Flatten Iran” sounds a bit like “Wipe Israel Off the Map”…without the outcry in the msm

    • just
      just
      January 5, 2014, 11:42 am

      Except of course, that “Wipe Israel Off the Map” is a deliberate mistranslation and shopworn buzz phrase ( a lie), while ‘flatten all of Iran’ was a direct quote in ENGLISH by Oren.

      No mistranslation possible.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 1:11 pm

        I do not think Michael Oren is so stupid as to think “flattening” Iran would be necessary, or in the interest of the US.

      • annie
        annie
        January 5, 2014, 1:21 pm

        what oren thinks is necessary or in the interest of the US is irrelevant. it’s what he advocates. that kind of language is highly inflammatory, it also echoes what adelson advocates at the yeshiva college presentation. pivotal repetitive name dropping or ‘idea dropping’ by important people is not random. it didn’t just slip out of his mouth.

        so what reason do you think he had for saying it? we know his main intent is not what’s ‘ necessary or in the interest of the US’. obviously many israelis would like nothing more than flattening iran. so why do you think he said it?

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 5, 2014, 1:45 pm

        @Annie – – I think Michael Oren –born in the US, and given the name Michael Scott Bornstein- – knows there would be no need for the US to “flatten” Iran, but he is trying to give cover to Aipac stooges in the US Congress who are trying to block any deal with Iran.

        Obama has made clear he would not allow Iran to build nukes. Forcing Obama to be more emphatic on that score obviously injures the negotiations with Iran. Which in my view is why Oren is playing this dangerous game.

      • flyod
        flyod
        January 6, 2014, 7:38 am

        the words of a future pm perhaps. more frightening in this interview is oren’s comment ” we have the capability and ability to defend ourselves” . the israelis do not have the conventional firepower to achieve their aims in iran. this can only mean 1 thing. either the us handles this or we will…

  14. ahhiyawa
    ahhiyawa
    January 5, 2014, 12:13 pm

    The decisive moment comes about when or if the whores in the Senate actually pass the “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.” Obama has no alternative but to veto the legislation or see several years of secret multilateralism, hard headed diplomacy and the collapse of the sanctions regime swirl down the sewer pipe due to international angst over US faithlessness and hypocrisy.

    I’ll bet the majority of Senators know the score, that Israel and its lobbyists are buying & selling ropes to each other that they will hang themselves with. I’ll also bet the majority of those voting for the legislation will be on their knees praying to their gods for Obama to do as he has claimed, veto an ill advised statute and save them from an agitated public their cowardice and corruption will have aroused.

    I can hardly wait, straining at the leash and biting at the bit for this stooge hall show to begin.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      January 5, 2014, 1:40 pm

      A number of pols in US Congress no doubt would want their own bill to be vetoed. Pander to Aipac et al, but avoid the disaster such pandering could bring. But the passing of the bill would infict grave damage on Rouhani and Zarif, within Iran.

  15. just
    just
    January 5, 2014, 1:51 pm

    “Implication being: we’re not war-weary in Israel.”

    No ‘weariness’ there at all. It’s their raison d’être. “peace and security” are code words for unending conflict of their own design.

    I want no part of it.

    I am war- weary, so I’d like to thank Oren for this one truth. Oh yeah, I also support full normalization of relations with Iran.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      January 5, 2014, 1:54 pm

      Too many Israeli leaders in effect seek endless war or near-war. No matter how many trillions of dollars this costs the American people.

      • just
        just
        January 5, 2014, 3:00 pm

        It’s not only the money — it’s the horrible price we’ve paid trashing any semblance of our honesty, concern for human rights /the planet, or a whiff of care for justice.

        It erodes everything that we say we stand for. Who we say we are. It has done so for a long, long time. The world sees this, and some here (too many) don’t give a damn, and our government is counting on those.

        It’s all coming to a perfect storm, though. Thanks to BDS and Mondoweiss and Blumenthal and many others……….;-)

      • American
        American
        January 5, 2014, 3:12 pm

        just says:
        January 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm
        It’s not only the money — it’s the horrible price we’ve paid trashing any semblance of our honesty, concern for human rights /the planet, or a whiff of care for justice.

        It erodes everything that we say we stand for. Who we say we are.>>>>>

        Exactly. We were never as good as we pretended and claimed to be, but we were and are a hell of a lot better and deserve better than the immoral government we have now under the ‘new elite’ and the zionist.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        January 6, 2014, 7:21 pm

        Good points. And most Americans have scarcely a clue as to the true costs of “protecting” Israel. Many trillions of dollars, in any fair accounting.

  16. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    January 5, 2014, 3:14 pm

    Phil writes, “I wonder how much these two militant religious nationalists are taking American support for granted.” Aside from the substance, what is going on here regarding Phil’s attitude towards David Horovitz. Why is he implicated by the questions that he asks. Isn’t a journalist supposed to elicit answers from the subject? Did his questions fail? Why is he being accused of an attitude?

    These two militant religious nationalists. I am no great fan of Michael Oren and so I won’t attempt to defend him from this charge, but why is Horovitz being labeled a militant religious nationalist? Or are all Zionists considered militant religious nationalists?

    This is journalism in the worst sense of the word. This is why journalists are considered lower than congressmen.

  17. piotr
    piotr
    January 6, 2014, 5:04 am

    “Are all Zionists considered militant religious nationalists?”

    In a nutshell, Zionists who are not militant nationalists are derided by the majority of their colleagues as not real Zionists, traitors of the cause and self-hating Jews. Oren and Horowitz are clearly mainstream Zionists. so the remaining question is if they are religious. If I had to guess, neither believes in God but both believe that God gave the Holy Land to Jews forever, and all passages in the Bible that refer to God giving land to ancestors of Jews should be understood literally. After all, consistency is a hobgoblin of small minds.

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