Today on NPR’s Morning Edition, the host interviewed Jeffrey Goldberg for four minutes about his reservations about the Iran deal. Goldberg worried that Iran would be able, notwithstanding constraints on its nuclear program, to develop the capacity to make a bomb when those constraints are lifted years from now. Obama need to show “what can he do in the next three months to make sure that Iran does not emerge ten or 15 years from now with a really advanced program.”
What can he do? host Steve Inskeep asked. Goldberg:
One thing he could do is negotiate the final agreement so that Iran is limited in what it can do in research and development.
Why is Goldberg granted such expertise? This is the journalist who 13 years ago conveyed wrong information about Saddam Hussein’s supposed chemical weapons that became a pretext for the disastrous Iraq war. Five years ago Goldberg said that the Israelis were preparing to bomb Iran in the next year– wrong again. And in the 80s Goldberg emigrated to Israel and even served in their army because he thought the U.S. was too dangerous a place for Jews. Wrong again.
Meantime, The New York Times publishes this polite editorial today, “Israel’s Unworkable Demands on Iran,” deprecating Benjamin Netanyahu’s advice against the Iran deal. While the editorial is critical of Netanyahu for “acting as if he alone can dictate the terms of an agreement that took 18 months and involved not just Iran and the United States but Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China,” it grants him some of that very power by going on for ten paragraphs and taking the Israeli objections very seriously, often treating them with kid gloves:
As outlined on Monday by Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of intelligence and strategic affairs, the Israelis are now insisting that Iran end all research and development on advanced centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium; reduce the number of operating centrifuges at its Natanz plant beyond what was agreed to in the framework; and close its underground enrichment facility at Fordo. Also, Israel has demanded that Iran allow inspections “anywhere, anytime” by international monitors, ship its stockpile of enriched uranium out of the country and disclose past nuclear-related activities that might involve military uses.
Nowhere does the editorial question Netanyahu’s judgment: his use of the Iran issue to distract attention from the criminal occupation, his massacre in Gaza last summer, his crazy conflation of Iran and ISIS as Islamists seeking world “domination.” You’d think this is a sober leader. Even John Kerry has slammed Netanyahu for being wrong about the Iraq war, just like Jeffrey Goldberg. And Dianne Feinstein has told Netanyahu to “contain himself,” and bug out of our deliberations.
Both pieces are symptoms of the same problem. Israel and its friends have too prominent a place in our political discourse.