Attacking Iran?

A supporter of Jewish Voice for Peace sent me this article by Patrick Buchanan and asked for my response to it. Here is a slightly edited version of that response.

I am always loathe to agree with Pat Buchanan, and fortunately, while he gets a fewno-war-on-iran.jpg things right, his analysis here is sufficiently shallow and simplistic that I don’t have to.

There’s a great deal of quite understandable hysteria in both Israel and the American Jewish community at the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. The Iranian regime has, since the 1979 revolution, expressed quite a bit of hostility toward Israel, in both word and deed. Since it is a religious regime, people are even more fearful.

There’s no doubt that Israel wants a military strike on Iran to eliminate their nuclear capacity. There’s no doubt that the neocons want a military strike on Iran as well. Is that because of Israel? Well, that’s one reason, but it’s unlikely the most immediate or important one.

At this moment, Iran does not represent a major threat to Israel, though an Iran with nuclear arms could. That kind of Iran remains a long way off, and even if it came, it would not be the threat it is being made out to be.

Ironically, many of the same voices that are reacting with such hysteria to the foolish and often hateful rhetoric of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad are the same ones who were so quick to point out that former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami had relatively little power in Iran. The structure has not changed. Ahmedinejad does not have his “finger on the button” and will not under any circumstances. Iran’s politics are rather complicated, more so than I can detail here. But the Iranian president is much closer in terms of power to an Israeli president (which is largely a ceremonial position) than an American president.

Moreover, while Iran is most definitely a major regional player which is using its power, money and influence to extend its prominence over the entire Middle East, it is not a fanatical, warmongering country. The descriptions at the end of Buchanan’s article are correct–Iran under the Ayatollahs has not instigated a war. Iran is very much opposed to al-Qaeda. It was one of the first Muslim countries to condemn the 9/11 attacks and did so in no uncertain terms and very much on moral grounds. Iran, despite its isolation by the United States since 1979, has been a vibrant and active player in the global economy. In all, it has generally been a very rational actor.

Even its pursuit of nuclear weapons would be rational. It should be noted that there remains no evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. My belief that in fact they are is based on the fact that doing so would be entirely rational. Iran is situated very close to two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, which are very hostile to one another. They share an unstable border with Afghanistan and an equally unstable one now with Iraq. Most of all, they are faced with the dedicated enmity of two major nuclear powers, Israel and the United States and have seen clearly the power North Korea’s nuclear weapons have to deter American attacks on them. Under these circumstances, Iran would be crazy NOT to pursue nuclear weapons.

All of this indicates that even if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, the result would be the same situation of mutually assured destruction (MAD) that stayed the hands of the US and USSR for decades during the Cold War, and continues to prevent nuclear war even between such bitter enemies as India and Pakistan today.

I wouldn’t expect that point to mollify Israelis. For many, the belligerence of Ahmedinejad understandably means such assurances do little to comfort them. And for others, even if they do understand the simple reality that the MAD doctrine would surely apply between Israel and Iran, a nuclear Iran means Israel loses its regional nuclear monopoly.It is not reasonable to expect that Israel would do anything less than its utmost to retain that monopoly, as would any other country that had such an advantage over its rivals.

But Iran very much represents a current threat not to Israel, but to Saudi Arabia. Iran is directly competing with Saudi Arabia for influence in the region. As was the case with Iraq, American interests (including concerns of its ally, Saudi Arabia as well as greater control over Mideast oil, as was demonstrated by the recent passage of a US-backed bill in Iraq to de-nationalize their oil industry) are far greater than Israeli ones, rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding.

This is one of the major differences between the support in 2003 for attacking Iraq and the current wave of support for attacking Iran. But it’s also the only significant one that is on the side of an attack. Significant sectors of the mainstream body politic are opposed to attacking Iran, especially in light of the ongoing and spiraling failure in Iraq. Early indications are that Defense Secretary Gates is not on board with an Iran invasion, and this makes a big difference from 2003. There are already stirrings in Congress against an Iran attack, and many of the leading pundits (including Thomas Friedman, Francis Fukayama, and Kenneth Pollack among others) who raised the cry of war in 2003 have reversed course and are opposing an Iran attack.
no-war-on-iran.jpg
Incredibly, it does seem that the neocons have learned nothing from the failure in Iraq and neither have Bush and Cheney. But I continue to doubt that they will be able to overcome the political opposition they will face. On top of everything else, the United States has long avoided attacking any country that can fight back, something Iraq really couldn’t do (attacking is very different from occupying, where soldiers are subject to guerilla attacks), but Iran most definitely can.

The only way an attack on Iran will come about, in my view, is if there is an incident that Bush/Cheney can use to justify it. Something along the lines of the Gulf of Tonkin. Even then, it would have to be very clearly an Iranian attack on the US, and Iran is pretty clearly not taking the bait the US has offered thus far by beefing up their presence in the Gulf.

An Israeli attack is more possible, but still unlikely, at this point, though that is much more subject to change. One thing that would change it very quickly would be new elections in Israel, because if Benjamin Netanyahu were to regain the Prime Minister’s office, the chance of an Israeli attack on Iran would increase greatly. Bibi has been beating a war drum about Iran since the late 1980s.

Thing is, an Israeli attack on Iran faces two obstacles. One, it is limited to an air attack. Israel cannot reach Iran with ground troops either by land or by sea. That means that the attack absolutely MUST succeed in eliminating Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and that seems dubious now. Reports indicate that Israel and the US are not sure they know all the precise locations they would need to destroy. Moreover, the facilities are underground, and Israel’s experience in Lebanon this summer indicated that the weapons the US furnished them for underground targets are not at all reliable for this purpose.

The second problem is that Iran is likely to respond to an Israeli attack by attacking American targets, and they’ve specifically threatened to do just that. That means Israel won’t attack without American permission, which brings us back to at least some of the problems detailed above. Also, an Israeli attack, if not 100% successful, might necessitate at least some ground troops entering Iran, and, as I said, those troops cannot possibly be Israeli, so they’d have to be American.

There’s also a slim chance that Russia would actively oppose an Israeli strike. I’m sure they’d object strenuously, but I doubt they’d actually act to stop an Israeli attack, for instance, by mobilizing their own planes. But it’s a possibility, however remote.

This also explains why Netanyahu recently urged a major push in the US, rather than in Israel, to build support for an attack on Iran. Bibi is a keen observer of American politics. This push is a good indication that he believes that there is not sufficient support in the US for an Israeli attack, much less an American one. And we should note that a great deal of long-term damage to Israeli interests could well be caused if Americans see US troops “forced” into combat in Iran by an Israeli action.

Thankfully, there has been a lot of mobilization on many levels, public and private against an attack on Iran. That is a major factor in why it is much more difficult for Bush and Co. to do it. As I said, I don’t think they’ll actually be able to overcome the forces opposing this attack, at least not unless some incident or other changes the equation. But we have to keep up the opposition. Oversimplifying the reasons for it, as Buchanan does, can be dangerous because it might chase some people away from the opposition. The forces pushing for attacking Iran, like the ones that orchestrated the invasion of Iran have interests that include Israel, but that also dwarf the interests of Israel.

25 thoughts on “Attacking Iran?

  1. Thank you so much for this very thoughtful analysis of the current situation; would that it could get into the hands of many in the Congress and, yes, the White House.

  2. Thank you for this interesting analysis. One (only!) jarring note for me was in the introduction:

    “There’s a great deal of quite understandable hysteria in both Israel and the American Jewish community at the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. ……. Since it is a religious regime, people are even more fearful.”

    Is not Israel also a religious regime?

  3. You say, “Incredibly, it does seem that the neocons have learned nothing from the failure in Iraq and neither have Bush and Cheney. ”

    What failure?

    If the Neocons had as their first goal the removal of Saddam Hussein as a threat to Israel, they they have success, not failure. If you realize this, you will not be so puzzled at what they do: they’re working according to plan, and have been very successful at it.

  4. Brenda, Israel is not a religious regime in the sense that various Muslim countries are. That is, people in Israel practice all sorts of religions in Israel quite freely. The government does not enforce a religion, unlike so many Muslim countries. Muslims run for government and win in Israel. So do Christians. Israel bends over backward to protect all religions holy places – quite a contrast to Muslim regimes treatment of Jewish and Christian holy places. Jewish food law (Kosher) is not enforced by law; neither are Shabbat travel restrictions, for example, with the exceptions of a very few streets in Jerusalem areas where the most highly observant Jews congregate.

    Overall this article is an attempt to induce hysteria in the reader, with the finger pointed at Israel. What the article seems to omit is why Israel, or anyone, might be worried about Iran. Why would such an article omit this?

    Israel’s only concern with Iran, as far as I can tell, is that:
    (1) Iran promises to wipe Isreal off the face of the earth and
    (2) Iran uses media and goverment speeches and religious indoctrination to demonize Jews and
    (3) Iran is proceeding in a path that is consistent with producing nuclear bombs.

    I know, you say “picky picky picky”. So Iran is demonizing Jews, swearing to destroy Israel, and developing nuclear bombs. Why would this worry Israel? or anyone?

    Seriously, it is very odd that I have to actually bring this up on a blog about the possibility of war with Iran.

    As for Israel supposedly advocating war with Iran, well, I try to read a lot of news and blogs that offer a wide variety of viewpoints, and I’ve yet to find one, pro or anti Israel, that explicitly endorses attacking Iran.

    I do find commentary that is very worried about Iran, and whether Iran’s behavior will inevitably require pre-emptive defense.

    The problem is that there appears to be no winning strategy right now with Iran. Attacking under a “pre-emptive defense” need would probably be a disaster, but so would not attacking them.

    How great it would be if we had a blog that addresses this very real dilemna? What to do – or NOT do – about the danger of Iran?

    Alas, that’s a hard problem, and addressing it is no fun. It’s much more fun to present misleading half-truths that trash Israel, right?

  5. I don’t agree with Art M. when he accuses the writer of “half-truths that trash Israel.” I thought Mr. Plitnick was both open and candid, and I appreciate both. I am involved with peace activists in my city and there is a great deal of concern here about the war. The costs of this war are great, and many people are struggling to understand the rationale in continuing or escalating it. People with whom I associate are open minded, tolerant, and liberal and they are becoming convinced that the reason we’re in this expensive mess is to support Israel’s best interests. They are concerned about the American Jewish influence in the media and in politics. These are seeds of anti-Semitism. This is what Mr. Plitnick is adddressing, and I think he does it exceedingly well. Since I am a peace activist, and I received this site from a fellow peace activist, it’s getting around.

  6. I agree with Dianne that my last sentence was an overstatement in this instance. If this blog permitted editing, I would pull it out. That was my frustration speaking.

    I do feel that there are a lot of writers and speakers who filter information for the purpose of generating hatred of Israel or Jews more generally, or obsess on Israel and/or Jews oddly out of context, and many use the protective cover of “progressive”. This is what I personally see as the “new anti-semitism”, and yes I know not every reader of this blog will agree, but it looks rampant right now to me as I survey the wide landscape of political voices.

    You say:
    “…they are becoming convinced that the reason we’re in this expensive mess is to support Israel’s best interests. They are concerned about the American Jewish influence in the media and in politics.”

    ???? Where did this notion come from?
    “Tolerance and open-mindedness”?

    Notice that the focus on “Jewish influence” and blaming “Jewish influence” for the war. This is flat out bizarre: I knew lots of Jews who were in favor of deposing Hussein and lots who were not. It was a very difficult situation with no clear winning strategy. It was a hard problem and that’s why there were diverse opinions. You can certainly point selectively to the Jewish people or groups that advocated deposing Hussein and yell “Jewish influence”, but what about all the other 99% of the United States, and the rest of the world, so many of whom shared this same concern…. Remember that France and Germany were not far behind the US and Britain in deciding to depose Hussein by force.

    Now, suppose you were to say that you are concerned about the APPEARANCE of undo Jewish influence, or that certain groups OBSESS with “Jewish influence”, I can agree with that whole-heartedly. This whole obsession with “Jewish influence” strikes me as a cover for more undelying hatreds. I hope I am wrong.

  7. Art M., I am playing the role of a messenger, and am simply reporting what I am experiencing. What I am trying to impart is this: intelligent, liberal, politically active Democrats in my city who are struggling to understand what is going on in the Mideast and why, are coming to the conclusion that US policy is being influenced by Jews who have Israel’s interests at heart more than they have America’s interests at heart. And once people get on the slippery slope of blame, it’s easy to embrace other “notions” about those whom they believe are culpable. Some of them are listening to Bollyn and wondering if “the Jews” are also responsible for 9/11. Paula Zahn ran a segment on this very topic last week, and her segment was right-on regarding what I am seeing and experiencing in my community. People who were not anti-Semitic before the war in Iraq are becoming so. I think this is a serious emerging problem. Jimmy Carter’s book came out at a very bad time, and it’s feeding the notion of blame and providing more reason for critical thinking about Israel and the Jews. If the US attacks Iran, I think this problem is going to get much worse. We aren’t going to solve this problem by making accusations and arguing. Mr. Plitnick is on the right track. We need people like him to shed light on what is really going on so others don’t jump to erroneous and dangerous conclusions. Again, don’t shoot the messenger.

  8. Saddam was a serious threat to Israel for the past 45 years. No one lifted a finger to stop his aggression against Israel, until Iraq stopped trading oil for U.S. Dollars and began accepting EUROs instead. 1-2 years thereafter, U.S. military feet were on the ground in Baghdad.

    Dianne M. wrote:
    “I am playing the role of a messenger, and am simply reporting what I am experiencing. What I am trying to impart is this: intelligent, liberal, politically active Democrats in my city who are struggling to understand what is going on in the Mideast and why, are coming to the conclusion that US policy is being influenced by Jews who have Israel’s interests at heart more than they have America’s interests at heart.”
    Of course, Jews get blamed for everything that goes horribly wrong. Starting with the crucifixion of God, throughout the middle ages, where they were blamed for the Black Plague and during the Russian Revolution, Jews were said to be controlling all world governments from behind the scenes, a theme that is oft repeated in the 21st century by liberal intellectuals. This seemingly hard-wired (disgraceful) component of human nature, is the best reason I know why Jews need (and deserve) a national homeland, that will accept their return unconditionally, without any ‘quid-pro-quo’ in favor of the Muslim residents of the area.

  9. Brenda asked:
    “Is not Israel also a religious regime?”
    No. It is a constitutional democracy wherein all religions are protected equally. In Iran, they claim to have a democracy but only after the Muslim religious leaders get to pass (give their OK to) any given candidate or proposed law. During the Iran-Iraq war which claimed 2-million lives, these same Iranian clerics recruited boys as young as 13, to become human targets and religious martyrs. Israel don’t do dat. Israel (as an ethical measure) allows its Muslim citizens to have a voluntary waiver from compensatory military service, the same service that uses up years of the lives of Jewish Israeli Citizens.

  10. Take a look at this article from the Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2010001,00.html Here is a paragraph from it: “One of the main driving forces behind war, apart from the vice-president’s office, is the AEI, headquarters of the neo-conservatives. A member of the AEI coined the slogan “axis of evil” that originally lumped Iran in with Iraq and North Korea. Its influence on the White House appeared to be in decline last year amid endless bad news from Iraq, for which it had been a cheerleader. But in the face of opposition from Congress, the Pentagon and state department, Mr Bush opted last month for an AEI plan to send more troops to Iraq. Will he support calls from within the AEI for a strike on Iran?” Bush isn’t listening to his military experts, he isn’t listening to his foreign policy experts or our elected representatives, both Republican and Democrat. According to this article, he’s listening to the Neocons, known to be heavily Jewish. This is an example of what is causing people to think that US foreign policy is being influenced by Jews.

  11. To: Dianne M.:
    I have been asking the same question on various blogs for well over a year by now and no one yet answers, namely, what is a “Neocon”? The only person who seems to know this answer is Mick Jager, and he isn’t telling. I am beginning to think that it is a rock-and-roll term-of-art, such as the Beatles “I am the walrus, coo-coo-kie-choo”.
    Or is it merely ‘new-speak’ code for a “Jew”?

  12. Isidor,

    There’s plenty of info about “neocons” (short for “neoconservative”, as I suspect you know) out there.

    You could read about the ideology from one of its founders and supporters, Irving Kristol:

    Irving Kristol, Neo-Conservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea. (Ivan R. Dee Publisher, 1999) ISBN 1-56663-228-5

    But I suspect you’re actually being obtuse, or perhaps coy, or both.

    And when you write “Or is [neocon] merely ‘new-speak’ code for a “Jew”?” I suspect you are referring to the infamous and scurrilous accusations of anti-Semitism that David Brooks et al. slimed into the press and the blogosphere circa early 2004.

    David Lind writes in The Nation:

    “According to Brooks, ‘To hear these people [the alleged conspiracy theorists] describe it, PNAC is sort of a Yiddish Trilateral Commission, the nexus of the sprawling neocon tentacles.’ He writes that ‘con is short for “conservative” and neo is short for “Jewish.”‘ With this vicious slur, Brooks has now joined Jonah Goldberg, Joshua Muravchik, Joel Mowbray, Robert J. Lieber and other neoconservative writers in accusing all critics of Israel’s Likud government and its neoconservative supporters of treating ‘neoconservative’ as a synonym for ‘Jew.’ Among those smeared by neocons in this way in the past year are Chris Matthews, William Pfaff, Eric Alterman, Joshua Micah Marshall, Gen. Anthony Zinni and yours truly. When I, the descendant, in part, of Jewish immigrants, exposed Pat Robertson’s anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in 1995, Norman Podhoretz denounced me, not Robertson, reasoning that while Robertson was objectively anti-Semitic he could be forgiven because of his Christian Zionist support for Israel, on the analogy of the rabbinical rule of batel beshishim, which governs impurities in kosher bread. The most loathsome libel in this loathsome campaign was written by Mowbray: ‘Discussing the Iraq war with the Washington Post last week, former General Anthony Zinni took the path chosen by so many anti-Semites: he blamed it on the Jews…. Technically, the former head of the Central Command in the Middle East didn’t say “Jews.” He instead used a term that has become a new favorite for anti-Semites: “neoconservatives.”‘ In An End to Evil, Perle and Frum–spontaneously, one can only suppose, as neocons ‘don’t actually have much contact with one another’–repeat the new party line: ‘Most important, the neoconservative myth offers Europeans and liberals a useful euphemism for expressing their hostility to Israel.'”

    Nice try, Isidor. Y’all just try to keep that canard alive, OK?

    Lind’s article is available for reading, if you care to.

    Print version:
    http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20040223&s=lind

  13. Jim:
    You still havn’t answered.
    I really don’t need a whole book to define this singular term.
    We know what a ‘conservative’ is.
    What makes a “neoconservative” any different then an “olden-conservative”? Ronald Reagan was an “Olden-conservative”, how does his politics vary from a “neo-con”?
    Yes, I am being somewhat jockular but please understand that I have been after this answer for over 1 year.
    Is a ‘Neo-con’ more like a Klingon or a Ferenge?

  14. “Dianne M. Says:
    February 12th, 2007 at 11:41 am
    Take a look at this article from the Guardian.”

    That’s your problem Dianne, or part of it. The Guardian filters and spins information very severely for the purpose of generating hatred of Israel. I’m surprised you have not picked up on this. This is well known.

    I appreciate your intention to act as a “messenger”, I really do, but your friends are NOT liberal and tolerant if they act this way.

    Related: I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and my personal experience is that this area is the most closed minded and INTOLERENT I’ve ever personally seen. Local politics take a particular joy in finding ways to bash Israel. I don’t really know if we can hold Israel responsible for this situation. My opinion – and this is very much opinion – is that there is now way Israel could behave that would make the slightest difference in how the Guardian or the San Francisco politics portray Israel.

    This does not excuse any behavior on the part of Israel, but it does mean that we have to look closely at any criticism, consider the source.

  15. Isidor wrote: (regarding Israel)’ . . . It is a constitutional democracy wherein all religions are protected equally.’
    Israel has no constitution and no bill of rights. We do have a special set of laws known as ‘Basic Laws’ that require a 3/4 majority in the kinesset (parliament). Normal laws require a simple majority to pass and may not contradict a Basic Law.

    Protecting religious freedom is but one part of democratic societies. In Israel, while most religious Jewish Law is not enforced by the secular authorities, we do have some curious undemocratic laws and regulations. For instance it is illegal for a Jewish shop to sell ‘regular’ bread during passover. They may only sell Matza, or risk a fine. Also there is no civil marriage in Israel. By law, a Jew may only marry a Jew, a Muslim may only marry a Muslim, and Christian may only marry a Christian. So much for religious freedom. Many Israelis today go to Cyprus to marry, fueling a thriving wedding parlour business there. The Israeli government does recognize marriage licences from other jurisdictions. Also, Israel has many laws and regulations that treat Jewish and non-Jewish citizens differently. All government schools are segregated. Virtually all residential locales are segregated, in many cases mandated by the government.

    So while we may have one person one vote, and have Palestinian Arab citizens in the Kinneset, we are a long way from what an average American or European would call democracy.

    Israel is still a frontier society, with first world trimmings. despite our faults we are in much better shape than the US was after their first 50 years. At least our woman can vote, we don’t own slaves (actually a few do), and our Palestinian reservations are a bit larger than what was provided for the Native Americans.

  16. Fred Schlomka:
    You wrote:
    “Basic Law” versus ‘constitution’:
    Semantics. I did not say that inter-marriage was a protected right in Israel. I did not say that all citizens are treated exactly equally. In fact, I have said (on this blog) before that I believe Arabs are treated as second-class citizens but that they are still better off then 1st class (Arab) citizens, in all Arab states except the oil-wealthy ones.
    I said that all RELIGIONS have equal protection, which is NOT found in most Islamic countries. Jews are not permitted in the Saudi Kingdom, period. Find me any country with only one or two minority groups, wherein there is no class division between the majority and minority groups? We have school segregation in the USA too, just not officially. It happens all by itself, based on the tendency for ethnic groups to want to live amongst each other, as well as the practical effects of economic conditions. Look, if you guys are simply combing through my extensive postings and finding one or two points that you consider erroneous, you are really not doing an adequate job of connecting-the-dots. Am I to assume that you agree with all my other points? Me don’t think so. Me thinks you are just mining for warts and when no warts are visible, moles will do and if no moles are identified, a speck of dirt will suffice.
    American “Democracy”:
    We DO NOT have a democracy in the USA. We have a “constitutional republic.” The main difference is that in a republic, certain decisions are based on ‘winner-takes-all’, such as the ‘electoral college’ and the congressional vetoe system and the absolute authority of the President to command the military. For example, when the Cherokee Nation litigated against the Jackson administration to prevent the confiscation of their tribal land, the Cherokees actually won, in the United States Supreme Court. Jackson’s reaction: Fine, let the Supreme Court stop the U.S. Army. He proceeded to march these people to death on their way to hell.
    When the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that Joseph Doherty was a political prisoner and NOT to be extradited back to England, George Bush (daddy) did not even bother to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He just ordered Doherty on the very next flight back to Maggie Thatcher and a life prison sentence in England. As I understand it, you would NOT see those sorts of events in Israel. You paint a one-sided picture. Not that you are entirely wrong, per-se. You, like most critics of Israel can only see and report the bad. Then you magnify the bad with semantics and at times, add spin on top of that.
    Glorious. Have fun. It only reinforces the eternal double-standard, wherein Israelis (and Jews overall) are expected to jump through smaller, higher and hotter-burning hoops then anyone else.

  17. Isodor –
    Basic Law vs. constitution is anything but semantics. Ask a constitutional lawyer. Our basic laws are just that, laws passed by our transient elected parliamentarians.

    And if you think a decent democracy can be run by a government based on proportional represention from a single constituency, then try living here rather than base your opinion on textbook analysis. This ain’t a democracy my friend. It’s even technically illegal to field a political party that advocates a country for all the citizens.

    And your comment about my ‘one sided picture’. I guess you didn’t bother to read the concluding sentence of my last post. Let me clarify. I am an Israeli and a traditional Hebrew. My family have been living here long before the notion of a Jewish nation-state was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye. I love this land and am very pissed off that the current ideology of the state is threatening the welfare of my family, friends and country. Like any patriot I do what I can.

  18. Fred:
    You have your problems and I have my problems. Everyone thinks their personal problems are excessive to other’s and their personal fortunes yet modest. I appreciate that you are an Israeli and the only thing I can say to that is— were I an Arab/Muslim, I would still feel and speak exactly as I do now. Those who know me have no debate with that fact. I am one of the very few people I know who actually defend victoms of bullying, knowing that they are probably going down either way and often–myself with them. Please excuse my bluntness but I don’t frankly care if you’re a Hari-Crishna. I do not buy your logic or reasoning and I consider your facts somewhat arbitrary.
    Have a nice evening.

  19. Isador – you wrote: “were I an Arab/Muslim, I would still feel and speak exactly as I do now.”. Give me a break! That’s a pretty weird statement.

    I notice when you don’t have a ready answer to a response you seem to resort to personal innuendo. I never mentioned the “personal problems” you referred to. Let’s stick to the topic at hand.

  20. Fred:
    You said:
    “I am an Israeli and a traditional Hebrew. My family have been living here long before the notion of a Jewish nation-state was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye. I love this land and am very pissed off that the current ideology of the state is threatening the welfare of my family, friends and country. Like any patriot I do what I can.”
    Then you blame me for my answer?
    I thought my response was both appropriate and on-point to your initial statement, which, if anything, was the departure from the topic into the myopic.

  21. Isidor writes:

    “Jim:
    You still havn’t answered.
    I really don’t need a whole book to define this singular term.
    We know what a ‘conservative’ is.
    What makes a “neoconservative” any different then an “olden-conservative”? Ronald Reagan was an “Olden-conservative”, how does his politics vary from a “neo-con”?
    Yes, I am being somewhat jockular but please understand that I have been after this answer for over 1 year.
    Is a ‘Neo-con’ more like a Klingon or a Ferenge?”

    Isidor:

    I have pointed you to references that you can read if you are truly interested in learning. You claim an interest in being enlightened but don’t seem to be willing to put in any effort.

    I don’t have to look much further than your concluding sentence in Post # 11:

    “Or is it merely ‘new-speak’ code for a “Jew”?”

    to understand your agenda. And it is an agenda.

    It’s odd that you’re not wondering about “Hollywood liberal” as right-wing newspeak for Jew.

    http://www.forward.com/articles/hey-rush-who-you-calling-hollywood-liberal/

    You claim you are merely being jocular. I call bulls*it. You are trolling, nothing more, nothing less.

  22. I think what some are perceiving as ‘antisemitism’ is actually ‘antiwar’. The state of Israel, and American supporters of Israel, is very much involved in America’s drive to war and there’s no getting away from an examination of this relationship. That does not mean ‘the Jews’ are responsible for America’s latest war.

    It is hurtful for a progressive gentile to be labeled antisemitic for probing this relationship, but on the other hand antiwar activists have always come in for a lot of hatred. ‘anti-American’ ‘traitor’ ‘giving support to the enemy’ was pretty typical during the Vietnam War. I think we can do this one without fear of causing pogroms. America is not Europe, not Russia. We have our own traditional pariahs. I am more concerned about physical harm for American Muslims (including black Muslims) than I am for American Jews.

  23. Overall this article is an attempt to induce hysteria in the reader, with the finger pointed at Israel.

    Did you read Mitchell’s article, Art? The major point of the article is that protecting Israel is not the primary motivation driving a possible pre-emptive strike on Iran.

    What the article seems to omit is why Israel, or anyone, might be worried about Iran. Why would such an article omit this?

    Actually, he does acknowledge those concerns – quite extensively, in fact.

  24. Isidor Farash [formally Goldstein] Says:

    What makes a “neoconservative” any different then an “olden-conservative”? Ronald Reagan was an “Olden-conservative”, how does his politics vary from a “neo-con”?
    Yes, I am being somewhat jockular but please understand that I have been after this answer for over 1 year.

    Isidor, you can read about the neo-cons here: http://www.newamericancentury.org/

  25. Pingback: Israel is Their Target | Souciant

Comments are closed.