We're posting new material at GoingToTehran.com. Please join us there.

The Race for Iran

WHAT MIGHT MARTIN LUTHER KING SAY ABOUT U.S. POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST TODAY?

 

Today—the third Monday in January—is Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday in the United States, created to honor the Christian clergyman who played a uniquely decisive role in the long struggle to win legal and political equality for Americans of African descent.  King’s work to overcome racial division in the United States made him a genuine American hero, on par with the founding fathers and Abraham Lincoln; it also won him international renown—he was, among other things, the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  But in the last years of his life, King’s concerns expanded beyond civil rights to encompass issues of economic justice; he also became increasingly (and critically) engaged in debates about America’s role in the world—debates that centered, to a large extent, around the war in Vietnam.

On April 4, 1967, King delivered an address, entitled “Beyond Vietnam:  A Time To Break Silence”, at Riverside Church in New York City.  More than 40 years later, it remains one of the most searing analyses we have ever encountered of the temptation to hegemony which, time and again over the last 60 years, has lured the United States into ill-conceived, highly destructive, and ultimately counterproductive foreign policies. 

King died more than a decade before the Iranian revolution.  Obviously, there is no direct evidence of what he would have thought about his country’s policies toward the Islamic Republic or the course of America’s engagement in the Middle East over the past 30 years.  But we believe that his “Beyond Vietnam” address speaks powerfully to the concerns of those who think the United States has gone badly off track in its approach to the Islamic Republic and the Middle East more generally.  The address is too long to post, in its entirety; for those who want to read the whole text (something we highly recommend), click here and here (for video excerpts and commentary).  But we have excerpted below a number of passages that, we believe, cut to the heart of the (largely self-generated) challenges that the United States faces in the Middle East today.  

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated one year to the day after he delivered this address.  He was 39 years old when he died.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett 

Beyond Vietnam:  A Time to Break Silence

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.  I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together:  Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam.  The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines:  “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one.  Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war.  Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world.  Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak.  We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak…Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path.  At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud:  Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King?  Why are you joining the voices of dissent?  Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say.  Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask?  And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling.  Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church—the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate—leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation.  This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front.  It is not addressed to China or to Russia.  Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam.  Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem.  While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents…

[I]t should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war.  If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam.  It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over.  So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission—a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.”  This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ.  To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war…as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God.  Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions.  We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula.  I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now.  I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators.  The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China.  They were led by Ho Chi Minh.  Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them.  Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.

Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not “ready” for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long.  With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists.  For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence.  For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.

Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not.  We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will.  Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements.  But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators—our chosen man, Premier Diem.  The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north.  The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused.  When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change—especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support.  All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy—and land reform.  Now they languish under our bombs and consider us—not their fellow Vietnamese—the real enemy.  They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met.  They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go—primarily women and children and the aged.

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops.  They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees.  They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one “Vietcong”-inflicted injury.  So far we may have killed a million of them—mostly children.  They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals.  They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food.  They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform?  What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?  Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building?  Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village.  We have destroyed their land and their crops.  We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only non-Communist revolutionary political force—the unified Buddhist church.  We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon.  We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?

Now there is little left to build on—save bitterness.  Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets.  The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these?  Could we blame them for such thoughts?  We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise.  These too are our brothers.

Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies.  What of the National Liberation Front—that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists?  What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south?  What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms?  How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the north” as if there were nothing more essential to the war?  How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land?  Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions.  Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence.  Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name?  What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part?  They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta.  And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them—the only party in real touch with the peasants.  They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded.  Their questions are frighteningly relevant.  Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves.  For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi.  In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust.  To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now.  In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies.  It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva.  After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.

When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.  Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made.  Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north.  He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy.  Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else.  For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy.  We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved.  Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease.  We must stop now.  I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam.  I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted.  I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam.  I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken.  I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours.  The initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam.  Recently one of them wrote these words:

“Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct.  The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies.  It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat.  The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.”

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam…The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve.  It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people.  The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

  1. End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
  2. Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
  3. Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
  4. Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
  5. Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.

Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment…There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam.  I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing.  The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation.  They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru.  They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia.  They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa.  We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.  Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution…I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values…A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies…The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.  A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.”  This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love.  A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death…

These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days…A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional.  Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men.  This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept—so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force—has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man.  When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response.  I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life.  Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.  This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

“Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.  We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation.  The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate.  History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate…We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world—a world that borders on our doors.  If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter—but beautiful—struggle for a new world.  This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response.  Shall we say the odds are too great?  Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard?  Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets?  Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost?  The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

Share
 

144 Responses to “WHAT MIGHT MARTIN LUTHER KING SAY ABOUT U.S. POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST TODAY?”

  1. Kathleen says:

    James

    David ‘axis of evil” Frum. Goes for countries who have signed the NPT. Forget about those who have not. Israel, India, Pakistan.

  2. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Eric wrote: “He [Ahmadinejad] should have responded to those questions by saying that he does not question whether the Holocaust occurred, and that he regretted having said anything that suggested he felt otherwise.”

    Eric, with all due respect (and indeed I have a great deal of respect for you and your work, which I hold in high estem): why do you advocate that Ahmadinejad say he “does not question whether the Holocaust occured”, when he clearly does?? So much so, in fact, that as I mentioned, his government sponsored a whole international conference to investigate basic assumptions about it. He *does* question the Holocaust. But that is all he has done. He has not denied it… But as you rightly point out, even the questioning of the Holocaust is a major crime – let alone its denial, to the point that En”light”enment Project’s resultant laws whereby the president of a country who publicly questions the historicity of a certain presumed or alleged fact make him subject to arrest, make a mockery of its original founding value of liberty.

    Your distinction between the assumed protocols of a president and the lattitude that (at least ought) to be provided an author on a book tour is a good one and is well taken. But I suggest that there is a certain provinciality or Eurocentrism, if you will, latent in it, when it is applied to the president of a country belonging to a whole other civilization. In the sense that the distinction certainly obtains for presidents of countries Western and West-oriented (a marvellous little oxymoron, so West-toxicated then, if you prefer :), so that it would indeed be a *local* scandal if, say, the president of Japan or South Korea came up with such an utterance, such a question. But if Mubarak or some other puppet woke up on teh wrong side of his bed one morning and questioned the Holocaust, Egyptians would merely say subhanallah! (glory be to God).

    Anyway, I personally see the fact that these massive lies are coming out of the woodwork in such a radical way as symptoms of techtonic shifts taking place in the consciousness of the world’s political economy; seismic movements that are shifting world consciousness, the Spirit of the World (Jaan-e Jahan) from its quaint 19th century unipolar substance, through its brief 20th century transitory interregnum, to its 21st century pluralist reality. I see these events (among many others, of course) as major milestones in the the Progress of the Pilgrim that is the World:

    The Islamic Revolution of 1979
    The fall of the Berlin Wall
    The birth of the Neo-Bolivarian movement and the shift leftwards in Latin America
    Israel’s defeat at teh hands of Hezbollah
    The fizzling out of the “Green” Revolt as a final nail in the coffin
    Similarly and before it, the failed coup against the Hugo Chavez regime
    The advent of the internet, Press TV, this website and other truly alternative media
    The Tehran Holocaust Conference
    The 911 Truth Movement
    The movement to audit the Federal Reserve and the questioning of its very existence and the efficacy of governments paying private bankers interest for teh privilige of expanding the money supply to meet teh needs of the economy’s natural growth
    The exposure of fractional reserve banking and derivative-based trading platforms as the systemic problems at the root of the world’s (= West’s) system of political economy
    Etc.

    I’m sure I missed many big milestones, but this was not intended to be a comprehensive list or even a selection of the most important ones, merely a sampling of those that came to mind in my stream of consciousness as I sit pecking at teh keyboard. All of these share teh attribute that they expose given elements of the monolithic unipolar Eurocentric vision as simulacra, as hollow shells and paper tigers, and in the case of the latest economic “crisis” (the word choice signifying the denial of its systemic nature), with its fractional reserve banking modality, the Central Banks being in the hands of private individuals rather than in the hands of the Sovereign, and the trading of futures derivatives, this “crisis” has exposed the fundamental assumptions at the heart of the financial system as the foundations and cornerstones of a simulacrum of a simulacrum.

    So yes, Richard, you might be right in the sense that the dying dinosaur’s tail might flail and fall one last time on the soil of the martyrs, but its rancid corpse has already begun to putrefy. Its stench has for decades put a hurt on your discerning nose, but your pesimism, which has its roots in a neurosis known as atheistic nihilism, limits the vertical axis of your field of vision, so that you cannot see the alternative unfolding before you and consequently are trapped in a negative-feedback karmic loop.

  3. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning wrote:

    January 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Castellio,

    Clearly there was a suspension of normal moral standards, of some sort, that enabled Israel to be created in the wake of the disasters of the Second World War.

    LOOK AT THE TIMELINES. Israel was NOT “created in the wake of WWII,” zionism had its start in the late 1800s; by 1914, three waves of immigrants had settled in Israel, large plots of land were purchased in transactions kept secret; and major institutions that prevail to this day that define Israeli culture and society were constructed — before World War ONE.

    There is a radical hypothesis that deserves to be explored and tested: that hypothesis holds that world war two came about to enable the completion of the zionist project. “the Second World War came about in the wake of the disaster of zionism.”

  4. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Yes, Mohammed Kharzee gets it right: “We are not going to accept suggestions based on pressure and threats. It is not going to work to put a knife in the neck of somebody, or a sword, and at the same time asking him to negotiate.” Is it possible that Hillary Clinton is unable to grasp this simple concept? Or is the grim truth simply that she is a wh*re in the service of the Israel lobby, providing cover for foolish “liberal” Democrats in the US Congress?

  5. Arnold,

    I’ll respond later to your post of Jan. 19 at 3:07 PM.

    Eric

  6. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I very much agree with you Ahmadinejad should have clarified his position: crimes by Nazis carried out in Europe are not moral grounds for punishing Palestinians. Full stop. Period. There is an impish quality to Ahmadinejad’s character, and he seems to like to grandstand in a way that undermines efforts he has made to improve his image in the West.

  7. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Yes, that idiot David Frum gets lots of MSM attention. And does Frun ever get asked how it could be, that an “axis” of evil existed, with both Iraq and Iran when those countries were extremely hostile toward each other?

  8. Unknown Unkowns,

    Your post prompts me to make a very important distinction concerning talk of the Holocaust.

    As I need not tell you, David Irving spent time in prison merely because he denied the Holocaust during a book tour in Austria – a violation punishable by a lengthy prison sentence in that country and several other European countries.

    As I’ve written before, I find such laws shocking and indefensible. One can deny that World War II ever happened, or deny that Hitler ever ruled over Germany, or even claim that the world was destroyed in 1922 when little Johnny Miller poured sour milk on his corn flakes but recreated again when Mars and Venus collided in 1985 — any one of which events would have made the Holocaust impossible (or at least highly unlikely). One can deny that Stalin, or Mao, or Pol Pot, caused many thousands or millions of political prisoners to be executed, or that the Iraqis used chemical weapons to kill thousands of Iranian civilians. If one’s entire family was murdered in their beds by deranged drug addicts, anyone is free to deny that that ever happened, however upsetting that denial may be to the relatives of those murder victims.

    Yet to deny the Holocaust can land one in prison – for several years. Those laws are wrong, plain and simple, and have no place in a modern society that claims to value the right of free speech. I’m amazed they remain on the books anywhere – and even more amazed that they’re actually enforced.

    But, though an individual ought to be free to deny the Holocaust – however upsetting that understandably may be to other individuals – someone who is the president of a country should nevertheless be expected to exercise better judgment than David Irving should be free to exercise on a book tour. It was entirely appropriate for Ahmadinejad to point out that the occurrence of the Holocaust was not the fault of the Palestinians and cannot fairly be used to justify the current mistreatment of Palestinians. I am glad he did that and would encourage him to continue doing it.

    But it is quite another thing for Ahmadinejad to deny that the Holocaust occurred. To do so was pointlessly provocative, not merely incorrect. I acknowledge Arnold’s observation that perhaps Ahmadinejad’s statements have been misconstrued, and that he never literally said that the Holocaust never occurred. Similar arguments are made regarding the misreported Ahmadinejad statements about wiping Israel off the face of the Earth. In the latter case, it is appropriate and correct to point out that Ahmadinejad never said anything that could possibly be interpreted as a threat to physically wipe out Israel or its people – or anything other than a prediction of what will eventually happen to Israel with or without outside interference.

    But in the case of Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denials, whether or not he’s literally denied it, he’s undeniably been extremely evasive in response to numerous blunt questions asking him for clarification. He should have responded to those questions by saying that he does not question whether the Holocaust occurred, and that he regretted having said anything that suggested he felt otherwise. With that done, he could (and, I think, should) have focused very carefully on the much narrower issue of whether the Holocaust justifies the current mistreatment of Palestinians – an entirely legitimate question.

  9. Fiorangela,

    “Rule of law be damned; the bastion of American erudition and culture apparently trains its students that weapons are essential.”

    Laws are great when both sides agree to obey them, or when one side has sufficient strength to impose them on the other.

    Absent one of those conditions being true (in other words, in the current match-up between the Israelis and the Palestinians), laws aren’t quite so useful. Weapons are much, much better.

    That fact tends to make the side that doesn’t have those weapons take that fact into account when it decides how to proceed. Sometimes the advisers to that side, who won’t end up having the other side’s weapons fall on their heads, think that the other side’s weapons advantage should simply be ignored, that the good guys will win with just truth and justice on their side.

    David beat Goliath. The story sticks in one’s mind precisely because it was not the usual outcome of such a battle.

  10. Kathleen says:

    Whoa.. check this out
    Pickering, Hills, Sullivan, Beinart, Dobbins, More Ask Obama Administration to Support UN Resolution Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlements
    Whoa..Adam Phil/All check this out
    Pickering, Hills, Sullivan, Beinart, Dobbins, More Ask Obama Administration to Support UN Resolution Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlements
    Link to http://www.thewashingtonnote.com

  11. Kathleen says:

    Last night Keith Olbermann had David “axis of evil” Frum on to discuss inflammatory and hate filled rhetoric. Talk about absurd. We all know Frum was one of the Iraq war pushers. And has repeated inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims about Iran.

    Keith really thinks his listeners have short and muddied memories. Olbermann supporting David “axis of evil” Frum’s effort to reconstruct his stance on the run up to the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. This man has blood all over this hands and is well practiced in creating dangerous “axis of evil” sound bites.

    What is up with Olbermann?
    “Public weighs in on Tucson shootings”

    David “axis of evil” Frum
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/

  12. Fiorangela,

    You’re missing my point about the weapons, which was simply that you asked how I would behave in a situation you posed as being analogous to the Israeli/Palestinian situation. Except for one major difference: I would have “the entire U.S. Defense Department” at my disposal.

    I merely pointed out that the Palestinians do not have this. That makes a difference. It has nothing to do with “Western values.” It has only to do with the difference between having “the entire U.S. Defense Department” at my disposal, on the one hand, and not having it, on the other. Whatever one’s values are — Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern — that would and should make a difference in how one responds to the provocation you posed in your hypothetical.

  13. Fiorangela says:

    “preferring to dual with Fiorangela.[sic]”

    nobody expected the Jets to beat the Patriots, but it made the Steelers — and a whole army of T-shirt vendors — mighty happy.

    What terrifies Israelis is that they are now Goliath, and their own mythology tells them that Goliaths almost always fall.

    I made a rooky mistake when I responded to Eric’s post asking what weapons he had. I had carefully constructed the scenario to showcase “Western values” — rule of law, right makes right. I thought that would appeal to the perspective of a Harvard lawyer.
    Eric’s response in itself is an indictment of all of Western culture: within three minutes Eric responded, “what weapons do I have.” Rule of law be damned; the bastion of American erudition and culture apparently trains its students that weapons are essential. I’m pretty sure Thomas Jefferson was a hunter, and probably John Adams too; not so sure about James Madison, but George Washington was a fighting man. They created an experiment in Enlightenment-inspired citizenship and governance, without weapons.

  14. Rd. says:

    Outlines of the line drawn..

    “IAEA is well aware of the “serious damage to its reputation as well as its safeguard agreements with Iran in case there is no fuel swap”.

    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MA20Ak01.html

  15. Rd. says:

    It is really very simple, but why they don’t get it…

    Who Lost the Middle East?
    by Patrick J. Buchanan

    “Dwight Eisenhower preferred the Shah to Mohammad Mossadegh, though the latter had been elected. Ike backed the coup. Richard Nixon preferred Gen. Augusto Pinochet to Chile’s pro-Castro President Salvador Allende, who was elected. The general was with us.

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=41246

    Yet this raises anew the question: Why do they hate us?”

  16. Rehmat says:

    Unknown Unknowns – You’re not the only one. Campuses in the US, Canada, Britain and Ukraine are the usual targets of Zionfascism.

    “Why discredit, defame and silence those with opposing viewpoints? I believe it is because the Zionist Lobby knows it cannot win based on facts,” – Dr. Joel Beinin (Jewish professor at Stanford University in his article “Silencing critics not way to Middle East peace”, San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2007).

    Many Universities in the US have a long history of sanctioning academic, students, and holding debates – critical to the Zionist entity, Zionism or even Zionist Jews – from professor Norman Finkelstein to professor William I. Robinson (University of California – ADL charging his e-mail criticizing Israeli attacks on Gaza, Dec-Jan 2009 – as ‘anti-Semitism’) to professor Joel Kovel being fired from Bard College (for authoring the book ‘Overcoming Zionism’) to professor Tariq Ramadan (banned from joining Notre Dame University in 2004 and now fired by Dutch University for hosting a religious show at Iranian TV)…….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/zionists-academic-terrorism/

  17. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Ah-hem.

    Many moons ago (it was teh 25th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement in a little college town called Berkeley), when I was a student at said institution, I tried unsuccessfully to get the great British WWII historian David Irving, whom I am pleased to be able to call my friend, to speak at UCB. After literally months of putting pressure on the UC administration to reverse its decision not to allow Mr. Irving to speak (due to “security” reasons), they afforded my Student Organization (which had invited Mr. Irving to speak) a small venue (we had originally requested Zellerback Auditorium, the largest venue on campus). To make a long story short, the Spartacists and teh assholes from the Hillel House gathered in a “candlelight vigil” to disallow entry to anyone wanting to approach teh venue and take a seat to hear what this great historian had to say about the HollowCo$t. So much for “free speech” in Berkeley. (I had named teh ad hoc student committee the “Berkeley Free Speech Coalition” as an ironic premonition of how I predicted the events to unfold. You can read about the details here if you are interested: www [DOT]fpp [DOT]co [DOT]uk/speeches/UCB/211194 [DOT] html

    The reason I mention this is that it has been about 20 years since then, throughout which time I have kept my ear to teh ground for issues relating to teh truth about what really happened back then. Until about two years ago, there reeally was no well-written summary of the whole disparate literature in the field, until Thomas Dalton’s DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST – A NEW LOOK AT BOTH SIDES came out in 2009. And so, when I say that this is an indispensable primer on the subject, with an excellent annotated up-to-date bibliography, I know that of which I speak. You can read teh introduction and the first chapter at dbbatingtheholocaust[dot]com

    It is not that Jews did not suffer during that war. Of course they did, together with the thousands of other people the Nazi thugs thought undesireable: communists, anarchists, leftists, homosexuals, gypsies, etc. But they did not die in near so many numbers as the copyrighted – or should I say Registered Trademark a la Finkelstein? – Six Million. Like I said in an earlier post, that figure comes from the Talmud and an attempt to springboard the secular-millinarianist Zionist project of Theodore Hertzl & Co. by garnering support for the Jews. It seems that while about 500,000 Jews suffered adn died premature deaths at teh hands of the Nazis (mostly due to typhus and teh railway supply lines to the slave labor camps being cut off due to Allied bombardment), there was no “master plan” to “exterminate all Jews”, nor were there any gas chambers used to kill people (there were small gas chanmbers used to delouse prisoner clothing with hydrogen-cyanide gas (the infamous Zyclon B gas) of the lice that carried the typhus bacterium in their saliva.

    Anyway, for those interested in a rich vein of historical reaearch, ihr[dot]org is not a bad place to begin.

    And so, when Ahmadinejad questioned the historicity of the holocaust, just as he questioned the accuracy of the official conspiracy theory wherein it is held that 19 cave dwelling fundamentalists with box cutters brought down the 47-story Building 7 tower at the World Trade Center (in addition to Buuildings 1 & 2), his *suspicions* [and that's all he claimed: suspicion, in the great Western tradition of skepticism] were on solid ground. And he put his money where his mouth is by convening a con ference to look into those suspicions. www[dot]mathaba[dot]net/news/?x=547346

    All I wanted to say, really, is that when discussing teh HollowCo$t, in my humbling opinion;o) it is best to keep the big picture in mind, no matter how unsavory that truth might be.

  18. Voice of Tehran says:

    No comment , conclusions to be made individually.

    “At least nine people across Arab countries — such as Egypt, Algeria and Mauritania — have set themselves on fire to copy the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi in Tunisia.”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/160855.html

  19. Arnold: “So what was that about?”

    He’s ducking and dodging like a ninja ducking a samurai’s sword. He hasn’t even come close to responding to any of my posts, preferring to dual with Fiorangela.

    To be continued in the next thread…

  20. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    Better to do nothing at all – just wait for Israel to do something, and in the meantime congratulate themselves about how manly they are, and pass the time playing childish “hide the ball” games designed to keep the world guessing about whether they’re working on a bomb.

    See, after all this time, you really kind of should know better than this. Provide a quote of anyone here that you think this is a reasonable interpretation of. Anyone advocating or reasonably interpreted as advocating “childish “hide the ball” games designed to keep the world guessing about whether they’re working on a bomb”. You’ve been directly disabused of this interpretation that had never been reasonable in the first place multiple times.

    So provide a quote, in quotation marks of myself or RSH or Castellio or Masoud or Kooshy or anyone, as long as it’s in quotes, that can argue you are accurately interpreting. I’m nearly certain that you cannot.

    So what was that about?

  21. Arnold: Good points about The Holocaust accusation.

    I note that Finkelstein wrote a book called “The Holocaust Industry”. Finkelstein made his point by referring to The Holocaust as an “industry”, He could just as easily have referred to it as Ahmadinejad does as “The Holocaust Myth” – because the word “myth” in that context – which I believe is the sense in Ahmadinejad is using the word – refers not to the actual existence or non-existence of a historical incident but the impact of that incident on subsequent history – and in particular to the benefit of a specific political ideology.

    Also, since Ahmadinejad has already basically acknowledged the historical reality of The Holocaust to at least some degree in his letter to Merkle, this is merely another manufactured accusation used to demonize Iran in the same manner as the “nuclear weapons program” canard. It’s just another red herring ti distract from the real issues at play.

    And if “certain influential US Jews” are “upset” by that, well, make the most of it.

    There was a comedy group called “The Firesign Theater” years ago who put out an album entitled “Everything You Know Is Wrong!” This is basically where the US electorate – including “certain influential US Jews” – resides – in the state of ignorance, illusion, delusion and fantasy.

  22. Eric: “And all the while, those who think about what’s best for Iran suggest that it do nothing unless what it does will satisfy the United States, and since nothing will satisfy the United States, nothing is exactly what Iran should do. It should wait for Israel to act.”

    I would hope you’re not including me in that group. I don’t suggest Iran do nothing – unless the US does nothing more than it’s doing now. Then Iran has no benefit to do anything.

    And I certainly don’t advise Iran to sit back and wait for Israel to back down. I’m not that stupid.

    What I advise is that Iran not give up something for nothing. I advise that Iran ask for a simple legal clarification that it has a legal right to natively enrich in exchange for ratifying the AP.

    A simple tit-for-tat which will establish once and for all that the US has no legal reason to attack Iran absent real (or manufactured evidence) of actual nuclear weapons.

    I suspect Iran can get further with such a US concession than it will get by unilaterally implementing the AP and getting more sanctions and threats for its trouble. Which we all know this is exactly what it will get because it is exactly what it HAS gotten for implementing the AP in the past.

    And even if the US DOES ignore – but legally concede – Iran’s right to enrich and attacks Iran anyway – which I acknowledge, indeed insist, the US will do – having that ON THE RECORD that Iran has that legal right will be seized upon by every member of the NAM Movement and every opponent to the US in the UN, INCLUDING Russia and China, those countries you would like Iran to “peel off” by giving away the farm and used in the judgment of the US war.

    A small thing – but guaranteed vs the speculative “benefits” you cite.

    And since you believe that the US will never offer such a concession, which I believe is true as well, therefore Iran should unilaterally implement the AP in order to get these speculative “benefits” – which however will have zero impact on the US plans in the end anyway – you once again put the cart before the horse. The point of requiring this one US concession of enrichment rights is that it allows Iran to actually HAVE ONE valid negotiating point. After Iran has “spent that wad”, it has nothing to negotiate with. If the alleged “benefits” from adopting the AP do not materialize, now what? Iran is literally forced to “do nothing” now. Whereas by holding back this one valid point in exchange for a real concession – no “promises”, a real immediate legal concession – Iran retains some maneuvering room, however small (and even pointless with regard to the overall outcome). This is a real tangible benefit, not a speculative benefit.

    At this point, I almost wish Iran WOULD unilaterally adopt the AP. Once the nonsense about “benefits” is swept away by the facts of the US/Israeli response, we can move on past this ridiculous argument.

  23. Castellio,

    First, I’m glad to hear that you’re not really marshalling Sasquatch storm troopers at the Canadian border. I was getting worried – at least until I was assured that, unlike the Palestinians, I’d have “the entire U.S Defense Department” at my beck and call.

    More seriously, you wrote:

    “[Many people] also believe that the territory of Israel should be unified and whole, which means that Israel must absorb what little remains of Palestine… and that Palestinians must either acquiesce or move. This belief, generally held, certainly through the US Congress and the government side of the House of Commons in Canada, is THE reason why the pro-Palestinian argument remains such an uphill struggle in “Western” cultures. I thought that was obvious.”

    It’s obvious to me.

    What’s also obvious to me is that the Palestinians do not actually have “the entire U.S Defense Department” at their disposal. They have a few rocks, RPGs and mortars, and occasionally some helpful rockets from up Lebanon way. That’s it. No use pretending they have more than that. No use suggesting they ought to behave in suicidal ways as if they did.

    That’s essentially what I find so unsatisfying about many of the proposals for Iranian behavior I’ve been reading here lately, which amounts to this two-step process:

    Step 1: Maybe Iran should do something different from what it’s doing now, but in no case should it even consider doing so until Israel takes various actions that every sentient human being knows Israel will never take.

    Step 2: See Step 1.

    I’ve been hearing some variation of this now for – let’s see: how many years has it been since 1967? So far, Israel hasn’t lived up to the noble expectations established for it by these advice-givers. It just keeps on keeping on. More settlements, more Israeli-only highways, more checkpoints, more attacks on neighbors that seek to slow it down, more US weapons and money to make all of this easier to accomplish. More capitulations by Muslim neighbors who recognize they can’t carry out the noble resistance they’d once promised their people (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Libya), more attacks on those countries that actually consider resisting (Iraq), more countries pummelled even though they’re too chaotic to hold anyone responsible (Lebanon), more countries cuffed upside the head just in case they might think of becoming uppity some day (Syria).

    And all the while, those who think about what’s best for Iran suggest that it do nothing unless what it does will satisfy the United States, and since nothing will satisfy the United States, nothing is exactly what Iran should do. It should wait for Israel to act. And wait. By no means should Iran take steps that might induce other world powers (China or Russia) to resist US demands, or that might make it more difficult for Israel and the US to persuade the world that Iran is developing a bomb, or that might persuade countries not to impose severe economic penalties on its people for doing something they’re not even doing but most of the world believes they are.

    Better to do nothing at all – just wait for Israel to do something, and in the meantime congratulate themselves about how manly they are, and pass the time playing childish “hide the ball” games designed to keep the world guessing about whether they’re working on a bomb.

    I misstate Iran’s behavior, because I’m not describing how it actually behaves, but instead how it would behave if it actually accepted the advice of many well-meaning people on this website (and many others). If Iran behaved fully as recommended by many here, the Israeli and US governments could not pray for a better adversary. Who could ever have imagined that they’d be able to persuade most of the world that Iran deserves crippling sanctions as punishment for something for which there is no evidence to believe it’s doing? Who could ever have imagined that their prospects for imposing even more severe sanctions – once again with the blessings of the Russians and Chinese – are looking rosier every day? Who could imagine that they’d have a large portion of the world’s population ready to attack Iran – not Israel, Iran – to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons in which it has shown no evidence of interest?

    And who could ever have guessed that the people who advocate this course of action for Iran would insist that it’s working just fine and merely needs to be continued?

  24. Arnold Evans says:

    I’m not going to put this into the newest thread but I think Eric and other Western readers could benefit from some background about Ahmadinejad’s statements regarding the Holocaust that are easy to miss but very important.

    The idea that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust has its origin in an argument he made in a speech in 2005 or 2006. I’ll paraphrase what he said at the time as “They’ve created this story of the Holocaust and elevated it above the story of God. They put people in jail for denying that story but not for denying God.”

    Juan Cole and others put the word “myth” where I first put the word “story”. I’ll just say that no matter which word, the argument of the sentence is in no case that the story of the Holocaust is factually false. The argument is much more clever and slightly more subtle.

    The argument is that the West condescends on Iranians and on Muslims with the claim that Muslims have faith where Westerners have rationality. It turns out though that the West – even non-observers, agnostics and atheists – does have a religion. That religion is the Holocaust.

    Even if there was no such thing as Palestine or Israel this would be a tremendously powerful argument for a Muslim audience. Muslims in interacting with the West are put on the defensive regarding faith. Ahmadinejad says wait, people are free to deny God in Europe, but they are not free to deny the Holocaust. So instead of a comparison between rationality and faith, between progress and blind backwardness, we have a comparison between two different sacrosanct narratives, and in this contest Muslims have a good hand that if you must believe in something it is better to believe in God, in the Koran, than in the Holocaust.

    I want to add some things that Ahmadinejad could have said but didn’t. There is a wide variation in estimates of the amount of Native Americans killed by the European conquest of the American continents. But nowhere in the world will you go to jail if you assert that the number is zero. There is wide variation in estimates of the number of Africans killed during the trip from Africa to be slaves in the Western Hemisphere. Nowhere in the world will you go to jail if you say the number was zero. There is wide variation in the amount of natives of Tasmania who were killed when European colonists killed every single native-born man, woman and child on the island. Nowhere in the world will you go to jail for saying the number is zero. Wide variation of the number of Palestinians displaced to create Israel. There is a wide variation in estimates of the number of people the United States killed in Afghanistan this year. There is nowhere in the world that you’ll go to jail for claiming the number is zero.

    The Holocaust for the West is a sacrosanct narrative, and Westerners don’t have a way to fully appreciate the power, before a Muslim audience conditioned by Western accusations of backwardness, of Ahmadinejad’s observation that the West is hypocritical in its accusations. This is true even with no Palestine.

    But there is a Palestine.

    The narrative of the Holocaust, that Ahmadinejad can argue is treated with the reverence that Muslims apply to the Koran itself, is used to justify the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians. For a somewhat defensive Muslim audience, that takes a powerful argument for Ahmadinejad and makes it sublime.

    The West doesn’t believe in God, in the commandments to love and treat each other equally. It believes in the Holocaust, and that the Holocaust justifies expelling hundreds of thousands of innocent people from their land, it justifies propping up colonial dictatorships over scores of millions of Muslims. The Holocaust justifies sanctions aimed at denying technological, scientific, industrial and economic progress for scores of millions of Muslims and it justifies directly killing, right now, hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the region, occupying nations and creating conditions of chaos and destruction today.

    This is not an argument Ahmadinejad feels a need to back down from. If the West is going to present the Holocaust as a religion, he sincerely believes, along with essentially every Muslim, that he has a better religion. A religion that is more consistent with the West’s own declared values.

    I want to give you that context so that you can understand what happens when a Western reporter asks Ahmadinejad if he denies the Holocaust.

    Imagine a truly well meaning Christian, say, Rick Warren, in a Muslim country asked by a somewhat hostile interviewer whether or not he denies Muhammad.

    What does that question mean? The interviewer can get indignant – it is a simple question. Do you or do you not deny Muhammad?

    “I do not say and have never have said that there was no Muhammad. Historians, scientists, religious scholars should be free to determine who he was and the truth of what he taught and his impact. I will say that these historians should be free of any threat of punishment for reaching the wrong conclusion and I’ll insist that the truth of Muhammad does not diminish my right as a Christian to believe in Jesus Christ and even further that the story of Muhammad does not justify the killing of Christians or their oppression anywhere in the world.”

    That’s an evasive answer to a Muslim. Ahmadinejad dozens of times has given an equivalent answer about the Holocaust. But is it reasonable for a Muslim questioner to expect Rick Warren to recite the Koran’s treatment of Muhammad in response to that question?

  25. Humanist says:

    Fiorangela,

    In response to your comments to my remarks on the previous thread I wrote a very long essay on ‘dehumanization’. Just before posting it, in Google, I typed ‘wiki dehumanization’ I found a very educational article with lots of references. After spending an hour or so browsing through it I felt like a novice or an illiterate who simplistically tried to explain a topic which is as complex as the existence of human beings.

    If you get the time read it, also read the its absorbing links such as Victimization, Ethnic stereotype, Objectification, , Race, Racism etc

  26. Goli says:

    Kathleen and James,

    From a completely different angle, there is yet another false narrative here, the one that distinguishes between the American people, most of whom believe they live in a democracy and can change what they don’t like, and the American government. Of course, even if the US was a true representative democracy, not all people, certainly not those in the political minority, could be blamed for its actions. Brain-washed and/or misguided or not, however, the fact remains that majority of the American people support the US foreign policy, period, including in the ME and regarding Israel and Iran.

    Of course you are correct in your assessment that but for a fringe and minuscule number of individuals, Arabs do not pose a threat to Americans. That is a given and not the angle from which I am looking at the issue here. That said, oppressed people around the world who maintain a positive attitude toward the American people are either overly polite, or uninformed and foolish. By and large, however, they do so because of the impact of their long colonial histories which has left them with a permanent feeling of racial and cultural inferiority and which has since continued to be reinforced not only through reality of the west retaining and exerting power, but also through the ever-present propaganda designed to portray westerners as superior.

    I think Americans, including and especially progressives, need a Renaud and an Hexagon to slap them out of this “blame it on our government” mode.

  27. Fiorangela says:

    participants on this forum might be interested in a “dialogue” that Phil Weiss created between the then-25-year old Michael Walzer, then an ardent civil rights activist, now a pretentious apologist for Israel.

    A dialogue with the young Walzer who was thrilled to echo MLK’s call to non-violent resistance

  28. kooshy says:

    After reading today’s posts, it seems to me, in this planetary “project for the new world century” in any which way and however painful it might be, eventually America and the Americans will need to learn, that in this very new world that we all live in, only some of the people are dumb, some of the time, but the tough part to come to term with is, that most of the people really are not dumb at all, they are just playing dumb.

    In short for the Americans to be able to reduce their military budget, down from the current 53% of government‘s discretionary spending, the America and the Americans will have to let go of the exceptionalism that they have learned to possess.

  29. Castellio says:

    And how did Fiorangela know that I pray to the Great Northern Sasquatch whose voice is heard singing in the bitterly cold gales?

    Seriously, though, many believe that the history of persecution against Jews does justify a “Jewish state”. Many acknowledge and accept that position including its implications: policies of population transfer and a racist legal system. They also believe that the territory of Israel should be unified and whole, which means that Israel must absorb what little remains of Palestine… and that Palestinians must either acquiesce or move.

    This belief, generally held, certainly through the US Congress and the government side of the House of Commons in Canada, is THE reason why the pro-Palestinian argument remains such an uphill struggle in “Western” cultures.

    I thought that was obvious.

  30. Eric: “I’m glad just to dodge the bullet for once.”

    You’ve been dodging my recent posts pretty consistently this evening. You find Fiorangela an easier opponent?

  31. Fiorangela: Your 8:07 post was right on.

    “2. I suppose I “think you do” think what Israel does is OK because I have never seen — or do not recall seeing — you suggest what Israel should do to improve its situation.”

    This is why I originally – and possibly currently – thought Eric has a pro-Israel bias way back in our earlier discussions weeks and months ago about Iran’s “revealing more”. His policy notions, as I note in other posts below, are always about Iran giving up something. Never the US. Never Israel. Just surrender and “hope” it works to Iran’s benefit. I can’t help but wonder why it is always Iran who has to surrender to US and Israel demands and never the reverse. I suppose it could be because he believes the US and Israel have the upper hand militarily and economically and in the propaganda realm – which might be even true.

    But it could also be simply a question of poor logic: a “fallacy of the excluded middle”, in this case the “middle” being exactly HOW Iran is going to actually achieve all these benefits he posits will happen if Iran unilaterally gives away the store despite all indications to the contrary.

  32. Fiorangela,

    You’re misunderstanding what I say about Israel’s behavior. I was referring to its internal behavior, its treatment of the Palestinians, which I believe will get worse before it gets better for the reasons I’ve given. I really don’t think the threat that Israel poses to Iran will get worse. I don’t know, but I see no reason to expect that it will.

  33. Fiorangela,

    “You have the law on your side. And your intellectual skills. And the entire US Department of Defense.”

    Not sure the law and my intellectual skills will do me much good, but I certainly would appreciate having “the entire US Department of Defense.” My point in asking, though, was to determine whether the analogy to the Palestinians’ situation was at all close.

  34. Fiorangela says:

    What weapons do I have at my disposal?

    You have the law on your side. And your intellectual skills. And the entire US Department of Defense.

  35. Fiorangela says:

    Eric, setting aside practical considerations, do you think Iran would be justified in making a military attack on Israel?

    In these waiting periods you recommend — when Iran should wait out the US, and Israel will continue in its bad behavior or get worse, have you created scenarios in which Iran becomes sufficiently powerful, and sufficiently well-connected, that Iran has the ability and the allied to, indeed, destroy Israel? If you could do something to precipitate a solution before that occurred, what would it be?

  36. Fiorangela,

    “How long would you put up with it if Castellio rounded up a gang of wild Canadians, armed them with the most up-to-date weapons with guarantees of more where that came from; convinced these crazy Cannucks that Eric Brill was squatting on property that the god Sasquatch promised to the Cannucks and, in the name of Sasquatch, they were intent on claiming it?”

    I don’t know. First tell me what weapons I have at my disposal.

  37. Richard,

    “Eric: Oops, you’re right, that was James Canning. Apologies.”

    That’s OK. I’m glad just to dodge the bullet for once.

  38. Fiorangela says:

    ahh, Eric, you’ve drawn a target on your back.

    you wrote:

    “I think Israel will eventually turn into a growing bunch of right-wing settlers and a shrinking group of never-say-die idealists who somehow rationalize continuing to live in a state that so blatantly violates the rights of Palestinians. That can’t last forever, though it may get much worse before it gets better, given how I predict it playing out. It took a very long time for South Africa too, but eventually…”

    How long would you put up with it if Castellio rounded up a gang of wild Canadians, armed them with the most up-to-date weapons with guarantees of more where that came from; convinced these crazy Cannucks that Eric Brill was squatting on property that the god Sasquatch promised to the Cannucks and, in the name of Sasquatch, they were intent on claiming it.
    So they descend on your home, your town, your office, your library, everything you cherish, they take it from you, put you out on the street in a tent, toss their hides on YOUR chair, and take over your life.

    Would you, as an attorney who is an officer of the court, agree to simply wait them out, expecting that things will get worse before they get better, that your children’s lives may be forfeit in the interim; that it may take a very long time, or would you, as an attorney, bring down the full weight of the law to bring Castellio and the crazy Canadians to justice and to equitably make whole the victims of the CCC’s criminal acts?

    Did your Jewish friends ever talk to you about Hillel: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the commentary; go and learn.”

  39. Fiorangela,

    “I suppose I “think you do” think what Israel does is OK because I have never seen — or do not recall seeing — you suggest what Israel should do to improve its situation.”

    Do you really think that? I’ve probably written at least 100 comments in which I suggest that Israel should behave differently.

    My only point is that it rarely does much good to suggest that Iran hold its breath until it turns blue or Israel changes its behavior. Israel simply responds: “Great – turn blue.” Since that result is nearly 100% predictable, why not just move on and suggest what Iran ought to do if Israel doesn’t follow your advice?

  40. Fiorangela says:

    two problems here, Eric:

    “Of course I don’t think that’s OK. I’m never quite sure what makes you think I do. Simply saying, in nearly every situation, that Iran should not take any action unless Israel takes a similar action makes it easy to advise Iran what to do: nothing whatsoever. ”

    1. Israel is the bad actor, not Iran.
    2. I suppose I “think you do” think what Israel does is OK because I have never seen — or do not recall seeing — you suggest what Israel should do to improve its situation.

    Given No. 1, above, that Israel is the bad actor, Israel’s course is actually quite simple: Obey the law. Stop killing people. Stop stealing other people’s land and property.

    As to your earlier comment, regarding the effectiveness of shouting “I deny the holocaust,” it’s something like a psychotherapeutic technique sometimes called flooding: a patient is overwhelmed with that which he most fears. When no bad thing occurs as a result of the numerous instances of exposure to the feared object/action, the patient eventually arrives at the recognition that the activity cannot harm him.

    It is my impression that you believe that you are being compassionate and sensitive in protecting the feelings of American Jews wrt holocaust. I suggest that there has to be an endgame, that clinging to holocaust is debilitating, and life-denying, not life affirming. In my perspective, measures to help American Jews and Israeli move beyond the pain is an act of compassion. I think it’s better to encourage Jews to move beyond the pain, forward, toward a future with the possibility of new life and experiences, rather than cling to the pain and wall oneself off from the possibility of further pain.

    Unless all of the American Jews that you know are in their 70s and 80s, chances are they did not EXPERIENCE the holocaust, they have been TAUGHT the holocaust. Certainly the ~20-year old Israel soldiers who behave so brutally toward Palestinians never experienced the holocaust — they were taught it; in fact, they were conditioned to dehumanize themselves and conditioned to dehumanize some, labelled Other — that is the only way a human being can kill another human being, because killing another human is an unnatural act.

  41. Eric: Oops, you’re right, that was James Canning. Apologies. I’m scrolling back and forth here and occasionally misreading who wrote what. Another reason I hate non-threaded forums. :-)

    I redirect my question to Mr. Canning, therefore.

  42. Eric: “he’s certainly given awfully evasive answers to questioners who’ve tried to pin him down. I think you may be splitting hairs pointlessly here. At best, he’s minimized it rather than denied it, and that is understandably quite upsetting to Jews as well.”

    Without having any of those interviews in front of me, I would say that is a matter of interpretation. And we all know how easy it is to get the wrong word from Farsi into English.

    Worse, your statement indicates that not only is DENYING the Holocaust an issue for you, but even QUESTIONING the Holocaust in some manner and possibly even connecting it as Ahmadinejad does with the Palestinian situation is now “upsetting”.

    At what point would you suggest Ahmadinejad simply stop mentioning the Holocaust at all? And you suggest this course of action despite the points that he is trying to make that Israel is an colonialist, imperialist state that justifies its colonialism and imperialism by reference to the Holocaust?

    I read Ahmadinejad’s “evasive” remarks sometimes as “evasive” and sometimes as attempts to move the discussion from the frame the Zionists have put it in to the frame Ahmadinejad and the Arab street sees it from: that there is a “Palestinian Holocaust” that no one seems to care about. That “The Nakba” has no legitimacy at all, but The Holocaust justifies anything and everything.

    I read his “evasions” as someone who doesn’t care a whit whether The Holocaust occurred or how many Jews were killed, but rather what can he derive from it to strengthen Iran’s position in the Arab world against Israel. You and your putative US Jews may find this “unsettling” but it’s a valid strategy. Only if Ahmadinejad makes the explicit claim that nothing of The Holocaust is true would he be necessarily incorrect (I assume based on what history I have read.)

    As an aside, you might want to read this:

    Ahmadinejad acknowledges the Holocaust in letter to Merkel.
    :http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=124×146467

    Another commentator on the Web also said this:

    “Ahmadinejad’s use of words like “myth” and “legend” to descibe the Holocaust as an impetus for creating a Jewish state in Palestine can certainly be construed as Holocaust denial, but when considered in the entire context of Ahmadinejad’s statements can also be viewed as expressing an unpopular, but nonrevisionist viewpoint on the political consequences of the Holocaust.”

  43. Richard,

    “Eric: “To me, the important thing is to make clear to Israel it can build illegal houses and flats by the tens of thousands of units, but this will not change the borders.””

    I never wrote this. Perhaps someone else did.

  44. Castellio says:

    The truth is that the pogroms in Ukraine were thought sufficient justification for Herzl and Jabotinsky (and others), as well as their many followers, to argue for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. By the early 1930′s it was the dominant Zionist position, openly discussed as policy, understood as necessarily violent, and that it would necessarily include the death of many innocent Palestinians.

    After the war the Holocaust became the leading Zionist justification of that on-going violent ethnic cleansing, and remains so.

    Many American are supporters of Zionism and believe that the Holocaust justifies the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and racist laws in Israel. I know many, Jews and non-Jews alike, who argue that position, and who claim that to argue against that position is anti-Semitic. I would think the vast majority of the American Congress, as individuals, share that belief. There is every reason to believe that Obama and Clinton share that belief.

    We can turn our heads away from that, or not.

  45. Eric: “To me, the important thing is to make clear to Israel it can build illegal houses and flats by the tens of thousands of units, but this will not change the borders.”

    I’m perplexed by this statement. If the settlements are “illegal”, by definition they ARE changing the borders between the Palestinians and Israel.

    What “borders” are you referring to – the borders with Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon? And what does the settlements have to do with those borders?

  46. Eric: “The objective of Iran’s actions — in observing the AP and nearly every other action — should be to keep the US at bay long enough that the US’ strength weakens, Iran’s strength increases, and Iran’s alliances with rising new powers strengthen — sufficiently that Iran need no longer care whether its actions satisfy the West or not.”

    And here AGAIN you argue from hoped-for outcome back to an action that you ADMIT will NOT NECESSARILY PROVIDE that outcome!

    You cannot even BEGIN to demonstrate how Iran’s unilaterally observing the AP without a concession from the US to recognize Iran’s legal enrichment right could POSSIBLY allow Iran to “keep the US at bay”, let alone that US strength WILL weaken in any reasonable time frame sufficient to enable Iran to ignore such issues later. There is absolutely NO demonstrable connection between your prescribed course of action and the hoped for outcome and EVERY demonstrable disconnection given that Iran has ALREADY implemented the AP to no benefit whatsoever, let alone “keeping the US at bay” which is hyperbolic in the extreme.

    It’s an absurd position. It’s Pollyanna thinking at its worst with absolutely no logic associated with it at all.

  47. Mr. Canning: “I continue to agree with Eric Iran should accept the AP.”

    Let’s be clear about what you agree with here: You’re saying that Iran should UNILATERALLY implement and ratify the AP WITHOUT getting ANY concession from the US that Iran has a legal right to enrich uranium on its soil.

    Is that a correct statement of your position? Because that’s what Eric wants Iran to do.

  48. Rehmat says:

    Many people believe Martin Luther preached non-violence and then many people also believe tha Israelis believe in vengeance.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/jewish-vengeance-and-muftis-residence/

  49. Mr. Canning: “Iran has given clear signals it will accept whatever deal the Palestinians make with the Israelis, if that deal is properly ratified. What is to gain for Iran to say it would not accept Israel even if Israel accepts the Saudi peace plan?”

    Iran has said it will accept whatever deal the Palestinians work out. I believe there are some provisos, however, that the deal must be accepted by ALL the Palestinian factions including Hamas. Hamas has said it will recognize “Israel’s right to exist” under certain circumstances – circumstances that Israel almost certainly will never accept. So for Iran the point is mostly moot.

    I still say Iran should not engage Israel even if Iran accepts a negotiated Palestinian peace plan. Such a plan might satisfy the Palestinians, but it is unlikely to do anything to deal with Iran’s major problem with Israel – its intent to dominate the Middle East against Iran. And frankly, again the issue is moot because the Palestinians really can’t do much to rein in Israel at all. So one issue is not even related to the other issue.

    If for some reason the Palestinians get tired of the conflict and just bow down to Israel and accept some “bantustan/apartheid” existence under Israeli dominance, should Iran just go along with that?

    I think Iran would like the Palestinian resolution to be “just”, however they interpret that word. But beyond that, such “justice”, as Iran has repeatedly pointed out, would mean the elimination of the Zionist state with a replacement by a Palestinian or perhaps bi-national state. I think this is what Iran officially wants, whatever they say about accepting a Palestinian deal. Because without that, nothing gets resolved between Israel and Iran.

  50. Fiorangela,

    “Is Israel to be expected to act with comparable restraint, or do you think Israel has a right to assassinate Iranian civilians…”

    Of course I don’t think that’s OK. I’m never quite sure what makes you think I do. Simply saying, in nearly every situation, that Iran should not take any action unless Israel takes a similar action makes it easy to advise Iran what to do: nothing whatsoever. Whether that is always the best course of action (or non-action, as the case may be) is not so clear.

  51. Fiorangela,

    “Norman Finkelstein thinks that the only thing that is going to shake Israel out of its amoral project is for Israel to suffer a military defeat.”

    He may be right, but I don’t think that’s going to happen, and yet I remain confident both for Iran and the Palestinians — confident if I at least take a long view. I think Iran will eventually “wait out” the US, develop its peaceful nuclear energy program and become a strong regional power accepted by its neighbors (except for Israel) and most of the world. I think Israel will eventually turn into a growing bunch of right-wing settlers and a shrinking group of never-say-die idealists who somehow rationalize continuing to live in a state that so blatantly violates the rights of Palestinians. That can’t last forever, though it may get much worse before it gets better, given how I predict it playing out. It took a very long time for South Africa too, but eventually…

  52. Fiorangela says:

    Eric, you wrote: “although Iran cannot avoid antagonizing Israel by doing things it ought to do — support the Palestinians, develop itself into a regional power, pursue its peaceful nuclear energy program — I fail to see what’s to be gained by shooting itself in the foot with pointlessly antagonistic remarks that alienate a much larger portion of the American Jewish community than it really needs to antagonize. ”

    Is Israel to be expected to act with comparable restraint, or do you think Israel has a right to assassinate Iranian civilians, and that by doing so it is not needlessly “shooting itself in the foot” but is achieving some strategic (howsoever immoral and illegal) purpose?

    As for the lack of friendly relations between Israel and Iran: consider that not too many years ago, Israel and Iran were the very best of friends.

    Consider that Israel consistently declares that the US says it is Israel’s best friend.

    Consider that more and more Americans are getting pissed off with Israeli intransigence, are becomeing aware, despite the near-total media blackout in the US, of Israeli murders of peace activists, of random shootings of Palestinian children; of the deliberate destruction of the SAME Arab village, TEN TIMES, by Israeli settlers guarded by Israeli soldiers. As the American people, including American Jews learn of these outrages, do you suppose American unqualified support for Israel will continue? For how long? What is the end game? Will Israel continue killing Palestinians until the land is cleansed of Arabs? Will that endear Israelis and American Jews to the larger American public?

    What happens when an American leader grows a pair and says, STOP! Just stop it — your military support is cut off; your support in UN is cut off. How will Israel react to the US? Here’s a prediction — seal it in an envelope and hide it under the mattress — Israel will turn on the US, will bray in its loudest voice that the US is abandoning Israel to suffer another holocaust, that that vicious act of abandonment is the equivalent of holocaust denial/blood libel/anti-semitism/push the jews into the sea all rolled into one. Then Israel will turn on the United States, JUST LIKE IT TURNED ON ITS FORMER BEST FRIEND IRAN.

    If that happens, and if Americans suffer harms traceable to Israel and/or Jews, then Americans will turn on American Jews. A mob has been formed; mobs have no brains, they do not act rationally but they do act predictably: they will turn, and quickly.

    I’d rather not see Americans harmed. I’d rather not see American Jews harmed. I’d rather not see Iranians harmed. I’d rather not see Palestinians harmed. I’d rather not see Israeli Jews harmed. But preventing those harms has been taken out of my ability to impact: Israeli and American Jews have taken that power to themselves. They are calling the shots. The only weapon I am left with is to shout, I DENY THE HOLOCAUST. What is so astonishing is that Israeli and American Jews are so much more upset by ‘holocaust denial’ than they are that the state that calls itself the state of the Jewish people, routinely slaughters innocent children, women, and old men, none of whom are armed. If Jews are so effective at leading anti- X campaigns, why aren’t they clamboring all over the nation decrying Israeli killing of innocent children in Palestine? Because of Iran? Plllleease.

    There is absolutely NO moral equivalence between so-called holocaust denial and reckless rhetoric on Iran’s part, and Israel’s 40-year long reign of terror against the Palestinians.

  53. Arnold,

    Regarding your comment that Ahmadinejad has never denied the Holocaust, much less done so repeatedly, I am aware that his statements have often been exaggerated or outright misreported. I’ll review the interviews you linked to, though I suspect I’ve already read most or all of them. Whether or not he’s explicitly said it — and I still believe he has, though I may be incorrect — he’s certainly given awfully evasive answers to questioners who’ve tried to pin him down.

    I think you may be splitting hairs pointlessly here. At best, he’s minimized it rather than denied it, and that is understandably quite upsetting to Jews as well.

  54. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    There is no need for Israel to suffer a military “defeat” to achieve protection of the rights of the Palestinians over the longer term. If most if not all countries recognise Palestine, the effort can shift to ways of getting Israeli troops and police out of the West Bank.

    To me, the important thing is to make clear to Israel it can build illegal houses and flats by the tens of thousands of units, but this will not change the borders.

  55. Arnold,

    “I’m pretty confident it seems to most Iranians that there is not an honest dispute over Iran’s nuclear program that is fueled by a kind of naive ignorance on the part of the West, and that can be resolved by Iran producing more information. The West opposes Iran’s real position, which is that even though it has no intention of building a weapon…”

    I always find irony in responses like this. You argue that Iran’s expanding its nuclear disclosures to what other countries disclose would not really satisfy the West, and so why do it? That implies that the only purpose of Iran’s action should be to satisfy the West. I disagree with that. The objective of Iran’s actions — in observing the AP and nearly every other action — should be to keep the US at bay long enough that the US’ strength weakens, Iran’s strength increases, and Iran’s alliances with rising new powers strengthen — sufficiently that Iran need no longer care whether its actions satisfy the West or not.

    I believe observing the AP would accomplish that objective. Doing so could help Iran to “peel off” China and possibly Russia when the next round of sanctions come up for a vote. It could make it a bit tougher, and take a bit longer, for US war-mongers to bring around the American public. All this means delay, and delay is good for Iran.

    In short, the flaw in your criticism is that you assume an action taken by Iran will have value for Iran only if that action causes the US to change its behavior. Ironically, you ascribe much more importance to the US’ reaction than I do.

  56. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Iran has given clear signals it will accept whatever deal the Palestinians make with the Israelis, if that deal is properly ratified. What is to gain for Iran to say it would not accept Israel even if Israel accepts the Saudi peace plan?

    I continue to agree with Eric Iran should accept the AP.

  57. Eric: “My hope is that fewer people would listen if they didn’t believe that Iran is populated by 70 million Holocaust-deniers who want nothing more than to push Israel into the sea.”

    As long as you limit yourself to a “hope”, I suppose that’s all fine then.

    Unfortunately there is zero reason to believe in such a “hope” when the entire US and Israeli social discourse on Iran is controlled by media owned by people like Murdoch.

    You argue again in a backwards, or reverse, manner. Instead of asking yourself how it would be ACCOMPLISHED that “they didn’t believe” the propaganda and then asking yourself whether talking about the Holocaust would make a difference, you come at it from the reverse position. You ASSUME that if the Holocaust were no longer mentioned by Iran, then it would no longer be mentioned by Iran’s enemies.

    In other words, you ASSUME a possible outcome, then work back to how someone would act who wanted that outcome – while leaving out the “excluded middle” of exactly HOW their actions would lead DIRECTLY to that outcome.

    When I point out that the “excluded middle” is Daniel Pipes saying the same thing regardless of what Iran says – and making it stick because HE HAS ACCESS TO THE US MEDIA THAT IRAN DOES NOT HAVE (i.e., the “excluded middle”) – you simply ignore that.

    This simply doesn’t even remotely follow logically. Which I suppose means this is how you were trained in law school…or again, maybe you’re just prone to Pollyanna thinking, I don’t know.

  58. Eric: “I’m not aware that anyone worth listening to…”

    Uh, like most of Israel’s leaders going back to 1947 or earlier?

    While *I* would agree that they’re “not worth listening to”, the unfortunate fact is that in the US they are the ONLY people being listened to. The entire Israeli narrative is framed around a “safe haven for the persecuted Jews”.

    I’ll go further than that. It absolutely IS the core issue of Israel’s so-called “right to exist” that the Holocaust and persecution of Jews justifies the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians – or at least their reduction to a passive slave population that is no threat to Jewish domination of Palestine.

    So how you can say that “no one worth talking to” believes that is rather odd, if not amazing.

  59. Fiorangela,

    I certainly don’t see the analogy between my suggestion that Iran observe the AP and your suggestion that Ahmadinejad stand on top of a mountain and shout “I deny the Holocaust!”

    Both are low-cost — that I agree with. But on the “benefit” side, I see quite a bit for my AP suggestion, none at all (In fact, quite the opposite) for your mountain-top shouting suggestion.

  60. Arnold: I believe you’re quite correct about the gist of Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust remarks not mounting to the level of denial. You’ve also correctly identified Eric’s prescription for this “problem” to be of a piece with his AP prescription for improving Iran’s “PR problem” over the nuclear issue.

    Eric must be a really kind person – or perhaps it is his legal training – that allows him to always recommend that someone give up something – to his client no doubt in a legal context – without getting anything in return. :-)

    Perhaps Eric needs to be more familiar with modern concepts of negotiation where the goal is to seek a “win-win” rather than a “win-lose” outcome. While Eric always frames his policy prescriptions as being “win-win”, somehow Iran always gives away something of tangible value to the US and Israel, but somehow only achieves some vague speculative “benefits” which always assume that the US and Israel are honest negotiators, despite all US and Israeli history to the contrary.

    I suspect if Eric were on the P5+1 negotiating team that Iran would probably cut off negotiations after the first day’s session. And then, like Obama and Clinton, he’d blame Iran for doing so, saying they had “sacrificed an opportunity to resolve the issues” or perhaps even like Netanyahu saying “we had no negotiating partner”.

    I jest but everyone should see the point. You don’t win in negotiations by giving away the farm on walking into the negotiating room.

    Negotiations are like mental health treatments, It’s only “treatment” if it isn’t “mandatory”. It’s only “negotiations” if there’s something to be negotiated. You give away only what doesn’t matter to the bottom line.

    Recognition of Iran’s right to enrich is not something to be ignored even if the US ultimately does ignore it. Neither is recognition of the fact of the illegal nature of Israel’s actions against the Palestinians throughout the history of Israel which is THE core issue of the I-P situation.

    Therefore Iran must never implement the AP unless and until it gets a full policy statement from the US recognizing its legal right to enrich uranium on its own soil.

    And Iran must never recognize Israel’s “right to exist” – because Israel does not have such a “right”, having abrogated it in its creation.

    And as Finkelstein has noted in his book, if Iran has to point out that the Holocaust is an “industry” and a PR tool for Israel in its oppression of Palestinians, then so be it.

    If certain ignorant individuals in the US can’t understand either point, then Iran can do nothing to alter that fact against the source of that fact which is the US and Israeli control of the social discourse in the media and the educational system.

    That’s unfortunate, but Iran can do nothing about that except repeat the facts and hope it filters across the Internet to enough people to make a difference.

    And then they can email me when that happens.

  61. Castellio,

    YOU WROTE:

    “I wrote below, “Eric, what you are calling “holocaust denial” in the ME and Iran is often the wrong label for quite a different argument: that the holocaust does not justify ethnic cleansing and legal racism in Palestine.”

    Adding to that, many Jews and non-Jews believe that the holocaust DOES justify ethnic cleansing and legal racism in Palestine. There lies the essential rub.”

    COMMENT:

    Sorry I missed your earlier comment. I recognize Ahmadinejad often says instead that “the holocaust does not justify ethnic cleansing and legal racism in Palestine,” and I certainly agree that is both correct and much different from denying the Holocaust. I also recognize that whenever he says the former he is often misreported in the Western press as having said the latter (though he does actually say the latter on occasion).

    I’m not aware that anyone worth listening to argues that the Holocaust against the Jews justifies ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, though I’ll acknowledge that this statement would read differently if I’d left out the “worth listening to.”

  62. Fiorangela says:

    Eric argues for the Additional Protocol as a low-cost speed bump to slow down US aggression against Iran, giving Iran time to out-wait US belligerence.

    If by stripping down to my skivvies (clean and mended, of course), climbing to the highest point in town, and shouting, “I DENY THE HOLOCAUST,” as a means of shaking sense into Israelis bent on ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, I would do it. Norman Finkelstein thinks that the only thing that is going to shake Israel out of its amoral project is for Israel to suffer a military defeat, “like Nazi Germany suffered,” to quote Finkelstein.

    I think shouting, “I deny the Holocaust” is a preferential option — call it an “Alternative Protocol” — AP — to military destruction: a low-cost, low-impact way of trying to shake some sense into the Israeli psyche.

    Why would such a contrarian move work? Because it’s low-impact, low-cost Shock-and-Awe. As John Dower argues in “Cultures of War,” the US/West have used HIGH impact Shock and Awe routinely, since World War I — the deliberate targeting of civilians as a means of demoralizing the civilian population and causing them to question the prudence of supporting the war effort. Millions of innocent civilians were killed in the air-bombing of Dresden — Shock and Awe/civilian terrorization; the aerial bombing of over 60 Japanese cities — Shock and Awe/civilian terror campaign, to the extent that US built mock-up Japanese villages of architecturally appropriate materials to test the required destructive force.

    Ahmadinejad was actually quite astute as well as compassionate in attempting to Shock and Awe Israelis into reconsidering the ethnocidal project they were — and are — waging against Palestinians.

  63. kooshy says:

    Eric- with regard to Iran and Israel my point was strictly strategic, holocaust is not denied, but much like westerners, on their own term, is being used as a tool, reversed to further weaken Israel’s and her supporters legitimacy. As I have argued in the past, due to neighborhoods’ demography, especially for Iran, she really can’t afford otherwise, unless if she is looking for yet another war on behalf of the west with the Sunni and Arab nationalists, so is rather easier to provoke, and have a standoff with US/Israel, and to make it difficult for them to once again send in the Arabs. Again in my opinion strategically speaking, for Iran, some type of Israel is not bad, as long as is fully accepted by street Sunni Arabs and is weaken enough, to not being capable of messing up the neighborhood.

  64. James,

    “I think Iran can achieve better relations with many countries if it continues to show it is not developing nuclear weapons and has no wish to begin such development.”

    That sounds like an entirely sensible view to me. If that is its objective, as I believe it is, I think Iran can and should do more “to show it is not developing nuclear weapons and has no wish to begin such development.” I understand you do too.

  65. Richard,

    YOU WROTE TO ME:

    “Eric: “if he were not able to fan their fears by insisting that Iran is populated by 70 million Holocaust-deniers who want nothing more than to push Israel into the sea.”

    And exactly HOW would Pipes be prevented from saying such things EVEN IF Ahmadinejad never said another word about the Holocaust?”

    COMMENT:

    I don’t see any way to prevent Pipes from saying the same things. I expect he would. My hope is that fewer people would listen if they didn’t believe that Iran is populated by 70 million Holocaust-deniers who want nothing more than to push Israel into the sea.

  66. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Clearly there was a suspension of normal moral standards, of some sort, that enabled Israel to be created in the wake of the disasters of the Second World War. However, I think many many people now see that the Holocaust cannot justify continuing Israeli oppression of the Palestinians in the West Bank. Time to get over it. So, Israel either gets out of the West Bank, or ultimately all residents of Israel/Palestine vote in elections that may well cause Israel to enter crisis mode.

  67. James Canning says:

    R S Hack and Eric,

    I agree with Eric Iran would profit from less talk from Ahmadinejad that is put in the category of “denying” the Holocaust, particularly given that Ahamdinejad argues convincingly that the crimes of the Nazis should not result in punishment for the Palestinians. Is there an impish quality to this sort of thing? An urge to provoke?

    I think Iran can achieve better relations with many countries if it continues to show it is not developing nuclear weapons and has no wish to begin such development.

  68. Castellio says:

    I wrote below, “Eric, what you are calling “holocaust denial” in the ME and Iran is often the wrong label for quite a different argument: that the holocaust does not justify ethnic cleansing and legal racism in Palestine.”

    Adding to that, many Jews and non-Jews believe that the holocaust DOES justify ethnic cleansing and legal racism in Palestine. There lies the essential rub.

    In other words, the so-called universal Christian values of the west have been “waived” in a very public and persistent manner due to a historical fact of a religious nature (the holocaust). Which is why I agree with FYI (doesn’t happen that often) when he calls it a religious war. It is.

    One could argue that its not strictly of Christians and Jews against Muslims, but non-universalists (mostly Jews and “exceptionalist” Christians – FYI argues, wrongly, that it is a Protestant phenomenon) and universalists, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

    It is hard to see a normative and universalist Judaism easily surviving the effect of Israel, and for that matter, a normative universalist Christianity might not survive either. A normative, universalist Islam will survive, as it is has, in the majority, clearly aligned itself on that principle.

    These are historic times.

  69. Eric: “if he were not able to fan their fears by insisting that Iran is populated by 70 million Holocaust-deniers who want nothing more than to push Israel into the sea.”

    And exactly HOW would Pipes be prevented from saying such things EVEN IF Ahmadinejad never said another word about the Holocaust? Or even issued an official Iranian policy statement that the Holocaust was real, that whatever number of Jews were killed in as stated by any Jew is an acceptable number for Iran, etc.,etc.

    Pipes will STILL make the accusations – or he will manufacture NEW ONES.

    And what does Iran get for all this effort?

    Squat.

    Exactly what they got the last time they implemented the AP.

    Because the “influential US Jews” who own the media will make all the OTHER “influential US Jews”, whom you seem to know but cannot name, who would be in favor of engagement with Iran, will never LEARN that Iranian policy has changed – or even what it used to be in reality. Just like none of them allow these same influential US Jews, that you cannot name but seem to know, to be informed that Iran has no nuclear weapons program.

  70. Eric: “The gap might be narrowed a bit if certain Iranians would bear in mind that many American Jews who otherwise might support Iran’s position understandably have strong feelings in favor of Israel, especially when they perceive, justifiably or not, that Israel’s existence is being overtly threatened.”

    Unfortunately this point is of a piece with your suggestion that Iran unilaterally implement the AP. Here you suggest that all Iran has to do essentially is shut up Ahmadinejad and his Holocaust remarks and X number of US influential Jews might warm up to Iran.

    I was going to just say, as usual, “Email me when this happens.” But to further explain, it doesn’t matter WHAT Ahmadinejad says or doesn’t say. He’s only been President for one term so far. What about the last thirty years of US denunciation of Iran? Are we to believe that Iran has always been vocally anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers? Of course, that is what Israel has always claimed Arabs are, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    The fact is that the West will spin Iran to be anti-Jew or anti-American or anti-Martian if necessary to implement its policies toward Iran. Nothing anyone in Iran says will make the slightest bit of difference, just as Iran implementing the AP without any US concession in return will not make the slightest bit of difference, in the outcome of the conflict.

    I’m not sure what your psychological block is making you totally unable to comprehend this simple logic, but you might look into it with meditation or LSD or something. :-)

    Beyond that, Iran’s official policy towards Israel is that the Israeli state is an illegal, rogue, terrorist, racist, colonialist, imperialist state which needs to be eliminated in favor of a Palestinian state. This is an entirely correct stance which needs no caveat. If US Jews can’t accept that, it means they’ve accepted a history of Israel and Zionism which is at complete odds with the facts. If one is concerned about influential US Jews opinions about Iranian intentions toward Israel, it might behoove one to try explaining those facts to said individuals rather than urging Iran to impose censorship on its politicians and media. If you can’t get said influential US Jews to even read Finkelstein, I suggest moderating their views on Iran is going to be even more difficult.

    I recall this last dust up over Ahmindejad where he was accused of saying at his UN speech that the US government was behind 9/11. Of course, he never said that. What he said was there were three VIEWPOINTS on 9/11:

    Quote:

    …there were three viewpoints.

    1- That a very powerful and complex terrorist group, able to successfully cross
    all layers of the American intelligence and security, carried out the attack.
    This is the main viewpoint advocated by American statesmen.

    2- That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to
    reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order
    also to save the Zionist regime.

    The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree
    with this view.

    3- It was carried out by a terrorist group but the American government supported
    and took advantage of the situation. Apparently, this viewpoint has fewer proponents.

    End Quote

    And he is precisely right in that these are the three most likely possibilities.

    In fact, possibility 3 is nearly a certainty given what we know about the reasons for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the preceding neocon documents planning for them.

    And yet, he was universally demonized for saying that the US “orchestrated 9/11″ – which as the direct quote above shows is simply not true.

    Are we then to simply tell him, “Don’t say anything about 9/11 – not even to make a point”? Do you really believe this is going to convince – or even assist in convincing – influential American Jews that the US should engage with Iran?

    And who are these “influential American Jews”? Which of them has as much influence as Haim Saban? Do any of them own a media empire like Rupert Murdoch? Have ANY of them that you can identify by name EVER made ANY suggestion that they would favor engagement with Iran if Iran simply recognized “Israel’s right to exist” (in contravention to international law and the history of the situation)?

    It’s all a Pollyanna notion that will go nowhere. Again, it’s of a piece with your AP suggestion. It achieves nothing but imposing more burdens on Iran instead of putting the onus on the US and Israel where it belongs.

  71. Kev. says:

    Its so sad that the world is too ignorant to be fooled again, Eric seems to be one of them that have swalloed the demonization of the Iranian people and their leadership.
    Its just like the Iraqiwar. 1 part, the US/Usrael portray themselves as peace dowes, while ignore dialogue because they dont want a settlement, they want to use violence against Iran, its so obvious. This isnt about nuclear at all, its about Iran becoming a regional player that the warmongering israel and US cannot accept because both US and israel’s power is about to wane fast..and now they try to destabilize the region even more with the highly politicized STL Tribunal. Who do they think they are fooling?
    GO IRAN – GO AHMADINJEAD!

  72. BiBiJon says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    January 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm
    Fiorangela,

    “What I did say is that, although Iran cannot avoid antagonizing Israel by doing things it ought to do — support the Palestinians, develop itself into a regional power, pursue its peaceful nuclear energy program — I fail to see what’s to be gained by shooting itself in the foot with pointlessly antagonistic remarks that alienate a much larger portion of the American Jewish community than it really needs to antagonize.”

    Here is an explanation:

    By extending the t’aarof, you’re too nice to be brutes, Ahmadinejad has managed to get human-rights-lecturing Westerners to asseverate their guilt of perpetrating, financing, or not prioritizing the effort to stop, the Nazi genocide. And, he has outmaneuvered advocates of unlimited freedom of speech in defense of Danish Muhammad Cartoons to importune limits on freedom of speech only on subjects that offend their sensibilities.

    Viewed from a more pragmatic level, Ahmadinejad calculatedly balances risks and benefits by scoring points with the malcontents of the Middle East, at the expense of antagonizing western sensitivities. Crucial to survival in a sea of ill wishers, he sets himself apart from the unloved supplicant officials of the region, and hopes to be perceived as a Gandhi-like figure speaking truth to power.

    The U.S. Jew whose Iran views rile Israel intelligence officials
    By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent:

    “Mann Leverett notes that in Ahmadinejad’s view, the only reward that his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, received for his support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was membership in the “axis of evil.” Therefore, she says, Ahmadinejad has concluded that “he will get no significant strategic benefits from talking politely about Israel.””

    “”Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric about Israel and the Holocaust serves instrumental purposes for him and is very calculated. His rhetoric about Israel and the Holocaust is very popular not only at home inside Iran, but on the Arab street. Since Ahmadinejad became president of the Islamic Republic, public opinion polls show that he is routinely one of the two or three most popular political figures in the Arab world. This makes it very difficult for Sunni Arab regimes concerned about Iran’s nuclear program or its rising regional influence to support military action against the Islamic Republic.””

    And, as to Arnold’s point:

    “When he “denies” the “myth” of the Holocaust, he is not denying the Holocaust, he’s not even discussing the Holocaust as an historical event at all. He is denying the validity of the use to which the story of the Holocaust is being put.”

    http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/news/2006/07/everything_you_.html

    Furthermore, shooting one’s own foot is contageous:

    a) Iran was part of the Axis of Evil 3 years before AN won the presidency.

    b) Beniamin Netanyahu’s advisor said the prime minister’s attitude towards Iran is “Think Amalek”, i.e.: devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey

    ,http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/05/the-specter-of-amalek.html

  73. Castellio says:

    Eric, what you are calling “holocaust denial” in the ME and Iran is often the wrong label for quite a different argument: that the holocaust does not justify ethnic cleansing and legal racism in Palestine.

  74. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    On a previous thread I wrote:

    ============================================
    Eric,

    AP or no AP is NOT the question.

    You have given two good reasons why Iran should not re-institute the AP.

    1) “If Iran is not building nukes on the sly, observing the AP isn’t really all that big a deal. To continue making a big deal of it, when 100 other countries simply sign up for it and observe it, inevitably makes it look like Iran has something to hide.”

    This plays into the western narrative. Guilty until proven innocent. And, to be deemed innocent, Iran must prove a negative. Sadly, under sanctions, threats, and manipulation of international bodies (UNSC, IAEA), this is more than just playing into the western narrative, it is an utter caving in. Iran stopped implementing AP when her case was illegally referred to UNSC. Return the case back to IAEA, and Iran will readopt AP.

    2) “But low probability and severe consequences is also a combination worth considering very soberly. I read all sorts of predictions about Iran’s ability to survive an attack, even a nuclear attack, and its second-strike capability compared to that of Israel and the US — and on and on and on. Please – this is not some video game. Eventually the US will be weak enough that its sword-rattling can simply be ignored by Iran. But we’re not there yet, and it’s irresponsible to pretend that we are.”

    The argument could be recast (more unattractively) as ‘because the US is a hyper power, everybody should just cave in to her demands.’ Seen that way, Iran’s last thirty years of defiance would have been plain silly. And, the prize for the US will not be just Iran, but an object lesson for all other nations.

    I do not believe Iran is capable of even pretending to have such a mindset. Irresponsible? Perhaps. Principled? You bet.
    ===================================================

    Some additional thoughts for you, just in case you are working on a soon-to-be-published AP piece.

    It is unfair to notice everyone else’s “emotional” arguments based on pride, hurt feelings etc., but overlook the fact that you also resort to the emotion of fear (of being bombed) to drive home your arguments.

    Furthermore, the 100 or so other observers of AP, just like Iran, adopted the protocol when there was no sanctions under chapter 7, (to my knowledge) they have not been branded as constituting the axis of evil, nor had military options against them perpetually on the table. I wager that under similar circumstances that Iran is in all 100 of them would trash any treaty measures if they “voluntarily” had adopted them.

    However, there is no argument that in an ideal world the AP is a wonderful thing. And, here is one possible scenario:

    Turkey, Brazil and others (excluding US, EU, Russia) provide central bank guarantee for honoring Iranian financial transactions, re-sale of civilian products, e.g. passenger planes and parts, provide re-insurance, and offer to re-flag Iranian merchant ships in an international move that will put an end to all unilateral coercions citing 500,000 Iraqis who died under sanctions as a never-again-genocide. In exchange I see Iran readopting the AP in a hear beat. (http://www.globalissues.org/article/105/effects-of-sanctions)

    Alternatively, let’s not ask either side to toss massive gifts over the wall of mistrust and hope for the best. Definitely, let’s not insinuate guilt on anyone in particular if we live in a world of chariness. Incrementalism is the only path. Let’s see if they get to make a deal to refuel TRR.

  75. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    Issuing repeated statements denying the Holocaust does not.

    I saw this after I wrote a long response a little further down, but now I’m going to ask you for some links. I don’t think you’ll find actual statements denying the Holocaust, much less repeated statements of such.

  76. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Iran did try to call attention to the blockage of its IAEA application, but very few people are aware this happened.

    I have higher hopes for the P5+1 talks, partly because I know the British do not want another war in the Middle East. By contrast, it is clear that many idiot Republicans and foolish “liberal” Democrats in the US Congress would welcome an attack on Iran, in order to “protect” Israel.

  77. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    The gap might be narrowed a bit if certain Iranians would bear in mind that many American Jews who otherwise might support Iran’s position understandably have strong feelings in favor of Israel, especially when they perceive, justifiably or not, that Israel’s existence is being overtly threatened. It has long seemed to me that Iran’s legitimate objectives can be accomplished without pointlessly antagonizing Israel’s supporters. Some Iranians may disagree for the simple fact that they believe wiping Israel off the map – in the sense Ahmadinejad is misunderstood to have meant, not as his remark really meant – is also a legitimate objective of Iran. If so, it would move the ball forward for those who conceive of Iran’s legitimate objectives more narrowly, as I do, to draw a clear line between themselves and that more radical group.

    It seems to me that you miss the deliberate nature of the anti-Iran dispute here as with Iran’s nuclear file.

    To run over the nuclear issue very quickly, it seems to me, and I’m pretty confident it seems to most Iranians that there is not an honest dispute over Iran’s nuclear program that is fueled by a kind of naive ignorance on the part of the West, and that can be resolved by Iran producing more information. The West opposes Iran’s real position, which is that even though it has no intention of building a weapon, it has the right to come just as close to a weapon as Japan, Canada, Netherlands and Brazil can. They all signed the same NPT and truth be told, in an emergency they could all, with technology and material inside of their country, alter their position in an emergency, for example if Israel was to threaten or carry out a threat to destroy their capital.

    So to finish up on the nuclear issue which is not the point of this post, there is no information Iran can give the west, no amount of transparency that would cause the US or Israel or their supporters, allies and those who can be swayed by them to accept Iran’s nuclear program attaining a status Iran really believes, with very good argument as you know, it can and should read.

    So when US officials and sympathizers say they are working to prevent Iran from building a weapon they are lying. They have redefined “weapon” so that Japan, Canada, Brazil and many other countries have “weapons” and are being deliberately, repeat deliberately misleading. They are being deliberately misleading because they have a much weaker argument regarding their real dispute with Iran over its nuclear program.

    They are not going to stop lying about their position about Iran’s nuclear program if, per an example you’ve advocated, Iran adopts the additional protocols. The core of the dispute between Iran and Israel’s supporters is not that Iran has not adopted the additional protocols. That you believe that is the core of the dispute or an important element of it means you’ve successfully been lied to.

    I mention the nuclear program knowing you disagree with me because it seems we are seeing the same issue regarding wiped off the map and holocaust denial.

    Iran’s people, according to many polls, consider Israel just as illegitimate as Apartheid South Africa. Iran’s foreign policy, if it takes the sensibilities of the Iranian people into account will be hostile to the existence of Israel, just as hostile as post-colonial Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania were to Apartheid South Africa.

    Israel and its supporters oppose Iran’s real position. I’ll note that the people of Iran have the same position as the people of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE and that the US solves that problem by supporting dictators who are immune to the sensibilities of their people.

    The problem is that Israel as an ethnic homeland formed by expelling people on the basis of their ethnicity and that requires for its continuance US-supported dictatorships, invasions and sanctions for hundreds of millions of people is difficult to defend on the terms of declared Western values.

    So supporters of Israel lie. They deliberately exaggerate Ahmadinejad’s statements beyond his true position, that Israel is as illegitimate as South Africa, which they vehemently disagree with but that is in line with declared Western values and recast it as a threat to physically kill Jewish people. It is a lie. It is not a misunderstanding.

    Ahmadinejad has been asked dozens of times about the Holocaust. He always says 1) it is used to punish the Palestinians when the perpetrators of the Holocaust should be the ones who bear the burden 2) all civilians and people who were killed in WWII are equally tragic 3) this narrative has taken on a quasi-religious aspect that questioning it is sometimes strongly frowned upon and in many parts of the supposedly secular West can result in imprisonment.

    You can read a bunch of compiled interviews as of last year at my web site:
    http://mideastreality.blogspot.com/2010/05/ahmadinejad-on-israel-jews-and.html

    Ahmadinejad has never denied the Holocaust, never asserted that no Jews were killed by Hitler or that any particular number were killed. He has never, beyond noting that questioning the narrative violates a Western taboo, made any assertion about the underlying fact of the Holocaust. I’ve never come across an Iranian who has denied the Holocaust, by any reasonable definition of “deny” if you have or anyone else has, please produce a link here.

    My point though is that we don’t have a situation where poor naive uninformed westerners are confused by inconsistent signals coming from Iran. We have a situation where Western elites deliberately lie to poor naive uninformed westerners.

    They lie because they disagree with Iran’s real positions – 1) that Iran has the right to a full nuclear program and 2) that Israel is not legitimate and not worth the cost it imposes on its region in human terms – but Iran’s real positions are very difficult to dispute in terms of declared Western values.

    I’ve been called a Holocaust denier myself. Not because I deny or ever denied the Holocaust, but because Israel is a very sensitive and emotional topic of discussion especially for Jewish people and attacks on Israel’s legitimacy result in not necessarily coherent, not necessarily rational defenses, including a sort of desperate personal attack on the individual questioning Israel’s legitimacy.

    This, like the nuclear issue, is not a gap Iran can close. Israel’s supporters disagree with Iran’s real positions and partially cynically, partially reflexively present misleading descriptions of Iran’s positions.

    Now, Iran is not able to hire a major PR firm to correct these misleading presentations of its positions because it would be illegal for a firm that has any dealings in the US, much less that employs citizens or people in US jurisdictions and who could be put in US prisons to take such an account. Short of that, the best Iran can do is about what it is doing – present its real views in as many forums as it can knowing that Israel’s supporters are going to warp its positions out of recognition at every opportunity.

  78. James,

    That is as good an explanation as I think is possible, but I don’t think it would have accomplished anything “to play up to the entire world the fact the IAEA was failing to approve the entirely appropriate Iranian application.” My impression is that Iran more or less did that, for what (little) it turned out to be worth.

    In the meantime, it needed 20% fuel to run its TRR, and it appeared to me — and still does — that the only way it was going to get that fuel was to refine it and incorporate it into fuel plates, all by itself.

    Even if Iran does strike a deal on the TRR fuel that Iran can accept, that deal will almost certainly have materialized because Iran forced the other side’s hand by refining the fuel and undertaking to produce the fuel plates on its own.

    I wouldn’t put you in this category, but I am often surprised that people who are almost uniformly skeptical of the US’ motives (with good reason) nevertheless seem to expect that something acceptable to Iran will come from the imminent talks. All I expect from them is some outlandish proposal that will be dressed up to look good enough that Iran can once again be painted as the bad guy for turning it down. In short, on a scale of 1 to 10, my expectation of these talks is somewhere in the minus 2 range.

  79. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    I too am dismayed at the degree to which supposedly “liberal” or “anti-neocon” media people in the US reinforce the false narrative that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, while ignoring Israeli atrocities.

  80. Rehmat: “Why you think Israeli Zionists made a mistake by not joining would like to join the USA as its 51th State?”

    That was a McGovern joke, nothing I said. Learn to read.

  81. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I have no difficulty seeing why Iran commenced enriching to near-20%, but I think the sounder strategy would have been to play up to the entire world the fact the IAEA was failing to approve the entirely appropriate Iranian application.

    I also think chances are good the IAEA application was interfered with as part of a strategy to provoke Iran into enriching to 20% – - to facilitate the effort to frighten people into believing Iran will enrich to weapons grade because it already is enriching to a purity level four times higher than Iran said it would go to.

  82. Fiorangela,

    “Are you actually saying that Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric is sufficient justification for the assassination of Iranian civilians; for the strangulation of Iran’s economy with the intent to cause people to riot and overthrow the government (after Iran’s leaders have borne the burden of worrying that their 70 million citizens will starve — Ephraim Sneh, AIPAC Conference, Washington, DC, June, 2008 — look it up); for routine threats to bomb Iran.”

    No. I haven’t said any of that. I didn’t say anything at all about what Israel is justified or not justified in doing. If I had, I’d have agreed with you on all points.

    What I did say is that, although Iran cannot avoid antagonizing Israel by doing things it ought to do — support the Palestinians, develop itself into a regional power, pursue its peaceful nuclear energy program — I fail to see what’s to be gained by shooting itself in the foot with pointlessly antagonistic remarks that alienate a much larger portion of the American Jewish community than it really needs to antagonize.

    I don’t have any illusions that Iran is going to persuade Daniel Pipes to like it. But there are many thousands of other American Jews who now support people like Daniel Pipes that might be persuaded to stop supporting them if he were not able to fan their fears by insisting that Iran is populated by 70 million Holocaust-deniers who want nothing more than to push Israel into the sea.

    It’s hard enough for Iran as matters stand. Why make it worse for nothing in return?

  83. Kooshy,

    As I wrote, I don’t foresee Iran and Israel becoming friends any time soon. My point about that is that it’s not necessary that they become friends, but nor is it necessary that Iran pointlessly antagonize Israel. Antagonizing Israel by supporting the Palestinians has a point. Antagonizing Israel by developing itself, as it should, into a strong regional power has a point. Issuing repeated statements denying the Holocaust does not.

  84. kooshy says:

    well, to put it bluntly, I would say Iran and Israel can become friends only when, Iran has 700 military bases around the world and a military budget of 700 B and can pay half of Israel’s budget, but till than Hezbollah’s support should do.

  85. Fiorangela,

    As I wrote, the Israelis also oppose Iran because it is a strong supporter of the Palestinians, which was true in 1995. I could have added other reasons. My point about what Ahmadinejad has said is simply that I can understand why such remarks would upset someone who supports Israel.

  86. kooshy says:

    Rd

    The events in Tunisia somewhat resembles the events of Iran in September of 78, way before the Bakhtiar government, when Sharifimamy was first installed to form a unity/reform government which didn’t last, when it became obvious that Khomini is the leader of the movement, it may take the same format to establish who is the leader.
    I think still is way early to know which direction it will swing.

  87. Rd. says:

    In some quarters, the question have been raised, how quick ben ali vacated presidency and fled? Which begs the question, was he encouraged by the likes of French and US? To leave early, avoid further bloodshed and preserve the empire (or the domino effect). This, perhaps with the hopes of maintaining the “friendlys” (former ben ali gov members) in the government.

    Perhaps a sign that US government feels the Tunisian people are not ready for independence. Some tunes never change. However, time will tell the complete story.

    In the mean time, the Tunisian have their own independence in mind. Tunisia leaders resign from party today.

  88. Fiorangela says:

    wow Eric, I’ve gotta stop thinking about this.

    Are you actually saying that Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric is sufficient justification for the assassination of Iranian civilians; for the strangulation of Iran’s economy with the intent to cause people to riot and overthrow the government (after Iran’s leaders have borne the burden of worrying that their 70 million citizens will starve — Ephraim Sneh, AIPAC Conference, Washington, DC, June, 2008 — look it up); for routine threats to bomb Iran.

    You have personal experiences with Jewish people who are your friends.

    I have personal experiences of Iranian women who are complete strangers to me, but who told me, “Could you please ask your leaders to tell us when they intend to bomb us so we can protect our children?”

    If you want to have a conversation about the power of words to kill, Bring it on, friend; I will vanquish you.

  89. Voice of Tehran says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    January 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I am not sure what and how to reply , dear PG.
    The fact that you are :
    “a strong supporter, and believer, of Iran’s foreign policies and the Islamic Republic”

    makes you very sympathic to me and we leave the rest for another round of discussion.
    Your question of what ELSE to discuss , except the ‘ultra-important’ Daneshjoo case is answered in the Blog manifesto by the Leveretts.(Top/left)
    Is a about WAR and destroying of the IRI.

    “Dear Friends:

    We live in critical times. A rising clamor from those who wish to see the United States start a war against the Islamic Republic of Iran highlights the ongoing need for fact-based, objective analysis of Iran-related issues—which is exactly what RaceForIran.com has provided over the past year and a quarter….

  90. Fiorangela says:

    Eric, you appear to have an Alan Greenspan problem: the logic is “flawed.”

    You wrote:

    “I don’t think Iran should be considered Israel’s enemy. But I certainly can understand why someone might feel different if he were Jewish. One can explain away Ahmadinejad’s remark about “wiping Israel off the face of the earth” — and no one needs to explain to me that his remark has been misinterpreted. With much greater difficulty, perhaps one can even explain away Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denials. But accomplishing such feats is difficult at best, especially when many other Iranians announce that they believe the same thing. The effort to explain away such remarks should not even be necessary: life would be much easier for those who oppose war on Iran if such remarks simply were not made.”

    main point:
    You understand Jewish animus towards Iran based on Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric about “wiping Israel . . .” and upon Ahmadinejad’s holocaust denial. You suggest that those examples provide an “understanding” of why Jews are not only unwilling to prevent war with Iran but are willing to agitate FOR war with Iran.

    How do you explain that Jewish partisans caused the first set of sanctions to be imposed on Iran in 1995, ten years before Ahmadinejad was elected as Iran’s president?

    What had Iran done to Jews as a collective, to motivate the animus that resulted in the first set of sanctions?

  91. James,

    You wrote to Rehmat:

    “If M L King was a “poodle of the American establishment” [as Rehmat had claimed] that fact was not known to most members of the American establishment. M L King was regarded as a traitor and a devil by many old-guard Americans in those days (the 1960s).”

    I’ll second what James writes, Rehmant. If what you say is true, it certainly was a very well-hidden secret.

    Might I suggest to you that there is not a conspiracy under every rock? Plenty of conspiracies out there, just not quite as many as you think.

  92. James,

    You wrote to Kooshy:

    “You are in effect underlining why Iran blundered when it began enriching U to 20%.”

    It would be great if Iran had a choice, but I don’t see that it has. Maybe the TRR really isn’t all that close to running out of fuel, but if it is, what else can Iran do? It’s been trying since at least the summer of 2009 to arrange for a re-supply, and it’s batting zero so far.

    If I were Iran, I’d continue to be willing to deal for the TRR fuel, if the right deal comes along. But I sure wouldn’t sit back and wait for that deal. I’d do exactly what Iran is doing: refining the fuel to 19.75%, and trying to figure out how to incorporate it into fuel plates.

  93. Kathleen says:

    Folks please contact the MSNBC Ed Show and lobby to get Flynt Leverett on the program to discuss Iran. I was on air with Ed today on his radio program, polite discussion about his segment on Iran last night. He asked me to contact him on line. I have. Hope you will too. Pile on. Get Leverett on his program.

  94. Kathleen says:

    James “. To sustain this false narrative, it is necessary to diminish or even suppress reports about the distinction between Arab attitudes toward Americans and Arab attitudes toward US foreign policy in the Middle East. The false narrative is all-important, not least because it provides deniability to the US politicians who are forcing US foreign policy to be carried out in such a way as to damage the national security interests of the American people.”

    Been going on for decades. And then on top of suppressing reports spin news outlets like Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed, etc as “liberal” or “progressive” while they completely go along with being silent on the Goldstone report, the UN report about the massacre on the Mavi Marmara by the Israeli army. And last night Ed has Joseph Cirncione on to discuss Iran. And Ed gets away with insinuating that Iran all ready has a nuclear weapons program.

    Or that progressive Rachel Maddow repeats the debunked “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” or anything else the Bill Kristols of the world repeat.

    Oh yeah that progressive media

  95. Persian Gulf says:

    Voice of Tehran says:
    January 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the compliment! I am sorry that I HAVE TO talk continuously about these petty-stuff! he is an affront to the Iranian scientific community. I was definitely not involved in making this case a petty one. he is in the position of policy making in the national level, and it’s inevitable to talk about him. people like him are discriminating the best of the country with ridiculous excuses and you are asking me to close my eyes on a fault like that.

    so what do you expect me to talk about? should we talk here about the meaning of life? evolution and gens? how 10(11) dimensions wrapped up into 3(4)? how a signal gets lost on the boundary of a black hole? or human psychology, society and history? Mulla Sadra’s philosophy?…

    instead of trying to make me blushed, I recommend you join me and address the issue. we may get rid of this petty-stuff sooner, so we could turn toward more in-depth topics!

    you have to understand that there is a deep discrimination, don’t know if I should call it Islamic discrimination or not, going on in Iran. let’s make it simple. Do you really think somebody like me would pass the screening criteria of the Iranian gov. or of Shoare Negahban? (jfyi, I am a seyed, born and raised in a small village in an area known for loyalty, and in a deeply traditional family with excellent reputation. a strong supporter, and believer, of Iran’s foreign policies and the Islamic Republic. intellectually supporting Islam and its cause but not practicing individually at home. I do practice for public events though. labeled as a regime apologist abroad. educated in the best schools inside and outside of the country…). if you think somebody like me would pass, you are seriously mistaken. the first thing they say is to cut your hair! you don’t seem to be praying daily! you drink (we may have your pic!)? do you believe in Velayate Motlaghe Faghih wholeheartedly? va va va…

    I am not opposed to the security check, that is highly needed for a country like Iran. but what the system does is discrimination not security check.

  96. Fiorangela says:

    pretty sophisticated writing Arnold Evans does at mideastreality.blogspot — I saw the message to Pak and peeked in.

    To learn about the goal of the blog I went to the beginning, where I found a September 2006 post quoting a Syriacomment article that reported on a story making the rounds (in 2006) that Iran had a plan to bring down Lebanon’s government.

    Nima Shirazi, are you out there?

    Last November, David Makovsky and Robert Satloff of WINEP, guided some WINEP trustees whom Makovsky further identified as “New York City bankers and venture capitalists,” on what a C Span host described as a “diplomatic” mission to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Ramallah. In his contribution to the group’s recap of the trip, Satloff spoke of meeting with the highest levels of Israeli government, including Netanyahu himself. Satloff said, QUOTE “We heard a great deal of concern about Lebanon; that Hezbollah could force the Hariri government to resign and perhaps even formalize a takeover of the Lebanese government. Where’s the United States?” END QUOTE

    Saatloff’s comment inspired these reflections:
    1. Four years out and Israel is still worried about the same fanciful ghosts and shadows.
    2. To put Satloff’s closing sentence — “Where’s the United States?” — in context, Satloff was reciting a laundry list of complaints he heard on his trip, complaints about the incompetence of the Obama administration, or its absence from critical engagement in Middle East situations. That’s the context of that particular statement.

    But it’s useful to learn some of the characteristics of the relationships of Jewish peoples with various states where Jews have lived in sizable communities. Ever since Nebuchadnezzar sent Hebrew elites into exile in Babylon, Jews have lived in other states, where they never had their own army or organized police force, and learned to rely on the governing authority of the host state to protect them from harms. However, leaders inevitably arose within the community, usually from the rabbinate, and these leaders also wielded considerable enforcement authority over Jewish daily life, social interactions, and religious practice, within the Jewish community. In most of the states where Jewish communities dwelt, the enforcement authority of the state empowered the internal Jewish/rabbinical enforcement authority, to the extent that in Spain and Poland, for example, rabbinical authorities were empowered to levy severe fines, administer lashings, or even put to death members of the Jewish community who had run afoul of the rabbinic law. In Spain, the government stood behind Jewish enforcement quite willingly, inasmuch as the Spanish crown received 90% of any fine that was levied by the rabbinate.

    Jews lived under the more-or-less oppressive regime of their rabbinate, within various European states, until “Emancipation,” around 1780, a signal period for very many Jewish people: the common people were liberated from oppression imposed by Jewish community leaders and were “free” to be governed by ONLY the state authority.

    Americans are led to believe that Jewish people were always and everywhere dedicated to intellectual development. Professor Israel Shahak suggests that is a common misconception. In “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” Shahak writes:

    QUOTE
    [on "supposedly Jewish characteristics"] . . .”Or take the love of learning. Except for purely religious learning, which was itself in a debased and degenerate state, the Jews of Europe (and to a somewhat lesser extent also of the Arab countries) were dominated, before about 1780, by a supreme contempt and hate for all learning (excluding the Talmud and Jewish mysticism). Large parts of the Old Testament, all nonliturgical Hebrew poetry, most books on Jewish philosophy were not read and their very names were often anathematized. Study of all languages was strictly forbidden, as was the study of mathematics and science. Geography, history – even Jewish history- were completely unknown. The critical sense, which is supposedly so charactgeristic of Jews, was totally absent, and nothing was so forbidden, feared and therefore persecuted as the most modest innovation or the most innocent criticism.

    “It was a world sunk in the most abject superstition, fanaticism and ignorance, a world in which the preface to the first work on geography in Hebrew (published in 1803 in Russia) could complain that very many great rabbis were denying the existence of the American continent and saying that it is ‘impossible’. Between that world and what is often taken in the West to ‘characterize’ Jews there is nothing in common except the mistaken name.”

    Emancipation of the Jewish people came about at the time of the Enlightenment, the greatest revolution in thinking that the west has experienced.

    Think about this carefully: Francis Bacon, who died in 1626, built the framework for the Enlightenment thinkers. He arrived at the revolutionary concepts of the Enlightenment from a meticulously constructed foundation of training and infusion in the culture of Aristotelian thinking, carefully monitored by the Church, whose authority Bacon was confident enough to reject. America’s Founders were steeped in the works of the Roman and Greek philosophers, and were especially dedicated to the thinking processes of Bacon and of the Enlightenment.

    In 1780, when the great number of Jewish people erupted into the Enlightenment from the dark night that Professor Shahak described, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams had already analysed the political texts of the era, incorporated the numerous ideas of the experiments in self-government that had- or were-taking place in the various Italian city-states, and stretched their minds to encapsulate the best of that rich stew into the founding documents of the American republic. The Jewish people were, relatively- intellectual infants as America’s foundations were laid.

    Roughly 100 years later, the founding fathers of zionism, Theodor Herzl (b. 1860) and Vladimir Jabotinsky (b. 1880) formulated the ideas upon which the zionist state of Israel was built. Neither man had a Jewish upbringing or felt a strong relationship to Jewishness; both had serious conflicts with Jewish identity — Herzl at one time proposed that all Jews present themselves to the Catholic bishop at Vienna to be baptized. Neither man was a good student, successfully completed an academic course of study despite numerous attempts. Recently, Phyllis Bennis stated that she was raised in a Jewish household where love for Israel WAS the religion, so she was an ardent zionist. In her late teens she read the autobiography of Herzl and concluded he was “a lunatic.”

    Why do Americans feel compelled to pledge allegiance to zionism, the product of intellectual misfits, when they have as their legacy the creative fruits of some of the finest minds of the last 300 years?

  97. Liz says:

    Pak,

    I’m getting worried about you.

  98. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    I think it is fair to say there is a powerful conspiracy within MSM to present to the American public a picture that portrays the Israelis as suffering from the same threats as the American people. To sustain this false narrative, it is necessary to diminish or even suppress reports about the distinction between Arab attitudes toward Americans and Arab attitudes toward US foreign policy in the Middle East. The false narrative is all-important, not least because it provides deniability to the US politicians who are forcing US foreign policy to be carried out in such a way as to damage the national security interests of the American people.

  99. Kathleen says:

    Voice of Tehran yes Rev King solidly stood on the ground that all humans deserved access to basic human needs. Solidly stood against U.S. military intervention…especially when there was absolutely no need.

    Over and over again we hear former head of the CIA Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer, former Cia Analyst Ray McGovern, former President Jimmy Carter, Queen Noor and many others repeat what the deep and righteous concerns that many have about U.s. intervention in their countries. As Micheal Scheuer has said “they do not hate us for who we are, they are angry with U.S. foreign policy”

    Flynt Leverett has said this in so many words also

    The three top reasons for this anger
    1. U.S. military bases on their soil/sand
    2. U.S. support for Israel no matter what they do
    3. U.S. support for tyrannical regimes

    How many times do we need to hear this when the MSM allows it through to the public?

  100. James Canning says:

    Medvedev has visited the West Bank and renewed Russian support for an independent Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem, made years ago by the USSR. M L King would have approved this move.

  101. James Canning says:

    Has anyone else noticed the irony of the M L King legacy? Condoleezza Rice found herself in the White House as National Security Advisor to G W Bush even though she knew next to nothing about the Middle East. And, even worse, Rice thought the problem in the Middle East was analagous to the situation in the American South during her childhood! Rice obviously was a beneficiary of King’s efforts, because she was in the White House largely because she was “black” (and a woman). And she helped take the US into catastrophe in Iraq, due largely to her gross ignorance and total lack of understanding of the historical dynamics at work in the Middle East.

  102. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    You are in effect underlining why Iran blundered when it began enriching U to 20%. Sure, only a tiny amount of U is being so enriched, but for the propagandists trying to make a case Iran is secretly intent on building nukes and sending them on to Israel by ballistic missiles, the enrichment above 5% is very useful.

  103. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    I agree with you most American news media try to continue the cover-up of one of the greatest scams in American history – - the setting up of an illegal war based on knowingly false intelligence, used to dupe the American people and very likely G W Bush as well.

    In Britain, even a conservative newspaper like The Daily Telegraph tries to expose the collusive scheme that took the UK into war on false pretenses.

  104. Rehmat says:

    Preparing Israelis for the next wars against Hizbullah and the Islamic Iran.

    Hasbara: From porn to ‘Captiain Israel’
    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/hasbara-from-porn-to-captiain-israel/

  105. Voice of Tehran says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    January 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Dear PG , with all respect , I consider you a much higher caliber , than to get lost in petty-minded stuff.

  106. Richard,

    “In particular, whatever he managed to do in leading the civil rights movement, it’s highly unlikely anything similar is going to emerge for the antiwar movement.”

    Many others have made the first point I’ll try to make here, but I’ll nevertheless claim credit for having noticed it myself at the time, young as I was back then. I entered college in the fall of 1967, at age 16, full of fervor for the civil rights movement, which had recently yielded the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, along with many earlier accomplishments. In my naive view, the civil rights movement still seemed to have a lot of life in it.

    For valid reasons or not, I didn’t think all that highly of MLK at the time — he struck me as a bit of a grand-stander, insincere. (My view has since changed.) Even so, when he was shot in early 1968, I remember worrying that it would be a death-blow to the civil rights movement. The general reaction I got from most of my contemporaries was essentially this, though no one said it with anything approaching such candor: “Are you kidding? Look around — the civil rights movement has been dead for a while already. People have moved on. It’s the anti-war movement now. Get with the program.” (The reader can understand why I say no one actually expressed this thought with quite such candor.)

    So I did look around, and I had to agree. By 1967 and 1968, increasingly fewer white intellectuals, or college students like myself who imagined themselves to be intellectuals, were still active in the civil rights movement. Most had gradually shifted their focus to the anti-war movement, and I did too. Those who disagree with this observation can undoubtedly cite many exceptions, but if one was alive and active back then, I think he’d agree that my assessment is generally accurate. White intellectuals continued to applaud those still involved in the civil rights movement, but more often from a distance — as sympathetic observers, not active participants.

    At least some black leaders noticed this and openly resented it — most famously, Jesse Jackson, when he made his anti-Semitic remark about “hymies,” driving the wedge still deeper between civil rights leaders and many anti-war protest leaders. Many white leaders in both movements indeed were Jewish, and they deserve great credit for the heroic and fruitful efforts they made on behalf of both movements. Ironically and unfairly, the prominence of Jewish leaders in both movements also made them the target of Jesse Jackson’s obnoxious remark, which could and should have been directed generally at movement leaders, regardless of background (assuming, of course, that Jackson was justified in making the remark at all, which I don’t believe to be the case).

    (I think, incidentally, that MLK’s Vietnam speech featured here reflected his recognition that this divergence was occurring, and was a good faith and well-executed effort to bridge that gap by making clear that leaders of the civil rights movement also shared the new passion of their white supporters.)

    Fair and properly directed or not, the sense of abandonment that may have prompted Jackson’s remark had some solid ground. Can anyone recall significant progress in the civll rights movement during the last 2-3 years of LBJ’s presidency, after the shift I describe had occurred — much less after LBJ was replaced by Nixon in 1969? (Nixon’s approach to civil rights can best be summed up in the famous phrase used by Daniel Moynihan, then working for Nixon, in a memo he wrote to suggest how the administration should deal with the civil rights issue going forward: “benign neglect.”)

    The closing point I’m getting to, in case (as I expect) it’s far from obvious, is that many of the most successful movements in the United States have been led by Jewish intellectuals. They are quicker to recognize oppression when they see it, having suffered more than enough of it themselves, and they are much less inclined than others to sit back and ignore it — especially in a country, such as the US, that permits them (and others) to complain when they see it. As a group, Jews tend to be better-educated and thus more articulate, and this becomes very useful whenever they enlist in a cause. And they often have. Before civil rights, for example, there was the labor movement. If they were not involved, and often leading, even earlier American movements such as the anti-slavery movement, that is only because there weren’t many Jews in the US at the time. Had more Jews been here before the Civil War (and, perhaps, had the ideas later circulating in Europe been more prevalent in those earlier days), I have little doubt that American slavery would have ended even sooner.

    Circling back now to Richard’s point — essentially a pessimistic prediction for the “anti-war” movement today — the make-up of the “anti-war” movement is much less potent today, in no small part because it lacks the broad support of American Jews that made the labor, civil rights, and anti-Vietnam movements so effective. Certainly there are many American, European and Israeli Jews who strongly oppose the US government’s inclination to go to war at the drop of a hat — next time probably with Iran. But there is a countervailing tug today — the widespread belief among American Jews that Iran is Israel’s mortal enemy — that induces many American Jews not to oppose the US’ march to war with Iran, and even induces many of them to press for such a war. Instead of what existed in the Jewish community during the Vietnam war – a large group of young anti-war college students (my college friends), many sympathetic but inactive Jewish adults, and a relatively small group of conservative Jewish parents grumbling (just as non-Jewish parents were grumbling) about the “damn hippies” – this time we have a relatively small group of Jewish anti-war activists, a much larger group of adults who may agree with them to some limited extent in principle but not at all in their hearts and in any case are too ambivalent to get involved, and a much larger and more vocal group on the right grumbling about the modern-day version of those “damn hippies” and pressing the US government to attack Iran.

    I don’t think Iran should be considered Israel’s enemy. But I certainly can understand why someone might feel different if he were Jewish. One can explain away Ahmadinejad’s remark about “wiping Israel off the face of the earth” — and no one needs to explain to me that his remark has been misinterpreted. With much greater difficulty, perhaps one can even explain away Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denials. But accomplishing such feats is difficult at best, especially when many other Iranians announce that they believe the same thing. The effort to explain away such remarks should not even be necessary: life would be much easier for those who oppose war on Iran if such remarks simply were not made.

    Even with such improvements, there would remain many differences between Iran and Israel, of course — notably Iran’s support for the Palestinians. Achieving Iran-Israel harmony is hardly a good enough reason to abandon, or even to reduce support for, the Palestinian cause, and so it’s highly unlikely that Iran and Israel will become good friends any time soon.

    But it’s not necessary for Iran and Israel to become good friends in order to avert war. It’s just necessary – or at least extremely helpful — to narrow the gap. Doing so probably would shift the membership materially among the three present-day groups I described three paragraphs above – strengthening the anti-war group, weakening the pro-war group, and inclining the large group in the middle more toward the anti-war group.

    The gap might be narrowed a bit if certain Iranians would bear in mind that many American Jews who otherwise might support Iran’s position understandably have strong feelings in favor of Israel, especially when they perceive, justifiably or not, that Israel’s existence is being overtly threatened. It has long seemed to me that Iran’s legitimate objectives can be accomplished without pointlessly antagonizing Israel’s supporters. Some Iranians may disagree for the simple fact that they believe wiping Israel off the map – in the sense Ahmadinejad is misunderstood to have meant, not as his remark really meant – is also a legitimate objective of Iran. If so, it would move the ball forward for those who conceive of Iran’s legitimate objectives more narrowly, as I do, to draw a clear line between themselves and that more radical group.

  107. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    If M L King was a “poodle of the American establishment”, that fact was not known to most members of the American establishment. M L King was regarded as a traitor and a devil by many old-guard Americans in those days (the 1960s).

  108. Voice of Tehran says:

    Kathleen says:
    January 18, 2011 at 11:53 am
    MLK “Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted….

    To be honest I am deeply touched by these words and further to be hoenst I never really looked into the thoughts and ideology of MLK ,thus I am very happy to get familiar with the thoughts of this great American thinker.
    He must have been a brave and exceptional person , feeling the ‘WORLD PAIN ‘ deep inside his heart . May his sould rest in peace.

    Now it is also celar to me , why he was assassinated.

  109. kooshy says:

    Arnold

    Glad to see you back here, I read your post on Tunisia, but I think one item was missing in your short post, Economic equality and prospect, which is the initial trigger,one would wonder if a leader eventually will emerge.

  110. Persian Gulf says:

    نادارن وزیر علوم را بخاطرمدرک تحصیلی رحیمی به مجلس فراخواند/دانشجو:هیچ مدرکی از ایشان ندیده​ام
    (ببخشید آقای دانشجو میشه کپی مدرک شما و پایان نامه تحصیلی تون رو بزارین رو شبکه ملت از شک و شبهه در بیایند؟ اگه خودتون وقت ندارید بدین یکی از دانشجوهاتون اسکن کنه!)

    http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-124015.aspx

    به روباه می گن شاهدت کیه میگه دمم!‌ حالا کی باید مدرک تحصیلی آقای دانشجو (جالبه جرات نمی کنند بگند دکتر که شاید گند اینم در نیاد) رو بررسی کنه؟‌

  111. kooshy says:

    Fiorangela

    In reply to doubts you raised, there are not many good solution, unless one hopes that at the end of the day desperation, may result in accepting the “trust but verify”, but I am not suggesting that this will happen soon, may be, and when, a few more countries in the neighborhood become unstable, as said before that’s when the “center” no longer can hold, and that’s when one will want to become enlighten with the light of verification.

  112. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy,
    interesting essay by Kayhan Barzegar (tho a bit difficult to read due to extraneous material).

    Regarding the heart of the matter, the “win-win” proposal:

    “Given the realities I have described, the only viable option is to move toward a win-win solution that satisfies the interests of both sides in this standoff. Under this scenario, the
    **US would accept the right of Iran to enrich uranium on its soil (win for Iran), and

    *** Iran would give all necessary guarantees to ensure that its nuclear program does not harbor military objectives (win for the United States).

    As has been recently stressed by President Ahmadinejad, this policy will be the basis of negotiations in Istanbul.”

    That’s it? How are these “guarantees” going to be guaranteed? Just paper promises? US has not kept the promises it made in Algiers Accord; why should it be trusted now, absent some ‘skin in the game?’ What form of assurance would be acceptable to Iran to convince it that US is genuine in its “guarantees”?

    How far is Iran willing to go to back up its “guarantees” that its nuclear program is not a nuclear WEAPONS program — intrusive inspections? by whom?

  113. Arnold Evans says:

    Pak:

    Go to mideastreality.blogspot.com , post your comments that are awaiting moderation in the most recent post there, and leave a message here that you’ve done so and I am 99.999% certain I, Eric or any of several people here will be able to tell you exactly why they were filtered here.

    This is assuming they were filtered.

  114. kooshy says:

    As Iranians say “one wonders, from which side the sun was rising today” finally we get to read an opinion by an Iranian analyst from inside Iran, that is published for real in an American news service.

    The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com
    The US is wrong about Iran. Cutting a deal is the only win-win solution.
    The US approach on Iran – sanctions and threats – will only drive Iran towards weaponization and undermine negotiations set for Jan. 21 in Turkey. A US-Iran deal, however, would allow Iran enrichment capabilities in exchange for a non-weapons pledge.
    ________________________________________
    By Kayhan Barzegar
    posted January 14, 2011 at 9:51 am EST
    Tehran —
    While “confidence-building” is the most important factor in the course of any nuclear negotiations which hope to succeed between Iran and the P5+1 group (the permanent members of the UN Security Council – US, Russia, China, Britain, France – plus Germany), the United States is talking about a new round of coercive sanctions against Iran. The US objective in continuing the “sanctions for negotiations” policy aims at weakening the “nuclear consensus” inside Iran. However, if successful, this policy would have the reverse result, since the unraveling of the nuclear consensus that now exists within Iran would halt any progress on the diplomatic front.
    For Iran, maintaining the capacity for “independent uranium enrichment” on its own soil means acquisition of a nuclear “capability.” This endeavor is based on an important strategic objective around which all political blocs agree: the acceptance of Iran as a “nuclear state” by world powers. This consensus is a powerful, unassailable domestic reality that cannot be reversed. No political group in Iran today, reformist or otherwise, would dream of demanding the suspension of uranium enrichment.
    Against the grain of this consensus, the US has sought the suspension of any uranium enrichment capacity by Iran. This inflexible policy differs from the views held by the other P5+1 countries, namely the EU trio (France, German, and the Britain), Russia, and China. These powers have gradually come to agree with Iran’s right to enrichment on its native soil. In the Geneva negotiations last December, this right was implicitly accepted by all parties, including by the United States, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted just before the negotiations got under way.
    RELATED: Why Iran left US off invite list for tour of nuclear sites
    Despite this, the US seems bent on trying to overturn that consensus both internationally and within Iran.
    US policy toward Iran
    The US is pursuing a three-pronged policy.
    First, it seeks to impose coercive economic sanctions. This policy is aimed at increasing economic pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, seeking thereby to expose its inefficiency in handling Iran’s everyday economic issues. Under this policy, the US hopes that economic turmoil will split the political elite from the public. Then, under heavy domestic pressure, the government will be forced to change its tough nuclear policy in order to have the punitive sanctions lifted.
    Second, the US is mounting international pressure on Iran, pressing its allies and others to avoid expanding relations. This aspect of the policy aims at enhancing the perception of Iran’s isolation inside the country. Here, too, the hope is that the government will be forced to change its nuclear policy in order not to sacrifice Iran’s growing regional and global ties.
    3 reasons Israel will attack Iran
    3 reasons why Israel won’t bomb Iran
    Third, by periodically announcing the possibility of a military threat, the US hopes to split Iranian public opinion by creating a sense of imminent attack by the US and/or Israel, thus creating pressure against Mr. Ahmadinejad’s nuclear stance in order to avoid war.
    Why US approach won’t change Iran
    The problem with this US approach is that it will not change Iran’s nuclear position.
    First, despite President Obama’s claim that sanctions will only target the Iranian government, they will ultimately damage the Iranian people. That in turn will not weaken, but empower the hand of the government. No critics of Ahmadinejad will be able to pressure him to backpedal on the national priority of a nuclear program, because he will be able to blame Iran’s economic troubles on the US.
    Second, international pressure to isolate Iran has already backfired from the American standpoint, resulting in the greater consolidation of, rather than a split of, political elites on the nuclear issue.
    RELATED: Why Iran’s nuclear reactor may not be an immediate threat
    All political factions understand that Iran’s future depends on deeper engagement with the outside world, and they must thereby demonstrate a unity of national interest. A vivid example is the appointment of moderate Ali-Akbar Salehi as Iran’s acting foreign minister. There could be no clearer signal to the West ahead of the Istanbul negotiations that the Iranian people, whatever their other disagreements, speak with one voice on the nuclear issue.
    Third, with respect to a military strike, the Iranian public is by now well versed both on the limited military effects of an attack as well as on the limitations of American public opinion. They know that a military attack would only set back Iran’s program while provoking Iran’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and pushing it toward a concerted effort for weaponization. With the US mired in Afghanistan, after having fought the war in Iraq, the Iranian public knows the American public is in no mood for yet another war.
    RELATED: Would a nuclear-armed Iran really be so dangerous?
    Consequently, there are few in Iran who believe the US military threat is serious in the near future. And if it were, any foreign threat would unite Iranians even more so.
    A win-win solution
    Given the realities I have described, the only viable option is to move toward a win-win solution that satisfies the interests of both sides in this standoff. Under this scenario, the US would accept the right of Iran to enrich uranium on its soil (win for Iran), and Iran would give all necessary guarantees to ensure that its nuclear program does not harbor military objectives (win for the United States). As has been recently stressed by President Ahmadinejad, this policy will be the basis of negotiations in Istanbul.
    Mahmoud Amadinejad’s top five quotes to the UN
    The main prerequisite for arriving at this win-win solution is confidence-building between Iran and the United States. The US must understand that sanctions will only engender distrust in negotiations, while not weakening domestic consensus on Iran’s aspiration to enrich uranium on its own soil.
    The unity of Iranians on the country’s nuclear policy should not be seen as something the US ought to break up. It is, in fact, the only basis for a negotiated solution. As the experience of the post-election turmoil suggested last year, a divided Iran would not negotiate with the US at all.
    Kayhan Barzegar is a faculty member at the Science and Research Campus, Islamic Azad University, Iran, and an associate at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is also a senior research fellow at the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) and the Center for Middle East Strategic Studies in Tehran. The views expressed in this essay are solely those of the author.

  115. Kathleen says:

    MLK “Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.”

    Clearly his wise words sadly apply as much today as they did during Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands (Pentagon report, Lancet report) dead and injured in Iraq. Millions displaced. American and coalition soldiers dead and injured as a direct result of a war based on a “pack of lies” Those responsible for the manufactured lies in the run up to that illegal and immoral invasion not only running free (Bush, Cheney, Feith, Wolfowitz, Kristol etc) but continuing to fill our air waves with more lies and cover ups. Disgusting and criminal beyond belief.

    This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Jamie Gangel did an interview with Dick Cheney. Not once did she ask him about the Iraq war..the dead…the injured…the consequences of the Bush administrations lies. Not once did she ask one seriously challenging question even after he brought up 9/11. Clearly our MSM learned zip from their failures in the run up to the unnecessary invasion of Iraq. Most of what we hear on Lawrence O’Donnell (who spent a whole hour last evening on what Sarah Palin is saying) and other MSM outlets is all about Sarah.

    Nothing about accountability for the Bush administration lies. The Niger Documents. The dead and injured. This is what our nation and media have come to. Sustaining the lies and allowing Americans to live in a suffocating bubble.

    go watch “Gangel on exclusive interview with Cheney” She just rolls over. No challenging questions. Nothing.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/

  116. kooshy says:

    Eric/ Paul
    Another article regarding Stuxnet

    Iran: Not So Fast with the Mission Accomplished Banner
    Posted at 7:12 pm on January 17, 2011 by J.E. Dyer

    http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2011/01/17/iran-not-so-fast-with-the-mission-accomplished-banner/?print=1

    We have reached a crucial juncture in the progress of the Iranian nuclear-weapons program – and the nature and significance of that juncture are being overlooked in favor of focusing on the reported effects of the Stuxnet worm and international sanctions.
    The juncture in question is defined by two factors: Iran’s mastery of the uranium-enrichment process, and her successful testing of missiles that could deliver a nuclear warhead. Iran has produced enough low-enriched uranium (LEU) for 3-4 nuclear warheads. The LEU requires enrichment to a higher level of purity to be used in a warhead, and Iran has already started on that process. Enriching uranium to “medium” purity – 19.75% purity – is being done, in defiance of UN resolutions, at a separate facility co-located with the main enrichment installation at N. Enrichment to a purity level of over 90% (usually given in public literature as 93.5%) is required for use in a warhead, but once the enrichment process is mastered, the leap to high-enrichment is a relatively minor step.
    In the realm of delivery platforms, Iran has a missile (the Shahab-3) that can carry a nuclear warhead as far as Israel, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. The Iranians have also made significant progress with the Sejjil missile program, which is projected to enable nuclear warhead delivery into central Europe as early as 2015.
    What Iran lacks is the third factor in creating a nuclear weapon: a working warhead. Developing the warhead requires enriched uranium to experiment with; a planned delivery platform to impose constraints on the warhead’s weight and design; and the warhead design itself. Key to the warhead design is choosing and perfecting a detonation apparatus. Intelligence from the last decade has suggested that Iran obtained information on a certain kind of initiator (uranium deuteride) from the A.Q. Khan network, and has had a program of work on high-explosive tests to pursue successful detonation of a nuclear device. But the weaponization effort is, overall, the one we know the least about.
    It cannot be overstressed that Iran is close to having the high-enriched uranium necessary for warhead experimentation. This topic is also the right point at which to observe that the Stuxnet worm’s impact on uranium enrichment has been limited. I am second to none in my admiration of the worm’s crafty design. But it was deployed to attack the rote mechanics of a process Iran has already mastered, and ultimately, that’s what matters. Iran has enriched uranium successfully using centrifuge cascades; Stuxnet cannot stop the Iranians from resuming that work.
    Moreover, it hasn’t shut down all enrichment, nor has it even penetrated all the enrichment facilities. This assessment from the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) clarifies that while Stuxnet apparently shut down an array in the main facility at Natanz, enrichment continued with the other equipment there through the cut-off date for the latest update (November 2010) from the IAEA inspectors. Not only did it continue, but the enrichment performed by the online arrays was becoming more efficient by the month. The amount of LEU produced was increasing on a monthly basis, even as some components in the facility were experiencing degradation that was probably due to Stuxnet. And rather than let Stuxnet-contaminated operation continue, the Iranians, once they were aware of the worm, suspended enrichment at the main facility. The public has been given no reason to suppose they have lost all their centrifuge cascades to sabotage.
    Meanwhile, there are no reports that centrifuge controllers in the separate facility at Natanz where higher enrichment is done – the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant, or PFEP – have been penetrated by Stuxnet. Of additional significance, ISIS noted in August 2010 that the Iranians were using a procedure at the PFEP that enhances the use of the LEU it is fed from the main facility. While ISIS is careful to clarify that this doesn’t mean more medium-enriched uranium is produced, it does mean the LEU feedstock is more fully utilized: more of its remainder is suitable for recycling in the main facility after the medium-enrichment process. This makes the overall enrichment cycle more efficient for a given amount of uranium.
    The point of mentioning this here is that performing this feat adds complexity to the process in the PFEP. As with the increasing efficiency of the LEU production at the main facility, the Iranians are performing relatively sophisticated operations and achieving success. There is a growing body of expertise they have acquired, which cannot be somehow taken away from them by breaking some of their equipment, any more than sabotaging the US auto industry’s manufacturing plants would degauss its corporate engineering memory.
    The bottom line on the Stuxnet worm is that it attacked a process already effectively mastered. This is not an impact to be dismissed; recovering from it will almost certainly slow down Iran’s progress toward an arsenal. But it will not slow down Iran’s progress toward a weapon.
    The apparent assassination of nuclear scientists may do that, to some extent. The extent of the impact – from the loss of particular scientists – will depend on how many others in Iran already had much of the dead scientists’ expertise. It may also depend on how much fresh outside assistance Iran can get, from Russia, China, Pakistan, or North Korea.
    But any impact on the weaponization effort is likely to depend much more on Iran’s ability to obtain scarce materials and precision-machined components – or to perfect her own, indigenous precision-machining capabilities. If international sanctions truly deny Iran the tools she needs to move a warhead from the design to the testing phase, that will matter to the political situation of the Middle East – at least for the short term.
    Americans need to understand this: it’s the weaponization process we can still get a high payoff from interdicting. The UN inspection regime and the Stuxnet worm were designed to focus on uranium enrichment. But uranium enrichment, as a process, is receding in the rearview mirror as a high-payoff target for interdiction by sanctions or sabotage. It’s not the most important thing to interdict, nor has it been for about two years now.
    Yet the UN inspectors have been admitted regularly only to the sites at which uranium is converted or enriched, and their accounting focus is on how much enriched uranium there is. Stuxnet, for its part, was designed to attack the enrichment process. (I’ve written on these topics previously here and here.) Sanctions have been enforced on the basis of companies and international contacts known to have had a role in enabling the enrichment process. More than 95% of media reports about Iran’s nuclear activities deal with uranium enrichment. It’s the focus of almost everything we do and say, but it’s not the step at which we can effectively prevent Iran from getting the bomb. That step, today, is weaponization.
    But we have considerably less information on Iran’s weaponization effort. Even assembling a list of the facilities in Iran where weaponization activities are in progress involves a greater level of uncertainty than making such a list for uranium enrichment or missile development. It may be that the drastic, distasteful step of assassinating scientists was taken because, for this aspect of nuclear weapons development, Western intelligence agencies’ knowledge about facilities and complicit companies is inadequate to less lethal forms of targeting.
    Complacency about Iran’s nuclear program is the very last thing called for in 2011, in spite of what Stuxnet and the most recent sanctions may have achieved. All of Iran’s important progress has been achieved since UN sanctions were first imposed in 2006, and some key milestones have been achieved since Stuxnet was introduced in Iranian computers. One of the most important developments is that Iran can now mill and refine her own uranium – meaning that the UN’s basis for accounting on Iran’s stockpile, which has been predicated on yellowcake left over from the 1980s, will soon be irrelevant. And when it comes to the weaponization effort, we don’t know so much about it that we can say with certainty what the highest-payoff method of interfering in it is.
    That’s why Benjamin Netanyahu refuted the policy implication of his outgoing intelligence chief’s statement last week, on the delay of Iran’s progress toward a bomb. Fox News reported on this, but it hasn’t been given play by other US media, which have preferred to run with the “Stuxnet bought us time” theme. But while it is very likely to have slowed some aspects of the Iranian nuclear program, Stuxnet’s assessed effects to date will have no impact on the most important aspect politically: Iran’s timeline to a bomb.
    It’s conceivable that there will be future news indicating that Iran’s ability to enrich uranium has been shut down entirely. That catastrophic a development would decisively delay Iran’s progress toward having the fissile material for a prototype weapon – i.e., making the jump from 19.75% to 90%+. We can certainly be on the watch for such a report. In the meantime, the focus on Stuxnet is emblematic of the popular, outdated focus on interdicting enrichment, when what needs to be interdicted is weaponization.
    J.E. Dyer blogs at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions” and as The Optimistic Conservative. She writes a weekly column for Patheos.

  117. kooshy says:

    Iran nuclear threat hyped by West: ElBaradei

    English.news.cn 2011-01-18 22:56:56

    VIENNA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — The threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program had been exaggerated by the West, former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Mohamed ElBaradei said in a published interview.
    The interview was conducted by the Austrian Press Agency (APA) and released Tuesday.
    In the exclusive interview, ElBaradei said U.S. intelligence agencies believed Iran had been developing nuclear weapons according to a report issued in 2007; however, Iran in fact had stopped this attempt as early as 2003. “Today, this assessment is still correct,” he said.
    ElBaradei also said he didn’t rule out that Iran did try to develop nuclear weapons in the 1980s, in the circumstances of Iran’s war against Iraq and threat of Iraq’s chemical weapons attack.
    “Every country in this situation would have to think about how to defend itself,” he said and added the nuclear program certainly could help Iran become a “major player in the Middle East”.
    The former U.N. nuclear watchdog chief also said, “In the view of Iran, uranium enrichment was a means to an end.” A country which mastered uranium enrichment techniques could “develop nuclear weapons in a relatively short time”. Iran believed this sent out “a strong message to the rest of the world and to the neighbors”.
    ElBaradei also accused the West of having thwarted an agreement with Iran in recent years by “unrealistic demands”. Furthermore, “some practices are unbearable for any country”.
    To this end, he hoped to see that U.S. President Barack Obama could contribute to a smooth solution for the Iran issue during his term in office and pointed out one of the important points was to ease mutual suspicion between the U.S. and Iran.
    Iran was one of the most important countries in the Middle East, which could become “a key to the stability in the Middle East. Without Iran’s participation, it is also hard to solve the Afghanistan issue and the Syria-Lebanon complex”, ElBaradei said.

  118. Fiorangela says:

    China is on the Obama administration’s plate today. A few days ago Hillary Clinton delivered a speech on what she hopes to accomplish in talks with Hu Jianto. Like her new make-up, Clinton’s speech looked like the same neocon mask, warmed over and touched up here and there with the rouge of “friendship” and “cooperation.”

    Here’s an interesting paper on China-Iran relations (pdf): Key Issues in China-Iran Relations by LIU Jun & WU Lei (Institute for International Studies, Yunnan University, from the Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (in Asia).

    Gary Locke, United States Commerce Secretary, also delivered a speech on US-China commercial relations, that gave me hope that there ARE people in the Obama administration who are more fair-minded than is US foreign policy in general.
    :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/ChinaCom

  119. Pak,

    “In other news, my comments [from Jan. 14, 2:15 PM] are still awaiting moderation. Ahmadinejad would be proud!”

    I have to admit: I’m getting more and more intrigued by your comment, however scandalous it may be. Why don’t you try posting it without a link? Maybe be sure it includes nothing about losing weight fast, or getting rich quick, or a free vacation in the Bahamas. If you’ve scrubbed it clean of all that sort of thing, I can’t imagine what you’ve said that wouldn’t make it past the broad-minded, First Amenment-loving censors on this site.

  120. Paul,

    “I have often disagreed with this site, and for damned good reason…”

    First, I’m not sure what it means to disagree with the site. The “site” amounts to a lot of different people with very different opinions. Far from all of them agree with the Leveretts’ point of view, even on a particular main piece, and very few agree with the Leveretts on everything. I don’t.

    Even so, I think I understand what you mean, and that’s not my main point here anyway.

    I often find myself finishing off a response to one of your posts thinking essentially this: “There’s no way Paul can help thinking that I thought his post was a bad one with which I strongly disagree, when in fact my reaction was pretty much the opposite.” I find very many of your posts to be insightful, thought-provoking. Maybe because of that, but for whatever the reason may be, your best posts often are too nuanced to respond with a one-line “I agree!” of “I disagree!” More often, they include a great deal I agree with and some point on which I disagree, often a very minor point. Since you’ve already put the “agree” part as well as it can be put, I usually end up focusing my response on the “disagree” part.

    That focus probably makes you think it’s all I’ve noticed — at least that’s probably what I’d think if I were you. Just the opposite is usually true. At times, I’ve felt I should mention this when closing a response to you, but I inevitably conclude that doing so would seem insincere, coming as it does on the heels of my disagreement with part of what you’ve written. So I’ll say it here instead, for what it may be worth, and hope you’ll accept it as sincere. I wish you’d write here more often.

  121. paul says:

    I have often disagreed with this site, and for damned good reason, but I am deeply moved by this post, and especially by this recognition that MLK should be acknowledged as one of our Nation’s true founders.

  122. Fiorangela says:

    RSH, Agree that the Nima Shirazi-Ray McGovern conference on Iran was worthwhile. The Iranian man was difficult to listen to, but I listened to him with compassion and with the hope and dream that someday some of us may be able to interact with Iranians to polish their English speaking skills while we learn from them their rock-solid ethical grounding, sense of compassion toward all beings, and essential rationality.

    The conference would not have suffered if the ANSWER guy had not showed up. Perhaps it’s just my bias or the small patch of the elephant that I explore: Socialism is Rip van Winkle, and he speaks European, not American. And I completely disagree with the ANSWER guy’s positions on human rights in Iran, Israel/Holocaust, etc. I suppose ANSWER brings some organization heft to the very brave little AIFC group, but it’s a worry that such coalition-building could result in completely diluting core messages. Look at NIAC.

    In any event, on the basis of that video, I will email AIFC and see if we can’t join forces. AIFC@optonline.net or call: 914-273-8852 :www.iranaifc.com

  123. Voice of Tehran says:

    Potkin says:
    January 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm
    “MLK would have expressed solidarity and sympathy for the non-violent civil rights protesters in Iran who were brutally beaten by government thugs. You might learn from them Leveretts.”

    Are you joking ? When MLK held above speech ,1 million were already killed by US forces and the number at the end of the war, was more than 3 million = 3 000 000 DEAD.

    In the riots of LA in 1992 , 2000 people were injured and 53 killed by police forces and the military.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Los_Angeles_riots

  124. Rehmat says:

    Richard Steven Hack – Why you think Israeli Zionists made a mistake by not joining would like to join the USA as its 51th State? The USA has more pr-Israel Jewish population than in Israel. Furthermore, as a 51st state they would not be able to milk tens of billions of dollars each year off the American taxpayers – without dying in America’s illegal wars around the world. As Israeli journalist Avnery had boasted in 2004 that if Tel Aviv sponsor a bill in US Congress stating claiming that the Ten Commandment (like The Protocols) is fraud – 300 Congressmen and 70 Senators would vote in favor of the bill. Naturally, as a 51st. state Zionazis cannot wield such a power, right.

    And let us not forget, now Israel not only has its puppets in mjority in both Congress and Senate – plus country’s first ‘Jewish Presidet’ – what could go wrong for Israel except the Hizbullah missiles.

    Obama – The First Jewish President
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2008/12/13/obama-the-first-jewish-president/

  125. Pak says:

    I see the Leveretts are learning from the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and the Tea Party: hijacking the civil rights movement to pursue their own agenda.

    In other news, my comments are still awaiting moderation. Ahmadinejad would be proud!

    Pak says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm

  126. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Funny cartoon on the subject of MLK and Obama:

    harpers.org

  127. Fara says:

    Lebanon summons US ambassador

    “Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali Shami asked Connelly [US ambassador] to clarify the reasons behind her visit with lawmaker Nicolas Fattouch…The foreign minister “considers these kinds of contacts as interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday.”

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/160601.html

  128. Dan Cooper says:

    3 Minute Video

    Martin Luther King, Jr.: “I Have a Dream…to Go to War?!”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27277.htm

    “The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to end it must be ours.”
    –Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking of Vietnam.

    Last week the Pentagon sank to a new low: claiming that Dr. King would “understand” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. King’s legacy is clear: he opposed war and other violence and condemned war as “an enemy of the poor.”

    Help us stop the Pentagon’s lies and attempts to justify the brutal, futile war in Afghanistan. Spread the truth by sharing this video with your family and friends.

    Join the fight to end the war: ,http://facebook.com/RethinkAfghanistan,

  129. Dan Cooper says:

    Must Watch Video Interview

    Martin Luther King Jr. on The Mike Douglas Show in 1967

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27280.htm

  130. Dan Cooper says:

    Richard Steven Hack

    Thanks for re-posting the link again.

    It is excellent but I am surprised no-one has made a comment on it.

  131. Pirouz says:

    Potkin, MLK:

    You know, during the Reconstruction era of the South, southern whites were successful in overturning election results by mob rule in the streets. Elected southern blacks appealed for help from the federal government, requesting troops to restore order and enforce the election result. When it didn’t come, they were pushed out of the way, for what turned out to be roughly 90 years.

    In the current case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the nation recognized the security threat and when a vocal minority attempted to overturn the election the result, they were able to provide their own police forces to restore order and enforce the election result.

    That’s the lesson of the American civil rights movement as it relates to current conditions in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  132. I’d like to repost Dan Cooper’s mention of this excellent talk:

    Must see video.
    PANEL: IS IRAN A NUCLEAR THREAT
    Speakers: Nima Shirazi, Brian Becker and Ray McGovern
    http://politube.org/show/3133

    I listened to the whole thing (except the rather embarrassing Iranian towards the end) and downloaded it (it’s available for download in the original 1.8GB size, and a 300+MB Flash version as well as smaller audio versions from the page). I recommend it – especially Ray McGovern’s excellent portion. Nima of course gets to cover a shortened version of his time line of “Iran nuclear weapons tomorrow if not yesterday”. Becker emphasizes the point that it’s US and Israeli imperialism at work.

    But McGovern gets the best lines, as when he says Israel was offered to be made the 51st US state but they turned that down flat because then Israel would only have TWO Senators. That cracked up the audience!

  133. Persian Gulf says:

    MLK & Potkin:

    Unfortunately, as always, the Islamic Republic mishandled the situation last year. it should have crushed the thugs (you can read many high educated Iranians) burning public properties and at the same time violently demanding the annulment of a sound election to the point that body could ever dare to even think of repeating it again. in many occasions, instead of just being extra ordinary harsh, no matter the tools, the stupid Basijies have attacked dormitory and irrelevant places like that making non-required resentment and giving the charlatans (you can also read the absolute majority of Iran’s human rights activists abroad) a pretext to cry wolf in the western media.

    when people like Shariatmadari are strategists of the system, no wonder our situation is what we see today, i.e the racists (I mean the absolute majority of Iran’s human rights activists abroad) are calling for tranquility.

  134. I’m not much interested in what MLK might have thought or did think. I’ve never been that impressed by him, not so much for any particular reason but just because it’s not relevant to my interests.

    In particular, whatever he managed to do in leading the civil rights movement, it’s highly unlikely anything similar is going to emerge for the antiwar movement.

    So I suppose to the degree that he opposed US militarism his opinion is worth nothing. But he’s dead and we’re not, so it’s preferable to deal with the situation as it is. And the situation as it is means that nothing is going to change about the way the US behaves in the world until it suffers a major economic and/or military disaster sufficient to change the balance of power in the world.

    At which point most likely whoever takes up the flag of “superpower” will probably behave just as badly. There aren’t too many candidates that haven’t already demonstrated that.

    In any event, all of these conflicts will be moot within another fifty years or so when the REAL conflict emerges: between the human species and the new technology-derived species which no longer adheres to the beliefs and fears of humans. That “di-morphic split” will be the resolution and likely end of human history.

    In the meantime, we’re just going to have to ride out one international mess after another and work to avoid going down personally with the country.

  135. Potkin says:

    MLK would have expressed solidarity and sympathy for the non-violent civil rights protesters in Iran who were brutally beaten by government thugs. You might learn from them Leveretts.

  136. Pirouz says:

    I attended the MLK parade and event today in San Francisco. Alongside me were Jewish American peace activists advocating an end to US military aid to Israel and peace in the Middle East. The weather was nice and the event was well attended by quite a diverse crowd.

    On the way to the event I overheard two woman my age talking about how Dr. King would be 80 today had he not been killed, and they were asking each other what sort of contributions he could have made the past 40 years.

    Which gets back to this post. I believe Dr. King would have spoken out against Zionist apartheid (suffering the same consequences as former President Carter), and he would have spoken out against sanctioning of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Dr. King was staunchly antiwar. Everybody should be antiwar.

  137. Rehmat says:

    Rev. Martin Luther was as much friend of the Blacks as is Barack Obama. Both are poodles of the US Establishment. Martin Luther was used to dull the impact of Malcolm X on the Afro-African communities by using Luther’s Christian card against Malcolm X being a convert to Islam. Tony blair’s sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, is currently going through a hate-propaganda spree.

    I bet had Martin Luther been alive, he like Obama would have helped the Zionist mafia to break-up the Muslim-majority Sudan (Muslims 70%, Pagan 25% and Christian 5%). Obama became the first western leader to congratulate Southern Sudanese on their choice to split from Sudan.

    “Israel can tell the wole story of Sudan’s division – they wrote the script and trained the actors,” wrote Fahmi Howeidi.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/sudan-referendum-victory-for-israel/

  138. MLK says:

    I would get behind the Green Movement and recognize it as a civil rights movement similar to mine. While I would criticize US government’s role in mishap around the globe, I would never fully get behind a regime like that of the Islamic Republic in order to get my messages across, because doing so would be against all that I stood for. I would never defend the brutality of the Islamic Republic and justify imprisonment of innocent students, activists, lawyers, filmmakers, artists, teachers, union workers, doctors, etc. like you, the Leveretts, have done. I would condemn oppression, prejudice and racism wherever I see it, whether here in the United States, or elsewhere in Iran and other countries…

  139. Castellio says:

    It’s a rhetorical question, but how does Obama reconcile himself to the legacy of MLK?

  140. James Canning says:

    I think M L King would have condemned the idiotic US invasion of Iraq before it got underway, and that he would be deeply sceptical about the ability of the US to impose stability on Afghanistan by military means.

    One element of the Vietnam War disaster that many people are not aware of, was the religious dimension: Catholics in the South, who were Frenchified landowners, and who opposed “Godless” Communism and were able to gain crucial support from the John Birch Society in the US.

  141. kooshy says:

    Sounds like Danny is becoming Johnny, the one who comes lately

    Daniel Pipes: Is Tunisia just the first domino?

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/01/17/daniel-pipes-is-tunisia-just-the-first-domino/

  142. kooshy says:

    Tunisia and reshaping the Arab world
    by Mazin Qumsiyeh (Palestine)

    http://www.mideastyouth.com/2011/01/16/tunisia-and-reshaping-the-arab-world/