Monthly Archives: December 2007

Access to Officer’s School Has Positive Result for IDF

In today’s New York Times, Steve Erlanger’s article serves as an example of the positive result of access to its commanders and soldiers for the IDF. Historically, the army has been slow and uncreative in dealing with the press, a product of bureaucracy, understaffing, and misunderstanding of the potential power of the press in Western media. When the journalist is granted access only to army spokespeople, who sound polished and rehearsed, the result is the typical article in which the Israeli spokesperson say one thing and the Palestinian spokesperson the opposite.

When a journalist, especially an unseasoned one schooled on the idea that the IDF is a brutal, colonizing force, is allowed to converse with soldiers and junior officers, he is often surprised by the ethical standards of the soldiers and the diversity of people and opinion. A Boston Globe Magazine article by a embedded reporter with a Sayeret Tzanhanim (Paratrooper reconnaissance) reserve team in Defensive Shield in 2002 talked about the soldiers’ civilian lives- schoolteachers, businessmen, and students. Some were liberal, some conservative. The article infuriated those who cannot stomach any positive coverage of the IDF.

In my experience, the IDF is still too old-fashioned, although there has been improvement. There were many instances when a reporter wanted to speak with me, which would have been beneficial for the IDF, only to have his request turned down until it went through the bureaucracy for approval. On the positive side, in my last months as an officer, two busloads of journalists came to our base, part of a tour organized by the IDF and some independent Jewish organizations. They were only allowed to speak with me and my CO, who is very bright and articulate, but they enjoyed the access to a front-line army base and a chance to see a different side of the IDF.

Erlanger writes:

Israel’s defense forces are considered among the world’s best, a people’s army that combines professionalism and informality, and serves as a melting pot for a complicated society with real enemies.

Neoconservative, Pro-Israel (read: Jewish) Control of American Policy in Al-Jazeera

There is an obsession in the Arab media about Jewish control of American foreign policy. It is a theme in Al-Jazeera, which usually tries to hide the notion of Jewish control behind words like “Zionists” and “Neoconservatives”. The following Al-Jazeera article attempts to understand why ‘progressive’ Jews support ‘reactionary’ pro-Israel organizations, an artificial dichotomy invented by those who refuse to understand that many Jews support Israel because they are progressive. They certainly would not back Hamas, the PA, or Syria (although there are plenty of confused Jewish ‘progressives’ who are so far to the left that they support Islamist organizations that are on the far right of the spectrum).

By James Petras

What do the polls tell us and not tell us?
Once again, a poll recently released by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) (1) has confirmed that on some questions of major significance there are vast differences between the opinion of the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations and the mass of American Jews. On questions of the Iraq war, the escalation of U.S. military forces in Iraq (the ‘Surge’) and military action against Iran, most Jewish Americans differ from the leaders of the major American Jewish organizations.

Manute Bol Campaigns for Darfur While West Remains Impotent

The country of Sudan has long been a humanitarian nightmare. The problems there have been unenthusiastically dealt with by the West, who issue declarations and arrange negotiations, but leave the work on the ground to international aid organizations and ineffective African Union forces. Compared with the outcry and action taken in response to war crimes in former Yugoslavia, the Western response has been tepid at best. Without the ‘Western oppressor’ factor, there is no great urgency to find effective and practical solutions to the problem.

A primary cause of Sudan’s woes is President Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir,  who, since his 1989 overthrow of democratically elected president Sadeq al Mahdi, has collected for himself the positions of head of state, prime minister, head of the armed forces, and minister of defense. He has dissolved the parliament and imposed severe restrictions on the press.

In 1991, al-Bashir imposed Sharia law in northern Sudan, complete with Muslim judges and the Public Order Police. Al-Bashir ousted militarily the speaker of the parliament, Hassan al-Turabi, in 1999.

Many confuse the ongoing Darfur crisis with the 19 year-long Sudanese civil war. The Sudanese civil war, which dsiplaced millions of southerners, was fought mainly along religious lines, Muslim and Christian. As it came to a close in 2003 and 2004, the Darfur situation intensified. It is being fought more along ethnic lines, between the nomadic Baggara Arab Janjaweed militiamen and black sedentary southern tribesmen, both Muslim.

David Landau, Oslo Logician, Asks Condi Rice to “Rape” Israel

In today’s Jewish Week, the editor Gary Rosenblatt has a shocking piece on the editor of Ha-Aretz, David Landau’s conversation with Condi Rice last September, in the build-up to Annapolis. Both the message and the language shed a harsh light on the condition of the “anti-occupation” Israeli mindset. The landscape is not pretty.

Haaretz Editor Urged Rice To ‘Rape’ Israel

David Landau: Crude language over the top, or well placed?
by Gary Rosenblatt

Israelis are known for being direct and blunt. But comments made by David Landau, editor of the Israeli daily, Haaretz, to Condoleezza Rice about Israel needing to be “raped” by the U.S. to achieve a Mideast settlement caused quite a stir among the 20 or so attendees at a confidential briefing with the secretary of state on a recent visit to Israel.

The incident, which took place Sept. 10 at the private residence of America’s ambassador to Israel, Richard Jones, has not been fully reported until now. What is contested is not the raw language Landau used but the context of his impassioned comments.

Following Rice’s briefing to the gathered military, academic and media elites at the dinner, the guests offered their views and comments about the Mideast impasse. Landau, who was seated next to Rice, was said to have referred to Israel as a “failed state” politically, one in need of a U.S.-imposed settlement. He was said to have implored Rice to intervene, asserting that the Israeli government wanted “to be raped” and that it would be like a “wet dream” for him to see this happen.

This represents an extreme expression of Oslo Logic: If only Israel would make the right concessions — painful but necessary — it could end the “occupation.” Since the inordinate influence of “right-wing” irredentists who don’t want to give up any territory prevents Israel from making the necessary concessions, it needs to be forced to do so. Then we’ll have… peace?

I’m not even sure that Landau is so naive. I have friends who think that the “occupation” — which I am whitewashing by arguing that the Israelis didn’t shoot Muhammad al Durah — is such a blot on the soul of Israel that it should be ended immediately — including the division of Jerusalem. When I point out that this is likely to lead to even more violent aggression and more devastating forms of warfare, the answer is consistently: “I don’t care. Israel, if it is to be a moral state, cannot endure the corruption of its youth who must do terrible things as a result of occupying, oppressing, and humiliating another people.”

So Landau may be shrewd enough to know that these concessions will not lead to peace, indeed might well lead to war. But on the other hand, he’s almost surely not telling that to Rice, who might think twice about forcing Israel to make concessions that will make the situation worse. Of course, who (not steeped in the intricate pathways of Jewish self-criticism) could begin to understand the toxic moral perfectionism that drives highly intelligent Israelis to take such suicidal stances? She, enamored of her Palestinian “Martin Luther King Jr.,” Abu Mazen, surely thinks this is an exaggerated but well-intentioned effort to achieve peace.

And yet, consider the catastrophic potential of this “self-abnegating” advice. First, the concessions that Landau wants to make are much more likely to whet the Palestinian/Arab/Muslim appetite for destroying Israel than “changing the tide” and heading us all towards a “negotiated solution.” And this is true even if Israel came to that decision all by herself. But if Israel’s foes think that they have now turned the only serious ally Israel has, the USA, against her, then the smell of weakness and failure in their nostrils will arouse even greater hopes of ultimate victory.

The odds that this will lead to war — just as the NIE report increases the likelihood of war — are enormous. And the odds that that war will force the USA into either much more costly engagements in the Middle East, or, even worse, huge losses in this area, make his advice almost as bad for the USA as it is catastrophic for Israel. The collateral damage of his single-minded opposition to the “morally corrupting” occupation is enormous. Right now the Israelis who oppose the occupation worry about the humiliation of thousands and the killing of dozens of Palestinians. When they trigger the wars their postures will invite — quod absit! — they will have an opportunity to weep over the death of millions of Israelis and Palestinians.

When contacted this week, Landau said the description was “inaccurate” and “a perversion of what I said.” He said his views had been delivered with “much more sophistication.”

But he added: “I did say that in general, Israel wants to be raped — I did use that word — by the U.S., and I myself have long felt Israel needed more vigorous U.S. intervention in the affairs of the Middle East.”

Not clear how much more sophisticated his own “general” summary is from the one reported. Indeed his subsequent remarks contradict his opening denial.

Landau, often outspoken in his views, is a bit of an anomaly in Israeli society in that he is a native Brit editing Israel’s oldest newspaper and an observant Jew (and former yeshiva student) with decidedly left-wing views.

This is an interesting detail, and not that anomalous. Some of the most ferocious “left-wing” critics of Israeli policy in Israel and abroad, are observant and learned Jews who are driven to their positions by moral imperatives. The fact that they do not engage in much realism, and show almost no interest in “the other side” (other than to view it, as so many reporters for Ha-Aretz do) as the innocent victim of Israeli misdeeds, has much to do with the “four-dimensional Israeli/two dimensional Palestinian/Arab/Muslim” problem I have discussed before.

The fact that Landau can refer to Israel as a “failed state” because it won’t adopt his policies of massive concessions to an Arab political culture that cannot even — does not apparently even want to — build a Palestinian state no matter how dysfunctional, illustrates the degree of self-referential isolationism that informs this aggressively self-abnegating “left-wing” position. Indeed, if we were to rate the states in the Middle East by how they treat their own people — I believe the standard by which the states Landau wants Israel to be a part of are judged — then we’d find 22 failed Arab/Muslim states well below his own.

He told The Jewish Week that the context of his remarks was that each of the dinner attendees spoke of Israel’s challenges, and when it was his turn he pointed out that since 1967, Israel has failed to resolve its territorial conflicts with the Palestinians.

And in the mind of Landau and others who share his masochistic omnipotence complex, if there’s been a failure, it’s obviously Israel’s. Of course it’s our fault; of course if we had behaved differently (MY way), things would have been better. Of course the Arabs are not nice to us and want to get rid of us… it’s because we haven’t been nicer to them.

“I told [Rice] that it had always been my wet dream to address the secretary of state” on these vital matters, he said.

This, coming from an orthodox Jew to a female Secretary of State, is stunning. It suggests a level of verbal incontinence that makes one wonder about Landau’s mental balance. Even if we ignore the inappropriateness of the imagery, the sentiment behind it — he’s long dreamed of having the opportunity to tell the USA to force Israel into concessions — suggests that Landau, like so many people on the “left” actually have contempt for the democratic process, and since they trust their own political judgment so much more than that of leaders produced by their democratic process, they feel completely justified in using any device to “force” their own polities to “be free.”

Her response, he said, was “fantastic” in that she was “completely unfazed” by his remarks, and remained “urbane and diplomatic.” Attendees said she told the assembled that the U.S. had no intention of imposing a settlement on the Israelis and Palestinians.

She was probably so embarrassed that she didn’t know what to do.

Isi Leibler, a weekly columnist for The Jerusalem Post who has written critically of Landau, said that “by any benchmark, Landau’s behavior as an Israeli citizen would be deemed unacceptable.” He said it was “unconscionable” for someone in Landau’s position to urge a U.S. Secretary of State “to ‘rape’ his own government.”

Note that Landau’s position is as editor of the “NYT of Israel,” the most widely read Israeli newspaper outside of Israel. As one of my students noted when I presented the Al Durah case and she read the coverage Ha-Aretz gave to it, “I thought Ha-Aretz was an Israeli paper. Why does it sound like a Palestinian one?” Landau was not editor at the time, but he has hardly made things better. On the contrary, he made some remarks in Moscow that reveal an astonishing degree of open advocacy involved in what he, as editor, allows his newspaper to publish.

I agree here with Liebler (whose comments on the affair can be read here). Landau, based on his own peculiarly hyper-self-critical logic, has called on the USA to take Israel’s foreign policy into recievership. He didn’t do this because in his mind the USA is the wisest of nations — unless he’s a Jewish “racist” and holds a radicaly different standard for the non-Jews, he must think the occupation of Iraq is a catastrophic venture — but because it’s the strongest, and can “do the job.” In other words, he goes by the logic that destroyed democratic Greece: “those who can do what they will, those who cannot suffer what they must.”

In a sense, he represents a contorted, modern, activist version of prophetic logic. Back in the old days, the prophets saw the behavior of empires who smashed Israel as delivering the punishment of the Lord. They showed minimal interest in the moral behavior of the nations, whose imperialist ambitions they took for granted and only fore-saw a change among the nations in messianic times: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares…”. In the unredeemed present, however, the prophets focused only on the role the Israelites who, by their immorality, had brought this plague upon themselves. That position lies at the heart of masochistic omnipotence syndrome: “we are the omnipotent God’s chosen people. If terrible things happen to us from merciless gentile armies driven by the basest of imperialist drives for dominion, then it’s our fault for having offended our God and provoked him to remove his protection.” As Max Weber points out, this remarkable and unique form of self-criticism contributed crucially to the eventual emergence of Western civilization.

But in the modern world, where even many people who believe in God don’t expect his direct intervention in history — especially after the Holocaust — the situation is radically different. Among other things, in principle, the other nations have renounced their imperialist drives, and we expect from all “players” in the world of democracies and civil societies, a certain measure of moral behavior in political culture that Israelite and Jewish thought had long demanded (and whose failure to maintain, led to the loss of God’s favor). It’s not accidental that the UN’s “peace square” has the messianic passage from Isaiah as it’s motto. In our day and age, imperialism is officially “not good.”

So today, with God non-interventionist, and people more morally responsible, there is considerably less need for the kind of hyper-self-criticism that marked the invective of the prophets. Now, the discourse of criticism and self-criticism should be a matter of negotiation between mature political cultures in conflict that resolves problems. Jewish self-criticism in principle in a civic world should not need to overcompensate by turning up its own perfectionism in response to a pervasive failure to self-criticize on the other side of the conflict. And yet, here we have newspaper editor David Landau, having wet dreams about telling the greatest power on earth to rape his own people because they are not living up to his prophetic standards. Not only is he playing the role of the God who he apparently does not expect to intervene, but with a particularly crude and heavy hand.

Ehud Yaari, a leading broadcast and print journalist in Israel who reported the incident on the air but did not mention Landau by name, called it “embarrassing.”

But Landau said he had no regrets and that, on the contrary, he was pleased, adding that he was later congratulated by several professors in the room who felt “I articulated what many Israelis feel.”

I wonder who these “professors” are. Can one find them chronicled here?

Jerusalem, Stateless City, in “Charlie Wilson’s War”

Yesterday, I went to a showing of Charlie Wilson’s War, the Tom Hanks film about the Texas congressman who nearly single-handedly funded the Afghan mujihadeen in their fight against the Soviet invading forces. It was a good, fun movie overall, but I was struck by a minor, but telling, detail.

There is a scene in the film that takes place in Jerusalem. The subtitle that flashes on the screen reads just ‘Jerusalem’. However, when the movie takes us to Egypt, the subtitle reads, “Cairo, Egypt”.

Apparently, it is safer to antagonize the Jews, who, at the very worst, will write a few letters to the editor.

PBS’ “Islam”: Slanted View of History has Modern Implications

RL preface to Lazar’s post: Elias Bickerman, one of the great historians of the last century wrote the following:

    Communities “cannot survive the present without knowledge of the past… Thus, a historian can serve his group either by falsifying the past or by telling the truth about it. Dishonest history can ruin the group, and ruins the historian himself.” When Bickerman wrote this in the 1973, he still lived in an age when historians lied to strengthen their own group and demonize their enemies. Now we know better: our historians think they tell the “truth” by whitewashing hostile forces.
    I recently viewed the 2001 PBS documentary Islam: Empire of Faith. I was immediately struck with how uncritical the series was, sounding more like an advertisement for the religion than an honest inspection of the history of Islam. The overarching argument of the program was that the West and Islamic culture are similar traditions that share common heritage and values. The implied commentary on the modern world was barely concealed.Much of the series rightly praises Islam’s contribution to math, arts, and the preservation of classical knowledge. While Europe languished in the Dark Ages, the Islamic world was a relatively progressive, innovative civilization that valued learning, whose standard of living was higher than that of Christiandom.
    But the creators of Islam ignore the controversial aspects of Islamic history.

Trying to Wash Away Western Guilt in a River of Palestinian Aid

The discourse in the West surrounding the Palestinians is dominated by a post-colonial paradigm. Guilt for Palestinian violence and inability to create a civil society is consistently placed on the West, who, through its colonial past and and current societal and economic colonialism have taken away from the Palestinians the ability to form a healthy society.

Absent is the discussion about the role of Jihad in the conflict, despite Palestinian leaders consistently using Jihadi language in their calls to violence against the Jews. Nor is there any discussion of Arab society being a prime divider society, where the law of the jungle is “rule or be ruled”. This mindset renders Palestinian society incapable of cooperating in the Oslo logic solution, where the parties reconcile their differences through negotiation and arbitration- the civil society solution to conflict.

Without changing the discourse, the West is doomed to repeat its mistakes of blaming itself and trying to wash away its guilt in a river of money and Israeli concessions.

Diana West discusses Western guilt in the Palestinian context in The Washington Times.

What about the record?
December 21, 2007

By Diana West – Christmas came early to the Palestinian Authority when the “international community” decided not only to meet PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ request for $5.6 billion in aid, but to throw in almost $2 billion more. Why? Did the PA end its terrorist ways? Stop state-sanctioned incitement against Israel and the West? Change Fatah’s charter (forget about Hamas) calling for Israel’s destruction?

“Jihad”, the Forbidden Word

On this site, we have argued that the West’s unwillingness to dispassionately describe Jihadi Islam as it is, and not as our culture allows us to discuss it, fundamentally weakens our ability to combat it. This problem is especially apparent in the media,where a set of rules have developed to frame the discussion. Blaming the actions of the West, especially the United States and Israel, is always acceptable, but investigating whether dominant Islamic movements and organizations today are inherently violent and racist is not. The West is unable to understand its enemy, and is therefore unable to effectively combat it.

Not mentioning the word “Jihad” when discussing Islamic terrorism renders the whole debate impotent. Jihad is what the terrorists are involved in when they act. Omitting the word “Jihad” is like talking about passes, rushes, and blitzes while discussing the Patriots, but not using the term “football”.

Robert Spencer, Director of Jihad Watch, recently discussed the absence of “Jihad” in our political discourse, specifically in the presidential campaigns and in our media.

Presidential Candidates and the “Forbidden Word”

by Winfield Myers
The Bulletin
December 17, 2007

Whether from a desire to avoid being labeled as racist, from cowardice when confronted with the PR machine that is the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), or from slanted coverage in the mainstream media, presidential candidates of both parties take great pains to avoid commenting on jihad (Islamic holy war), even as they blame the West for terrorist acts committed against it, according to noted expert on Islam Robert Spencer.

The 2007 Dishonest Reporting Awards

Here are Honest Reporting 2007 media awards-

What a year of surprises.
Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip. Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas talked peace in the presence of Saudi and Syrian dignitaries. BBC journalist Alan Johnston was held hostage for nearly four months. When Israel struck an unidentified Syrian facility, the only significant protest came from North Korea.

And then came Farfur, the Hamas mouse.

Who would’ve thought?

Al-Hurra, The U.S.- Funded Mouthpiece for Terrorists

This week, published its Dishonest Reporter Award 2007. In the category of Worst News Director, the award went to…(drum roll)…Larry Register of Al-Hurra TV.

Al-Hurra, or “The Free One”, is the U.S. government funded Arabic satellite news station meant to present Arabs with a moderate vision of Islam and a positive vision of the West. There are also stations specifically designed for Iraq and European Arabs. The concept is a good one, as we know all too well the impact the media has in shaping public opinion, both in the Arab world and in the West. However, because of anti-Israel executives and journalists, the station turned into another example of Jihadi Muslims and their supporters using the West’s media against itself- in this case, using a U.S. government funded project to air the very views that the government is trying to combat.

A fundamental problem with the network is that none of the executives speak Arabic. As Justin Rood reported on ABCNews’ The Blotter:

Facing tough questions before a congressional panel last week, Broadcasting Board of Governors member Joaquin Blaya admitted none of the senior news managers at the network spoke Arabic when the terrorist messages made it onto the air courtesy of U.S. taxpayer funds. Nor did Blaya himself or any of the other officials at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the network...Blaya conceded that the top officials in the network’s chain of command could not understand what was being said on al Hurra broadcasts.

Wickham Uses Daniel Levy to Blame Israel for Islamic Hatred of West

In his USA Today article, DeWayne Wickham argues that the root cause of Muslim anti-American violence is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. This old theory, long since disproven by the events of the past decade, and by the statements of terrorist  leaders themselves, is revived periodically by those who will not allow themselves to countenance the possibility that Muslim terrorists are not simply trying to regain Muslim land or gain a voice internationally- they are attempting to destroy the Muslim and Western regimes that stand in the way of their establishing Sharia rule in as many places as possible.

Wickham sees the world through a typical post-colonial paradigm. In 1999, he enjoyed a six hour dinner with Fidel Castro. After visiting with the President of the Cuban National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon, Wickham served as his mouthpiece in an  article he in the USA Today legitimizing Cuba’s paranoid fears of a U.S. invasion. His 2004 piece on Brown President Ruth Simmons showed his sympathy for reparations.

It is no surprise that he views the Israelis as he does the U.S. in Iraq or  America as it relates to African-Americans   – a rich power that maintains control by exploiting the non-white minority. He buttresses his view of the Middle East by relying on Daniel Levy, defender of Oslo and Walt/Mearsheimer. Levy’s intellectual dishonesty and willingness to run roughshod over the facts of the Middle East conflict were documented in an article by Noah Pollak. Levy consistently sees Palestinian violence as the understandable reaction to Israeli aggression:

In 1994 there is the attack [by Baruch Goldstein on February 25th, 1994] at the Hebron tomb of the patriarchs. Until that moment there has been no Palestinian use of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. … That’s when the suicide bombings first started. There is a hiatus, the suicide bombings end. Israel during the period of quiet then assassinates admittedly a terrorist, the guy known as The Engineer, in Gaza. Then you have a spate of suicide bombings. The suicide bombings during the current intifada don’t begin in September 2000, they begin several months after the intifada started. When do they begin? They begin after Israel carried out assassination policies, targeted killings, so again, I just think that if you see this outside of a historical context, you can’t understand it.

Wickham and Levy make a very happy, very mistaken intellectual couple.

Linkage of two conflicts key to peace in Mideast

By DeWayne Wickham
If Daniel Levy is right, the way out of the morass the Bush administration has stumbled into in the Middle East is through the Palestinian territory.

To drain the swamp in which al-Qaeda and other U.S. adversaries operate and make it harder for this nation’s foes in the Middle East “to speak above the heads” of moderate Arab leaders, Levy says, a way must be found to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory.

Guardian Readers Refute British Actor’s Al-Qaida – Hollywood Comparison

British actor Rupert Everett, displaying either a penchant for gross hyperbole or ignorance about foreign affairs (or perhaps extreme anti-Americanism), compared Hollywood to Al Qaida in an interview with the Times. And no, he was not referring to Hollywood’s authoritarian rejection of viewpoints that are not sufficiently far enough to the left. Everett claims there is a bias against homosexuality and women in Hollywood that parallels Al Qaida’s.

Then again, he may be trying to conjure up some explanation for his lack of significant acting roles.

Making films in America is “like being in Afghanistan”, according to the British actor Rupert Everett.

“Hollywood is a place that pretends it’s very liberal but it’s not remotely. It’s like al-Qaida,” he told the Times, citing the studios’ attitudes towards women, gay people, abortion and addiction.

WEF Ranking of Gender Equality- Muslim and Arab States Lag Behind

The November 26th edition of Time magazine featured a chart from the World Economic Forum, ranking countries on the basis of gender equality. They measured the countries based on educational achievement, economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, and health and survival. The Organization of the Islamic Conference member state with the best ranking is Kazakhstan, at 32. The United States is ranked 31, and Israel 36. Not surprisingly, the highest (best) ranking Arab League member state  is  at 96 (Kuwait).

The bottom of the list is a who’s who of Arab and Muslim nations (Arab League states in italics).

Ahmadinejad Makes The Case for Human Rights and World Peace in Newsweek

Flush with confidence after the publication of the NIE, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote an article in this week’s Newsweek entitled “An Arrogant Approach: The Danger of Unilateralism-for the United States and the World.” It is a prime example of a proponent of Jihadi Islam attacking the West with its own terms and values- multilateralism, human dignity, and “global, sustainable peace and security”. Like many others who share his worldview, Ahmadinejad understands that the West’s media is an effective, available means of weakening its resolve.

In the name of God the compassionate, the merciful: the international community has moved away from peace, security and justice due to the mismanagement of some of its actors. Yet the expectation of a world marked by security and tranquillity endures.

After the end of the cold war and the regional confrontations emanating from bipolar competition, many hoped there would be a beautiful spring in international relations, as a multilateral system emerged that offered equal opportunities to all members of the international community. It was hoped that the new world would enable all nations, in light of universally accepted humane norms and mutual respect, to advance together, eradicate poverty and injustice, and set aside bitter memories of the past that were nothing but war, bloodshed, violence and tension.

Uri Avnery in Al-Jazeera: Israel Needs the Iranian Threat

Uri Avnery, Arafat’s enthusiastic admirer, has become a favorite writer for Al-Jazeera. Not surprisingly, he is elated by the NIE. Then again, since his participation in the War for Independence in 1948, Avnery has gone out of his way to make the case for Israel’s enemies.

By Uri Avnery

It was like an atom bomb falling on Israel. The earth shook. Our political and military leaders were all in shock. The headlines screamed with rage.

What happened?

A real catastrophe: the American intelligence community, comprising 16 different agencies, reached a unanimous verdict: already in 2003, the Iranians terminated their efforts to produce a nuclear bomb, and they have not resumed them since.

Woolsey on Walt/Mearsheimer:Welcome to Wamworld

Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s recent book, “The Israel Lobby,” has received criticism on a number of fronts. Prof. Barry Rubin points to their claim that Ariel Sharon pushed the Bush Administration to war, despite the total lack of proof for that idea.  Walter Russell Mead’s scathing review criticizes the loose logic and standards used to reach their conclusions. They use only second-hand sources. They fail to define who is in the Lobby. Walt/Mearsheimer’s logic falls over itself- they claim that the Israel Lobby was a prime motivating factor in the push toward war with Iraq, while also noting that the Israelis saw Iran as the graver threat, and urged action against them instead. Ambassador Dennis Ross, in an interview on NPR, said that they should have spent more time actually talking to the decision-makers to understand why their reached their positions, instead of just assuming that the nefarious Lobby was behind every development that conceivably was beneficial to Israel.  

James Woolsey, Director of the CIA from 1993-1995, takes a slightly different tack. He uses Bill Clinton’s accounts of the negotiations to undermine Walt/Mearsheimer’s argument that Israeli intransigence sunk the Oslo process. His overall judgment is that they so enthusiastically reach their conclusions not because of anti-Semitism, but because of an understanding of International Relations that views the world solely through the lens of the balance of power.

It’s a Wamworld—–R. JAMES WOOLSEY

In this book, professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt repeatedly stress that they accept the existence of Israel and its right to security. Their protestations naturally raise the question: Are these men, like most of their fellow Americans, Zionists?

Probably not.

Daniel Pipes on NIE: Military Action against Iran Now More Likely

The NIE, so uncritically touted by much of the mainstream media, is thought by its relieved proponents to decrease the chances of war. The MSM today sees as its mission the reporting of those items which will strengthen the position of anti-war forces. While war is a terrible thing, it is at times a necessary evil. And it is not for the media to make that judgment. It is the media’s role to dispassionately present the situation and developments from a given region, and it is the public’s and government’s role to decide how to act on those facts.

Daniel Pipes believes that the NIE actually increases the chances of war with Iran by emboldening them while rendering toothless any attempts to coerce Iran to abandon their nuclear programs of their own accord.

[JP title: “Their own worst nightmare”]

With the Dec. 3 publication of a completely unexpected declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,” a consensus has emerged that war with Iran “now appears to be off the agenda.” Indeed, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claimed the report dealt a “fatal blow” to the country’s enemies, while his foreign ministry spokesman called it a “great victory.”

I disagree with that consensus, believing that military action against Iran is now more likely than before the NIE came out.

Joscelyn’s Five Reasons to Doubt the NIE

Another critique of the NIE, this time from terrorism analyst Thomas Joscelyn. The question must be asked- Why would the Intelligence Community do such an about-face on a country they have admitted they do not know enough about and exaggerate the difference between civilian and military nuclear programs? Joscelyn suggests some answers.

Five Reasons To Doubt The Claim Iran Has Shuttered Nuke Program


Posted 12/10/2007
The U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), comprising the nation’s top 16 intelligence agencies, dropped a bombshell last week. After years of saying they were convinced Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons, America’s spooks made an abrupt about-face.
In nine pages of declassified “Key Judgments” from a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the IC now says it has “high confidence” Iran ceased its covert nuclear weapons program in 2003. And they have “moderate confidence” – that is, somewhat less – the mullahs haven’t restarted it since.
We should be skeptical of the IC’s claims.

Tom Gross’ Latest on Continuing Iranian Threat

Despite the jubilation in the mainstream media over the NIE regarding Iran’s nuclear program, foreign intelligence agencies, most notably Israeli and British, expressed their dismay over American credulity. Some independent thinkers in the media who are not afraid to swim against the current have reminded Americans that the NIE is severely lacking, and that Iran continues to be a serious threat.

Tom Gross, writing on his website,, has gathered some recent examples of the continuing Iranian threat and those who will not be fooled.


[Note by Tom Gross]

Today marks a week since the release of one of the most unintelligent – and dangerous – intelligence reports in history.

Already, as a result, the Chinese are backing away from whatever support they might have provided for tougher sanctions against Iran, while Russia has used the report as another reason to oppose them. Behind the scenes, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, now fearful that America will not be able to stop Iran going nuclear, have each decided in the last week to expand their own efforts to gain a nuclear capability.

For the Islamic Republic of Iran, the only country which encourages suicide bombing as state policy, to acquire a nuclear arsenal will amount to a threat quite unlike that the world has ever known. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War there was a never any real possibility that the Soviets or Chinese (or Americans or French or British) would unilaterally use a nuclear device. Not so with the regime now running Iran. The danger is not just in the first strike use of a nuclear weapon but also in the use of a “dirty bomb” in a major western or Middle East capital by one of the regime’s proxy terror groups.

British and Israeli Spies Concerned Iran Fooled Activist U.S. Intelligence

Not surprisingly, the recent National Intelligence Estimate is being exploited by those who feel it is their duty to do their part to avoid war with Iran. Energetically, and often with barely suppressed glee, they point to the NIE as proof that  Iran, much like Iraq in 2003, represents no imminent threat, and should be engaged through direct negotiation.  This includes the media as well as much of the intelligence community. At best, the intelligence community is gun-shy because of its failure to accurately assess Iraq; at worst, it uses uncritically any material that, in its eyes, will stop Bush’s rush to war.

This atmosphere opens the possibility of Iran progressing unchecked toward nuclear weapons without the serious threat of sanctions or military action.   

The following article is from the Telegraph.

By Tim Shipman in Washington, Philip Sherwell and Carolynne Wheeler

British spy chiefs have grave doubts that Iran has mothballed its nuclear weapons programme, as a US intelligence report claimed last week, and believe the CIA has been hoodwinked by Teheran.
Analysts believe that Iranian staff, knowing their phones were tapped, deliberately gave misinformation
The timing of the CIA report has also provoked fury in the British Government, where officials believe it has undermined efforts to impose tough new sanctions on Iran and made an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities more likely.