Monday, September 8, 2014

Hillary Clinton's Friends and the Kissinger of Death

Henry Kissinger and Hillary Clinton (AP Photo)

In Hillary Clinton's predictable, self-serving, overlong, boilerplate review of Henry Kissinger's new book, published last week in the Washington Post, she - well, the communications grunt who actually wrote the review - praises a man who should be serving life in prison for war crimes.

While there is no point addressing the majority of her article, nauseating and noxious as it is, a few things stick out. The first is that Hillary Clinton is friends with a whole lot of absolutely despicable people.

"Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as Secretary of State. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels," Clinton writes in the review, echoing a passage from her own recent pre-presidential campaign manifesto, "Hard Choices."

That book contains myriad references to Clinton's "valued" and "invaluable friends," most of whom are rich, powerful or famous public figures - often all three.

Included among these are war criminals Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres. Clinton writes that she and Netanyahu "worked together as partners and friends." Peres, she notes in the book, is an "old friend."

In her role as Secretary of State, Clinton routinely referred to former Israeli Prime Minister and then-current Defense Minister Ehud Barak as her "friend," "old friend," and "longtime friend and colleague." In April 2010, Clinton remarked, "I have known the defense minister for more years than I care to remember. We were both very young, Ehud."

Barak endearingly replied, "Immediately after your bat mitzvah." A hearty chuckle was had by all.

Hillary, Hosni and Shimon

While Netanyahu has, at times, called Clinton "a great friend and a great champion of peace," Clinton and Shimon Peres have even more of a history of mutual admiration. In early March 2009, Clinton met with Peres in Jerusalem, describing him as "my dear and old friend" and thanking him "for the extraordinary example that your life sets, as someone who has devoted yourself to the state of Israel, to its security, and to the cause of peace."

Shimon Peres (born Szymon Perski in 1923 in what is now Belarus) immigrated to Palestine in 1934. He procured weaponry for the Haganah during Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48 and later became the architect of Israel's illicit nuclear weapons programforging close ties with the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

In November 1974, after visiting the leadership in Pretoria, then-Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres stressed to the Knesset the "vitally important" economic, political and military ties between South Africa and Israel, emphasizing that "this cooperation is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakeable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and out refusal to submit to it."

Clinton and Peres
Years later, Peres was acting prime minister during the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon in 1996, including the Qana massacre, in which Israeli warplanes shelled a UN compound sheltering hundreds of displaced civilians, killing 106.

Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton fawned, "I always come away from my times with you both inspired and encouraged to think more deeply and more broadly. And I also am silently challenged by your ceaseless optimism about the future." In earlier remarks, Clinton said to Peres, "You are an inspiration to me personally, as a person who has dedicated your entire adult life to the State of Israel." She extolled her presence in Israel as "truly a visit among friends."

The feelings were mutual. Peres expressed sincere gratitude to "our very dear Hillary" for her "understanding and sympathy and friendship."

When Clinton returned to Israel 18 months later, Peres hailed "her wisdom, her friendship, her carefulness and caring," while she, in turn, gushed that it was "a personal pleasure, privilege, and honor to be here with you."

When the two shared a stage at the Israeli-obsessed Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute in June 2012, Hillary called Peres her "longtime friend" whom she "so greatly" admires, while Peres expressed his "personal admiration, which is really tremendous" for Clinton.

Back in Jerusalem the following month, Clinton made sure to "be the first friend to wish [Peres] a very happy birthday," and expressed "such great gratitude how much I appreciate you, our friendship, the work we have done together and the work that we will do together in the future."

A day before Clinton's first official visit to Israel as Secretary of State in 2009, she was in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. In an interview with Al Arabiya, Clinton effectively dismissed the State Department's annual report on Egyptian human rights abuses as constructive criticism amongst chums, and declared, "I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family."

In this context, her respect, admiration, and friendship with Kissinger makes a lot more sense.

Kissinger's Democratic Values and Love of Legitimacy

In her sad stump speech/review of Kissinger's book, Clinton assures readers that, while they have their differences, she, President Barack Obama, and Kissinger all share the "belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order."

Hillary Clinton's review sheds some light on these supposed "shared values" and the collective view of American imperialism by the politically powerful:
During the Cold War, America's bipartisan commitment to protecting and expanding a community of nations devoted to freedom, market economies and cooperation eventually proved successful for us and the world. Kissinger’s summary of that vision sounds pertinent today: "an inexorably expanding cooperative order of states observing common rules and norms, embracing liberal economic systems, forswearing territorial conquest, respecting national sovereignty, and adopting participatory and democratic systems of governance."

This system, advanced by U.S. military and diplomatic power and our alliances with like-minded nations, helped us defeat fascism and communism and brought enormous benefits to Americans and billions of others. Nonetheless, many people around the world today — especially millions of young people — don't know these success stories, so it becomes our responsibility to show as well as tell what American leadership looks like.
Later, Clinton pointedly notes - in a glowing review of a book by Henry Kissinger, mind you - that "our devotion to human rights and democratic values" are an integral part of what "make[s] us who we are as a nation." Adhering to such values, Kissinger apparently suggests in his newly-published doorstop, is what leads to success.

Neither Clinton nor Kissinger actually believe this, of course. After all, when asked whether "national security is more important than human rights" during a 2007 debate, it was Clinton who eagerly responded, "I agree with that completely. The first obligation of the president of the United States is to protect and defend the United States of America." Clinton was wrong, of course. The president is primarily duty-bound, per the oath of office, to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," y'know, that thing with all those rights in it.

Indeed, one would be hard pressed to figure out just how respecting national sovereignty, an abiding commitment to democratic governance, and standing up for human rights fits into the policy prescriptions of the either the Nixon/Kissinger or Obama/Clinton administrations.

As David Corn wrote in Mother Jones, rather than a champion of justice and self-determination, Kissinger is best remembered for engaging "in underhanded and covert diplomacy that led to massacres around the globe, as he pursued his version of foreign policy realism. This is no secret." Corn continues:
  • Chile: Nixon and Kissinger plotted to thwart the democratic election of a socialist president. The eventual outcome: a military coup and a military dictatorship that killed thousands of Chileans.
  • Argentina: Kissinger gave a "green light" to the military junta's dirty war against political opponents that led to the deaths of an estimated 30,000.
  • East Timor: Another "green light" from Kissinger, this one for the Indonesian military dictatorship's bloody invasion of East Timor that yielded up to 200,000 deaths.
  • Cambodia: The secret bombing there during the Nixon phase of the Vietnam War killed between 150,000 and 500,000 civilians.
  • Bangladesh: Kissinger and Nixon turned a blind eye to—arguably, they tacitly approved—Pakistan's genocidal slaughter of 300,000 Bengalis, most of them Hindus.
And there's more. Kissinger's mendacity has been chronicled for years. See Gary Bass' recent and damning book on the Bangladesh tragedy, The Blood Telegram.There's Seymour Hersh's classic, The Price of Power. In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens presented the case against Kissinger in his full polemical style. As secretary of state, Kissinger made common cause with—and encouraged—tyrants who repressed and massacred many. He did not serve the American values of democracy, free expression, and human rights. He shredded them.
Kissinger and Pinochet
According to the National Security Archive at George Washington University, documents declassified a year ago, upon the 40th anniversary of Salvador Allende's overthrow in Chile (the other September 11th), "spotlight Kissinger's role as the principal policy architect of U.S. efforts to oust the Chilean leader, and assist in the consolidation of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile."

Peter Kornbluh, director of the archive's Chile Documentation Project, stated, "These documents provide the verdict of history on Kissinger's singular contribution to the denouement of democracy and rise of dictatorship in Chile."

Yet in her review, Clinton writes:
For an international order to take hold and last, Kissinger argues, it must relate "power to legitimacy." To that end, Kissinger, the famous realist, sounds surprisingly idealistic. Even when there are tensions between our values and other objectives, America, he reminds us, succeeds by standing up for our values, not shirking them, and leads by engaging peoples and societies, the sources of legitimacy, not governments alone.
What Clinton doesn't mention is that Kissinger despised legitimate popular governments, as they too often undermined American domination and exploitation.

Despite prior covert U.S. operations to derail Allende's inauguration in November 1970, Kissinger sent a memorandum to President Nixon warning of "the insidious model effect" of his democratic election. In fact, he was convinced that the "consolidation of Allende in power in Chile... would pose some very serious threats to our interests and position in the hemisphere" and that "a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on -- and even precedent value for -- other parts of the world" that could "significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it."

He was particularly frustrated that "Allende was elected legally" and "has legitimacy in the eyes of Chileans and most of the world; there is nothing we can do to deny him that legitimacy of claim he does not have it." Furthermore, Kissinger lamented, "We are strongly on record in support of self-determination and respect for free election," adding that Nixon himself was "firmly on record for non-intervention in the internal affairs of this hemisphere."

"It would thereby be very costly for us to act in ways that appear to violate those principles, and Latin Americans and others in the world will view our policy as a test of the credibility of our rhetoric," he wrote.

Kissinger immediately outlined a strategy to topple the Allende government.

Following the successful coup and Pinochet's installation as Chile's dictator, Kissinger maintained that "however unpleasant they act, this government is better for us than Allende was." He ignored appeals to address the severe human rights abuses in Chile, telling Pinochet himself, "In the United States, as you know, we are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here. We want to help, not undermine you. You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende."

Thus when Nixon complained that "liberal" press was giving him "crap" about the coup, Kissinger was indignant. "In the Eisenhower period, we would be heroes," he said.

Kissinger knew this would strike a chord with his audience of one. Nixon was Vice President when Eisenhower authorized the 1953 CIA-organized coup that overthrew popular Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh for the crime of nationalizing the nation's oil industry and not buckling to British and American diktat. The coup consolidated U.S.-backed dictatorial power under the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who ruled Iran for the next quarter century.

"By restoring the Shah to power," Nixon recalled years later, "it meant that the United States had a friend in Iran, a very strong friend, and for 25 years Iran played a role as a peace-keeper in the Persian Gulf area."

Always valuing imperial interests over democratic and humanitarian values, Nixon made an official pilgrimage to visit the Shah in Iran shortly after the coup. Fifteen years later, as president, Nixon provided weapons systems and military assistance to Iran on a massive scale, effectively bankrolling the Shah's prospective $20 billion military build-up. Massachusetts Congressman Gerry E. Studds at the time called the arms transfers "the most rapid buildup of military power under peacetime conditions of any nation in the history of the world."

Kissinger himself mused, "[W]e adopted a policy which provides, in effect, that we will accede to any of the Shah’s requests for arms purchases from us (other than some sophisticated advanced technology armaments and with the very important exception, of course, of any nuclear weapons capability)."

In a private meeting with Kissinger on July 27, 1973 at Blair House, the Shah confirmed as much. "I have a friend in the U. S. that is ready to provide anything I need - short of atomic weapons and they are not an issue," he said during a conversation about acquiring American fighter jets, tanks, and battleships and agreeing to arm Pakistan against India.

Kissinger and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

The Nixon White House - and Kissinger in particular - maintained very close relations with the Shah, in turn gaining a dutiful puppet in the region. This was especially beneficial during the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, when Arab members of the petroleum exporting consortium "cut production and stopped oil shipments to the United States and other countries that were backing Israel in the Yom Kippur War." With the Shah in power, Iran continued production and export to the United States and its allies, including apartheid South Africa, throughout the embargo and was rewarded handsomely by reaping the windfall of the oil shock.

When the Iranian Revolution finally forced the Shah to flee Iran, it was Kissinger and a cohort of such "influential friends" as Chase Manhattan Bank's David Rockefeller, former statesman and World Bank president John McCloy, and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who intensively lobbied the Carter administration to eventually admit the Shah to the United States. Carter's reluctant acquiescence was the main catalyst for the November 4, 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

A month after the seizure of the embassy, Kissinger gave an interview to People Magazine. He had already visited the Shah twice since his arrival. He also insisted that Iranians had no legitimate reason to resent American foreign policy. Admitting that the Shah was "certainly authoritarian," Kissinger praised his "reforming government" for its professed economic, education, environmental, and medical advances.

"Not everybody who attacks us is doing so because we supplied a just grievance," he said, adding that "it must be made clear that challenging the U.S. is not for free. There has to be some penalty for opposing us and some reward for being friendly. Unless we can reestablish that balance, this trend will continue."

Regarding his belief that the United States was indebted to its former quisling, Kissinger told People, "I have held the position all along that the Shah was a friend of the U.S. for 37 years. Every President, starting with Truman, lauded the Shah's friendship and his modernizing tendencies and spoke of the gratitude we owed him." Such a partner deserved "private humanitarian asylum," Kissinger said. "In light of the Shah's help to our nation, I felt a duty to help."

Despite all this, Hillary Clinton, in her review of "World Order," maintains that "Kissinger's analyses of the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East are particularly valuable."

Atomic Drop

While writing about Kissinger's diplomatic philosophies and policy prescriptions, Clinton manages to repeatedly praise herself for her own work as Secretary of State, including what she terms taking "decisive action on challenges such as Iran's nuclear program."

This "decisive action" actually consisted of issuing threats, ultimatums, and imposing "crippling" sanctions upon a country over its refusal to abandon its inalienable right to a domestic nuclear energy program. It wasn't until she left the administration that the current negotiations got underway.

Yet bringing up such a topic in an article about Henry Kissinger is itself ironic, as Iran may never have established a nuclear program to begin with were it not for him.

In 1975, during his tenure as Gerald Ford's Secretary of State, "Kissinger signed and circulated National Security Decision Memorandum 292, titled 'U.S.-Iran Nuclear Cooperation,' which laid out the administration's negotiating strategy for the sale of nuclear energy equipment projected to bring U.S. corporations more than $6 billion in revenue," reported the Washington Post's Danfa Linzer in 2005.

The strategy paper, Linzer wrote, "commended Iran's decision to build a massive nuclear energy industry," and argued that Iran needed to "prepare against the time -- about 15 years in the future -- when Iranian oil production is expected to decline sharply."

Working alongside other Ford administration officials like Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, Kissinger engaged in "intense efforts to supply Iran with U.S. nuclear technology" and even "tried to accommodate Iranian demands for plutonium reprocessing." A directive signed by Ford in 1976 offered access to "a complete 'nuclear fuel cycle' -- reactors powered by and regenerating fissile materials on a self-sustaining basis."

When asked by Linzer about the potential consequences and hypocrisy of such a deal in light of more recent punitive and preventive policies, Kissinger shrugged. "I don't think the issue of proliferation came up," he said, eventually adding, "They were an allied country, and this was a commercial transaction. We didn't address the question of them one day moving toward nuclear weapons."

Diplomatic Double Standards

In mid-1969, as Nixon's National Security Adviser, Kissinger outlined what would soon become official American policy regarding Israel's clandestine nuclear arsenal. Once Israeli nuclear capability came to light in Washington - outside of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel refused to sign - the Nixon administration attempted to devise a strategy to deal with it.

A National Security Study delivered to Kissinger in May 1969 by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Rodger Davies noted, "Israel has committed to us that it will not be 'the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the area', but there are grounds for believing that Israel does not construe production of a weapon to constitute 'introduction.'" It further stated:
If the possession of nuclear weapons offered an ultimate deterrent for Israel we would perhaps be prepared to conclude that, whatever other disadvantages this development might have, its contribution to Israel's security, especially with the prospect of continuing Arab hostility, was in the US interest.

Israel wants nuclear weapons, as was both explicit and implicit in our conversations with Rabin, for two reasons: first, to deter the Arabs from striking Israel, and second, if deterrence fails and Israel were about to be overrun, to destroy the Arabs in a nuclear Armageddon.
In a July 19, 1969 memo to the president, Kissinger introduced a new policy option, writing that "while we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact."

Golda Meir, Richard Nixon, and Kissinger

Despite the efforts of Nixon officials to place curbs on the program, they eventually "withdrew step after step from an ambitious plan to block Israeli nuclearization, until they finally acceded, in internal correspondence – the content of the conversation between Nixon and Meir is still classified – to recognition of Israel as a threshold nuclear state," wrote Amir Oren recently in Ha'aretz, basing his report on newly-declassified documents.
The Nixon advisers concluded that, all things considered, "we cannot force the Israelis to destroy design data and components, much less the technical knowledge in people’s minds, nor the existing talent for rapid improvisation." Thus, Davies wrote in July, two months before the Nixon-Meir meeting, the lesser evil would be to agree for Israel to "retain its 'technical option'" to produce nuclear weapons.
"If the Israelis show a disposition to meet us on the nuclear issue but are adamant on the Jericho missiles, we can drop back to a position of insisting on non-deployment of missiles and an undertaking by the Israelis to keep any further production secret," Davies added.
Such "nuclear ambiguity" has been both official Israeli and U.S. policy ever since President Richard Nixon met with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in September 1969. Accordingly, Nixon formally suspended all American inspection of and visitation to Israel's Dimona nuclear plant in 1970 and ceased demands that Israel join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

When President Obama first met with Netanyahu in May 2009, he confirmed the continuity of the secret agreement, a stance one Senate staffer reportedly described as "call[ing] into question virtually every part of the president's nonproliferation agenda" by giving "Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card."

The Clinton Doctrine

Hillary Clinton's review of Henry Kissinger's new book provides her and her public relations team an opportunity to set the stage for what seems like another inevitable run for president. It affirms her fealty to American imperialism and hegemony, her reliance on the advice of predecessors, colleagues and friends with demonstrably more appalling records than her own, and her firm commitment to continue the failed and dangerous policies of past administrations, all the while retaining the same sanctimony, self-righteousness, and entitlement that got her where she is today.

The review is already paying dividends as intended.

"I know Hillary as a person," Kissinger told NPR's Scott Simon the other day. "And as a personal friend, I would say yes, she'd be a good president." Though perhaps conflicted as a lifelong Republican as to whom he would vote for come 2016, Kissinger nevertheless confirmed, "Yes, I'd be comfortable with her as the president."

That alone should cost her the primary.

From voting to authorize the invasion of Iraq to her consistently hawkish defense of Israeli war crimes and constant bellicosity on Iran to her personal role in the Obama administration's expansion of the American surveillance state and drone program, and now hailing Henry Kissinger as a gritty, truth-telling idealist, the question remains: is there anything about Hillary Clinton that isn't absolutely terrible?

*****

UPDATE:

September 10, 2014 - Peter Hart of the vital media watchdog FAIR has a phenomenal piece up today about Kissinger's recent round of public appearances and interviews. It should be read in its entirety three times in a row and then shared with everyone you know:

And Now, a Word From Henry Kissinger…
*****

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dilanian's Dizzying Defense & Dissemination of Disinformation:
My Own Discussion with the 'CIA's Mop-Up Man'


On Wednesday afternoon, The Intercept's Ken Silverstein dropped a bombshell:
A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
That reporter is Ken Dilanian, who has since joined Associated Press as an intelligence reporter.

A swath of emails from the first half of 2012, released to The Intercept in response to a FOIA request, show that Dilanian maintained a particularly obsequious relationship with the media relations team over at the Central Intelligence Agency, the clandestine U.S. government service he was hired to cover for the paper.

Dilanian, dubbed "the CIA's Mop-Up Man" by The Intercept, went beyond the usual role of mainstream media stenographer of government talking points. According to Silverstein - and overwhelmingly corroborated by the content of the published documents - Dilanian "enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA's reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times."

Silverstein continues:
"I'm working on a story about congressional oversight of drone strikes that can present a good opportunity for you guys," Dilanian wrote in one email to a CIA press officer, explaining that what he intended to report would be "reassuring to the public" about CIA drone strikes. In another, after a series of back-and-forth emails about a pending story on CIA operations in Yemen, he sent a full draft of an unpublished report along with the subject line, "does this look better?" In another, he directly asks the flack: "You wouldn't put out disinformation on this, would you?"
Another example of Dilanian's shameful sycophancy is found in an email he sent to his contact at the CIA Office of Public Affairs on April 11, 2012. In the message, Dilanian passes along a 10-day-old dispatch from the Yemen Times, reporting on a U.S. drone strike in Azzan, a town in the country's eastern Shabwa province. Five people were killed in the strike, one of whom was immediately identified as 60-year-old civilian, Mohamed Saleh al Suna. Six children were also injured by shrapnel from the bombing while playing soccer.

Even though Reuters had already reported on the attack on March 30, 2012 - the day it occurred - Dilanian attempted to get confirmation on the strike and reported casualties from his buddies at the CIA. "This one sounds like you guys," he wrote, adding, "Do you agree that a civilian was killed?"


Far from acting as a venerable "Fourth Estate" check on the excesses state power, Dilanian clearly revels in his access to the upper echelons of the security and surveillance establishment, eager to laundering their lies and whitewash their war crimes.

While Dilanian's "closely collaborative" and "deferential relationship" with the CIA, as Silverstein puts it, is shameful, unprofessional, and does a great disservice to what should be the adversarial, critical, and challenging role the press should have vis-à-vis the government, it certainly comes as no surprise.

At least to me.

A month before the first of Dilanian's emails released to The Intercept was written, I engaged in a brief online correspondence with him.

On February 23, 2012, Ken Dilanian wrote a refreshingly solid piece on the U.S. government's view of the Iranian nuclear program, noting that there was still no evidence Iran is actually building a nuclear bomb nor actively pursuing the means to do so.

Nevertheless, the article contained a slight error regarding Dilanian's shorthand description of Iran's declared and safeguarded enrichment site at Fordow, which he wrote was a "clandestine underground facility" that had been "discovered" by "Western intelligence agencies."

Since the piece was otherwise generally good, I thought Dilanian would be receptive to a minor bit of fact-checking and decided to get in touch, using my nice voice.

What happened next was bizarre. The defensive posture immediately on display by Dilanian - someone with an important role at a large American newspaper - was revealing, and illuminating. No amount of reasoned explanation or fact-based rationale would do - he deflected, doubled-down, fumed, fulminated, and then, as the short-lived conversation continued, became increasingly insulting and juvenile.

He effectively admitted to being a sounding board for anonymous government spooks and berated anyone who doesn't have Pentagon and CIA officials on speed-dial as being ignorant and agenda-driven, citing a "conspiracy" I never suggested existed.

The best part, perhaps, was when he wrote, "[T]here are checks and balances, including Congressional oversight, journalistic scrutiny and whistleblowers from within – all of which insures, I would argue, that US officials do not often get away with elaborate lies..."

My guess is that there are hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who might beg to differ with his particularly sunny assessment if they weren't already dead.

At another point, Dilanian insisted to me that "U.S. government officials are not in the habit of elaborate disinformation campaigns," and then later, after I challenged the official narrative on something, writes, "but it's so easy for you to sit in Brooklyn, having no contact whatsoever with anyone senior from the government's national security apparatus, and having no real idea of how that apparatus works, and us[ing] phrases like 'a narrative emerges.'"

With the new revelations published by The Intercept, we now know, even more than before and beyond a shadow of doubt, who's actually responsible for foisting particular narratives upon the unwitting public.

But, hey, if only I sent fawning emails from Washington D.C. to my pals across the Potomac in Langley, maybe I'd have some clue as to what really going on. Thanks Ken, for setting me straight.

Below is our email exchange in full (the only editing made have been the standardization of the spelling of "Fordow" and the removal of Dilanian's mobile phone number):


From: Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 1:55 AM
To: Dilanian, Ken
Subject: Your Iran Piece: A Thank You and a Comment

Mr. Dilanian,

I'm writing to thank you for the important piece, "U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb," in the L.A. Times today. It contains a lot of vital information that is not reported on nearly often enough in the mainstream press. Those who follow this issue closely, like myself, have been writing about this information for a long time, so reading it in the L.A. Times is a huge boost to getting the truth out.

I do question, however, your decision to include the following sentence: "In 2009, Western intelligence agencies discovered a clandestine underground facility called Fordow, near the city of Qom..."

In fact, the Fordow plant was not really "discovered" by "Western intelligence agencies"; rather, it was announced by Iran to the IAEA on September 21, 2009. Barack Obama's sensationalist press conference, alongside Nicholas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown in Pittsburgh, during which supposedly "revealed" the existence of the Fordow facility to the world, occurred on September 25, 2009, four days after Iran itself told the IAEA about the plant, which was subsequently described as “a hole in a mountain” and “nothing to be worried about” by then-IAEA Secretary General Mohammed ElBaradei.

In advance of Obama's supposed revelation, IAEA spokesman Marc Vidricaire told reporters, "I can confirm that on 21 September, Iran informed the IAEA in a letter that a new pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction in the country."

Obama even acknowledged this fact in his speech, noting, "Earlier this week, the Iranian government presented a letter to the IAEA that made reference to a new enrichment facility...", though he deliberately omitted the inconvenient fact that Iran is only legally obligated to inform the IAEA of new facilities within 180 days of the introduction of nuclear material thereby making his own accusation of Iran's alleged intransigence deliberately deceiving.

Unfortunately, your report also fails to acknowledge the essential fact that IAEA spokesman Gill Tudor has confirmed: “All nuclear material in the [Fordow] facility remains under the agency’s containment and surveillance.”

In such an otherwise excellent report, it is frustrating to see the "secret Fordow facility" meme still repeated.

Considering your attention to the Iranian nuclear issue and constant dis- and misinformation, speculation and propaganda regarding Iran's capabilities and intentions, I think you might be interested in this piece of mine from December 2010, which has subsequently been updated over 51 times with new predictions since its original publication: The Phantom Menace: Fantasies, Falsehoods, and Fear-Mongering about Iran's Nuclear Program

Best,
Nima Shirazi
Brooklyn, NY



From: Dilanian, Ken
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 9:35 AM
To: Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America
Subject: Re: Your Iran Piece: A Thank You and a Comment


Mr. Shirazi, thanks for your comment. I believe you are flat wrong about Fordow. Iran declared it only after Iran discovered that Western intelligence agencies knew about it. I did get the date wrong – the U.S. actually discovered it years before, and announced it only after Iran’s preemptive letter. See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/26/world/middleeast/26intel.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all

http://www.isisnucleariran.org/assets/pdf/Qom_Q-As.pdf

Best,

Ken Dilanian
National Security Correspondent
Los Angeles Times
O:(202) 824 8328
Twitter: @KenDilanianLAT





From: Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 10:12 AM
To: Dilanian, Ken
Subject: Re: Your Iran Piece: A Thank You and a Comment

Thanks for replying so quickly, Ken.

That Iran was merely reacting to a Western discovery and hoping to pre-empt its publicity is precisely the narrative that has been wholeheartedly accepted by the press without any hint of scrutiny or shred of evidence. First off, how would Iran find out that Obama was going to hold a press conference announcing the "discovery" of the site with enough time to decide to "preemptively" draft a letter to the IAEA? - a declaration, it should be pointed out, that took place well before the 180 days before nuclear material was introduced to the site as mandated by Iran's ratified Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. Actually, Iran announced the site about a year and a half before it technically and legally had to. I suppose, though, it is possible that Iranian agents had access to Rahm Emanuel's google calendar.

It's silly to rehash what has been addressed already, but I think IPS journalist Gareth Porter's recent article on this very subject in instructive (forgive me for quoting at length):

The Clinton and Hague statements [that Fordo was "covert" and "clandestine" before revealed to the world by the West] recalled a briefing for reporters during the Pittsburgh G20 summit meeting Sep. 25, 2009, at which a "senior administration official" asserted that Iran had informed the IAEA about the Fordow site in a Sep. 21 letter only after it had "learned that the secrecy of the facility was compromised".

That administration claim was quickly accepted by major media outlets without any investigation of the facts. That story line is so deeply entrenched in media consciousness that even before Clinton's remarks, Reuters and Associated Press had published reports from their Vienna correspondents that repeated the official Obama administration line that Iran had revealed the Fordow site only after Western intelligence had discovered it.

But the administration never offered the slightest evidence to support that assertion, and there is one major reason for doubting it: the United States did not inform the IAEA about any nuclear facility at Fordow until three days after Iran's Sep. 21, 2009 formal letter notifying the IAEA of the Fordow enrichment facility, because it couldn't be certain that it was a nuclear site.

Mohammed ElBaradei, then director general of the IAEA, reveals in his 2011 memoir that Robert Einhorn, the State Department's special advisor for nonproliferation and arms control, informed him Sep. 24 about U.S. intelligence on the Fordow site – three days after the Iranian letter had been received.

An irritated ElBaradei demanded to know why he had not been told before the Iranian letter.

Einhorn responded that the United States "had not been sure of the nature of the facility", ElBaradei wrote.

The administration's claim that Iran announced the site because it believed U.S. intelligence had "identified it" was also belied by a set of questions and answers issued by the Obama administration on the same day as the press briefing. The answer it provided to the question, "Why did the Iranians decide to reveal this facility at this time," was "We do not know."

Greg Thielmann, who was a top official in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research until 2003 and was on the staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during the 2009 episode, told IPS the evidence for the claim that Iran believed the site had been discovered was "all circumstantial".

Analysts were suspicious of the Iranian letter to the IAEA, Thielmann said, because, "it had the appearance of something put together hurriedly."

But there is an alternative explanation: the decision to reveal the existence of a second prospective enrichment site – this one built into the side of a mountain – appears to have reflected the need to strengthen Iran's hand in a meeting with the "P5 + 1" group of state led by the United States that was only 10 days away.

The Iranian announcement that it would participate in the meeting on Sep. 14, 2009 came on the same day that the head of Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, warned against an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

The idea that Iran was planning to enrich uranium secretly at Fordow assumes that the Iranians were not aware that U.S. intelligence had been carrying out aerial surveillance of the site for years. That is hardly credible in light of the fact that the Mujahideen-E-Khalq (MEK), the armed opposition group with links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence, had drawn attention to the Fordow site in a December 2005 press conference – well before it had been selected for a second enrichment plant.
Anyway, whether you roll your eyes or not about this minor point of contention, my opinion, or Porter's conclusions, I do thank you again for your LAT piece and look forward to reading more from you in the future.

Best,
Nima



From: Dilanian, Ken
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 10:32 AM
To: Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America
Subject: Re: Your Iran Piece: A Thank You and a Comment


Nima, the problem with intelligence reporting is there is often no way to independently confirm what your sources are telling you. You just have to rely on triangulating the information, on your years of experience dealing with certain people, and on the fact that—while you may find this hard to believe—U.S. government officials are not in the habit of elaborate disinformation campaigns. Not to say it never happens, of course, but it’s just not typically the way it works. I am confident in the New York Times reporting on this, which was based on multiple sources from within the U.S. intelligence community. What seems to be the case is that the US, France and Britain thought they knew what was there, but were not 100% certain until Iran admitted it, which may be why they didn’t send a letter to the IAEA. Just like the CIA wasn’t certain bin Laden was in Abbottabad until they ID’d his body. It is, of course, easy to say there isn’t a “shred of evidence” to support what anonymous US intelligence sources are claiming. That is true for just about any story about secret intelligence. But there are checks and balances, including Congressional oversight, journalistic scrutiny and whistleblowers from within – all of which insures, I would argue, that US officials do not often get away with elaborate lies of the kind you are suggesting they perpetrating here. Ken




From: Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 2:49 PM
To: Dilanian, Ken
Subject: Re: Your Iran Piece: A Thank You and a Comment

I don't think it's particularly elaborate or dastardly for U.S. officials to establish a particular narrative regarding alleged Iranian intransigence and malfeasance. This one is actually quite simple - Iran legally places a new facility under full IAEA Safeguards in line with its obligations and, as a result, undercuts a big, fancy announcement by the president. So, in response, a narrative emerges that Iran did this deliberately because they had been "found out." And the press repeats that story until it becomes established, unquestioned fact.

Pretty simple, really.

Anyway, no need to bicker about this. I'm glad to hear you have such confidence in the honesty of our government officials and think that they "do not often get away with elaborate lies."

Best,
Nima



From: Dilanian, Ken
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 2:58 PM
To: Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America
Subject: Re: Your Iran Piece: A Thank You and a Comment


but it’s so easy for you to sit in Brooklyn, having no contact whatsoever with anyone senior from the government’s national security apparatus, and having no real idea of how that apparatus works, and uses phrases like “a narrative emerges.”; what you are saying there is that multiple people from multiple government agencies conspired in a big lie. you can’t make the accusation and then hide behind euphemisms. and what I’m saying is, we live in a democracy, it doesn’t (usually) work like that. not that people are so righteous, but that it’s impossible to orchestrate a conspiracy like that. there are 16 intel agencies, and a lot of other people with access to this sort of information, including liberal democrats and conservative republicans. even if obama and his advisers wanted to lie about something like this, some malcontent somewhere would talk.




I chose not to carry the conversation further. After all, I had plenty of more sitting to do in Brooklyn, far far away from all those truth-tellers in the CIA press office.

*****

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, Now in Palestine


Just like another Israel,
by enemies surrounded, lost in the veld,

but for another Canaan elected,
led forward by God's plan.

- Reverend J.D. du Toit, Potgieter's Trek (1909)

This past May, in a relatively banal column touting the necessity of an impossible "two-state solution" in the context of what he deemed to be U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's "specious comparison" of a potential Israeli future to South African apartheid, former Ha'aretz editor-in-chief David Landau wrote:
This resort to apartheid infuriates the majority of Israelis and Israel-lovers, including those in the peace camp, and one can readily understand why. Apartheid was based on racism; Israeli Jews are not racist. They may occupy, persecute and discriminate Palestinians, but they act out of misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict. Not out of racism.
It would be a gross understatement to say that Landau's formulation was fundamentally flawed.

First and foremost, there is a vast amount of evidence proving that Jewish Israeli society - built wholly upon the 19th century premise (and promise) of ethnic and religious superiority, exclusivity, and privilege enforced through ethnic cleansing, forced expulsion, displacement and dispossession, segregation, colonization and occupation - is somehow becoming even more openly racist. Poll after poll reveals increasingly bigoted trends.

The work of reporters like David Sheen and Max Blumenthal, for instance, routinely demonstrates a viciously militarized and unjust society masquerading as an embattled liberal democracy, acting with aggression and impunity. More recently, pogroms targeting migrants and refugees from Africa, incitement against Palestinians inside Israel, and explicit anti-miscegenation campaigns are becoming more frequent and more dangerous.

A country for "the white man"

In a mid-2012 interview, Israel's Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that Africans, "along with the Palestinians, will bring a quick end to the Zionist dream," since "[m]ost of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn't belong to us, the white man." Referring to refugees from Sudan and Eritrea as an "infiltrator threat," he told the press he was eager to deport all African immigrants for, in his words, "the benefit of the Zionist dream."

A chapter in a forthcoming book, detailing a three-year, anthropological study of the attitudes of typical, secular Israeli high school students conducted by Dr. Idan Yaron, is stark in its assessment of the cultural racism and hatred present in Israeli society. Reporter Ori Kashti notes that, based upon Yaron's observations, "such hatred is a basic everyday element among youth, and a key component of their identity. Yaron portrays the hatred without rose-colored glasses or any attempt to present it as a sign of social 'unity.' What he observed is unfiltered hatred."

Landau's desperate defense against the apartheid label perfectly demonstrates the Liberal Zionist need to insist that Israel and its founding ideology are not inherently racist, a position less and less palatable to people who are actually paying attention.

His claim that because "Israeli Jews are not racist," and therefore Israel can't possibly be deemed a "apartheid" state, not only misunderstands the actual definition of apartheid, which isn't merely race-based discrimination and oppression. It also mirrors precisely the arguments made by defenders of South African apartheid in opposition to calls for equal human and civil rights.

Zionism's defenders mirror apartheid's apologists

Beyond the shared "promised land" and "chosen people" rhetoric that has inspired both the Afrikaner and Zionist ideologies of racial, religious, and ethnic supremacy, so has that of land redemption through settler-colonialism and transplanting indigenous populations. The connective tissue between apartheid and Zionism is thick, and not only in that both European colonial ideologies were officially institutionalized and implemented against native peoples as government policy in 1948.

Historian Donald Akenson has written, "The very spine of Afrikaner history (no less than the historical sense of the Hebrew scriptures upon which it is based) involves the winning of 'the Land' from alien, and indeed, evil forces."

One can easily see a corollary in the words of David Ben-Gurion, written in a 1937 letter to his son, Amos. Palestine, he wrote, "contains vast colonization potential" for Jewish settlement to exploit. Moreover, he declared, "What we really want is not that the land remain whole and unified. What we want is that the whole and unified land be Jewish. A unified Eretz Israel would be no source of satisfaction for me - if it were Arab." (emphasis in original)

This past June, settler leader Dani Dayan argued in the New York Times that, as summarized by David Samel, "Israel retain control of 'Judea and Samaria,' that it continue to exercise military rule over millions of stateless Palestinians, but that it loosen its stranglehold by making concerted efforts to make Palestinians happier despite the permanent loss of freedom, equality in the land of their birth, and justice under international law."

Dayan's essay calls for what is essentially, in Samel's words, "window dressing of reduced restrictions on Palestinians" in order to "keep the natives happy." Just like his more "liberal" counterparts like David Landau on the west side of the Green Line, Dayan insists, "we settlers were never driven — except for fringe elements — by bigotry, hate or racism."

This argument effectively relies on the disingenuous presumption that the actual victims of an exclusivist, 19th century European ideology - the colonized indigenous population - are merely incidental to the ideology itself. That is, as Landau wrote, "misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict" are really to blame for the oppression, discrimination and violence against Palestinians, not the racist obligations of Zionism.

In October 1964, Foreign Affairs published the lengthy essay, "In Defense of Apartheid," by Charles A. W. Manning. Not only did Manning accuse outside meddlers and finger-waggers of refusing to acknowledge South Africa's right to exist as an apartheid state, he also justified its racist policies as "a heritage from a complicated past."

Quoting approvingly from the 1954 Tomlinson Commission, Manning wrote that while "a continuation of the policy of integration would intensify racial friction and animosity... the only alternative is to promote the establishment of separate communities in their own separate territories where each will have the fullest opportunity for self-expression and development."

Two states for two peoples, indeed.

In the face of international opprobrium, apartheid is "the philosophy of patriots," Manning explained, "a remedial treatment for a state of things deriving from the past." He added that apartheid is a matter of "nationalism, rather than racialism."
It is easy for the foreigner to deride a nationalism which he does not share; but nowhere in human history has nationalism ever been destroyed by foreign scorn. Admittedly, Afrikaner nationalism is a form of collective selfishness; but to say this is simply to say that it is an authentic case of nationalism. For what is nationalism anywhere if not collective self-love? What underlies apartheid is at bottom an attitude not toward the black man, but toward the forefathers-and the future-of the Afrikaner people.
Manning continued:
Deplore the white man's collective self-concern, and you may equally well damn every other example of nationalism, white or black. It is absurd to assume that nationalism is nice, or nasty, according to its color.
Manning bemoaned that, as a result of misunderstanding the necessity and, yes, benevolence of apartheid, even South Africa's best friends were beginning to abandon it. "Israel finds it necessary to ignore the analogy between South Africa's predicament and her own," he lamented.

Still, Israel maintained diplomatic relations with South Africa into 1987 and was one of the last countries to join the international boycott campaign.

'National suicide'

In 2012, Israel's High Court upheld the state's explicitly discriminatory "Citizenship and Entry" law, which, as Ben White has explained, "places severe restrictions on the ability of Palestinian citizens of Israel to live with spouses from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as from so-called 'enemy states' (defined as Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq)." The ruling stated that "Palestinians who gain Israeli citizenship through marriage pose a security threat."

Writing in Al Jazeera, following the decision, White elaborated:
In the majority opinion, Justice Asher Grunis wrote that “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide”, a term often invoked by those worrying about what realising Palestinian rights would mean for Israel's Jewish majority. This same phrase was invoked by the Interior Minister Eli Yishai, while coalition chair and Likud MK Ze'ev Elkin applauded the High Court judges for understanding, as he put it, that “human rights cannot jeopardize the State”.
A particularly instructive reaction came from Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, who said that the decision “articulates the rationale of separation between the (two) peoples and the need to maintain a Jewish majority and the (Jewish) character of the state”.
The notion that advocating and legislating in favor of "human rights" and equality would be the death knell of the Israeli state - "national suicide" - perfectly articulates that inherent injustice of Zionism; indeed, it is a self-indicting statement.

And, as has already been noted here and elsewhere, is yet one more example of how Israel's apologists employ precisely the same logic, arguments and excuses - often literally the same words, verbatim - as the staunch defenders of the apartheid system in South Africa.

In April 1953, on the eve of assembly elections in South Africa, Prime Minister D.F. Malan warned that outside forces - including "the United Nations, Communist Russia... as well as a hostile press" - were "trying to force upon us equality, which must inevitably mean to white South Africa nothing less than national suicide."

Malan added, "I consider the approaching election South Africa's last chance to remain a white man's country."

Just months after Malan and his National Party won the election and consolidated power, South Africa's London-based High Commissioner A.L. Geyer delivered a speech on August 19, 1953 entitled, "The Case for Apartheid," before the city's Rotary Club. He argued against the indigenous claims of the native black population ("South Africa is no more the original home of its black Africans, the Bantu, than it is of its white Africans"); that the apartheid state is the only "homeland" known to white South Africans ("the only independent white nation in all Africa... a nation which has created a highly developed modern state"); and that "South Africa is the only independent country in the world in which white people are outnumbered by black people."

These claims echo common hasbara tropes: that Palestinians are an "invented people" and that the Arab majority in Palestine was due to immigration into Palestine rather than an ancient indigenous population with roots in that land for centuries, if not millennia; that Israel is the "only democracy in the Middle East," a bright bastion of technology and Western modernism amidst a sea of darker-skinned barbarians.

In his speech, Geyer - who was national chairman of the South African Bureau of Racial Affairs, known, ironically, by the acronym "SABRA" - turns to the question of what the future South Africa will look like and sees "two possible lines of development: Apartheid or Partnership." He explains:
Partnership means Cooperation of the individual citizens within a single community, irrespective of race... [It] demands that there shall be no discrimination whatsoever in trade and industry, in the professions and the Public Service. Therefore, whether a man is black or a white African, must according to this policy be as irrelevant as whether in London a man is a Scotsman or an Englishman. I take it: that Partnership must also aim at the eventual disappearance of all social segregation based on race.
Geyer, speaking on behalf of those intent on maintaining a stratified and discriminatory society, was obviously not a fan of this prospective outcome. Just as those who still push for an illusory "two-state solution" insist that a Jewish majority must be artificially engineered to exclude as many non-Jews as possible within the area controlled by Israel for a "Jewish and democratic" state to continue existing, Geyer too bristled at the idea of true self-determination wherein the result wasn't already predetermined through gerrymandered demographics.

If the black population were to be given full voting rights, for instance, whites would no longer hold a monopoly on political power in the country. The inevitable result, Geyer warned, would be "black domination, in the sense that power must pass to the immense African majority."

This sentiment was similarly articulated by Ehud Olmert, then the Israeli Prime Minister, in a 2007 interview with Ha'aretz. "If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories)," he said "then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished."

Here's how Geyer, in 1953, articulated his argument against such a horrifying future of democracy, equality, and justice:
Need I say more to show that this policy of Partnership could, in South Africa, only mean the eventual disappearance of the white South African nation? And will you be greatly surprised if I tell you that this white nation is not prepared to commit national suicide, not even by slow poisoning? The only alternative is a policy of apartheid, the policy of separate development.
Indeed, as Israeli Justice Grunis reminded us, "human rights are not a prescription for national suicide." Geyer couldn't have agreed more. Denying basic and fundamental rights, while promoting and implementing a policy of demographic segregation and geographic separation, was a matter of survival, Geyer argued - just like his Zionist successors do now.

"Apartheid is a policy of self-preservation," Geyer said. "We make no apology for possessing that very natural urge. But it is more than that. It is an attempt at self­-preservation in a manner that will enable the Bantu to develop fully as a separate people." As the native black Africa population in South Africa was, Geyer noted, "still very immature," efforts must be made "to develop the Bantu areas both agriculturally and industrially, with the object of making these areas in every sense the national home of the Bantu."

Thirty years later, very little had actually changed.

In his infamous "Rubicon" speech, delivered in Durban on August 15, 1985, South African president P.W. Botha declared that "most leaders in their own right in South Africa and reasonable South Africans will not accept the principle of one-man-one-vote in a unitary system. That would lead to domination of one over the other and it would lead to chaos. Consequently, I reject it as a solution."

Botha added, "I am not prepared to lead White South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide. Destroy White South Africa and our influence, and this country will drift into faction strife, chaos and poverty."

In response, ANC president Oliver Tambo condemned Botha's disingenuous statements about his apartheid regime's commitment to "the protection of minorities" and "the just and equal treatment of all parts of South Africa." Botha, he said, had instead committed to the continued "oppression of the overwhelming majority of our people" and "promised our people more brutal repression."

Calling for increased resistance, through both armed struggle and the imposition of international sanctions, Tambo declared that all victims of apartheid were "ready to make any and all sacrifices to achieve justice and democracy based on the principle of one man, one vote in a unitary South Africa."

That very same year, Raphael Israeli, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and future client of the neoconservative PR firm Benador Associates, published an essay promoting increased Zionist colonization of the West Bank and Gaza and then subsequent partition of what he called "Greater Palestine" (which includes Jordan) as part of a potential solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli argued that "the seemingly reasonable claim that the 'state belongs to all its inhabitants'" anticipates the "nightmare of a bi-national state" in which "Israel is no longer a state of the Jews or a Jewish state."

The essay, entitled "One Palestinian People and One Palestine," was eventually included in a collection edited by Israeli himself entitled, "Dangers of a Palestinian State."

In laying out his vision for a bizarre tripartite entity within "Greater Palestine," with redefined parameters of sovereignty and self-determination in which a "Palestinian government" is established in Amman, Jordan, alongside the Hashemite monarchy, and Israeli military control over the West Bank continues until a final settlement on borders is agreed upon.

Israeli stresses that Jewish citizens of the Zionist state reject the implementation of a "one person, one vote" system throughout Israel and the territories it occupies because they would be "faced with an intractable dilemma: either a democratic and egalitarian Israel with rights for all, with the corollaries of a bi-national state immediately and an Arab-majority state in the future; or Jewish Israel where the Jews would maintain rights and rule and the Arabs would be devoid of both."

"No Israeli government," the renowned academic wrote, "could face that dilemma and resolve it in any acceptable way."

For Zionism, as it was for apartheid, equality and human rights are non-starters. The fear that a "one person, one vote" system and of a "state for all its citizens" instills in Zionists is no different from that expressed by defenders of South African apartheid.

Defended by de Klerk

Following John Kerry's "apartheid" comment earlier this year, F.W. de Klerk, the former South Africa prime minister who presided over the dismantling of the apartheid regime, came to Israel's defense. "I think it's unfair to call Israel an apartheid state," he said.

This is the same de Klerk, however, who two years earlier reflected that, while "[i]n as much as it trampled human rights, [apartheid] was and remains morally indefensible," he still defended what he said was the system's "original concept of seeking to bring justice to all South Africans through the concept of nation states."

De Klerk explained that the Bantustanization of South Africa was conceived as a way to "bring justice for black South Africans in a way which would not - that's what I believed then - destroy the justice to which my people were entitled."  He added that it was "not repugnant" to believe that "ethnic entities with one culture, with one language, can be happy and can fulfill their democratic aspirations in [their] own state," separate from one another.

After his comments sparked negative reactions, de Klerk's spokesman walked them back. When "an artificial creation" like apartheid fell, the spokesman said, "you can go two ways - either by going your separate ways like in the Soviet Union or in what is being suggested for Israel and Palestine, or by trying to build a multicultural society."

When "the first option" failed in South Africa, apartheid leaders "changed course," he said, continuing, "It is not immoral for the Afrikaners to want to rule themselves any more than it is for the Israelis or the Scots to wish for the same things."

Israel and its defenders go to great lengths to insist the "Jewish state" is not an apartheid one. Curious, then, that the only arguments they can muster in their favor are precisely those that were used to apologize for South Africa's decades of indefensible discrimination and violence.

*****

A version of this post was published at Mondoweiss on September 5, 2014.

*****