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.

*****

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Forever Threat: The Imminent Attack on Iran That Will Never Happen


"Israel has drawn up plans for a combined air and ground attack on Iranian nuclear installations if diplomacy fails to halt Tehran's atomic program..."
- Toledo Blade, March 14, 2005

Last month, amid the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, accomplished lunatic Louie Gohmert, a Republican congressman from Texas, took to the House floor and called for Iran to be attacked.

After insisting it is "time to cut off every dime of American money going to anyone who has any kind of relationship with Hamas or those killing in the Middle East, and especially in Israel," Gohmert added, "It is time to bomb Iran's nuclear capabilities. It is time for the United States, if we are not going to stop Iran's nukes, then let Israel do it. A friend will not put another friend in this kind of jeopardy."

Never mind that Iran has no "nukes" for anyone to "stop," since it's not actually making any and never has made or acquired any. Never mind that Iran has been consistently complying with the prescriptions of the multilateral deal agreed to last November by Iran and six world powers. Never mind that a number of recent articles in widely-read media outlets have addressed the myriad falsehoods and myths responsible for the past three decades of fear-mongering and propaganda about Iran's civilian nuclear program.

Still, the persistent false narrative that military strikes by either the United States or Israel may follow any potential failure to reach a deal continues to be repeated in the press. Of course, the fact that any such attack would be unequivocally illegal under international law is rarely noted in these assessments. Indeed, even the "threat" of attack is itself expressly prohibited under the terms of the United Nations Charter.

Pronouncements that Iran is close to having a nuclear bomb, or close to being bombed, are ubiquitous in the media. Threats against Iran - by both the United States and Israel - have been made for decades, despite routine Iranian dismissal of such rhetoric as mere bluster.

The frequency of such threats - always reported with fever-pitched alacrity by a dutiful and prostrate press - is alarming.

Not only is an American or Israeli attack on Iran always just around the bend - regardless of the state of diplomacy or intelligence assessments - but the media consistently provides fantasy scenarios by which its audience can imagine, replete with maps and graphics, just how such war crimes would take place.

Over twenty years ago, a report in The Independent published on June 23, 1994 revealed that the Pentagon had inked a deal to provide Israel with advanced F-15I fighter jets, designed to "enable the Israelis to carry out strikes deep into Iraq and Iran without refuelling."

The next year, on May 21, 1995, The Independent reported that "Israel is considering attacking Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent Iran acquiring a bomb, according to Israeli press reports."

More than two years later, on December 9, 1997, a Times of London headline screamed, "Israel steps up plans for air attacks on Iran." The article, written by Christopher Walker, reported on the myriad "options" Israel had in confronting what it deemed "Iran's Russian-backed missile and nuclear weapon programme."

Such reports have been published ever since. Of course, neither the United States nor Israel will attack Iran, regardless of the success or failure of negotiations, but such reports (often the result of strategically timed "leaks" by anonymous government officials) serve to not only to intentionally torpedo diplomacy but also mislead the public into believing the absurdly false narrative surrounding the Iranian nuclear program; that is, either Iran must be bombed or it will acquire a nuclear arsenal. This is nonsense.

Below are some of the constant headlines we've seen over the past dozen years promoting such propaganda. When will this madness - this pathological obsession with the false necessity of dropping bombs and the righteous inevitability of killing people - stop?

The Times of London, November 5, 2002:


AFP, October 11, 2003:


The Scotsman, November 22, 2003:


New York Daily News, November 23, 2003:


The New York Times, August 21, 2004:


Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2004:


The Atlantic, December 2004:


CNN, January 17, 2005:


The Jerusalem Post, January 21, 2005:


The Independent, January 27, 2005:


Toledo Blade, March 14, 2005:


Associated Press, December 4, 2005:


The Straits Times, December 17, 2005:


Associated Press, January 22, 2006:


The Washington Post, April 9, 2006:


Raw Story, April 16, 2006:


The New Yorker, April 17, 2006:



The Weekly Standard, April 24, 2006:

The Weekly Standard, April 24, 2006:


Fox News, June 4, 2006:


Ha'aretz, September 17, 2006:


Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2006:


The Telegraph, February 24, 2007:


Associated Press, March 21, 2007:


International Security, Spring 2007:


The Telegraph, May 16, 2007:


The Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2007:


Wired, August 14, 2007:


Esquire, October 18, 2007:


Newsweek, December 19, 2007:


The American Conservative, May 9, 2008:


The Daily Star (Lebanon), May 30, 2008:


USA Today, June 6, 2008:


The Telegraph, June 7, 2008:


The Age, June 9, 2008:


Fox News, June 20, 2008:


The Telegraph, June 23, 2008:


ABC News, July 1, 2008:


Ha'aretz, July 2, 2008:


AFP, July 30, 2008:


Associated Press, August 7, 2008:


CBS News, August 7, 2008:


Talk Radio News Service, September 2, 2008:



The Daily Telegraph, September 12, 2008:



Center for Strategic & International Studies, March 14, 2009:



Wired, April 2, 2009:


Slate, April 9, 2009:


Salon, April 14, 2009:


The Times of London, April 18, 2009:


The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2009:


The Washington Post, July 2, 2009:


CBS News, July 27, 2009:


The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2009:



Bloomberg, July 31, 2009:



Fox News, August 4, 2009:



Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2009:


Talking Points Memo, August 31, 2009:


Fox News, September 21, 2009:


Huffington Post, September 28, 2009:


Ynet, October 9, 2009:


The Washington Times, October 22, 2009:


Ha'aretz, November 6, 2009:


The New York Times, December 23, 2009:


The National Review, February 2, 2010:



Newsmax, April 2, 2010:


The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2010:


AFP, June 12, 2010:


TIME, July 15, 2010:


The Weekly Standard, July 26, 2010:


Christian Science Monitor, August 12, 2010:


The Spectator (UK), August 12, 2010:


Christian Science Monitor, August 13, 2010:


The Weekly Standard, August 14, 2010:


The Week, August 17, 2010:


New York Daily News, August 17, 2010:


The Atlantic, August 18, 2010:


Daily Mail, August 18, 2010:


Talking Points Memo, August 31, 2009:


The Atlantic, September 2010:


Newsmax, September 2, 2010:


The Atlantic, November 28, 2010:


The Guardian, November 28, 2010:


AFP, November 29, 2010:


The Australian, November 30, 2010:


The Washington Times, December 3, 2010:


The Australian, January 13, 2011:


Associated Press, May 30, 2011:


Ha'aretz, September 28, 2011:


Associated Press, November 2, 2011:


The Daily Beast, November 2, 2011:


The Guardian, November 2, 2011:


The Telegraph, November 6, 2011:


Associated Press, November 8, 2011:



Reuters, November 9, 2011:


Foreign Affairs, November 9, 2011:


Commentary, November 9, 2011:


Arutz Sheva, November 10, 2011:


Chicago Tribune, November 13, 2011:


Daily Mail, November 17, 2011:



Tablet, November 18, 2011:



Arutz Sheva, December 1, 2011:


Truthout, December 8, 2011:



The New York Times, January 25, 2012:


The Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2012:


Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012:


The Washington Post, February 2, 2012:


Reuters, February 3, 2012:


Arutz Sheva, February 3, 2012:


Foreign Affairs, February 23, 2012:


Associated Press, February 27, 2012:



The Nation (Pakistan), February 28, 2012:


The Washington Post, February 29, 2012:


U.S. News & World Report, March 2, 2012:


U.S. News & World Report, March 2, 2012:


The Times of Israel, March 6, 2012:


Congressional Research Service, March 27, 2012:


Ha'aretz, March 28, 2012:


CNN, March 30, 2012:


Yedioth Ahronoth, April 22, 2012:


Salon/GlobalPost, May 9, 2012:


The Telegraph, May 17, 2012:


CBN News, May 24, 2012:


The Blaze, July 8, 2012:


Tablet, July 11, 2012:


Reuters, August 10, 2012:


The Times of Israel, August 11, 2012:


The Daily Mail, August 21, 2012:


The Jewish Chronicle, August 27, 2012:


Ha'aretz, September 17, 2012:


Forbes, September 30, 2012:


National Journal, October 9, 2012:


The Telegraph, October 9, 2012:


The Telegraph, November 4, 2012:



Voice of America, December 19, 2012:


The New York Times, January 26, 2013:


The Times of Israel, March 14, 2013:


Newsmax, April 13, 2013:


The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2013:


Ha'aretz, May 3, 2013:


The Times of Israel, May 9, 2013:


Mother Jones / TomDispatch, May 13, 2013:



The Atlantic, May 28, 2013:



The Algemeiner, May 29, 2013:



Ha'aretz, June 18, 2013:



Al Jazeera English, July 17, 2013:


The Atlantic, August 1, 2013:


Washington Examiner
, September 18, 2013:


Gatestone Institute, October 7, 2013:


The Jerusalem Post, October 24, 2013:


WorldNetDaily, November 3, 2013:



Financial Times, November 17, 2013:


The Times of Israel, November 17, 2013:



CNN, November 19, 2013:


USA Today, November 25, 2013:



The Times of London, November 26, 2013:


Defense News, December 4, 2013:


CBS News, December 6, 2013:


The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2013:


Crooks and Liars, December 29, 2013:


ThinkProgress, January 2, 2014:


Foreign Affairs, January 7, 2014:


Ha'aretz, March 19, 2014:


Associated Press, March 21, 2014:


Jewish and Israel News (JNS), April 14, 2014:


The National Interest, April 16, 2014:


Iran Times, May 16, 2014:


The Spectator (UK)
, May 17, 2014:



Defense News, June 8, 2014:


Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), June 12, 2014:


The Raw Story, July 23, 2014:


*****

UPDATE:

August 30, 2014 - Like clockwork, yet another headline asking the question everyone already knows the answer to.

SPOILER: no.

Al Arabiya, August 29, 2014:


h/t Matt Diaz

*****

UPDATE II:

September 10, 2014 - There's a lot wrong with Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry's latest analysis, a lot of which is taken to task by the American Conservative's Daniel Larison. False premises ("Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is still one of the most dangerous threats to the West," begins Gobry) breed misguided conclusions ("Given the Iranian mullahs' incentive matrix, there is no course for them other than developing a nuke as fast as possible," he writes, before adding that Israel really has no logical choice but to commit the supreme international crime of initiating a war of aggression against Iran), and this piece is a perfect test case. Nearly every single point Gobry makes springs from a complete fallacy or ignorant presumption.

This kind of utter nonsense needs to stop immediately.

The Week, September 9, 2014:


*****

UPDATE III:

November 22, 2014 - As the latest deadline for nuclear negotiations draws near, the same panicked - and utterly predictable - threats are emerging once again in the Israeli press. Today, the Jerusalem Post's Michael Wilner published this:


Based on the claims of an unnamed "Israeli official," Wilner writes that, with a deal possibly in the works and set to be signed by Monday, "Israel has issued a stark, public warning to its allies with a clear argument: Current proposals guarantee the perpetuation of a crisis, backing Israel into a corner from which military force against Iran provides the only logical exit."

Responding to the suggestion that Israeli has no capacity to conduct such an attack on Iran, or destroy Iranian nuclear infrastructure completely even if it did, the anonymous Israeli boasted, "People have underestimated Israel many, many times in the past, and they underestimate it now."

This is all chest-thumping horseshit by an aggressive settler-colonial state, built upon war crimes and the ruins of a brutalized indigenous people, terrified by the notion of losing its monopoly on power in the Middle East.

Don't believe the hype. Israel will never attack Iran, despite what they want us all to believe.

*****

UPDATE IV:

November 24, 2014 - Seriously, this is nonsense.


*****

UPDATE V:

December 14, 2014 - Aww, this stupid jackass:


And this other stupid jackass:


And these other stupid jackasses:


Oh yeah, and her:


*****

UPDATE VI:

February 12, 2015 - In case you thought Israeli officials might have something original to say about anything, think again. This just - and always - in:


*****

UPDATE VII:

February 24, 2015 - Another day, another mountain of bullshit. This just in from The Jerusalem Post!


*****

UPDATE VIII:

March 2, 2015 - Yawn.


*****

UPDATE IX:

March 3, 2015 - Dun-dun-duuuuuuuuuuuun.


*****

UPDATE X:

March 13, 2015 - Career propagandist and anti-Iran extremist Joshua Muravchik has taken to The Washington Post opinion pages to make a terrible case for the United States to commit the supreme international crime: that is, the initiation of a war of aggression. Muravchik has been crossing his fingers for an attack on Iran for years now, writing in the Los Angeles Times that "We must bomb Iran" as far back as 2006 and issuing the same urgent message in USA Today in 2011.

Here's his latest dreadful appeal:


How many more appalling appeals to violence and clear disregard for basic precepts of international and humanitarian law must we endure? It will come as no surprise that, especially in the coming weeks, the answer is: a lot.

*****

UPDATE XI:

March 20, 2015 - One of Congress' most moronic members has again issued a call to arms against Iran. Louie Gohmert, whose bellicose buffoonery precipitated this very post last July, is at it again:


*****

UPDATE XII:

March 26, 2015 - War-crazed, neocon nutjob John Bolton has published a new call for war crimes in the New York Times:


Bolton's rationale is disturbed and delusional, built upon an ideological obsession with bombing Middle Eastern people to death in the name of American power and Israeli hegemony. The oped is rife with outright lies, deliberate distortions, and long-debunked myths about Iran's nuclear program.

It is shameful that the Times would find this fit to publish, rather than merely suggesting Bolton be evaluated for severe emotional problems.

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UPDATE XIII:

March 31, 2015 - Former Israel diplomat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs staffer Dan Arbell, now a fellow at the Brookings Institute, writes for CNN that Israel isn't currently in a position to attack Iran. He's clearly disappointed in his own assessment, one that never once addresses the obvious criminality of such a military operation or any potential casualties.


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UPDATE XIV:

April 8, 2015 - Enough, you psycho, enough.


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UPDATE XV:

April 27, 2015 - When will this deranged obsession with committing war crimes stop?


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UPDATE XVI:

July 15, 2015 - Just one day after the announcement of an historic multilateral agreement between Iran and six world powers that severely restricts Iran's uranium enrichment program in return for the lifting of sanctions, Mitch Ginsburg, military correspondent for The Times of Israel publishes this load of garbage:


Oh, did you think a negotiated deal that should end the phony nuclear crisis would actual quiet the bloodthirsty screams of the certifiably insane? Think again.

Yesterday, right after the deal was announced, Joel Pollak, editor in-chief and lawyer for Breitbart, posted this nonsense:


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UPDATE XVII:

July 20, 2015 - Scott Walker, one of the human right-wing talking points running for president, suggested today on the campaign trail that in his effort to blow up the Iran deal, he'd eagerly blow up a lot of Iranians on his imaginary first day in office that will obviously never occur.


Remember folks, Scott Walker's the guy who not only despises labor unions so much he equates them with ISIS, finds it politically advantageous to pretend he doesn't believe in evolution, and thinks Jesus talks to him, he also says he's "100% pro-life." Obviously that doesn't mean pro-Iranian life. No, it means totally anti-abortion, always, for anything, ever. Like, even in cases of rape and/or incest.

No wonder that even a top Republican operative once called Walker "kind of a dumb ass."

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UPDATE XVIII:

July 26, 2015 - Law professor and former five-term Republican congressman Tom Campbell has published an opinion piece in the Orange County Register arguing that, once President Barack Obama leaves office in early 2017, Israel will launch a military attack on Iran shortly thereafter.


Obviously, this is not going to happen. Also, such an attack on Iran by Israel would be uncontrovertibly illegal. But that doesn't stop Campbell, now the dean of the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, from dreaming his little murderous dream. The fact that he served on the House International Relations Committee during his five terms in Congress and was chairman of the World Affairs Council of Northern California is a horrifying reminder of what kind of awful people all too often hold positions of power and influence.

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UPDATE XIX:

July 28, 2015 - Leave it to neoconservative dinosaur Norman Podhoretz to call for Israel to launch an illegal attack on Iran in the pages of The Wall Street Journal. Can we get any more cliche than that?


The "upshot," Podhoretz writes of the consequences of the Iran deal the parameters of which he clearly does not understand, "is that if the objective remains preventing Iran from getting the bomb, the only way to do so is to bomb Iran." Barely able to contain his glee at this prospect, Podhoretz explains that, because Iran would never conceivably agree to any deal that he and his fellow warmongers insist upon (the kind of deal that abrogates all international law, Iranian sovereignty, self-determination and self-defense, and turns Iran into a new American or Israeli vassel state), the only possible alternative is war.

Podhoretz, in his extreme ignorance and demagoguery, declares that, with this deal, the Obama administration is "allowing Iran to get the bomb" and "setting the stage for a nuclear war between Iran and Israel." Fewer stupider things have ever been written and published.

Poking holes in Podhoretz's shamefully absurd screed is easy. Believing that he is alone in his brainwashed delusions is far more difficult.

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UPDATE XX:

August 5, 2015 - Oh look, Tom Cotton's back. And he's still interested in committing war crimes against Iran.


Speaking to Israeli reporters at his office in Washington, Senator Tom Cotton suggested that the United States should pretend it's going to bomb Iran's legal, safeguarded, guaranteed-by-international-treaty-and-multilateral-accord nuclear energy and uranium enrichment program, or just go ahead and do it for some reason.

"You can destroy facilities. I don't think any military expert in the United States or elsewhere would say the US military is not capable to setting Iran's nuclear facilities back to day zero," he said. "Can we eliminate it forever? No, because any advanced industrialized country can develop nuclear weapons in four to seven years, from zero. But we can set them back to day zero."

Ok, so any country can get nukes if it wants them in four to seven years, he says. And still suggests it makes sense to bomb Iran, which doesn't even have a nuclear weapons program, even though the strict limitations on Iran's nuclear program agreed to in the deal last anywhere from ten years to a quarter century to infinity.

But hey, for Tom Cotton, unprovoked, murderous bombing raids seem like the way to go.

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UPDATE XXI:

August 6, 2015 - Right-wing nutjob Joel Pollack, of Brietbart, is really distraught over this Iran deal. After regurgitating Netanyahu's talking point about how "the Iran deal guarantees war," Pollak fantasizes about how and when Israeli war crimes might be carried out.


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UPDATE XXII:

August 21, 2015 - The New York Times' Jodi Rudoren has published an article claiming Israel was on the brink of attacking Iran at least three times between 2010 and 2012, according to recordings released publicly by biographers of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who also served for years as Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu's Defense Minister.

Here's the headline:


The broadcast of taped recordings of Barak, which aired on Israeli television to the alleged chagrin of Barak (who claims he tried unsuccessfully to prevent their release), appears to be one more desperate tactic of those opposed to the recently-agreed nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers to make Israel seem ready and willing to conduct illegal airstrikes against Iranian nuclear and military facilities and infrastructure. All Israel needs, the report would have us believe, is the right opportunity and a longer leash from Washington and bombs would blissfully fall on Iranian buildings and humans.

The revelations in Barak's admissions are, in fact, hardly any revelation at all. For instance, the same station - Israel's Channel 2 - that aired the Barak interview on Friday has previously exposed some of the same claims. In 2012, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on a Channel 2 investigation that exposed a rift in the Israeli leadership over any potential strike on Iran that had occurred in 2010. According to the story, while Netanyahu and Barak were eager to prepare the military for a potential strike on Iran, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Mossad director Meir Dagan were not, with Ashkenazi referring to an Israeli attack on Iran as a "strategic mistake." During a May 2011 appearance, Dagan, who had retired in September 2010, famously called the idea of bombing Iran "the stupidest thing I have ever heard" and "patently illegal under international law."

Furthermore, it should be noted that, though no stranger to alarmism and warmongering, Barak himself was actually actively undermining the supposed move toward war at the same time he claims he was advocating for it.

Back in September 2009, Barak, who was then head of Israel's Labor Party, told Yedioth Ahronoth that "Iran does not constitute an existential threat against Israel," adding later, "Right now, Iran does not have a bomb. Even if it did, this would not make it a threat to Israel's existence." Countering Netanyahu-inspired rhetoric that absurdly conflates Iran with Nazi Germany, Barak said plainly, "I don't think we are on the brink of a new Holocaust."

Speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the AIPAC-spinoff think tank, in February 2010, Barak stated, "I don’t think that the Iranians, even if they got the bomb, they are going to drop it immediately on some neighbor. They fully understand what might follow. They are radicals but not total meshuganas." He further noted his belief that Iranian leaders "have quite sophisticated decision-making process and they understand realities."

The next year, Barak repeated the assessment that even a nuclear-armed Iran would pose very little threat to Israel. In May 2011, he told Ha'aretz that "[i]f Iran succeeds in developing nuclear weapons, it is unlikely to bomb Israel," and said that "Israel should not spread public panic about the Iranian nuclear program." When asked directly whether he believed Iran would ever launch a nuclear attack on Israel, Barak replied: "Not on us and not on any other neighbor."

Later that same year, Barak told Israel Radio that the Israeli leadership "has not yet decided to embark on any operation," and dismissed as "delusional" that constant media speculation that he and Netanyahu were about to launch an attack.

Granted, such denials in the media could always have been just a political and strategic gambit to reduce attention on Israeli military machinations and set the stage for a surprise assault. As former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told a Labor Party meeting in late 2011, "Every citizen in the country has to be worried that these two fools, Netanyahu and Barak, are planning an attack on Iran."

More likely, however, is the fact that no Israeli leader - not Netanyahu, not Barak, no one - will ever actually attack Iran through air strikes. The reports, the denials, the predictions, the investigations are all part of Israeli theatrics meant to scare American and European leaders into applying pressure on Iran through sanctions, sabotage, assassinations and military threats in an effort to stave off the hypothetical Israeli attack that will never actually happen.

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UPDATE XXIII:

August 23, 2015 - USA Today's Tom Vanden Brook reports today that an American attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would set the program back about two years, and would have to be carried out "with as many as 1,000 aircraft sorties over several days to a week" and employ the constantly-hyped Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000 pound bunker buster bomb designed to destroy heavily-fortified underground facilities, according to a couple of anonymous "senior officers involved in planning potential Iran attacks."


Vanden Brook seems to have a curious understanding of the Iranian nuclear program. He writes that one of the unnamed officers told him that "[t]he location of Iran's nuclear facilities are not much of a secret" and that "[s]py satellites and other means, including monitoring of social media, result in an assessment known as 'all-source fused intelligence.'"

The reason Iran's nuclear facilities aren't a secret isn't because of U.S. surveillance or someone in the Pentagon scouring Facebook and Instagram - it's because all nuclear facilities in Iran are declared and safeguarded by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). You can find them all on Google Maps. There's a public bus stop in Natanz called "Atomic Station." The IAEA routinely reports on all of these facilities and affirms consistently that they have no military dimension whatsoever. Nevertheless, Vanden Brook writes, There are about 20 nuclear facilities in Iran that would need to be attacked, some with as many as 60 individual strikes."

Buried at the tail-end of his article, Vanden Brook notes that "airstrikes in Iran make little sense — and could be counterproductive," according to retired Air Force General David Deptula. But even this admission is marred by bad analysis. Deptula tells Vanden Brook that unless Iranian leaders' "desire for a bomb" is changed, "a U.S. attack is a temporary solution at best."

The problem here is that is putative "desire" doesn't actually exist. For decades now, Iranian leaders have condemned and prohibited the manufacturing, acquisition, and stockpiling of nuclear arms on religious, strategic, ethical, legal and political grounds. There is historical precedent for Iran's serious opposition to building and using weapons of mass destruction, even in the face of war and suffering.

United States intelligence community and its allies, including Israel, have long assessed that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and that its leadership has not made any decision to build nuclear weapons, despite the technical capacity to do so inherent in having a functional nuclear energy program.

More than anything else, Vanden Brook's own desire to boost bellicose voices and further promote long-debunked propaganda is undeniable.

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UPDATE XXIV:

August 25, 2015 - The Times of Israel cribs a Walla report today stating that the Israeli military is adapting its intelligence and capabilities in light of the recently inked Iran deal. Here's the headline:


But as tough and confident as that sounds, the actual story doesn't quite line up with the claim. While vague, anonymous statements from some military official note that "every year that passes, the IDF improves," Israel will soon have more machines that carry bombs and missiles, and that "intelligence is improving as well," nothing specific about launching an assault on Iran is said.

According to the paper, the unnamed government source apparently also pointed out that "Israel's defensive capabilities against Iranian retaliation were also constantly improving." This is hardly a chest-thumping endorsement of a pending attack on Iran. Quite the contrary, in fact when you read further:
But the news site noted that the military option had essentially been suspended in recent years and would not be easily reinstated unless there is a fundamental change in the political landscape, or a serious development in Iran’s alleged progress towards a nuclear bomb.
A strike is looking increasingly unlikely following July's nuclear accord between Iran and world powers — the US, EU, Russia and China.
Put simply, Israel isn't going to do anything any time soon. Or ever.

But that doesn't stop the Israeli press from pushing the lie that war is just around the corner.

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UPDATE XXV:

September 1, 2015 - The Times of Israel is back at it: pretending an Israeli attack on Iran is imminent and that Iran is scared about it.


The report, which regurgitates claims made on Israeli television, says that the Iranian government "is particularly concerned by the threat of attack in the current period between July's finalizing of a deal with the P5+1 world powers on its nuclear program and the approval of the deal by the US Congress."

For the millionth time: Israel won't be attacking Iran. Not in the next few months, not in the next few years. But the illusion of such a threat sells papers, earns page views, and entrenches the politics of fear and violence in our media and beyond.

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UPDATE XXVI:

September 5, 2015 - Defense News' Barbara Opall-Rome, writing from Tel Aviv, published a Lockheed Martin press release and pretended it was a news story.

The "story" - about Israel obtaining new F-35 stealth fighter jets - mentions Iran in both its headline and lede, but absolutely nothing in the report actually has anything to do with Iran.


The piece opens this way: "With an eye on Iran and other complex, heavily defended theaters, Israel is building up the infrastructure and indigenous capabilities needed to begin operating its first F-35 Adir (Awesome) stealth strike fighters by the end of 2017."

Iran is never mentioned again in the following 24 paragraphs' more than 1000 words. In essence, there's no there there.

All this shows is the media's desperate desire to force the public into believing a military conflict between Israel and Iran is just around the corner. It's not.

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UPDATE XXVII:

September 25, 2015 - This is hardly a serious report - some obscure website posting a fear-mongering propaganda video - but the headline is just so authoritative that I couldn't resist adding it here:


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UPDATE XXVIII:

October 23, 2015 - Business Insider's Armin Rosen, whose affinity for Israel and antagonism toward Iran is often reflected in his reporting, recounts the findings of a recent Wall Street Journal report by Adam Entous, which revealed an alleged Israel plan to send commandos into Iran in either 2011 or 2012 to sabotage the Fordow enrichment facility.


Rosen traffics in the same fantasy war games that have been seen all too often in the press, even returning to Jeffrey Goldberg's infamous 2010 Atlantic cover story predicting an Israeli attack on Iran that never happened.

Such speculation is obviously titilating to Rosen. "Until the Iran nuclear deal was signed this past July, an Israeli strike on Iran was one of the most intriguing — and perhaps terrifying — hypothetical scenarios in global politics," he writes. "Israeli officials often argued the country was capable of launching an attack that would destroy or severely disable many of Iran's facilities."

Much to his chagrin, however, "Israel hasn't attacked Iran yet, and the Iran Deal substantially raises the costs of a future strike for Israel. The deal signed this past July may or may not prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But it effectively removes an Israeli strike against the country from the realm of possibility into the foreseeable future."

Rosen's disappointment is almost palpable.

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