Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent slammed for misleading Tweet about Iranian arms shipment

Last night the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont tweeted an article from Haaretz/Reuters about a new UN report (obtained by Reuters) on the shipment of rockets intercepted in the Red Sea by the Israeli Navy in March. 

Here’s the text of Beaumont’s Tweet:

“Despite Israeli claims, UN panel decides missiles on the seized ship Kos were for Sudan NOT Gaza

However, here’s headline to the Haaretz story by Louis Charbonneau, published earlier in the day, that Beaumont linked to:

‘UN panel: Arms ship seized by IDF came from Iran, but not bound for Gaza

First, note Beaumont’s distortion of the Haaretz headline.  Though the headline only claimed, per the article, that the UN had determined that the ship itself (carrying the arms) was heading for Sudan, Beaumont twisted it to appear as if the UN had concluded that the arms (that the ship was carrying) were destined for Sudan – and not Gaza.

Indeed, if you read the article you’d see that the UN panel didn’t even address the question concerning the final destination of the arms, and certainly didn’t conclude that they were not heading for Gaza.  The article in fact noted Sudan’s role as a conduit for arms to Gaza.

The experts do not speculate in the report about why the arms were being sent to Sudan, a country which Western diplomatic and intelligence sources have told Reuters has in the past been a conduit for Iranian arms shipments to other locations in Africa, as well as the Gaza Strip.

In fact, the article clearly states that the UN report was primarily concerned with the narrow question of whether Iran was responsible for the shipment of arms, and thus in violation of the international arms embargo.

A UN expert panel has concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons that was seized by Israel came from Iran and represents a violation of the UN arms embargo on Tehran, according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Friday.

“The Panel finds that the manner of concealment in this case is consistent with several other cases reported to the (Security Council’s Iran Sanctions) Committee and investigated by the Panel,” the experts said.

“The Panel concludes that the shipment of arms and related material found aboard the Klos C is a violation of Iran’s obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 1747,” they added, referring to the U.N. arms embargo on Tehran.

Indeed, the IDF never claimed – at the time of the interception – that the ship itself was heading to Gaza, only that the arms on the ship were to be smuggled by land from Sudan into Gaza via the Sinai.

 

Beaumont’s tweet twisted the text of the Haaretz/Reuters article to make it appear as if the UN had ruled out Gaza as a final destination for the arms – a distortion pointed out by a few Tweeters, including Yiftah Curiel (Spokesperson of the Israel Embassy in London), Peter Lerner (IDF Spokesman), Judge Dan (blogger at Israellycool) and this writer. 

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It doesn’t appear as if Beaumont has thus far responded to any of his critics.

Update: At some point following my reply (above) to Beaumont’s misleading Tweet, he blocked my account.

Repulsive Guardian op-ed justifies Palestinian antisemitism

Yesterday we posted on the results of a new international antisemitism poll by ADL, which demonstrated that Palestinians are the most antisemitic people among the 100 countries surveyed. We noted that Palestinians are even more antisemitic than citizens in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Iran.  

Here are some of the highlights:

  • 88% of Palestinians believe Jews have too much control over global affairs.
  • 89% believe Jews have too much power over international financial markets
  • 88% of Palestinians believe that Jews have too much control over the global media
  • 78% of Palestinians believe that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.
  • 87% of Palestinians believe that people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.

It would seem that true anti-racists would have a pretty difficult time defending such views – as some of the tropes are indistinguishable from the notorious Czarist forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

To boot, a Guardian op-ed published today by pro-Palestinian activists  and  begins with this headline and photo:

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The photo is surreal.  An op-ed about antisemitism doesn’t depict Jews, but Palestinians, who, we are told, are denied their basic human rights.

It gets worse, much worse.

Here’s the opening passage, employing a modified version of the Livingstone formula, in which it’s claimed that Jews try to silence and intimidate those who don’t share their views on Israel:

This week the Anti-Defamation League – an organization with a long history of trying to silence and intimidate those who don’t share their unwavering support for Israel and its policies – published a survey ringing the alarm about antisemitism.

So, to the authors of the op-ed, a poll demonstrating dangerous levels of antisemitism among Palestinians is itself an attempt to silence debate.

They continue:

Rather than advance our understanding of this serious issue, the survey seems predictably designed to stir up fear that Jew-hatred is a growing global phenomenon that puts the world’s Jews universally at risk, and that the biggest culprits are Muslims and Arabs, particularly Palestinians.

This is remarkable.  The ADL is evidently of guilty of ‘stirring up fear’ by demonstrating that Arabs and Muslims are the biggest culprits of antisemitism. Do the authors take issue with the methodology of the poll, or do they simply not fancy the results?

The following passage is even more astonishing:

The most striking example of a leading question undergirds the ADL’s claim that the highest percentage of anti-Semitism is among Palestinians who live in the occupied territories. The ADL asked a group of people for whom the movement of goods, money and labor is controlled by Israel, “Do Jews have too much power in the business world?. Were they really to be expected to answer anything but “yes”?

Evidently, according to Nevel and Kleinberg Neimark, Palestinians possess no moral agency and can’t be held accountable for standards of decency. It’s impossible not read that passage as a justification for Palestinian antisemitism.

The op-ed continues:

In its press release, the ADL states that “The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is: Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in.” It’s an odd indicator of anti-Semitism given that Israeli leaders consistently claim to speak for the global Jewish community and consider loyalty to Israel a precondition for being a good Jew. So it’s actually not surprising that this constant assertion has penetrated the consciousness of the rest of the world.

Again, the authors of the op-ed are justifying a historic antisemitic trope – the dual loyalty canard.  Do Guardian editors really find this morally defensible? Do they not know a thing about the injurious effects of questioning Jews’ loyalty to the state in which they’re citizens? The charge of dual loyalty could be seen in the Dreyfus Affair through the Nazi’s rise to power – and, yet, it’s as if the dark history of this idea doesn’t bother the authors of the piece, nor the Guardian editors who approved it.

Then there’s this amazing charge:

These questions, and many others in the ADL survey are designed to gin up paranoia.

Seventy-eight percent of Palestinians believe that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars, but ADL is the party stirring up paranoia!

We’ve been monitoring the Guardian and Comment is Free for over 4 and half years now, and this is arguably one of the most repulsive op-eds we’ve come across.  The media group’s inability to take Jew hatred seriously represents a shameful moral abdication and makes a mockery of their claim to be a leading liberal voice.

 

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CiF Watch prompts Guardian correction over Iran Sanctions Bill claim

Earlier this month we criticized a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts (Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship, March 2) that included the following claim regarding efforts in the US Senate to pass a new Iran Sanctions Bill:

…the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

We noted that this represented a significant mischaracterization of a bill (S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013) which, by all accounts, was designed to increase sanctions against Iran only in the event negotiations with the six world powers failed to produce an agreement, or if Iran failed to abide by the terms of any agreement.

Following our communication with Guardian editors, they agreed to revise the relevant passage. It now reads:

But the failure of Aipac to garner enough support in the Senate to oppose the Obama administration over its nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

Additionally, the following addendum was added to the article, noting the change:

amended

Though we are not totally satisfied with the revised passage – which still fails to clearly state the intent of the legislation  – it nonetheless represents an improvement over the original, and we commend Guardian editors on their positive response to our complaint.

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Following CiF Watch post, Guardian removes reference to ‘powerful Jewish lobby’

Though our complaint to the Guardian this morning has thus far gone unanswered, we’re pleased they removed an extremely gratuitous (and pejorative) reference to Jews in a column by Ian Black and Martin Chulov (Israeli forces seize rockets ‘destined for Gaza’ in raid on Iranian ship in Red Sea, March 6).

Here’s the original passage which we highlighted in our post:

The seizure follows a visit this week by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to Washington, where he used a meeting with Barack Obama and a stump speech to the powerful Jewish lobby AIPAC to underscore his reservations about a nuclear deal with Iran.

Here’s the passage now:

The seizure follows a visit this week by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to Washington, where he used a meeting with Barack Obama and a stump speech to the powerful pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC to underscore his reservations about a nuclear deal with Iran.

As we argued earlier, AIPAC is not a Jewish organization, and the decision by Black and Chulov to use the term “powerful Jewish lobby” is inconsistent with the warnings of the Guardian Readers’ editor Chris Elliott (in a column in 2011) to their journalists and commentators to avoid “language long associated with antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control”.

Whilst, unfortunately, there’s no editor’s note below the article explaining the new wording, we’re of course glad they saw fit to make the revision. 

UPDATE: Guardian editors did respond to our email, and noted that the article includes the following addendum:

update

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Guardian report on IDF rocket seizure includes gratuitous reference to ‘powerful Jewish lobby’

We’ve commented previously on the Guardian’s tendency to see the nefarious machinations of AIPAC (and the broader pro-Israel lobby) in a myriad of US foreign policy decisions which run afoul of their far-left ideology.  Usually, their contributors don’t go as far as blaming Jews as such – instead, merely characterizing this political force, which evidently wreaks havoc on the US and the world, as merely AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, or the Israel lobby. 

However, they typically aren’t shy about imputing the worst motives to the organized pro-Israel community, often suggesting their members have a thirst for war.  At times, there’s even the thinly veiled charge that Americans who associate with such lobbies are more loyal to Israel than their own country.

Here are a few examples:

elements of the lobby vilify Jewish critics of Israel and intimidate the media – ‘Comment is Free’, Antony Lerman, Nov. 20, 2009 (Affirming comments made by Peter Oborne, presenter of Channel 4’s Dispatches documentary Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby)

“Just as important is the pressure that pro-Israel campaigners put on the mainstream US media. They warn people off the very word Zionist as though only antisemites use it and demand Israel be treated as a special country whose politics deserve more sympathy than others….In fact US publishers, editors, and reporters carry the biggest responsibility for the rotten state of US policy in the Middle East. The pro-Israel lobbies are powerful and Obama weak mainly because Americans rarely get an alternative view.” - Guardian, Jonathan Steele, Aug. 10, 2010

What do Nebraska and Iran have in common? Not much – but enough to cause big trouble for former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, whose possible nomination to be secretary of defense is being challenged by the powerful bomb-Iran-yesterday lobby.”…Militarists in Washington, taking their cue from pro-Israel lobbyistsare trying to derail the appointment because Hagel doubts the wisdom of starting another war in the Middle East.” - Comment is Free, Stephen Kinzer, Dec. 31, 2012

The Israel lobby has a “stranglehold” over the American debate about Israel – Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 22, 2012 (You can see Greenwald’s history of scaremongering about ‘the lobby’ here)

Obama…established a position his critics may find hard to assail. He forced those many members of Congress and beyond who have conflated America’s interests with Israel’s on to the back foot by saying that on Iran there are differences – and he will serve US interests first. – Guardian, Chris McGreal, March 9, 2012

“President Obama must show America’s pro-Israel lobby that he is tough somewhere in the Middle East - Guardian, Simon Jenkins, Jan. 3 2012 (On why Obama imposed economic sanctions on Iran)

But the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security. - Guardian, Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts, March 2, 2014

Interestingly, not only did the Guardian manage to slip in a negative reference to ‘the lobby’ in a March 5 story, by Ian Black and Martin Chulov, on the IDF’s interception yesterday of an Iranian shipment of rockets destined for Gaza, but let the veil of respectability slip in neglecting to use the familiar euphemism:

The high seas interception is the fourth of its kind by Israel in the past 12 years and the first since the start of the Syrian civil war three years ago. It comes after a spate of air attacks on weapons warehouses and arms convoys in the past 18 months that officials in Tel Aviv had hinted were destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The seizure follows a visit this week by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to Washington, where he used a meeting with Barack Obama and a stump speech to the powerful Jewish lobby AIPAC to underscore his reservations about a nuclear deal with Iran.

Of course, AIPAC is not a Jewish organization, as anyone familiar with their racially, ethnically and religiously diverse membership – which includes African-Americans, Latinos, and evangelical Christians – would understand. Moreover, it’s telling that even the most prolific promoters of ‘AIPAC root cause theory, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, use the term ‘Israel lobby’ (and not ‘Jewish lobby’) when speaking of AIPAC and other assorted groups they claim are distorting US foreign policy.

More broadly, writers who chronicle the evolution of political thought may one day look back at our era and marvel over the popularity, among presumably “enlightened” voices, of narratives which impute to organized Jewry both immense power and disloyalty – those characterized by Leon Wieseltier as “the herd of fearless dissidents who proclaim in all seriousness, without in any way being haunted by the history of such an idea, that Jews control Washington”.  

Perhaps such intellectual historians will explain how Judeophobic tropes typically associated with the far-right became politically fashionable at a paper which – no matter how risibly – continues to claim the mantle of the ‘world’s leading liberal voice‘. 

Finally, it’s worth recalling an article titled ‘Averting accusations of antisemitism‘, published in 2011 by Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott, which in many ways vindicated the work of this blog, and included explicit warnings to their reporters and commentators to stay clear of “language long associated with antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control”.

Evidently, Black and Chulov didn’t get the memo.

(UPDATE: The Guardian revised the article early this afternoon, and deleted the original reference to “powerful Jewish lobby”.)

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Harriet Sherwood completely mischaracterizes Iran sanctions bill

A March 2nd Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts (Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship) included the following claim regarding efforts in the US Senate to pass a new Iran sanctions bill:

…the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

This is a complete mischaracterization of a bill (S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013) which, by all accounts, is designed to put more pressure on Iran so that they’ll comply with any nuclear agreement that is reached with the six world powers.

The bill (sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez, along with 58 co-sponsors) has been accurately described by multiple media sources:

Washington Post

The measure introduced Thursday, if approved, would impose harsh new sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry while also threatening U.S. allies and partners with financial restrictions unless they sharply curtail trade with Iran. The sanctions would go into effect if Iran violated the terms of the temporary accord reached last month or if it failed to reach a permanent agreement with world powers in a timely manner.

New York Times

A bipartisan group of senators, defying the White House, introduced a bill on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Iran if it failed to conclude a nuclear agreement, or stick to the terms of its interim deal, with the United States and other major powers.

The bill would seek to drive Iran’s oil exports down to zero and penalize its engineering, mining and construction industries. But the sanctions would not take effect before the six-month term of the interim deal expires, and they could be deferred for up to another six months, at Mr. Obama’s request, if the talks looked promising.

ABC News:

A bipartisan group of 26 senators introduced new legislation today proposing potential sanctions against Iran if the country fails to uphold the P5+1 agreement made last month or if it fails to reach a final agreement to terminate its nuclear weapons program.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., which calls for additional reductions in purchases of Iranian petroleum and creates more penalties for parts of the Iranian economy, including engineering, mining and construction.

The bill also provides the administration with up to one year from implementation of the agreement to try to reach a diplomatic solution that would completely end Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Business Insider

The legislation proposes sanctions in the event that Iran breaches the terms of the interim agreement reached last month in Geneva — or if world powers fail to come to a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program. 

Politico:

The sanctions legislation would impose conditional economic penalties on Iran if the country fails to follow through on an interim deal or pulls out of ongoing global negotiations to permanently curtail its nuclear ambitions in return for some sanctions relief.

CNN

Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would authorize new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches an interim agreement to limit its nuclear program or fails to strike a final accord terminating those ambitions.

Clearly, the bill would increase sanctions against Iran only in the event negotiations with the six world powers (P5+1) fail to produce an agreement, or if Iran fails to abide by an agreement.  So, the claim made by Sherwood and Roberts that the bill would “block Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran” is untrue.

If you still have doubts that the Guardian misled readers about the nature of the bill, you can read the full text at the site of the US Congress, here.

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‘Guardian AIPAC theory’ regarding Hillary’s position on Iran is proven wrong

On Feb. 2nd we commented on a ‘Comment is Free’ essay by frequent Israel-lobby critic Stephen Kinzer which criticized Hilary Clinton’s alleged failure to take a position on a bill which would increase sanctions against Iran if negotiations with the six world powers failed.

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Guardian, Jan. 29 (Stephen Kinzer)

Kinzer wrote the following:

Here lies the dilemma. A strong statement by Clinton [against sanctions] would be a game-changer in Washington. She would be giving a centrist, establishment endorsement of her former boss’s most important foreign policy initiative. That would provide political cover for moderate Democrats terrified of antagonizing the Netanyahu government and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is leading the anti-reconciliation campaign in Washington.

Such a statement, however, would risk outraging pro-Netanyahu groups and individuals who have been among Clinton’s key supporters since her days as a Senator from New York. Having spent years painstakingly laying the ground for a presidential campaign, she does not want to risk a misstep that would alienate major campaign contributors.

However, the entire assumption of Kinzer’s thesis was proven wrong, per a Guardian report by their national security editor Spencer Ackerman – a relatively moderate and sober voice by Guardian standards – on Feb. 2nd which included the following title: 

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Guardian, Feb. 2. (Spencer Ackerman)

Ackerman noted that Clinton sent a letter to the Senate on Jan. 26 – three days prior to Kinzer’s op-ed complaining of her alleged “silence” on the issue – urging her former Senate colleagues NOT to pass the new ‘Iran Sanctions’ bill

Clinton’s Jan. 26 letter included the following:

“[Sanctions] could rob us of the international high ground we worked so hard to reach, break the united international front we constructed, and in the long run, weaken the pressure on Iran by opening the door for other countries to chart a different course,”

…I have no doubt that this is the time to give our diplomacy the space to work…

Kinzer got it wrong.  

Ackerman’s report clearly indicates, contrary to Kinzer’s claim, that Clinton evidently was NOT afraid to “risk outraging pro-Netanyahu groups and individuals who have been among Clinton’s key supporters since her days as a Senator from New York”.

Of course, such evidence – undermining the ‘Israel-lobby root cause theory’ constantly promoted by Kinzer and his Guardian Left colleagues – will not make a dent in such ideologically inspired articles of faith.

Kinzer is a Guardian/’Comment is Free’ contributor after all, and so we can be assured that not the slightest cognitive dissonance will be felt.  No lessons will be learned.

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Irish Times op-ed: ‘Zionist ultras’ see antisemitism everywhere

We’ve recently been commenting on op-eds by Irish Times columnist Eamonn McCann, the socialist (and former Trotskyite) who regales readers with anti-Zionist rhetoric so vitriolic that it could have originated from Soviet Department for Agitation and Propaganda.  

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Eamonn McCann, Marxism Conference 2013

In one memorable column, McCann prophesied on the inevitable demise of the Jewish State – the natural result, he suggested, of the corrosive effects of its official racist ideology.

His latest ‘meditation‘ on Israeli villainy appeared in the Irish Times on Feb 6, and included the following headline:

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Here’s the simply risible – and, of course, fact-free – opening passage:

We are all anti-Semites now, including US secretary of state John Kerry. That’s according to a clutch of ministers in Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, plus a mixum-gatherum of colonial settlers, super-Zionists and most US senators.

What evidence does he produce to back up his claim that a “clutch of ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet” and “most US senators” believe ‘everyone’ is antisemitic?

Well, here are some passages which evidently represent supporting text for his hysterical opening passage:

Influential Israeli politicians have come within an inch of smearing Kerry as an anti-Semite. What he’d said to earn this censure was: “The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott . . . Do they want a failure [in parallel negotiations on Palestine] that then begs whatever may come in the form of a response from disappointed Palestinians and the Arab community?”

So, McCann is now only claiming that the cabal of super Zionists came close (“within an inch”) of smearing Kerry as an anti-Semite.

McCann continues:

In response, Israeli industry minister Naftali Bennett declared: “We expect of our friends to stand by our side against the attempts to impose an anti-Semitic boycott on Israel, not to be their mouthpiece.” What he’d said to earn this censure was: “The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott . . . Do they want a failure [in parallel negotiations on Palestine] that then begs whatever may come in the form of a response from disappointed Palestinians and the Arab community?”

Again, even by McCann’s account, Bennett didn’t accuse Kerry of engaging in antisemitism, only that boycotts were antisemitic, and that Kerry didn’t stand by Israel’s side in the fight against such boycotts.

He continues:

Senior official of the colonial settlers’ council Adi Mintz accused Kerry of “an anti-Semitic initiative. The anti-Semites have always resorted to a very simple method – hit the Jews in their pockets.”

Netanyahu refused to condemn Bennett, Mintz and others who had spoken along the same lines, but was himself rather more circumspect, telling his cabinet that promotion of a boycott was “immoral and unjust”.

While Mintz did suggest that Kerry’s comments about boycotts were antisemitic, the most McCann could muster against Netanyahu was to accuse him of not directly condemning Bennett, who, per the quote above, did not in fact accuse Kerry of antisemitism.

And, what about the US senators’ alleged belief that ‘everyone’ opposing Israel is antisemitic?

Well, McCann’s introduction of US senators into the tale begins when he strangely pivots away from Israeli reactions to Kerry’s comments about boycotts and addresses another unrelated topic, the response in the Senate to recent negotiations between Iran and the P5+1:

The statement quoted here most clearly reflective of stereotypical anti-Semitism was Mintz’s. However, it’s the viewpoint of the Zionist ultras which has been adopted by a majority of US senators. Forty-three Republicans and 16 from Kerry’s Democrats responded to the breakthrough in Munich by introducing a Bill imposing even harsher sanctions, with the option of war if Iran doesn’t surrender the modest gains achieved in Munich.

Whilst McCann grossly distorts the tentative agreement reached on Jan. 20 between Iran and the six world powers, he offers no evidence that any of the “Zionist ultra” senators supporting the bill – which would impose harsher sanctions on Iran if they failed to abide by a potential long-term agreement – ever uttered a word about antisemitism.

McCann’s villains – those who evidently casually accuse anyone and everyone who opposes Israeli positions of engaging in antisemitism – consist of straw men, conjured to support his polemical construct and advance his continuing Irish Times approved smears of Israel and its supporters.

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The Economist: We do not believe Jews control Congress

Last week we posted about the following cartoon by Peter Schrank published at The Economist – used to illustrate an article about negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – which evoked the antisemitic narrative on the supposed injurious influence of Jewish power on U.S. foreign policy.

cartoonOur blog post included the following headline:

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Later in the day we learned that The Economist had removed the cartoon from the online edition of the article, and issued the following addendum:

Today, we noticed that they revised their editor’s note and addressed the specific question posed by this blog and several other commentators:

update econ

While it’s unclear what Peter Schrank believes about the criticism directed towards his cartoon, we’re of course glad that editors at The Economist distanced themselves from such racist (and increasingly prevalent) beliefs about the ‘corrupting influence’ of Jewish power.

h/t Gidon 

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The UK media again show their obsession with the ‘Israel lobby’

Just yesterday, we posted about a cartoon published at the Economist on Jan. 18 (which they later retracted) with imagery suggesting that pro-Israeli (or Jewish) interests control US Congress.  We noted that such narratives, on the injurious influence of organized Jewry (and their money), have become something akin to an enforced orthodoxy within many circles, especially among the “enlightened” British opinion elite.

Additionally, Donald Macintyre (Jerusalem correspondent for the Independent) published a report on Jan 21 titled ‘William Hague swims around the fishy issue of Iran‘, which began thus:

To contrast the attitudes of the US Congress and the British Parliament, start with Iran. Today, the palpable welcome by MPs for Tehran’s suspension of high-level  uranium enrichment was matched only by anxiety about the UN excluding Iran from the Syria talks that start today in Switzerland.

The unease emanated not only in Labour but on the government benches. John Baron, who pressed William Hague for early “normalisation” of UK-Iran diplomatic relations after an “encouraging start” to nuclear negotiations, is his own man. But he was backed by fellow Tory Phillip Lee who deplored the “overnight debacle” of the cancelled invitation and wanted “a Gorbachev-like” approach to “reform-minded Iranian politicians”.

Many MPs, in other words, want to go further, faster in rapprochement, with Iran. Contrast that with Congress, where many members have been pressing for sanctions to be tightened. All of this makes it hard not to conclude that one difference is the much greater power wielded by the Israel lobby in the US legislature than in its British counterpart.

First, the Indy journalist conflates two separate issues: talks taking place in Switzerland today aimed at resolving the Syrian Civil War (known as Geneva II) on one hand, and an interim nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers (the P5+1) on the other.  While the role played by the ‘Israel lobby’ in influencing Congressional support for increased US sanctions against Iran is itself far less than clear, there is no evidence of any such lobbying on either side of the Atlantic to scuttle Iran’s participation in Geneva II.

More importantly, it’s quite remarkable that Macintyre – a journalist known for his exclusive investigations – failed to provide even a hint of evidence to back up his claim that only the contrasting strengths of the US and British ‘Israel lobbies’ could explain the differing government approaches to issues related to Iran. It’s as if, for Macintyre and those similarly subscribing to “the party of Mearsheimer and the clique of Walt“, no other explanation is even conceivable.  

A more astute observer of the American political scene, however, would of course recognize that the “power” of the lobby is primarily merely a reflection of the organic popularity of the issues they’re campaigning for. In fact, polls of American public opinion consistently demonstrate that Israel is extremely popular among all groups, while Iran is consistently disliked.  The following poll of Americans conducted by Gallup in 2013 reveals that Iran is in fact the least popular foreign country, while Israel is the sixth most popular foreign country.

gallup

Such data indicating that Iran is extremely unpopular would of course help contextualize more recent polls indicating that a plurality of Americans disapprove of the agreement between the U.S. and Iran over its nuclear program due, it seems, to their skepticism that Tehran would actually abide by the terms of any such deal.  Gallup reported that “62% of those polled believe that Iranian leaders are not serious about addressing international concerns about their country’s nuclear enrichment program compared with just 29% who think they are serious.”

It should be clear to the Indy journalist that Congressional support for Iran sanctions accurately reflects American public opinion on the issue, and, more broadly, that the conventional wisdom about supposed ‘root causes’ of US policy – which risibly often passes as ‘progressive’ political thought – is facile, often tinged with bigotry and empirically inaccurate. 

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The Guardian, BBC and Mona Lisa’s Nose

A guest post by Joe Geary

Guess what this is?

mona

Did you get it? Well done, yes, it’s the Middle East as represented by large segments of the media, including the Guardian and BBC.

Well actually no. It’s Mona Lisa’s nose. But you get the picture, or rather, you don’t. You just get a tiny part of it.

There is a basic principle in the fields of semiotics and sociolinguistics, known as “framing”. It is well-known that the way a story is framed will influence how it is received by an audience.  It is equally uncontroversial that framings are not natural and preordained, that whoever is telling the story has a choice of various framings and the choice that is taken gives a significant insight into how we should evaluate both the story and the storyteller.

Returning to the original analogy, the problem with the Guardian-BBC coverage of the Middle East is that we don’t get a frame at all. We don’t even get much of the painting.

They make a conscious choice to remove as much context as possible to depict the Israel-Palestinian relationship, firstly, as entirely conflictual. Whenever do we hear of the many collaborative projects, or the Israeli aid work in the Territories or the health care available to Palestinians in Israeli hospitals? Secondly it is projected as the greatest conceivable imbalance. One side has all the power imaginable, the other side is utterly disempowered.

And thirdly, it is simplistically but seductively presented as white hat versus black hat, or rather, white race against black, or at least brown. The Israelis are depicted as Westerners and so metaphorically white (what a mutation – from swarthy Semites to Nordic Aryans in just two generations). Meanwhile the Palestinians, being Arabs, must be metaphorically a “brown” people. And so we are left with an ugly narrative of racial supremacism, provoking a delicious frisson of outrage among viewers and readers.

Finally, the relationship is stripped of all historical context. Cruel Goliath just woke up one day and decided to occupy and oppress his poor downtrodden neighbour. First of all, to steal his land and then, who knows, to drive him out completely. In this framing the Palestinian “cause” is quite simply freedom and any means of throwing off the oppressor’s yoke is justified, even the most violent.

But let’s try looking at the whole painting in its regional context. The Guardian-BBC could frame this Middle East conflict as that of a tiny country which has had to fight for its survival in three wars of aggression and has been subjected to 65 years of ferocious terrorism, but which miraculously continues to flourish as a democracy with full respect for the rule of law – and all this in a region brimming with violence, tyranny and hate. In this framing, we would require an exchange of hats. Israel is engaged in defensive resistance against enemies who wish to destroy her simply because she is different; she is democratic – dangerously contagious – she is modern and above all she is not Arab-Muslim. In this framing it is no longer clear quite who is the Goliath but it’s quite clear who is the bully and who the victim. And in an Arab Middle East where not only Jews but also the Kurds and Christians are all persecuted victims of Arab-Muslim rejectionism of the “other”, it becomes clear that it isn’t Israel who should be in the UN dock for apartheid racism.

Or we might try a third framing. The Palestinians and their cause are stoked and stroked and embraced by the big power players in the region, Iran, Syria, Turkey and the Gulf States, for the most cynical of self-serving reasons. Firstly, to bolster their soft-power prestige in the Arab world, and secondly to distract the internal populations from the humiliations they suffer at the hands of their rulers. The real Middle-Eastern conflict, as is now becoming clear, is between Shia-dominated Iran, plus its Syrian puppet, and the rest of the Sunni-dominated Arab world. The Palestinians are a very useful pawn in this game. And note that this support is never for a reasonable negotiated peace with Israel. Instead the Palestinians are spurred on to seek some improbable military victory in which Israel is brought to its knees or, better still, every last Jew is driven from the Middle East. Make no mistake, both Sunnis and Shias are happy to fight Israel to the last drop of Palestinian blood and the last thing they want to see is peace. This is a rather different Palestinian “cause” from the one sold daily by the BBC and Guardian.

But wait. I’m being unfair. We do sometimes see this:

mona

What’s this? Why yes it’s the Jewish lobby. The only part of the frame we’re regularly shown. How often are we told that US support for Israel is the result solely of the shadowy but immense power of US Jews and their piles of gold? It couldn’t possibly be that Israel is a democracy under the rule of law and that not supporting Israel would be a dereliction of every value the US professes to believe in. No, perish that thought.

And why do we never see this?

mona

Well done again. Yes, it’s the Arab lobby. The Saudi, the Qatari, the Emirates lobbies – now there is serious money – who not only work Washington lavishly and spend billions on US arms, but bribe media outlets with advertising income and fund universities throughout the West (the Gaddafi Foundation, remember that?) so that ubiquitous “Middle-Eastern studies” are properly pro-Arab and anti-Israel.

One last word on the land-stealing Goliath meme so popular with the BBC and Guardian. As so often documented on this blog, the vast majority of those evil settlements, aka “the obstacle to peace”, are actually built on land which in any reasonable future agreement would be part of land swaps and end up as part of Israel.

So, Guardian, BBC, in the future let’s see the whole picture in a proper frame. She’s famous for her enigmatic smile.

It’s probably because she “nose” what you two deliberate simpletons are up to.

If this pun is too horrible then:

It’s probably because she’s sussed what you two deliberate simpletons are up to.

(Joe Geary is an Anglo-Irish author and academic and occasional contributor to the CiF Watch and BBC Watch blogs. With a professional background in sociolionguistics and political science and a special interest in the language of prejudice, he writes about the increasing demonization of Israel in parts of the mainstream British media.)

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Do ‘sophisticated’ Brits at the Economist believe Jews control Washington?

The Economist’s goal is to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.” (Economist mission statement)

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the czarist forgery purporting to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to control the world, may not, argued Andrew Baker of the American Jewish Committee, “be acceptable dinner conversation any more”.  However, he added, “repackage the sentiment as criticism of Israel, and say that the Jewish lobby controls U.S. foreign policy against ‘true’ American interests, and voilà, you are no longer dabbling in nasty old tropes about sinister Jewish power, but in bold political analysis.” 

As we’ve documented previously at this blog, the argument that the power, money and influence of Jewish or pro-Israel groups undermine peace in the Middle East (or even erodes US democracy) is something akin to conventional wisdom within a segment of the British and European Left.

Political cartoons represent an efficient way to transmit such prejudices, and often have a more immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes about Jews than lengthy essays.  And, though the largest output of antisemitic cartoons nowadays come from the Arab and Muslim world, antisemitic motifs advancing canards about Jewish power also appear in Western, putatively liberal, publications.

Interestingly, the Economist article in question (A big gap to close, Jan 18), which provides analysis on the “joint plan of action” negotiated recently between Iran and six world powers “to temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear programme” doesn’t use the words “Jew”, “lobby”, or “AIPAC”, and the only allusion to the Peter Schrank cartoon editors chose to use in the article can be found in the text we highlighted in the opening passages:

AFTER several weeks of unexpectedly hard and often tetchy bargaining, six world powers and Iran reached an agreement on January 12th that sets out the details of a “joint plan of action” (JPA) to freeze Iran’s nuclear programme for six months. The implementation of the JPA, originally negotiated in November, will begin on January 20th…

However, the clock is now ticking on efforts to achieve a comprehensive long-term pact. Even supporters of the interim deal rate the chances of success as low.

Though hailed as an historic breakthrough by some and a terrible blunder by others (notably Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister), the November deal may be best seen as a six-month truce to buy time. Gary Samore, who was Barack Obama’s adviser on arms control until last year and is now at Harvard’s Belfer Centre, points out that neither side has given away any of its big bargaining chips. Most actions being taken are reversible; the trickiest issues have been kicked down the road.

Their reference to the Israeli prime minister takes on relevance further in the piece:

A series of extensions will happen only if those hostile to the interim deal on both sides hold their fire. Yet support has grown in Congress for legislation to bring in new sanctions against Iran. With support in the Senate getting close to the 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto (which would otherwise be exercised), they remain distinctly possible, though the White House doubts that Democratic senators would go so far while an accord was still in place. Mr Samore reckons that Congress, having a version of the “Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act” ready as a threat, might put useful extra pressure on Iran. But were the sanctions now to become law, “it would just kill the interim agreement”. 

Schrank’s cartoon then is arguably designed to illustrate the forces – on both the US and Iranian sides – who are conspiring to “kill the interim agreement’.

cartoon

Schrank, a cartoonist with The Independent and Economist, by use of the Star of David on the left, is suggesting that Israel, the pro-Israel lobby, or Jews are controlling Congress and working against a peace agreement between the U.S. and Iran – echoing a disturbing, if familiar, tradition of antisemitic imagery

Cartoonist, Zapiro, (South African) Mail & Guardian, Nov. 2012

Cartoonist: Zapiro. (South African) Mail & Guardian, Nov. 2012

Muslim Observer, Oct. 27

Cartoonist: Muslim Observer. 

jewlobby_carsale

Cartoonist: Bendib. Posted at website of David Duke

Cartoonist: Carlos Latuff.

salami20121222174716670

Used to illustrate article at PressTV: Dec. 23, 2012

Ad-Dustur, January 30, 2012  Headline: "Obama emphasizes  ironclad commitment to Israel's  security". Written on the iron  ball: "Zionist Lobby in America".

Ad-Dustur (Jordan), January 30, 2012
Headline: “Obama emphasizes
ironclad commitment to Israel’s
security”. Written on the iron
ball: “Zionist Lobby in America”.

Ar-Rai, January 14, 2012  The American is holding a  document titled: “Israeli terror."  On the iron ball: "The Zionist  Lobby."

Ar-Rai (Jordan), January 14, 2012
The American is holding a
document titled: “Israeli terror.”
On the iron ball: “The Zionist
Lobby.”

arab cartoon 3

Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), March 7, 2012
Headline: “Netanyahu in the
US.”

Whilst Schrank’s imagery may not be as explicit as the other examples we’ve cited, all (to varying degrees) convey to readers the unmistakable message that Jewish elements are dictating and shaping American foreign policy for their own malevolent ends.  Such a world view echoes well-established Judeophobic calumnies, and we would hope that evoking such crude stereotypes would be considered a liability by any serious mainstream media outlet – especially one which fancies itself a sophisticated, enlightened force battling the “timid ignorance” which “obstructs our progress”.

Regardless of the Economist’s intent, it’s difficult not to be dispirited by the fact that less than 70 years after the Holocaust, with Jews representing less than 2% of the U.S. population, tropes and graphic representations warning that Jewish ‘pressure groups’ are too powerful are once again becoming fashionable amongst the opinion elite – the herd of ‘independent minds’ who carelessly reinforce the idea, without being haunted by its lethal history, that Jews control Washington. 

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Springtime for Rouhani: Jack Straw complains that pro-Israel cash stymies US-Iran peace

jack+straw

Jack Straw

In an op-ed on Friday at The Independent, former British foreign secretary Jack Straw revisited a narrative he advanced late last year regarding the alleged injurious impact of funds from Jewish and pro-Israeli groups in the U.S.

During a Parliamentary debate on diplomacy in the Mid-East in late October, Straw reportedly complained that the greatest obstacle to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors is the “unlimited” funds available to Jewish groups and AIPAC which are used to control American policy – comments which Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub complained represented familiar tropes about “sinister Jewish power”.

Straw’s Jan. 17 Indy op-ed (In Hasan Rouhani’s Iran, you can feel the winds of change‘), addresses the broader issue of U.S. – Iran relations, and is giddy with excitement over the peace and harmony that could be achieved if we place our trust in the beneficence of Iran’s putatively moderate president, Hassan Rouhani.  

You can sense the thrill going up his leg as he waxes eloquently on the “courageous” Rouhani who has evidently imbued Tehran with the progressive spirit more akin to “Madrid or Athens” than “Mumbai or Cairo” – all of which would be news to the country’s oppressed Bahai, imprisoned democracy activists and opposition leaders, and families of the 33 Iranians executed in the last week alone. 

The antagonist in Straw’s Iranian Spring tale is clear by the third paragraph, where he recalls his encounters with leaders of the Islamic Republic in 2001:

My first visit to Iran was in late September 2001, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. The moderate Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, had courageously reached out to the United States with moral, and much practical, support in the struggle to counter al-Qa’ida.

Then, I went straight from Tehran to Israel. The Israelis concocted a diplomatic row over my using the noun “Palestine” rather than the adjective “Palestinian” in an article for the Iranian press. A banquet for me was cancelled and my meeting with the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was delayed until the small hours. Behind this grammatical nonsense there was a much bigger issue – as there still is – about whether Israel wanted an end to the isolation of Iran, or whether it suited them for  Iran to be damned as a “pariah state” for all time.

Since Israeli and American politics are so intertwined, this was a major question for the US government, too. There are more American PhDs in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s Cabinet than there are in US President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. Yet the US quickly squandered all the potential of Mr Khatami’s bid for rapprochement with the West, with the ill-judged inclusion of Iran in President George W Bush’s “axis of evil”. Indeed, US policy  so undermined the Khatami administration that the reformists lost ground, to be replaced by the populist hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Pivoting to the Rouhani era and the nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and the P5+1, Straw writes:

President Rouhani’s election last summer was as overwhelming as it was surprising. “He only had 5 per cent in the polls when we started”, one proud supporter told us. The consequences of Mr Rouhani’s victory cannot be overstated. There’s a lightness in the air…

Sustained economic recovery depends in part on internal reform, but also on an end to the nuclear-related sanctions…Sanctions can have eccentric effects. Five hundred Porsches were imported last year, it is claimed. Coca-Cola is freely available; but banking sanctions mean that cancer patients cannot access life-saving imported drugs, even though formally these have been exempt from control.

November’s interim deal agreed in Geneva between Iran and the “P5 + 1” (the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, plus Germany) will come into force on Monday. There’s an obvious prize for Iran in ending all sanctions. There is for the UK too. Above and beyond big trade opportunities, a normalisation of relations will have profound benefits, not least in those troubled countries – Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine – where Iran has such influence.

Finally, Straw cites the greatest obstacle to the normalisation of relations and peace in the region:

Whether a comprehensive deal on Iran can be reached will crucially depend on how far Mr Obama is able to resist the intense lobbying (and financial support) Mr Netanyahu is able to muster in the US Congress.

Beyond Straw’s repugnant suggestion that pro-Israel elements in the US Congress take their marching orders from Jerusalem, and his failure to acknowledge that pro-Israel (and anti-Iran) sentiment is embraced by the overwhelming majority of Americans, it’s important to recall that his recent charges leveled at Jewish groups and Israel seem to reflect a broader narrative of Zionist root causes.  

A few weeks after 9/11, Straw led a Western delegation to Tehran, and delivered the following message in the context of the deadly attacks by al-Qaeda which killed nearly 3,000 Americans: “I understand that one of the factors which helps breed terrorism is the anger which many people in this region feel at events over the years in Palestine.”

Of course, one of the factors which undeniably leads to violence and instability in the Middle East is Iran’s role, according to the U.S. State Department, as the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

However, when you wake up in the morning genuinely convinced that Israel and the state’s Jewish supporters represent the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East, then even a reactionary, Islamist regime which exports terror abroad, while repressing religious minorities, women, gays and political dissidents at home, can evoke your ‘liberal’ sympathy.

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AIPAC root cause theory: ‘CiF’ again blames Israel lobby for…stuff they don’t like

Anyone who follows this blog would surely know that blaming the Israel lobby for the decisions of US political leaders is a frequent theme at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’.  So, it was not at all surprising when ‘Comment is Free’ contributor  published a commentary on Jan. 13 titledInvading Iraq was dumb enough. Now Congress wants to derail the Iran deal‘, which included the following:

This week’s accord with Iran, which was signed by five other powers in addition to the US [P5+1], is the first step in what could become a process that will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and allow it to work with the west in confronting serious security threats. Beyond that, it lays the basis for a process that could turn Iran into a normal country that respects basic human rights at home and exports stability instead of instability. There is no chance that America’s longstanding Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, could evolve that way. Yet this deal has evoked passionate opposition in Washington. Why?

It is a safe bet that many of members of Congress, including more than a few of the 59 senators now trying to kill the US-Iran peace process, would struggle to identify Iran on a map. Many, however, cling to the belief that the only true test of any American foreign policy is whether Israeli leaders support it. The Israel lobby in Washington has turned the Iran deal into a life-or-death struggle.  It is no accident that leaders of the war party, like Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, have received huge amounts of campaign money from that lobby.

First, in addition to the fact that Kinzer grossly mischaracterizes the intent of the bill (which ties sanctions relief to Iranian compliance with their nuclear deal with the P5+1) he’s just plain wrong on the role of the “Israel lobby”.  As Elder of Ziyon noted in a recent post about another false characterization of the pro-Israel lobby’s influence, AIPAC evidently hasn’t put any pressure on lawmakers over the

Politico reports:

Despite growing support in the Senate for Iran sanctions legislation, Democratic leaders have yet to feel insurmountable pressure to bring the measure to the floor.

One major reason: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is mostly keeping quiet.

The powerful pro-Israel lobby has not engaged in a shoe-leather lobbying campaign to woo wayward senators and push Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule a vote on the bill, according to several key senators and aides. While the group supports the bill — authored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) — it is not yet putting its political muscle behind a push for an immediate vote.

“I don’t know where AIPAC is. I haven’t talked to anybody,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who opposes any vote for additional sanctions at this time.

As of now, the Menendez-Kirk bill has 59 public supporters, including 43 of 45 Senate Republicans. But dozens of Democrats remain publicly undecided on the bill and seem unlikely to cross the Obama administration and openly back the legislation at this time. And AIPAC isn’t yet twisting Democratic arms.

A number of senators on both sides of the sanctions debate said they’d heard little from AIPAC on the issue, suggesting that wavering lawmakers are feeling little pressure from the group. With its clout on Capitol Hill and ties to deep-pocketed Jewish donors, the group’s muscle could be enough to change the political calculation over how to proceed on the contentious issue.

“I don’t know what they’re doing,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading defense hawk and strong supporter of getting a vote on the bill.

…California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Jewish Democrat, said she’s met with AIPAC “many times” on the issue of Iran. But asked if the group had been pressing her to support the Iran sanctions measure, she replied “not at all.”

“They respect my position, which is that sanctions are totally appropriate if this fails,” she said, referring to the diplomatic talks.

But other senators have not yet heard from the group and indicated they were entirely unaware of AIPAC’s activities on the Hill.

“I really have not talked to AIPAC about it,” said Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, a Jewish liberal and one of the few Senate Democrats publicly backing the Kirk-Menendez legislation.

Further, as a Washington Post foreign policy analyst recently argued in the context of dismissing AIPAC root cause theories:

it [is]  likely that senators are supporting Iran sanctions because doing so is squarely in their political self-interest. Iran is very unpopular in the United States. Republicans are already signaling that they may use the Obama administration’s Iran outreach as a weapon in coming elections. Any lawmaker who votes against new sanctions, even if it is for very sound foreign policy reasons, is taking a big political risk. That’s doubly true if the Iran deal fails. And if the Iran deal succeeds, all the credit will go to the Obama administration, so there’s little political incentive for individual members of Congress to support diplomacy.

Indeed, if Kinzer would see past his characteristic Israel lobby obsession, he’d note recent polling data which shows that “lopsided majorities of Americans from both political parties” are distrustful of Iran’s intentions during the nuclear talks, and “overwhelmingly favor deepening sanctions against the Iranian government, regardless of current negotiations.” That is, the support in Congress for the proposed sanctions bill is thoroughly consistent with US public opinion on the issue.

But, of course, who needs empirical research and critical thinking when you can fall back on lazy, disproven arguments which assign blame to the usual suspects.

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Guardian editor struggles with Jewish Geography, but puts ‘Israeli hawks’ back in Jerusalem

On Nov. 18 we reminded readers that until the summer of 2012 the Guardian’s Style Guide stated that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel – a shamefully false claim which was only officially retracted by their editors after a complaint was filed with the PCC.  We noted this quintessentially Guardianesque misinformation in response to a recent report by their Middle East editor, Ian Black, titled ‘Hawks squawk even before Iran nuclear deal is sealed‘, Nov. 8.  

Black’s report included this sentence:

Hardliners in Tehran, hawks in Tel Aviv and Washington, nervous Saudis and their Gulf allies are all alarmed at the prospect of a nuclear deal between Iran, the US and the international community [in Geneva].

As we noted, the context made it clear Black was referring to the putatively “hard-line” and “hawkish” political leaders within the governments of Iran, Israel and the United States.  Yet, while the capitals (where the ‘seats of government’ is located) in Iran and the United States were of course correct, the paper’s Middle East “expert” bestowed this status to the wrong Israeli city.

Though no change was prompted to Black’s misleading Nov. 8 report after our complaints, the following sentence in Black’s latest report (a ‘Middle East Year in Review’ published on Dec. 19) included an update on the nuclear deal which, at the very least, is quite curious.

It is an interim [nuclear] agreement and faces opposition from hardliners in Tehran who mistrust the emollient Rouhani, Republicans in Washington and hawks in Jerusalem, where Israel – anxious to maintain its monopoly of (undeclared) nuclear weapons – was ignored by Barack Obama

Yes, those ‘squawking Zionist hawks’ are safely back in their nation’s capital.  

We of course can’t formally claim credit for Black’s ‘evolving’ expertise in the subject of Jewish Geography which likely inspired his implicit acknowledgement that it is wrong to suggest that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital.  But, in the event that one of their contributors attempts similar rhetorical slights of hand in the future, you may want to ‘gently’ remind them of the following:

corex