It wasn’t exactly a complimentary article about Foxman, suggesting that his past and paranoia are somewhat manic and perhaps misguided. The article, however, while dealing with Foxman and his total control over the ADL, also discusses some of the issues we’ve been talking about on Jewlicious with respect to Walt & Mearsheimer, Jimmy Carter and other instances where prominent figures have taken to pointing fingers at Jews and suggesting cabal-like behavior.

In a conversation last month over lunch, as Foxman’s bodyguard kept a weather eye open from across the room, I asked the A.D.L. leader about his ever-renewed fount of outrage. “I haven’t done gevalt for 30 years,” Foxman said, though some might argue otherwise. “But never before has there been such a threat to Israel and to the Jewish people from a geopolitical conglomerate — the Arab world, with Iran, with Hamas, with Hezbollah, with its position that it will not recognize Israel. The vise is closing.”

The United States, Foxman added, is “the only — the only — country in the world that is consistently willing to stand up to hypocrisy, to double standards, to triple standards, which always has the guts to say no.” And now he sees this great bulwark crumbling. Former President Jimmy Carter accuses Israel in his most recent book of practicing a policy of “apartheid” in the occupied territories. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, according to Karen DeYoung, a Washington Post associate editor, in her recent biography, “Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell,” links President Bush’s Middle East policy more to Jewish-neoconservative influence than to principle. Judith Regan, the celebrity editor, was reported as saying — she denies it — that the Jews were behind her recent downfall. (Some of Foxman’s examples are more weight-bearing than others.)

But what really makes Abe Foxman shray (cry) gevalt is the claim that an “Israel lobby” or a “Jewish lobby” — Aipac and the A.D.L. and a few others — has effectively gained control over U.S. policy toward the Middle East and suppressed voices calling for alternative policies.

The article concludes with the following:

Foxman is an anachronism. The demographic of which he is a member — Holocaust survivor — is rapidly disappearing. Younger people don’t know quite what to make of him. In a recent column in The Jewish Journal, David A. Lehrer, formerly the head of the A.D.L.’s Los Angeles office, observed that Jews are now the most widely admired religious group in America, as well as the most successful, and lamented that Jewish leaders — Foxman specifically — continue to harp on Jewish “insecurity” and the threat of anti-Semitism. Lehrer says that when he raised his view that the A.D.L. had to learn to speak to this new, confident but less affiliated generation of Jews, Foxman dismissed it out of hand. The generational question does not interest him. “It’s not my job to judge whether they should feel beleaguered or not,” Foxman snapped when I raised the subject. “I do feel. And I’ve got news for you: Every one of them, in their maturing process, will experience this.”

I believe we’ve been fairly critical on Jewlicious of the ADL and their heavy hand which often results in the opposite result which they are seeking. They have the respect of many institutions and leading individuals in the Jewish community, as well as institutions outside of the community including security organizations like the FBI. I believe that of the resentment we express toward the ADL is that it has made the Holocaust a defining feature of how Jews view themselves, and it harps endlessly – since that is its mission – on antisemitism toward Jews even as the Jewish community has become heavily integrated into the larger population.

One has to wonder whether Walt & Mearsheimer as well as Carter and others benefit from the consensus the ADL has helped construct in this country whereby antisemitism, along with bigotry toward other identifiable groups, has become a taboo subject. When you criticize Jews, the Jewish community or Jewish organizations, suddenly you are labeled a brave person who is willing to challenge…power. Where the ADL has succeeded is in squelching openly hateful speech. Where it fails is that dancing around the topic of hate with erudition or intelligence is still acceptable and, in fact, often considered so “brave” as to be heroic. Thus, when Mel Gibson makes a movie depicting Jews as hateful, blood-thirsty murderers of Jesus, he gets a pass because he runs a marketing campaign painting himself as a victim of power seeking to crush him. However, when he actually comes right out and directly attacks Jews in a drunken moment of truth, he is openly vilified and rejected by society. We reject David Duke but we accept Walt & Mearsheimer with their “Israel Lobby” or Juan Cole with his “Likudniks.” We reject Ahmadinejad and his attacks on Israel’s existence or the historicity of the Holocaust, but we accept a former US President accusing Israel of nothing less than apartheid and of American Jews as holding the levers of power in US politics and media.

Maybe Foxman isn’t so crazy. After all, just because he’s paranoid, that doesn’t mean they’re not out to get him.

About the author



  • interesting that you mention apartheid, TM. you know the ADL spied on anti-apartheid activists in the US country on behalf of the South African apartheid regime. Foxman, that great anti-discriminationist, was unapologetic.

    “Foxman, seeming like a general dressing down his troops, marched into the Jewish Bulletin office…where he lambasted critics of the ADL, speaking angrily of a conspiracy and at times fuming as he turned several shades of red… ‘People are very upset about the (files on the) ANC,’ he agrees. ‘At the time we exposed the ANC, they were Communist. They were violent, they were
    anti-Semitic, they were pro-PLO and they were anti-Israel. You’re going to tell me I don’t have the legitimacy to find out who they were consorting with.'”
    Garth Wolkoff, “ADL Chief Lashes Out at Critics, Press,
    D.A.,” Northern California Jewish Bulletin, May 7, 1992, pp. 1, 26.

    “but we accept a former US President accusing Israel of nothing less than apartheid”

    here’s a former Israeli attorney general accusing Israel of nothing less than apartheid, in Ha’artz 03/03/2002:

    “We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one – progressive, liberal – in Israel; and the other – cruel, injurious – in the occupied territories. In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day.”

    Michael Ben-Yair was attorney general from 1993-96.

  • Annoying, mostly one-sided article written to make Foxman look like a boob.

  • I think your analysis regarding the acceptibility of skirting the line of anti-Semitism is spot on, TM. Would that the Times approached the topic from that point of view. Instead we get a hatchet job on Foxman. I’m fairly critical of the man, but equating him to that bigot Sharpton (save for the apparent self-admiration) is digusting.

  • What self-respecting Jew still buys this paper?

    I just read an article in Die Walt by Benny Morris predicting a second Holocaust. They are not the only two paranoid Jews. I’d rather be safe than sorry. I don’t care if people call me paranoid now rather then I have to tell them, “Told you so!” later.

  • Benny Morris:

    This op-ed piece was published in the German daily DIE WELT (in German) on
    January 6, 2007

    The following is the original text in English provided by Benny Morris.
    The second Holocaust will not be like the first

    By Benny Morris

    The Nazis, of course, industrialized mass murder. But still, the perpetrators had one-on-one contact with the victims. They may have dehumanized them, over months and years of appalling debasement and in their minds, before the actual killing. But, still, they were in eye- and ear-contact, sometimes in tactile contact, with their victims. The Germans, along with their non-German helpers, had to round up the men, women and children from their houses and drag and beat them through the streets and mow them down in nearby woods or push and pack them on cattle cars and transport them to the camps, where ‘Work makes Free’, separate the able-bodied from the completely useless and lure them into ‘shower’ halls and pour in the gas and then take out, or oversee the extraction of, the bodies and prepare the ‘showers’ for the next batch.

    The second Holocaust will be quite different. One bright morning, in five or ten years’ time, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran’s acquisition of the Bomb, the mullahs in Qom will covoke in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Ahmedinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go ahead. The orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa, and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel’s half dozen air and (reported) nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel’s anti-missile batteries and Home Guard units.

    With a country the size and shape of Israel (an elongated 8,000 square miles), probably four or five hits will suffice: No more Israel. A million or more Israelis, in the greater Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem areas, will die immediately. Millions will be seriously irradiated. Israel has about seven million inhabitants. No Iranian will see or touch an Israeli. It will be quite impersonal.

    Some of the dead will inevitably be Arab. 1.3 million of Israel’s citizens are Arab and another 3.5 million additional Arabs live in the semi-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Haifa have substantial Arab minorities. And there are large Arab concentrations immediately around Jerusalem (in Ramallah-El Bireh, Bir Zeit, Bethlehem), and outside Haifa. Here, too, many
    will die, immediately or by and by.It is doubtful whether such a mass killing of fellow Muslims will trouble Ahmedinejad and the mullahs. The Iranians don’t especially like Arabs, especially Sunni Arabs, with whom they have intermittently warred for centuries. And they have an especial contempt for the (Sunni) Palestinians, who, after all, though initially outnumbering the Jews by more than 10 to 1, failed during the
    long conflict to prevent the Jews from establishing their state or taking over all of Palestine. Besides, the Iranian leadership sees the destruction of Israel as a supreme divine command, as a herald of the Second Coming, and the Muslims dispatched collaterally as so many shuhada (martyrs) in the noble cause. Anyway, the Palestinians, many of them dispersed around the globe, will survive as a
    people, as will the greater Arab Nation, of which they are part. And surely, to be rid of the Jewish state, the Arabs should be willing to make some sacrifices. In the cosmic balance sheet, it will be worth the candle.

    A question may nevertheless arise in the Iranian councils: What about Jerusalem? After all, the city contains Islam’s third holiest shrines (after Mecca and Medina), Al Aksa Mosque and the Mosque of Omar. But Ali Khamenei, the supreme spiritual leader, and Ahmedinejad most likely would reply much as they would to the wider question regarding the destruction and radioactive pollution of Palestine as a whole: The city, like the land, by God’s grace, in twenty or fifty years’ time, will recover. And it will be restored to Islam (and the Arabs). And the deeper pollution will have been eradicated. To judge from Ahmedinejad’s continuous reference to Palestine and the need to destroy Israel, and his denial of the first Holocaust, he is a man obsessed. He shares this with the mullahs: All were brought up on the teachings of
    Khomeini, a prolific anti-Semite who often fulminated against ‘the Little Satan’. To judge from Ahmedinejad’s organisation of the Holocaust cartoons competition and the (current) Holocaust denial conference, the Iranian president’s hatreds are deep (and, of course, shameless).
    He is willing to gamble – the future of Iran or even of the whole Muslim Middle East in exchange for Israel’s destruction. No doubt he believes that Allah, somehow, will protect Iran from an Israeli nuclear response or an American counterstrike. Allah aside, he may well believe that his missiles will so pulverize the Jewish state, knock out its leadership and its land-based nuclear bases, and demoralize or confuse its nuclear-armed submarine commanders that it will be unable to respond. And, with his deep contempt for the weak-kneed West, he is unlikely to take seriously the threat of American nuclear retaliation.

    Or he may well take into account a counter-strike and simply, irrationally (to our way of thinking), be willing to pay the price. As his mentor, Khomeini, put it in a speech in Qom in 1980: ‘We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah … I say, let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant …’ For these worshipers at the cult of death, even the sacrifice of the homeland is acceptable if the outcome is the demise of Israel.

    Israel’s deputy defense minister, Ephraim Sneh, has suggested that Iran doesn’t even have to use the Bomb to destroy Israel. Simply, the nuclearization of Iran will so overawe and depress Israelis that they will lose hope and gradually flee emigrate, and potential foreign investors and immigrants will shy away from the mortally threatened Jewish State. These, together, will bring about the State’s demise. But my feeling is that Ahmedinejad and his allies lack the patience for such a drawn-out denouement; they seek Israel’s annihilation in
    the here and now, in the immediate future, in their lifetime. They won’t want to leave anything up to the vagaries of history.

    As with the first, the second Holocaust will have been preceded by decades of preparation of hearts and minds, by Iranian and Arab leaders, Western intellectuals and media outlets. Different messages have gone out to different audiences – but all have (objectively) served the same goal, the demonization of Israel. Muslims the world over have been taught: ‘The Zionists\the Jews are the
    embodiment of evil’ and ‘Israel must be destroyed.’ And Westeners, more subtly, were instructed: ‘Israel is a racist oppressor state’ and ‘Israel, in this age of multi-culturalism, is an anachronism and superfluous’. Generations of Muslims and at least a generation of Westerners have been brought up on these catechisms.

    The build-up to the second Holocaust (which, incidentally, in the end, will probably claim roughly the same number of lives as did the first) has seen an international community fragmented and driven by separate, selfish appetites – Russia and China obsessed with Muslim markets; France, with Arab oil – and the United States driven by the debacle in Iraq into a deep isolationism. Iran has been left free to pursue its nuclear destiny and Israel and Iran, to face off alone.

    But an ultimately isolated Israel will prove unequal to the task, like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an onrushing car. Last summer, led by a party hack of a prime minister and a small-time trade unionist as defense minister, and deploying an army trained for quelling incompetent and poorly-armed Palestinians gangs in the occupied territories and overly concerned about both sustaining and inflicting casualties, Israel failed in a 34-day mini-war against a small Iran-backed guerrilla army of Lebanese fundamentalists (albeit highly motivated, well-trained and well-armed). That mini-war thoroughly demoralized the Israeli political and military leaderships.

    Since then, the ministers and generals, like their counterparts in the West, have looked on glumly as Hizbullah’s patrons have been arming with doomsday weapons. Perversely, the Israeli leaders may even have been happy with Western pressures urging restraint. Most likely they deeply wished to believe Western assurances that somebody, somehow – the UN, G-7 – would pull the radioactive chestnuts out of the fire. There are even those who fell for the outlandish idea that a regime-change in Teheran, driven by a reputedly secular middle class, would ultimately stymie the mad mullahs.

    But even more to the point, the Iranian program presented an infinitely complex challenge for a country with Israel’s limited conventional military resources. Taking their cue from the successful Israel Air Force’s destruction in 1981 of Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor, the Iranians duplicated and dispersed their facilities and buried them deep underground (and the Iranian targets are about twice as far from Israel as was Baghdad). Taking out with conventional weapons the known Iranian facilities would take an American-size air force working round-the-clock for more than a month. At best, Israel’s air force, commandos and navy could hope to hit only some of the components of the Iranian
    project. But, in the end, it would remain substantially intact – and the Iranians even more determined (if that were possible) to reach the Bomb as soon as possible. (It would also, without doubt, immediately result in a world-embracing Islamist terrorist campaign against Israel (and possibly its Western allies) and, of course, near-universal vilification. Orchestrated by Ahmedinejad, all would clamor that the Iranian program had been geared to peaceful purposes.). At best, an Israeli conventional strike could delay the Iranians by a year or two. In short order, therefore, the incompetent leadership in Jerusalem would soon confront a doomsday scenario, either after launching their marginally
    effective conventional offensive or in its stead, of launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Iranian nuclear program, some of whose components were in or near major cities. Would they have the stomach for this? Would their determination to save Israel extend to pre-emptively killing millions of Iranians and, in effect, destroying Iran?

    This dilemma had long ago been accurately defined by a wise general: Israel’s nuclear armory was unusable. It could only be used ‘too early or ‘too late.’ There would never be a “right” time. Use it ‘too early,’ meaning before Iran acquired similar weapons, and Israel would be cast in the role of international pariah, a target of universal Muslim assault, without a friend in the world; ‘too late’ would mean using its nuclear weapons after the Iranians had struck. What purpose would that serve?

    So Israel’s leaders will grit their teeth and hope that somehow things will turn out for the best. Perhaps, after acquiring the Bomb, the Iranians will behave ‘rationally’?

    But the Iranians are driven by a higher logic. And they will launch their rockets. And, as with the first Holocaust, the international community will do nothing. It will all be over, for Israel, in a few minutes – not like in the 1940s, when the world had five long years in which to wring its hands and do nothing. After the Shihabs fall, the world will send rescue ships and medical aid for the lightly charred. It will not nuke Iran. For what purpose and at what cost? An American nuclear response would lastingly alienate the whole of the Muslim world, deepening and universalizing the ongoing clash of civilizations. And, of course, it would not bring Israel back. (Would hanging a serial muderer bring back his victims?) So what would be the point?

    Still, the second Holocaust will be different in the sense that Ahmedinejad will not actually see and touch those he so wishes dead (and, one may speculate, this might cause him disappointment as, in his years of service in Iranian death squads in Europe, he may have acquired a taste for actual blood). And, indeed, there will be no scenes like the following, quoted in Daniel Mendelsohn’s recent ‘The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million,’ in which is described the second Nazi Aktion in Bolechow, Poland, in September 1942:

    ‘A terrible episode happened with Mrs. Grynberg. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house, found her giving birth. The weeping and entreaties of bystanders didn’t help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into the square in front of the town hall. There … she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd of Ukraininans present, who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth and she gave birth to a child. The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown – It was trampled by the crowd and she was stood on her feet as blood poured out of her with bleeding bits hanging and she stood that way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a carriage in a train to Belzec [extermination camp].’

    In the next Holocaust there will be no such heart-rending scenes, of perpetrators and victims mired in blood (though, to judge from pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the physical effects of nuclear explosions can be fairly unpleasant).

    But it will be a Holocaust nonetheless.

  • Israeli military historian martin van creveld:
    Though Iran is ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, most commentators who are familiar with the country do not regard its government as irrational. The only figure capable of inspiring Iranians to extraordinary sacrifices, Ayatollah Khomeini, died more than a decade ago. Even before then, it was Saddam Hussein who attacked Iran, not the other way around; since then Iran has been no more aggressive than most countries are.

    For all their talk of opposition to Israel, Iran’s rulers are very unlikely to mount a nuclear attack on a country that is widely believed to have what it takes to wipe them off the map. Chemical or other attacks are also unlikely, given the meager results that may be expected and the retaliation that would almost certainly follow.

  • xisnotx, surely you are wise enough to recognize that Benny Morris’s prediction is just as valid as Van Creveld’s. Right?

    By the way, do you enjoy posting anti-ADL articles from ADL Watch?

  • well, Morris i’d say tends to hyperbole, sometimes paranoia. best taken with a grain of salt — see kimmerling’s critique:
    [morris wrote]
    “Even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians. There are cases in which the overall, final good justifies harsh and cruel acts that are committed in the course of history.” I do not know today any American historian or social scientist that agrees that the annihilation of the indigenous population of the continent was a necessary condition for the American nation or the constitution of American democracy. And these are facts and not “political correctness” as Morris loves to call any arguments he cannot deny.

    van creveld is no softie himself — also once suggested all the palestinians should be expelled. however he is generally a good deal more sober-minded than Benny, and is considered Israel’s foremost military historian; i’m going to go with with weighting his predictions over benny’s. this is not to say i dont find morris’ piece genuinely upsetting.

  • Dude, do you ever provide sources that aren’t somebody’s heavily colored opinion about the Israeli-Arab conflict? You’re giving us Kimmerling, of all people, attacking Morris?? Should I find you a whole bunch of articles attacking Kimmerling? Morris is a problematic historian, to be sure, but Kimmerling is no less problematic.

    As for Van Creveld, he is also capable of making mistakes. There are prominent scholars out there who make mistakes, sometimes innocently and sometimes with forethought and malice. For example, reading Walt & Mearsheimer, one can only conclude they read the same Lefty anti-Israel blogs and sites that you do…and believe everything they read or at least interpret it in the most anti-Israel way they can muster.

    The Morris predictions about Iran should upset you, because a great deal of what he writes rings all too true.

    To put it into some recent perspective, we know clearly that Iran was and is funding Hizbullah. They are providing weapons, expertise and financing intended to put Israel in Hizbullah’s cross-hairs.

    Now, Iran knows that the Israelis know that Iran is behind Hizbullah’s strength and strategy. Does that stop them? No. They don’t seem too afraid of any form of retaliation or consequences for this hostile activity. On this basis alone, Van Creveld’s assessment is a bit naive. Proxy wars count as wars. Iran launched a proxy war on Israel through Hizbullah. Why would they not launch a direct attack on Israel if they have nukes? Because they would be destroyed? They can’t be destroyed, they have 65 million people living there in a country that is far larger than Israel.

    Oh, and in case you forget, Iran had no problem recruiting kids for its war against Iraq, often with the knowledge that they would be nothing more than cannon fodder in the war. Their concept of death and suicide, to remind you, is slightly different than ours.

  • TM, you just ignore the substance of Kimmerling’s critique and attack him. Do you believe American democracy couldnt have succeeded without wiping out the Native Americans? That’s erroneous them-or-us thinking. Morris applied it to Israel and Palestine a few years ago when he said it had been a mistake not to expel all the Palestinians, and that the job might need to be finished.

    If Iran really did want to destroy Israel, it would have been reckless to have ordered Hezbollah to go to war last summer. it eroded Hezbollah’s power as a deterrent force should Israel strike iran first. Iran also restrained Hezbollah from firing its longer-range missiles.

    I havent forgotten about using kids as human minesweepers in the iran-iraq war (tho it is said children of important mullahs never volunteered) but as van creveld says, Iran doesnt have the same kind of revolutionary fervor it did then. the death to Israel parades that used to draw tens of thousands draw much fewer now, and Iranians openly complain about their money being spent on palestinians and lebanese, instead of their own country, and complain about how much energy he spends on confronting the west:

    van creveld:

    “Given the balance of forces, it cannot be argued that a nuclear Iran will threaten the United States. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s fulminations to the contrary, the Islamic Republic will not even be a threat to Israel. The latter has long had what it needs to deter an Iranian attack.

    “Should deterrence fail, Jerusalem can quickly turn Tehran into a radioactive desert — a fact of which Iranians are fully aware. “

  • xisnotx, I attack Kimmerling because I perceive him as a person with extreme views. He has been wrong before and will be wrong again.

    With respect to Van Creveld, I repeat that his predictions carry no more weight than those of Morris. Neither knows the future, they can only guess at what it brings. They both dig into their historical backpack, pull out the materials necessary to make their case and then make it.

    I consider Morris to be a problematic historian for many reasons. I always have. There is no question that what Arafat did in 2000 forced Morris to change his world view. Once he did so, he became reviled by the very Left that had used him as its beacon in attacking the legitimacy of Israel and the general morality of Zionism. As you can see, he finds himself in a bit of pickle: he cannot denounce his previous scholarship, but wants to denounce the effects his scholarship has had on the overall perception of the conflict.

    What he says in this interview, whether you or I agree with it or not, contains a great deal of truth. It is also amusing to watch someone with a clear Leftward bent, I’m speaking of you here, ignore what the Palestinians and Arabs have done during the course of this conflict: expel ALL Jews from areas under their control. Even in Gaza, they refused to have any Jews stay behind after the Disengagement. You wish to apply different standards to their enemy.

    Would America as a democracy stand today without the annihilation of the natives? I have no idea, but probably it would have taken far longer to achieve many of the things that have been achieved. However, I consider the parallel severely flawed. Native Americans are not to Americans what Palestinians are to Israelis. There were no Americans on this land prior to their engagement with the Natives, unlike the millenia-old connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel; there was no intention or plan by Native Americans to annihilate, destroy, decimate and murder the Americans and which would have forced the Americans to fight back.

    Back to Iran: you concede that they sent out children on suicidal missions and you concede that Hizbullah is under their thumb. However, you choose to minimize these details and accept Van Creveld’s guess that the Iranians will not act as Morris suggests. You’ll note that your article by Von Creveld was written in April of last year, prior to the Holocaust denial conference and prior to numerous declarations by Ahmadenijad…as well as one public declaration by one of their top clerics that under certain circumstances Iran’s nuclear power might be used in a war.

    If there is no reason to worry, as you suggest, then maybe instead of wasting time trying to convince me, you could spend your time lobbying the Iranians to stop with their threats against Israel?

  • The Jewish community in the US needs to be more vigorous in pressing for a firm US policy on Iran. Bush is stuck out there on an island, generally speaking (yeah yeah, it’s partly his fault), and he needs strong domestic backing in the looming confrontation with Iran.

    Unless, of course, we all think it’s better to leave the matter to President Obama.

    As for Foxman– he’s an activist, and at times gives in to a kind of paranoia (e.g., his recent Christian-baiting fundraising efforts). Activists tend to the err on the side of– activism. But, hell, if I were Jewish, I’d be paranoid, too.

  • Tom, I think the Jewish community needs to be very careful not to be too vigorous in pressing for any US policy on Iran. We are already being blamed for Iraq.

  • Middle, that notorious Jewish cabal, the neocons, have taken their lumps, it’s true. I’m thinking of Jewish opinion to the left of Norman Podhoretz. We may be at the beginning of a real shift toward neo-isolationism on the American left, a pullback from foreign involvement stemming from chagrin over Iraq. If that’s the case, not only are the Iranians on a schedule (in developing the bomb)– there may be a deadline of January, 2009, for US action on Iran.

    Which Dem do you think will prove strong on Iran? Edwards? Obama? Biden, even? I’m not holding my breath.

  • Morris suggests it’s impossible for Israel to take care of this threat, and only the US can:

    “Taking out with conventional weapons the known Iranian facilities would take an American-size air force working round-the-clock for more than a month.”

    do you agree? so either the jewish community presses the US to take care of this threat, or there’s going to be a second Holocaust, no? how can the Jewish community prevent a second Holocaust without being “too vigourous” in pressing for the US to bomb Iran?

  • No, no, xisnotx, you’re understanding this in the wrong way. I didn’t say that I buy Morris’s premise from a to z, just as I didn’t reject Van Creveld’s. I think both contain logic and worthwhile information based on their reading of the situation, which in turn is based upon their reading of Middle Eastern history.

    I don’t know that Morris knows what types of weapons will work against the Iranians or what plans the IDF might have for an attack, if any. For all I know, he could be wrong about what it will take to destroy Iran’s capabilities.

    Right now, it seems that Israel is trying the diplomatic route out of this crisis. This suggests that either they believe there is no viable military solution or that there is no need for one yet. They have been wrong in the past about these issues, as we saw in 1973 and even in the recent Lebanon war. We also know that the Mossad and Military Intelligence have been providing conflicting reports on numerous issues recently. Still, Israel is trying diplomacy.

    Let’s say that diplomacy doesn’t work. It is Israel’s responsibility to defend itself, not America’s to defend Israel. Israel has never asked American soldiers to fight on its behalf and I don’t believe they’ll start now. From my perspective, that is the only acceptable approach. On the other hand, the US may decide that it has vital interests which would be jeopardized by a nuclear Iran and that this threat is too great to ignore. In this scenario, the US should take whatever steps it needs to defend itself and its interests.

    As an example, I point you to the immediate problem that all the oil producing nations in or near the Persian Gulf would have in protecting themselves against a newly invigorated and nuclear Iran. Do we want Saudi oil to become the prisoner of Iranian interests? Do we want Egypt to be threatened by Iranian nukes? Do we wish to see a Muslim Shia crescent leading from Iran through Iraq through Lebanon? Do we wish to see Israel destroyed? Do we want Iran to have nukes that can reach Europe and eventually the US?

    These are serious and troubling questions that do not touch on Israel’s needs, but rather America’s needs. If the US deems them important enough, it may have to consider war against Iran. However, the Jewish community should not speak to this issue as a community. Jewish organizations should stay out of the discussion entirely. American Jewish individuals, of course, may be in positions where they might end up being part of the discussion, but in this regard they will and should speak as Americans, without any reference to their faith.

  • Gen. Oded Tira doesnt agree w/you, i think:,7340,L-3346275,00.html

    And finally, Iran will continue to pursue its nuclear program while the world continues to “babble.” If American and European actions continue in the current pace and quality, there will be no change in the Iranian nuclearization path. Instead of allotting several months for diplomatic activity and preparing for a military strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, the world continues to talk nonsense and play with illusions regarding the success of moderating diplomatic moves.

    President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran. As an American strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure.

    We must turn to Hillary Clinton and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party so that they publicly support immediate action by Bush against Iran. We should also approach European countries so that they support American actions in Iran, so that Bush will not be isolated in the international arena again.

  • Um, I thought we’ve had this discussion already elsewhere.

    Who is Oded Tira? Is he an important politician? Is he a Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff or somebody who designed IDF strategy or policy? Is he an important commentator that’s known and/or respected by the public?

    Or is he just another voice out there that’s putting out his two cents worth? I mean, you’re debating Iran’s intentions and what Israel should do and you have no problem dismissing what the President of Iran along with key clerics who wield even more power that he say publicly about destroying Israel, but you take at face value whatever some ex-general without any authority or prominent Lefty academic might say as long as it suits your view of things.

  • Oh wait! I stand corrected! Oded Tira is well known!!

    By Leftwing and anti-Israel websites of-course…

    That’s right, he’s so important that the information available about him is what you find among the anti-Israel herd and they’re all either quoting each other or the Ynet op-ed he wrote. This at a time when the Defense Minister of Israel is having trouble getting what he wants done.

  • Link

    Netanyahu then said Israel “must immediately launch an intense, international, public relations front first and foremost on the U.S. The goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make clear to the government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world, not only Israel.”

  • Link edited by TM because long links break the site. Link to radical Lefty source

    But the main man calling the shots in Washington these days, Dick Cheney, is not Israel’s man. He’s not a Christian fundamentalist Zionist but an amoral, apartheid-friendly, shotgun-wielding oil baron and representative of corporate America who began his “public service” in the administration of the anti-Semite Richard Nixon. He sees America facing a rising China, and wants to create a Southwest Asian empire to check Beijing’s growing influence and limit its strategic access to petroleum. His objectives, widely supported in the ruling elite, overlap but aren’t identical with those of his neocon acolytes. The Israeli government doesn’t issue Cheney orders; it can’t. Israel is a small resource-poor country with a US-subsidized economy that services US imperialism in important ways (including serving as middleman in arms transactions escaping the oversight of the US Congress). Through AIPAC, which is indeed supported by 60,000 wealthy American Jews (who aren’t representative of American Jewry as a whole) and has a $ 60 million annual budget, it exercises enormous political clout. AIPAC is, de facto, an unregistered lobby group for a foreign government, as Ritter notes, and US politicians do fear it. The Lobby encourages and exploits that fear to achieve its ends.

    But it’s not the tail wagging the dog. If the US attacks Iran, it will not be the result of a “Jewish conspiracy” but of a calculated decision by the Bush regime that corporate America as a whole is best served by that criminal action.

  • xisnotx, what is the purpose of yet another opinion piece from yet another radical Left wing source? I mean, this ain’t Jewschool. This stuff isn’t convincing and it’s become…really booooooring. You’re not debating; you seem to have no opinion; and you buy into whatever far-Left source you happened to read last. In the meantime, you’ve provided no evidence or even a serious argument that Morris is wrong or that Van Creveld is right; that Iran should or shouldn’t be attacked; that Iran should or shouldn’t be taken at face value with their threats; that Israel is or isn’t planning to attack Iran; that Israel plans to ask or has asked the US to go to war against Iran; or that Israel or any of its leaders will.

    Please, I beg you, don’t respond with yet another irrelevant opinion piece.

  • Leupp’s piece is not irrelevant. he points out that if the US attacks Iran, it will be for its own reasons. Much of the left seems to be falling for the lobby argument. note that scott ritter was on Democracy Now speaking about “dual loyalties.”

  • But it is irrelevant. It’s just another opinion piece. I don’t need Ritter to talk about dual loyalties, I can just go to Daily Kos or read Walt & Mearsheimer. If somebody is speaking about this, that’s great, but it’s still simply another opinion piece. At the end of the day, if we go to war, Israel and the Jewish community will be held responsible by many for whom this conspiracy idea seems tangible. Others will debate it. A large majority won’t have an opinion. It’s when the silent majority buys the wacky conspiracies of the Left or the Right that I begin to worry.

  • that is clearly happening, judging by the reaction to M& W, ritter, et al. the bush administration is not helping either:

    New York Jewish Week

    Iran-Israel Linkage By Bush Seen As Threat

    Jewish leaders warn of backlash as president cites Jewish state as rationale for possible strikes.

    In recent days, there have been reports of extensive U.S. military planning, possibly for a bombing campaign against a variety of Iranian targets. The aim, say the reports, would be to halt or, at least set back, what Iran insists is a peaceful program to produce nuclear energy. The United States, Europe and other countries fear this merely masks a covert Iranian drive to develop nuclear weapons.

    Faced with increasing public clamor about a possible military conflict, Bush has repeatedly taken note of the threat a nuclear Iran would pose to Israel.

    Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-L.I./Queens), a frequent administration critic, said Bush’s focus increases the likelihood of a backlash against Jews and Israel if a U.S.-led war on Iran turns sour.

    “It’s a horrible thing to do, it’s dangerous,” he said. “If something goes wrong, it’s a setup to say we did it for Israel and not for America, and to blame the Jews.”

    Asked if he thought that was President Bush’s intent, Ackerman said “I don’t believe in accidents and coincidences in this business. They choose their words very carefully. This is not the first time the president has said this, but now it looks like it’s their whole program.”

  • Looks like I’m one for two so far this week in predictions (one’s still outstanding– look for the Pats to clock Peyton and the Colts tomorrow). According to today’s ed. of the Newspaper of Record, Sen. Jay Rockefeller is leading a group of Democratic pols in launching a pre-emptive strike on any Bush Admin. plan for confrontation with Iran, citing, among other things, an alleged unreliability of US intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program. (They may want to consult with the UN on its findings.)

    My condolences to all left-leaning Jewlicious types. They always break your heart, don’t they?