Posts Tagged ‘Israel’
Our Vice-President has just announced a blank cheque policy for Israel, saying: “There is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security“.
The Times has a hilarious investigative report in today’s issue. Apparently $100 billion in government cash has gone into the pockets of energy companies doing business with the nefarious Iran.
Its worth getting out of the way first that sanctions don’t work. They never have. Numerous studies have concluded that the net effect of “sanctions” is invariably to strengthen the targeted regime, and an article on sanctions in Iran – especially on how US companies are violating them – should probably mention this.
Instead, The Times plumps for the opposite approach – that instead of the sanctions themselves being a vicious attack on the Iranian people, the violation on the part of the US companies of the sanctions is the real crime. It bears mentioning that the major Israeli paper, Haartez, ran a similar story, “US Rewarding Firms That Defy Iran Sanctions“, with a much angrier headline. The pro-Israel lobby clearly isn’t happy about this.
The whole Times article really deserves to be read in full, as it presents a case study in systemic bias. Observe:
For years, the United States has been pressing other nations to join its efforts to squeeze the Iranian economy, in hopes of reining in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Now, with the nuclear standoff hardening and Iran rebuffing American diplomatic outreach, the Obama administration is trying to win a tough new round of United Nations sanctions.
The third paragraph. Note how nonchalantly The Times speaks of “squeezing” the Iranian economy and “reining in” its nuclear ambitions, as though we have an implicit right to do such things. The next sentence accuses Iran of “rebuffing American diplomatic outreach” (an Orwellianism, that), completely ignoring Iran’s agreement to ship its uranium for inspection in Russia. The US demanded to send its own specialists into Iran to “inspect” their sites, something which Iran rightfully refused. Actually, when one thinks of it, the Americans rebuffed Iran’s outreach, but in true propaganda style, The Times reverses the accusation.
After a few paragraphs describing how easily US companies and those of our “allies” can operate in Iran and how eager Iran is for foreign investment, The Times says:
One of the government’s most powerful tools, at least on paper, to influence the behavior of companies beyond the jurisdiction of the embargo is the Iran Sanctions Act, devised to punish foreign companies that invest more than $20 million in a given year to develop Iran’s oil and gas fields. But in the 14 years since the law was passed, the government has never enforced it, in part for fear of angering America’s allies.
That has given rise to situations like the one involving the South Korean engineering giant Daelim Industrial, which in 2007 won a $700 million contract to upgrade an Iranian oil refinery.
Once again, the implicit assumption is that these “sanctions” (a) work, and (b) are legitimate. After all, why shouldn’t South Korea be allowed to invest where it wishes? The Times claims that the Army’s $111 million investment in S. Korea should have bought at least some respect for our sanctions, but this is a facile argument.
Later, they complain that Brazil, the Netherlands, France, and other “US allies” are investing in Iran while taking US dollars.
The Iranian government has engaged in some unsavory acts this past year, but the amount of violence it visited upon its citizens is minuscule compared to that of our “allies”, particularly Israel. Even the highest estimates of the death toll in Iran’s post-election violence only reach the low hundreds. In January of the same year, Israel killed more than 2,000 Gaza civilians, and dozens die from lack of food, water, or sanitation as a result of that action and the surrounding blockade every day.
If we’re really going to castigate countries for human-rights violations and write massive “exposes” on US companies violating sanctions , shouldn’t we focus on a more murderous country than Iran?
Dr. Martin Kramer, a fellow at Harvard’s National Security Studies Program, has posted a speech he delivered two weeks ago in Israel in which he urged solving the Palestinian refugee problem by population control i.e “stopping pro-natal subsidies to Palestinians with refugee status.” In other words, starve the Palestinians so they don’t have babies and, he seems to be saying, starving the babies so they don’t grow up.
That will help reduce the terrorist threat by preventing Palestinian babies from becoming “superfluous young men.” It is, Kramer says, those “superfluous young men” who become radicals.
We all know how enamored with Israel our elite universities are, but I must say I’ve never heard so blatant a call for outright genocide coming out of Harvard. They must really be at their wit’s end.
Anne Applebaum has won major accolades for her Gulag: A History, for which she owes a huge debt of gratitude to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and which constitutes the poor man’s history of the Soviet Union – for when you want your histories dull and without universal insights into human nature. Her work for The Washington Post, however, has been singularly atrocious, and one wonders what, exactly, she learned from all her research into the depths of evil.
Her columns consistently and unapologetically disavow international law, human rights, or any concern for civilian casualties – each week brings a new and more forceful call to “defend our allies” and “defeat our enemies”, usually with only the most token concern for anyone who might stand in our way.
Her latest article, horrifically entitled: “Prepare for War With Iran – In Case Israel Strikes” displays all of her odious tendencies, and is worth discussing in detail.
She starts by observing that President Obama is unlikely to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran. Why?
The president will not bomb Iran’s nuclear installations for precisely the same reasons that George W. Bush did not bomb Iran’s nuclear installations: Because we don’t know exactly where they all are, because we don’t know whether such a raid could stop the Iranian nuclear program for more than a few months, and because Iran’s threatened response — against Israelis and U.S. troops, via Iranian allies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon — isn’t one we want to cope with at this moment.
Apparently this lady hasn’t heard of a little thing called international law. You see, under normal circumstances, countries aren’t allowed to go mindlessly bombing each other on flimsy pretexts. This constitutes “aggression”, and the Nuremberg Principles (to which we supposedly subscribe) consider it “the supreme international crime”. I mean, I get that we basically threw that idea out the window long ago, but isn’t Ms. Applebaum supposed to be a scholar who specializes in international relations? What kind of scholar thinks the only reason we don’t go around bombing other countries is because it probably wouldn’t work?
After this bald refutation of the basic principles of international law, Ms. Applebaum raises another specter of war. Even though we may consider it inconvenient to bomb Iran, that doesn’t mean other countries won’t. Other countries like Israel. As she remarks:
The defining moment of his presidency may well come at 2 a.m. some day when he picks up the phone and is told that the Israeli prime minister is on the line: Israel has just carried out a raid on Iranian nuclear sites. What then?
Yes, “what then” indeed? Well, a reasonable observer might note that such a “raid” would be an act of sheer aggression, not to mention one supremely unjustified. After all, Israel boasts of its nuclear weapons every chance it gets, and Iran hasn’t carried out any “raids” on its nuclear sites. A country truly interested in the rule of law would chastise Israel for its wanton aggression, cut off the extravagant military aid ($2.5 billion per year) it currently supplies the aggressor, and maybe even impose those sanctions everyone likes to talk about so much. The same sanctions we’re currently threatening Iran with. I don’t remember Israel getting any sanctions when it got the bomb. Oh, that’s right. We gave it to them.
The rest of the article serves as a justification for such Israeli “raids”. As she says:
Many Israelis regard the Iranian nuclear program as a matter of life and death. The prospect of a nuclear Iran isn’t an irritant or a distant threat. It is understood directly in the context of the Iranian president’s provocative attacks on Israel’s right to exist and his public support for historians who deny the Holocaust. If you want to make Israelis paranoid, hint that they might be the target of an attempted mass murder. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does exactly that.
I have a hard time believing she wrote this passage with a straight face. Perhaps she remembers a little speech given by President Bush, charmingly nicknamed the “Axis of Evil” speech. In it, he specifically named Iran to the eponymous “axis”, and then punctuated that slur by invading another member of said axis. The US mainstream press is is full of naked suggestions that President Obama attack Iran, including this endearing piece by Mr. Daniel Pipes, ludicrously entitled How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran. “The American people would support it,” Mr. Pipes contends.
For crying out loud, Ms. Applebaum’s own article is entitled “Prepare for War with Iran”! I wonder if she thinks that might make the Iranians “paranoid”.
Of course, Ms. Applebaum doesn’t want war with Iran. But a country’s gotta do what a country’s gotta do:
I do hope that this administration is ready, militarily and psychologically, not for a war of choice but for an unwanted war of necessity. This is real life, after all, not Hollywood.
And here we see, finally, in what an alternate reality our mainstream punditry operates. Defending an Israeli war of aggression is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Should Israel, without consulting us, begin a unilaterial bombing campaign on Iran, the United States has no choice but to fight Israel’s war for it. I mean, does Ms. Applebaum expect us to buy this nonsense?
Next she’ll be telling us that it’s necessary for the US to remain the “sole superpower” for the indefinite future. Oh wait…
A new Gallup Poll:
I wonder if Iran’s low approval has anything to do with the ceaseless, virulent propaganda directed against it. After all, Egypt has just as repressive a government (some might say more so) to Iran’s – but then, they happen to be a US-Funded dictatorship – so that makes all the difference, I guess. Israel, for that matter, is only once step removed from an outright state-sponsor of terrorism, what with its frequent, devastating raids on the Gaza strip (the last one killed more than 1,500 civilians), its continual blockade of Gaza (which starves the Gazan citizens and has been defined as a war crime), and its agressive expansion into the occupied territories (remember when aggression was considered “the supreme international crime”?)
So I guess all this poll really shows is how effective US propaganda is. Americans like countries that are “friendly” to the US, and dislike countries who are “unfriendly” – facts be damned!
On the heels of its recent denial of the Goldstone Report, the government of Israel has just announced its illegal East Jerusalem settler program will continue.
Mr. Netanyahu took the opportunity of the approaching holiday of Tu Bishvat, a Jewish arbor day, to reaffirm Israel’s claim to the Etzion bloc of settlements just south of Jerusalem. “Our message is clear,” he said during a tree-planting ceremony there. “We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here. This place will be an inseparable part of the State of Israel for eternity.”
The settlements he’s referring to were forcibly annexed during Israel’s aggressive 1967 war.
Mr. Netanyahu also engages in some vaguely racial rhetoric. The ad hominem attacks stand in stark contrast to Palestinan pleas for soverignty and autonomy.
Speaking to foreign reporters in Jerusalem last week, Mr. Netanyahu said that the Palestinian leaders had “climbed up a tree” and “they like it up there.”
Palestinian officials contend that in addition to continuing to build in the settlements, Mr. Netanyahu is trying to dictate the outcome of talks before they begin. Mr. Netanyahu has already stipulated that he will only entertain the idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state with limits on its sovereign powers.
In other, unrelated news, Mr. Bin Laden, audio engineer of our times, has just released another demo tape. I want to make clear that strong evidence exists to suggest Mr. Bin laden is already dead (we haven’t caught him on video since 2007 after a silence of three years – and the guy in the 2007 video clearly wasn’t him). But assuming he’s alive, let’s see what he has to say.
Directly addressing Americans, it says: “It is unfair you enjoy a safe life while our brothers in Gaza suffer greatly… Our attacks will continue as long as you support Israel.”
Oh, I guess that make sense. It’s worth noting here that Mr. Bin Laden’s rationale against America had less to do originally with Israel-Palestine and more to do with our occupation of Saudi Arabia. But so far as propaganda goes, American support for Israel practically recruits terrorists all by itself. It’s hard for us to imagine in our soft “civilized” lives the daily depredation that constitutes the life of Gaza. The blockade is a war crime if there ever was one, and every so often Israel moves in with bombs and soldiers, massacres a thousand citizens or so, then leaves the survivors to live amid rubble. We wag our fingers, but the bullets with which the Palestinians find themselves riddled are invariably American-made. Such tacit support for cruel atrocities constitutes the single most effective “terrorist propaganda”.