Mike Huckabee is Economical with the Truth on the Iran Deal

Do The Right Thing

How’s this for a smug and self-righteous book cover and title?

This morning (9am Tuesday NZ time, 5pm Monday EST) I watched GOP presidential contender and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Fox New’s The Five trying to defend his recent comments about the Iran Nuclear Deal. I’ve always struggled to watch Huckabee – there are even occasions when I’ve literally felt physically ill listening to his revolting comments. One of those moments was his response to the Sandy Hook tragedy back in 2012. (I’ve put the transcript of his speech at the bottom of this post.)

Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid is all about what he calls “values”, and by that he means conservative Christian values. His anti-abortion stance is in big part due to the Biblical commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” (A more accurate translation from the original is, “Thou shalt not murder,” but I digress.) The other commandments are important to him too – he mentions them all in the speech I’ve posted below. One of those commandments is, of course, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Well, on several occasions during his half hour on The Five, he either lied, or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. My opinion is that he misrepresented the facts in order to appeal to a particular part of the Republican base and to get himself some media time.

The reason Huckabee’s currently in the news on the Iran Deal is because of a statement he made on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Saturday on 25 July:

This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. He’s so naïve that he would trust the Iranians and he will take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven.

That statement caused both President Obama and Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton to criticize him.

His campaign produced some graphics and a mercifully short video:

Huckabee oven graphic 270715 Huckabee on Iran Deal

He also sent tweets to Obama and Clinton:

Huckabee tweet to Clinton Huckabee tweet to Obama

For goodness sake.

Anyway, here’s part of the first segment of The Five, which has gained some coverage because one of the hosts, Geraldo Rivera, asked Huckabee to apologize for his remarks:

Before the exchange in the clip above, the part of Obama’s speech in Ethiopia was shown where he said, “There’s a reason why 99% of the world think this is a good deal – it’s because it’s a good deal.” Well, 99% may be a bit of an exaggeration, but certainly a majority of world leaders do support this deal, and for good reason. The world is safer because of it.

Co-host Kimberley Guilfoyle started by asking Huckabee how he felt about being “news maker of the day”. He responds that he “didn’t intend to be.” I find that hard to believe, although in that he’s just like any other politician, and better at it than most. He knows how to communicate and he has more name recognition than a majority of the candidates because of running for president in 2008 and a successful show on Fox News.

He then stated:

The last time the world didn’t take seriously the threat that someone was going to kill massive amounts of Jews we ended up seeing six million Jews murdered. It’s Neville Chamberlain all over again.

Quite apart from continuing to go back to the incredibly offensive and inappropriate reference to the Holocaust, Huckabee thus links the Iran to Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 ‘Peace in Our Time’ deal. The thing is, not only is Huckabee ignorant in his behaviour, he’s ignorant of the facts. Hitler never actually threatened to kill the Jews at any time, he just went ahead and did it. It wasn’t until mid-1941 rumours started leaking out of what was happening to the Jews, initially in the Soviet Union, which continually increased in number. It wasn’t until November 1942 that British intelligence received reports of a Nazi plan to murder all Jews. According to the Jewish Virtual Library:

On December 17, 1942, the Allies issued a proclamation condemning the “extermination” of the Jewish people in Europe and declared that they would punish the perpetrators. Notwithstanding this, it remains unclear to what extent Allied and neutral leaders understood the full import of their information. The utter shock of senior Allied commanders who liberated camps at the end of the war may indicate that this understanding was not complete.

Further, Huckabee continually states that Iranian politicians constantly threaten to wipe all Jews off the face of the map. This is not true – what they say is they will wipe Israel off the face of the map. That’s no better of course, but it is different. Huckabee says, “The Iranian government has repeatedly said that it will be easier to take the Jews out because they’re all concentrated in Israel.” Statements like that are more accurately attributed to Hezbollah. Iran is a big sponsor of Hezbollah, so they are complicit here, but the government has not made that statement.

“If we don’t take seriously the threats of Iran, then God help us all,” said Huckabee. Although Iranian leaders have said that they want to wipe Israel (not Jews) off the face of the map, they have always said they’re opposed to nuclear weapons and have denied that their nuclear ambitions have any military component. According to them they are anti-Zionist, not anti-Jewish, and Iran actually has a lower level of anti-Semitism than any other Middle East country. If we were taking Iran seriously, we would be letting Iran get on with what they doing.

In fact, most of the world’s leaders do not believe Iran when they say that their nuclear program is peaceful, and that is why this deal has been negotiated. The reason so many years have been invested to try and get a nuclear deal with Iran is because most world leaders do NOT take the statements of Iran seriously. They believe they are a major threat to the security of the region, and they don’t want them to have a nuclear weapon. Thus, they have done something about the problem of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  It is not a perfect deal, but it is much better than what we had before.

Zakaria and Moniz

Fareed Zakaria (left) and Dr Ernest Moniz on CNN on Sunday. (Source: CNN)

The negotiating teams from each country included people who understood what was needed to make sure Iran not only didn’t get a nuclear weapon, but that if there was any suspicion they were cheating on the deal, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors would know about it. Ernest Moniz, US Secretary of Energy and MIT nuclear physicist was the US’s representative in this process. He has gone on the record on several occasions in the last few days and said he is comfortable with the process put in place. One of the more useful interactions on this subject has been an interview on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS (26 July):

ZAKARIA: The White House had no fewer than three Cabinet secretaries on the hot seat on Thursday in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, making the case for congressional support of the Iran deal. It wasn’t a very sympathetic crowd.
But President Obama was clear in his press conference last week: Any objectors to the deal should be able to tell Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz why they are right and Moniz is wrong. After all, Moniz is, as Obama said, an MIT nuclear physicist and an expert on these issues. But despite his credentials will he make the sale on Capitol Hill? We’ll ask him.
Secretary Moniz joins me now. Welcome, sir.
MONIZ: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: You heard what people on the Hill were saying. I think it was Marco Rubio who said the deal is irreparably flawed, which makes me wonder, do you think there was any deal that the Republicans on the Hill would have accepted?
MONIZ: Well, certainly I think that the nuclear dimensions of the deal, frankly, are far stronger than anyone had expected – really bites hard into the Iranian nuclear program for quite a long time. I think as you heard in the hearing, a lot of the objection was really directed at the idea that Iran would, in fact, get economic relief and concern about non-nuclear dimensions in terms of using those resources.
ZAKARIA: So the main objections that I’ve heard to the deal are … as follows: There are people like Alan Kuperman who say the centrifuges – first of all, there should have been more centrifuges disconnected, and more importantly, they are not destroyed; they are merely disconnected – that Iran still has in a storage room somewhere these thousands of centrifuges that it could reconnect very quickly and that therefore your breakout time scenarios are unreasonable – that they could actually much more quickly race to the amount of fissile material to make a bomb. Is that fair?
MONIZ: It – that is actually incorrect. I read that as well – it is incorrect. The issue of rebuilding centrifuges and infrastructure is in fact part of the breakout calculations that our laboratory scientists have done.
I might add that these negotiations were constantly supported by the nation’s top nuclear scientists and engineers, and it was simply incorrect that those factors weren’t included.
ZAKARIA: The big objection that has gotten popular attention is this idea that Iran has up to 24 days to comply with a request for an inspection of a suspected site. Now first I want to clarify. When Ben Rhodes, the president’s – one of the president’s top aides – said that the inspectors will have anytime/anywhere access, he said specifically to Iran’s known nuclear sites. Is that in fact true, that the sites that are declared nuclear facilities – Natanz, Arak, Fordo – there will be 24/7 anytime/anywhere access?
MONIZ: That is correct. The IAEA, the international inspectors, can have daily access to these facilities. This 24-day process is what would apply to undeclared sites that we, the international community, the IAEA suspect as having undeclared nuclear activities.
ZAKARIA: This was a group negotiation in a sense, so the United States was not alone on one side of the table. You had Russia; you had China; you had the Europeans. Did you have to give in on some of your core preferences, or your preferences, to accommodate, say, Russia’s views?
MONIZ: The – by the way, it’s a very important point, Fareed, that this really was a six-nation negotiation – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany. And sure, we had to negotiate among ourselves because there are lots of trade-offs in this.
For example, even the one-year breakout time, there are many ways to achieve that and different countries weighted things differently. But I think in the end, in that case, our scientists from all six countries worked very, very well together.
And I think the cohesion of these six countries, when we obviously have – let’s say, with Russia – we obviously have our major differences at the moment, but nevertheless the cohesion of this group in the commitment to seeing that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon future is really, in itself, I think, a major outcome of the negotiation. And that cohesion, of course, really ups the ante in the current congressional discussion if we were to undermine this agreement at this stage. We would have significant problems with our – with other major powers.
ZAKARIA: Are you confident that if Iran were to violate the terms of this deal it would not turn into a kind of endless interpretation between the United States and, say, Russia and China – that the sanctions would, in fact, snap back?
MONIZ: We have every reason to believe so. Russia and China, as well as our European partners, were all very constructive members of this negotiation. I think there’s a genuine common interest in, again, Iran not having a nuclear weapon and more generally in supporting the non-proliferation regime.
ZAKARIA: You know, this is obviously a big deal for the United States, for the world, but personally this is – this must be a big deal for you in the sense that you are an MIT nuclear physicist. You ran a particle accelerator lab. Your credibility is on the line. Are you confident that this deal achieves the – that this deal blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon?
MONIZ: I’m very confident – again, blocks the path, or if they choose to just go after it, to detect it and to have plenty of time to respond.
ZAKARIA: Secretary Moniz, thank you very much.
MONIZ: Thank you, Fareed.

And so we get back to Huckabee, and his misrepresentation of the deal. He complains about the rhetoric of Iran, then makes multiple highly emotive statements of his own:

“Three times I have been to Auschwitz. When I talk about the oven door, I have stood at that over door.”

“For six thousand years Jews have been chased and hunted and killed all over this earth …”

Rivera, GeraldoCo-host Geraldo Rivera stepped up to the plate though, and made the comments that made the news on other outlets:

As a Jew myself, … you cannot compare the slaughter of six million Jews … to a negotiation over a deal like this. You have offended many, many people in the Jewish community, not only the organized Jewish community … it is inappropriate to compare the Holocaust to anything, and if you start using that as a sloppy rhetorical phrase … you’re gonna get in trouble.

Huckabee was unable to accept that. “I’m begging you to apologize and recant,” said Rivera. “I will not apologize,” replied Huckabee. His inane argument was that we have things like the Holocaust Museum and other memorials to remember, and so that it will never happen again, and therefore he’s right to use the analogy here. He even used the excuse that the word was invoked by the Iranian government. This would be the same government whose rhetoric he wants to limit by contract. It’s like a kid saying, “he did it first.” (To which my mother always replied, “what if he jumped off a cliff first.”) Clearly, Huckabee is happy to jump off the cliff if it gets him some media attention.

Huckabee went on to say that Jewish Democrats are only opposing what he says for political reasons. “For them it’s a political issue, for me it’s not, it’s a humanitarian issue, and when you have a government saying they’re going to kill every Jew on the planet earth … and that’s what they’ve been saying for as long as the ayatollahs have been in power.”  You’d think there was no way to make comparing an issue to the Holocaust any worse, but Huckabee managed it – now Jewish Democrats are only pretending to be upset about the comparison.

In the middle of the segment and again at the end, Huckabee insisted that there should have been three pre-conditions to the negotiations.

For the president to act like the only two options are either have a war or take his deal that got nothing … we didn’t get the hostages out, we didn’t get a concession that they would stop this rhetoric about wanting to wipe Israel off, or they didn’t stop chanting ‘Death to America’. We got nothing. … Why can’t we criticize it.

For a start, no one is saying you can’t criticize the deal – it’s not the criticism that’s the problem Mr Huckabee, it’s the comparison to the horror suffered by Jews under the Nazi regime. His demand the Iranians “tone down their rhetoric” manages to be both childish and patronizing. Huckabee wants to control what representatives of the government of another country say via contract. That is, like much of his own rhetoric, ridiculous. How would be feel if someone from another country wanted to limit his freedom of speech? You can be sure we’d hear all about his “God-given rights” then.

Some people in the United States need to recognize too that this deal wasn’t between them and Iran, it was negotiated by the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany on behalf of the United Nations with Iran. The interests of the United States aren’t more special or more important that those of everyone else in the world.

Perino, DanaAs another of the co-hosts Dana Perino wisely said, “When you bring up the Holocaust everyone loses.”

There were plenty of other misrepresentations in the parts of his appearance that didn’t make it to YouTube too. These included:

The Chinese are outspending us three-to-one [in relation to the military].

This is untrue. The United States continues to spend more on their military than anyone else, and currently spends more than the next seven countries combined. Different organisations calculate the figures differently, but all place the United States far ahead of any other country.

International Military Spending Wiki

Source: Wikipedia

More Huckabee inanity followed:

Part of the problem is the way we fund Social Security and Medicare. It’s all through payroll taxes. One of the reasons that I’m a passionate supporter of the Fair Tax, which is a tax on consumption, as opposed to income, is because it helps to create a levelized [sic] funding stream for these very important programs. The fewer number of people that are actually getting their pay checks through wages is dramatic. Most people in America get their wealth in America by dividends and by investment income. So as a result you have a shrinking pool of money going in to pay for those programs, 10,000 people are retiring every day, look, common sense says that doesn’t work. So, yes, let’s change the funding stream to a more reliable one which is the consumption tax.

No, Mr Huckabee, common sense says you don’t know what you’re talking about. Most Americans do NOT get their income from dividends and investments, and consumption taxes are NOT fair. They hit the poor far out proportion to the wealthy.

Then, of course, there’s abortion:

I think we risk something bigger by not answering the bold question, is it time that we start asking what kind of civilization do we have that we would kill sixty million unborn children in their mother’s womb over the course of 42 years. We’ve destroyed an entire generation. And we’ve not done it because “the health of the mother”. Let’s quit even going there. There’s no health to the mother involved. This is a financial and social decision in about 98% of the cases. And Planned Parenthood is in the business of providing abortion. And what we now know, they’re in the business of selling baby’s body parts like the parts of a Buick. For God’s sake, can we not have the bigger discussion on whether or not it’s okay to call ourselves civilized when we practice infanticide, as we have for 42 years. … How do we respect the rest of the world to respect us as civilized when we act as savages towards our own unborn children?

Planned parenthood funding


Here are the facts:

1. Abortion is NOT infanticide.

2. There is no evidence that Planned Parenthood is selling body parts for profit.

3. Planned Parenthood receives US$538 million in government funding.

4. The funding Planned Parenthood receives from government is about one-third of it’s total revenue stream.

5. Abortions make up 3% of the services they provide.

Therefore, when Planned Parenthood says that they are obeying the law (Hyde Amendment, 1976) and not using government funding for abortions unless the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, that claim is likely true. The constant mantra of conservative politicians that they will stop government money being used for abortion is a lie. There has been no government funding of abortion since 1976. Huckabee goes further and insists he will de-fund Planned Parenthood. All this will do is reduce the access of women, especially low income women, to essential health services. Whatever these politicians say, it is an attack on women. It demonstrates the attitude of many religious conservatives that women should not have equal rights and responsibilities, including the right to make their own decisions about their bodies.

This is Huckabee’s pledge to voters. Not all bad of course, but there’s some pretty scary stuff in there. Thankfully, there’s no way he will be the GOP nominee and even if he was, he would never be elected president.

I, Mike Huckabee, pledge allegiance to God, the Constitution, and the citizens of the United States:
– I will adhere to the Constitution of the United States.
– I will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.
– I will advocate for a complete overhaul of our tax system. This means passing the FairTax and abolishing the IRS.
– I will support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
– I will now, and will for the duration of my presidency, promote and sign all measures leading to Obamacare’s defunding, deauthorization, and repeal.
– I will oppose amnesty and government benefits for illegal immigrants who violated our laws, repeal President Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, and secure our borders.
– I will stand for the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception until the grave. Taking this unequivocal stand includes fighting to defund Planned Parenthood.
– I will stand for the Institution of Marriage and vigorously oppose any redefinition.
– I will defend our 2nd Amendment rights and oppose gun control legislation.
– I will fight for the United States military to be the most feared, respected, and capable fighting force the world has ever known. I will restore our military infrastructure after years of abuse and neglect.
– I will stand with our friend and ally Israel in our shared fight against Radical Islam.
– I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capability.
– I will end the national disgrace of failing to properly care for our veterans.
– I will protect Social Security and Medicare and never rob seniors of the benefits they were promised and forced to pay for.
– I will fight to kill Common Core and restore common sense. Education is a family function – not a federal function.
– I will support the elevation of none but faithful constitutionalists as judges or justices. They must be committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench.
– I will fight for term limits for members of Congress and judges.

Transcript of Mike Huckabee’s speech on “Where Was God?”

I said that for 50 years, we’ve since systematically attempted to have God removed from our schools, our public activities, but then at the moment we have a calamity we wonder where He was. Well the predictable left lit up the airwaves and blogosphere with a violent vicious reaction and jump to the conclusion that I said if we had prayer in school shooting wouldn’t happen.

Well I said nothing of the sort! It’s far more than just taking prayer or Bible reading out of the schools. It’s the fact that people sue a city so we aren’t confronted with a manger scene or a Christmas Carol. That lawsuits are filed to remove a cross that’s a memorial to fallen soldiers, churches and Christian-owned businesses are told to surrender their values under the edict of government orders to provide tax-funded abortion pills.

We carefully and intentionally stop saying things are sinful and we call them disorders, sometimes we even say they’re normal and to get to where that we have to abandon bedrock moral truths, then we are asked, “Well … Where was God?”.

And I respond “As I see it, we’ve escorted Him right out of our culture and we’ve marched Him off the public square and then we express our surprise that a culture without Him actually reflects what it’s become.”

As soon as the tragedy unfolded, I think God did show up. He showed up in the lives of teachers who put their lives between a gunman and their students. He showed up in policeman who rushed into the school, not knowing if they would be met with a barrage of bullets. He showed up in the form of hugs and tears for children parents and teachers who had lived through the slaughter. He showed up at the overflow church services were people lit candles and prayed.

And He showed up at the White House where the President invoked His name and quoted from His book. And in a few days or weeks will probably ask God to excuse Himself from view and we will announce in our arrogant pride that we are now enlightened and educated and we’ve evolved beyond needing Him. And somebody’s going to suggest we pass a law to stop all this kind of thing … I might want to point out that we don’t have to pass a new law, there’s one that’s been around a while that works if we teach it and observe it … Thou shalt not kill. Oh, there are about nine others, but to tell you about them require bringing God back and we know how unacceptable that might be.


89 Responses to “Mike Huckabee is Economical with the Truth on the Iran Deal”

  1. Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

    It is not correct that “Hitler never actually threatened to kill the Jews at any time, he just went ahead and did it.” He did threaten but nobody wanted to listen. I think the analogy with Chamberlain is quite justified. Here is a good article by Professor Jeffrey Herf, a specialist on Nazi Germany:

    • Hi Malgorzata. Very interesting article, which I largely agree with. I have used the analogy with Chamberlain myself in regard to Putin, and everything I see just confirms my opinion. I just don’t agree that Hitler’s pronouncements about what he would do were threats – they were plans. He was going to do it, and tried several ways before he settled on the method that he used for the Final Solution. It’s obviously an issue that the rest of the world thought they were threats, and didn’t realize just how evil his regime was. Personally I think the strong parallels are between Islamism and Nazism rather than Iran and Nazism. The attitude of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah towards Jews is exactly that of Hitler and his supporters – they want to kill them all. I’ve referred several times in the past to the sickening Hamas Charter, for example. Those aren’t threats; like with Hitler, they’re plans. There are also clearly individuals within the Iranian government who hold those views – if they didn’t Iran wouldn’t be the state sponsor of Islamic terrorism that it is. I’m just not sure that the Republic of Iran itself is quite as bad as it’s painted in the US. It’s a very fine line of course – not dissimilar to the USA propping up some of the appalling regimes it has in the past.

      Most of the rest of the world does not have as negative a view of Iran as the US and Israel do – of course no-one is shouting “Death to New Zealand” either. Also, most Iranians don’t actually hate the US, and don’t think the way their religious leaders do. It’s like saying that all the Tea Party members or the religious conservatives (often the same people) in the house and senate are representative of how all USAians think. In reality, many of the beliefs of conservative Christians are much more closely aligned with the leaders of Iran than the American people who, for example, mostly support same-sex marriage and equality of treatment for all. The Iranian people, especially the ones born since the revolution, are much more liberal than their leaders.

      • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

        In a Friday sermon on Dec. 15, 2000, Khamenei declared, “Iran’s position, which was first expressed by the Imam [Khomeini]…is that the cancerous tumor called Israel must be uprooted from the region.” A month later, he repeated his message. “The foundation of the Islamic regime is opposition to Israel and the perpetual subject of Iran is the elimination of Israel from the region.”
        More recently, on Nov. 20, 2013, Khamenei told an assembly of some 50,000 Basij militiamen that Israel was ready to fall. “The Zionist regime is a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky and is doomed to collapse,” he said. Israelis, he added, “should not be called humans.”
        November 27 2014, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that “whether a nuclear agreement is achieved or not, Israel will be more insecure each day.”
        Some of the threats just from 2013:
        Hasan Rouhani, President of Iran:. “The Imam [Khomeini] set long-term goals for the day the occupying Zionist regime is no longer in the region. The formula for this move must be discussed in the government.”
        Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi, Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Army: “The Army of Iran can by itself destroy Israel.”
        Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander of the Basij militia: “Our battalions are named Imam Ali, Imam Hussein and Bayt al-Maqdis [Jerusalem] to clarify our final destination to the Basiji. We will not abandon our [armed] struggle until the annihilation of Israel and until we will be able to pray in al-Aqsa mosque.”
        Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani, Lecturer at religious seminary in Qom: “The enemies are talking about the options [they have] on the table. They should know that the first option on our table is the annihilation of Israel.”
        Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, Assembly of Experts Chairman: “We must spare no effort in liberating holy Jerusalem and cutting off the hands of the infidels from this holy site.”
        Hojatoleslam Ali Shirazi, Supreme Leader’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards: “The Zionist regime will soon be destroyed, and this generation will be witness to its destruction.”
        Ayatollah Mohammed Ali Movahedi-Kermani, Tehran’s interim Friday Imam: “The issue of Palestine is an Islamic issue. The Islamic world must come together to destroy the false Israeli regime….If this happens, nothing will be left of Israel.”
        Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, Member of the Presidium of the Assembly of Experts: “Iran has long-range missiles that can reach 1,500 kilometers….The Supreme Leader maintained that ‘every combatant Palestinian group that fights the Zionist regime will receive the support of the Iranian regime.’”
        Hojatoleslam Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, Hizbullah Operations Liaison, Former Ambassador to Syria: “The only way to subdue the enemies is by refusing to compromise on the goals of the resistance and to remain strong; the future of criminal nations such as the Zionists will be erased from the history books.”
        Iranian Ministry of Defense statement: “If once the destruction and demise of occupying Israel was an impossible and unattainable dream, today thanks to the historic and intelligent actions of Imam Khomeini, it has become possible and is actually in the process of occurring.”
        Hojateleslam Alireza Panahian, Advisor to Office of the Supreme Leader in Universities: “The day will come when the Islamic people in the region will destroy Israel and save the world from this Zionist base.”
        Revolutionary Guards statement: “The day is near in which the sword of resistance and Islamic Awakening will cut off the blood supply of the occupiers of the holy land of Palestine.”
        Mohammad Dehghan, Member of the Majlis Executive Committee: “Every Muslim who does not want to fight Israel is violating religious law and essentially forgetting Israel’s crimes over the past 60 years on Islamic soil.”
        Basij organization media outlet, Fars Province: “The only solution to the Palestine problem is the destruction of the Zionist regime….We view the wondrous resistance as the only way towards a victorious and inspiring battle against the false, illegitimate Zionist regime.”
        Ahmad Alamolhoda, Member of the Assembly of Experts: “The destruction of Israel is the idea of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and is one of the pillars of the Iranian Islamic regime. We cannot claim that we have no intention of going to war with Israel!”
        Iranian State Television Airs Animated Strike on Israel – An imagined Iranian missile strike on Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv and Dimona, malls, and IDF bases:

        Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released November 8, 2014 via Twitter a 9 point table about elimination of the state of Israel. He state also #westbank should be armed just like #Gaza. Friends of Palestine should do their best to arm People in West Bank. #HandsOffAlAqsa”. Khamenei also called for the destruction of Israel stating that “This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel, which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated. 7/23/14. #HandsOFFAlAqsa”. This 9 point spreasheet can be found here:

        Quite recent:
        General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that “erasing Israel off the map is nonnegotiable,” 31 March 2015 during nuclear negotiations

        This is already too long a comment but one should add the military capability of Iran, its huge army and IRGC, ballistic missiles, arming of Hezbullah and (until very recently) Hamas and Fatah, organizing terror attacks on Jews and Americans all over the world (for example: Argentina and Bulgaria, thwarted attempt on Cyprus etc.), organizing conferences of Holocaust deniers, organizing cartoon exhibitions deriding Holocaust, raising generations of children in the hate towards Israel, America and Jews.
        Whether “threat” or “plan”, any country against which such massive hate would be directed (even without the experience of Hitler and the Holocaust) should treat it as a lethal danger.

        • paxton marshall says:

          Heather, I believe Malgorzata is correct that Hitler signaled his intentions towards the Jews, to eliminate their influence on German culture, if not to actually slaughter them all, from an early period. It is to the everlasting shame of western nations such as the US, that we didn’t take his words and actions seriously, and admit all Jewish refugees who wanted to escape. It is not at all clear, however, that Chamberlain’s Munich agreement had any impact on the “final solution” or on the outcome of the war itself.

          The parallels drawn between the current agreement with Iran, and the “appeasement” of Hitler, are very misleading. The Jews of Germany were innocent captives of the Nazi regime. They had no power to resist, and no refuge from the power of the state. Their position was similar, not to that of the state of Israel today, but to the Muslim Palestinians held captive by the “Jewish state”. In contrast, Israel today has its own nukes (why is that never mentioned?) and by far the most modern military in the region, thanks to the largesse of the US and other western nations.

          Further, Hitler’s Germany was one of the world’s leading industrial nations with an advanced arms manufacturing industry. Iran’s industrial and military capability is modest in comparison. Iran and its Shia religion is itself under attack by the much larger Sunni community headed by Saudi Arabia. Israel has made a devil’s pact with the Saudis and the Egyptian military, two of the most brutal dictatorships in the world, to oppose Iranian influence in the region. The Shia are subjugated and oppressed by the Sunni throughout the Muslim world, and Iran is their only champion. Israeli propaganda conveniently lumps all Muslims together as threats to Israel without recognizing that most of the fighting in the region is in reality a Sunni-Shia civil war.

          Yes, Iran has sponsored terrorism, but the magnitude pales compared with the terrorism of the US/UK invasion of Iraq (hundreds of thousands killed) and the Israeli invasions of Gaza (2,000 killed last summer alone, over half civilians). These were attacks with modern weaponry that the victims had no defense against. How can we call them anything other than terrorism?

          The biggest distortion in the Hitler/Iran comparison is Israel’s unconscionable treatment of the Palestinians. Much of the population of Gaza was driven out of Israel proper and confined in an area the size of an American city. Israel maintains a complete embargo on trade and even travel to the outside world. Then when they launch the only protests available to them, primitive rockets that have killed almost no one, Israel uses its US supplied F-16s and guided missiles to shoot them like rats in a cage. The population of the west bank is herded into area C, only about 3% of the territory, while Israel systematically carves up the rest, which it has agreed would be a Palestinian state, for its illegal settlements. Yes, the anti-Israel rhetoric from Iran is disturbing, but far less so than the Israeli brutalization of the Palestinians. The Jews in Germany were guilty of no such crimes.

          Israel, under Natanyahu, is making a second bargain with the devil in their courting of the American evangelical Christians and their Republican champions in congress against the President of the US and the good will of the American majority. This unquestioning support for Israel, unparalleled in the rest of the world, rests on the tenuous foundations of Christian end-times theology. We have influential politicians in the US who put the interests of Israel ahead of those of their own country. Natanyahu is playing with fire in allying himself with radical and subversive elements in the US. Most American Jews oppose Netanyahu and support the treaty with Iran.

          • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

            Refugees in Gaza: Most Palestinian Arabs (they didn’t call themselves Palestinians then, but Arabs) escaped the war 1948 after calls from invading Arab armies to get out of the way and to return after all Jews were slaughtered. Gaza was taken in this war by Egypt and people were kept in the refugee camps awaiting the time when finally the promise of eradication of Jews would be fulfilled. When 1967 Israel seized Gaza (in a preventive war, after Arab armies amassed on its borders, UN’s peace keeping force was ordered to remove themselves and did just that and all Arab mass media called to war) it wanted to close refugee camps by building proper housing and by giving the people means to support themselves and lead a normal life there. Arab League went to UN, calling this action “a crime against humanity” and UN obediently passed a resolution forbidding Israel changing the life of Palestinian Arabs in Gaza. Israel had a huge experience in turning refugees into normal members of society. After all, without any UNRWA it absorbed more refugees from Arab countries than Palestinian refugees from its own territory, as well as the remnants of European Jewry, languishing in European DP camps. But if Arabs didn’t want it and UN didn’t want it why should Israel spend a fortune to give refugees a human life? They stopped.
            Area A and B (A – under full control of Palestinian Authority; B – under administrative control of PA and security control of Israel) constitute just over 30% of total area of the West Bank and has a population of 2. 75 million. Under 100 thousand Palestinians live in Area C which, from the beginning consisted of mostly uninhabited land.
            After Israel left Gaza 2005 the borders were open and there was a hope that Gaza will became a pilot project for withdrawal from the most of the West Bank. There was not one Israeli there left. Gaza’s inhabitants had no reason to conduct a war against Israel. However terror attacks and rockets started to fall on Israeli civilians. To prevent deliveries of weapon from willing Arab countries and from Iran Israel closed the borders and started a sea blockade, however a lot of weapons, inclusive quite sophisticated missiles were still smuggled from Egypt through tunnels. Israel tries its best to shield its own civilian population both by building bomb shelters, developing alarm systems (they have whole 15 seconds from the sound of alarm to the impact of a rocket), and developing Iron Dome. That is why there are so “few” victims on Israeli side. Between 2006 and 2013 “only” some 50 Israeli civilians were killed by Hamas rockets and “only” a bit over 1900 were wounded (you know, nothing much – just a child without legs, a baby without eyes, a paralyzed man or woman, here or there – Israelis should put up with this and not try to stop it because the world doesn’t like a Jew who is armed and defending himself, God forbid, successfully)
            And, as somebody wrote, ‘When Hamas used a laser guided anti tank missile to blow up an Israeli school bus, it “only killed” one person. But, would saying, “Hamas only killed one person today” accurately represent the situation on the ground?
            When Hamas fires 1000 rockets at Israeli civilian cities but only 1 person is killed because of defensive actions by Israelis, does saying “only one person was killed” accurately represent what is happening?’
            It is tragic that people (supported by UN and a host of “human rights” organizations) are so eager to believe every lie and every distortion of truth, without checking anything, when it comes to Israel. People believed that Israel killed the 12-year old boy Muhammad Al-Durah (it didn’t); baby Omar Masharawi (he was killed by Hamas’ rocket which “fell short”); Jenin massacre (there was no massacre); the existence of never existing village Sussyia; unconscionable treatment of Palestinians (it’s not “unconscionable”).

          • I agree with you here, and have in fact written about why there are so many less victims on the Israeli side. Some of it is in this post: Because of an attack on my website, all the links to my sources have disappeared, which I am pretty annoyed about, but it doesn’t change what I wrote.

          • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

            Oh, and just something I forgot to write in my previous comment: Munich Agreement was not about Jews but about a little country with a very good army and excellent weaponry – Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia, like Israel, was not invited to the negotiations. She was sold in her absence. I suggest reading contemporary newspapers and speeches of Chamberlain and his ilk vilifying this country they were about to sell.

          • Hi Paxton. I’m not saying Hitler didn’t say he would kill the Jews, I’m saying that he didn’t threaten – what he said were things he had every intention of doing, and more importantly, the capability of carrying out what he said. I also think it’s clear that even within Germany, many didn’t realize just how serious he was, even after events like Kristallnacht in 1938. There had, of course, been all sorts of things before that which turned Jews into second class citizens for years before that.

            As I said somewhere else, I am extremely uncomfortable with the relationship between American Christian religions with end-times beliefs and Israel. In fact, they scare the s**t out of me. Huckabee is one of those people. It’s why he’s made so many trips to Israel – he leads religious tours there. The thought of someone like that in the White House is terrifying.

            All my research says that most American Jews support the Iran Nuclear deal too. Huckabee says that’s just because they’re sticking up for the Democratic party – I think he knows perfectly well that their support is genuine and they wouldn’t support it unless they really felt it was a good deal, or at least better than no deal.

        • I feel like you’re largely agreeing with me here. All those statements from Iran are about Israel, not Jews, while Huckabee changed the statements to say things like Iran was going to hunt down and kill every Jew in the world, which is one of the reasons I’ve got such a problem with what he says. Both statements are hateful, and I’m not justifying them, but the semantic issue is important diplomatically. Iran sticks to saying Israel, rather than Jews (although most are obviously extremely anti-Semitic), because that gives them an excuse to not launch an attack. It’s the same as when they shout “Death to America” – everyone knows it’s an empty threat because they would never attack the USA, and they won’t attack Israel either. However, if they had a nuclear weapon, that situation would change. Iran can’t, in my opinion, be trusted with a nuclear weapon and there’s a good chance they would use it against Israel, and perhaps Saudi Arabia too. So this deal to stop Iran’s path to a bomb is a good one, as it pretty much maintains the current power balance in the region, and makes any attack on Israel much less likely. It’s impossible to stop Iran permanently – no-one’s going to sign an agreement that ties the hands of their country in 50, 100, 500 etc years into the future. But they’ve been stopped for now, and who knows what social and political changes there will be in the region in the next few years? Also, the negotiators will continue working with Iran over the next few years, so they will be ready when a new deal is needed.

          • Ken says:

            And the fact remains that Iran is a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, which allows for domestic nuclear energy capability development. This deal is in regards to their breaches of the NPT. Israel instead wants all capability to be denied, which has no basis in international law, not to mention that their own secret and illegal programme came to fruition long ago and is the reason the Mid-East is currently polluted with nukes.

            Countries like Israel, Pakistan and India are not even signatories to the NPT. And the US is one of the main violators, having helped Pakistan develop nuclear weapons in flagrant violation. Again, the issue here is not the proliferation of nuclear weapons, it is to prevent Iran from gaining a deterrent against aggressors, which it feels it needs, because it faces two of the largest militaries in the world who will not take making a first strike on Iran off the table.

          • Yes, excellent points imo.

  2. Ken says:

    I don’t generally like Democrats, but at least most aren’t actually crazy as this sort of stuff suggests. But so glad Republican crazies are again coming out of the woodwork for voters to see. Demographic changes are making it ever harder for a Republican to win, and they only control the House now due to severe gerrymandering of electorate boundaries.

    The US has always been hypocritical in supporting the Israeli nuclear weapons programme, one which the Israelis still won’t even admit exists despite everyone knowing it does. I don’t know if Iranian intentions were to build a bomb or just develop energy (which they are completely within international rules to do), but given Israeli belligerence and the fact that the US will not guarantee the integrity of Iran’s borders, it would not be unreasonable for them to conclude they needed nucs for protection. It works for North Korea after all. If all these people critical of this deal really wanted to end the nuclear threat, they’d be advocating for a nuclear free Middle-East. But then they’d be accused of being anti-Semitic, wouldn’t they.

  3. When you look at how much Iran enriched their uranium, my opinion is there’s no doubt they were after a nuclear weapon, but as you say, who can blame them. From their point of view, I’m sure they thought it was a defensive measure, and I doubt they had plans to actually use it. How reliable they would be once they had it is another matter. It only takes one crazy to push the button.

  4. Good post as always. Huckabee in particular bothers me. I simply don’t know if and how much the world can trust that Iran will use its nuclear program for public purposes. Few political issues are simple yet pols like Huckabee have a knack for reducing them to short sentences. And there is obviously a large population willing to jump on the wagon.

    • There’s a quote that goes something like: “There’s no problem so complicated that someone cannot come up with an easy and incorrect solution for it.”

    • Ken says:

      The world doesn’t have much choice unless it wants to invade Iran. But this isn’t mainly about nukes. Pakistan already has them and poses a much bigger worry of a crazy getting near the button. Yet no one talks about Pakistan as they are nominally on our side. This is almost entirely about Israel.

  5. paxton marshall says:

    Bravo Heather! Huckabee is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is an “end times” Christian who sees the reconstitution of biblical Israel as preparatory to the second coming. But as you suggest, it is mostly about his own ambitions.

    • One of the things Huckabee talked about but I didn’t include was the “dozens” of times he’d visited Israel. I find these End Times religious very scary, as I think there’s a possibility their beliefs could cause self-fulfilling prophecies. When you act constantly like there’s going to be an Armageddon event, it makes it more likely to happen.

  6. paxton marshall says:

    NEW YORK—In response to Mike Huckabee’s comments over the weekend, American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

    “Mike Huckabee’s comparison of the nuclear weapons deal with Iran to the Holocaust, with the phrase that President Obama ‘will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven,’ is shockingly insensitive and unacceptable. Most politicians have learned that Holocaust metaphors are inappropriate and insulting, especially to the memory of the millions murdered by the Nazis. If Mike Huckabee loves Israel as much as he professes, he will apologize and urge others to avoid using language that trivializes the Holocaust.”

  7. paxton marshall says:

    Statement from J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans:

    After months of work, President Obama’s negotiators have secured a deal that protects Israel, the US and the entire world. This agreement prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

    But some of the most hawkish voices — of those in Congress and those who claim to represent the Jewish community — opposed these talks and rejected the agreement before they ever saw it.

    We won’t be able to drown out their voices, but we can make sure we’re speaking up.

  8. Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

    As I seem to be the only one very critical of this deal here I will try to answer everybody in one comment.
    @Paxton Marshall – J Street and other Americans, sitting thousands of kilometers from the Middle East, have the luxury of taking risks with Iran. Israel, which has Hezbullah, armed to the teeth by Iranians, just on their doorsteps; Hamas which just now is not armed by Iran but has been for a long time; and Fatah, which Ayatollah Khamenei promises will be armed, both just a few paltry kilometers from its population centra, does not have this luxury. That is why not only Netanyahu but also his opposition (Herzog, Livni) are very much against this deal. As the saying goes: “Pessimists went to America, optimists went to Auschwitz”.

    @Ken – there is no international law allowing each and every country to enrich uranium or to build nuclear weapon. Until now the Arab countries in the Middle East didn’t pursue nuclear programs in spite of the knowledge of a possible Israeli one. Now, with Iran on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapon they all are talking about the necessity of getting nuclear programs. Maybe they understand something which the West obviously doesn’t. Here is what a Palestinian-Jordanian politician, Mudar Zahran, thinks about it: “Today, the U.S. has reached a deal with Iran about its nuclear program. On paper and in theory, the deal could pass with many observers as acceptable and even fair to all parties. Such observers do not understand what Israel understands very well: Not only is Iran ruled by Shiite Islamist radicals who will not keep their word, but if Iran gets the bomb, it will be the only nuclear power that would not fear the consequences of launching a nuclear attack on any country, even the U.S. If Iran attacks any country with nuclear weapons, and that country responds in kind, Iran could not care less; its leaders want to die as martyrs, go to heaven, and meet the virgins.
    “While North Korea’s dictator is ruthless, inhumane and even crazy, he won’t launch nuclear attacks on a whim because he knows there would be counterattacks. He does not want to die or lose the country he rules. On the other hand, a collective martyrdom of the entire Iranian nation might be exactly what Iran’s mullah leaders are looking for. Therefore, they will press the button at the right time.
    “Iran’s leaders might even seek the end of the entire planet through using nuclear weapons to fulfill their vision of the “returning Shiite Messiah, al-Mahdi, who would return only after a global disaster.” This is what Israel knows about Iran’s ideology and most others do not.”

    Which leads to answer to Heather: 1. I’m much more scared of Iranian ayatollahs than of American Evangelical Christians. 2. The balance of power is changing dramatically in the Middle East with Iran boasting that they now control four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus and Sanaa. Arabs are scared. 3. Semantic is important and Iranians know about it very well. That’s why they talk about Zionists and not about the Jews and promise to annihilate just the Jews in Israel, not in the rest of the world. In other words: they have no plans to drive the world’s Jews to Poland and to rebuild Auschwitz. However sometimes they slip. Their proxy, Hassan Nasrallah, said, “If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

    • I think Malgorzata is correct about the balance of power in the Middle East. However, my assessment of what to do about the problem is different. One of the reasons I think the nuclear deal is a good one is because of the growing power of Iran. A soliloquy from Fareed Zakaria on 18 July helped form my opinion: You can also read the same thing here in his 16 July Washington Post column:

      Another piece from him (12 June) I found very interesting related to the arms race in the Middle East. People are concerned about Saudi Arabia in particular trying to get a nuclear weapon, but this piece entitled Why Saudi Arabia Can’t Get a Nuclear Weapon I found to be a convincing analysis of the situation.

      Practically, we can’t stop Iran having some form of nuclear program now that they have the knowledge unless you kill every one of their scientists (and Israel has assassinated several), and that’s not a permanent fix anyway. What we need to do is control it and engage with Iran in such a way that if (and when) they cheat on the deal, we know and can do something about it. This deal does that. Without the deal, Iran would have been separated from the diplomatic world and not engaging, becoming more paranoid and thus more extreme and thus more likely to use the nuclear arms they were clearly developing despite their denials.

      • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

        Heather, there are very many articles and analysis of this (unsigned) deal. Here are three links, two to a detailed analysis of the deal, and one to a more general assessment.

        Critical Points To Consider In Understanding The Iranian Nuclear Deal

        Critical Points To Consider In Understanding The Iranian Nuclear Deal: Part II

        • Paxton marshall says:

          Is Israel willing to have its nuclear and military sites inspected anytime 24/7? What right does Israel have to demand that of Iran? If Israel wants to prevent nuclear proliferation, Israel should negotiate a deal to give up its own nukes in exchange for tougher restrictions on Iran.

          • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

            It is so touching! The demand of equal treatment of a country with the population of 8 million, surrounded by peoples very hostile to it, with a country of 80 million, which is conducting war by proxy in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, which is open about its imperialistic ambitions, which is financing and arming diverse terrorist groups in the world and which is promising to wipe out the first country from the map “like a cancerous tumor”. Pity, that this “equality of treatment” of Israel with every other country in the world ends abruptly when there is a chance to condemn Israel. Syria killed over 250,000 of its own citizens? Well, that’s too bad. Israel fighting in self defense killed 2,000 Palestinians (half of which number were radical militants)? A war crime! Huge demonstrations all over the world! Human Right Council’s resolutions condemning Israel: 62 (sixty two). Human Right Council’s resolutions condemning the rest of the world (inclusive Iran, Syria, Sudan, North Korea etc.): 55 (fifty five). And when confronted with such numbers and accused of very, very unequal treatment, suddenly this notion of equality is forgotten: “Well, they claim to be a democratic country. We must demand more from them!” Could this be called hypocrisy?

        • I have a lot of respect for MEMRI, and I have no arguments with their analysis here – it’s accurate imo. However, I think many of their hypotheticals are extremely unlikely. One or two of them I would even go so far as to say they’re the equivalent as saying it’s possible God’s finger in the primordial soup was what made the change from chemistry to biology and started evolution.

          Many seem to be saying that what it wrong with this deal is that it doesn’t promise that Iran will never get a nuclear bomb. That, in my opinion, is unreasonable. It’s impossible to stop anyone from “ever” getting a bomb. This deal is a pragmatic solution to the issue we have now, and that is that by the end of this year, without this deal, Iran could have a nuclear weapon and be in a position to bomb Israel (or anyone else it chooses to – the second most likely candidate is Saudi Arabia). This deal protects Israel from that for at least several years. It doesn’t protect Israel forever – diplomats will have to continue working to come up with other strategies to help calm the region and reduce the likelihood of more conflict in the region.

          I’m perhaps being too optimistic, but I look at the enormous change in the world in just the last ten years because of the spread of technology and information. I think that is only just beginning in some parts of the Middle East, and in ten years there will be enormous positive changes in the region. Democratic and largely secular states like Israel will become more common. Religion will become more liberal. Theocracies will not be able to maintain their control because they rely on the ignorance of a large portion of the electorate to do that. When it comes to renewing this agreement, it will be done in a whole new environment that we can’t imagine now. I’m not expecting it to be all roses and kittens, but I do think it will be a lot better than it is now.

          This interview with NZ foreign minister Murray McCully this morning has some relevance to this subject. NZ was president of the UN Security Council during July. The interview covers several other topics too, including NZ trade and they way be buy drugs for NZers which you’ll find a bit boring. It also covers my brickbat of the week, which I wrote yesterday but won’t post until tomorrow. Here ’tis:

          • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

            Heather, as I see it this deal makes sure that there will be more conflict, not less, in the Middle East. With all the money and prestige mullahs are now going to get it will be so much easier to continue their export of “Islamic Revolution” which is their goal, and to suppress all stirrings of internal opposition against them. You are an optimist, I’m definitely not. Blood will flow freely in the Middle East and in Africa, and in smaller amounts in Europe and US, where not all financed by Iran terrorists will be caught in time.

          • Malgorzata, I agree that is a downside to this deal – it is likely Iran will use it’s greater income to fund more terrorism. There are two things I see ameliorating that though:
            1. The government isn’t the only one getting richer. The rest of the population will too, and they will be spending their money to make their lives more comfortable and get themselves more connected with the West – there is a strong desire among many Iranians for better relations with the rest of the world. They will also make demands of their government on what they spend their money on, and Iran’s infrastructure needs a lot spent on it. It has gone backwards while the sanctions have been on, and needs a lot of work. It won’t be like people like Huckabee are saying with all the extra billions going to Hamas et al. Most of it will have to be spent at home. Huge amounts suddenly going to Hamas will be able to be tracked by international security services. Israel has very good intelligence here, and will be able to provide proof if it happens. It’s a fairly easy matter to re-impose the sanctions if they do this, which Iran won’t want to risk.
            2. There are dozens of companies lining up to invest in Iran. They not only bring more money to the country, which Iran won’t want to lose once they have it, but they bring cultural influences. Iran has only been an Islamic Republic for a very short time – historically it’s been a much different country. Many people there hunger for the freer environment they had before the revolution, and those born since the revolution don’t have the same commitment to it that its older supporters do. The proportion of the people that want a more democratic government is much larger in Iran than any other country in the region. The current regime won’t go easily, but their grip on power also isn’t as strong as they would like the rest of the world to believe.

            So yes, security services will have a more difficult task, and short-term there’s a chance there could be more problems, but I don’t think the problem is as big as the pessimists think it is, and I don’t think it’s a long-term issue either. (Of course, that’s much easier for me to say from a country where terrorism is almost unheard of.)

          • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

            Heather, I can easily agree with the thought that every totalitarian regime has to fall sooner or later. My problem is with the human beings who are alive under this regime as long as it lasts. And a totalitarian regime can last a very, very long time, no matter in what shape its economy is. Saudi Arabia, a very rich country with many young people educated abroad, still beheads people, still imprisons those who dare oppose the rule of imams or Saudi royal family. North Korea, dirt poor, with real hunger among the population, is still running its terror regime and definitely didn’t use the resources it got for signing the nuclear deal for its population and for infrastructure (unless you count infrastructure for nuclear program). USSR lasted 72 years and collapsed because of two factors: economical factors which made it impossible to keep up with the West armament, and greatly diminished ideological fervor of its leaders (not of its population, populations just do not counts in such regimes). Nazi Germany collapsed under the naked power of arms, not because its population became disenchanted with Hitler. In the case of Iran the problem is exacerbated, because mullahs rely not only on ideology, but on religion which goes much deeper into human psyche than any ideology (Communism, Fascism) ever could. And it is difficult to sustain optimism that new generations will all of a sudden become democrats when they are indoctrinated since cradle:

            And, as you read in MEMRI analysis, reimposing of sanctions is near impossible (not to mention that China and Russia will most probably block such a move).

          • I see Iran as different to those countries. It is far wealthier, it’s people are better educated, and they have a long history of being much more sophisticated than most countries not just in the region, but in the world. It’s less than forty years since the conservative religious took over, and they won’t give up power easily, but their grip isn’t that tight. The USSR and North Korea kept/keep power by keeping their people ignorant of the outside world. We don’t know how long the Nazis would have lasted without war, but I suspect not that long. Saudi has a history of being like it is – a revolution would mean a change to the way it’s always been. The people are used to what they’ve got – small changes are coming because of influence from outside. Not so for Iran – for them they would be going back to something they know. The religious leaders are obviously trying to brainwash people, such as in the MEMRI report, but it was interesting to me it was just one province and not a compulsory event. It reminded me a lot of the US Southern Baptist summer camps. I think they know there would be significant resistance if they tried to introduce something like that more widely.

            I don’t think reimposing sanctions will be as difficult as MEMRI thinks, and even if Russia and China block re-imposition, there’s nothing stopping the rest of the world imposing its own sanctions. However, the point is that the structures etc to reimpose sanctions remain in place – they are not being dismantled.

          • paxton marshall says:

            Heather, while I concur in your support of the treaty, I fear you are being too optimistic about Iran. The ayatollahs would have not remained in power if they did not have a huge base of support, probably from the military and lower classes. I know there is a substantial middle class eager to westernize, but the Shia-Sunni civil war probably looms larger in the minds of a majority of the people. Religion reaches it highest pitch in times of war. Military intervention by the US and its allies has only replaced totalitarianism with chaos and more totalitarianism. The Saudis are giving lip service to the fight against ISIL/DAESH, but are bombing the hell out of the long oppressed Shia minority in Yemen. The Turks are giving lip service to the fight against ISIL/Daesh and bombing the Kurds. If we support the removal of Assad, we end up helping ISIL. The arab spring led nowhere in Egypt, except slaughter. In the US we hear constantly the clamor of warmongers, who want to confront Russia, or bomb Iran, or wipe out ISIL, or take out Assad or Gadhafi. We have foreign leaders, thumbing their nose at our President, by coming to the US without an invitation from the head of state. I know it’s not possible to completely but-out of middle eastern affairs, but we should forego the use of military force, and end the huge military subsidies we give to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Just my opinion.

          • Yeah, you could be right about my optimism. I don’t deny there’s plenty of evidence to say I’m wrong. The region is so complex I suspect if we came back to everyone’s comments here in ten years we’d find that in some ways every one of us was right about something, and wrong about something, and there was stuff none of us even considered could happen.

        • paxton marshall says:

          Alan Dershowitz is a trial lawyer who is adept at presenting one side of a story. He was instrumental in getting OJ Simpson off from killing his wife. Dershowitz’ argument is that the deal does not guarantee that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon. But as Heather points out, that is impossible for any deal to achieve.

          A much better analysis is available in today’s NYTimes, by Jewish columnist Roger Cohen, citing Jewish Representative Sander Levin.

  9. paxton marshall says:

    Malgorzata, it was Israel that started the nuclear arms race in the middle east. Israel is estimated to have 80 nuclear bombs and the means to deliver them. It has US supplied F-15 and F-16 aircraft. It has French supplied Jericho missile systems with a range of 5,000 km. It has German-built Dolphin submarines with nuclear-armed cruise missiles. It receives $3B in military aid from the US each year, which is slated to go up to $4B. Why do you or nobody connected with the Israel government ever mention this? Do you think it is really a secret?

    You may make all the excuses you want for why Israel kills 10-100 times as many Palestinians as the reverse. Is a Palestinian life worth less than an Israeli life? Do you think the Israeli aerial attacks did not leave ” just a child without legs, a baby without eyes, a paralyzed man or woman, here or there”, in addition to the thousands killed?

    And how do you justify the multiplication of Israeli settlements, illegal by Israeli law as well as international law? It is clear that Israel, under Netanyahu, does not want and will not accept, a two state solution.

    Yes, Israel has to take measures for its own defense. But it has no right to expect carte-blanche support from the US. Israel has two choices if it doesn’t want to be a pariah state. It can implement a two state solution following the Green-line division. Or it can absorb Gaza and the west bank into Israel and grant citizenship to its residents. If it doesn’t move to do one or the other, the US should withdraw all aid.

    And quoting a Sunni politician, who is rumored to be a Mossad agent, about the intentions of the Iranian Shia is convincing to no one. The Sunni have oppressed the Shia for 1300 years. The balance of power has shifted only because the US/UK, at Netanyahu’s urging, removed the Sunni regime in Shia majority Iraq. Israel has made its own bed and alienated most of the world. If it has to lie in that bed alone it is its own doing. As it is Israel is endangering the welfare of Jewish people all over the world.

    • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

      1. Israeli nuclear arsenal exists but Israel never threatened anybody with it. For Christ’s sake – for the first time in 2000 years Jews are in the arms race with those who want to kill them. Until now they could be killed with impunity. Why Israel have it at all? Israel knew that sooner or later its enemies will get this weapon. If you had a family of 10, which was recently decimated and almost wiped out, and if you lived in the middle of other communities, together counting 700 people (there is 70 Arabs for 1 Jew in the Middle East) who were treating you as their enemy and already started 3 big wars against you (not counting smaller skirmishes and terrorism) you would try to have the best weapon there is in order to deter them.

      2. It was Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who refused to take Palestinians fleeing from Syria with motivation that it is better for them to die in Syria than to come to the West Bank and lose their “right of return” which their inherited after their grandparents. And die they did. It seems that Abbas does not value the life of Palestinian people too high. So, about the value of Palestinian life you should talk with Palestinian (and Arab) leaders, not with Israelis, who try their best to avoid civilian casualties – a totally impossible task in an urban warfare, where civilians are used as human shields. Listen to what Colonel Kemp, General Dempsey, General Molan and other military experts have to say about the way IDF is fighting and about the ratio of people killed on both sides.

      3. Settlements. The settlements which are illegal by Israeli law are destroyed – just yesterday two houses in Beit El which were built illegally were destroyed. But there are settlements, which are not illegal both according to international law (the one which is used for all countries in the world, not the one which is twisted in order to condemn Israel) and to Oslo Accords.

      4. Green Line was the armistice line in the war started by Jordan 1967 (In the case of Jordan, Israel didn’t strike preventively. Israel begged Jordan to stay out of the war. Unfortunately, King Hussein was so sure that Arabs will wipe out Jews, and wanted to get a part of the spoils, that he attacked Israel). In the armistice agreement Jordan stressed – and this is written down in the agreement – that the armistice line did not constitute political boundary. So we have only the San Remo decision as the legal ground for “Jewish National Home”. 1947 UN resolution about partition was rejected by Arab side and never became binding.

      5. I know nothing about you, but judging from what you write, even repeating rumors that somebody you disagree with is a Mossad agent, should be beneath you (but it obviously isn’t). And, of course, Mudar Zahran is not the only one. Are Bassem Eid, Khaled Abu Toameh, Fred Maroun, Qanta Ahmed and many others all Mossad agents? (I’m chosing non-Jews. If you can suspect that Zahran is a Mossad agent you will reject a similar opinion of a Jew out of hand. And they are legion.)

      6. When French Jews feel threatened in France, Ukrainian Jews feel threatened in Ukraine etc. they all have a place to escape to. If Israel existed in 1930s. many lives would be saved. Writing that Israel is endangering Jewish people all over the world is more than stupid – it is despicable.

      • paxton marshall says:

        Malgorzata, what is your hoped-for outcome in opposing the Iran nuclear deal, and supporting Netanyahu’s agenda?

        Do you expect Iran will give up its nuclear ambitions? Or do you expect it will lead to an Israeli attack on Iran’s facilities? Do you expect that will go well?

        Do you expect Israel can maintain the status quo ad infinitum with the residents of the occupied territories? Or do you expect Israel will continue to expand the settlements and eventually appropriate the west bank?

        Do you expect Israel can maintain a veto power over any weapon any country within reach of Israel may seek to obtain?

        Do you expect the Sunni-Shia war will continue, or will the Sauds and the Egyptian military tilt things back to a Sunni dominance? Do you think the Sunni dictatorships are more trustworthy than Iran? Why? Is it because you think the US will continue to buy them off?

        Do you think Israel can retain the support it has in the US, if it continues to hold the Palestinians captive? Is the Evangelical Christian support to be relied on?

        Don’t you think peace is a better option? Must one be compared to Chamberlain every time one advocates peace?

        • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

          Paxton, I will start with your last sentence. Peace is always a better option. The trouble is that that was the reasoning of Chamberlain as well. He honestly believed that he ensured “peace in our time”. I do not doubt that Obama and his Administration also honestly believe that they ensured peace. But their alternative “deal or war” is totally false. This deal is enabling war in the same way as Munich Agreement was an enabler of WWII.

          Sanctions meant that Iran was in trouble – both Hamas and Hezbollah were starved of funds, there were more and more voices in Lebanon (also among Shia Muslim) against Hezbollah. People in Iran were starting to revolt (especially minorities, like Kurds and Arabs, and students). With lack of funds it started to be more difficult to suppress them. There was a chance that with tighter sanction either Ayatollahs would relent or their regime would be overthrown. Remember 2009 – if this uprising then got some help from the West (first of all, from Obama) situation could have looked different now. There were (and are) sane forces in Iran. They are weak and scarcely anybody in the West is supporting them. This is a tragedy. I lived a big chunk of my life in a totalitarian regime. But we, dissidents here, knew that we had support in the West – if not material so at least our smuggled out voices were given coverage and moral support in the West. Dissidents from Islamic countries are met by Western liberals with accusation of being “Mossad agents”.

          Shia constitute 15% of all Muslims which means that a numerical Sunni dominance is given. What is needed are equal rights – not dominance by one group over the other. We have a German minority in Poland. Of course, Poles dominate, but this minority has full citizen rights – they should not seek the dominance here. Nobody was threatening Iran in their country. It is Iran which wants to export its “Islamic Revolution” and needs a nuclear weapon to do that just because they are a minority in the sea of Sunnis.

          Israel is forced to maintain status quo as long as Palestinians prefer war and terror to peace. Withdrawal from Gaza ended in total catastrophe for Israel – instead for a peaceful neighbor they got thousands of rockets. They cannot withdraw from the territory just a few kilometers from their greatest population centra, international airport etc. And BTW, I hope you know that those hated “Jewish settlements” take well under 5% of the area of the West Bank? 20% of Israel’s population are Arabs. Why must a Palestinian state be Judenfrei? Why can’t Jews live as a minority on the land where their nation originated (you know: Jews are from Judea, Arabs are from Arabia)? We both know why – without Israeli army they would be killed by Arabs.

          And on a personal note: I share your abstract horror of war but my horror is more tangible. My mother was born as a refugee during WWI, I was born as a refugee during WWII in which my country lost 20% of its citizens, 3 million ethnic Poles and 3 million ethnic Jews. There is not one family in Poland that didn’t lose somebody in the years 1939-1945. And we are not trying to get back Vilna or Lviv (if the history of these towns is known to you.)

          By giving a bloodthirsty regime, which is bent on expansion, millions upon millions of dollars Obama ensured continuation of the war in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and possibly further afield.

      • paxton marshall says:

        Malgorzata: “This deal is enabling war in the same way as Munich Agreement was an enabler of WWII.” Do you really think WWII would not have happened, or would have been substantially altered had the Munich agreement not occurred?

        “Sanctions meant that Iran was in trouble”. Do you think that China, Russia, and the others will be willing to continue the sanctions if this deal is killed? Israel can impose sanctions, and maybe the US would even join. But without the other large economies the sanctions will have little effect.

        “Dissidents from Islamic countries are met by Western liberals with accusation of being “Mossad agents”. “ Does a wealthy Sunni denouncing Shia qualify him as a “dissident”? I have no idea if Mudar Zahran is a Mossad agent or not, and I don’t condemn him if he is. I just don’t find his opinion on the Iranians very credible. Clearly he has a horse in the race. And I see no justification for the smear of western liberals. But clearly there is a lot I do not know.

        “Nobody was threatening Iran in their country.” Sorry, but that is just wrong. Leading right-wing politicians in the US have been crying “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” for years. Netanyahu and other leading Israeli politicians have made it clear that an attack on Iran is a viable option. Further, the US subverted the Iranian democratic process in 1953 and effectively ruled Iran as a client state under the brutal dictator Shah Pahlevi for 26 years until the revolution of 1979. Israel was also complicit in propping up the Shah. Do you think people forget so quickly? Clearly the Iranians have just as much to fear of the west as we do of them.

        “those hated “Jewish settlements” take well under 5% of the area of the West Bank” That’s more than the 3% allocated to the Palestinians (Area A). Area C, under full Israeli control, accounts for over 70% of the land, and “70 percent of the area is defined as within settler municipal boundaries, where permits for development are denied to Palestinians.” [Wikipedia]

        “20% of Israel’s population are Arabs.” When the “Jewish state” was decreed more than half the population was Arab. Today, any Jew in the world can receive Israeli citizenship, but no Arab, not already a citizen is eligible. Israel doesn’t have 20% arabs because they welcomed them, but because they couldn’t get rid of all of them.

        “Why must a Palestinian state be Judenfrei?” This is a ruse. Do you really think these Jewish settlers are going to agree to live in a Palestinian state? The spread of the settlements makes it virtually impossible for any Israeli government to agree to a two-state settlement. Are you saying this is not the intention?

        “Why can’t Jews live as a minority on the land where their nation originated?” Again, will they really be content to live as a minority in a Palestinian state? But also, who occupied the land 3000 years ago is irrelevant to who has a right to the land now. Since that time the same land has been ruled by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Greeks again (this time Christian), Muslims, and European Christian crusaders. For 700 years before WWI it was ruled continuously by Muslims. Neither the Brits, Americans or UN had any right to proclaim a Jewish state in a region that was majority Muslim. It was an act of imperialism. Most of the pressure for settlements has come from religious Jews who believe the land is yours by divine mandate. You haven’t mentioned this, but it is invariable the next step from the “homeland” argument.

        “we are not trying to get back Vilna or Lviv “ No one can doubt the suffering of the Poles as well as the Jews in WWII (although it is worth mention that many Poles were complicit in the “final solution”). But Poland is also not offering to give back East Prussia, Pomerania or Silesia. And if anyone knows what it is like to be deprived of a state, it is Poland. If the western powers felt guilty about their failure to address the holocaust (and they should) the place to compensate the Jews with a state of their own, was East Prussia. But it’s always easier to give away someone else’s land.

        Again, the situation in the middle east today is the opposite of the position of the Jews before WWII. Israel is in the drivers seat and has total power over the Palestinians, as the Reich had over the German Jews. It is Israel’s responsibility to live up to the Jewish heritage of justice and mercy and find a way to let the Palestinian people go. Instead, the Netanyahu government is tightening the reins.

        • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

          Paxman, I’m answering paragraph after paragraph:
          1. Yes, I (and a lot of serious historians) think that without Munich Agreement (and the appeasement policy which went before it) there either would be no war or one which was substantially different and less tragic. For example, Ardenne offensive would look differently without excellent Czech weapon used by German army which they could just take from Czechoslovakia, a country sold to them in Munich.

          2. Yes, sanctions (with China and Russia onboard) worked for a few years and would work a bit longer if Obama didn’t believe that you can always talk reason to anybody.

          3. Mudar Zahran was sentenced to life imprisonment and all his property was confiscated. I suspect that you are now richer than he is, I certainly am, an old age pensioner that I am. His crime? He says that Jordan is Palestine, that Palestinians in Jordan (in the Mandate for Palestine, the territory of today’s Jordan was called Eastern Palestine, and everything west of the River Jordan was called Western Palestine), who constitute majority of the population, are treated as a second class citizens and that the Jordanian kings from Hashemite dynasty are a foreign element in Jordan (which they certainly are, imported by British from today’s Saudi Arabia in 1920s.) Zahran escaped and lives now in London.

          4. The story of 1953 in Iran is much more complicated than it is presented in pamphlets. US played a roll, but not a major one. And the fact that this dictator Pahlavi was preferring the West to USRR doesn’t make his country a “client state” of US. He run it ruthlessly by himself. And you seem not to notice anything Iranians did after their Islamic Revolution. Remember the attack on American Embassy and holding American diplomats hostage for over 400 days? Remember all the threats against Israel from the first days of Khomeini’s rule? Remember 299 American and French servicemen killed in Lebanon by Iran’s proxies? Remember Jews in Argentine and Bulgaria killed by Iran? And when the Israeli threats started? Were it not after Iran started its nuclear program? And did Israel threatened to flatten Tehran or any other Iranian city (as Iran is threatening to flatten Tel Aviv and Haifa)? No, Israel announced that it would only target nuclear installation.

          5. The division of the West Bank and the governance of those three Areas was agreed upon in Oslo Agreement. Palestinians signed it. Since then they got a proposal three times for their own state and refused every time. Ehud Olmert wanted to give them the whole West bank, Gaza and even proposed the division of Jerusalem (which is unthinkable for an overwhelming majority of Israelis). But he didn’t agree to take about 4-5 million hostile Palestinians into Israel (the so called “right of return”) and they rejected it. There are consequences for bad decisions. This is the only nation in the history of mankind which wants an own state, doesn’t have it, but refuses to take what’s possible to take because they do not like offered borders.

          6. When the Jewish state was declared European Jews who miraculously survived the war had nowhere to go. Jews from Arab countries, persecuted and treated like dirt, had nowhere to go. The idea of Israel was to give place for them. And, of course there were fewer Jews than Arabs on the territory of British Mandate for Palestine. British, who got this Mandate to prepare “Jewish National Home”, did everything in their power to limit Jewish immigration (stopping escapees from Hitler and condemning them to sure death in ovens) and nothing at all to stop Arab immigration. Because of economic revival caused by Zionists many Arabs from neighbouring countries came for there was work and bread. The numbers are quite revealing.

          7. No, it is not a ruse. There are some settlers who live in perfect harmony with their Palestinian neighbours and who say that they would stay, no matter which state the land would belong. It was Abbas who said that he is not going to allow even one Jew to live in the future Palestine. (Of course, while speaking in English he used the word “Israeli”, but he certainly didn’t mean Israeli Arabs.) BTW, did you know that quite a lot of Israeli Arabs live in the so called “settlements”? Somehow, in spite of the fact that they are Israeli citizens nobody calls them “illegal”. Only a Jew can be illegal.

          8. Jews were exiled form this land. For centuries they tried to come back and for centuries different empires expelled them again, though there was always some Jewish presence in the land. In the exile Jews retained their religion, their customs, their language and their longing for the lost homeland. (Ever heard that year after year they repeat: “Next year in Jerusalem”?) For the last over 400 years until WWI Palestine was ruled by Muslims, but they were not Arabs, not “Palestinians”. They were Turks. So your glib “for 700 years before WWI it was ruled continuously by Muslims” was a bit economical with the truth. And if you think that Israel was proclaimed illegally, as an act of imperialism, so was proclamation of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and a few other state in the Middle East, as well as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Hungary and a few other states in Europe, all established after collapse of three huge empires. Why not go the whole hog? Why stop with Israel? I know that when Israel is singled out for opprobrium, while others commit much greater crimes, the answer often is: “We have to start somewhere”. OK, but somehow they always start with the Jewish state. And I ask: Why stop there? And another thing: I’m an atheist. I couldn’t care less about the “divine”. But I do care a lot about history, culture and survival of a nation which was persecuted all over the world for two thousand years. They need a home.

  10. Sally says:

    Abhorrent as it seems, Palestinian Arabs are of more use to their “leaders” dead than alive. Western journalists fall for it every time, totting up the casualty figures–supplied by Hamas–and apparently never wondering why weapons are stored in schools and hospitals or people are purposely put in harm’s way. I put “leaders” in quotes because Hamas and Fatah rulers have run over their terms of office by many years now. Although Palestinians are taught from infancy to hate Israel and Jews, a lot of them realize they are being used and Israel is not the real enemy.

    • Yes, it’s very easy to paint Israel as the bad guy when you just look at things like the numbers of deaths. Awful as it is that so many people are being killed, often the reason is that Hamas etc deliberately put people in harm’s way, while Israel does the opposite. Hamas puts missile launchers in schools – Israel puts bomb shelters in schools.

      There are faults on both sides, but a lot of the criticism directed at Israel is unreasonable.

      • Ken says:

        The real powers in the region are Israel and the US. This status comes with added responsibility to act positively and in good faith. The US purports to be neutral in the conflict with Palestine, yet their actions don’t match their talk and they back Israel every time. Other Mid-East countries get invaded when they break UN resolutions, but not Israel, who I believe has violated more than any other. No doubt there are criticisms of Israel that aren’t entirely fair, but there are quite valid reasons Israel is considered a pariah and the main block to peace.

        • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

          Ken, sorry for answering your comment directed to Heather, but I’m just curious. Official Arab spokesmen and media (controlled by governments) criticize Israel for: breeding wild swines in order to let them free and destroy Palestinian fields; training rats to make life miserable for Arabs in Jerusalem; distributing chewing gum to Arab women (Palestinian and Egyptian) which is raising their libido and destroying thus their honor; training sharks so they will eat German turists and destroy Egypt’s turist industry; inserting special devises into trousers’ belts which render Muslim men impotent; sending vultures as spies to Saudi Arabia and many, many more in this style. This is repeated in schools, mosques, radio, TV, newspapers all over the Arab world. Maybe you deem this criticism fair, but if not – why do you believe other claims against Israel (more palatable for Western ears) since both types of claims are stated by precisely the same people?

          • Ken says:

            That Israel has violated UN resolutions is not a matter of opinion, nor is the fact that they brought nuclear weapons to the Mid-East. In particular, the never ending settlements and the security wall show that a two-state solution is merely rhetoric, as these have destroyed the viability of a Palestinian state. Even if all of the examples you give are false, which I expect they are, they have no impact on the truth of other wrongs. Then again, I know personally that high-ranking Israeli officials referred to Palestinians as cockroaches when talking to a NZ member of Parliament on an official visit, which says to me that maybe anything is possible.

          • paxton marshall says:

            Malgorzata, I think you have just demonstrated the poverty of your argument. Quote the most ridiculous claims as a reason to deny all claims of justice for the Palestinians, and all charges of brutality by the Israelis. I guess you believe the arson in the WB that burned a small boy alive didn’t happen either? Or the killings at the Jerusalem gay pride parade? If you portray the enemy as subhuman you can justify anything done against them, right?

          • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

            The names of two Palestinian children murdered by Jewish terrorist were printed in all Israeli newspapers and repeated by all Israeli radio and TV stations. In case you do not know them they were: 16 years old Mohammed Abu Khdeir burned alive by Jewish terrorists who are now sitting in Israeli jail without a chance to be let out anytime soon in exchange for somebody kidnapped or as a “goodwill gesture”, as so many Palestinian murderers were; and 18 month old Ali Saad Dawbasha. The manhunt after his murderers is under way. The whole Israel is in mourning (except some fringes of the society). I wonder how your conscience allows you to call it “portraying your enemy as subhuman”. When Palestinians kill Jewish children – and they killed hundreds in terrorist attacks against civilian, not during the war – their names are not mentioned in Palestinian press (and seldom even in the Western media – BBC didn’t think that the murder of the Fogel family and beheading of their 3-mons old daughter were worth talking about. They just didn’t mention it until the matter was taken up in the British Parliament. BBC admitted that, well, they maybe should have mentioned it,) And this decapitated baby was called in Palestinian press “Zionist” and “settler” – never “a baby”. The murderers of Israeli children are called “political prisoners”. Israelis are called “descendants of apes and pigs” (from Koran), snakes, cockroaches, cancer etc.
            There is a very rich, ancient tradition of dehumanizing Jews and ascribing them all possible crimes. There is a rich but less ancient tradition of using tragically killed Palestinian children as weapon against the Jewish state. You uphold both. I do not see the slightest reason to continue this discussion with you.

          • paxton marshall says:

            What Israeli children are being taught:

            Is this any less representative of Israelis than Malgorzata’s claims are of the Palestinians? Everyone should calm the rhetoric and work on a solution. Hopefully, the Iran deal will be a start.

          • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

            Yes, it is definitely less representative. Those are TWEETS in the cesspit that is Internet. Private tweets by individuals. This is NOT pronounced by political, religious, and moral leaders of the Israeli society, like the most horrendous lies which are pronounced by Palestinian leaders and Palestinian media (Arab in other countries as well). Just one example – a video from the lecture given 31 July 2015 by Sheikh Khaled Al-Mughrabi, who teaches Islam twice a week in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem:
            There are hundreds upon hundreds of videos, articles, speaches, statements, school books etc. and you want to compare this to some abhorrent tweets by some abhorrent PRIVATE young people. I can betray a secret to you: Jews are normal people like every other people on Earth. They have their share of rasists, criminals, and murderers. The tragic death of a Palestinian baby, a Jewish 16-year old girl, critical wounds of the baby’s parents and brother shows it. However the important thing in such a tragedy is the reaction of the mainstream society (not some tweets). The whole Israeli society condemned those sensless, terroristic murders. People who commited them will be pariahs for the rest of their days. But did you know that a certain Dalia Mughrabi who killed 37 Israelis (17 children among them) is a national hero for Palestinians, praised in TV, newspapers, by authorities, inclusive President Abbas? That schools are named after her, that she has a square after her name in Ramallah? And she is not the only murderer who is a hero for Palestinians. Everybody who killed an Israeli is such a hero. Inclusive those two scum who murdered Fogel family in their beds (parents and three small children and decapitated the youngest one, 3-month old Hadas Fogel). And you want to compare all this to a few tweets!

          • paxton marshall says:

            Political, religious, and moral leaders of Israeli society, Malgorzata? How about:

            Naftali Bennett has served as Israel’s Minister of Education since 2015 and Minister of Diaspora Affairs since 2013. Between 2013 and 2015 he held the posts of Minister of Economy and Minister of Religious Services.

            Bennett: “If you catch terrorists, you have to simply kill them.”
            Amidror: “Listen, that’s not legal.”
            Bennett: “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that.”

            The idea of Jewish settlements under Palestinian sovereignty, as was suggested by someone in the Prime Minister’s office, is very dangerous and reflects an irrationality of values.
            – Naftali Bennett

            Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years. Beit El and Hebron have been our land for 3,600-3,700 years. Any Jew or Christian or Muslim can open a Bible and read it. You have it there.
            – Naftali Bennett

            I will do everything in my power to prevent a Palestinian state
            – Naftali Bennett

            Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years and it’s going to be our capital for eternity
            – Naftali Bennett

            Lots of people say lots of things Malgorzata. Actions are much more significant than words. I don’t put too much stock in these words. They are said for political purposes. It was you who started the quote mining accusations, without so much as an attribution as to who said what. just a claim that they come from high places.

            This was a productive conversation early on, but has degenerated to he said, she said. Unless you have something substantive to contribute, I’ll say adieu.

          • Malgorzata Koraszewska says:

            Even in this abominable piece by Max Blumenthal you can read that this story sparked a national upproar (can I surmise that not the whole nation supported it?), that Shabak was interested in the buyers of this book (can I surmise that the authorities deemed it subversive and abhorrent and prefered to keep an eye on people interested in it?). I remember reading about very sharp reaction of other rabbis but I’m not going to look for it. If you are bent on interpreting anything concerning Jews and Israel in the worst possible way no arguments or facts are going to convince you.

        • There’s no doubt in my mind that the USA isn’t neutral. (There was a hot mic incident though with John Kerry during the last conflict that showed he was anti-Israel though, so they’re not necessarily personally with Israel.) However, it is in their national interests to support Israel so we can’t expect them to do otherwise. Many USAians think their government is on the side of Israel for religious and moral reasons, and when Obama, for example, criticizes Israel for building more settlements on disputed land (as he should), they blow a gasket. Like every country, they play the moral card sometimes, but it doesn’t stop many Western countries being allies with Saudi Arabia when it suits them. Whatever they think of Israel, it is in the national security interests of the USA to continue to support them. Whether that’s the right or wrong thing is actually irrelevant.

          At different times, both Palestine and Israel have been the main block to peace, and imo it’s currently Israel, specifically the conservative religious that Netanyahu has to please in coalition in order to retain power.

          I know this is a pipe dream, but I’d like to see the two sides sit down to negotiate a two state solution and ignore all the bad stuff each side has done during the negotiations. Just stick to the facts and take the emotion out of it. To me, the biggest bar now to a solution is that neither side can see past its feelings towards the other – some justified, some not.

          • paxton marshall says:

            Heather, how is it in the “national interests” or “national security interests” of the USA to support Israel?

          • Mainly:
            1. It gives them a reliable, stable, secular ally in the region. (A big part of the reason they’re reliable is that Israel needs the US to survive.)
            2. They get a lot of intelligence via Israel – Israel has much better intelligence links in the Middle East than they do.
            3. It gives them a potential land base in the region.

          • Ken says:

            Mostly agree, even that it’s in the US interest to support Israel, but there is a limit to that too, so we shouldn’t (and I as an American can’t) just leave it at that. Israel is only able to exist because of US backing, which gives it immense power to act in it’s own interests and these interests firmly include a viable two-state solution (unless you’re a neocon who thinks constant strife in the Mid-East is the goal) yet the US has let this slip away.

          • paxton marshall says:

            The price of any benefit the US alliance with Israel provides us is too high, Heather. The tail is wagging the dog. Netanyahu, Bennett and co. expect the US to put Israel’s interests above our own. You say you’d “like to see the two sides sit down to negotiate a two state solution” but as Ken points out “the never ending settlements and the security wall show that a two-state solution is merely rhetoric, as these have destroyed the viability of a Palestinian state.”

            It’s time to cut the umbilical chord and let Israel manage on its own. As Ken says: “Israel is only able to exist because of US backing”. I don’t know about that; they have a huge arsenal of US and western supplied weaponry that will maintain them for a good while. But we should put it to the test.

            Never in history has a major power been less vulnerable to outside attack and conquest than the US has been for all of its history. Yes, we are vulnerable to Russian ICBMs in the event of a nuclear holocaust. But the Roman Empire was constantly threatened from all sides, and the Chinese empire built a huge wall in a vain attempt to keep invaders out. The idea that any country could invade and conquer America is inconceivable. Yet the neo-cons and war-profiteers, keep spreading fear that if we don’t fight them over there we will fight them over here. Netanyahu, and his US enablers, such as AIPAC and the gambling magnate Adelson, are major contributors to that hysteria.

            I suggest that we take the $3-4 billion in military aid we give to Israel every year, and put it into building Palestinian infrastructure, on the condition of no attacks on Israel. Don’t you think they’d restrain themselves for $3-4B/yr? As they say in the addiction world, the US is an enabler. Israel will never change as long as they can count on the US to back them up. It’s time for an intervention.

  11. paxton marshall says:

    Malgorzata: On this we are in agreement “But I do care a lot about history, culture and survival of a nation which was persecuted all over the world for two thousand years. They need a home.” We disagree on means.

    I too am atheist. But I love this commandment from the book of Micah: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

  12. Sally says:

    Paxton, if I may comment on your statement that “Neither the Brits, Americans or UN had any right to proclaim a Jewish state in a region that was majority Muslim. It was an act of imperialism. Most of the pressure for settlements has come from religious Jews who believe the land is yours by divine mandate.” It is worth noting that (1) when the Ottoman Empire collapsed the League of Nations appointed Great Britain and France to oversee the now stateless territories which then later became Syria, Iraq, Jordan, etc. They weren’t being given the land to add to their empires, but rather they had a legal mandate to administer it. Whether they did a good job of it is another matter.
    (2) The Zionist impetus for a Jewish homeland was distinctly secular. The “divine right” idea is no doubt held by some religious Jews, but it was never a part of the legal basis of the Jewish homeland.

    • paxton marshall says:

      Sally, (1) the mandates were just imperialism under another name. “The mandate system was a compromise between the Allies’ wish to retain the former German and Turkish colonies and their pre-Armistice declaration (November 5, 1918) that annexation of territory was not their aim in the war.” [Encyclopedia Brittanica].

      “The treaty contained no provision for the mandates to be allocated on the basis of decisions taken by four members of the League acting in the name of the so-called “Principal Allied and Associated Powers”. The decisions taken at the conferences of the Council of Four were not made on the basis of consultation or League unanimity as stipulated by the Covenant. As a result, the actions of the conferees were viewed by some as having no legitimacy”

      “In testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations a former US State Department official who had been a member of the American Commission at Paris, testified that the United Kingdom and France had simply gone ahead and arranged the world to suit themselves. He pointed out that the League of Nations could do nothing to alter their arrangements, since the League could only act by unanimous consent of its members – including the UK and France”

      “United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing was a member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace at Paris in 1919. He explained that the system of mandates was a device created by the Great Powers to conceal their division of the spoils of war under the color of international law.” [Wikipedia].

      (2) It’s true that the original Zionist movement was secular, but religious parties have become increasingly influential, comprising 21 of the 61 seats of Netanyahu’s governing coalition. The settler movement has been spearheaded by religious zealots. As Rabbi Tzvi Kook said…It’s “the Lord’s land. Is it in our hands to give up even a millimeter?”

  13. Sally says:

    The San Remo agreement of 1920 is generally taken to be the relevant document for founding a Jewish Homeland. It was to be fitted in somewhere in the Mandate lands, but then about 80% was sliced off for Trans-Jordan. Recall that *four* different empires had collapsed after WW I and something had to be done with all the fragments. Also consider the importance at the time of self-determination of peoples. I often think that it is a pity that a Kurdistan wasn’t created at the same time. The Kurds are still fighting for self-determination. If Israel had not been founded the Jews would be in an even worse situation than the Kurds are now.
    As for the religious parties in the Jewish state: is this a surprise? Are there any religious parties at all in the surrounding Muslim states, do you suppose? (Or the 50+ Muslim states worldwide?) Are there any religious parties even in secular Europe–Germany, for instance, or The Netherlands? Do you hold Israel to a different and higher standard than other countries? If so, why?

    • paxton marshall says:

      Sally, I agree with you on Kurdistan. Ho Chi Minh was also at Versailles, seeking independence for Viet Nam. But France, like Britain, wanted to hold on to its colonies. Both of these peoples had a much better claim to statehood in 1920 than the Jews in Israel. In the 1922 census of the British mandate there were a little more than 80,000 jews, about the same number of Christians and other, and almost 600,000 Muslims.

      I think religious people and parties have the same rights as anyone else to participate in a democracy. What makes you think I hold Israel to a different standard than anyone else? I was simply pointing out that the on-going west bank settlements are a major barrier to the possibility of a two state solution, and that religious zealots have led the push to establish settlements. You, of course saw the news about the Palestinian child burned to death in occupied west bank, by religious zealots. And the knifings at the gay pride parade in Jerusalem. For those who care about Israel, and I include myself, the rising religious influence is worrisome.

      There are many Jews in Israel, the US, and world wide who support the Iran agreement and oppose the anti-peace stance of the current government.

  14. Sally says:

    Those census figures need to be seen in a wider context. There were always Jews in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, sometimes in local majorities and sometimes not. As the Zionists began to drain swamps, irrigate land, and build towns, their projects were a huge attraction for Arabs in need of jobs. Many of those Muslim inhabitants had only very recently arrived from Egypt and other places. It is a mistake to think they had been there forever.
    If the current Israeli government is “anti-peace” what do you call the PA government, who call for the destruction of Israel and Jews in general and reward terrorists with salaries?

    • paxton marshall says:

      Sally, I’m in no way defending the PA or Hamas. They’ve said and done some despicable things. But as Ken says, Israel, with US backing, is the one with the power. Where else in the world are there people who have been held captive for 50 years, subject to arbitrary search and seizure, slaughtered if they protest. Strained arguments to justify the numerical discrepancy in deaths, and the claim of a minority population to rule over the majority, only highlight the fact that Netanyahu has no intention of ever restoring the west bank to the Palestinians or of giving the west bank Palestinians citizenship status in an expanded Israel. Naftali Bennet’s solution is the only solution on the table for the current government. Palestinians get area A (3% of WB) and Gaza, subject of course to Israeli policing, Israel gets the rest of the land and none of the people. Is that justice? IDF have salaries also?

      • Sally says:

        Paxton, you have managed to condense a record number of misapprehensions, mistakes, wrong assumptions, and presumably secondhand lies into quite a short paragraph. This deserves an answer, but not a very long one. You begin by claiming that Israel is mistreating Palestinians and wonder “where else in the world are there people who have been held captive for 50 years?” Question begging aside, there are many “other” examples. The Kurds have been treated worse and for much longer than the Palestinians; Tibet has been suffering under China for longer than the Palestinian Arabs have even considered themselves Palestinians; half of Cyprus is held illegally by Turkey; the Baltic states under Soviet rule. There are lots more examples. Why are you so focused on Israel and so willing to believe the half-truths and lies put about against it? I find this an enduring puzzle, and not just in relation to you, Paxton.
        Israel’s Arab enemies find it very convenient to portray big powerful Israel beating up the poor Palestinians, but the Palestinians are a kind of cat’s paw for the surrounding Muslim states. Israel is greatly outnumbered when you understand more of the dynamic in the Middle East. You might like to look at the Palestinian Media Watch for some insight into attitudes toward Israel and the extraordinary everyday venom directed at Israel–by people who supposedly want “peace”.
        You speak of Palestinians being “slaughtered if they protest”. That is too ridiculous to address. Then there is the amazing notion of “restoring the West bank to the Palestinians”! “Restoring”? Do you think it has ever been a state of any kind? Do you know that the real “occupation” of it was by Jordan, and if there was any “restoration” it was to Israel, but after 1967 it was in limbo–no longer part of the Jewish state, disowned by its former conqueror, Jordan, now ruled by the corrupt Palestine Liberation Organization. It’s a long-standing mess, all right, but not of Israel’s making. I can’t believe you moot Palestinians being given citizenship in an “expanded Israel”. Do you think Israel ought to expand and annex the West Bank? Do you think that is a legal option? But then you complain about the allocation of certain areas (Area C) in the West Bank as being unjustly claimed by Israel, but are you completely unaware of the Oslo Accords, signed by both sides and designating some parts of the WB to Israel and other parts to a future Palestinian state (If and when they can agree to live in peace with Israel–THAT is the stumbling block)?
        I suggest you might find useful information in Alan Dershowitz, “The Case for Israel”. He is an acknowledged authority on the situation and knows more about law that either of us. He addresses some of the questions you have raised. Don’t compound your prejudice by ignoring what he has to say. As for me, I don’t think I have anything further to add.

        • paxton marshall says:

          Sally, I think you made my point when you compare Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to china’s treatment of the Tibetans, the USSR’s treatment of the Baltic states, and the treatment of the Kurds by Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. They are all unacceptable, and not supported by intelligent, enlightened people. Remember: Let my people go!

        • paxton marshall says:

          Sally said: “you complain about the allocation of certain areas (Area C) in the West Bank as being unjustly claimed by Israel, but are you completely unaware of the Oslo Accords, signed by both sides and designating some parts of the WB to Israel and other parts to a future Palestinian state”.

          Sally, Oslo II defines Area C as:
          ″areas of the West Bank outside Areas A and B, which, except for the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, will be gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction in accordance with this Agreement″.

          “Area C (full Israeli civil and security control): circa 72-74% Under the Wye River Memorandum, Israel would further withdrawal from some additional 13% From Area C to Area B, which officially reduced Area C to circa 61% of the West Bank.[5][6] Israel, however, withdrew from only 2%[3] and during Operation Defensive Shield, it reoccupied all territory

          Area C, 99% of which is excluded from Palestinian use, contains most of the West Bank’s natural resources and open spaces,

          Settler population by year in the Israeli-occupied territories from 1972 to 2007
          Area C includes all Israeli settlements (cities, towns, and villages).[3] In 1972, there were 1,000 Israeli settlers living in what is now Area C. By 1993, their population had increased to 110,000. As of 2012 they number more than 300,000 – as against 150,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom are Bedouin and farmers, constituting 5% of the Palestinian population on 60% of the land, who are cut off from services available to other Palestinians in Areas A and B.

          According to a 2013 EU report, Israeli policies in the area have undermined the Palestinian presence there, with a deterioration in basic services such as water supplies, education and shelter. Nearly 70% of the Palestinian villages are not connected to the water network that serves settlers, which accounts for the fact that Palestinians in the zone use only a quarter to a third of the pro capita consumption of settlers.[13][14]

          Palestinians cannot build in Area C without an army permit; however, building applications are costly and have a lowly 5% approval rate. As a result, most Palestinians who build there do so illegally. Israel demolishes about 200 buildings per year in Area C.”

          Do you deny that the Israeli government clearly has no intention of ever accepting a two-state solution?

    • Interesting. I think some of the Israeli criticisms of Amnesty International are fair though. The story glosses over the faults on the Palestinian side. I’m not saying two wrongs make a right, because they don’t, but there’s a lot more to the situation than is presented here.

      • paxton marshall says:

        Yes, it’s hard to get a balanced account, although Amnesty International comes about as close as it gets. Netanyahu spoke on a webcast to major American Jewish organizations today against the agreement with Iran. He said the deal would set off a middle eastern nuclear arms race, while never mentioning that Israel initiated that race and has a sizable nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver it anywhere in the middle east. And he called Iran the number one sponsor of state terrorism in the world, without mentioning the far larger number of victims of Israeli terrorism. A bit unbalanced, don’t you think? Deceptive of deceitful?

  15. Ken says:

    This is interesting, not because of his yearning for Thatcher, but because it also points to why the neocons prefer chaos in the Mid-East to diplomacy.

    • paxton marshall says:

      Good article Ken. To borrow Heather’s phrase, Netanyahu and his supporters are “economical with the truth on the Iran deal”

      Truth #1: The US and Europeans have made Israel by far the strongest military power in the middle east with our military and economic aid. One would think that whenever Netanyahu addressed Americans he would show respect and thanks for making Israel possible. Instead he snubs the President of his biggest benefactor by going behind his back to negotiate with his political opponents against his policies. He is a charity recipient biting the hand that feeds him.

      Truth #2: Israel has nukes. The biggest air of unreality about this attempt to keep Iran from getting nukes is the conspiracy of silence about Israel’s own nukes and means of delivering them on Iran or any other country in the middle east. This is the truth that must not be mentioned by any supporter of Israel. Anyone who claims to discuss the Iran deal without acknowledging Israel’s nukes is just blowing smoke, ie lying.

      Truth #3: Israel has been holding 5 million people captive for 50 years. Visiting them with indignities from search and seizure, to bulldozing homes, to outright slaughter. Whenever Israeli apologists talk about the threats of Muslims against Israel without mentioning Israel’s treatment of 5 millon Muslims, they are engaging in a lie.

      Truth #4: The Netanyahu government has no intention of ever turning Judaea and Samaria (the west bank) over to Palestinian control. In other words, any talk of a two-state solution is just a charade, ie a lie.

      All of these truths are well-known, and illustrated much better in the article Ken linked above, than I can express them. But listen to the propaganda against the Iran deal in the coming weeks and see if any of these four truths are ever mentioned. If not, the argument is based on a lie, or to put it more delicately, being very economical with the truth.

    • Thanks Ken – very interesting. I’m not sure even Thatcher could get the Republicans to support this deal – they will automatically oppose any deal with Obama’s name on it on principle.

      Politics has become ultra-partisan in the US, and cooperation and negotiation are seen as a sign as weakness. Republicans complain about the executive orders Obama makes (which are actually very few in number), then go all out for Trump who has plans to run the country single-handedly without even consulting anyone else. Politicians like Cruz who shut the government down rather than back down on a single point are praised, and when he again showed that was his position in yesterday’s debate he was cheered. It’s become clear that the only reason Lindsay Graham is running is to get publicity for his opinion that the US needs to go to war in Iraq and Syria – even when answering a question about abortion he talked about the need for ground troops against DAESH. Walker and Rubio both said they’d rather let a woman die than allow her to have an abortion – again no compromise. People like that, in my opinion, have no place in any government. What you need is people who can work together to find solutions for a country’s problems. The intransigence of so many leading politicians is destroying the world in their desire to appear strong to an ignorant electorate instead of showing true leadership and getting the best knowledge from a variety of sources to get the best solution.

      • Ken says:

        Symptoms of the end of empire, exacerbated by a system that increasingly enslaves politicians to a few rich donors. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

        • You’ll know personally Ken how the Green party in New Zealand, despite having widely differing view to the current government, still works with them on initiatives they agree with like the home insulation programme. The Labour party actually votes with the National government more often than National’s coalition partner the Maori party. The good thing about the NZ electorate it that it is turned off by negative politics, and whoever uses it, loses. In the US, people complain about negative politics, but it works. However, as a majority of ads are negative there, perhaps it’s an environment where it’s hard to tell whether positive ones would work better. It’s another form of Hobbesianism (if there’s such a word) – they’re too scared to try and stick to a positive message and just keep ramping up the negative attacks.

          • Ken says:

            Yes, though NZ is becoming more negative. Certainly the Key govt is becoming ever more so and hasn’t suffered for it yet. They’re using the same Crosby-Textor formula that work so well in the UK recently. But definitely parties here cooperate much more than in the US.

      • paxton marshall says:

        Well said Heather!! Obama is a guy who can work with people, but the repubs have stonewalled him since day 1. Still, he’s done well and I’d support him for another four, if he were eligible. Trump is a diversion. It’ll be Bush, 95%.

    • In fact, the points in this article are ones I should have made in my post. I get the feeling that the visit of designated terrorist and Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani (who shouldn’t have been allowed out of the country) to Russia recently was a sop to the revolutionary guard, to give them a win when they’ve had so many losses. They’ve lost power imo due to the Iran Deal, and aren’t liking it. See:

      • Paxton marshall says:

        So what do you suppose the Quds and the Russians are cooking up?

        • Three things:
          1. Iran will be seeing if the Russians will let their scientists work in Russian facilities to keep their skills up while they have to mostly close down their program. Russia is unlikely to have a bar of it.
          2. Help in hiding stuff they’ve already got. Russia is too paranoid to help a country so close conceal nukes.
          3. Help in security/intelligence in the region between Iran and Moscow, especially former soviet states. Might be some quid pro quo here.

  16. paxton marshall says:

    The Democrats cooperated with Bush, even after he stole the 2000 election. Dems worked with him on No Child left behind, the Medicare prescription drug program, and even, to their everlasting regret, supported his Iraq invasion. But Republicans have refused to work with Obama on anything, and tried to undermine him at every step.

    • Ken says:

      This is certainly true insofar as the outcomes are concerned and goes back to the 1980’s with Clinton being the best example, but I find it difficult to characterise as cooperation in the sense that Heather describes. First, the Republicans always stood as firm as ever. There was little compromise in their part. Rather the Democrats accommodated them out of some misguided belief that the electorate had become more conservative despite opinion polls on issues always showing this to be false. I have often said that their biggest mistake over the last 35 years was not realising that for every step rightward they took, the Reps would take two, and that they didn’t realise there was no limit to how far the Reps would go. The Dems largely gave up on their principles during this period. Obama looks good mainly because Bush set such a low bar. Its very different from the Greens (and some other MMP parties) working with National or Labour, as the entire point of the exercise is to achieve change that fits with the party’s principles.

  17. Ken says:

    And two more interesting articles from The Atlantic.

    Possibly the biggest thing this deal has going for it is that the hard liners on both sides hate it.

    • Interesting article Ken. I have a lot of respect for Carter too. Although there is much in it I agree with, I also think the Israelis have valid security fears that must be acknowledged. As I’ve said elsewhere, I agree that currently the main bar to a two-state solution is Israel, but that hasn’t always been the case.

      I think too many people ignore that there are Islamist terrorists in Palestine who want to kill Jews just because they are Jews, and they will continue to do that whatever the political make-up of the region. Their beliefs have nothing to do with political activism. The Islamists believe they are doing what God wants them to do when they kill Jews, and nothing Israel does will change that. The security fears of Israel are valid and genuine and too many ignore them, or say that Israel invites the threat because of their actions. Documents like the Hamas Charter show that those groups will continue to attempt to kill Jews no matter what happens.

      • Ken says:

        Too much qualification for me, Heather. Of course Israel has valid security concerns. They go all the way back to the dubious decision to create the state in Palestine. But that is history and there’s little point in going back to any historical sins, be they Palestinian, Israeli or the international community. This is not to justify Palestinian atrocities. Apart from their wrongness, the Palestinians have constantly acted against their own interests. If they would adopt non-violent resistance, I think Israel would have no where left to hide.

        The only reality that matters is that someone needs to do something different in the present. Natural law, not to mention international law, says the occupying power has certain responsibilities. It is Israel and their existential backers, the US, who need to make the crucial good faith moves toward a real peace. A Palestinian commitment to non-violence would certainly help, but that isn’t something the international community can make happen, nor is it reasonable to expect the much weaker party to make such a first move.

        Carter points out that a one state solution with equal rights is not workable and that’s why no one even suggests it. In this case, the illegal settlements must be halted and reversed to the point that a feasible Palestinian state can be created. I can’t see another solution that will lead to an eventual peace, can you? And this depends on Israel acting or being forced to act.

        The Hamas Charter or anything else changes nothing. We need to be careful that even outrageous religious beliefs aren’t allowed to be used as an excuse for what we know needs to happen. We are not going to extinguish religious hatred, yet a solution needs to be found regardless. The degree to which evil religious urges get expressed is inextricably bound to what else is happening in that society. Currently, Palestinian society can see no future where their lot improves. They can reasonably expect their lives to keep getting worse. Even if there weren’t a religious excuse to hate Jews, this helps create one. The whole world agrees that two states is the path to securing the security of Israel. That Israel refuses means security is not actually their goal.

        • Hi Ken. I don’t disagree with anything here. A two state solution is essential, and I’ve said that several times, along with my wish that both sides would stop using past grievances as an excuse not to move forward. My point is only that even if that happens there are groups in Palestine for whom any solution will change nothing. Their irrational hatred of Jews that comes from their extreme religious beliefs will remain. I’d love to see a two state solution that enables Palestine to develop without the issues they are currently constantly beset by, such as lack even of the enough electricity and clean water in a region where that shouldn’t be an issue. Israel, backed by the US, does need to be the one to take the lead. However, there are elements within Palestinian society that won’t change whatever happens, and those elements cannot be reasoned with because of religion. Because of those elements, Israel has a valid fear, and an excuse that can’t be argued with when it comes to sorting the problem.

          • Ken says:

            But it must be argued with. Israel is surrounded by states with a majority of people who could claim hatred based on religious beliefs. Yet Israel is secure from them in great part because Israel is not daily threatening them the way they do the Palestinians. The only time this argument is pulled out is when they want to argue that no political deal will work and aggressive force is their only option. The Iranian deal is an obvious case in point. Israel should be secure, but pandering to this just assists them to ensure a Palestinian state is never established. The answer to them has to be, whether they hate you or not, the requirement is the same.

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