The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg is a prominent establishment journalist who helped push the country to war against Iraq: he famously claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, was on the verge of going nuclear, and was linked to Al-Qaeda and 9/11. These were all lies, nothing short of alarmist war-propaganda.
This Thanksgiving, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs crossed swords over Butterball’s halal turkeys; the animosity between the two has reached the point where Goldberg refers to Geller as his “arch-nemesis” and Geller calls Goldberg a “Jewicidal Jihadi”(whatever in the world that means).
But while Jeffrey Goldberg and Pamela Geller may disagree over such silly matters as “stealth halal” turkeys (which I call the “Lesser Islamophobia”), Goldberg and Geller are guilty of advocating the “Supreme Islamophobic Crime”: bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands. With regard to this “Greater Islamophobia”, establishment journalists like Jeffrey Goldberg have a lot more influence than the Pamela Gellers of the world in promoting the war hysteria necessary to sustain the political and popular support for American wars against an increasingly long list of Muslim countries.
The Crusades that ravaged the Muslim world centuries ago were fueled by mindless hatred of the Other, a hatred without which it is unlikely that a whole civilization could have been successfully mobilized against another. Similarly, the United States of America has taken up the sword against the Muslim world, something that simply would not be possible without large segments of the society accepting an anti-Muslim worldview as axiomatic.
Islamophobia is necessary to wage war against the Muslim world but it is also the inevitable result of such wars. There is a need to spread the Supreme Islamophobic Myth that radical Islam is the greatest threat to world peace and must be fought. This need exists (1) in order that nobody, especially the American population itself, realizes that the opposite is true (that it is the United States–not any Muslim country–that is committing the “supreme international crime” of waging aggressive wars in foreign lands), and (2) in order to justify endless war and military occupations.
It is important to understand that one reason Jeffrey Goldberg rejects the Lesser Islamophobia such as Pamela Geller’s silly “stealth halal” turkey nonsense is because, in his own words, “Pamela Geller…gives the fight against Islamist terrorism a bad name.” In other words, the Lesser Islamophobia gives the Greater Islamophobia “a bad name” and might turn people away from bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands.
We saw a similar dynamic earlier this year when Harry Reid, Lindsey Graham, and others suggested that formal action be taken against the Quran-burning Florida preacher Terry Jones. Jones was vilified as an Islamophobic bigot (and there is no doubt that he is one), whose (Lesser) Islamophobia was supposedly placing U.S. troops in Afghanistan at risk. Yet, these same individuals are among the greatest defenders of the Greater Islamophobia, which is the real cause behind Muslim anger: the bombing, invading, and occupying of Muslim lands. In fact, their opposition to Pastor Jones was that he was making it more difficult to sustain the military campaign against Muslims. As Salon’s Glenn Greenwald wrote:
[T]here is an extreme irony in Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham, of all people, suddenly worrying about actions that trigger anger and violence in the Muslim world. These two Senators, after all, have supported virtually every one of America’s actions which have triggered vastly more anti-American anger, vengeance and violence in the Muslim world than anything Pastor Jones could dream of spawning — from the attack on Iraq to the decade-long occupation of Afghanistan to blind support for Israel to the ongoing camp at Guantanamo.
Similarly, war-cheerleading journalist Jeffrey Goldberg supports the Supreme Tenet of Islamophobia: seemingly endless war against the Muslim world. Even before the blood of Afghan and Iraqi citizens dried from the American sword, U.S. war rhetoric against two other Muslim countries–Iran and Pakistan–has ratcheted up. Just like in the lead up to the Iraq War, the Jeffrey Goldbergs of the mainstream media have been furiously at work making the case for war.
To understand the war-obsessed brain of Jeffrey Goldberg it would be worthwhile to look back to his 2008 article Re-Thinking Jeffery Goldberg. In it, he reveals the interesting fact that not even Jeffrey Goldberg can keep track of how many Muslim countries Jeffrey Goldberg has called to attack. He writes:
Last year…I called for the immediate invasion of Yemen (or possibly Oman)…
Was it Yemen or Oman? Goldberg can’t remember–surely, we can’t expect him to remember such a long list of countries to invade. The article reveals how flippantly Goldberg discusses such matters; it’s just table talk for him. Bomb Yemen? Oman? Iraq? Iran? They all sound so similar!
It would also be worthwhile to take into account his ideological background: Jeffrey Goldberg, like Pamela Geller, is a militant Zionist extremist. He “moved to Israel while still a college student” where he served “as a military policeman in the Israeli army”, earned the rank of corporal in the Israel Defense Forces, and served as a prison guard in “the Ketziot military prison camp”, the conditions of which Defence for Children International called “truly appalling”; Human Rights Watch declared the Ketziot prison camp a “clear violation of the IV Geneva Convention.”
Glenn Greenwald wrote of Jeffrey Goldberg so:
[Jeffrey] Goldberg[‘s …]devotion to Israel is so extreme that he served in the IDF as a prison guard over Palestinians and was described last year as “Netanyahu’s faithful stenographer” by The New York Times’ Roger Cohen…
The link between Zionism and Islamophobia has been investigated before; the connection between Zionism and warmongering is even clearer. So, it is no surprise that Jeffrey Goldberg is a war-cheerleader. The Institute for Policy Studies calls him “a hawkish ‘pro-Israel’ commentator” whose “articles have often seemed to parallel efforts by hawks to push the United States into war.”
His most recent war-cheerleading articles have been against Iran and Pakistan, which is what I will focus on here. Goldberg is not the only journalist beating the drums of war, but he is one highly prominent figure in the establishment media who serves as a quintessential example of the typical hypocrisy, profound double standards, and bloodthirsty warmongering that permeates the national discourse.
America’s Hypocrisy toward Iran
Jeffrey Goldberg urges President Barack Obama to launch “missile strikes” against Iran for its supposed nuclear weapons program:
The International Atomic Energy Agency is set to release a report today offering further proof that the Iranian regime is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.
No intelligence is entirely dispositive, but the evidence on hand about Iran’s nuclear activities, even before the release of the latest report, is fairly persuasive, and the IAEA isn’t known to be a den of neoconservative war-plotting. It isn’t interested in giving Israel a pretext for a preemptive attack on Iran unless it has to.
The question now is what Israel — or the U.S. — will do about it.
The Israeli case for preemption is compelling, and has been for some time.
Notice that Goldberg doesn’t even care what the IAEA report would say: he wrote this article beforethe report was published. Either way for him, the Iranian regime is producing nuclear weapons and should be attacked.
Goldberg fails to mention what The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh pointed out in an excellent article explaining why the IAEA’s change in leadership from the respectable Mohammed ElBaradei to Yukiya Amano gives reason to doubt its impartiality: according to leaked cables obtained byWikileaks, the American permanent representative to the IAEA commented that “[Amano] was solidly in the U.S. court in every strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.”
Furthermore, despite all the war-cheerleading from America’s propaganda press, “there is nothing [in the report] that indicates that Iran is really building a bomb.”
In any case, Jeffrey Goldberg’s article on Iran in 2011 should evoke in the reader feelings of deja vu: in the run up to the Iraq War, Goldberg published a very similar article against Saddam’s Iraq. Then, Goldberg had written:
“It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years,” [a German official] said.
There is some debate among arms-control experts about exactly when Saddam will have nuclear capabilities. But there is no disagreement that Iraq, if unchecked, will have them soon, and a nuclear-armed Iraq would alter forever the balance of power in the Middle East. “The first thing that occurs to any military planner is force protection,” Charles Duelfer told me. “If your assessment of the threat is chemical or biological, you can get individual protective equipment and warning systems. If you think he’s going to use a nuclear weapon, where are you going to concentrate your forces?”
There is little doubt what Saddam might do with an atomic bomb or with his stocks of biological and chemical weapons.
Simply exchange “Iraq” for “Iran” and we now have Goldberg’s 2011 article. Goldberg was one of the key journalists who played a part in pushing the case for war against Iraq, by spreading the lie that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (on the verge of becoming nuclear) and that he was somehow connected to Al-Qaeda and 9/11. Goldberg even repeats the claim that “Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years”: he says bombing Iran will have a “reasonable chance of delaying the Iranian nuclear program for at least three to five years.”
Goldberg and his ilk had succeeded in misleading the American public with regard to Iraq, pushing the nation to war and leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. He served an important role in spreading the government’s propaganda in order to justify the “supreme international crime”: initiating a war of aggression.
And now Goldberg et al. are at it again, this time against Iran. The image at the top of this article really speaks to the “now
serving bombing customer #224″ mentality that permeates the American military juggernaut.
In addition to being a hyper-aggressive superpower that bombs countries left and right (which, for Iran, is literally the case: countries neighboring it on both sides have been bombed, invaded, and occupied by America), the U.S. obliviously engages in the most egregious of hypocrisies. It simply does not enter into polite discussion in Western media–but it does in Iran, Pakistan, and the rest of the Muslim world–how hypocritical it is of the United States, the country with the most nuclear weapons in the world, to vilify a country for (allegedly) trying to build a single such bomb. The forbidden question to ask is: what moral right does the United States, the greatest nuclear power in the world, have to stop other countries from pursuing the same course of action?
Other absurdities include the fact that Israel, America’s closest ally, also has a secret (not so secret) nuclear weapons program, possessing “over 400 nuclear and hydrogen weapons.” Why can Israel have so many nuclear weapons, yet Iran cannot have a single one?
Furthermore, in the words of FAIR, “[t]he U.S. is violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).” As Jimmy Carter wrote:
While claiming to be protecting the world from proliferation threats in Iraq, Libya, Iran and North Korea, American leaders not only have abandoned existing treaty restraints but also have asserted plans to test and develop new weapons.
Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara issued an unusually honest assessment, saying:
I would characterize current U.S. nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary and dreadfully dangerous.
FAIR notes further:
The NPT’s preamble calls on nuclear weapons states “to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery.” Article VI of the NPT explicitly obliges signatories “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
Thirty-seven years after agreeing to these conditions, the U.S.—the only nation to have ever used nuclear weapons against human beings—spends $40 billion a year to field, maintain and modernize nuclear forces, including an arsenal of 10,000 warheads, 2,000 of which are on hair-trigger alert.
Meanwhile, Israel refuses to even sign the NPT. Why aren’t the war drums beating against Israel for its reticence in this regard? In fact, “[n]early 200 nations, signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), backed plans” to hold a conference to achieve a nuclear-free Middle East. The only country in the region refusing to hold such talks? Israel.
I’m sure the United States of America condemned Israel for this, and threatened sanctions and war. The President of the United States supported Israel in its decision and claimed that such a conference “singles out Israel.” Well, yes, I guess one might think it “singles out Israel” since Israel is the only country in the region to have nuclear weapons, the irony of which should not be missed considering Israel pushed war on Iraq and is now doing the same with Iran for trying to produce nuclear weapons.
But such ironies do not get discussed in America, only in the rest of the world. In the Muslim world, it is clearly understood that the United States and Israel are not against nuclear weaponry nor do they ever want a nuclear free Middle East–instead, they simply want to hold a nuclear monopoly. We get nukes; you don’t; if you break this “fair” agreement, then we’ll bomb you, on the grounds that you have nukes–we might even nuke you for having nukes, because nukes are bad, except when we have and use them. As George Orwell said: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”
Some Israeli apologists have argued that there is no equivalence between Iran and Israel since the former is a signatory of the NPT and the latter is not. This is a purposefully deceitful argument: can anyone imagine the sort of pressure (sanctions, military force, war, and/or occupation) that would await Iran had it refused to sign the NPT or now withdrew from it? (It is legal to withdraw from the treaty after giving three months notice.) If Iran weren’t a signatory of the NPT, we all know that the entire premise of sanctions and military action would be: Iran must sign the NPT! If Iran withdrew from the NPT, the entire premise would be: Iran withdrew from the NPT! Furthermore, proponents of the “Iran signed the NPT, Israel didn’t” defense should be asked: What about the United States, which signed the NPT and is in violation of it? Can Iran legally bomb the U.S. now?
Another counter-argument raised is the claim that the United States and Israel cannot possibly be equated with countries such as Iran. The implication here is that Iran is just so absolutely warlike that it cannot be trusted with nuclear weaponry. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Israel are peace-loving democracies and can be trusted never to use them. Orwell’s quote–and Glenn Greenwald’s recent article on Orwell and Iran–come to mind.
There is the obvious absurdity that the United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons against human beings (not once, but twice). Not only this, but the U.S. has never apologized for doing so; quite the opposite: Americans have always claimed that incinerating two civilian cities saved millions of lives, a morally repugnant lie that lives on. Only the most brainwashed mind could understand such depraved logic: bombing and killing thousands of people actually saves lives. In the words of George Orwell: war is peace.
Imagine if Nazi Germany had produced the atomic bomb first–and had nuked Great Britain or the United States (not once, but twice). The dastardly act would be remembered by the Western powers as the ultimate act of Nazi depravity; the atomic bomb would be viewed as the most Nazi-like of weapons, one that wantonly and indiscriminately incinerates civilian populations. In such a scenario, Nazi propaganda that such an act was noble because it “saved millions of German lives” would be scoffed at and not taken seriously. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
If Americans still engage in the morally atrocious act of justifying the mass murder of Japanese civilians from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (even though Japan had been ready to surrender long before it was nuked), one shouldn’t be surprised that the United States continues to ponder the use of nuclear weapons in the near future. Leaked documents have shown that the U.S. government has
outlined a broad array of contingencies under which the U.S. might use nuclear weapons. Among these contingencies: using nuclear weapons against countries with no nuclear weapons capacity, such as Iran, Iraq and Syria.
Here, we see the profound hypocrisy of the U.S. government on full display: while using the threat of Iranian nuclear attack as a moral pretense to wage war against Iran, the United States itself has long been planning “a broad array of contingencies” under which Iran may be nuked. Is this not a case of mind-boggling projection?
From this, it is clear that the U.S. government does not desire nuclear disarmament, but nuclear monopoly: this unequal balance of nuclear power leaves open the nuclear option against its non-nuclear enemies without fear of nuclear retaliation.
The same is the case with Israel, which has issued contradictory statements about the use of nuclear weapons. Yes, Israel has said “it would not be the first country in the Middle East to formally introduce nuclear weapons into the region”, but what does this vague statement mean? Do Israelis think Iran has now “introduced” nuclear weapons into the region? In fact, Israel “reject[s] no first use because they believe that there may be circumstances in which they would initiate use of nuclear weapons.”
Indeed, Israel endorses the Samson Option, whereby Israel will respond with “massive retaliation” (including the use of nuclear weaponry) if it feels threatened. What policy could be more maniacal than this? Here, we have Israel endorsing a policy of nuclear Armageddon, yet on the other hand we are constantly told that Iran, unlike Israel, might use the bomb–a bomb it doesn’t even have.
Meanwhile, the truth is that the Supreme Leader of Iran has rejected the use of nuclear weaponry because it is “forbidden in Islam”:
In a surprising development, Iran’s hard-line clerical establishment, which had bitterly resisted American pressure to open the country’s nuclear facilities to inspection, is using its religious influence to rally support for an agreement with the West to foreswear the development of nuclear weapons.
Led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s “supreme leader,” Iranian clerics have repeatedly declared that Islam forbids the development and use of all weapons of mass destruction.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, based on its fundamental religious and legal beliefs, would never resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction,” Khamenei said recently. “In contrast to the propaganda of our enemies, fundamentally we are against any production of weapons of mass destruction in any form.”
The ironies just keep adding up: the United States–a country that has used nuclear weapons in the past, possesses the most nuclear weapons in the world, and actively makes plans on how to use nuclear weapons against its enemies–is threatening to take action against Iran for its alleged nuclear weapons program–a country that has never used them, does not have them, and has sworn never to never use them (not even in self-defense or retaliation). Only in the U.S. media could such absurdities go largely unchallenged.
If anyone tries to mention that the United States and Israel are far more warlike than Iran, he must be quickly shut up. One recalls the debate Ahmed Rehab had with Bill O’Reilly; asked Rehab: “How many countries has Iran attacked in the past 50 years?” The answer: zero. Meanwhile, the United States and Israel have attacked dozens and dozens of countries (in a future article, I will compile the lengthy list of nations that have been attacked by the U.S. and Israel.)
O’Reilly couldn’t give a straight answer to the question (the answer is zero–Iran has never initiated a war against another country) so he brought up the Iran-Iraq War and the current Iraq War. Yet, the Iran-Iraq War was not initiated by Iran–rather, Iraq attacked Iran. There is no debate about this fact, so either (1) O’Reilly is ignorant of the facts he cites, or (2) he is using a misleading argument, which really speaks volumes about how few countries Iran has ever invaded (zero) that he was forced to make one up. Worse yet, the example O’Reilly cited is an example of Iran being attacked by a country that received the military backing to do so by the United States. In fact, “the CIA authorized, approved and assisted…in the manufacture and sale of cluster bombs and other munitions to Iraq” for use against Iran.
The second example O’Reilly cited was of the current Iraq War. Once again, O’Reilly reverses reality: Iran did not invade Iraq. He must have mistaken the United States for Iran. Both examples O’Reilly used show America’s belligerency, not Iran’s.
The other examples O’Reilly gave, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, also show that he simply cannot answer the question in a straight manner. The reason he can’t do so is because the answer is zero. Neither Hamas or Hezbollah is Iran. At most one could argue that Hezbollah operates as a proxy for Iran. In that case, we should compare the number of countries that the United States has not only attacked but how many the U.S. has done so by proxy. That list would certainly dwarf Iran’s.
The double standard is well-understood by Iranians and Muslims living in other countries: nuclear weapons are OK for America and Israel, but off limits to countries like Iran. Yet, it is exactly such countries that would most need nuclear weapons to act as deterrence against American and Israeli threats of military action, belligerence, and propensity toward aggression.
The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg is a prominent establishment journalist who helped push the country to war against Iraq: he famously claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, was on the verge of going nuclear, and was linked to Al-Qaeda and 9/11. These were all lies, nothing short of alarmist war-propaganda.
Jeffrey Goldberg is at it again, but this time against Iran and Pakistan. This is part of his overall warmongering ideology, one that involves advocating what I call the Supreme Islamophobic Crime: bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands. The justifications used to wage war against Muslims are steeped in hypocrisy and double standards, which are very prevalent in Goldberg’s articles.
In part I, I responded to Goldberg’s claims that Iran should be attacked because it is supposedly on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. I pointed out the hypocrisy of the U.S. and Israel in this regard, both of which also have nuclear weapons and are either in violation of the NPT (the U.S.) or refuse to sign it (Israel). As George Orwell famously said in his critique of nationalism: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”
For the record, I am a strong believer in complete nuclear disarmament. However, either allcountries should get rid of nuclear weapons or all countries have the right to acquire them. There cannot be a double-standard in this regard. If the United States and Israel possess them, then Iran–which is under constant American and Israeli threat of not just conventional warfare but nuclear strike–not only has the right to obtain them, but–as Glenn Greenwald notes–“nothing is more rational than Iran’s wanting a nuclear weapon” (note: that is, if Iran secretly wanted to do so).
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Here in part II, I will tackle the rest of Goldberg’s article, which is filled with typical Zionist, neoconservative, and warmongering rhetoric. Each of his pro-war arguments can be equally applied to America and/or Israel, reinforcing Orwell’s statement.
First, Goldberg writes:
The leaders of Iran are eliminationist anti-Semites; men who, for reasons of theology, view the state of the Jews as a “cancer.” They have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction… Iran’s leaders are men who deny the Holocaust while promising another.
Goldberg is repeating multiple falsehoods against Iran. Here, he is referring to an infamous statement that was uttered by the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which he supposedly said “Israel must be wiped off the map.” In fact, this was a case of blatant mistranslation by the Western media: what he really said was:
The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.
Ahmadinejad was calling for regime change, not for Israel’s destruction or the annihilation of Jews. Certainly, the two greatest proponents of regime change–the United States and Israel–should be the last to equate regime change with genocide.
In fact, the Iranian leadership, while reserving the right to defend itself if Iran is attacked, has never threatened to initiate an attack against Israel, let alone “repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction” as Jeffrey Goldberg imagines. Once again, quite ironically, it is Israel that has repeatedly threatened to initiate an attack against Iran. Remember: actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
Goldberg’s claim that the Iranian government has “promised another [Holocaust]” is absolutely bogus; therefore, his claim that “[t]he leaders of Iran are eliminationist anti-Semites” is also completely contrived. They are anti-Semites, but they are not eliminationist anti-Semites. Do we bomb people for being anti-Semites? To put the shoe on the other foot, would any sane person call to bomb Israel for their leaders being anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and/or Islamophobic? One cannot help but reiterating the Orwellian mantra: actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
Meanwhile, it is Israeli leaders who have not just endorsed but actively enacted a policy of “driving the Palestinians out of Palestine.” The Israeli leadership has, for well over half a century, supported the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, euphemistically called “forced transfer.” For example, the current prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed support for ethnic cleansing by famously saying that Israel should “carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.” (In fact, a majority of Israelis support the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.) Worse yet, Netanyahu has not just supported ethnic cleansing by mere words, but is right now engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
In a previous article, I pointed out how misleading it is to focus on Iranian rhetoric over Israeli action. While the Western media obsesses over whether or not Hamas or Iran may have called to wipe Israel off the map (mere rhetoric), Israel has literally wiped Palestine off the map (actual action)–it has been and is currently in the process of wiping the land of pesky Palestinians as well. This is the difference then between word and deed: if one looks at a map, Israel is on it and Palestine is not. Who has wiped out whom? That this obvious absurdity is not ever pointed out in the Western media speaks volumes.
Yes, the Iranian leadership has called “the Zionist regime” a “cancer.” So, now we are invading countries for simple name-calling? If the Venezuelan government calls the United States and everything it represents a “fulminating disease” or even a “pile of human feces,” are we justified in attacking it? If that is the case, then would Iran be justified in attacking the United States and Israel for all the things it has been called? We dubbed Iran to be part of the “Axis of Evil.” That’s just as bad as being called a “cancer.” Can Iran attack us on that basis? Here exists another double standard: we freely label Iran with the label of “Axis of Evil” but if Iran did the same to us, that would be proof of their innate belligerence. This is because actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
There is no doubt that denying or downplaying the Holocaust is morally repugnant, but how could such a person as Jeffrey Goldberg, who throughout his career has justified, downplayed, and denied the Palestinian suffering, be up in arms about Iranian leaders doing the same with the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust? More importantly, would any sane person apply the logic to Israel, arguing that denial of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe)–the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948-1949–is reason to attack Israel? Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. (Note: Denying either the Holocaust, the Catastrophe, or any other such crime against humanity should be considered completely unacceptable.)
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Then, Jeffrey Goldberg uses every Zionist’s favorite go-to trump card: “Hamas and Hezbollah!” He writes that Iran has been
providing material support and training to two organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah, that specialize in the slaughter of innocent Jews.
Prof. William Beeman of Brown University argues that the Iranian links to Hamas and Hezbollah are exaggerated. Aside from this, however, there is a profound double standard at play here: Israel supports Mujahedin-e Khalq, a militant group inside Iran that even the U.S. State Department designates a “terrorist organization”:
It is widely known within intelligence circles that the Israelis use the MEK for varied acts of espionage and terror…
If it is justified to attack Iran on the grounds that Iran supports Hamas and Hezbollah which in turn commit acts of terrorism against Israel, then would our opponents argue that it is justified for Iran to attack Israel because Israel supports the MEK which engages in terrorism against Iran? Such double standards are never pointed out in the U.S. media, but they certainly do not go unnoticed in the Muslim world and elsewhere. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
If Iran is to be attacked for its “material support” of groups that commit acts of terrorism, then wouldn’t the Iranians be more justified in attacking Israel, which has committed not just “material support” but actual acts of terrorism within Iran? Israel has been implicated in several terrorist acts within Iran, including “bombings” and “assassinations” of Iranian scientists. Just a couple weeks ago, the Israeli intelligence agency orchestrated a terrorist bombing within Iran, “in which 17 people were killed” including a prominent Iranian scientist.
One can only imagine the reaction within pro-Israeli circles–and the absolute indignation of the American media–if “stealth jihadists” of Iranian descent bombed an MIT lab and killed a dozen and a half civilians along with a prominent research professor. Do you think the mainstream media would be silent about this string of terrorist attacks if they were against American targets and perpetrated by Muslims? Remember: Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. (This media double standard explains why most Americans believe the lie that nearly all terrorist attacks are committed by Muslims.)
The Guardian reports:
Israel has been linked to several previous incidents in Iran similar to Saturday’s explosion, including an explosion at a Shahab facility in south-western Iran in 2010 and a bomb attack earlier that year in Tehran, in which Iranian physicist Masoud Ali Mohammadi was killed.
One need not look back to two weeks ago to prove Israeli terrorism in Iran: just a few days ago it was reported that an Iranian power plant was bombed in an Israeli terrorist attack. JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer rejoiced, calling this terrorist attack “good news” and saying that “[t]his calls for some champagne.” Similarly, Jeffrey Goldberg gleefully reported the news that Iran is under attack, showing once again how the Goldbergs and Gellers (in this case, Geller’s partner-in-crime) agree on advocating the Supreme Islamophobic Crime of bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim countries.
What do you think Spencer or Goldberg’s reaction would have been had it been a “stealth jihadist” who bombed an American power plant? Recall the absolute rage of Islamophobes, neoconservatives, Goldbergs, and Gellers–as well as Americans in general–over the Fort Hood Shooting. In that incident, Nidal Hasan killed U.S. soldiers on a military base as they were about to be deployed to go to war against Muslim countries. At that time, it was wondered: how could Muslims be so bloodthirsty that they would do such a thing? Yet, when Americans or Israelis kill Iranianscientists, then this is either brushed off as a necessary casualty in the War on Terror or even gleefully rejoiced over as yet another “success” in the War on Terror.
Of course, such double standards abound in our national discourse, without anyone pointing out the obvious. This is because, repeat after me, actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
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Goldberg then tries throwing the kitchen sink at Iran, arguing that we should attack Iran because it is lead by a “messianic, apocalyptic cult”:
[I]t isn’t too much to imagine that some of Iran’s more mystically minded leaders, mesmerized by visions of the apocalypse, would actually consider using a nuclear weapon on Israel — a country so small that a single detonation could cripple it permanently.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who once told me he believes that Iran is led by a “messianic, apocalyptic cult,” is correct to view Iran as a threat to his country’s existence.
Here, we see another example of Goldberg’s double standards. While it is true that some Iranian leaders dabble in “messianic, apocalyptic” dribble, there is an equally pernicious ”messianic, apocalyptic” impulse among Israelis, which Jeffrey Goldberg himself acknowledges. Should this be legitimate grounds for another country to attack Israel? Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
The only recognized sect of Judaism in Israel is Orthodox Judaism, the most prominent sect of which is Religious Zionism. Rabbi Abraham Kook, considered the father of modern Religious Zionism, argued that “Zionists were agents in a heavenly plan to bring about the messianic era.” According to this messianic group, the congregating of the Jews in Israel will bring about the end times, meaning the wheels are already in motion.
Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, doesn’t seem to have a problem with “messianic, apocalyptic” Religious Zionists; in fact, Netanyahu proclaimed:
The religious Zionist public is part of every major way of life in Israel and it is time it was part of the ruling party
Netanyahu not only reached out to put such messianic Jews in “the ruling party” but also “affirm[ed] Christian Zionists”, a nutty “the End is Near” Christian group. He has himself engaged in messianic babble, and the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article entitled “Netanyahu’s messianism could launch attack on Iran“.
There is another underlying irony here. As noted above, Israel supports Mujahedin-e Khalq, which is a “revolutionary cult.” Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
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Jeffrey Goldberg gives four more reasons why President Obama should lob missiles at Iran. The first:
First, Iran and the U.S. have been waging a three- decade war for domination of the Middle East. If Iran goes nuclear, it will have won this war. American power in the Middle East will have been eclipsed, and Obama will look toothless.
This is a complete non-sequitur. How does Iran having nuclear weapons in the region equate to “domination of the Middle East”? Israel would still have tens or hundreds of times as many nuclear weapons as Iran, and the United States would have Iran surrounded. What it would do is even out the scales of power a bit, making Israel think twice before nuking any of its neighbors. What Zionists like Goldberg do not want, and will seek to prevent at any cost, is Iran to balance out the scales of power. Goldberg et al. want American and Israeli “domination of the Middle East.”
Goldberg’s statement is very telling, because he accidentally reveals what every Arab and Muslim in the region knows: “[T]he U.S. [has] been waging a three-decade war for domination of the Middle East.” Hmm….I wonder why do Arabs and Muslims in the region hate us? It’s such a big mystery to me.
How would Americans feel if some other country was “waging a three-decade war” to dominate them? But, of course, such comparisons–putting the shoe on the other foot–must never be discussed in the national discourse–and anyone who does so should be ignored, marginalized, and vilified.
Then, Goldberg says:
Second, every U.S. ally in the Middle East — Israel, the Gulf countries and Turkey, especially — fears a nuclear Iran. The president would have their complete support.
Here, we have another glimpse into the imperialist mind. The reality of Arab street is thus:
According to the Brookings Institution’s 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll, 77 percent regard Israel as the biggest threat, 80 percent regard the United States as the biggest threat, and only 10 percent regard Iran as the biggest threat. Fifty-seven percent think the region will be better off if Iran had nuclear weapons.
The same is the case in Turkey:
Some 43 percent of Turks perceive the United States as the country’s biggest threat, followed by Israel, according to a broad survey carried out in December…
The survey asked “From which country does the biggest threat come?” with 43 percent of Turks saying the U.S., followed by 24 percent who indicated Israel, 3 percent for Iran…
The percentage of Arabs, Muslims, and Turks who would support an American or Israeli attack on Iran would be, one can reasonably assume, even lower.
What Goldberg is saying then is that the American-supported stooge dictatorships–those same ones that the democratic Arab Spring has been shaking off–would support such a move against Iran. To any good colonialist, what the people of a nation want does not matter: simply install a subservient client regime and through it thwart the will of the people. I wonder why they hate us? It is an absolute mystery to me.
Goldberg goes on:
Third, the president is ideologically committed to a world without nuclear weapons. If Iran gets the bomb, it will set off an arms race in the world’s most volatile region. At the very least, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will seek nuclear weapons. It would mark a bitter defeat for Obama to have inadvertently overseen the greatest expansion of the nuclear arms club in recent history.
The irony of the president of the United States–leader of a country that has the most nuclear weapons in the world, the only one to have ever used them (not once, but twice), one that is in violation of the NPT, one that still actively plans on how to use nuclear weapons in future wars, and one that comes to the swift defense of Israel when it opposes a nuclear free Middle East (see part I of my article)–claiming to be “ideologically committed to a world without nuclear weapons” should not be lost.
In fact, President Barack Obama–unlike Iran’s leaders who have steadfastly pledged never to use nuclear weapons against anyone–came up with a list of conditions under which the U.S. could use nuclear weapons (see this article by The New York Times). Obama argued that any restrictions on nuclear weapons would simply not apply to “outliers like Iran and North Korea.” He also reserved the right to use “nuclear retaliation against a biological attack” by any country (or even by a non-state actor, one assumes). Obama refused to issue a “blanket statement that the country would never be the first to use nuclear weapons.” Therefore, the United States effectively rejects a “no-first use” policy.
To be sure, the NYT article article mentions that Bush had an even more militant position; he “reserved the right to use nuclear weapons ‘to deter a wide range of threats,’ including banned chemical and biological weapons and large-scale conventional attacks.” In other words, the Republican party is even more militant than Obama in this regard, giving an almost carte blanche to use nuclear weapons.
To sum it up: America reserves the right to use nuclear weapons, but is dedicated to restricting nuclear arms to, in Goldberg’s words, “the nuclear arms club”–with the U.S. being the leader of this exclusive club. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
Goldberg’s obsession with Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons contrasts sharply with his indifference or acceptance of Israel’s known nuclear program.
Goldberg’s last reason to attack Iran uses typical Zionist exploitation of Jewish suffering coupled with alarmist fear-mongering to justify war:
Finally, the president has a deep understanding of Jewish history, and is repulsed by Iranian anti-Semitism. He doesn’t want to be remembered as the president who failed to guarantee Israel’s existence.
Does Israeli bigotry towards Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims give Iran the justification to attack Israel? Or does this, like all of Goldberg’s other reasons, apply only one way? Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
Jeffrey Goldberg completes his pro-Israel propaganda by invoking the mandatory Hitler reference, arguing that a “nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat since Hitler to the physical survival of the Jewish people.” As Greenwald noted:
No discussion of any of this is complete without noting that it was endlessly claimed that it was Saddam who was the New Hitler in order ratchet up fear levels and justify an attack that country, too. How many times can we be persuaded to attack the New Hitler?
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Glenn Greenwald’s recent article, George Orwell on the Evil Iranian Menace, is an absolute must read. The United States has been hard at word portraying the Iranians as “the Aggressor, the Modern Nazis, a True Menace” and itself (and Israel) as Iran’s “innocent peace-loving victims.” This is of course placing reality on its head, which is completely obvious if one puts the shoe on the other foot.
Imagine, for instance, if Iran militarily occupied Canada and Mexico, if Cuba and other islands near the U.S. mainland were Iranian client regimes, if a massive Iranian naval fleet were stationed nearby on both East and West Coasts, if Iranian sky robots were flying over American soil targeting and killing U.S. citizens, if Iran committed acts of terrorism on U.S. soil such as blowing up power plants, if Iran assassinated American scientists, if Iran launched sophisticated cyber-attacks against the U.S., if Iran lobbied for crippling sanctions against America, and if Iranian leaders routinely called for war against America–what do you think the American reaction to all this would be?
After noting that the U.S. has done all this whereas “Iran has not invaded, occupied or air attacked anyone”, Greenwald writes:
Given the extensive violence and aggression the U.S. has perpetrated, and continues to perpetrate, on numerous countries in that region, one might think that not even our political culture could sustain the propagandistic myth that it is Iran that is the aggressor state and the U.S. that is its peace-loving victim. But, of course, one who thought that would be completely wrong. Not only is it a widespread belief, but it’s virtually mandated orthodoxy. But none of that should be at all surprising or confusing, given that 66 years ago, George Orwell — in his 1945 Notes on Nationalism— explained exactly the warped form of thinking that creates this mindset:
All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
This is not to say that the Iranian regime is benevolent; there is no question that it is domestically oppressive. Oppression of Bahais and other minorities is something that should not be downplayed. (This is why I hope that, like other Arab dictatorships that have been toppled by the people themselves, the same happens in Iran. This is also the reason I supported the Iranian Green Movement against the Iranian regime and ayatollah-ruled theocracy.)
But, as Greenwald pointed out:
Iran, to be sure, is domestically oppressive, but no more so — and in many cases less — than the multiple regimes funded, armed and otherwise propped up by the U.S. during this period.
I would also point out that this line of argumentation cannot reasonably be used by Goldberg and other Israeli apologists because Israel itself is domestically oppressive to its significant Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim population. This, as we see, is another argument that seems to only work one way, because the moral of the story is that actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
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In conclusion, every single one of Jeffrey Goldberg’s reasons to go to war against Iran are hypocritical. He, like Islamophobes everywhere, uses profound double standards, applying one standard to Muslims (Iranians, in this case) and another for America and Israel. This is the Greater Islamophobia, which revolves around the Supreme Islamophobic Myth: radical Islam is the greatest threat to world peace. This is something that both Jeffrey Goldberg and Pamela Geller strongly agree with, and they advocate the Supreme Islamophobic Crime: bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands.
The disagreement between Jeffrey Goldberg and Pamela Geller just has to do with a difference of opinion with regard to P.R.: Goldberg believes that the Lesser Islamophobia gives the Greater Islamophobia “a bad name”, whereas Geller believes it helps create popular support for it. In reality, both of them are correct: Goldberg gives the Supreme Islamophobic Myth the Seriousness it needs in order to be taken Seriously by policy-makers and Serious People, whereas Geller helps create popular support for such warlike policies among the masses. The Goldbergs and Gellers of the world work hand in glove.