Israel’s friends frequently claim that critics hold Tel Aviv to a higher standard than they do other countries that have similar or worse records on human rights. Actually the truth is quite the reverse, with Israel frequently able to escape censure for actions that would normally result in the imposition of sanctions by the United Nations Security Council and condemnation by other international bodies. I am of course referring to the continued brutal Israeli occupation of much of what remains of Palestine and the ongoing colonization of land that is being appropriated illegally, activity that is only allowed to continue because of Washington’s willingness to protect Israel no matter what cost to other American interests.
Some of the gyrations that Israel’s supporters engage in would be describable as comic if the consequences of their obfuscation were not so serious. And there is no one better at throwing mud than Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s designated “Right Turn” blogger who is one of those folks who believe that being in love with Israel is a core conservative value. Rubin can hardly write about any current issue without somehow turning the discussion to poor little Israel, or, alternatively, to evil Iran.
On January 5th, Rubin produced what for her might be considered a ruminative piece entitled “What mattered in 2013.” She found “two developments…more significant” than anything else that happened in the past year, namely gay marriage and the continued perfidy of those danged Muslims. Leaving the gay marriage issue aside, Jennifer sees “Iran and its junior partner Syria in ascendancy” while Bashar Al-Assad of Syria “murdered more than 130,000” of his own people and crossed red lines with “near impunity,” a “monstrous event [that] Elliott Abrams tells us, has ramifications far beyond Syria.”
Abrams, a convicted felon and notorious liar but true blue for Israel, believes that inaction in Syria “has been noted in Jerusalem” and will send a signal and encourage Moscow and Beijing to challenge Washington.
Iran is behind all the instability, benefitting from “advanced centrifuges” and “international acquiescence” it is “on the cusp of obtaining a nuclear arms capability” even as it “pursues terrorism.” Rubin notes that “Sanctions have not dislodged the regime nor caused it to rethink its nuclear arms ambitions” but then goes on to recommend that “Congress can pass sanctions over White House objections and thereby force Iran to capitulate” because “If Congress finds a nuclear-armed Iran horrifying and wants to avoid a Middle East war it will need to pass a final sanctions bill, the last chance to peacefully disarm that mullahs.”
In another blog item posted on the following day, Jennifer is at it again, describing “Middle East bedlam.” She excoriates Secretary of State John Kerry for his eminently sensible suggestion “that Iran might join Syrian peace talks in Geneva” which she describes as “rewarding bad behavior” before stating that Washington has “no will to check Iranian hegemonic ambitions in the region.”
Three hours later, Rubin was at it again explaining how “Iran sanctions opponents [are] desperate,” noting that as of that time 49 senators had signed on to the new Iran bill, which would put an end to talks intended to resolve outstanding issues relating to the Iranian nuclear program. Interestingly, she observes that four “traditionally pro-Israel democrats” had yet to sign, suggesting that she appreciates very well that all the rationalizations about how Iran is a threat to the US are bogus and that it is all about Israel, just as it always is for her.
Rubin observes that the “anti-sanctions crowd remains a gaggle made up of far-left activists, State Department sycophants and reluctant Democratic chairmen dragooned into opposing the measure by the White House.” The lefties, apparently, have been suborned into opposing the measure by a “hit squad and consistently anti-Israel gang” in the progressive media while the “small cadre of ex-State Department and intelligence community hacks” fill out the roster of those who hate American National Security, apparently a subset of American Exceptionalism. Thank God true American heroes like Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Cardin and Menendez are “showing fortitude on sanctions” and doing what it takes to “dismantle [Iran’s] illegal nuclear weapons program.”
Three days later Rubin again describes how “Obama Iran gambit is unraveling.” She describes the negotiations in Geneva as “a giant stall by Iran to allow it to progress with its nuclear weapons program while getting sanctions relief.” How does she know that? She quotes no less an authority than Mark Dubowitz, a Canadian who claims to be an expert on the Middle East because he lived there but it turns out that he only resided in Israel. He is currently president of the neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies and heads a staff of 32 dedicated to finding more punishing ways to sanction Iran. Dubowitz claims that “Iran is building an industrial-size nuclear infrastructure that will give it multiple overt and covert pathways to a bomb.” Rubin adds that “either president Obama was snookered or he is snookering us” before quoting Josh Block, a former AIPAC communications director currently heading The Israel Project, who claims that “the ‘interim deal’ is actually just another stalling tactic by Iran… [but] Congress is not fooled. The American people are not fooled. Iran is playing us for the fool.” Block, for what it’s worth, is an Israel Firster who believes that anyone who uses the expression Israel Firster is a “borderline anti-Semite.”
Rubin concludes by warning that “…Congress needs to step forward and exercise leadership. If not, Iran will have gotten the bomb, relief from sanctions, encouragement for its hegemonic ambitions and a nuclear blackmail card. In fact, it’s most of the way there.”
First of all, it is perhaps not surprising that everywhere one turns with Jennifer Rubin Israel comes up, but she lacks the integrity required to appreciate that most of the criticisms she levels against the feckless Arabs and Iranians would apply equally or even more to Israel’s behavior. I sometimes think that it would be a wake-up call for her and her associates if one were able to arrange for all 100 Senators to vote anonymously, without fear of being exposed, on whether or not they really think that Iran threatens the United States. I would bet that an overwhelming number would indicate “no.” But, unfortunately, congress does not vote secretly. A veto proof majority of Senators now appear to be willing to vote for new Iran sanctions, the result of “a massive phone campaign by Concerned Women for America (CWA), a 500,000-member Christian and Zionist conservative group” and by the Emergency Committee for Israel. The White House is correctly warning that voting for new sanctions equates to voting for war.
So the question becomes “Why is the United States inching away from a possible agreement with Iran, a country that has been unfairly designated enemy number one since 1978?” I would suggest that Jennifer Rubin and the hacks (her term) that she assembles to say what she wants to hear have been a major element in pressuring congress and the rest of the media to line up squarely behind Israel, no matter what the issue and no matter what the genuine US interests might be. Rubin proudly reports that former Senator Scott Brown recently e-mailed her “One of the things I miss most [since leaving the Senate] is not being able to fight for Israel.” One has to wonder why any American Senator should be saying anything like that, but the irony apparently eludes Rubin.
And Jennifer is not above repeating over and over again her basic themes: that Iran wants to destroy Israel, that it has a nuclear weapons program, and that its intentions are both aggressive and hegemonic. Unfortunately all of her power points are either flat out false or not demonstrated by available evidence. According to the US intelligence community, Iran abandoned plans for a nuclear weapon in 2003 and does not currently have a program to develop one. Even Israeli intelligence agrees that is so. And Iran has never actually threatened to attack Israel. In fact, it hasn’t attacked anyone since the seventeenth century.
When Rubin launches her diatribes, she assumes that the reader agrees that Iran has a nuclear weapons program and that it is a somehow a threat to the rest of the Middle East as well as to Europe and the United States. She piles surmise upon innuendo while making no real effort to explain how Iran with its miniscule military budget and surrounded by enemies is actually a threat, possibly because it is an impossible case to make. And as for poor beleaguered Israel, with its more than 200 secret nukes and delivery systems, she certainly must know that Iran could be destroyed in a matter of hours if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should choose to give the order. Given the fact that the breathtakingly belligerent Netanyahu is far nuttier than anyone running around loose in Iran, he is the real threat to peace that comes out of the Middle East, but it is a tale that Jennifer Rubin is unlikely to tell.