Need to Talk Sense to Netanyahu

Recalling President George Washington’s farewell advice against tying the United States too closely to any foreign nation, Veterans for Peace urges President Obama to publicly warn Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu against attacking Iran with the expectation of U.S. military support.


FROM: Veterans for Peace

SUBJECT: You Need to Talk Sense to Netanyahu

We members of Veterans for Peace have served in every war since WW II. We know war. And we know when it smells like war. It smells that way now, with drums beating loudly for attacking Iran.

Information offered by the media to “prove” Iran a threat bears an eerie resemblance to the “evidence” ginned up to “justify” war on Iraq, evidence later described by the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after a five-year committee investigation, as “unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”

George Washington, the first president of the United States whose Farewell Address in 1796 warned against entangling foreign alliances.

The good news this time around is that sane policy toward Israel and Iran can find support in a principled U.S. intelligence community, which has rebuffed attempts to force it to serve up doctored “evidence” to justify war. U.S. intelligence continues to adhere to the unanimous, “high-confidence” judgment, set forth in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of November 2007 that Iran stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003.

(It may be of more than incidental interest to you that both President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have openly admitted that the 2007 NIE put the kibosh on U.S.-Israeli plans to strike Iran in 2008.)

We hope you have been adequately briefed on the findings of the November 2011 report on Iran by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Those findings are consistent with the key judgments of the U.S. intelligence community expressed four years earlier. The IAEA report contained no evidence that Iran has yet decided to build nuclear weapons, despite widespread media hype to the contrary.

Needed: Presidential Action

We believe that you have the power to nip the current warmongering in the bud by taking essentially two key steps:

1-Announce publicly that you will not allow the United States to be drawn into war if Israel attacks Iran or provokes hostilities in some other way.

In threatening and planning such attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters are assuming you would have no option other than to commit U.S. forces in support of Israel. To assume automatic support from the world’s sole remaining superpower is a heady thing and an invitation to adventurism.

We are aware that you have dispatched emissary after emissary to ask the Israelis please not to start a war. We mean no offense to those messengers, but there is very little reason to believe that they are taken seriously.

We are convinced that only a strong public demurral from you personally would have much chance of disabusing Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders of the notion that they can expect full American support, no matter how hostilities with Iran begin.

The Risks of Silence

A public statement now could pre-empt a catastrophic war. Conversely, the Israeli leaders are likely to interpret unwillingness on your part to speak out clearly as a sign that you will find it politically impossible to deny Israel military support once it is engaged in hostilities with Iran.

What we find surprising (and the Israelis presumably find reassuring) is the nonchalance with which Official Washington and the media discuss the possible outbreak of war. From officials and pundits alike, the notion has gained currency that an attack on Iran is an acceptable option, and that the only remaining questions are if and when the Israelis will choose to attack.

Little heed is paid to the fact that, absent an immediate threat to Israel, such an attack would be a war of aggression as defined and condemned at the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey’s anemic remark on Sunday that an Israeli attack on Iran would be “not prudent” is precisely the kind of understatement to give Netanyahu the impression that he essentially has carte blanche to start hostilities with Iran, anticipating a mere tap on the knuckles, if that, from Washington.

2-Announce to the people of the United States and the world that Iran presents no immediate threat to Israel, much less the U.S.

That Iran is no threat to America is clear. Your secretary of state has acknowledged this publicly. For example, speaking in Qatar on Feb. 14, 2010, Secretary Clinton said that, were Iran to pursue a nuclear weapon, this would “not directly threaten the United States,” but would pose a threat to our “partners here in this region.”

Secretary Clinton has made it clear that the partner she has uppermost in mind is Israel. She and the Israeli leaders have used the media to hype this “threat,” even though it is widely recognized that it would be suicidal for Iran to use such a weapon against Israel, armed as it is with hundreds of nuclear weapons.

The media have drummed into us that a nuclear weapon in Iran’s hands would pose an “existential” threat to Israel, a claim that is difficult to challenge, that is, until one gives it careful thought. Now is the time to challenge it. Indeed, the whole notion is such a stretch that even some very senior Israeli officials have begun to challenge it in public, as we shall point out later in this memorandum.

Chirac Spoof on the “Threat”

Former French President Jacques Chirac is perhaps the best-known Western statesman to ridicule the notion that Israel, with at least 200 to 300 nuclear weapons in its arsenal, would consider Iran’s possession of a nuclear bomb or two an existential threat.

In a recorded interview with the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and Le Nouvel Observateur, on Jan. 29, 2007, Chirac put it this way: “Where will it drop it, this bomb? On Israel? It would not have gone 200 meters into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed.” Chirac concluded that Iran’s possession of a nuclear bomb would not be “very dangerous.”

Oddly, Chirac’s logic has found more receptivity among some of Netanyahu’s top officials than with your own strongly pro-Israel advisers, which now include CIA chief David Petraeus. You may be unaware that Petraeus repeatedly raised the “existential-threat-to-Israel” shibboleth in his recent testimony to Congress.

Petraeus: An “Existentialist”?

At the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Jan. 31, Petraeus said he had talked just days before with his Israeli counterpart, Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, who was visiting Washington. Is it conceivable that Petraeus’s staff had not briefed him on Pardo’s dismissive remarks on the supposed “existential threat” just weeks before?

According to Israeli press reports, on Dec. 27, 2011, Pardo complained to an audience of about 100 Israeli ambassadors: “The term ‘existential threat’ is used too freely If one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an ‘existential threat,’ that would mean we would have to close up shop and go home. That’s not the situation.”

One of the ambassadors in the audience told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Pardo’s remarks “clearly implied that he doesn’t think a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to Israel.” This did not stop Petraeus from repeatedly hyping the “existential threat” in his congressional testimony on Jan. 31.

As if in response to Petraeus, on Feb. 8, Pardo’s immediate predecessor as head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, stated publicly that he does not think Israel faces an “existential threat” from Iran.

You may wish to make a point of asking Petraeus why he professes to be more concerned about an “existential threat” to Israel than Mossad, and CIA analysts themselves, seem to be.

Logically, at least, the Pardo/Dagan approach would certainly seem to have the upper hand, if there continues to be no hard evidence that Iran is trying to create a nuclear weapon. It bears repeating; essentially nothing has changed since the intelligence community’s finding of November 2007: “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.”

Defense Ministers Provide Context

Even authoritative statements by top U.S. and Israeli officials have failed to prevent media hype charging that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his counterpart, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, have publicly stated (on Jan. 8 and Jan. 18 respectively) that Iran is not doing so.

On Face the Nation, Panetta asked himself: “Are they [the Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon?” and immediately answered his own question: “No.” Ehud Barak followed suit ten days later. He added that only if Iran expelled the U.N. inspectors would there be “definite proof that time is running out” and that “harsher sanctions or other action against Iran” might then be in order.

It is no secret that the Israeli cabinet is divided on whether to attack Iran, with Netanyahu leading the hawks in pushing for early action. How the Israeli leaders interpret similar differences and mixed signals in Washington will be crucial factors in whether Israel decides to move toward war with Iran. Unfortunately, Netanyahu and other hawkish leaders probably feel supported by your remarks before the Super Bowl game on Feb. 5.

We found what you said on Israel and Iran highly disturbing. You told over a hundred million TV viewers: “My number one priority continues to be the security of the United States, but also the security of Israel.”

The two are not necessarily the same and, in our view, need to be separated by more than a comma. Publicly equating the security of the U.S. with that of Israel as your “number one priority” can lead to all kinds of mischief, including war.

For a variety of reasons, mostly Israeli reluctance, there is no mutual defense treaty between the United States and Israel. With no treaty to trigger the supremacy clause in the U.S. Constitution there is no legal obligation for our country to defend Israel. And, as we hope you will agree, there is no moral obligation either, if Israel is the side initiating/provoking hostilities.

We respectfully suggest you make all this clear to Netanyahu when he visits you on March 5.  Better still, to be on the safe side, tell him publicly, now.


In proudly serving in our country’s armed forces, we took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. We still take that oath with the utmost seriousness, the more so since it bears no expiration date.

We did not swear to bear arms if ordered, without due process, to defend Israel or any other country. Nor did the brave men and women now serving on active duty.

In all candor, we see it as your duty to protect our successor comrades in arms from the consequences of what President George Washington called the kind of “passionate attachment” to another country that brings all manner of evil in its wake.

and Founders

The first President of the United States was born 280 years ago today. Thus, it seems all the more appropriate that we end this memorandum with a highly relevant paragraph from Washington’s Farewell Address. But before setting that down as a sharp reminder of what is at stake here, we want to urge you again to issue two statements like the ones we suggest above, which are so much in the spirit of our first President’s very prescient warning.

In present circumstances, we believe this would be the best way for you to honor the wise insight of George Washington, and to be true to your own oath to defend the Constitution. As veterans of the armed forces, we claim a special right to urge you strongly to make it 100 percent clear that the number one priority of your presidency is the security of the United States, and thus prevent another totally unnecessary war.

From Washington’s Farewell Address (1796):

“So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.

“It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.

“And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity “

32 comments for “Need to Talk Sense to Netanyahu

  1. Monterey Bill
    March 4, 2012 at 03:01

    One hundred Israeli Ambassadors? Thee’s only one ambassador per country, so that would mean the ambassadors to one hundred nations. Perhaps you meant 100 Israeli diplomats.

  2. March 3, 2012 at 17:22

    This is a good letter arguing WHY not to attack Iran but could be strengthened by suggesting HOW Obama can decline to do so without undue political jeopardy:

    I believe Obama could make a strong public case opposing Netanyahu by:

    (1) citing well-informed opposition within Israel including the past and present Mossad chiefs;
    (2) citing US intelligence that Iran has not apparently resumed its nuclear weapons program;
    (3) citing public statements by retired US military leaders (e.g., recent C-SPAN discussions) that even with nukes Iran would be no threat to the US or Israel;
    (4) providing the accurate translation and meaning of Ahmadinejad’s much-cited statement as a prophecy, not a threat;
    (5) stating that Hamas and Hezbollah, however supported by Iran, are no threat to the US, and his only duty absent a mutual defense treaty with Israel is to protect Americans which would not be served by another military engagement;
    (6) citing the recent turnabout by North Korea as evidence of the effectiveness of sustained non-violent pressures even upon an established, bellicose nuclear state;
    (7) state that he and many Israeli observers see Israel on a self-destructive course, that an Israeli attack on Iran would motivate Iranian nuclear ambitions for self-defense and impose only a temporary delay, and would further isolate Israel in the international court of public opinion;
    (8) and finally, that Israel is our friend (just pretend, of course) and friends don’t let friends drive drunk.

    • Eduardo Cohen
      March 6, 2012 at 06:46

      Excellent suggestions as usual from you Jack. Just one question.

      When you wrote:

      (6) citing the recent turnabout by North Korea as evidence of the effectiveness of sustained non-violent pressures even upon an established, bellicose nuclear state;

      were you comparing N Korea to Iran, or to Israel which is the only true state in the neighborhood?

      Suggestion #6 COULD be interpreted as justifying sanctions against Iran which have risen to the level of economic warfare against a nation that has done nothing to threaten any other state. The US has no reason or right to do this.

      Thanks for your excellent comments.

    • Eduardo Cohen
      March 6, 2012 at 06:47

      Corrected version.

      Excellent suggestions as usual from you Jack. Just one question.

      When you wrote:

      (6) citing the recent turnabout by North Korea as evidence of the effectiveness of sustained non-violent pressures even upon an established, bellicose nuclear state;

      were you comparing N Korea to Iran, or to Israel which is the only truly bellicose state in the neighborhood?

      Suggestion #6 COULD be interpreted as justifying sanctions against Iran which have risen to the level of economic warfare against a nation that has done nothing to threaten any other state. The US has no reason or right to do this.

      Thanks for your excellent comments.

  3. Vic Anderson
    March 3, 2012 at 16:26

    NO USraeli Pearl Hormuz sneak attack on Iran, TOJObama and Bibihito!

  4. Judah the Lion
    February 29, 2012 at 12:43

    Wisse: Harvard’s Latest Assault on Israel
    Promoting the Jewish State’s destruction at a school dedicated to ‘democratic governance.’
    Ruth Wisse..
    Wall Street Journal..
    28 February ’12..

    In 1948, when the Arab League declared war on Israel, no one imagined that six decades later American universities would become its overseas agency. Yet campus incitement against Israel has been growing from California to the New York Island. A conference at Harvard next week called “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution” is but the latest aggression in an escalating campaign against the Jewish state.

    The sequence is by now familiar: Arab student groups and self-styled progressives organize a conference or event like “Israeli Apartheid Week,” targeting Israel as the main problem of the Middle East. They frame the goals of these events in buzzwords of “expanding the range of academic debate.” But since the roster of speakers and subjects makes their hostile agenda indisputable, university spokespersons scramble to dissociate their institutions from the events they are sponsoring. Jewish students and alums debate whether to ignore or protest the aggression, and newspapers fueling the story give equal credence to Israel’s attackers and defenders.

    A featured speaker at Harvard’s conference is Ali Abunimah, creator of the website Electronic Intifada, who opposes the existence of a “Jewish State” as racist by virtue of being Jewish. A regular on this circuit, he also keynoted a recent University of Pennsylvania conference urging “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) of, from and against Israel. Ostensibly dedicated to protecting Palestinian Arabs from Israeli oppression, BDS has by now achieved the status of an international “movement,” some of whose branches exclude Israeli academics from their journals and conferences.

    But the economic war on Israel did not start with BDS. In 1945, before the founding of Israel, the Arab League declared a boycott of “Jewish products and manufactured goods.” Ever since, the Damascus-based Central Boycott Office has tried to enforce a triple-tiered boycott prohibiting importation of Israeli-origin goods and services, trade with any entity that does business in Israel, and engagement with any company or individual that does business with firms on the Arab League blacklist. Although the U.S. Congress took measures to counteract this boycott, and the Damascus Bureau may be temporarily preoccupied on other fronts, the boycott momentum has been picked up by Arab students and academics.

    Freedom of speech grants all Americans the right to prosecute the verbal war against Israel. But let’s differentiate toleration from abetting. Harvard may tolerate smoking, butits medical school wouldn’t sponsor a conference touting the benefits of cigarettes because doctors have learned that smoking is hazardous to health. The avowed mission of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, host of the upcoming conference, “is to strengthen democratic governance around the world by preparing people for public leadership and by helping to solve problems of public policy.” How farcical that instead of seeking to strengthen democratic governance, its students hijack its forum for “studying” how to destroy the hardiest democracy in the Middle East.

    The pattern of anti-Israel attack, administrative embarrassment, Jewish confusion, and media exploitation of the story will continue until all parties realize that the war against Israel is fundamentally different from biases to which it is often compared. Once Americans acknowledged the evils of their discrimination against African-Americans, they abjured their racism and tried through affirmative action to compensate for past injustice. Arab and Muslim leaders have done the opposite. Having attempted to deny Jews their right to their one country, they accused Jews of denying Arabs their 22nd. After losing wars on the battlefield, they prosecuted the war by other means.

    Students who are inculcated with hatred of Israel may want to express their national, religious or political identity by urging its annihilation. But universities that condone their efforts are triple offenders—against their mission, against the Jewish people, and perhaps most especially against the maligners themselves. Smoking is less fatal to smokers than anti-Jewish politics is to its users. Remember Hitler’s bunker.

    Ms. Wisse, a professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard, is the author of
    “Jews and Power” (Schocken, 2007).

  5. Judah the Lion
    February 28, 2012 at 21:20

    Plain and Simple: Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitism
    There’s no daylight between the anti-Zionist and the anti-Semite

    By David Solway,, January 6, 2012

    It is easy to see that many critics of Israel are unquestionably anti-Semitic in outlook and feeling and are merely using a political argument to camouflage a religious, racist, or ethnophobic sentiment. Under cover of “legitimate criticism of Israel” and the condemnation of Zionism as an invasive colonial movement, anti-Semitism has now become safe. Plainly, the distinction these new anti-Semites like to draw between anti-Semitism as such and anti-Zionism is intended only to cloak the fundamental issue and to provide camouflage for vulgar ideas and beliefs.

    This is a very shrewd tactic and is most disconcerting not only in its vindictiveness but in its frequency. Jewish philosopher and theologian Emil Fackenheim has outlined three stages of anti-Semitism: “You cannot live among us as Jews,” leading to forced conversions; “You cannot live among us,” leading to mass deportations; and “You cannot live,” leading to genocide. Amnon Rubinstein, patron of the Israeli Shinui party and author of “From Herzl to Rabin: The Changing Image of Zionism,” has added a fourth stage: “You cannot live in a state of your own,” which leads to boycott, divestment, sanctions, biased reporting, pro forma support of the Palestinians, and calls for the delegitimation, territorial reduction, and in some cases even the disappearance of Israel as we know it.

    If this is not unqualified anti-Semitism, then nothing is. As Martin Luther King Jr. observed at a Harvard book fair during which Zionism came under assault: “It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism. … Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews — make no mistake about it.” King understood, as so many have not, that there is really no daylight between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. To deprive Jews of their national haven or to submerge them in a so-called “binational state” with an Arab majority is to render them vulnerable to prejudicial fury, scapegoating, pogroms, and, ultimately, even to Holocaust.

    King’s homespun analysis has been confirmed in a report released in the August 2006 issue of the Journal of Conflict Resolution by the Yale School of Management in collaboration with its Institute for Social and Policy Studies. The report concludes that the statistical link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism can no longer be denied — a correlation that should have been obvious years ago despite the disclaimers regularly circulated by covert Jew-haters and Jewish revisionists.

    In “Why The Jews?” Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin similarly point out that:

    The contention that anti-Zionists are not enemies of Jews, despite the advocacy of policies that would lead to the mass murder of Jews, is, to put it as generously as possible, disingenuous. … Given, then, that if anti-Zionism realized its goal, another Jewish holocaust would take place, attempts to draw distinctions between anti-Zionism and antisemitism are simply meant to fool the naïve.

    All that has happened, according to these authors, is “only a change in rhetoric.” Anti-Zionism, they claim, “is unique in only one way: it is the first form of Jew-hatred to deny that it hates the Jews.”

    When we turn to the Jewish community itself, we find an analogous dynamic at work among many of its more fractious and insensible members. The issue is only exacerbated by the large number of generally left-wing Jews who have spoken out against Israel, levelling an endless barrage of cavils, reproofs, and aspersions against social and political conditions in the Jewish state or its negotiation tactics vis à vis the Palestinians. The verbal Kassams and textual Katyushas they continually launch are as damaging to Israel’s international standing as Hamas rockets and Hezbollah missiles are to its physical security. Some go so far as to deplore its very existence, regarding the country as a burden on their assimilationist lifestyle, as an unwelcome reminder of their indelible and resented Jewishness, or as a particularist violation of their utopian notions of universal justice.

    Many Jews tend to see Israel as a threat to their convenience, a nuisance at best, a peril at worst. They have failed to comprehend the justice of George Steiner’s lambent remark in “Language and Silence”: “If Israel were to be destroyed, no Jew would escape unscathed. The shock of failure, the need and harrying of those seeking refuge, would reach out to implicate even the most indifferent, the most anti-Zionist.” According to Saul Bellow in “To Jerusalem and Back,” the great Israeli historian Jacob Leib Talmon was of the same mind. In a conversation with the author, Talmon feared that the destruction of Israel would bring with it the end of “corporate Jewish existence all over the world, and a catastrophe that might overtake U.S. Jewry.”

    These Jews who are vexed by the existence of their fallback country are living in a fantasy of personal immunity to the bubonics of Jew-hatred, something that has never ceased to infect the world. In reviling the one nation on earth that serves as a last asylum should they ever find themselves in extremis, they have not only risked their — or their children’s — possible future survival. They have also effectively expunged their own historical identity, aligning themselves with the foul theories and convictions of their persecutors. Victim and victimizer are in agreement. This is nothing less than a form of self-loathing, a rejection of essence, that paradoxically corresponds to the contempt and hatred of the non-Jewish anti-Semite. It is, in short, nothing less than reflexive anti-Semitism.

    As Daniel Greenfield asks in an article exposing the campus betrayals of the Berkeley Hillel chapter that endorses patently anti-Zionist organizations, “why shouldn’t there be a consensus that Jewish identity is incompatible with the rejection of the Jewish state?” Following the same line of thought, Phil Orenstein, a member of the National Conference on Jewish Affairs, writes:

    For two millennium [sic], the Jewish people have been rejected from countries throughout the world. Now at long last we have the Jewish State, a safe haven that can welcome our people home. We need to teach our youth what the blessing of Israel means to the Jewish people.

    In fact, it is not only Jewish youth who have strayed from the recognition of who they are and who the world regards them as being, as if they could find sanctuary in ostensibly exalted ideals or in collaboration with their diehard adversaries. It is every Jew who has embraced the anti-Zionist canard and by so doing negated his own integrity and selfhood. In denouncing or repudiating Israel, the state founded to ensure his perseverance and preserve his identity in the world, he has renounced that same identity. He has disavowed and thus erased himself — precisely as the typical anti-Zionist, laboring to obliterate Israel from the map, has sought to render the Jew defenseless and susceptible to repression or, even worse, extermination.

    Updating the Hannukah story, Steven Plaut accurately describes these anti-Zionist Jews as modern Hellenists “ashamed of their Jewishness,” siding with the Seleucid empire against the Hasmoneans who fought for the restoration and survival of the Jewish people. But the upshot is that anyone who objects to the existence of the state of Israel, who would like to have it vanish from the international stage, who wishes it had never been established, who considers it a geopolitical blunder, or who insists on treating it as an embarrassment or a nettle to one’s equanimity, is an anti-Semite, for he would despoil the Jewish people of its last line of defense in an always problematic world. In “What Is Judaism?,” Fackenheim laments that “all anti-Zionism, Jewish and Gentile, should have come to a total end with the gas chambers and smoke-stacks of Auschwitz.” Regrettably, this was not to be.

    Certainly, one can be critical of Israel, but given its beleaguered condition, surrounded by enemies and constantly under attack, such criticism must be tempered by respect and circumspection. Nor should criticism function as a stalking horse behind which an inimical or incendiary project moves forward. It is when legitimate criticism morphs into anti-Zionism that we know a malign agenda is at work.

    King was right. “When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews — make no mistake about it.” It amounts to the same thing. Whoever — Jew or non-Jew — advances a campaign against the wellbeing or the existence of the Jewish state is, quite simply, an anti-Semite. It makes no difference if the hater is a Muslim like Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Christian like Jostein Gaarder, an American Jew like Thomas Friedman, or an Israeli Jew like Neve Gordon, he is an enemy of the so-called “Zionist entity” and therefore an anti-Semite. Make no mistake about it.

    David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books.

  6. Judah the Lion
    February 28, 2012 at 19:09

    Israel Apartheid Week: Teaching Hate on College Campuses

    : Online Documentary Exposes Anti-Israel Incitement on Campus During “Israel Apartheid Week”

    2012 marks the 8th annual “Israel Apartheid Week,” which takes place in February and March on dozens of college campuses and in cities around the world.

    The event, which will be held in the United States between February 27 and March 3, is a well-organized political assault designed to delegitimize, demonize, and cause the collapse of Israel by falsely portraying it as an apartheid state and applying double standards of moral conduct.

    As part of this week, a series of events will be held in cities and campuses across the globe in an attempt to characterize Israel as an apartheid state and to build support for the growing global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

    In response, United With Israel is joining, to present a free screening of their powerful 30-minute documentary film Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus, which exposes and counters this growing anti-Israel movement. Crossing the Line, produced by and part of their 5 part film series campaign, Step Up For Israel.

    Step Up For Israel is chaired by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz and former Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations Dore Gold. “Films like Crossing the Line play a critical role in the information process by spotlighting basic truths about the Arab-Israeli conflict that are often ignored,” says Professor Dershowitz. “When students hear allegations about Israeli brutality or illegally built structures being leveled, they will now have the resources to respond in an informed and effective manner.”

    Click below to watch the video:

    Your browser does not support iframes.

    Please follow these three easy steps to spread this SHOCKING film:

    STEP 1 – Embed the following Widget on your website/Blog by copying and pasting the code:

    STEP 2 – Email the following text to your contacts (copy and paste):

    2012 marks the 8th annual “Israel Apartheid Week,” which takes place in February and March on dozens of college campuses and in cities around the world. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that this event exists. It is for this reason that we at United With Israel have teamed up with to make their, Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes To Campus, available FREE online. Crossing the Line tells the full story of what is happening on college campuses across the U.S and Canada and is the lead film in the Step Up For Israel film-series campaign. The Step Up For Israel campaign is co-chaired by Alan Dershowitz and Dore Gold.

    STEP 3 – Promote and share with your Facebook friends.

    Sign up to learn more and take Step up For Israel’s mini-course by clicking here.

    We urge you to contact Harvard University which will be hosting the “One State Conference,” organized entirely by student groups that advocate the elimination of the Jewish character of Israel. WE URGE YOU TO TELL HARVARD THAT THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

    Email Harvard University directly at:
    [email protected]

    Click ‘LIKE’ to express your OUTRAGE of “Israel Apartheid Week.”

    Please ‘SHARE’ this shocking video with your family and friends!

  7. bobzz
    February 24, 2012 at 21:09

    You are quite incorrect. Israel has a legal right to the land of the 1967 borders. How is that anti-semitic? Most people including me, want to see Israel sustained. Believe me when I say that we all are quite aware of the 17 centuries of persecution of Jews mostly by both church and various states culminating in the Shoah. We are trying to tell you that the course you hard liners are following is, in the long run, going to be detrimental to Israel. Israel has gone overboard in its invasions of Lebanon, Gaza, and the gunning down of innocents on the freedom flotilla plus a lot of other things. It is not anti-semitic to point this out any more than it is anti-social to point out crimes of any sort.

  8. February 23, 2012 at 23:02

    We must force Israel to create to leave the land of the Palestinians and create Palestine which will cause the Palestinians to recognize Israel which will pacify Iran who may then stop trying to make nuclear weapons if we told Iran we will leave them lone. The next election in Iran will depose of the present government of Iran. The flames of revolution engulfing the Middle East will soon make it’s way to Iran. Read my web page at to see how to create peace in the Middle East and how to create a new American government.

  9. Michael Lange
    February 23, 2012 at 12:27

    I think we should speak of the right wing “pro whatever Israel wants is good for the United States no matter how right-wing fascist a government Israel has” media and not the “jewish” media. Indeed the intimidation Israel and its American supporters have managed to instill on the American political apparatus is truly a national catastophe. Unfortunately most non-jewish Americans are AFRAID to speak out. Indeed almost all serious critics of Israel’s apartheid state and its ethnic cleansing during the Nakhba and continuing to this day have been Jewish starting with our own Max Blumenthal, Richard falk, Nathan Finkelstein etc as well as very courageous Israelis both academics like Shlomo Sand, Neve Gordon, Uri Avnery,and Ilan Pappe as well as artists such as Gilad Atzmon whose “The wandering Who?” is a real eyeopener on what goes on inside Israel (hues of the Hitler Youth);just to mention a few.
    Is there some way this courageous letter by the Veterans can initiate an American movement to liberate the American foreign policy establishment from its subservience to the pro-Israel lobby? I think that BDS is a good international movement to bring attention to the plight of the Palestinians. However this letter by the Veterans should be the shot that sets off a movement to liberate our foreign policy from the control of a foreign power and the Americans who treasonously support Israel above America’s national interests. Even if the Imperial “full spectrum dominance” is indeed the modus operandi of the US, this policy can be done intelligently or stupidly. It clearly should not be run by a foreign power.
    Can we collect signatures to support this letter?

  10. Ray
    February 23, 2012 at 04:18

    Something that all of you missed here is why on earth no one asked EVER the right question??? WHY should Israel have 300 nukes and tell others not to have one? This is the question and everybody seems to be so stupid and blind to see that? They are willing to kill innocent people for what cause? Moreover, the history will show how American were naiive to accept whatever shit Israel shoved in their throat. For God sake how come Israel is not part of Profi treaty? yet they say lets destroy another nation for being honest about their evil desire? to occupy other lands and getting bigger?
    To kill palastenians and noone to say anything? Hell, no America was a symbol of true democracy but, not anymore with all these mistakes they made during past 10 years. It is time for us to wake up and not let the Jewish media” which controls the world” affect our lives and security of our great nation in America. Obama needs to say to them to SHUT UP and don’t bully other nations. 4 million people and they are controlling the world how sad

    • American Aware
      February 23, 2012 at 07:27

      I’m sure if Obama even came anywhere close to saying “SHUT UP” to Israel, they would see to it that he’d be minus one or both daughters, and probably his wife too. And I even suspect these threats last a lifetime, beyond presidency, otherwise former Presidents wouldn’t hesitate to come out and complain.

    • Richard
      February 23, 2012 at 16:28

      It is obvious why Israel tells others they can’t have nukes: they would deter Israel from expanding its wars of aggression. The real question is why Israel has so many nukes in the first place, when its enemies have none? The only answer I can see is if the “great powers” finally are really fed up with the situation, Israel will threaten to kill much of the world with their doomsday machine. What many people do not realize is that Israel is the greatest threat to launch a “small” nuclear attack against the US, disguised as Muslim attack via commercial shipping. The US Navy has “officially leaked” aiding Israel in developing the capability to pull this off.

    • bobzz
      February 24, 2012 at 01:05

      Muslims are angry about Israel because of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. There is no way to actually know how many Muslims truly want to destroy Israel versus those who would gladly live in peace. My guess is that the majority want to live in peace with Israel. You can call me naive, and I can call you paranoid, and that settles nothing. The truth is we have no concrete facts on this, but we can know there are a lot of refusniks and peaceniks in Israel, and we can know that Israeli hard liners do not want peace—just as our American hardliners want whip up war frenzy.

      PS: My disagreement with Israel on this does not make me antisemitic.

      • March 3, 2012 at 17:48

        Actually, Egypt and Jordan offered peace treaties right from the start which were refused by Ben-Gurion who did not want to lock in Israel’s borders. Egypt and Jordan subsequently signed peace treaties with Israel in 1979 and 1994, respectively, and have been collaborating with Israel ever since. Jordan expelled the PLO in 1970-71, and the Gulf states have been under US political and economic control since 1973. In truth the Arab countries have done little or nothing for the Palestinians, and other Muslim countries have done nothing at all. And the great majority of Palestinians under occupation, blockade and legal discrimination within Israel simply want to live in equality with Israeli Jews, not expel them.

        Peace is only blocked by Israeli intransigence in defiance of international law and human rights and its refusal to give up the racist demand for a “Jewish state” with Jewish majority and Jewish supremacy established by armed force and dispossession of the indigenous people in an overwhelmingly Arab land.

    • Ray
      February 24, 2012 at 13:21

      I think you are more Idiot than anyone else? You obviousely do not know politics and should not make any comments here. If 200 million sworn to destroy them can you think why is that in this age and era? That is because they are the one who forced themselves to other people’s land and killing them! who creates this hatered?

      • bobzz
        February 24, 2012 at 14:12

        I am quite aware that the UN carved out land Palestine for Israel to have a place they could call home. But with the passage of time things settle down. Both the Palestinians and Israel signed off on the Oslo accords, which in and of itself should put to rest the idea that 200,000 million(!) Muslims are sworn to destroy Israel. That idea, however, is politically useful to the warrior class. Muslim hotheads say they want to destroy Israel and the propagandists project it to all Muslims in the Middle East. Most would live in peace if Israel would agree to a two state solution, stop building settlements outside the 1967 borders, and stop their mistreatment of the Palestinians. This is not just my opinion, and despite my disagreement with you, I would not call you an idiot nor would I tell you that you should not comment, even if yours is a bit difficult to follow.

        • March 4, 2012 at 05:22

          Actually, the UN did not “carve out” land for Israel. First of all, Palestine was 94% Arab-owned and not UN land to give. UNGA 181 was only a recommendation and since it violated the UN Charter principle of self-determination and was immediately recognized as a disaster, was never passed by the UNSC. Instead, the UNSC was developing an alternative US-sponsored plan for a 5-year UN trusteeship in March 1948 when the Zionist terror groups Hagana, Irgun and Lehi, recognizing that they would not get what they wanted from the UN, launched Plan Dalet, their long-planned and well-organized ethnic cleansing campaign of 33 massacres to terrorize Palestinians to flee, getting the job done themselves.

          By 1950 nearly one million Palestinians had been driven from their homes into 59 UN refugee camps, and have never been allowed to return in violation of Articles 13 and 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN Resolution 194 of December 1948, and Israel’s own pledge as a condition of its 1949 admission to the UN. This is known to Palestinians as “al Nakba” – the catastrophe – and remains the heart of the problem. Even following Cast Lead, 87% of Palestinians declared on a survey that “The right of return AND compensation” are “essential” to any final settlement.

          The issue is no more complicated than any other armed robbery of a poor victim by a rich criminal. The robbers keeps insisting that the victims must negotiate to regain their property, and the US has protected the robbers from criminal liability due to extortion of US political leaders by the Israel lobby. For over six decades the Palestinians have mounted a heroic, largely nonviolent resistance movement against their colonial occupiers with virtually no help from the outside world, although no such resistance movement in world history has ever been entirely nonviolent.

          Since Oslo, Israel has relentlessly continued their land theft and a 2-state model, never consistent with international law and Palestinian human rights (to return to their homes, to have sovereignty within an independent state, to have equal rights within Israel) has become increasingly untenable.

          Palestinians by and large are not demanding that the Jews leave, but only demand compensation for the injustices they have suffered and want to live in equality with the Israelis. Israeli compliance with international law and human rights would simply cost them their Jewish majority but would provide them a normal country and international acceptance. Their “original sin” was arrogantly establishing a country on other people’s land and the time for redemption is at hand.

          As for hotheads, You’re looking in the wrong direction. None of the 57 Muslim majority countries have invaded and occupied other countries in the last six decades other than Iraq’s attacks on Iran and Kuwait, both encouraged by the US. In 1948 the feeble Arab military efforts attempted only to protect the area of Palestine recommended by 181 for the Arab state, and in 1973 attempted only to regain the lands seized by Israel in 1967. In each case, the internationally recognized boundaries of Israel were not threatened. Israel, on the other hand, has repeatedly attacked and occupied lands of its neighbors and continues to do so, now controlling all of historic Palestine with areas taken from Jordan and Egypt, as well as Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Sheeba Farms. Israel’s own historians have documented that all Israel’s wars other than 1973 were started by Israel.

          • Eduardo Cohen
            March 6, 2012 at 07:06

            It may be worth remembering as well that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by armed Zionist forces began in earnest in December of 1947.

            Thanks for making this factual history clear for so many who have not had the opportunity to know these important historical facts — facts that have been buried beneath decades of unquestioned Israeli propaganda.

            • Judah the Lion
              March 7, 2012 at 08:51

              more arab propaganda from self hating Jews

  11. Robert Serkey
    February 23, 2012 at 03:18

    I was much aggrieved to hear President Obama speak of our being “in lockstep” with Israel vis-à-vis Iran. Such language degrades our sovereignty and vitiates our independence of action in international affairs.

    President Eisenhower demonstrated in the Suez crisis that crucial American interests would not be subordinated to the decision of our major allies, Britain, France, and Israel, to invade Egypt. Although these are different times, the principle remains the same: American foreign policy must be made in and for America.

  12. American Aware
    February 23, 2012 at 02:55

    One must ask the blatantly obvious question: “WHY/HOW does the Israeli lobby influence Congress and the President so much?” I suspect lives are seriously threatened, fully developed plots to murder any who seriously attempt to oppose Israel. Former US Senator, James Abourezk, attests to this through his first-hand account of the lobby plotting to murder him due to his stance against Israeli policies.

    • bobzz
      February 23, 2012 at 12:10

      In part, Christian Zionism is devoted to Israel because the return of Christ is contingent Israel’s return to the land (or so they think), and whoever blesses the children of Abraham (Isaac’s children, of course, not Ishmael’s) will be blessed. Craig Unger tells the story of Clinton’s having Netanyahu over a barrel and as discussions proceeded, an aid whispered something in Clinton’s ear. He turned red and abruptly left a baffled Netanyahu (damage control beckoned). Shortly after, Netanyahu would tell Jerry Falwell about it, joking that Monica Lewinski had saved Israel. Falwell told him not to worry. Had Clinton pressured him, he would have called on 200,000 evangelical ministers and their congregation to pressure Clinton to leave him alone. Yes, and about the assassination plot, one only has to recall the recent suggestion that Obama be assassinated for his anti-Jewish policies. The guy apologized, but what was he thinking in the first place? If a politician that posed a serious threat to Israel was assassinated, we would sweep it under the rug as soon as we learned Israel did it. We swept the Lavon and the USS Liberty affairs under the rug. Truly, the tail wags the dog and Christian Zionism is, not all, but a huge part of Israel’s influence.

  13. February 23, 2012 at 01:55

    This extremely valuable message from Veterans for Peace was immediately posted “at the top of the scroll” at my blogspot, read and attributed to Consortium News on Radio Free Kansas tonight. Thank you for making our news media work.

  14. February 22, 2012 at 23:58

    I have been at this since Obama got elected. My position is to dismiss Netanyahu by stating openly “Israel is a sovereign nation, they can make their own decisions but cannot rely on us for the consequences
    Also inform all Lobbies serving Foreign interest they may do so only via the Embassy by established procedures. Congressional access will be only by application.
    Enforce the existing bribery laws on Congressional members.

  15. michael walker
    February 22, 2012 at 20:50

    The only thing Obama will be looking at is how a war will affect his chances at reelection. He is not a statesman in any sense, but rather a typical Washington politician concerned only with the bottom line. Two things he knows, pressure on Iran is raising oil and gas prices, hurting the economy, on the other hand, he knows that you never change a commander in chief during time of war. As the election date draws nearer, he will make an educated decision as to which is more appropriate. The american people have already been brainwashed into thinking that Iran is a dire threat and our mortal enemy. If a war is started, they will view the action as justified as the president will be protecting our homeland from being overrun by the another Hitler. Americans have short memories and have already forgotten the lies and deception of the Iraq war. Very few americans understand or care about our constitutional republic. The competely bogus war on terror has most people willing to abandon the protections of the bill of rights for some contrived protection against a threat that does not exist. While I support and applaud this letter from the Veterans of Peace, it will have zero impact on the final decision. The US gov’t is entralled with being an empire vis a vis a republic. “Full spectrum dominance” is the theme which guides every major political decision. Republican or Democrat, it matters not which.

  16. A. Alvarez
    February 22, 2012 at 20:43

    As a veteran of the Vietnam war and a member of VFP, American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders, I cannot say how proud I am of what the Veterans For Peace do and stand for. The American Legion like the VFW does great things for our veterans and their families, but I’ve not seen the efforts of VFP in preventing irresponsible and political wars like we seem to have been involved in since the end of WWII. We need to come down off of our “greatness” pedastal as Mr. Lange so correctly suggests, and lead by example and not by fear. The bully, whether it is at school or an international world power, will sooner or later get put in his place!

  17. bobzz
    February 22, 2012 at 17:53

    Obama’s intellect is not the issue; he has that. His overwhelming desire to please the power brokers is the problem. The only presidents that stood up to Israel were Carter and Bush I. When the Israelis insisted on building settlements, Bush I cut some of their foreign aid, and they stopped—without any adverse effects to Israel I might add. I hope, but based on past performance doubt, that Obama has in him. Another credit card war will make us a third world nation for sure, a nation where the military is fed while more and more of its civilian population tanks. AND ALL FOR NO GOOD REASON!

    • March 3, 2012 at 16:45

      Kennedy too stood up to Israel, demanding “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” from Begin that Dimona was not producing nukes. This precipitated a hasty Begin resignation to obviate the necessity of a reply, which was never received. Israel continued to conceal its nuclear weapons program from US inspectors and it took over two subsequent decades before a heroic Mordechai Vanunu exposed their program at great personal risk and ultimate cost.

  18. Michael Lange
    February 22, 2012 at 16:31

    A truthful and valid warning. I f America wants to remain the acknowledged superpower it needs to lead with moral authority and not act subserviently to the rightwing government of Israel which is committing international crimes with its illegal occupation of Palestine and practicing vicious ethnic cleansing of the Arab population under its control. America a country that prides itself on its ethnic and racial diversity that in its constitution mandates strict separation of religion and state affairs is humiliating itself in front of the entire world leading to loss of respect and accusations of hypocrisy. Clearly our interests are not served by attacking Iran. As Americans we should take pride in our constitution and foreign policy not act subserviently to the narrowly defined interests of Israel’s Likud party and its treasonous American supporters.

  19. Suzanne & James Benning
    February 22, 2012 at 16:07

    We are indebted and grateful to this group, Veterans for Peace, for speaking openly and honestly about the frenzy being created by certain interests (with the help of our media) for a war with Iran over alleged nuclear weapons. We have seen this war-mongoring before, which resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent civilians as well as well-meaning but badly used soldiers from both sides. If President Obama is as intelligent as we think (and hope) he is, he will give this advice careful consideration and take a public stand against supporting any attack on Iran by Israel. His moral leadership on this could protect not only Iranians, but Americans and Israelis alike.

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