This is a rather delicate and sensitive subject that seems to arouse strong feelings, so I’m going to start out very cautiously and slowly.
Let’s start by saying there’s a country in the Middle East that starts with “I” that’s got a secret nuclear weapons program. And it won’t give the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) a shred of information about it or allow any inspections. It’s creating a nuclear arms race in the region.
It’s a country that routinely threatens its neighbors. It has invaded them with its military and killed more than a thousand civilians. Its soldiers killed two American citizens just last year, and blinded more in peace protests.
This rogue nation has become increasingly isolated around the world, especially in the United Nations.
I’m certain a military attack on this country would be a mistake. Fortunately, there are as yet untried opportunities for sanctions and diplomacy, and these are likely to work as soon as the United States tries them.
Because the rogue nation, Israel, is highly dependent on U.S. cooperation and support.
Informed readers quickly understood which country were were talking about. But viewers of most corporate “news” were probably sure it was Iran. What we see on CNN and Fox could hardly be more biased if Wolf Blitzer was still working for AIPAC, the Israel lobby. These networks routinely, endlessly, falsely accuse Iran of the threatening actions Israel actually has taken.
The truth is, our own military and CIA - and Israel's military as well - say Iran has no nuclear weapons and hasn’t had a development program in years -- despite frequent threats from neighbors like Israel and serial invaders like the U.S.
Such undisputed facts and the true history of Iran are covered in the extraordinary documentary, Iran is Not the Problem.
In 2009, after five decades of turmoil, the U.S. president had the courage to publicly acknowledge our 1953 destruction of the democratically elected government of Iran, replacing it with our friend the Shah. That admission was an important step. But politicians and a hawkish, biased U.S. media still do all they can to demonize Iran to the American public.
Iran has public, civilian nuclear technology and cooperates in IAEA inspections -- Israel keeps missile based nuclear weapons, but in secret -- refusing to sign on to cooperate with the IAEA.
Decades ago when Iran’s Shah was finally deposed, Iran freed every U.S. hostage unharmed. Iran’s last real war was in the 1980’s, when Donald Rumsfeld was arming Saddam Hussein to fight them in the Iran/Iraq war -- in fact, secretly and illegally arming both sides.
As recently as 2006, Israel attacked Lebanon, killing over 1000 Lebanese civilians with modern US supplied weapons. Just last year the Israeli army killed unarmed US and Turkish citizens on a peace flotilla boat. Unarmed American Rachel Corrie was crushed to death with a tractor. Artist Emily Henochowicz was blinded by a tear gas canister to the face at close range, one of many American and Israeli peace activists maimed by soldiers at protests.
It looks like Israel may also have a hand in assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists -- exploding their vehicles with their families in them. This kind of Mossad operation isn’t really a secret -- there’s even a Steven Spielberg / Tony Kushner movie about them called Munich. The insightful filmmakers point out that you can’t win a war on murder by becoming murderers.
Likewise -- bullying is terrible. But if a school principal hands a bullied student an automatic weapon and says, “Don’t worry, you’ll never get detention while I’m around,” he’s not really being a friend to that student. He may mean well and they may both feel better for a while, but he has created a new crisis and a more dangerous bully.
We jews -- including my family and the people I know and grew up with -- believe in equal rights and fair treatment for outsiders. We condemn bullying and revenge. We want Israel to join its neighbors in a secure and peaceful Middle East, a free country alongside Palestine.
But our American politicians have been terrible friends to Israel for their own twisted reasons. Most seek endorsement and campaign funds from the right wing AIPAC lobby. A few actually think Middle East apocalypse is on the path to the Rapture, and welcome it. Many embrace Israel’s far right minority, preventing all debate, as if questioning those policies was anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.
These false friends of Israel have little in common with the majority of jews -- the millions of New York and California jews and Israelis who question right wing policies and want peace. Those craven politicians have been making all of us jews look bad, and making Middle East peace impossible.
For the sake of American interests, Israel’s security and Middle East peace -- those corrupt politicians must be challenged or replaced.
Iran is not the problem.