Iran, Israel, and American Jews

The struggle over the Iran Agreement reminds me of the seventeen years I spent as editor of Present Tense, a liberal Jewish-oriented magazine, published by the American Jewish Committee.

In 1990, we featured a detailed investigative piece, "Speaking for the Jews." Our cover blurb read: "A growing number of American Jews, including many inside the Jewish establishment, are fed up with the hard-line views of Jewish leaders whom they did not elect and who, in any case, do not speak for them." Some members of The Lobby were quite upset and Present Tense was shut down soon after for debatable reasons. Even so, the article’s writer, Robert Spero, and the magazine’s editors, were absolutely on target in 1990 and even more so today. In short, the Israel Lobby doesn’t speak for American Jews.

In addition to the fabrications and fantasies concocted by PM Netanyahu’s Israel and endlessly repeated by his followers, it is that for the first time in memory a foreign country – Israel – is publicly fighting an American president’s foreign policy on American soil. Israel’s allies include Obama-hating Republicans, intimidated, largely Jewish, Democratic politicians, and Bibi-supporting Jewish and Christian Zionist lobbies – none of whom have ever offered any lucid or rational alternatives, and many of them empowered by a few mega-rich and hawkish American Jews.

The truth is that the core of the Iran Agreement is that Iran and six nations decided that Teheran had accepted stringent restrictions for ten years on its nuclear activities and international inspectors will be allowed full access.

Polls indicate that American Jews largely support the Iran Agreement and do not accept that American foreign policy in the Middle East should be determined by Israeli lobbyists or that of any foreign government. Nor are Israelis completely united against the deal. Former officials of Mossad and Shin Bet, the ex-deputy director-general of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and many in Israel’s national security establishment, as the [Jewish] Forward’s J.J. Goldberg has reported, have broken with Netanyahu on the Iran Agreement.

"As unanimous as the politicians are in backing the prime minister," he wrote, "the generals and spymasters are nearly as unanimous in questioning him. Generals publicly backing Netanyahu can be counted on – well – one finger."

To reject the Iran Agreement means that sooner or later the hopes and prayers of American uber-hawks that the U.S. would be drawn into a war with Iran may well be answered. For those who love the idea of fighting such a war with sons and daughters not their own, the old saw still applies: "If they loved Iraq, they’ll love Iran." Meanwhile, no one has yet dared to utter a word about Israel’s vast array of uninspected nuclear bombs.

But for American Jews like me, it’s "Ein Breira," meaning there is no alternative.

Murray Polner wroteNo Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran, Disarmed & Dangerous, a dual biography of Daniel & Philip Berrigan (with Jim’O’Grady), andWe Who Dared Say No To War(with Thomas Woods Jr.).

21 thoughts on “Iran, Israel, and American Jews”

  1. And darkness the planet has never seen and a plan, by few, continues destroying countries, murdering millions, displacing millions, controlling bought off political leaders, the press, the military, intelligence agencies, the food source, education, pharmaceutical companies etc. People keep waiting for some magical leader or spiritual God to arrive to save them while turning away from the truth of reality. The answer is in the individual to wake up and face the human psyche of what is RIGHT & what is WRONG and act on it.

  2. Religious no matter what kind, in the end, will end up acting as either barbaric regime or as far right religious Jews that are supporting what is the present Israeli regime. Fake and non functioning Democracy, no matter what kind, in the end will end up supporting both the barbarians or the far right politician as Netanyahu.

  3. Someone remind me again why it's important to poll 2-3% of the United States in order to decide a foreign policy question that involves 100% of the US.

  4. The next POTUS will better serve America our country with people like this writer, unfortunately Jews, Christians, Muslims of like intent and minds continue to fight battles for a better American foreign policy don't act on the need to bring the right POTUS into office.

    1. The obvious and best way is to fix your credit history. Of course, it will take time. It is enough to take a small consumer loan in any store or get a credit card. This can be done by contacting the office of a financial institution or by sending a request through the Internetthe health evolution

  5. "Israel’s allies include Obama-hating Republicans, intimidated, largely Jewish, Democratic politicians, and Bibi-supporting Jewish and Christian Zionist lobbies".

    Oh please. More of this nonsense. Israel's allies are primarily American Jews who love Israel. Let's be honest about this. The GOP and Xian Zionists are johnny come latelies to this and are not the primary drivers. Jewish pols who work on behalf of Israel do not do so out of intimidation.

      1. They kicked me off.

        I asked them why.

        They ignored me for a while and finally answered my third email.

        Per Adam H, Phil W said I was kicked off for "Holocaust Denial". Which is interesting as I never made a single comment on Mondoweiss about the Holocaust. I think what really happened is that I pointed out the JVP is not for real as evidenced by their blacklisting of Helen Thomas and Alison Weir. Annie Robbins defended their decision to blacklist by copying and pasting their pathetic, three point excuse. I then posted Alison W's absolute take down of their nonsensical excuse for her blackballing and Annie went a bit nuts. When I followed that up connecting the incredible act of honor when the Amish forgave an outsider who killed several of their kids with a spate of new and dishonest shows putting the Amish into a terrible light (which Annie described as 'teasing" the Amish), Annie and others really went ballistic. It is a good sight but their are some real hard limits put on just how much truth they will accept. In the end, it is controlled dissent.

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  6. "In 1990, we featured a detailed investigative piece, 'Speaking for the Jews." Our cover blurb read: "A growing number of American Jews, including many inside the Jewish establishment, are fed up with the hard-line views of Jewish leaders whom they did not elect and who, in any case, do not speak for them.'"

    I guess this answers the question no one has been asking–"Where are the moderate Jews?"

    So this piece supposedly ran in a magazine published by the AJC–Murry, is that the AJC whose leadership "overwhelmingly" opposes the deal with Iran, by any chance?

    Giles, the real Johnny-come-latelies" — or should I say "Jehuda-come-latelies"–are all these Peter Beinert-type snakes who were hell bent on happily plundering American blood and treasure to fight Zionism's wars until the risk of doing so–by exposure in the age of the internet, which could no longer be concealed by domination of news and infotainment media–outweighed the benefits.

  7. Benny faces a difficult problem, he's caught in a big lie and nobody is going along with it except those who have been freightened into submission. He will be the ruin of Israel.

    On the plus side we will really see who is compromised in the US politic, to protect the democracy this infiltration must be purged no different than the communists.

    This is the right argument to sift the wheat from the chaff, since the 'No' argument is so very unsupportable that all you can conclude the senators are bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby, or they are confused as to which government they serve, or they lack the intellectual capacity to understand the deal. Not congressional or presidential material.

    To protect the democracy these people need to be purged next election. This is not an issue of pro verses anti Israel, us against them nonsense, it is an issue of US Political integrity which is under treat by a foreign government. It is about a NPT deal that is good for Israel and the world that Benny is misrepresenting. Another BUSH WMD BS story, now BENNY WMD BS. It's just another warmonger story used to pick a fight.

    There is plenty of time for war, trying to normalize and find peace with Iran is a worthy cause. Too bad Benny continues with his fake arguments instead of doing his job and looking for opportunity in the changing political landscape.

    Only an idiot fights a battle he already lost, for unsupportable reasons and burns his freinds while doing it.

  8. Netanyahu has to appease an increasingly non-Ashkenazi electorate which tends to be more hawkish, esp. Russian so-called Jews (many of them phoney) and Sephardic 'Arab Jews'.

    To stop Avigdor Lieberman and suchlike stealing his Zionist clothes, Binyi is being driven into a position of isolation from America. He could be left with only Turkey and the House of Saud to cozy up to. The neocons in Washington are already struggling to take 'our people' along with their war-whooping. apart from rich and/or old crazies such as Haim Saban and Sheldon 'let's detonate a nuke over Iran to scare them straight' Adelson.

  9. It seems that Weir's book tour on this topic since 2014 became a major reason for her expulsion at this summer from the US Campaign to End the Occupation, although the formal reason given was her radio appearances, an essay, and a blog post, mostly all from about 5 years ago.

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