Thursday, September 13, 2012

Say it's so, Joe, and say it loud

I don't often paste up a clip from someone else's post if I don't have more than two cents of my own to add.. My audience is too small; why bring buckets of water to the ocean? Or rather, I tote my buckets via Twitter or emails to the Dish.

But Joe Klein is out there loudly proclaiming something that so needs to be said -- and risking the full fury of the anti-semite police to say it -- that I feel compelled to add my kazoo to his bullhorn:
Netanyahu’s recent behavior is outrageous. He is trying push us into a war that is not in our national interest, a war that would only further destabilize a region that is already teetering near chaos. He is trying to get us to damage our relations with the rest of the world–especially the Russians and Chinese, whom we spent great diplomatic effort luring into the Iranian economic sanctions–so that he can pursue a strategy that even the Israeli military and intelligence communities find questionable. President Obama will not yield to this pressure, nor should he–and every American should know the implications of what Netanyahu and his American neoconservative allies, including Mitt Romney, are proposing...

The truth is, Iran is a political issue more than a national security challenge. It has achieved the prominence in the current debate that it was because Bibi Netanyahu and his neoconservative pals have made it an issue, because twisted American zillionaires like Sheldon Adelson have bought politicians to promote it, because Jewish organizations like AIPAC and the ADL and the AJC have conflated Israel’s national security with our own–and their perceptions of Israel’s long-term national security are, I believe, grievously flawed.

But think about it: What if David Cameron was pushing us to go to war with Argentina over the Falklands? What if India was interfering with the American presidential campaign in order to promote an attack on Pakistan? When was the last time a foreign leader tried to influence an American political campaign? Oh, I remember–Osama bin Laden, in 2004. He was our mortal enemy, of course, not a beloved ally like Israel. It goes without saying that there’s zero moral equivalence between Israel and the terrorists.

But Netanyahu is doing two things that should be intolerable for any patriotic American: he is a foreigner trying to influence our presidential campaign and he is a foreigner trying to shove us into a war of choice in a region where far too many Americans have already died needlessly. The Romney campaign–as well as AIPAC, the AJC and every other American Jewish organization–should make it clear to Netanyahu that his interventions into our political process and policy-making are not welcome here.
Hear, hear. Fifty million evangelicals notwithstanding, I suspect that there's some potential for backlash to Netanyahu's power play, and Romney and the GOP's craven play-along (and sad to say, to a lesser extent, the Democrats' too).  Most Americans, if it were forced on their attention, probably would not approve of the subordination of U.S. interests to those of Israel as defined by Netanyahu and Likud and AIPAC.  Here's hoping Klein will help raise awareness.

One caveat:  I heard Klein basically speaking this essay on Morning Joe -- and while I take his point about Iran being a more cohesive society than many of its neighbors because its boundaries weren't formed by imperialist fiat, he need not casually insult its Arab neighbors by suggesting that unlike Iran, they are not "real countries with real borders"--and for that matter, its Iran's older borders are not the strongest argument for its supposed greater stability.  Also, Klein doesn't make a great case for why containing a nuclear Iran would be an acceptable option, or why Israel shouldn't worry unduly about a nuclear attack.  Fallows has argued the latter cogently -- as has former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy.

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