Al-Jazeera Feeds Anti-Semitism to Britain, Whose Media Lap It Up

Jan. 11 2017

A few days ago, a video clip showed Shai Masot, a low-level official at Israel’s embassy in London, sharing a drink with an aide to a British minister. In the clip, recorded surreptitiously by an undercover Al Jazeera reporter, Masot asks for help in trying to “take down” Britain’s deputy foreign minister. In the resultant full-blown scandal, the Israeli embassy has apologized and fired Masot; his interlocutor has lost her job; and the shadow foreign minister has called the incident a “national-security issue.” Brendan O’Neill takes the British media and politicians to task for their overwrought reactions:

The response to Al Jazeera’s months-long campaign to ensnare an Israeli official saying something off about British MPs has been extraordinary, and more than a little hysterical.
Al Jazeera has made a four-part TV series called The Lobby (they might as well have called it You Know Who), which apparently reveals the sinister reach and dastardly behavior of pro-Israel lobbyists in Britain. . . .

The Guardian referred to [the conversation] as an “Israeli plot.” This is a real and scary “plot against UK politicians,” said Al Jazeera. . . . [But] Israel certainly didn’t plan anything, so talk of “Israel’s plot” is utterly incorrect—a libel, one might say. This wasn’t a plot; it was an adviser showing off over booze. . . . It’s bravado, banter. If it’s a sinister plot to slag off MPs over drinks, then I’ve been behind hundreds of sinister plots in my life.

But of course when a British politico, even a British political adviser overseas, badmouths politicians he doesn’t like, it’s unlikely it would be splashed across the media as evidence of some shady “plot.” . . .

Israel, however, is treated differently. . . . The language used about Israel is striking. If one Israeli adviser says mean things about MPs, it’s a “plot”; when Israel takes military action, it is “bloodletting”; if Israel’s war moves kill children, as war tragically does, it is a “child-killer” or a “child-killing machine”—things very rarely said about the British or American military. There’s a striking double standard at play here—and a conspiracy-theory mindset too. Some have come to see Israel as an awesomely powerful force, seeking to puppeteer our political class, plot the overthrow of our democracy, and bend Britain and America to its allegedly craven cause. To control the world, in essence.

I can’t be the only person who hears in this the worrying echo of old prejudices.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Al Jazeera, Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, United Kingdom

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Must Make the Best of a Bad Deal

Jan. 23 2017

Were Donald Trump to tear up the nuclear deal with Tehran, Washington would gain little leverage while Iran would still have pocketed enormous sums of money, would continue to benefit from the lifting of international sanctions, and could continue work on its nuclear program unimpeded. Therefore, argue Emily Landau and Shimon Stein, U.S. interests would best be served by working to constrain the Islamic Republic within the parameters of the agreement:

[M]uch can be achieved simply by changing the U.S. approach to the deal and to Iran, and by altering the rhetoric. Given the strong reservations voiced by Donald Trump and his administration toward Iran, the new president should send an unequivocal message, . . . warning it against any erosion of the deal and the consequences that will follow from any violation. The next step will be to work with the [the other parties to the deal] to clear up [its] ambiguities—especially regarding inspections at suspicious military facilities and looking for unknown facilities—and set clear guidelines for responding to every type of Iranian violation.

The Trump administration should press to end the secrecy surrounding many of Iran’s nuclear activities and plans. . . . But the Trump administration must also carve out a more comprehensive approach to the Islamic Republic, taking into account the dynamics between the United States and Iran that have unfolded over the past eighteen months since the nuclear deal was presented and that underscore the absence of any convergence of interests between the two states. . . .

New policies that reflect the Trump administration’s determination to pursue an uncompromising course in dealing with Iran—both on the nuclear front and with regard to its regional behavior—could in the long run help to reduce the likelihood of an Iranian breakout, and contain Iran from further destabilizing the region in its drive to realize its hegemonic ambitions.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Donald Trump, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy