Western Europe Stands Up for Iran

July 12 2018

Last week, the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, and Iran met to devise a way to protect the last-named country from the recently renewed U.S. sanctions. Clifford May comments:

French, British, and German leaders . . . continue to insist that the nuclear deal is a reasonable bargain. In exchange for economic benefits, Iran’s theocrats have promised to slow—not end—their illicit nuclear-weapons program. [Although] Iran’s theocrats don’t actually acknowledge having a nuclear-weapons program, . . . they are threatening to accelerate it if the Europeans don’t fully compensate them for economic losses caused by the re-imposition of American sanctions.

Just prior to last week’s meeting, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani phoned France’s President Emmanuel Macron and told him that the [proposal being considered by the Europeans] “does not meet all our demands.” . . . In what kind of negotiation does one side make “demands” of the other? . . .

On Sunday, the German publication Bild reported that Germany’s central bank plans to turn over to Iranian officials 300 million euros in cash that will then be flown to Iran. That Iran’s rulers are in need of bundles of cash only highlights how weak their economy has become. Decades of mismanagement and corruption are the primary reasons. But re-imposed American sanctions—with new rounds to hit in August and November—are taking a toll. . . .

Meanwhile, . . . Belgian authorities have detained an Iranian diplomat in connection with a plot to bomb a rally in France organized by an Iranian opposition group. . . . At present, however, British, French, and German leaders appear loath to offend Iran’s rulers and anxious to accommodate them. Which raises this question: if appeasement is the European policy toward the Islamic Republic now, what will it be if the regime achieves its ambition of becoming the nuclear-armed hegemon of the Middle East?

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More about: France, Germany, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy, United Kingdom

Zionists Can, and Do, Criticize Israel. Are Anti-Zionists Capable of Criticizing Anti-Semitism?

Dec. 12 2018

Last week, the New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg defended the newly elected anti-Israel congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, ostensibly arguing that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism aren’t identical. Abe Greenwald comments:

Tlaib . . . has tweeted and retweeted her enthusiasm for terrorists such as Rasmea Odeh, who murdered two American students in a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969. If Tlaib’s anti-Zionism is of the Jew-loving kind, she has a funny way of showing it.

Ilhan Omar, for her part, once tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” And wouldn’t you know it, just because she believes that Zionist hypnotists have cast global spells masking Israeli evil, some people think she’s anti-Semitic! Go figure! . . .

Goldberg spends the bulk of her column trying very hard to uncouple American Jewishness from Israel. To do that, she enumerates Israel’s sins, as she sees them. . . . [But] her basic premise is at odds with reality. Zionists aren’t afraid of finding fault with Israel and don’t need to embrace anti-Zionism in order to [do so]. A poll conducted in October by the Jewish Electorate Institute found that a majority of Americans Jews have no problem both supporting Israel and criticizing it. And unlike Goldberg, they have no problem criticizing anti-Semitism, either.

Goldberg gives the game away entirely when she discusses the discomfort that liberal American Jews have felt in “defending multi-ethnic pluralism here, where they’re in the minority, while treating it as unspeakable in Israel, where Jews are the majority.” She adds: “American white nationalists, some of whom liken their project to Zionism, love to poke at this contradiction.” Read that again. She thinks the white nationalists have a point. Because, really, what anti-Semite doesn’t?

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, New York Times