Saturday, September 5, 2015

Support for Israel is critical

Because if it's not critical, it's just codependent enabling.

One thing the two Jennifer Rubins have in common: an association with screaming. Bad Jennifer Rubin makes me scream with rage, Good Jennifer Rubin starred in Screamers (1995).
Jennifer, Jennifer...
The Iran deal is as big a threat to Israel as any event since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Well, good, I guess that's not much of a threat. I mean the Yom Kippur War took 19 days, took place almost entirely off Israeli soil and brought no civilian casualties, was an overwhelming Israeli victory, and brought Egypt to the negotiating table for Israel's first peace agreement with an Arab country just three years later. Is that the threat, that peace might break out?
The American people as a whole by a large majority oppose it
Unless you ask the question a different way, in which case they support it—as I can't believe you don't know; that's an out-and-out lie.
and yet a Democrat from New Jersey, Sen. Cory Booker, who has had excellent relations with the pro-Israel community, cannot bring himself to oppose the deal even after it is certain there are enough votes to sustain a veto.
You say he "cannot bring himself to", like it's an unpleasant duty he's shirking. As if it's his job to represent your fictional "American people as a whole" rather than the actual people of New Jersey? Or what? And he should do it for symbolic reasons, knowing he'd be on the losing side? It's clearly voting for the agreement that he had to "bring himself" to do, he didn't want to—jeopardizing $365,000 in "pro-Israel" contributions, according to, which finds he's the third-highest recipient of campaign money from such organizations, behind two Republicans, Mark Kirk and Mitch McConnell (and immediately followed by two Democrats, Robert Menendez and Kirsten Gillebrand; the latter has still more guts than Booker, having decided to back the agreement long before he did)—but he knew it was the right thing to do. It's a bit of the old JFK profile in courage thing, matter of fact. Rubin calls him a coward, but what enrages her is that be wouldn't be bought.

And you won't address the real-world reasons he gives for his vote? Including the fact that rejecting the agreement would merely leave the US out of a process that the European powers and China are going to carry forward anyhow:
“I believe rejection of the deal would allow Iran to achieve an aim it has wanted all along: a significant unwinding of sanctions without the constraints on its nuclear program that this deal provides,” Mr. Booker said.
You say he "acknowledges how flawed the deal is" but omit his insistence that "the alternative is worse". (I believe Booker is completely wrong about the supposed "flaws", and probably knows he is—he's sending signals to people like Rubin that he wants to stay friends—but that's another matter.)

Why do you think he should vote against the agreement? Because it's a "litmus test":
There is no longer true bipartisan support for Israel. There is one party, the Republican Party, for whom support for Israel is a litmus test (largely due to evangelical support for Israel) and a few stray elected officials on the other side.
By which she means, as always, not support for Israel, a complex polity with a wide and boisterous range of opinions on all sorts of matters, including the Iran agreement, but unquestioning support for the Netanyahu government. It's a litmus test because you aren't expected to think about the question but to make an automatic, involuntary response: "my Bibi right or wrong". Note how she uses the phrase "support for Israel" three times in one short paragraph (seven times altogether in the column, counting the headline, plus "pro-Israel" six times), and "Likud" or "Netanyahu" not once (except the PM in a photo caption where he's shown waving at his adorers at March's AIPAC conference; she's pissed off with AIPAC as well, for being "Democratic-leaning", although as Rubin's own newspaper reported in March "AIPAC has won support from an overwhelming majority of Republican Jews, while J Street is presenting itself as an alternative for Democrats who have grown uncomfortable with both Netanyahu’s policies and the conservatives’ flocking to AIPAC").

No mention, either, of the kinds of Israelis who favor the agreement as it is, such as ex-Mossad chief Efraim Halevi, former Shin Bet director Ami Ayalon, and so many more, along with non-Israelis like the 77 nonproliferation experts, the 26 former leaders of top American Jewish groups, and almost that great and humane newspaper the Forward, which hasn't gone all the way but insists, speaking of litmus paper, that the treaty receive a fair look:
we as American Jews need to be productive, reasoned, thoughtful, appropriately skeptical, engaged, and most importantly, we need to drop the partisanship and focus on principle. We can’t turn Iran into a litmus test of our Jewish identity and our commitment to Israel.
In insisting that it has to be a litmus test, for Gentiles and Jews alike, Rubin demonstrates once more why she is unqualified to say more or less anything on more or less any subject that interests her. I could go on with this post, but honestly, it doesn't get any more interesting.

And Rosh Hashanah's around the corner! What seems at first sight like a literally edible gefilte fish, via (with recipe!).

Speaking of the 1973 Yom Kippur War—because it wasn't about a "threat" but it certainly was an unnecessary and awful catastrophe, costing the lives of almost 3000 Israeli troops—Amir Oren was arguing in Haaretz back in 2012 that the cause of the disaster was Israel's politicians manipulating the work of the intelligence services to serve their political purposes (as people understood in 1973; that's why Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan lost their jobs). And now he's arguing that the same sort of thing is going on in the debate over the JCPOA, where it's not only all the retired intelligence professionals who favor the agreement, but, he suggests, the working ones as well, only in the Netanyahu regime they're afraid to speak out:
 Netanyahu must stop silencing intel chiefs who find Iran deal acceptable
...The head of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corps, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevy, and the chief of his research division, Brig. Gen. Eli Ben-Meir, are lying low like carp who don’t relish a future on a plate as gefilte fish. They are hushing up the voices of those in the Intelligence Corps, whose opinions the populace whom they have sworn to serve – and not the prime minister – must hear.
Which should sound familiar to Americans who remember the "sexing up" of intelligence on executive orders prior to the catastrophe of the 2003 invasion of Iraq (which Rubin, of course, still thinks was a good idea—as when she criticized JEB! for even suggesting that "there were mistakes" and "we have to learn from that"; Rubin's resolutely opposed to ever learning anything).

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