George Washington: Iran’s Words Mistranslated Again by Americans Trying to Start a War

Most Americans confuse zionism and Judaism.

While many assume that zionism simply means allowing the Israeli nation to exist, many zionists in high positions within the Netanyahu and Sharon administrations advocate for very different policies altogether, including the use of offensive wars throughout the  Middle East.  See this, and read the section entitled “Securing the Realm” here.

In reality, many devout Jews are against zionism as being antithetical to traditional Jewish values.  As such, many Jews say that criticizing zionism is not anti-semitism. … and some zionists themselves admit that even non-Jews have the right to criticize Israel.

Zionists can be also be Christian. Indeed, millions of fundamentalist Christians – including many in the American military –  want to start WWIII to speed the “second coming” of Jesus Christ.

As such, the common practice of American politicians and media of interchanging Iran’s words about the “zionist regime” with the word “Israel”  is disingenuous.  For example, AP reported today:

Israel‘s existence is an “insult to all humanity,” Iran’s president said Friday ….”The existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to all humanity,” Ahmadinejad said.

Criticizing a particular “regime” in Israel is akin to criticizing the “Bush administration” or the “Obama administration”.  For example, saying that Bush should have been impeached is not calling for the American government to be overthrown.

Similarly, the AP story repeated the old canard:

Tensions between Iran and Israel have intensified since 2005, when Ahmadinejad said in a speech that Israel will one day be “wiped off the map.”

In reality:

As a New York Times translation notes, Ahmadinejad wasn’t referring to Israel at all, but to the “regime” – i.e. the current political administration – in Israel.

Moreover, it was not Ahmadinejad himself speaking. He was quoting Ayatollah Khomeini, who died in 1989 (and who looked exactly like Sean Connery’s long-lost twin).

People can debate whether zionism is helpful or counter-productive, or which form of zionism is best.  But interchanging zionism and Israel without explanation is misleading.

And anti-semitism is wholly unacceptable, as is prosecution of Christians, Muslims or anyone else for their religion or race.

But whatever Iran’s faults, the fact is that:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander…


  1. F. Beard

    Indeed, millions of fundamentalist Christians – including many in the American military – want to start WWIII to speed the “second coming” of Jesus Christ. George Washington

    “Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord, for what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you? It will be darkness and not light; as when a man flees from a lion and a bear meets him, or goes home, leans his hand against the wall and a snake bites him.”

    “Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light, even gloom with no brightness in it?”

    “I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; and I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings.”

    “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.”

    “But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:18-24 New American Standard Bible (NASB) [emphasis added]

  2. Harold

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. The state of Israel is the Zionist regime. Zionism is equivalent to supporting the state of Israel. If you want to delegitimize the state of Israel, go ahead, but don’t insult our intelligence.

    This type of hyper-technical parsing is more deserving of a freshman dorm room than a respectable blog.

    1. Coldtype

      Harold be sure that you don’t forget to mention that one the central tenats of Zionism is the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from their land. That’s actually not cool with those of us who support both the Right of Return and a secular SINGLE Israeli state operating under the democratic principle of one man, one woman one vote.

    2. MRW

      Explaining the Long — and Largely Untold — History of Jewish Opposition to Zionism

      Allan C. Brownfeld
      Fall 2008

      by Yakov M. Rabkin

      Transcript of archival scan of a 1919 petition to Protest to ‘Wilson against Zionist State
      Link to NYT original here:

      The full text of the document was published 5 March 1919 in The NY Times under the headline, “Protest to ‘Wilson against Zionist State: Representative Jews Ask Him to Present it to the Peace Conferences.” It was divided into three sections: 1. Reject “National Home” Idea, 2. Against “Political Segregation,” and 3. Contrary to Democratic Ideals.

    3. Heron

      You, sir, are an idiot; one who is apparently unaware that the Jewish community of the United States was, pre WWII, one of the strongest bastions of anti-Zionism in the West, and that Reformed Judaism was generally hostile to Zionism until the founding of Israel.

    4. Walter Wit Man

      You’re way off.

      This “hyper technical” distinction was obviously very important to Jews themselves, especially before WWII.

      Also, it’s an important “hyper technical” distinction to the Iranians and Muslims and Arabs in most of the world. They are making a distinction so when we translate their words we should emphasize they were making this distinction in the original language.

    1. RalphR

      Harold right above just proved you wrong.

      And to Harold, go read Ha’aretz. Israel does not = Zionism. But the neocon oriented Jews in the US push that line, and you are just replaying their PR here.

      1. rotter

        Thats the main problem with the trying to deal with the right. They are completely immune to any argument, no matter how well constructed and supported with true, independently verifiable facts, which runs counter to thier own pre-decided belief system. The right is not an ideology its a kind of person – The typical wingnut argues entirely from emotion,from outraged sentimentality . They suport thier arguments with intuitive generalities which they repeat over and over again like a mantra. Once a concept has been incorporated, and emotionally internalized by the wingnut, only some more powerfull personal experience, some subjective need is capable of dislodging them from it. The gradual growth of TV sit- com character Archie Bunker demonstrated how this works. By the last season Archie was a changed man from the first, but he had to suffer, people he cared for had to suffer, often unjustly, and even die in a few cases, before any other consciousness could penetrate his thick bone head.

        1. DG Dixon

          “The right is not an ideology its a kind of person – The typical wingnut argues entirely from emotion,from outraged sentimentality . They suport thier arguments with intuitive generalities which they repeat over and over again like a mantra.”

          Spot on description.

          1. ambrit

            Dear hartman;
            So, you’d rather hang out with machines? The beauty of humans is their mixing of cold intellect with warm intuition. (Do notice the unfair use of trigger words in that sentence.) Balance is all. Most thinkers from those days to the present agree on that. Balance usually requires compromises. Physics is physics, and on a sufficiently rough scale is bound by quantifiable terms. Human interactions, on the other hand… Somehow, I seriously doubt if we will ever see a Hari Seldon.
            That’s why commentators on any site you care to name are such a hoot, they’re humans. (Bots become pretty easy to spot once you figure out their programming parameters.)
            Thanks for letting me enthuse.

  3. Clive

    Also Great Britain has a long and sordid form on imperialist meddling in Iran — much longer alas that I can type on an iPhone but can be researched by anyone with an interest. So it’s not just the US playing here …

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Yes INDEED!

      Has anyone ever heard of the Iranian holocaust?

      More Persians were killed by the British in WWI than Jews were killed by the Nazis in WWII.

      Yet we don’t see many monuments to these dead Persians.

      Churchill and gang can only be described as terrorists. They killed and starved the Persian population to get what they want.

  4. Expat

    Omigod! You cannot insult Israel! You are a Nazi, a fascist, a card-carrying member of Al Qaeda, a bad, evil, mean person who hates America and Israel because of their freedoms.

    Even correcting lies and errors which exonerate people of anti-semitism and anti-Israeli thought or speech is tatamount to being a Nazi or Muslamic terrorist. If we stop the Jews from shopping, the Iranian Arabs will win!

    Quiz: Find the logical and factual errors in the above argument. For bonus points, reconstruct the same lunatic argument in a coherent, cogent, and CNN worthy form.

    1. Andrew

      I could roll out a long list of Jewish, group thinking, extreme neo-liberals who hold prominent positions in major banks, the treasury, fed and regulatory institutions….but that would also be anti-semitic right?

      Some estimates put both the Jewish and Islamic populations in the USA at around 5 million.

      The money has the microphone.

    2. smellslikechapter11

      Just for the record, Iranians are not Arabs and would resent being lumped into that group. Arabs are peopel who speak Arabic. The Iranians speak Farsi.

      1. ambrit

        Dear slc11;
        Good catch, and do notice how hard the Sunni House of Saud tries to beat back the Persian Threat. (Not only do they have their own oil, but, they’re Sixers!)
        As an added bonus: If one were wondering how a Christian Fundamentalist Protestant Theocracy would run America, just take a look at Saudi Arabia.

  5. polistra

    Instead of analyzing meanings, I’d rather examine demonstrated tendencies.

    The notion that aggressive talk always leads to aggression just doesn’t wash. Aggressors will sometimes give fair warning of their intentions, sometimes not.

    In this specific case, Ahmadinejad has been talking about wiping Israel off the map for quite a while, but he hasn’t done anything to make it happen. During the same period, Israel has directly attacked its neighbors several times.

    Persia has not directly attacked another country for 1300 years. It has often played proxy games, supporting Hezbollah and other groups, but it hasn’t invaded anyone. That’s not how they operate.

  6. clivel

    So if Iran is the Jewish Utopia that the duplicitous author of this article would have one believe, then one can only wonder why Ahmadinejad instituted a state sponsored “Holocaust cartoon” competition?

    1. Yves Smith

      Iran has no history in the modern era of aggressive action. You can hardly say the same of Israel.

      1. krb

        I’m a fan of your Yves, but come on. Iran supports terrorism all over the world. Just because they don’t do it with their own armies doesn’t make it any less deadly or inflammatory. We and Israel may be gultiy of same, but at least our stated govt policy isn’t to wipe another off the face of the earth. Providing cover for Iran like this is dangerous. krb

        1. Strangely Enough

          “We and Israel may be gultiy of same, but…”

          And that is usually where discussion breaks down.

        2. RalphR

          The US has done more to undermine governments around the world than ANY other state, by far.

          The US also overthrew Iran’s democratically elected government in the 1950s and installed the Shah, or did you forget that part?

          Iran was also remarkably helpful to the US right after 9/11, to the point where Stratfor regularly discussed “The Coming US/Iran Alliance.” Oh, but then Bush decided to include Iran in his Axis of Evil. I suspect the Saudis had a lot to do with that.

          Iran is one of the states that funds Hezbollah. Hezbollah is active only in the Middle East. To call Iran a sponsor of terrorism around the world is quite a stretch. The claim that Hezbollah was behind bombings in Bulgaria, etc. has been debunked and is likely Isreal propaganda.

          1. PaulW

            Actually Jewish-Canadian David Frum made sure to include Iran in the Axis of Evil speech he wrote for Bush. No hidden agenda there, right?

        3. Yalt

          “at least our stated govt policy isn’t to wipe another off the face of the earth”

          My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

          (That this goal* was eventually achieved, and without the dropping of a single bomb, might give a clue to the difference between the actual and purported meaning of Ahmedinejad’s words.)

          *With the substitution of the more accurate “Soviet Union” for Russia, of course. There was a certain segment of American wingnuttery that had terrible difficulty making such subtle distinctions, and Reagan was certainly one.

        4. Walter Wit Man

          False equivalence.

          When has Iran committed or supported terrorism?

          Even if we accept your silly claims that it has, the alleged incidents are probably 1/10th of the terror that Israel and the U.S. have committed. So Iran is a much more peaceful country than the U.S. and Israel and you should redirect your aggression to the guilty parties.

          But even the alleged incidents of terrorism are bullshit. Hizbullah? Uh, this is a defensive organization. They were active defending themselves from an Israeli assault just 5 years ago. How many civilians did Hizbullah kill and how many soldiers? How many civilians did Israel kill and how many “soldiers?” Where did these deaths occur?

          On Lebanese soil and Hizbullah was obviously the more just fighting force judged by civilian vs. military deaths. This was not “terrorism.” If anyone committed terrorism in this incident it was the U.S. who supported Israeli terror.

          1. chris

            Did you forget the Beirut bombing?

            Iran has been found guilty in multiple courts for supporting terrorism. There have been billions of dollars of judgements awarded against them. They ignore the suits and deny everything until their money is frozen and then come in to try to appeal. Pretty standup guys.

            Not that Israel is without blame.

            The web of lies and bullshit goes back so far there isn’t a way to say who is right and wrong, everyone has been acting like assholes for centuries.

          2. Walter Wit Man


            You’re citing default judgments from what are usually politically motivated New York courts.

            Iran was just found guilty of 9/11 by one of these Kangaroo courts, right?


            No self respecting nation should subject itself to American “justice.” It’s a mockery. Just look at the way Obama is violating international law.

            These silly default judgments are bare threads holding together U.S./Israeli terrorism. Economic sanctions kill people. The U.S. and Israel engage in terrorism when they encircle a people and try to cut off or control all economic activity and access to daily life.

            Once U.S. courts start fairly applying any law, let alone international law, we’ll talk about your silly default judgments.

            So we have one incident in Beirut, which was a military target, as your evidence of “terrorism.” I now have learned about so many dirty tricks that I would like to review these facts. Did Iran admit to this act?

            How many people have the U.S./Israel assassinated within the last couple years? Is that legal in your mind? Should a U.S. court hold Israel responsible and seize its assets?

      2. krb

        Regarding the comments above that Iran has not “directly attacked another country for 1300 years….”

        War is initiated when they are perceived to be winnable. Iran hasn’t had that capability in centuries, and they know it. Supporting terrorism by others makes perfect strategic sense. Now give them a nuclear weapon and first strike capability……??!! Let’s see how long they remain content inside their own borders.

        Again, suggesting Iran is less bad than Israel, or the US for that matter, when it really only reflects their present lesser capability, is naive, or dangerous. or both. krb

        1. Roland

          Even if Iran possessed some nuclear weapons, they would still be more than amply deterred by the very formidable nuclear and conventional forces possessed by other countries.

          Of Iran’s neighbours or near-neighbours, Russia, Pakistan, India, and Israel all have nuclear warheads and credible delivery systems. The USA also has nuclear weapons deployed in the region, to say nothing of its strong intercontinental capabilities. Turkey is part of NATO, and three of the NATO countries are nuclear-armed. Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf states are formal military allies of the USA and under protection of the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal.

          So you know full well that any suggestion of overt Iranian aggression would make you look and sound pretty foolish. Therefore, you retreat to the last refuge of the war-monger. You claim that a handful of nuclear weapons would emboldened the Iranians to sponsor some more covert acts of terrorism.

          But what you fail to understand or, more likely, refuse to understand, is that Iran is every bit as heavily deterred in the realm of covert warfare as they would be in open warfare. Indeed, countries such as Israel, Russia, and the USA all possess covert warfare capabilities which are considerably superior to Iran’s.

          Moreover, both the Israelis and the Americans would be eager to blame any international nuclear terroristic incident upon the Iranians (whether the Iranians were actually to blame or not), and their governments might welcome the opportunity to retaliate massively without incurring worldwide odium.

          Overt, covert, no matter–deterrence every which way.

          So even Iran built a few nuclear weapons, they would almost certainly behave with the exact same sort of circumspection that has been so far been practiced by every single country that ever built a nuclear warhead, a circumspection universally maintained regardless of whatever type of government or ideology has been involved in the respective nuclear-armed countries.

          You have already fully confessed that Iran’s mullahs utilize rational, cost-benefit thinking in their power-politics. Ergo, they’re deterrable.

          We’ve had more than thirty years to learn if the Iranian theocrats are the sort of people to do the gotterdammerung thing. Well, the evidence is as clear as it gets: they’re not!

          So what good is a nuclear weapon to Iran?

          1. They can face an aggressor with the possibility of grievous loss, therefore augmenting Iran’s own deterrence and defense capability. Even opponents with a good ABM capability would have to ask themselves whether they’re feeling lucky.

          2. Iran becomes more attractive as an ally, and their diplomacy would carry a bit more clout, because other actors would be less keen to threaten escalation in any given crisis. This, not some silly nonsense of being wiped off a map, is what has the Israeli government whingeing so much. Gone foreover might be the days of Israel being able to attack other countries with relative impunity. Now Iran or its allies could retaliate tit-for-tat, saying “we can match you escalation for escalation. Have you had enough yet? Why don’t we just sit down somewhere in Switzerland and have ourselves a nice little chat?”

          Of course, having a pleasant little chat in Switzerland concerning, say, Palestine or the Golan, is about the last thing on Earth that today’s average Israeli politician is psychologically or culturally equipped to cope with. Israeli politicians would much rather get on the phone and simply whinge to their American counterparts, as has become their characteristic habit in recent years.

          3. An nuclear-armed Iran would find it easier to avoid being dragged into a potential future world conflict. This is very important, since Iran’s history in the 20th century was a history of twice being invaded, partitioned, and occupied by powerful foreign countries engaged in such major conflicts–conflicts which otherwise did not directly concern Iran. In the 21st century, it is not terribly difficult to imagine that, for example, the USA and China might come into open conflict. Once again, Iran might find itself treated as a strategic prize in somebody else’s stupid war. But a nuclear-armed Iran would have an easier time maintaining its neutrality in the face of pressure from the belligerents. Who could justly refuse the Iranians such a capacity?

          1. jonboinAR

            I’m afraid I can’t think major sponsors of Islamic terrorism as a particularly peace loving nation. I have to then give credit to the other side’s argument that although Iran hasn’t initiated (overt) war with anyone, they haven’t been in a position where it might advance their other interests to go to war, either. They have certainly, since the days of Khomeini, SPOKEN belligerently about Israel, regularly, as well as carried on covert warfare through, what it it, Hezbollah?

            I can’t believe I’m taking an Israel-policy-favoring argument. I’m not a big Israel fan, either. I believe it has entirely too much influence over the US. I just disagree with the argument (you were one of the one’s making it, about peace-loving Iran.

            That said, I’d rather let Iran get nukes than attack her. Our own neo-con-like belligerence we’ve shown since the GWB administration has been a dreadful mistake, IMO.

        2. Flying Kiwi

          “War is initiated when they are perceived to be winnable…”

          This was hardly the case when Great Britain declared war on Nazi Germany on 1939. It also wasn’t the case to anyone with two brain-cells to rub together when certain Wars were declared on Drugs and Terrorism respectively.

          1. Yves Smith

            Germany was required by treaty obligations to declare war after Germany invaded Belgium and France. Do your homework.

      3. NYShooter

        Very disappointing, Yves. Your usual pin-point accuracy in propagating your point of view is usually one of life’s joys for me.

        What happened here? We’re doing gutter snark now?

        Not very clever snark at that. I gotta get outta here, the more I read it the more head shaking taking place. I don’t want to over do it but it is analogous to dropping the “N” word……for me, anyway.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          What is inaccurate about Yves’ sharp pinpoint? It’s unambiguous fact. Your empty head-shaking does nothing to negate it; it may in fact be aggravating your own cognitive dissonance. The truth will set you free.

      4. jonboinAR

        Yves Smith said: “Iran has no history in the modern era of aggressive action.”

        Covertly, through Hezbollah?

    2. MRW

      The NYT’s Roger Cohen would not agree with you. He visited and reported on Iranian Jews. You ought to look them up. Might remove your ignorance.

  7. digi_owl

    It is easy to be pro war when one have oceans on two sides, a subservient neighbor to the north, and a ineffective one to the south.

  8. Working Class Nero

    Totally agree that Judaism does NOT equal Zionism. If it did there would not be many Jews living outside of Israel. In fact some Jews think that any form of Zionism is heresy and that the existence of the so-called “State of Israel” is illegitimate.

    “and some Zionists themselves admit that even non-Jews have the right to criticize Israel” Wow, how white of them to give us goyim the right to criticize them. In fact I will criticize anyone, anywhere, anytime and will not ask permission first. The whole idea that certain groups need to give permission before they can be criticized implies that these groups should be competing in the Special Olympics.

    But to say the words “Zionist regime” does not refer to the State of Israel is sheer stupidity. Israel’s Zionist mission is enshrined in the Basic Laws, Israel’s constitution. To somehow think that Iran meant anything but what they said is cowardly at best and deceitful at worst. Do you really think there are people stupid enough to buy this crap?

    It is illeagal in most Islamic states to utter the word Israel. Iran has been using the term “Zionist regime” for years, even before Netanyahu came to power.

    Zionist entity and Zionist regime both refer to Israel.

    Deal with it.

    1. George Washington Post author

      I’m not really sure what you are trying to say. Many people – including many jews – think that, for example, that the Netanyahu and Sharon administrations have acted in far too bellicose a manner which is not necessitated by self-defense.

      Moreover, most of the world thinks that Palestinian rights should be respected, even as Israel defends itself.

      Criticizing the current regime is not the same as saying “Israel should be wiped off the map”.

      1. Working Class Nero

        (Sorry for the double post, please delete the first one)

        Totally agree that many people, myself included, are critical of both the current regime and the Sharon regime. But that is not what Iran meant. When they say “Zionist regime” they mean Israel. Even if Noam Chomsky was prime minister of Israel they would still call it the Zionist regime. They certainly used this term during the regime of Ehud Olmert.

        Let’s turn this around. In your opinion, what term would the Iranians have used had they meant Israel as an entity instead of as you suppose just the current government?

        1. George Washington Post author

          Oh, I don’t know. There could be lots of alternatives. Here are 6 right off the top of my head:

          1. Israel
          2. The great and wonderful state of Israel.
          3. The purported nation calling itself Israel.
          4. The so-called state of Israel
          5. The wrongfully-formed state of Israel
          6. The alleged state taken from the Palestinians

          1. Tim

            Well, apparently the Iranian regime needs some new advisors to help leadership clarify their statements so they don’t end up with a big target on their back by the largest military in the world.

            Either the Iranian leadership means wipe Israel off the map or they are playing chicken with their words, just like their stepbother Saddam/Iraq did.

            I have to give the benefit of the doubt to the former, because the latter is just to stupid and irresponsible to be taken at face value.

            All that being said, saber rattling is saber rattling, and even with a Nuclear Iran, MADD is still on the table from the Iranian perspective, so it will likely stay saber rattling.

          2. MRW

            “Either the Iranian leadership means wipe Israel off the map or they are playing chicken with their words … I have to give the benefit of the doubt to the former, because the latter is just to stupid and irresponsible to be taken at face value.”

            The Iranians (Persians) invented Chess, war strategy, and have held onto their land and culture for over 6000 years.

          3. jonboinAR

            I agree with those who say you’re parsing words too much. Those were belligerent words toward Israel, and I’m not particularly a fan of Israel. I’m definitely not in favor of attacking Iran.

          4. novo

            Funny. Following a comment on the post in your own blog, I reached this:

            At first, I was sure this is another Zionist propganda effort to smear the current (rationalist) regime in Iran. I mean, you had to make up things like this:

            Ahmadinejad said that a ‘dreadful Zionist current’ has been managing the key international affairs over the past 400 years and “behind the scene of the world’s main powers, media, monetary and banking centers.”

            Right? Zionism, 400 years? Surely, he’s meaning Netanyahu and just this last term, right?

            Anyhow, that’s why I didn’t give much notice to their translation of “Zionist regime” (can’t trust a Zionist Farsi tranlsation, can you?):

            “The Zionist regime (Israel) is both the symbol of Zionism in the world and a tool to reinforce the dominance of arrogant powers in the region and across the globe,” President Ahmadinejad said.

            But then, I found out it’s actually state-funded (by Iran). I’m guessing they got some Farsi native speakers there, and maybe even some reporters that can communicate with the current (rationalist, non-antisemic, just very anti-zionsit for the last 400 years) regime and verify the transaltion and meaning, etc.


            You got issues with the whole Isreal-US-Iran-Nuclear situation ? Fine, many US/Iranian/Israelis got issues with this.

            Don’t try to over-parse the Iranian regime out of its agenda and ideology. It’s pathethic.

  9. briansays

    israel a middle class nation the second largest receipient of foreign aid behind egypt cuz that how you buy peace each gets equal aid and for israel its corporate welfare for Americas defense industries

  10. middle seaman

    Way too many facts in this article are wrong. There is no point going over them. The implication that Zionism and a war against Iran make no sense and defames the nationalistic movement of the Jews.

    Factually, the Israeli military is openly opposed to attacking Iran. There seems to be a majority in Israel against such a war. Our leaders wall to wall support the 1%, this doesn’t imply that the American idea is corrupt.

    George, how about dealing with areas you know something about and have no ethnic bias about.

      1. NYShooter

        George, is this post the usual fare here? I never saw so many straw horses erected, and bravely shot down in my life. Then, some yukka putz swaggers in and lets us know in no uncertain terms that “he ain’t gonna aks anyone’s permission to talk? did someone tell him he neede permission, or is it those voices again.

        Oh, well, it’s Friday, maybe they’re just drunk.

  11. Peter

    It is refreshing to see vigorous open debate about Israel / Zionism / Judaism rather than an immediate attempt to shut down any criticism of Israel as inherently “anti-Semitic,” which it is not. I applaud all previous posters for keeping their posts centered on ideas and not on demonization.

  12. jsmith


    We don’t debate the nuances of Wahhabism or the different sects of Islamist thought when we deem that this nation or that nation is in violation of human rights and Israel should be no different.

    Who cares what Israeli’s believe anymore, the actions of their country have for decades spoken loudly enough for any non-brainwashed American citizen to see what sort of country they truly are.

    As an American citizen, in viewing all of the war crimes my own country has been guilty of over the last few decades, I would expect nothing less than the hatred and scorn of the rest of humanity, the rest of humanity who doesn’t give a sh*t if we’re Christian or Muslim or Mormon but who gives a sh*t that we are murderers, thieves and liars.

    Oh but there are good Israelis and Americans….

    Save it for your rationalized consciences.

  13. Gvmeabreak

    Sure- let’s give nukes to every nation on earth. That is a sure recipe for peace. Let’s also give a gun to every person on earth- using the same logic.
    Iran is a special case because they specifically call for the destruction of Israel. Maybe not just Iran, but no nation should be allowed into the nuclear ”club”

    1. PaulW

      Correct, Iran is a special case. They follow IAEA rules, allow international inspectors to observe their nuclear program and say they do not want nuclear weapons, yet they are subjected to aggressive economic sanctions which are basically an act of war. Quite unique treatment for a country which has not broken any international laws.

      1. LucyLulu

        We’ve been reading different reports. Per the IAEA, Iran has not been cooperating with the IAEA and international inspectors on more than a sporadic and incomplete basis. Granted however, the IAEA is not necessarily a credible source.

    2. jonboinAR

      “WE” aren’t “giving” them nukes. They’re making them on their own (I assume they are). So how do you propose to stop them? Go to war? I’m not willing to do that. Any country can start a war, but it ends when and wherever it ends.

  14. SteveA

    You’re suggesting the NYT got the translation right — by linking to a speech Ahmadinejad made 7 years ago?

    The speech he gave YESTERDAY — to “spontaneous” chants of “Death to Israel” from the crowd — includes this:

    “We desire […] a new Mideast, but in ours no traces will remain of the Zionists.”

    The French government called this speech “outrageous” and “totally inacceptable” — or perhaps you think the French government is also a tool of Zionist disinformation?

  15. jabre

    Yves, perhaps you can help us understand the goal of your Naked Capitalism blog?

    I come to this blog frequently to understand issues with the financial system that are difficult to find elsewhere. That is very much appreciated.

    You also have a intermittently post on Israel or Jewish businessmen. I’m really finding it difficult to understand the relationship.

    Should these Israel/Jewish postings and comments perhaps be sponsored based on your real name rather than your pseudonym? This seems very personal in nature and focused outside of what I would expect from ‘Yves the author.’

    1. George Washington

      That is a very subtle number 14:

      Yves did not write this … I did.

      MY motivation in writing this is to prevent unnecessary war which will kill many innocents and which will trigger a global recession:

      Tilting at windmills …

    2. PaulW

      Any attack on Iran will likely mean the end of the global economy. That makes the subject a financial issue.

      1. neo-realist

        “Any attack on Iran will likely mean the end of the global economy. That makes the subject a financial issue.”

        Which is ultimately why there won’t be an attack. Most of the people with the gold won’t stand for their profit bottom line threatened by a potential world war.

  16. gabariel ben avraham

    So the mullahs can have their sh’ite islamic fascist police state, and the sauds can have their sunni oil welfare to extreemist doctrine and the rest of the middle east can stew in it’s machiavelian assinations of secret police, all so conveniently blamed on “American Imperialism”, just don’t let there be any jews who have the temerity to demand their spot of earth along with them, but in their own country . No, that’s just too demeaning for the seathing biggotry of any self-respecting moslem, right?
    We all know what the Iranians are saying, we’ve got the translation jack. And if you think your blog is anything close to a fair-minded presentation of the facts of the 50+ year conflict, then you’ve been sucking on that hookah pipe too hard.

    1. jonboinAR

      Well, the rub of course, has always lied in the fact that for the Jews to have their little spot, a bunch of Muslims would have to leave, or maybe become second class citizens. The Jews, or Israelis, have always been pretty forceful, or belligerent, about that. The Muslims have always been forceful, or belligerent, about saying, “No. That’s not going to happen.” There you have it.

      1. Jagger

        It would be nice to prevent a war with Iran but millions and millions around the world and in America protested against the attack on Iraq. Bush and Cheney and I am sure with the urging of Israel and the oil companies invaded anyway.

        Iraq was a third world country with a third world military and sitting on a huge pot of oil. No threat of any sort to America. Iraq did not attack the US nor was there any imminent threat of attack nor did they threaten to attack the US. Yet we attacked them anyway. The attack and invasion of Iraq was one of the most blatent examples of unadulterated aggression in modern history. Where and what are the consequences for Bush/Cheney???

        Iraq didn’t even have nuclear weapons!!! Of course, the possession of nuclear weapons is not a legally justifiable reason for war anyway.

        Having seen George IIIs performance over the last 4 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had invaded Iraq just as Bush.

        Hope we can stop the next one but I am afraid I am not too optimistic as to my ability to stop them.

  17. gabariel ben avraham

    Anyway GW, you are completely biased about the existance of the state of Israel as you say it was a country taken from the Palestinians. As If. As if there ever was a state called Palestine, as if it was “taken”, as if there is any such a people as Palestinians. Funny thing, I’ve been in the ME a lot and your so called Palestinians remind me a lot of the Jordanians I know, or even some Egyptians, especailly the arabs you find in gaza. Course Israel gave gaza “back” to the arabs and the first thing they wanted to do was declare war on Israel. Nice. And if there ever is a country in what is call the “west bank’ that is not Israel it will be an arab country, not a palestinian one. That is certain.

    1. Gvmeabreak

      Gut gesucht. Amazing how otherwise educated people become ignorant bigots about world affairs.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “Palestina” was the name bestowed on the region by the Roman Empire centuries ago.

  18. psychohistorian

    GW, thanks for stirring the pot, so to speak.

    Yves, Thanks for letting GW stir the pot

    To all those that this posting stirred up, fuck you and all the self centered racists of the world. The rest of us billions out here trying to live don’t give a shit about your historic squabbles and petty hatred. We care that you are providing a distraction to and cover for the global inherited rich and our stupid class based social organization based on unfettered inheritance and ongoing private ownership of property.

    Mankind no longer has the luxury to be stuck in the 15th century and the sooner the social organizational idiocy of that era fails completely the sooner the survivors can build anew.

    1. Ormond Otvos

      Well, Hari, now that you’ve got that off your chest…

      Humans do war. It’s an emergent characteristic of our adaptations to an ancient niche.

      We might have to do our own Collapse and we might never get it straight.

      Sorry. We have good potential and bad potential. We seem to be feeding both at the same time. Bill Gates working for raising the living standards, and Mitt Rmoney and Paul Rayn for lowering it.

      1. George Washington Post author

        “Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

        – Nazi leader Hermann Goering

  19. Geoff

    A small point: Zionism is racism. Zionism posits one ethnic group over another. An “ideology that seeks to build a society around a certain type of people defined by ethnicity or religion is inevitably going to feature racism, supremacy and oppression—especially when the vast majority of native inhabitants where such an ideology is implemented are unwelcomed.”

    In fact, unconscoius racism is the premise of many articles in the mainstream media. A couple of days ago David Aron Miller had an article about the “demographic” threat to Israel due to high Palestinian birth rates.

    What he didn’t tell us is how many Arabs should be allowed in Israel. As Americans we should be deeply repelled by the racism of Israel.

    1. jonboinAR

      Man, we’re all racists, for the most part. We all want to advance the interests of our own culture. I don’t blame Israel. They would get swamped, eventually. I don’t blame the Arabs or Pals, or whatever term you want. That WAS their territory. Their belligerence, war, terrorism, whatever, has made the rest of us not forget it.

      I think BOTH have a claim. Eventually it will have to be settled.

      I’ve had a thought for some time. What if Israel, with some help (as they’ve often had), were to buy the interests of the Palestinians off, literally, for money. Say half a trillion. Then the Palestinians went somewhere else to live, perhaps taken into other Arab countries around the area. Is that in any way feasible?

      1. ambrit

        Dear jbAR;
        Not a bad idea if you assume rationality and altruism as national policy drivers. Unfortunately: Take a look at Jordans’ handling of the Palestinian refugees after the 1947 War. Or that of any of the other ‘Arab’ countries. The tragedy of the Palestinians is that everyone has treated them as pawns.
        No one has clean hands in the Middle East.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Geoff, it began as a political land grab (esp. for The City in Tel Aviv) and it morphed into the Ultra-Orthodox Theocracy land grab it is today.

  20. woah

    Oh boy. This post is going to bring out the internet police Yves.

    “The Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) is a private, independent, non-violent protest organization representing a collective of activists, operating under the name “Jewish Internet Defense Force”

    1. ambrit

      Dear woah;
      If they’re anything like the old JDF types I encountered as a teenager, they’ll make a mockery of all three assertions in the groups “Mission Statement.” Wouldn’t internet operatives working for this group more properly be called “Golems?”

  21. Walter Wit Man

    Are the comments getting jacked up on this post only or has this been an ongoing thing on this site?

    Comments aren’t nesting appropriately and wonder if this particular post was targeted.

    1. knowbuddhau

      I’ve seen it happen before. Right now, I’m seeing “jsmith says: August 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm” above my post “knowbuddhau says: August 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm.”

  22. knowbuddhau

    What is it about Israel that it holds such sway over the West? It’s the mythology.

    Speaking as one who was raised Protestant, then Catholic, and now in adulthood has become Zen, it seems plain as day: many, many peole think they have to have access to Israel in order to get their sorry, sinning souls into Heaven. As a kid, I remember looking to the news for evidence of the imminent Rapture. I was so terrorized by this myth that, were I to come home from school to an empty house, I would panic, assuming that everyone else got Raptured but me.

    Israel’s leaders will use this power to extort all the advantage from the West that it can. And so will her zealous supporters (I’m thinkning mostly of the group known in intel circles as “the crazies,” but they’re not alone in this). That’s the weaponized power of myth.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Here’s an excerpt from a State Department assessment of Iran from 1961. (Joseph Campbell began lecturing for State’s Foreign Service Institute in 1956; his official chronology doesn’t list an end date

      If whoever wrote this believed it, they were way over their pay grade.

      Good and Evil

      There are certain key concepts of the world which are born and bred into Iranians which unfortunately tend to sharpen the terrible psychological dilemma outlined above. They are rooted in Iranian history, and can be traced back to Zoroastrianism and picked up again in the Iranian interpretation of Shi’a Islam.

      Persians tend to believe in the all-pervasive presence of a powerful force of evil in the world. All actions, all motives, are divisible into good and evil. It is probable at any time in history that the forces of evil control the world, while the good man, like the hidden Imam, is forced to hide and remain inconspicuous, to lie and pretend if need be, until the moment arrives for battle. Thus, most Persians cannot ascribe political actions with which they disagree to error, or to grant good intentions to the author of such actions. The term “political compromise” cannot be translated into colloquial Persian without a connotation of “sell-out”.

      Two results follow from this–first, since the forces of evil are strong and organized, actions by others which one disapproves are not isolated, they are linked together in a mesh of intertwining conspiracies with an overall evil motive behind them. Second, public and private morality are inextricably confused–no politician with a reprehensible private life can be other than evil in his public actions, and no saintly man can be really wrong in his public life.

      As a corollary of the above, Persians tend to follow blindly a man who has convinced them that he is on the side of right, without examining political issues critically. Since members of the urban middle class have deep aggressive drives against the traditional ruling class and the Westerner, it is natural to associate a saintly leader with opposition to these two forces. All the ingredients are present for what we would call demagogic politics directed against them as scapegoats and as evil forces. [Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963 Volume XVII, Near East, 1961–1962, Document 27.

      What I’d dearly love to see, is the similar “country report” on the US. I vaguely remember a kerfuffle about someone (an Israeli official?) saying something about how to jack the US with this power. But I haven’t had any coffee yet. A little help?

      1. knowbuddhau

        Found it serendipitously.

        Netanyahu: ‘America is a thing you can move very easily’

        It refers to a 2001 video in which Netanyahu is speaking to a group of settlers, after some sort of attack.

        “‘America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their [sic] way.'”

        Sure would like to know exactly what he meant by that.

        Also, note how Saudi Arabia’s “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” uses the same power over Muslims.

        The Custodian’s show
        What the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” seems to have perpetrated is a savvy, Washington-style PR coup. He was evidently advised to seat Ahmadinejad to his left and the Emir of Qatar to his right. The graphic message; this triumvirate – two Sunni Wahhabi powers, one Khomeinist Shi’ite – is deciding the future of the Middle East. We – Wahhabis – are not bent on destroying those infidel Shi’ites.

        Not so fast. My colleague Kaveh Afrasiabi has argued Tehran may have fallen into a trap; they were expecting a real effort of mediation and political dialogue instead of the meeting’s priority – to suspend and eventually expel their ally Syria (See Saudis use summit to isolate Syria, Iran , Asia Times Online, August 15, 2012).

        Behind all the syrupy shenanigans, the fact is the House of Saud and Tehran didn’t – and couldn’t – possibly agree on anything; this was more like a “let’s keep talking” – the Mecca version of the good ol’ US-USSR red telephone. The “Custodian” called for “solidarity, tolerance and moderation”; hard to see any of this as the House of Saud – and Qatar – weaponize runaway gangs and an array of beheading-happy Salafi-jihadis in Syria. [Pepe Escobar: All (war) roads lead to Mecca, 17 Aug 2012 ]

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          k, it looks like the .01% is undoing Muhammad’s Plan: to unite all Muslims as one force against “the Other. Hear tell that a Sunni-Shi’a Sectarian War is afoot. BP and the Power in London must be drooling with excitement.

  23. Zion ueber alles

    Here in the US of A, we officially, legally have no problem with hate speech and war propaganda, however exterminationist or genocidal. It is fully lawful and protected in international law, American-style. The US entered a reservation to CCPR Article 20 to release all countries from their obligation to refrain from hate speech. So even if Iran said we should wipe Israel off the map – which they didn’t – that would be OK. When you Zionazis compared your genocidal policy for Palestinians to keeping “drugged cockroaches in a bottle,” – which you did – that’s OK too! There’s no crime, no casus belli. So go whine to people who give a crap about your precious genocidal Zionazi feewings. When you simmer down in a few years we’ll talk it over with you in the International Criminal Court. (No? Never? You sure? Times change, you know.)

  24. indio007

    3 big lies.

    Hating Zionists means you hate Jews.
    Hating Israel means you hate Jews.
    Hating Jews is racism.

    Being a Jew is practicing a religion.
    Being a Zionist is advocating a political position
    Israel is a body politic created by the advocacy and terrorism of Zionists.

    Obviously comparing Jewish with Zionist is apples to oranges.

  25. gc_wall

    Congress uses one source for the translation of Arab newspapers and public discourse. There is a question as to the accuracy of the translations, because the people who operate the translation service have ties to the Israeli Mossad. Congress continues to get its translations from this single source. There are examples on-line that demonstrate how the translation service has manipulated translations that Congress members read. The translations are decidedly from a right wing Israeli perspective and are often inflamatory in nature while attempting to appear neutral.

Comments are closed.