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Netanyahu Shilling for Romney in Florida TV Ad

Now, I’ve seen everything.  Back in the day, an Israeli prime minister wouldn’t breathe a word about his personal political preferences regarding U.S. presidential races.  Israel’s leaders knew that they’d need to work with whoever became president, and for them discretion was the better part of valor.  There was a certain humility in recognizing that Israel needed the support of whichever candidate won, and couldn’t be seen to be playing favorites.

Bibi Netanyahu has thrown caution to the winds and doubled down on Mitt Romney, who everyone and his brother knew was supporting Romney to begin with.  Now, Politico reports that a pro-Israel 501c4 called Secure American Now, has produced a campaign ad (view it) that it plans to run in Florida which will feature Netanyahu.  Frankly, I’ve never heard of an Israeli leader making an ad as part of a U.S. presidential campaign.  It runs the risk of stirring a harsh response from Americans who believe that foreign leaders shouldn’t be injecting themselves into partisan American politics.

Presumably, the ad sponsors believe that in this critical swing state, the prime minister will have some impact on elderly Jewish voters.  But given the fact that the majority of American Jews support a two-state solution and allowing sanctions against Iran to work before pursuing an attack, and Mitt doesn’t (nor does Bibi, but that’s for another discussion), which Jews will be persuaded by the ad’s shrill, strident tone?

Secure America Now was founded a year ago by a (nominally) Democratic and Republican pollster, Pat Caddell and John McLaughlin (who has polled for Netanyahu as well), who sought to inject national security issues into the 2012 presidential elections. Regardless of claims of bipartisanship, the ads it airs are stridently hawkish and rooted firmly in neocon views. They decry the closure of “black sites” on foreign soil at which torture was used against Muslim detainees and the abandonment of brutal interrogation techniques like waterboarding.

The Netanyahu ad opens with the hawkish leader begging American viewers to understand why someone has to attack Iran before it’s too late. If that someone isn’t the U.S. then by God, it’ll have to get out of the way and let Israel do the job. It closes with the tagline: “The world needs American strength, not American apologies.” The apology trope is a false one claimed by the far-right regarding Barack Obama’s first interview as president, which was with a Middle Eastern news agency.

As a 501c4, Secure America Now is non-profit and doesn’t have to list its donors. It’s website is a virtual tabula rosa, which doesn’t list any names at all of either staff or directors.

The campaign features a $1-million ad buy in Florida.  The question is: who’s paying?  No one knows, though given Netanyahu’s participation, it’s a likely guess that Sheldon Adelson, his chief financial benefactor, can’t be far behind.

My one pet peeve about the ad, above and beyond its patent propagandistic nature, is the misuse of the wonderful Armenian wind instrument, the duduk, to convey an ominous, threatening tone in the soundtrack. For God’s sake people, the duduk is a beautiful, soulful instrument. Don’t turn it into a musical caricature used for the purpose of spooking audiences into menacing thoughts of Middle Eastern terrorism.

The ad is shameful. The sponsoring group is shameful. Bibi’s participation is shameful. Not surprising, but shameful nonetheless.  I just published a tweet that said (pardon the strong language–it was a tweet after all):

Bibi demands red lines and so do I: stay the fuck out of U.S. electoral politics!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Fred Plester September 20, 2012, 3:09 AM

    This is almost beyond belief to a UK resident: accepting political donations from a foreign government, even in kind or through a cutout, is not only illegal here, but actually considered unacceptable even by politicians. Here you have a foreign head of government, who hopes to obtain US aid in money and military support, effectively trying to buy the election for the candidate who will give him most aid. Corruption, pure and simple. Utterly venal.

    Meanwhile, the other provocative video saga is at last going in the right sort of direction:
    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/actress-anti-islam-film-sues-producer-021124859.html
    I thought that the actors would have a criminal and civil case, and effectively the terms of this civil claim imply a criminal offence of using a false instrument. The US does not have a right of citizens to bring private criminal prosecutions, and this case shows one reason why citizens need that right, in order to protect themselves from being destroyed by the schemes of others.

    I hope she can shame the local DA into bringing the obvious criminal charges, because her life has been placed at risk.

  • shaun September 20, 2012, 3:55 AM

    “Frankly, I’ve never heard of an Israeli leader making an ad as part of a U.S. presidential campaign. It runs the risk of stirring a harsh response from Americans who believe that foreign leaders shouldn’t be injecting themselves into partisan American politics.”

    Plays both ways?

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4178760,00.html

    • Richard Silverstein September 24, 2012, 11:04 PM

      Bibi made the first ad. Obama was forced to respond in kind. If you were running Obama’s campaign you’d have done the same thing.

      • Dave September 25, 2012, 4:16 PM

        Hang on a minute, I have no love for Israeli politicians interfering in US politics, but the pot calling the kettle black is occurring here, how long has the US manipulated foreign politics in its own favour and interests? A long time is the answer, yes the BiBi ad is tasteless, but for Americans to get all hot and bothered when their own government has been doing it covertly and overtly for decades is hypocritical.

  • John Welch September 20, 2012, 4:19 AM

    Another Romney blunder.

    – “Romney issuch a lover of America that he brings in foreign leaders to campaign for him.”
    – “Netanyahu thinks he is President of the United States”
    – “We just finished a long war in Iraq. We’re still in Afghanistan…but this foreign leader demands that we invade Iran?”
    – “If you thought Iraq was fun, you’s love Netanyahu’s war in Iran. But if…”

    etc…

    (and that doesn;t even begin to tear into the co

  • hophmi September 20, 2012, 5:33 AM

    I think it’s misleading to suggest that Netanyahu agreed to be in the ad. The ad uses a newsclip, that’s all.

    • JADEZ September 20, 2012, 7:21 AM

      and you think using netanyahu without his permission is what happened here?

      its naive (or outright lying) thinking like yours that creates much of the problem.

      • hophmi September 20, 2012, 7:40 AM

        What do you mean “without his permission”? It’s a tape of a press conference, Jadez, not an ad where Netanyahu speaks directly to the camera. If the Romney campaign uses a CSPAN clip of an Obama speech in an ad, it does not mean Obama gave permission or approved the message. C’mon.

        • David Nelson September 20, 2012, 1:56 PM

          From Annie at Mondoweiss:

          “Predictably, a clip from Netanyahu’s theatrical September 11th apocalyptic “red line” speech has been turned into a campaign ad set to ominous sounding music with dire percussion crescendos. Maybe this helps explain why the Israeli press conference was in English instead of Hebrew?”

          I am unaware, is it a common occurrence for the Israeli Prime Minister to give press conferences in English? This is the same day, the anniversary of 9/11, where he insulted the US President and all of America. Annie is right, this was theatrics from the get-go. Entirely planned and an obvious interference in American domestic politics.

          How do you like it America, this is what regime change begins to feel like (minus the murderous bombs, of course). This is an attempted coup.

          http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/florida-election-theatrics-netanyahu-fearmongering-on-the-campaign-trail.html

    • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 1:22 PM

      You don’t think John McLaughlin, Bibi’s own pollster consulted Bibi before using the footage?? You think he simply produced the ad and neglected TOT ell Bibi of his plans? If you do you’re a naive fool.

      And if Bibi didn’t approve why hasn’t he renounced it? You might write & ask him.

      • hophmi September 20, 2012, 1:41 PM

        “You don’t think John McLaughlin, Bibi’s own pollster consulted Bibi before using the footage?? You think he simply produced the ad and neglected TOT ell Bibi of his plans? If you do you’re a naive fool.”

        That’s a guess, not proof. You’re a journalist; get a source. Yes, I would tend to doubt that Bibi would wish to be that visibly involved in advertising for the Romney campaign. And yes, knowing the GOP people involved in the Obama smear campaign, this is par for the course for them. Bibi may be a Republican at heart, but even he understands that at the end of the day, Obama is likely to win the election, and Israel’s position is only undermined when Bibi is seen to be actively involved working against the President. It is highly, highly doubtful that Bibi would agree to be used by a pro-Romney SuperPAC that way.

        “And if Bibi didn’t approve why hasn’t he renounced it? You might write & ask him.”

        Oh come on, Richard, are we really going to play the proving the negative game? If Bibi doesn’t renounce it, it means he agreed to do it? If you don’t renounce antisemites who post on your site, it means you agree with them right? That’s the kind of argument you’re making here. Simply find a credible source that is willing to say on the record that Bibi was involved. These are Israelis we’re talking about. Someone must be willing to go on the record.

        • David Nelson September 20, 2012, 2:13 PM

          why should people even have to entertain dissembling this mindless non-sense. Netanyahu is a known liar. I believe nothing he says. He also telegraphs his own intentions by either pre-emptively denying them (eg ‘look i don’t want to get involved in American politics’) or by projecting his intentions onto self-created ‘enemies'(eg, Iran is threat to international security, iran wants to annihilate Israel, is apocalyptic, irrational etc etc).

          Benji is the dangerous one. Butt the fuck out of our politics.

        • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 2:36 PM

          Commenters with whom you disagree are not anti Semites & if you make such an unsubstantiated claim again you will be moderated. I do not allow anti Semitism at this site.

          you’re simply hopeless. Bibi doesn’t care what happens in his relationship with Obama. He thinks he has him by the balls & essentially he does because Obama won’t call him on it.

          Bibi has only one way to show his disapproval of the ad & that is to denounce it. He hasn’t. He approves of it.

          All the rest is hasbarist nonsense. I warn you that I have little patience for your brand of hasbara.

          • hophmi September 20, 2012, 2:59 PM

            “Commenters with whom you disagree are not anti Semites & if you make such an unsubstantiated claim again you will be moderated. I do not allow anti Semitism at this site.”

            Did I say they were? The point is that nobody would assume that every view posted here that you don’t disown belongs to you. The same is true for Bibi and the commercial; he doesn’t have to actively renounce it to prove that he didn’t have a hand in making it.

            I thought journalists were supposed to use sources, not guesswork. You strongly intimate here that Bibi made the ad, not that the ad simply featured something Bibi said at a press conference. That’s misleading.

          • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 5:49 PM

            You said there are anti-Semitic commenters at this blog and there are not. I never said that Bibi made the ad. I said that Secure America Now made the ad. You are extremely sloppy. Be more careful & precise in your claims. I don’t like cleaning up your messes.

          • hophmi September 20, 2012, 6:19 PM

            “You said there are anti-Semitic commenters at this blog”

            You’re being tendentious. I did not. I was making an analogy, not claiming there were actually antisemitic posters on your site.

            ” I never said that Bibi made the ad. I said that Secure America Now made the ad. You are extremely sloppy. ”

            Now you are being a big weasel. Here is what you wrote: “Now, Politico reports that a pro-Israel 501c4 called Secure American Now, has produced a campaign ad (view it) that it plans to run in Florida which will feature Netanyahu. Frankly, I’ve never heard of an Israeli leader making an ad as part of a U.S. presidential campaign.” Then you say “The Netanyahu ad opens with the hawkish leader begging American viewers to understand why someone has to attack Iran before it’s too late.” Why would you write that you’ve never heard of an Israeli leader making an ad as part of the US Presidential campaign and call it the “Netanyahu ad” if you weren’t trying to assert that Bibi himself was responsible for the ad?

          • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 6:50 PM

            Sorry but you said my commenters are anti Semitic. Full stop.

            As for what I said about the video: I clearly indicated who actually made the video & it wasn’t Bibi. In the following sentence, I used the phrase “why would Bibi make” when I intended to say “participate in.”

            It would be the same as if I were a backup singer participating in a music video. Saying I’m going to make a video doesn’t mean I’m personally responsible for the entire video & its production. It means I’m participating in the process of making the video.

            You of course are being a weasel for refusing to acknowledge what I wrote clear as day: that Secure America Now made the ad.

            As for calling it “the Netanyahu ad,” he’s featured in 80% of the ad, hence it’s perfectly appropriate to associate his name with it.

            You’re done in this thread. Comment here again & you”ll be moderated.

          • Fred Plester September 21, 2012, 8:53 AM

            No anti-Semites, but plenty of posters sceptical that a policy of oppression, aggression and crude manipulation is the best way either to secure the existence of Israel.

            One way in which Israel’s determination to control American policy is going to be a disaster, is that it insistently centres American political attention on Israel and the Middle East, when the most important matters, at this moment, are in the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan.

            The future prosperity and safety of more than 270M Americans depends on guiding territorial disputes between China and not just Japan, but Malaysia and the Philippines, too, to a peaceful conclusion. (As I observed before, relations between China and Japan are coloured by a genocide, within living memory, on a greater scale than the Holocaust, conducted not in the privacy of extermination camps but on city streets. Defusing THOSE tensions is going to test Obama’s diplomatic skills to destruction, and I think Romney would fold and fail on day one, because his real God is Mammon and the Chinese own that.)

            The simpleton’s analysis “it’s all about oil, the Middle East has all the oil, therefore America must have a good ally in the Middle East” misses the strategic point entirely.

            America can manage without oil from the Middle East, and indeed, America only needs to be slightly more economical with oil than at present, in order to sustain its economy on oil from within her own territory.

            America’s most important strategic goal (and it stems from needing to control and exploit Latin America), is control of the Pacific Ocean. (This has been a recognised goal since 1837.) They need Japan to do this, regardless of Japan being a major trading partner. It’s Japan that needs oil to keep flowing from the Arabian Gulf, and American interest in keeping the Gulf open stems from America needing Japan.

            Relations between China and Japan have, very suddenly, gone from good to worse than bad, and the speed with which this has happened means that no-one in Washington knows how far it will go.

            Israeli interference in and manipulation of American politics was already becoming unacceptable in terms of national pride and national sovereignty, now it is a distraction and an annoyance when America has a foreign policy issue to address that matters a great deal to AMERICA’s long-term security and prosperity. Being Israel’s protector was something America could easily afford when America herself was safe and secure, which, to be honest, it always was, even in the Cold War, because the Soviet Union didn’t have the internal strength to support the external aggression which it constantly threatened. There were threats and brinkmanship, but even Stalin knew better than to go too far.

            China is another matter entirely.
            And Putin’s Russia is a lot wealthier than the Soviet Union.
            Israel, if Bibi continues to gamble, risks a transformation from an indulgence which America can afford, into an annoyance and a distraction which America cannot afford.

            In these circumstances, a wise Israeli leader would be making sure he fitted in with American imperatives, rather than attempting to make 270M people fit in with his, and he’d be trying to make allies around the world, rather than insult and annoy all the other great powers apart from America.

            Bibi is not wise: wise gamblers exist only in the Kenny Rogers song, and it’s clear that Bibi does not know when to “hold ‘em”, when to “fold ‘em”, “when to walk away” and, especially, he doesn’t know when it’s “time to run”.

        • Mary Hughes Thompson September 20, 2012, 9:55 PM

          Richard would never tolerate antisemitic comments here. If you ever see one here, I do hope you’ll point it out to us.

          • Richard Silverstein September 21, 2012, 12:02 AM

            In fact, I’ve deleted or refused to publish many such comments and banned some who published them, just as I’ve done with racist, Islamophobic commenters.

          • Bob Mann September 21, 2012, 7:55 PM

            How about this one:

            Andrew September 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

            “Not of course that Israel “controls the US” or its foreign policy – that`s absurd and standard hate stuff –” How convenient hahahahahah. I don’t think you’re “chosen”, I think you’re f—– precious. I remember all that squaking about poisonning waterwells, ooooh that’s anti semitic trope. What’s the first thing your people do in Palestine, wait for it, you put typhoid in the water wells….as documented by the UN.

          • Richard Silverstein September 22, 2012, 1:24 AM

            Settlers have actually poisoned Palestinian wells by throwing dead animals into them. But typhoid, that seems an especially weird anti-Semitic trope unless he can provide any credible support for the claim. Next time you find an objectionable comment please add the link so it’s easier for me to find.

          • mary September 22, 2012, 5:52 AM

            Richard, my recollection is that Ilan Pappe wrote in “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” about a specific instance where Jews poisoned a well in the Gaza Strip with typhoid back, I believe, in the 1930’s. I don’t have the book here with me so I can’t check, but if you have it, perhaps it can be found by checking the index. I think there was a poisoning also in Acre.

          • Deïr Yassin September 22, 2012, 11:18 AM

            Yep, I have that book too (and neither do I have it here), but as Ilan Pappe is too ‘controversial’ for someone as Hophmi I mentioned Uri Milstein, a lecturer at Bar Ilan.
            I found the report by Avner Cohen, Senior Fellow at the Center for International and Strategic Studies at the University of Maryland.
            His description of the well poisoning in Acre and Gaza (I think that’s where Naeim Giladi witnessed it) with typhoid and dysentry bacteria is page 31:
            http://www.bsos.umd.edu/pgsd/people/staffpubs/Avner-CBWart.pdf
            If I recall correctly the French poisoned wells in Algeria too during the War of Independance, and it seems a ‘logical’ though horrible way to prevent people from returning to their homes.

          • Deïr Yassin September 22, 2012, 11:31 AM

            RE.
            I read this report some while back, but I forgot that Avner states :”Milstein suggests that the purpose of the campaign to contaminate water supplies of conquered Palestinian villages was to prevent refugees from returning”.
            It’s really worth a read, the whole stuff.

          • Jay Green September 24, 2012, 12:10 AM

            “Settlers have actually poisoned Palestinian wells by throwing dead animals into them”

            Source?

          • Deïr Yassin September 24, 2012, 12:14 PM

            I came across someone with the penname ‘google is my friend’ a while back. I loved that. Why don’t you try ! Let’s say: ‘settlers’+ ‘palestine’ + ‘poisoning wells’. You could also add ‘Yitzhar’ to look into a more specific case.
            Do you think people who are capable of aggressing small school children on their daily way to school (as in the South Hebron Hills), burning crops and destroying olive threes by the thousands would step back from poisoning wells ?

          • Deïr Yassin September 24, 2012, 12:15 PM

            That was supposed to be a comment to Jay Green.

          • Richard Silverstein September 24, 2012, 2:35 PM

            My sentiments precisely.

          • mary September 24, 2012, 1:58 PM

            See my reply, above.

        • Davey September 22, 2012, 1:30 PM

          “These are Israelis we’re talking about. ”

          Ummm…a self-assured, smug statement, if ever. “These are Israelis…” as opposed to what? Wildebeests? On the face of it, it would be hard to think of an identity that carried less assurance and trust, at least in my experience.

        • Watcher465 September 25, 2012, 12:27 AM

          Oh God, hophmi the hasbarat is still around. Still defending the indefensible. Turning it all around to make his case. I don’t need proof that you are a hasbarat, your comments do that. Please don’t ask me to prove that you are a hasbarat, it will only make you look more foolish.

  • mary September 20, 2012, 8:27 AM

    This just takes the prize. Bibi has indeed spoken directly to the camera in more ways than one. He stumped on “Meet the Press” – anyone not in a coma knew that appearance was meant as a stick in Obama’s eye and a stump for Mitt the Twit.

    I don’t see the practical purpose of an ad targeting elderly Jewish voters; there just aren’t enough of them to swing things Mitt’s way. What I see is Bibi playing, by implication, the ol’ holocaust card; Americans must save the Jews from another Shoah, which will certainly happen if Iran gets nukes, right? Look at those videos of Moooslims rioting over a movie, FFS! We can’t let those people get their hands on nuclear weapons, can we?

    The idea of a leader of a foreign country endorsing a candidate for POTUS is just beyond the pale; in fact, there should be laws against foreign interference in political campaigns. Nothing seems to protect what’s left of US democracy anymore. Next thing you know, the Israeli flag will be flying above the White House.

    • Tibor September 20, 2012, 11:05 AM

      Well, as a symbol that is already the case. Not of course that Israel “controls the US” or its foreign policy – that`s absurd and standard hate stuff – but because the support of the US and so many Americans of Israel is due to what they can see taking place: the “can do” spirit of a vibrant democracy which rather than give up when the odds are stacked against it, manages to turn things around with vision and stamina, innovation and hard efforts – all what the Americans can easily identify with because it reminds them of their own historical journey.

      • Andrew September 20, 2012, 11:50 AM

        “Not of course that Israel “controls the US” or its foreign policy – that`s absurd and standard hate stuff –” How convenient hahahahahah. I don’t think you’re “chosen”, I think you’re f—– precious. I remember all that squaking about poisonning waterwells, ooooh that’s anti semitic trope. What’s the first thing your people do in Palestine, wait for it, you put typhoid in the water wells….as documented by the UN.

        • Tibor September 20, 2012, 12:24 PM

          Nobody wants to be “chosen” – just to be left alone in peace. It didn`t work out in Europe and now it`s the same story all over again. A miniature piece of land, a dot on the map with or without the West-Bank, has been turned into a top global issue. If you could see the ridicule in that you will have an even longer hahahaha (albeit a rather sour one)

          • hophmi September 20, 2012, 1:09 PM

            “I remember all that squaking about poisonning waterwells, ooooh that’s anti semitic trope. What’s the first thing your people do in Palestine, wait for it, you put typhoid in the water wells….as documented by the UN.”

            It is antisemitic tripe, but more importantly, it’s pure nonsense. There is no UN finding that Israel put typhoid in wells. That’s the kind of thing you see in Arab newspapers, next to articles blaming the Jews for 9/11.

          • Davey September 20, 2012, 10:10 PM

            Americans do not get a balanced view of the ME and Israel. This is why Israel is supported. A little information, insight and thinking, however, goes a long way toward converting “vision and stamina, innovation and hard effort” into criminal war and occupation, theft and the “can do” of American dollars, weaponry and proxy war. For all its show pieces, Israel is failing and that is what the WB is about, getting Jews into Israel which must not be happening. It is hard to believe that anyone would, with a straight face, offer self-serving crap like “vision and stamina, innovation and hard effort” as though other peoples are just morally lax or deficient by comparison. Eeeech!

          • Deïr Yassin September 21, 2012, 6:44 AM

            @ Hophmi
            “It is antisemitic tripe, but more importantly, it’s pure nonsense……That’s the kind of thing you see in Arab newspapers…blahblah”
            Yeah, Israeli military historian Uri Milstein is an antisemite…..not to speak of Naeim Giladi who saw it with his own eyes.
            There’s an interesting report on Israeli biological war-fare going back to pre-State Palestine by David Avner on the net, I guess that professor is a vile antisemite too.

          • mary September 22, 2012, 5:38 AM

            I hate to be pedantic, but I thought I recalled Ilan Pappe’ discussing the poisoning of wells in his book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” I was right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ethnic_Cleansing_of_Palestine

            “Pappe catalogues actions such as poisoning of the water supply of Acre…[9]”

      • mary September 20, 2012, 12:49 PM

        What piffle. Most Americans are abandoning their support of Israel and will not support any Israeli-led or US-backed attack on Iran. You’re also about 2 generations behind – the “can do” myth died in the 1970’s when American wages first froze then began to spiral downwards. Nobody is fooled anymore by the idea that Israel is a “vibrant democracy” – its racism against Arabs and African Jews is well known. “Historical journey”? Sure, I’ll by that. America stole land and committed genocide against the American Indians, now Israel is doing the same to the Palestinians. Your hasbara flies like a lead balloon.

        • hophmi September 20, 2012, 1:05 PM

          “What piffle. Most Americans are abandoning their support of Israel and will not support any Israeli-led or US-backed attack on Iran.”

          You’re just plain wrong. A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken this says suggests that a majority of Americans will support both US intervention and an Israeli attack in the event there is hard evidence that Iran is producing a nuke. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/13/us-usa-iran-poll-idUSBRE82C19Y20120313

          ” Nobody is fooled anymore by the idea that Israel is a “vibrant democracy” – its racism against Arabs and African Jews is well known. ”

          Our racism against African-Americans and illegal immigrants is well known. The US is still a vibrant democracy.

          • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 1:13 PM

            I don’t fully agree with Mary but disagree even more strongly with your lame interpretation of poll results. While Americans do largely support Israel, there’s a great likelihood such support will erode the longer Israel remains on the destructive path it’s pursuing.

            Americans do NOT support military intervention against Iran. They might support it if Israel did it alone or after all diplomatic and sanctions recourses are exhausted. But NO poll shows Americans believe they are anywhere near there yet.

            Don’t lie or distort poll results. I’ll nab you on that every time.

            The level of racism in U.S. society is infinitely less than in Israel. Poll results published here numerous times have proven that to be true.

          • hophmi September 20, 2012, 1:33 PM

            “Don’t lie or distort poll results. I’ll nab you on that every time.”

            In your own mind, maybe. Not mine. To make a blanket statement that Americans do not support attacking Iran is very vague and misleading. They don’t support it in the abstract and they don’t support it as a first step.

            They clearly support it when asked about where they’d favor an attack if there is evidence Iran is building a nuclear weapon.

            Here’s the link to the results of several polls.

            http://www.pollingreport.com/iran.htm

            According to the Reuters poll, In the event there is evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons, 56% of Americans support a US attack, and 62% of Americans support an Israelis attack. Across several polls with similar questions, majorities of Americans supported both of those position.

            It is true that larger majorities of Americans favor diplomacy and sanctions than favor attacking. The fair conclusion to draw is that most Americans would like to see diplomacy and sanctions before military actions, but certainly favor military action to prevent Iran from going nuclear in the final analysis.

          • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 2:30 PM

            There is no support for the claim Iran is building a nuclear weapon. the last NIE said that as have all credible intelligence agencies. Even Israelis aside from Bibi & Barack say this. There will be no evidence Iran is building a nuke unless Israel attacks, in which case it certainly will.

          • mary September 20, 2012, 4:52 PM
        • hophmi September 20, 2012, 5:26 PM

          Mary: I believe I said clearly that most Americans favor diplomacy vis-a-vis Iran.

          You’re cherry-picking from the CCGA poll. According to same poll:

          64% of Americans rate Iran’s nuclear program as a critical threat to US vital interests, second only to international terrorism.

          You can cite the figure for the UN question all you want, but it’s all in the way the question is asked. The question was whether the US should strike alone even if the UN doesn’t authorize a strike. The finding is at odds with virtually every other poll, in which a clear majority of Americans favor military action in the event that the hard evidence shows Iran is actually developing a nuclear weapon. And you’re being naive if you believe, especially given past history, that Americans who perceive Iran as a security threat are going to outsource the decision on what to do about it to the UN.

          The same poll you cite shows the vast, vast majority of Americans believe the UN should indeed act to stop Iran from enriching uranium, including tight sanctions, and Americans favor sanction by almost a 2:1 ratio.

          In fact, 45% support the UN authorizing a military strike on Iran’s enrichment facility.

          • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 7:06 PM

            Again, there is neither hard nor soft evidence supporting existence of an Iranian nuke or an Iranian decision to develop one.

            Whether the American people believe the UN should stop Iran from enriching uranium is irrelevant. Iran & every other NPT signatory has the explicit right to enrich uranium. Not even the U.S. is demanding Iran stop doing that. The U.S. doesn’t want Iran to enrich over a certain threshold (20%), but even that demand isn’t legitimate according to UN protocols.

          • hophmi September 20, 2012, 7:10 PM

            “Again, there is neither hard or soft evidence supporting existence of an Iranian nuke.”

            No one has asserted that there is evidence that the Iranians already have a nuke.

          • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 11:58 PM

            There is not even evidence of an Iranian intent to develop a nuclear weapon.

          • mary September 20, 2012, 7:20 PM

            45 percent is hardly a strong number. Turn it around, and 55 percent do NOT support a military strike.

            Interesting is that Iran, and this endlessly useless go-round of whether or not it should be attacked and thousands of people killed just on the basis of Israeli existential fear, has overcome the subject of Richard’s blog, which is, of course, whether or not Netanyahu was meddling in US politics by running his mouth making statements criticizing Obama’s decision to continue sanctions and diplomacy with Iran.

            Are you claiming that it makes no difference whatsoever whether or not there is evidence proving Iran is developing a nuclear weapon? That if Iran were indeed discovered to have a weapons program, somehow this would give Netanyahu a pass to go on American television and rant about how the US should act in accordance with Israel’s wishes? What is it you are trying to say with all this insistence that the US would be gung-ho to cater to Bibi’s desires? And for heaven’s sake, does the discovery of a nuclear weapons program in Iran mean there is no other option than to drop bombs on this country, who hasn’t attacked another country in something like 500 years? How does an Iranian nuclear weapons program threaten Israel when it has its own arsenal of something like 200 warheads?

          • hophmi September 20, 2012, 7:33 PM

            “45 percent is hardly a strong number. Turn it around, and 55 percent do NOT support a military strike.”

            Again, it’s 45 percent supporting the UN authorizing a military strike, and that’s right now, with no evidence that Iran has a nuke or is about to have one. When you take the UN out of the equation, the numbers go up. Most Americans, at least to my thinking, do not consider the UN’s view in deciding whether they support military action. We’ve fought wars in Serbia and Iraq in the last 14 years, and neither one was approved by the Security Council.

            “Interesting is that Iran, and this endlessly useless go-round of whether or not it should be attacked and thousands of people killed just on the basis of Israeli existential fear, has overcome the subject of Richard’s blog, which is, of course, whether or not Netanyahu was meddling in US politics by running his mouth making statements criticizing Obama’s decision to continue sanctions and diplomacy with Iran.”

            Well, the claim was made that the vast majority of American will not support any strike on Iran by Israel or the US. That isn’t accurate.

            “Are you claiming that it makes no difference whatsoever whether or not there is evidence proving Iran is developing a nuclear weapon? ”

            No, not at all. I’m claiming that in the event there is evidence, polling shows Americans support military action to stop it.

            “That if Iran were indeed discovered to have a weapons program, somehow this would give Netanyahu a pass to go on American television and rant about how the US should act in accordance with Israel’s wishes?”

            If Iran were discovered to have a weapons program, I think there’s little question, given the polling numbers, that Americans would support US and Israeli military action to stop it.

            “What is it you are trying to say with all this insistence that the US would be gung-ho to cater to Bibi’s desires?”

            I didn’t say anything like that. It’s not Bibi’s desires here. The US has its own national security interest in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state. Really, the whole West and most of the Arab does. That should not come as a surprise.

            “And for heaven’s sake, does the discovery of a nuclear weapons program in Iran mean there is no other option than to drop bombs on this country, who hasn’t attacked another country in something like 500 years?”

            You really need to stop assuming what I think and read what I say. Clearly, Americans would prefer a diplomatic solution if possible. But the polling is clear that they would support a military attack to stop such a program.

            “How does an Iranian nuclear weapons program threaten Israel when it has its own arsenal of something like 200 warheads?”

            Israel is not worried about a nuclear war with Iran. It’s worried about Iran giving nuclear material to Hezbollah and Hamas, and about Iran destabilizing the Arab states around it and setting off a nuclear arms race.

          • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 11:56 PM

            There is simply no evidence that the majority of Americans support the UN authorizing an attack on Iran without proof that they are developing a nuclear weapon. That’s what you wrote and I’ve never seen a single poll that says what you claim.

            I’d prefer that you not state what the interests of the Arab world should be regarding an Iranian nuclear weapon. Doing so makes you a condescending interloper.

            Israel is certainly worried, or claims to be, about a nuclear attack from Iran. Bibi has said this many times. Once again, you’re wrong. I warn you that moderation means that I determine whether your comments adhere to the comment rules. Overstatements, distortions & lazy, unsupported claims won’t see the light of day.

        • Davey September 20, 2012, 10:13 PM

          “vibrant” is a virtual spinning top with on-going hypocrisy, deceit and war crimes. But that’s just my opinion.

          • mary September 21, 2012, 3:04 AM

            Hophmi, you’re becoming tedious. What matters more than anything else, bottom line, is that there is no evidence that Iran is engaging in building nuclear weapons, so Bibi is blowing smoke out of his ass. Period.

            As a hasbarist you have extreme difficulty writing anything other than your predigested set of talking points. I asked the question as to whether the only option, were it to be proven Iran has nuclear weapons, would be to attack them, and you yammer on about what (you think) the American people want. My question goes a bit deeper and remains unanswered – why does Israel assume it is under a direct and immediate threat of a nuclear attack from Iran? Is it because of Ahmadinejhad’s florid, self-aggrandizing rhetoric?

            Seriously now, you’re getting boring. My writing is pretty straightforward, yet you imply that I’m twisting your words, but you seem to be the only one here who can’t follow what I’m saying.

          • Solon September 21, 2012, 8:00 AM

            1. mary wrote: “why does Israel assume it is under a direct and immediate threat of a nuclear attack from Iran? Is it because of Ahmadinejhad’s florid, self-aggrandizing rhetoric? ”

            Definitely!! It must be!!
            Because if the “existential threat” to Israel hinges on Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, that would explain purrfectly how it came to be that AIPAC wrote the first major sanctions against Iran in 1995, TEN YEARS before Ahmadinejad was elected to the presidency.
            Before his election in 2005, Ahmadinejad had been mayor of Tehran, where he was on the short-list of the world’s most successful mayors of a major city.
            But according to Israel’s own Yossi Melman in “Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran,” Ahmadinejad was on NOBODY’s radar before 2005: MI6 (or is it -5?) knew nothing about him; ditto for CIA, and Mossad was equally in the dark about Ahmadinejad.
            Quite a feat of prophecy to impose sanctions on Iran TEN YEARS before the major threat-or to Israel was known to the threat-ees.

            2. On two specific occasions, one in 2008 at the AIPAC conference in DC, the second in Jan. 2012 at a Wilson Center panel discussion, Ephraim Sneh said unequivocally: “The nukes are not the problem. The problem is the regime; they have got to go.”
            On the first occasion, Sneh said, “The Iranian people are incapable of changing their government…We must cause Iran’s leaders to worry how they are going to feed their 70 million people.” In other words, physician Ephraim Sneh recommended threatening 70 million Iranian civilians with starvation. Madeleine Albright redux.

            On the second occasion, Sneh said that not only must the “regime” be overthrown, Iran’s entire culture should be changed: “When Iran is secular and democratic, then it can have anything it wants.”

            wrt to first situation, Sneh is having his way. In remarks at the Move Over AIPAC conference in DC in March 2012, Semnan Anderlini told the packed hall that “Iranian children are going without vitamins and cannot find adequate food; Iranian-Americans are fearful of speaking up or speaking out. YOU speak for 73 million Iranians.”
            Well done, Dr. Sneh. Perhaps Albright can design a pin for you to adorn your chest: “I starved more people than Madeleine Albright did.”

            re Sneh’s second ‘goal,’ the secularization of Iran, 1. It ain’t gonna happen. Some Iranians still chafe at the imposition of Islam in the 7th century, but most Iranians consider Islam an integral part of their culture. In “Iran’s Epic and America’s Empire: A Handbook for a Generation in Limbo,” Mahmoud Omidsalar argues that it is a grievous mistake to think of the Shahnameh as Ferdowsi’s complaint at the imposition of Islam: Islam is as integral to the Iranian people as is the epic Shahnameh, which most Iranians can recite and which forms the cultural glue of Iranian society and culture. Far from castigating Islam, as he wrote in 900 CE, Ferdowsi wove ancient Persian Zoroastrianism and contemporary Islam; as Cyrus had done 1400 years earlier, Ferdowsi melded the cultural legacies of Persians, Turks, Mongols, Arabs and many others who compose the Iranian culture.

            Sneh’s drive to shatter that cultural cohesion is the most dangerous agenda of any that I can imagine.

            It is also contrary to the norms established by Geneva Conventions.

          • Piotr Berman September 21, 2012, 5:29 PM

            Israel and USA are definitely vibrant democracies. Are those good vibrations, or febrile activity masking stasis and inability to rationally address national problems?

        • Bessam September 21, 2012, 6:42 AM

          I’ve just been viewing the 10-part series on WWI that is based on Hew Strachan’s history.

          In Episode 4, “Jihad,” Max von Oppenheim is introduced. van Oppenheim, son of wealthy German Jews, was an archaeologist who represents himself as an expert on Islam; he was also a German agent.

          Germany had long had relations with Ottoman empire, and the Kaiser considered a war-time alliance with Turks. von Moltke advised against it: Turks did not have a formidable army. von Oppenheim changed the kaiser’s mind: he advocated a holy war to bring down the British empire:

          ““When the Turks invade Egypt and India is set ablaze with the flames of revolt, only then will England crumble, for England is most vulnerable in her colonies.” –Max von Oppenheim

          Kaiser came to see jihad as the way to foment revolution among the millions of Muslims under British rule.”

          Constantinople became von Oppenheim’s playground; “the German embassy was rife with von Oppenheim’s spies.” …

          Added details add added fascination at the plots and counterplots — i.e. Envir Pasha, Ottoman defense minister, was more than happy to cooperate with von Oppenheim’s schemes and send his men to fight for Germany, but he had his own agenda: he hoped to reunite the Ottoman empire, “his beloved Turks,” under the leadership of Young Turks.

          But the thought that occurred to me was that Bibi is intent on inflaming the “colonial empire” of the United States, attacking the US at its most vulnerable points, with the intention of destroying the US empire in the Middle East and removing the US presence that holds Israel in check.

          Bibi may be a sociopath, but his actions are not without a definite logic. He is aware of the harm he is doing to the US, to Jews in the US, and to the position of the United States in the ME. His constant goading re Iran, and sponsorship of Islamophobia is intended to inflame anti-US passions, with the same hoped-for outcome as that of von Oppenheim: to cause the US colonial empire to crumble.

          Bibi has declared war on the United States. He’s using our own troops, citizens, and treasure to prosecute that war.

  • hophmi September 20, 2012, 8:59 AM

    “He stumped on ‘Meet the Press’. . .” How so? Look, I don’t dispute the fact that Bibi sympathizes with the Republicans. But I do not believe that he has endorsed anyone. Obama made the same trip to Israel as a candidate that Romney did.

    “What I see is Bibi playing, by implication, the ol’ holocaust card; Americans must save the Jews from another Shoah, which will certainly happen if Iran gets nukes, right?”

    By implication? I don’t think so. I’m a big critic of Bibi. But I think he’s saying that both the US and Israel have a common interest in an oil rich statement that is not an American ally using a nuke to threaten US allies. And polling shows most Americans agree with him about the need to stop Iran from gaining a nuke.

    “The idea of a leader of a foreign country endorsing a candidate for POTUS is just beyond the pale”

    Yes, and that is why Bibi has not done it (though as others have pointed out, US Presidents have done it in Israel in the past, as Clinton did by providing Carville et. al. to help Barak.).

    ” Next thing you know, the Israeli flag will be flying above the White House.”

    That’s a little bit beyond the pale, if you ask me.

    • mary September 20, 2012, 12:57 PM

      Bibi needs to shut up and stay out of US politics. Appearing on a US TV show and criticizing the US president’s foreign policy IS beyond the pale. Doing so IS, by implication, endorsing Mitt Romney.

  • Bob Mann September 20, 2012, 9:07 AM

    I don’t think Netanyahu actually made the ad.

    From what I’ve read, he didn’t have anything to do with it – they just used footage of remarks he has made on various news programs.

    • Davey September 22, 2012, 1:43 PM

      Nobody will believe that, given Bibi history of lies and evasions. He has to disown the ad or the thinking public will just assume it is a Bibi trick, another Israeli sleight of hand.

  • piotr September 20, 2012, 10:28 AM

    Politico: The pollster for Secure America Now is John McLaughlin, who has worked with Netanyahu’s Likud Party. So at the very least this is a network of people that Netanyahu knows.

    Also, 400k was spend already with this ad, this is not a work of some impecunious fringe. Perhaps a crazy billionaire has a dream of having a pet PM and a pet President in the same time. Hard to see how the ad can do anything good for Romney, Politico comments refer to “Zionist puppet masters”. The chances are that this meme can spread quite widely.

    • hophmi September 20, 2012, 10:37 AM

      It is, not, as claimed, an ad that was “approved” by Netanyahu.

      • mary September 20, 2012, 12:59 PM

        No, of course it wasn’t :)

        • hophmi September 20, 2012, 1:09 PM

          I’m glad we agree, Mary.

          • Davey September 22, 2012, 8:00 PM

            It is an ad that is not disowned by Bibi either.

  • The Mighty Cynic September 20, 2012, 1:28 PM

    To the people above trying to pretend like Netanyahu is not intentionally meddling in US politics (by appearing on American airwaves 2 months before the elections on “Meet the Press” and other Sunday news programs to say so…wow), how can you defend his testimony before Congress in 2002 where he outright lied that Saddam Hussein was “feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons” and that Iran was also “racing to develop nuclear weapons”.

    HERE IS THE VIDEO FOOTAGE VERBATIM: http://archive.org/details/org.c-span.172612-1

    No defense — Netanyahu is a liar and you are complicit supporters of his drive to end Israel.

    • bluto September 21, 2012, 6:50 AM

      great link to Bibi drumming up the Israeli Lobby-hoaxed war with Iraq

      I’d been looking for this for a while

      Here’s Ariel Sharon beating the drums for war along with his Neocon Fifth Column in the US:

      (CBS) Israel is urging U.S. officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, an aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Friday.

      Israel To U.S.: Don’t Delay Iraq Attack

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/08/18/world/main519037.shtml

      • mary September 21, 2012, 4:29 PM

        Wow. The silence is deafening. I’d throw in some stuff on PNAC and their ambitions, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Thanks for the link.

        • mary September 21, 2012, 4:31 PM

          And my question on Ahmadinejhad was meant to be rhetorical.

  • hophmi September 20, 2012, 7:08 PM

    “Sorry but you said my commenters are anti Semitic. Full stop.”

    I was clearly making an analogy, not an affirmative statement that your commenters were antisemitic. I’ve clarified that three times now, and your continued assertion that this is what I said is disingenuous garbage.

    “You of course are being a weasel for refusing to acknowledge what I wrote clear as day: that Secure America Now made the ad.”

    Featuring Bibi, who you strongly suggested was a willing participant. Never once did you say that the clip came from a press conference. That is highly relevant. You were either being intentionally misleading, extremely sloppy, or were simply mistaken.

    Either way, I don’t expect you to acknowledge it, because the words “I was wrong” are clearly not in your vocabulary.

    • Richard Silverstein September 20, 2012, 11:39 PM

      You’re now moderated because you ignored my direction to stop commenting in this thread. If you post again in this thread you may be banned. Also, you may publish 3 comments a day here. No more. This prevents the overeager or logorrheic from monopolizing the discussion.

      Further, if you use terms like weasel or “garbage” to describe me or what I write, you’re mot long for this blog’s world.

      Concerning the anti-Semite claim, this is what you wrote:

      If you don’t renounce antisemites who post on your site, it means you agree with them right?

      Most reasonable readers would read you to have said there are anti-Semites who post here. Again, you need to be more careful & precise if you are to continue posting here.

      Bibi is of course an entirely willing participant. When he SIDS his lawyer on Secure America Now do let us know.

      As for being wrong, I wasn’t.

    • Watcher465 September 29, 2012, 8:14 PM

      hophmi is a Hasbarat. Don’t you people read any other sites?

  • Bob Mann September 20, 2012, 9:49 PM

    A senior Israeli official said the government was not consulted on the ad and did not approve it.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/netanyahu-appears-in-conservative-groups-ad/

    • Richard Silverstein September 21, 2012, 12:01 AM

      Why would anyone consult “the government” about the ad? They’d consult Bibi himself as they certainly did. Bibi is not “the government.” Using the term “government” here is disingenuous & shows they’re playing footsie with the truth.

      • Bob Mann September 22, 2012, 10:31 AM

        The ad was made without the knowledge or approval of Netanyahu’s office, according to ABC News.

        http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/netanyahu-obama-backing-romney/story?id=17289324#.UF31VeYh6D0

        Also, Netanyahu has been included in a pro-Obama ad earlier this year.

        From JPost:

        Earlier in the year, a pro-Obama video featured Netanyahu speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, where he said, “I appreciate President Obama’s recent efforts to impose even tougher sanctions against Iran. And these sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy.”

        The eight-minute clip opens with a shot of Obama with his hand on the prime minister’s arm inside the Oval Office.

        An official in the Prime Minister’s Office said that they were not in any way involved in production of the ads.

        “No one consulted us about either video, or asked our permission,” the official said, noting that in both cases the material used was from public feeds. “Maybe it is flattering that both sides want to use the prime minister in their campaign, but neither side has done so with any authorization.”

        http://www.jpost.com/USPresidentialrace/Article.aspx?id=285634

  • Davey September 20, 2012, 10:19 PM

    Sure such a ad is beyond the pale and an insult to Americans and Jews. No question. But there may be a silver lining here: If Bibi comes out like this for Mitt, he provides the Democratic Party with a cause celebre for breaking with the Lobby and Israel’s concerns. If Israel, as a foreign country, is backing Mitt then, after the election, will be a good time to Get Even, use this as the basis for breaking the Lobby and toning down American promises to Israel. What can any legislator say confronted by this loathsome ad? A Dem will say Israel needs to stay out of America and a Republican will simply apologize and say they had nothing to do with it.

    • Davey September 20, 2012, 10:25 PM

      This ad is so revolting that it may just add to the total of recent Mitt gaffs, a total which, I believe, has already cost him the election! This is just one more way for Romney to go down in flames reserved for such fools: Where he needed to be seen as moderate and acceptable, despite his party, he just became crazy and more untrustworthy.

  • Fred Plester September 21, 2012, 12:17 AM

    It’s certainly being perceived as being deliberate interference:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/20/binyamin-netanyahu-gambles-on-mitt-romney

    I suppose that reckless gambling for high stakes is what Sheldon Adelson encourages in his customers, but it could be the end of Israel. Even if Romney wins, his policy is to encourage precisely the sort of unilateral strike which could land Israel well up the creek without a paddle. Romney is not actually promising that America will rescue Israel from the consequences of a unilateral strike, only that America will let them do it.

    Some pro-Israel UK papers have been talking up the naval exercise in the Arabian Gulf, linking it to a strike, when the exercise has always been planned to demonstrate how the western powers would help the Arabs keep the Gulf open for traffic. There were headlines about powerful forces, blah, blah, but what the Royal Navy has sent largely consists of minesweepers, a Daring Class destroyer* and a Bay class logistics ship, which is probably meant as an operating platform for helicopters protecting and assisting the minesweepers.
    This is 100% consistent with the official purpose of the exercise: clearing an attempt to close the straits of Hormuz and to keep it clear thereafter, and intentionally quite useless for the kind of onslaught the hawks and Hasbara want to see.

    I’m also very inclined to doubt that the US Navy carriers groups currently on the move, are all moving towards the Gulf. The spat between China and Japan is capable of making Iran look like a very minor problem, and even the survival of Israel will take second place to protecting the North Western United States against the Chinese lashing out, even if Romney does win the election.

    Bibi seems to have been demanding that America show whether it loves Israel more than any other ally. If he’s in competition with Japan, he isn’t going to like the answer. Controlling the Pacific is very, very deep core policy of the United States and has been since the middle of the 19th century. Given China’s current strength (and Russia’s strength is recovering), they cannot do this without Japan. This kind of policy imperative tends not to change when the president does.

    *A Daring Class destroyer, being designed to cope with the whole Argentinian Air Force coming over the horizon at once (which is pretty well what led to the Bluff Cove disaster), will almost certainly succeed in keeping the Bay Class and the minesweepers afloat even if the Iranians apply every resource to sinking them. However, its offensive capacity is pointedly limited, and its presence can’t really be construed by the mentally-well as British support for aggressive action against Iran. The massive US forces currently on the move are mostly headed elsewhere; towards genuine trouble.

  • Piotr Berman September 21, 2012, 5:41 PM

    Why should USA care who own Senkaku islands? It is true that China bold enough to go out and any island she wants is a scary prospect, but also not very probable. With some little help, Japan will manage.

    The most important American interests are in America. When Chinese need oil, copper, whatever, they pay for it. Much cheaper than securing with bases and fleets — then you still have to pay for it. Financial system that sustains perpetual deficit removed millions of jobs from USA. And then we have healthcare problems, climate change etc. A lot of real problems. Bilin, Senkaku etc. are not real problems for USA.

    • Fred Plester September 22, 2012, 12:01 AM

      It’s the speed with which relations between China and Japan went from normal to confrontation which matters. And if you don’t think the US Navy is concerned about this you have no idea of how much metal is steaming around the ocean this week. Little of it is headed for China at speed, but most of it is headed for some other destination a lot nearer China than where it was.

      You put forward the case for America stuffing its head up its own arse, (which, too, would leave Israel out in the cold) but that’s precisely the posture which, it was realized, was untenable back in the 19th century.

      • Piotr Berman September 22, 2012, 4:37 PM

        As fast as the relations between China and Japan went to confrontation, they return to what passes as normal. To me, it was interesting how easily Chinese were recruited by the government for the cause, and from what I have heard (well, interpreted what I have heard from one Chinese, plus the press) everybody was relieved that the protests were “well organized” and mercifully short-termed. Sending “metal” in one direction or another does not seem to do much good in my opinion.

        Note that USA studiously, and correctly, avoids ANY opinion as to who should have these islands (and quite a few other islands, Himalayan territories etc). Amazingly, USA and allies like Japan paid attention to the military balance but not to economic balance. Now Japan is trying to do something, and USA could be more helpful. It seems that Japan has a powerful card to play: Japanese companies employ 10 millions of Chinese and surely they will steer more new investments to less risky places like Vietnam, and even India. Escalation can be expensive to both, so there is no escalation.

        • Fred Plester September 25, 2012, 2:35 AM

          Relations between Japan and China are definitely not returning to normal.
          If anything, the confrontation at the diplomatic and naval level is ramping up, even as the demonstrations abate.

          I suspect that the Chinese government did not orchestrate these; rather it allowed them to take place to see how much steam there was in the boiler.

          Public anger against Japan in China isn’t really about uninhabited islands: it is about genocide, for which there has never been an accounting.

          Indeed, President Truman and General MacArthur were determined that as few Japanese would be held to account as possible, and within American-controlled areas, this is precisely what happened. It was a different story in Singapore and anywhere else where Lord Mountbatten called the shots. Singapore and Malaysia have a healthier relationship with Japan as a result, because they saw the individuals responsible for the worst oppression (who did not make it to American protection) hang.

          Chinese people were denied justice, partly because Truman and MacArthur didn’t see the need for them to have it, but also because Mao didn’t want to admit that huge numbers of Chinese innocents had died whilst he was playing the hero against the Chinese Nationalists. (Neither did the Chinese Nationalist leaders, though in many cases Nationalist troops had fought the Japanese until they simply couldn’t fight any further.)

          The present Chinese government simply has no easy way of knowing what its own public feels about this, because its predecessors spent decades conditioning the people not to let the government know what they think, about anything. But they clearly suspect that such a huge injustice, suppressed for so long, has considerable power. They are evidently unsure as to whether they should continue to suppress the sense of injustice, or release it and attempt to surf the resulting wave of anger.

          Almost separate to this, are the Chinese government’s attempted territorial claims, which have been directed at Vietnam in the past and which are currently being played against Malaysia and the Philippines as well as Japan. They did try open and very large scale military incursions into Vietnam, and abandoned this policy only when it transpired that Vietnam still knew how to fight a superpower on its own territory.

          It ISN’T true that China only seeks territorial gain in a mild and innocuous way, by planting flags on uninhabited islands. There was an attempted invasion of Vietnam and the Vietnamese drove them back.

  • Fred Plester September 22, 2012, 3:14 AM

    Crypto Sporidium would seem more likely if an animal corpse was thrown down a well.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptosporidium

    We know this because a bunny rabbit managed to drown itself in the filtration equipment at Pitsford reservoir near Northampton, and an awful lot of people got really ill.
    To spread typhoid in the same way, you’d need a human corpse that had died of typhoid, or excrement from someone who was suffering from it.

    However, typhoid is a bacterial disease, and however unpalatable it might be, water that was chlorine-treated probably wouldn’t give you typhoid, even if the supply was contaminated. Crypto-sporidium is a protozoa which frequently survives water treatment. It doesn’t often kill people directly, but it is VERY debilitating and hard to treat.

    I’m not anti-Semitic, but I’m anti-any-stupid-bugger-who-does-anything-like-this to water supplies.

  • Fred Plester September 22, 2012, 3:16 AM

    Some replies go into very odd places at the moment, which make sit difficult to follow what some people are on about.
    My reply about a comment on anti-semtic tropes and well-poisoning, seems to be nowhere near the comment it was a reply to.

  • bluto September 22, 2012, 3:53 PM

    ‘to Netanyahu’ is a verb

    The US was Netanyahu-ed into the war with Iraq by the Neocons, that is, the militant wing of the Israeli Lobby

    Now Israel is Netanyahu-ing the US into Iran – pulling all the strings it’s Israeli Lobby can yank to hoax, blackmail, and trick the US into a war against Iran

    How was America Netanyahu-ed into Iraq? – via Israel’s Israel Lobby in the US (here’s Bibi and Ariel Sharon letting the curtain slip)

    HERE IS THE VIDEO FOOTAGE VERBATIM of Netanayahu himself practicing the art of Netanyahu-ing – watch Rep Burton drool over him: http://archive.org/details/org.c-span.172612-1
    Netanyahu starts at 21:20 minutes

    Here’s Sharon with his own Netanyahu-ing:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/08/18/world/main519037.shtml

    (CBS) Israel (Sharon) is urging U.S. officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, an aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Friday.

    The ‘Niger Uranium Forgeries’ were the work of Israeli Lobby agent Michael Ledeen (Ledeen with known and proven Mossad ties) – who then passed them on to be stovepiped thru the Israeli Lobby/Neocon ‘Offices of Special Neocon Plans’ Doug Feith

    Iraq was an Israeli Lobby (read Israeli/Mossad) fraud from front to back

    Similarly – the current drive and hoaxing of the US to war against Iran is just another Israeli Lobby operation against the US

    • mary September 22, 2012, 5:17 PM

      He’s been N’yahooing since 1992 a la Chicken Little:

      “Netanyahu’s been predicting the imminent appearance of an Iranian Bomb since at least 1992, when he declared, “Iran will have the bomb by 1997.” He’s a Chicken Little. The sky has not fallen on Israel.

      “Netanyahu’s a Boy Who Cried Wolf. Year after year, the intelligence reports confirming a military program just don’t come in. Obama, who was caught on open mike agreeing with Sarkozy’s depiction of him as a liar, no doubt knows the Israeli prime minister is a master of sensationalistic distortion. It’s there in every piece of his argument.”

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/09/05/us-and-israeli-tensions-over-iran-strike-bared/

    • Fred Plester September 25, 2012, 2:36 AM

      Like “To Exxon” being a verb in Alaska?

  • mary September 24, 2012, 1:53 PM

    “The parent organisation, Gush Emunim, is heavily armed and carries out the most revolting crimes against innocent Palestinians across the West Bank.[6] This writer has visited the Palestinian village of Yanun after settlers had washed their dogs in the Palestinians’ drinking water. A Medieval ideology goes hand in hand with Medieval tactics – Hebron settlers poison village wells with putrescent chickens. [7] They beat and shoot Palestinians, poison their sheep,[8] generally act like the violent thugs they are. One well-known graduate of Mercaz HaRav, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who founded the colonies of ultras in Hebron was such a vicious psychopath towards Palestinians that he was even found guilty of killing a Palestinian by an Israeli court, for which he served three months in detention.[9] Rabbi Levinger was also found guilty of unprovoked assaults on women and children, unusually, since the settlers enjoy complete immunity[10]; many a Palestinian has been found guilty by the Israeli authorities of beating himself up in the vicinity of Jewish settlers.”

    http://www.inminds.com/article.php?id=10259

  • mary September 24, 2012, 2:01 PM
  • Fred Plester September 27, 2012, 12:12 PM

    I saw Bibi’s address to the UN General Assembly.

    I still don’t believe it: he was addressing the assembly as if it were composed solely of gullible five-year olds, and he produced a “diagram” of a cartoon bomb to “prove” his point with. As a communications tool this was frankly insulting.

    I think it’s an exercise in “grievance engineering” in that he knows it will lead to the General Assembly rejecting his absurd demands, but if he’s going to break international law anyway, he may as well make it look as he was forced to do so. I have personally known someone who behaved like this from the age of nine or so, but he was in Broadmoor Secure Hospital before he was eighteen (too late for his victim) and not in any great danger of being made Prime Minister.

  • Watcher465 September 29, 2012, 8:10 PM

    He was addressing a group of gullible five year olds. Well at least a bunch of swollen headed idiots just like himself. Hey Hasbarats, did you think I would just slink away?

  • Mark October 18, 2012, 7:18 PM

    This is an outrage. Since its against US law for foreigners to contribute financially to political campaigns how can it be acceptable for foreign leaders to essentially be paid hawkers for one side or another.
    This is the final proof that the Supreme Court decision on campaign financing is a farce to be exploited by the very rich who can further their own agenda.
    In California Proposition 32 further threatens the voice of all but the very rich by making union financing thru pay check illegal. Sheldon Adelson not only is not a union member he is anti union as are the Koch family.
    Madness has taken over and all the talk of the middle class is absurd if the only ones who can afford to be heard are right wing nut job billionaires.
    Sorry America the pot is way lost!