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Meir Javedanfar: Iran “Analyst” as Pro-Israel Cipher

meir javedanfar

Meir Javedanfar, Zelig of Iran punditocracy

The impasse between Iran and the west has produced a bumper crop of Iranian opportunists who’ve latched onto a western gravy train as analysts, media commentators, political consultants, and think tank pundits. As opposed to genuine independent analysts with their own sources and expertise, this group caters to the interests of whichever particular group offers the most lucrative funding opportunities.

I’ve written before here about a crop of wannabe analysts that specialize in Israeli patronage–Amir Ebrahimi, Amir Fakhravar –and general political opportunism like the MEK’s Hassan Daioeslam.

There is also an effort, often by pro-Israel interests, to parachute these individuals into the Beltway political mix. One of those who’s succeeded admirably at self-promotion and maximizing his meager credentials into a career as a B-list analyst of Iranian politics is Meir Javedanfar. According to the meager biographical details he’s offered, he was born in Iran and left in with his family 1987. There is a relatively large Iranian community in Israel so he may’ve emigrated to Israel though his bio doesn’t make this clear.

His academic career took him to Lancaster University, where he earned an MA in the International Relations and Strategic Studies program. A bio published at a speaker’s bureau says he has another MA in information management, but doesn’t name the school.  Javedanfar doesn’t mention this degree in any of his other online biographies.

He has published in few, if any peer-reviewed academic publications as far as I can tell. He has no permanent academic position, though he teaches one course on Iranian politics at the Inter-Discipliniary Center in Herzliya, Israel’s private college. He has only one book, one that he co-wrote with former Haaretz security reporter, Yossi Melman. Like all of Melman’s other work , the Nuclear Sphinx of Teheran is full of conspiratorial theories that paint Iran in the worst possible light and pose the nuclear threat in the most extreme terms.  In Gareth Porter’s review, he wrote:

The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran takes on the highly charged issue of Iran’s nuclear program — a tricky project even under the best of circumstances, given the interests of all the relevant parties to the dispute in promoting their own version of reality. A critical challenge in carrying out such a study is to avoid becoming captive of an official propaganda line, and co-authors Yossi Melman and Meir Javedanfar have failed to surmount that challenge…[It] tilts sharply toward the official Israeli view on virtually every question surrounding the Iranian nuclear program…

The thesis of the book is clearly stated in the first four chapters: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a dangerous Islamic extremist whose determination to exterminate Israel and belief in the coming of the Twelfth Imam (the Mahdi) adds up to a desire for war against Israel, with nuclear weapons if possible.

Porter charitably posits that “his [Melman's] analysis has dominated in the conversation between the two coauthors.”  But even if you consider that Melman wrote all this conspiratorial nonsense and Javedanfar served as little more than translator of the Farsi-language documents used in the preparation of the book, this still means the Iranian allowed himself to be sucked into a project involving extremist fear-mongering.  I’m certain he did so willingly because associating himself with a figure like Melman would lend himself further credibility.  Credibility is the currency of opportunists like Javedanfar.

The Iranian “analyst” did write the Iran chapter for the PSI Handbook of Global Security and Intelligence, co-edited by Prof. Shlomo Shpiro, who specializes in national security issues at the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar Ilan University.  It is known as Israel’s Orthodox institution of higher learning, with a generally right-wing political and academic orientation.

His bio says he worked for BBC Persian, was a member of the Club of Rome “tt30″ (Think Tank 30),” where he ran its Beyond Oil economic forecast group, and was an analyst for Jane’s Intelligence Digest. The only evidence of a Beyond Oil entity associated with TT30 is a blog whose last post was in 2005. Jane’s Intelligence Digest no longer exists and hasn’t been printed for a number of years.

He falsely infers an affiliation with Columbia University’s School of International Studies by virtue of his membership in the Gulf 2000 Project, a listserv maintained by Gary Sick, who is on the faculty:

A member of Gulf 2000 Project, which is run by the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University in New York City and staffed by internationally renowned experts in Persian Gulf states

Membership in the listserv confers no special distinction and Javedanfar typically exaggerates his bona fides.  I know this because I too was once a member, but left precisely because some poseurs like Javedanfar, with little or no academic qualifications in the field, espoused especially robust pro-Israel views which were never rebutted by other members.  There is a separate academic program associated with Gulf 2000 which hosts conferences and papers, but I’ve found no evidence that Javedanfar participated at that level.

With such lean academic credentials, Javedanfar has done an excellent job parlaying them into TV and print media gigs for such outlets as BBC, Sky News, the CBC, RAI Italia, ABC Australia, Voice of America, Al Jazeera, Voice of American, the Boston Globe and Ha’aretz.

meir javedanfar the israel project

Meir Javedanfar speaking at Iran conference hosted by The Israel Project

On his website, he boasts of his participation in a BBC Persian panel at the London School of Economics. The Israeli foreign ministry has engaged him to speak at various local Latin American universities.  He spoke at a 2007 conference on Iran co-sponsored by The Israel Project on Iran in Latin America.  He is also listed as a potential speaker in the group’s list of those able to provide the suitable pro-Israel political line to American Jews on a variety of topics.

To give you a sense of TIP’s political orientation, Josh Block, formerly chief media enforcer for Aipac, is its new director.  What’s shocking about the TIP event at which Javedanfar spoke, is that it was co-sponsored by the Hebrew University’s Truman Center, a well-respected academic institution.  This is yet another example of how the ideologically driven pro-Israel advocates have co-opted the academic sphere; and how operatives like Javedanfar succeed in penetrating it as well.

One speaker’s bureau lists his fee as between $5,000-6,000.  If you add all-extense paid travel to exotic places around the world, this gets to be quite a cushy gig.

He also claims to have been consulted by the State Department and Pentagon and lists further accomplishments:

He has briefed government and intelligence officials from no less than 10 countries about Iranian politics, economy, security affairs and the nuclear program.

Mr Javedanfar currently serves as a political advisor to the Spanish Embassy in Israel and also works as the in house Israeli affairs expert for BBC Persian.

But somewhat oddly, his own corporate consulting companies website lists no clients at all. This is, to say the least, unusual for someone claiming to be a distinguished international consultant. Though of course it could indicate an individual conducting his career by the seat of his pants.

Javedanfar has a blog, Iran-Israel Observer, which catalogs his anti-regime views.  He also publishes prolifically online at a variety of sites most of which have a distinct right-wing orientation. In that sense, he’s a bit like Daniel Pipes, who earned a PhD at a prestigious academic institution, but has eschewed academia for agitprop and pamphleteering.  But unlike Pipes, Javedanfar can be taken into respectable company.  He wears a suit at the dinner table and espouses views that are acceptable because they are not bellicose or outrageous.

At the pro-Israel, neocon-funded Pajamas Media he published scores of articles between 2007-09. He is also a contributor to RealClearWorld, a conservative news aggregator akin to Huffington Post. He blogs at Times of Israel, a newish right-wing English language news site. The financing for the venture comes from a right-wing U.S. Jewish hedge fund manager. The blog editor avoids any responsibility for the accuracy or editorial content of posts published by pointing to the policy that offers little or no editorial oversight of the product at all. This of course is a boon to people like Javedanfar or David Abitbol (Jewlicious), who spews his venom there as well.

Javedanfar has no strongly held views or discernible political orientation. You couldn’t say he’s liberal or conservative. He’s neither Likud nor Labor. While he’s certainly pro-Israel, he’s pro-U.S. as well. One of the few points that are clear is that he’s anti-regime in terms of Iran. He also favors the harshest possible sanctions (though this is a no-brainer since that is a western mainstream consensus position).  Such a program is driving ordinary Iranians into penury.  It is hard for me to see an Iranian with sympathy for his own people advocate such suffering.

Beyond that is less clear: does he favor regime change; attacking Iran; a democratic secular Iran (à la MEK); or a moderate Islamic state.  You’d never know about these questions since he’s too smart to allow himself to be pigeon-holed.  To do so would limit his value to his sponsors.

To all of this, Javedanfar responds by claiming the criticism comes from those who support the Iranian government.  This is a false claim.  I don’t support the regime.  But I also don’t support hare-brained schemes advanced by Israeli intelligence to grind Iran’s will into submission; or to engage in Israeli or U.S. sponsored regime change.

His views remind me of a jellyfish–soft and squishy.  He can wriggle through any opening.  That is the only way I can fathom that a Beltway think tank staffer advocated hiring Javedanfar as an Iran specialist.  Thankfully, the idea was scuttled.  Presumably, there are others who voiced their own shock that such a questionable figure could be given such a platform.

Perhaps the worst sin Javedanfar is guilty of is falsely attributing a quotation from the New York Times to an IAEA report about Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons’ ambitions.  He committed this journalistic sin in no less a form than the Guardian, where he propounded the questionable notion that Iran was hellbent on getting a nuclear weapon (“Last week brought new indications that the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran want to make a nuclear bomb”).  The evidence?  A new IAEA report which, on further consideration, didn’t at all support the far-reaching conclusions that Javedanfar and Israeli intelligence wished to propagate.

That didn’t stop Javedanfar from inserting this fraudulent claim in his own article:

It [the IAEA report] stated that “Tehran has conducted work on a highly sophisticated nuclear triggering technology that experts said could be used for only one purpose: setting off a nuclear weapon”.

As Nima Shirazi wrote in Wide Asleep in America (link above):

Seems simple enough. But it’s a lie. The quote Javedanfar uses is not from the IAEA report at all despite what he writes; rather, it is swiped wholesale from the New York Times article lede on the IAEA report, written a few days earlier by the Times‘ resident Judith Miller clones, David Sanger and William Broad. The actual IAEA report does not make this claim. In fact, the words “evidence” and “trigger” are nowhere to be found in the IAEA report

The fact that Israeli intelligence provided much of most incriminating “evidence” for the IAEA report and that Javedanfar published an op-ed that piggybacked on this questionable claim may not be an accident.

The $64,000 Question is why someone with such lackluster credentials would find the doors of power open to him.  There is only one answer: he is Israeli-Iranian.  He’s a twofer, representing the two different poles of this conflict.  As such, he’s viewed as having a particular authenticity as a spokesperson for both sides.  In reality, Javedanfar–who, despite his claims to the contrary, has few if any contacts inside Iran–is not an authentic Iranian representative.  Leaders of the Iranian-American community with whom I’ve consulted have scoffed at this notion.  They consider him, at best, an opportunist, and not a very convincing one at that.

Anyone who associates with this man or hires him should know that he’s little more than a cipher.  He may be sincere and speak for himself.  He may be on someone’s payroll.  Either way, he represents nothing of substance or integrity.  He’s an empty suit.

What especially annoys some who truly represent an Iranian-American constituency, is that there are a limited number of seats at the table inside the Beltway at policymaking venues.  Those seats are filled with the usual suspects: administration officials, think-tank scholars, politically connected academics.  But few of them are truly independent voices that represent an alternative to the consensus discourse.  When someone like Javedanfar is offered one of those seats there’s one less for legitimate figures.  That serves to limit the diversity of debate over issues of moment like sanctions, military assault, nuclear proliferation, etc.  If Israel can succeed at doing this then its own extremist views will be an easier sell.

That’s why it’s especially outrageous that a liberal think tank staffer advocated offering him one.  It’s why it’s outrageous that a liberal news outlet like the Guardian includes Javedanfar as a regular contributor to its blog; or The Atlantic offers him a perch, where he sits alongside another Israel-booster, Jeffrey Goldberg.  He’s been interviewed by DC center-left think tanks like the International Affairs Forum, on whose editorial board Steve Clemons sits.  Last September, Robert Wright’s BloggingheadsTV featured him paired with Matt Duss (Javedanfar did several other video gigs there as well), one of those Center for American Progress analysts who seem to have been cowed by the housecleaning last year that got rid of Israel critics like Ali Gharib, Ziad Jilani and Eli Clifford, and also cost M.J. Rosenberg his job at Media Matters (Rosenberg’s moved his blog here).  The Iranian pundit was also featured in a J Street video and endorsed the group in his own blog post (likely because he hadn’t been offered any speaking gigs by Aipac).

Meir Javedanfar is simply the Zelig of the Iran punditocracy, a wonder of malleability.  It’s shameful that these otherwise respectable media outlets have been taken in by him.

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{ 44 comments… add one }
  • iranianreader December 27, 2012, 7:46 AM

    Dear Richard ,
    this OPORTUNISTS are everywere especially at farsi speaking satelite channels like BBC-persian or VOA-persian The BBC started some time ago to engage more of them directly in iran via the internet. The BBC offered special jornalist teaching classes in turky…..it was so obvious that even the iranian tv started to talk about the topic.
    This is a very special kind of pervert warfare and we saw and still see the peak level in syria were people kill eachother and rape the state in the name of freedom and democracy (like in lybia).

  • Jason Douglas December 27, 2012, 12:39 PM

    I have known Meir for many years nearly 20 and met him at Salford University before he went on to Lancaster University which does have an excellent reputation in the UK. I also know his passion for politics and his specialism of the middle east especially Iran. Whilst I do not always agree with his viewpoints as I find him too left wing, he is always informed and genuine, and always makes time to listen to all viewpoints.

    • Richard Silverstein December 28, 2012, 12:47 AM

      @Jason Douglas: Lancaster has an “excellent reputation?” Can you quantify that in some meaningful way? What is its ranking on academic surveys? What is it known for, if anything? Why is it that I’ve never heard of it (& I’ve followed UK universities for a long time)?

      “Specialism of the middle east??”–did you learn to speak English at Salford too? And what grades did you get there?

      • Bob Mann December 28, 2012, 9:12 AM

        Lancaster University is ranked in the top one percent of universities in the world, listed at 131 in the Times Higher Education international table and 163 in the QS World University Rankings.

        http://www.lancs.ac.uk/about-us/rankings-and-reputation/

        spe·cial·ism
        n.
        1. Concentration of one’s efforts in a given occupation or field of study.
        2. A field of specialization.

        http://www.thefreedictionary.com/specialism

        • Richard Silverstein December 28, 2012, 6:26 PM

          @Bob Mann: I spent 12 years in academia including 8 yrs as a grad student & have followed academic discourse ever since & have never ever heard “specialism” used. The word much more commonly used is “specialization” or “academic specialty.” It’s either a UK English usage or so rare as to be almost unknown.

          As for Lancaster’s ranking, you’ve merely quoted Lancaster’s own web page bragging of its ranking. I wouldn’t trust its interpretation without actually reviewing the individual rankings they cite. However, a friend born and raised in the UK told me he believes it’s in the top 20 in England, which does make it a better school than I’d realized. Therefore, I’ve changed my characterization of Lancaster in the post to reflect this.

  • Aso Azadi December 27, 2012, 12:50 PM

    You’re a blogger, he’s an academic.

    You’re out of your weight-class here Mr Silverstein.

    • Richard Silverstein December 28, 2012, 12:42 AM

      He’s not an academic. He’s a wannabe academic. There’s a difference.

      • Ardavan M December 29, 2012, 7:10 AM

        I fully agree with Mr Silverstein. Mr Javendanfar is an opportunist with very meager academic credentials.
        Regardless of the fact that he is pals with Israeli intelligence community, his actual arguments are very often weak and badly constructed.

  • Roberto December 27, 2012, 1:47 PM

    Mr. Silverstein, you sure have a great deal of things to say about someone you refere to as an opportunist. What I really want to know from you is how do you see the situation regarding Iran and its leaders.

  • Jaco December 27, 2012, 2:45 PM

    It seems like Richard is jealous that Meir manages to get respect from many media outlets since he speaks so many languages among them Spanish,Farsi,English,Hebrew while Richard is the typical Elitist jewish Gringo who tries to humilliate Meir based on his education and CV? Richard gets his info on Meir from a google search.

    • Richard Silverstein December 28, 2012, 2:10 AM

      @Jaco: Actually, I spent many hours researching Javedanfar’s background.

      I would not begrudge him his recognition if it was legitimately earned.

      What use is it to know so many languages if he lies to his readers in every one of them?

  • Berman December 27, 2012, 3:00 PM

    Wow. I mean, for a guy who supposedly has no credentials it certainly took a long time to rattle off all his credentials.

  • PersianAdvocate December 27, 2012, 11:21 PM

    These opportunists are in a row boat with one oar. They repeat the same arguments, rowing faster and faster on the same side, and spin only in circles.

    One hole in their boat and to the bottom they sink.

  • The Mighty Cynic December 27, 2012, 11:23 PM

    These opportunists are in a row boat with one oar. They repeat the same arguments, rowing faster and faster on the same side, and spin only in circles.

    One hole in their boat and to the bottom they sink.

    • Deïr Yassin December 29, 2012, 5:45 AM

      @ The Mighty Cynic
      Haha, and when I asked you whether you were the same person as “Persian Advocate”, you answered no (well, “Persian Advocate” answered no).
      Strange you’ve just posted exactly the same comment two minutes after him….

      • The Mighty Cynic December 29, 2012, 5:33 PM

        We’re two different people, but we work together on political issues and he asked me to find out why his posts weren’t coming through here as his just disappeared after hitting submit. So, I copied and pasted it for him. My other name is Prometheus.

        • Richard Silverstein December 30, 2012, 1:42 AM

          @The Mighty Cynic I want to be very clear. Comment rules insist that commenters comment under only ONE name. If I discover that one person is commenting using more than one ID, I will cancel that person’s comment privileges. I’ve had several commenters victimize this blog by adopting widely divergent personnas & don’t take kindly to multiple identities. If this is what you’ve done, decide which ID you want to retain & retire the other.

        • Deïr Yassin December 30, 2012, 5:34 AM

          @ The Mighty Cynic
          Yeah, of course….. “Persian Advocate” asked you to find out, you copied and pasted etc, all that in only TWO MINUTES ! Your ‘working together on political issues’ must be a very close collaboration, maybe sharing the same chair and computer ? And you just happen to have exactly the same ideas, and style of writing.
          Even a average Hasbarista would do better than that.

          • The Mighty Cynic December 30, 2012, 8:29 AM

            A-HA! You have discovered a whole: nothing. It’s the digital age. We communicate through Facebook.

  • Jaan Ojan December 28, 2012, 1:10 AM

    Kudos to Mr. Silverstein to expose another clownish “analyst” on the Mossad payroll at their “college” in Israel.
    And it is so true that among the millions of Iranian expats worldwide and more than one million (the most educated immigrant group) in U.S., these controlled MSM and “think tanks” provide so many platforms to such un-educated, dishonest and fanatical opportunists.

  • bernard g December 28, 2012, 7:13 AM

    “Lancaster has an “excellent reputation?” Can you quantify that in some meaningful way? What is its ranking on academic surveys? What is it known for, if anything?”
    From Wikipedia: “Lancaster expanded rapidly and now has the 11th highest research quality[7] in the UK and is the 16th highest ranking research institution according to the latest Research Assessment Exercise.[8] The university has an annual income of £180 million,[1] 3,025 staff and 12,525 students. Along with the universities of Durham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, Lancaster is a member of the N8 Group of research universities. Lancaster was ranked 7th in the 2013 Guardian University Guide,[9] 9th in the 2013 Complete University Guide,[10] 8th in the Times Higher Education (THE) Table,[11] and 9th in the 2012 Good University Guide.[12] It was also ranked 124th internationally in The World University Rankings 2011[13] 153rd in the 2011 QS World University Rankings,[14] and 9th best university in the world under 50 years old.[15]”
    I know nothing about this Javedanfar character but Lancaster is not an “undistinguished provincial school” – I know because I studied there!

    • Richard Silverstein December 28, 2012, 6:29 PM

      @Bernard g: You perhaps were a brilliant student & no doubt Lancaster produces other brilliant students. But if Meir Javedanfar is any reflection of the product that Lancaster’s international relations program turns out, it does not deserve a sterling reputation. As I mentioned to Bob, I’ve modified my description of Lancaster to reflect the higher ranking than I’d suspected when I first wrote the post.

  • jason December 28, 2012, 10:23 PM

    Hi Richard

    I am glad you have modified your comments about Lancaster University, now to Meir. I have debated with Meir on numerous occassions. Whilst my English is not as perfect as it can be, and if you were looking at my qualifications in the middle east area then your comments would be fair. Meir has always been academic and fair to all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian discussions and discourse. Given his family background and where he has come from he has done very well to achieve what he has and should be considered an inspirational character rather than suffering from personal attacks from yourself. I have seen nothing from you off substance criticizing Meirs opinions, there is alot of archive on television and radio that can be listened too and I would suggest some more research.

    On a final note I would suggest that you investigate his background further to alter your opinions, in a similar way facts changed your new found admiration for Lancaster University.

    • Richard Silverstein December 29, 2012, 12:36 AM

      @Jason: I didn’t say I “appreciated” Lancaster Univ. Only that I underestimated its academic ranking and wanted to correct my mistake. Lancaster is clearly not in the first rank of UK universities, which is likely why someone like him could be accepted. But it is a reputable school nevertheless.

      Similarly, my attack on Javedanfar is not at all personal. It is purely couched in a political and academic context. Once again, I urge, even dare any of his supporters to point out a fact that is wrong or misinterpreted. I’ve been asking for this from critics from the moment I published. Even Javedanfar doesn’t engage with a single charge or claim in my post. This is an indication that his position is really indefensible. If it was, he would’ve marshalled a defense or had one of his acolytes do so.

      Of course, I criticized Javedanfar’s opinions. Did you miss my attack on his Guardian piece and its numerous errors both of fact, interpretation & attribution. Also, read Nima Shirazi’s even more detailed evisceration which is linked. Nima did such a good job, I didn’t need to repeat his work.

  • Arie Brand December 29, 2012, 1:25 PM

    If I am not mistaken two of the criteria used in the TES’s ranking of universities have to do with the number of foreign students and that of foreign staff. It is also biased towards publications appearing in the English language academic press.The overall result is that the ranking is biased towards English language universities which have obviously greater attractions for foreign students and foreign staff. I have studied and taught at universities in the Netherlands, the UK and Australia and must say that I have found the TES’s ranking of universities I know from personal experience somewhat surprising.

  • Homayoun Mobasseri December 30, 2012, 9:15 PM

    Mr. Silverston,
    If you make a gross mistake on standing of a University as Lancaster that could be looked up with few keystrokes so easily and does not need even a research and trash it’s standing in order to trash Meir, then denigrate another person for the use of the term “specialism”,
    How can the rest of your research be trusted ( pardon us if my English is not as good of yours!)
    There are so many other holes in your assessment and your tactics are nothing better than the tactics of Islamic Regime’s “Ghods” or Keyhan of IRI

    • Richard Silverstein December 31, 2012, 3:55 AM

      @ Homayoun Mobasseri: Monarchists and MEK disciples are big fans of Javedanfar’s. Which one are you? As for misspelling my name, it’s not the only mistake you’ve made I’m afraid.

  • Homayoun Mobasseri December 30, 2012, 9:27 PM

    apparently I managed to misspell your name,
    ” Silverstein”

  • Jason December 31, 2012, 1:04 AM

    I know many people who studied under Meir and only have positive things to say.

    These people range from Academics, to foreign dignitaries, Bachelors, Masters and Ph.d students.

    You may have done your homework but you never sat in his classroom.

    First hand accounts are weighted much more strongly then Wiki-searches and making your own self serving connections.

    • Richard Silverstein December 31, 2012, 3:54 AM

      It’s hardly likely academics, MA or PhD students would “study with” Javedanfar since he teaches a single basic course at IDC. If you mean “study” in the most informal context then I suppose anyone could study with him. But such study would have no academic rigor or credentials.

      Your “first hand account” has very little weight I’m afraid since it appears you share his ideological convictions, which themselves are suspect & undermine his own credibility.

  • jonathan December 31, 2012, 5:04 AM

    Mr Silverstein,
    first of all, I do not understand why you would invest so much time and energy to carry out this ad hominem attack, which adds so little to the debate on Middle Eastern issues. I will not even address the question of Lancaster University’s ranking, as it is self-evident that this is not what makes a good scholar nor a good journalist. I am surprised that people are even discussing this.
    You seem to try to make the point that Mr. Javedanfar is a hawkish right-winger co-opted by Israel. First of all, if he indeed did have such view, he would be entitled to it, wouldn’t he? As his former student, however, I can guarantee that, in the private atmosphere of a 15-students class, the views he expressed were by no means those expressed by the Israeli right. In fact, he was often critical of Israeli and American policy towards Iran. He did often attack the Iranian regime, mainly because he sees it as hurting the Iranian people; but such attacks were usually well argued and supported by facts. Inter alia, I remember him very clearly stating his position against too harsh sanctions. In class, Mr. Javedanfar was always presenting multiple views on issues, and I found him to be a critical-minded but well-balanced lecturer.
    For what concerns his view on Israel, I will add that I met him once in Tel Aviv at a demonstration against the settlements.
    Having said this, I did not read his book, and I did not attend the conferences you mention. But the Meir Javedanfar you describe is very different from the one I’ve had the pleasure to know.

    • Richard Silverstein December 31, 2012, 4:56 PM

      @Jonathan: You do not understand the definition of “ad hominem.” My criticism has nothing to do with “ad hominem” and everything to do with facts and evidence. If the quality of an institution has nothing to do with what makes a good scholar or journalist then demand for places at Oxford, Cambridge & Exeter would not be higher than demand at 2nd rank institutions like Lancaster. The fact that the quality of students is better at the former schools than at Lancaster tells us that your claim is false.

      He’s not entitled to project himself as an expert on domestic Iranian politics or developments within Iran, since he clearly has no genuine sources within Iran & uses 2nd hand sources, making his own observations 3rd hand.

      As a “former student” of Javedanfar, you prove that you have a vested interest in this argument and have no independent perspective. In other words, you’re little more than a shill. Which is precisely the problem with Javedanfar in the first place. He uses cheerleaders and puffery in place of sober, balanced analysis.

      As for Javedanfar’s analysis, I said his views were those of the Israeli intelligence apparatus (which also happen to be those of the Israeli far right, since that is the nature of the current government). Can you show a single criticism that he’s levelled against Israeli policy toward Iran? I’m waiting.

      Javedanfar doesn’t “often” attack the Iranian regime, he ALWAYS attacks it. As for whether his attacks are “well reasoned,” I prefer the critiques of far better credentialed critics like Nima Shirazi and Reza Sanati, who have more expertise in this field than you or Javedanfar.

      The only distinction Javedanfar makes regarding sanctions is that he claims he opposes sanctions that prohibit importation of medicine or food. That is hardly a position that distinguishes him from the most radical right wing analysts who also make some allowances. IN fact, such limitations would still reduce common Iranians to penury & are relatively meaningless in the overall scheme of things.

      I simply do not believe Javedanfar presented “multiple views.” What constitutes diversity of views? WHich other voices did he present? I assure you he didn’t present any of the voices generally understood to be credible independent voices.

      Your endorsement of Javedanfar simply is not credible since you have not established your own bona fides as an independent, credible judge in this matter.

  • Jason December 31, 2012, 6:51 AM

    Thats exactly my point. These students went out of their way to study with/from Meir.

    I’ll spell it out for you, since from your writing it looks like you get angry and smash on your keyboard until something half coherent comes out. People seek this man out for his educated opinion (One, two, three classes, whatever. He teaches you write self serving blog posts…should I mention you only write one blog. Does that mean you’re not even a blogger?)

    MY account has little weight? Everything you wrote in your post has been torn to shreds in the comments and by Meir’s response. You even put Lancaster in question to make your point (ludicrous on your part).

    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion. Just to let you know, its very clear to any logical reader that you’ve simply created a false reality where your judgements on pundits political credentials supersedes that of The Atlantic, HUJI, The Guardian and many more respected outlets.

    Leave it to the experts before you decide to try and ruin a mans reputation.

    • Richard Silverstein December 31, 2012, 4:44 PM

      No, your point was that academics, PhD & MA students have “studied” with him. I don’t believe this is so & would like you to prove it.

      As for my personal habits or emotions, don’t project your own weird fantasies about me into the comment threads here. Keep your contributions to substance. We don’t need or want to hear your views about me personally.

      He doesn’t teach “two” or “three” classes. He teaches a single course, period & only at one 2nd rank Israeli university.

      As for me, I publish my work widely at media outlets & publications you may never have read or heard of. I don’t teach academic courses because I, as opposed to Javedanfar, have never made a pretense that I’m an academic.

      Nothing I wrote has been torn to shreds by you, Javedanfar or anyone else. In fact, my challenge remains to find any contradiction of any fact in my piece. In fact, I’ve expanded the expose & it’s about to be published at Antiwar.com, where it will receive far wider exposure. As for Lancaster, the fact is it’s a second rank UK university.

      As for “logical readers,” whatever that means, I’ll leave it to them to decide which one of us has more credibility.

  • Sassan January 1, 2013, 2:40 PM

    What a hateful and ignorant diatribe by a hateful bigot. This Silverstein character is a joke and demonstrated this with his ignorant rant. He is obviously an appeaser of the terrorist regime of the Islamic Republic and stands against freedom and human dignity. No wonder, such an imbecile has gone on PressTV in the past. The mouthpiece of the terror regime of the Islamic Republic.

  • Husni January 1, 2013, 3:00 PM

    Richard: 1 , Meir: 0 !!!

  • Mehrnaz January 1, 2013, 4:57 PM

    Mr Silverstein, Thank you for the article exposing Javedanfar as a light weight opportunist. I personally don’t consider his formal academic credentials or the lack of them as relevant. He could have been graduated from Oxford or Harvard for that matter, as many of these liars and warmongers are. A good example is the scum Alan Dershowitz. Javedanfar does not even hold dual nationality. He is an Israeli of Iranian origin who abuses his knowledge of Farsi and his meagre familiarity with Iran to pose as an “Iranian” with ‘inside knowledge” of Iranian life and political affair. He is an opportunist whose writings and broadcasts can be easily taken apart by anyone simply familiar with Iran’s nuclear programme or anyone who follows the readily available material about Ahmadi-Nedjad’s limits of power and more importantly the exposure of what has been falsely attributed to him. Even Dan Merridor was forced to acknowledge in his Al-Jazeera interview in 2011 that Ahmadi-Nejad had not called for Israel to be wiped off the map. As you know, Javedanfar’s book has not received any attention, despite much publicity, outside the circles funding and publicising it!

  • Sassan January 2, 2013, 1:37 AM

    [comment deleted for violation of comment rules Not only have you listed a litany of tired, old anti-regime propaganda most of which is either false or taken out of context, you repeated claims made here scores of times by others before you & which have been addressed and rebutted before by others. You clearly are either a monarchist or MEK supporter and there are many sites & forums for you online where this propaganda would be more welcome. No one here (at least not me) supports the regime. But no one is an anti-regime propagandist either. I don't have the time to rebut the same old arguments advanced for the 20th time or more, which is why I've written in the comment rules that debates about Iran's alleged anti-Israelism or anti-Semitism are off-topic. NOt to mention that Israel, with its huge arsenal and military machine, is capable of inflicting far more damage on Iran and the region than Iran.]

  • Mehrnaz January 2, 2013, 4:52 AM

    Sassan, in response to your old and tired cliche, as far as superstitions are concerned, you better pay attention to Christian Zionists in the US and their dream of Armageddon, whose violent dreams are lapped up by the AIPAC despite the grand finale of killing Jews! However, unlike these lunatics, Iran has not attacked another country and Khamenedi has stated repeatedly over many years that iran “will never initiate an attack on any country”. Evan Barak admitted in 2010 that Iran’s leadership is very rational and not suicidal, a view acknowledged by many past and present Israeli high-ranking secret service officials and army generals.

    In relation to Ahmadi-Nedjad, it is no secret that he, like many in Iran, do not recognise Israel as a legitimate country and view it as a colonial occupation. This view is shared by millions throughout the world, including in the “Western world” increasingly. These views are legitimately and legally expressed and do not indicate any genocidal intentions, even intention for war. Ahmadi-Nedjad himself has made his position clear on a number of occasion such as his interview with Wallace on CBS which was falsified by editing out what he said. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/04/wallace-interview-with-ahmadinejad-was-little-more-than-deliberate-demonization.html

    In this interview, Ahmadi-Nedjad in response to Wallace’s question about “wiping Israel off the map”, said: “I think that the Israeli government is a fabricated government and I have talked about the solution. The solution is democracy. We have said ‘allow Palestinian people to participate in a free and fair referendum to express their views.’ What we are saying only serves the cause of durable peace. We want durable peace in that part of the world. A durable peace will only come about with once the views of the people are met.

    So we said ‘allow the people of Palestine to participate in a referendum to choose their desired government,’ and of course, for the war to come an end as well. Why are they refusing to allow this to go ahead? Even the Palestinian administration and government which has been elected by the people is being attacked on a daily basis, and its high-ranking officials are assassinated and arrested. Yesterday, the speaker of the Palestinian parliament was arrested, elected by the people, mind you. So how long can this go on?

    We believe that this problem has to be dealt with fundamentally. I believe that the American government is blindly supporting this government of occupation. It should lift its support, allow the people to participate in free and fair elections. Whatever happens let it be. We will accept and go along. The result will be as you said earlier, sir”. This may not be viewed as acceptable or realistic to some but there is definitely no talk of military attack, no genocide! This is the section of the interview which was removed because it did not serve the warmongering agenda:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXaqyypdsCc

    Dan Merrdior, in his capacity as Israel’s deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, admitted in an interview with Al-Jazeera in 2011 that “We misquoted Ahmadi-Nejdad” on “wiping Israel off the map” through military intervention.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/talktojazeera/2012/04/2012413151613293582.html

  • Sassan January 2, 2013, 2:33 PM

    [comment deleted and commenter moderated for repeated comment rule violations--if you wish to get another comment published here you will read the comment rules & respect them. The comment threads are not a propaganda megaphone for your pro-MEK/monarchist views. If you want to comment here you'll have to understand that it isn't a one-way street. You don't get to use this space as your billboard. Future comments will only be approved if you've shown you've absorbed this.]

  • Mehrnaz January 3, 2013, 5:45 AM

    Sassan, I read your comments before they were deleted. Since you can’t conduct a debate without being rude, this is not addressed to you personally; it is for the benefit of others who may read these comments.

    What IS shameful is to condemn nearly 80 million innocent people, your own country men and women, to draconian sanctions and war. Javedanfar supports these illegal and immoral sanctions which meet the definition of GENOCIDE of the UN Convention. http://www.hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html

    Palestinians have no historical and cultural relevance to Iranians?!

    Perhaps you have never lived in Iran and are unfamiliar with its history and culture, the history of colonisation and imperialist exploitation in the region, or the region’s geography. Interestingly, Brenda Shaffer, the American-Israeli academic, makes the same claim, this time in relation to various regions and ethnicities living in Iran! http://original.antiwar.com/muhammad-sahimi/2012/10/14/stop-supporting-separatist-groups-in-iran/ :

    Mohammad Sahimi writes: “In her book, Borders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity, [she] claims that there is no such thing as a unifying collective Iranian identity and advocates separation of Iran’s Azerbaijan and joining it with the Republic of Azerbaijan. Interestingly, the current Republic of Azerbaijan was part of Iran throughout history until the Russian empire separated it from Iran in 1820s. Other academics have also made such bogus claims for years”.

    And “Several years ago a quote was widely attributed to an aide to Israel’s former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, according to which, “Even if Iran becomes a completely democratic state, it would still be too large and a threat to Israel’s security.” In fact in 2003, the Grand Bargain offered to the Bush Administration by President Khatami and approved by Ayatollah Khamenei, amongst other things, proposed to recognise the Saudi Initiative, that is, a two state solution, in return for Iran’s legitimate security and economic rights, including its right to a fully monitered civilian nuclear technology to be recognised.

    You might be runing a personal secret service, but as I pointed out before, despite the fearmongering by the Israeli hawks – with Natanyahu’s lunatic cartoon in front of the UN Assembly an iconic example of this – many former and current highranking intelligence and army personnel as well as politicians in Israel don’t agree with you.

    “Israel’s former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Tzipi Livni has rejected such a view, as have current Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces [IDF], lieutenant General Dan Halutz, and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Former IDF chief and Defense Minister, and the current leader of the opposition Kadima Party Shaul Mofaz has called the “existential threat” claim “manipulative.” http://www.payvand.com/news/12/sep/1148.html They are aware of Iran’s complex and many layered system of decision making resulting in a measured and rational foreign policy which has nothing to do with Messianic beliefs.

    Israeli hawks and their lobby, over many years, have been threaening and pushing for a “preventive” war on Iran, which is illegal under the international law and the UN Charter. Its lobbyists call for “false Flag” operations to instigagte a US attack on Iran. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M84l19H68mk. Israel which has been behind the genocidal sanctions on Iran, is engaged in a violent covert war arming and training ethnic separatists and the MEK terrorists, murdering Iranian scientists and military personnel, and attacking iran’s critical industrial and civilian infrastructure through an illegal and dangerous cyberwar.

    The false flag operations extend to framing even its loyal patron/poodle, the US! As revealed by Mark Perry in Foreign Policy “Buried deep in the archives of America’s intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a “false flag” operation”. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/01/13/false_flag?wp_login_redirect=0

    Again you might have your own secret services, but according to the US and Israel’s own secreat agencies’ findings, there is absolutely no evidence of Iran developing nuclear weapons or an intention to do so.

    The routine reference to “anti-Semitism” though unsurprisingly, remains mildly comic. By that definition, opposition to Apartheid in South Africa would have been just as irrelevant to Europeans or Americn progressives who live in other continents! And so their support for the human rights of the Palestinians including their right to a homeland, is also “anti-Semitic” ☺. By the way, Arabs are Semites too!

    The domestic problems and conflicts in Iran is the sovereign domain of Iranians living in Iran. Neither have the US and its western poodles, and certainly Israel, with their bloody records of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including sanctions and threat of war on Iran, have a grain of legitimacy to be the arbiter of democracy and human rights anywhere in the world.

  • Andy January 3, 2013, 11:29 AM

    No one here has mentioned Ahmed Chalabi, so I will. I remember once seeing a 60 Minutes segment on Chalabi. It was immediately clear to me: “This guy is a fraud, and he is playing America for a bunch of suckers.” We should all be wary of would-be Iranian Chalabis like Javedanfar.

    For those commenters who allege that Richard’s criticism of Javedanfar means that he supports the mullahs: If you support sanctions on Iran, then you yourselves are effectively supporting the regime, and you are an enemy of the Iranian people.

  • Liberal January 8, 2014, 7:28 PM

    A poster on a British newspaper thread has managed to expose this man and I am personally extremely grateful to him (or her) for doing so.
    It highlights the extend of hateful, racist propaganda that emanates from Israel and the vast majority of Israelis, especially those who have voluntarily left Iran in the past 3 decades.

  • King Cyrus June 4, 2014, 7:48 PM

    You hit the nail on the head. I discovered him on Twitter and noticed his copious writing there and on various sites like Huffington Post. The main gripe that lead me to believe he was a lackey was the fact that Iranians such as myself knew it was a lie when they quoted Pres. Ahmadinejad saying Iran would “wipe Israel off the map”, an English language euphemism that in Persian, would be totally nonsensical. In fact, I saw the video of the speech and it was easy to determine that was not what Ahmadinejad said at all (listening in my mother tongue mind you). Meir claimed that he is fluent in 5 languages yet he NEVER clarified to Israelis, the Media or Government what was truly said. It was a severely, grossly mis-translated line. When I confronted him on it on Twitter, he cited an un-official transcript of a different speech that also did not include any genocidal threat on Israel!

    He was a preeminent journalist who is Iranian, Persian speaking, Hebrew speaking, English speaking and lives in Israel. He was the PERFECT person at the right time and right place to squash this lie and…he did NOTHING.
    Sadly, its clear he’s just a self interested tout. I am happy that while doing searches on his background I found this site and the content here.

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