As Bibi Netanyahu heads to Washington for yet another in an endless series of consultations of dubious utility with Barack Obama, followed by yet another appeal to the worshipful multitudes at Aipac’s national conference, it’s important to note that opinion polls both in the U.S. and Israel confirm there is no consensus within either country supporting war against Iran.
In the NY Times report on Bibi’s coming visit, Zalman Shoval falsely claims:
“Public opinion polls in America are about 50-50 on whether America should take a role in an eventual military operation against Iran. This is not the main element in a decision, but it will have some influence on the candidate, who happens to be president.”
Here are some recent U.S. poll findings on the subject. A February 2012 CNN poll finds that only 17% of Americans favor a U.S. attack now, while 60% favor sanctions with no military attack now. 22% favor taking no action at all. In a February Pew survey, 64% of Americans said that sanctions will not work. 58% said they would favor military action if it was the only way to prevent Iran from getting a bomb. 30% said they opposed a strike even if meant Iran got a nuclear weapon.
A 2010 CNN survey found only 36% favored a military attack if sanctions did not work, while 39% favored no military action. 71% of those polled believe (falsely) that Iran already has nuclear weapons.
A Pew poll in January 2011 said that 50% of Americans favored taking a “firm stand” against Iran, while 40% favored avoiding a military conflict. A November CBS survey found that only 15% of Americans favored military action against Iran now, while 55% believed that Iran could be contained by diplomacy, rather than force.
Now for Israeli public opinion: Shibley Telhami’s latest University of Maryland poll of Israeli public opinion finds that only 19% favor an attack that is against the will of the U.S. 42% would favor an attack with U.S. support. 34% oppose a strike regardless of whether there is U.S. support.
22% believe that if Israel did attack it would delay the Iranian nuclear program by more than five years. Even the most hawkish Israeli generals and politicians claim it will delay the program by a year or possibly two. 11% believe it would accelerate the Iranian WMD program, which is what a number of analysts suspect will happen.
27% of Israelis believe that if Israel did attack against the U.S.’ wishes, the latter would join the war against Iran nonetheless, while 39% believe the U.S. would support Israel diplomatically but not militarily.
29% of Israelis believe, against the explicit guarantee of hawks like Ehud Barak and Moshe Yaalon, that a war would take “months.” 22% believe it would last “years,” a particularly grim finding.
44% of Israelis believe an attack by their country would strengthen the Iranian regime.
While Israelis are evenly split in their preference between Obama and Romney as future president, they favor Obama by 33% to 18% over Rick Santorum. They even favor Obama over Newt Gingrich (32% to 25%), which is surprising considering that Sheldon Adelson’s Yisrael HaYom, Israel’s most popular daily, is shilling for Gingrich virtually every day in its pages.
These numbers are confusing but show — inter alia — that public opinion changes and, presumably, that it changes BECAUSE of the level and content of the public discourse.
What with Republicans and FOX blasting the USA with pro-war scare-stories, I’d give the USA’s citizenry high marks for a level head and good (quasi) anti-war instincts.
Similarly with ISrael. And if Adelson’s FREE newspaper is shilling for Gingrich (and I suppose for war) and Israelis resist these siren calls, they too have some good instincts. (However, how do they answer the question: should Israel recall all the settlers because its the (international) law? And — should Israel recall all the settlers in return for a I/P peace along 1967 lines with a divided Jerusalem (as per early 1967)?
Public opinion on this issue is worse than useless.
Public opinion on abortion or Dancing with the Stars, OK. But the public does not have and cannot have the information it needs to weigh the up side and down side of such a complex issue as whether to attack Iran.
Take Obama. He spent 2 years on the campaign trail kvetching about every one of the Bushies’ anti-terrorism activities.
Then he got into the WH. He looked at his first National Intelligence Estimate, he crapped his pants, his hair turned as white as Bush’s, and he adopted virtually all of Bush’s initiatives, including warrant-less wiretaps and extra-judicial killings.
Last week the UK parliament released a report of the electronic destruction and civil chaos that would result from a nuke exploded 500 miles in space. Iran has the ability to launch such rockets; it just put its 3rd spy satellite up. If it gets a nuke, the West is seriously screwed.
Never mind what’s in the NIE, do the yahoos and rednecks even know just this MSM-level unclassified stuff when they respond to Gallup? No, but they know who was flashing leg at the Oscars.
C’mon, Richard, war is profitable!
What say you? Vietnam: boom $$$. Iraq/Afghanistan over the last decade: boom $$$! World War I: boom $ the great depression WWII: the depression didn’t end until the war was well over and the soldiers were back and laws made to put money in THEIR hands to spend it, not in the hands of the corporations to trickle down.
So, war is profitable. For a select few. Military contractors, corrupt politicians, financiers of war (international bankers), and other overlords.
[I tried–I really did. But you’ve tried my patience, not heeded warnings. And now you’re banned]
War is a transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1% — that’s why the privileged want war, incessant war. War is costly for the 99% who will pay more taxes servicing the deficit. The 1% will, of course, pay less taxes on a percentage basis: They are not the 1% for nothing! To an extent future economic “growth” will also pay for the ceaseless wars but this growth accrues mostly to the 1%. The economic realities apply to Israel. The great majority are simply conned by privileged interests.
Let’s call them Zazi’s for short.
As an Israeli I read this blog regularly. I agree with some articles and comments, and disagree with others. I respect those who post intelligent remarks and ideas here, even when they run contrary to my own.
However, I think that a comment like the one above from AZCowBoy cross a red line. People have been banned here for far more intelligent comments than this one. I hope there is no place for terms like ZioNazi here, or for wishes that the Israeli people be flushed down a toilet.
For goodness sake. If you have nothing intelligent to add then don’t write.
I know that Richard does not want to use the term “Nazi” here at all, mostly in reference to policies and practices of Israel. But, states seeking racially pure citizenry must have common elements of belief and practice and, to this extent, there is correspondence between the two states, i.e. the German Nazi state and the state of Israel as it is. Drawing attention to these common characteristics helps to predict the behavior of Israel under various circumstances, as we have a precedent in a state that also claimed to be eminently civilized.
So, I don’t apologize for making such comparisons however offensive these are to Israelis. Israelis have permitted, indeed endorsed, the Zionist expansion and dominance of racist ideas and Israelis have to answer for this if not now then later when Israel loses everything. As one Nazi said when it was all over: “A thousand years will pass and Germany’s guilt will not be undone!” (or something like that), so it is with Israel. A time is fast approaching when Zionism (and its progeny) will appear childish, even primitive and marginal, a con promoted by gangsters. I mean look what it is based upon: Certain founding fathers sold Jews worldwide certain “rights” to a land that they did not possess in the first place and could not transfer. It’s like selling the Brooklyn Bridge to an unwary tourist in NYC. And when the jig is up, redlines for these ceaseless discussions will be irrelevant.
The AZCowboy is angry and ill-mannered but that is nothing compared to the continuing crimes of the illegitimate racist state you created. So, just like I choose to call Zionist Jews “Zews”, as they are not Jews at all, I see nothing wrong with terming Zionist power players “Zizi’s”, as worked out above.
One of the fascinating aspects of the whole Zionist enterprise and the problems of the IP conflict and the ME is that everyone seems to think that it is all very complicated. My son went to a Zionist high school and brought home one “reader” after another on these matters, endless documents including Balfour, the Arab League etc. etc. Certainly, intelligent discussion is always nice, but the IP conflict and the problems of the ME are not so very complicated. It serves Zionism to pretend that this is complex affair with many many different aspects, but it is not. It is a simple matter and once a student recognizes this, they will never look back at the bookshelves stuffed with “Israel/Arab Readers.” We should read all of that and talk nicely about it, anything to keep all of us talking rather than acting positively. Zionists will do anything to mystify the IP question and keep us inactive and deluded. The truth is pretty simple: Some Europeans stole a country, a land, land, from the indigenous people and then kicked the natives out and brought in more Europeans and others giving them “rights” they did not possess to grant in the first place and denying “rights” to those with legitimate claims.
The State of Israel owes the indigenous people and their heirs justice and reparations. Instead this state delivers phosphor bombs, blockades and the further destruction of Palestinian homes and continuing confiscation of their property. If you want intelligent discussion, let’s start here with appropriate outrage.
“there is correspondence between the two states, i.e. the German Nazi state and the state of Israel as it is.”
No. There absolutely isn’t. You are as much a bigot as this acerbic Cowboy person, and the fact that Richard allows you to post unfettered, but bans moderates who disagree with him, is a tell-tale sign of this blog’s moral bankruptcy.
There is correspondence — racially based laws, militarism, “purity”, confiscation of property, eternal enemies within and without, expansion based upon “security” issues, rights derived from a mythical antiquity, large prisons (concentration camps) such as Gaza and much of the West Bank, talk about “transfers” of people (relocation to the East in Nazi parlance), limitations on the educational and personal freedoms of indigenous peoples, disrespect for borders, state paranoia, Fifth column activities worldwide, erosion of citizen rights, legal definitions of second class citizens, appeals to “birthrights”, lebensraum, administrative detentions, use of sophisticated military against civilian targets (Guernica), depriving other peoples of the basic resources for living, claims of peaceful intentions…, militaristic dictatorship etc. The list goes on and on.
I call that “correspondence” not bigotry. Many Jews and Israelis can’t bear the correspondence and rule it out in advance (even Richard here). But it is still there and it scares you very much.
Nope. There isn’t. You’re lying. Why do you lie?
Lying? These correspondences do not exist, that is, I made them up and there are no objective correlates? Is this what your efficient “Nope” means?
There are no discriminatory laws on the books in Israel? Israel has not fought aggressive wars for expansion? And security was not cited by the Nazis for its incorporation of surrounding lands just as it is cited by Israel? (Hitler referred to the Sudetenland as a “knife aimed at the heart of Germany”, just as Bibi talks about the indefensible narrowness of Israel [which was defended very well in ’68]). AIPAC is not an agent of Israel? And Gaza is not a “reservation” for Palestinians (Hitler admired the US use of reservations for Native Americans!)? Israel doesn’t control even the diet of Gazans (Nazis also had caloric limits for the sub-humans in the ghettos!)?
If I’m a liar, I’m a really imaginative one! Well, here’s a true statement: I wish I were lying.
“Lying? These correspondences do not exist, that is, I made them up and there are no objective correlates?”
Equating Israelis to the purest of form of evil in human history, the Nazis, is bigoted and hateful.
“If I’m a liar, I’m a really imaginative one!”
Not imaginative, no. Equating Jews with cosmic evil is unfortunately a very consistent ailment that plagues mankind.
Overlook — thanks for the fulsome response. Now, I understand you better: “Cosmic evil” befell both the German people and their victims at the time. While the Nazis were especially vile, I had never really considered the power of Cosmic Evil.
So if its Cosmic Evil then the correspondences are even more poignant, even more chilling. I am not the bigot. The Nazis were bigots and, to some extent, so are Israelis, dallying with that Cosmic Evil.
Richard, are you going to allow this anti-semite to continue posting on your blog?
Richard Silverstein says
Stop telling me how to edit my blog. If you have complaints point out who you’re complaining about & what so I don’t have to do extra work & figure it out for you. But please stop whining.
I just read the comment I believe you’re complaining about & don’t find it contravenes my comment rules. If you do, you’ll have to point to specific points that you feel do & why you do.
..and wherein is the “bigotry?” Is this the anti-Semitism canard yet again? Disliking Israel is no different than disliking the Nazi regime when it existed. Would that have been called “bigotry” and/or anti-Semitism?
Piotr Berman says
Why insist on using terms that are found inflamatory? Isn’t better to utilize the richness of English and present a “moving target”, so to speak?
Indubitably, in the initial incarnation Zionism was combining nationalism and socialism (in approximately West European sense). But using a German acronym obscures rather than illuminates. One can write “ethnic supremacy”, “new Sparta”, “nationalism arrested in its development at the stage of 19-century Romanticism” (triple unity of blood, soil and religion) etc.
Philosophically, there is a tension between continuity and change. Some “fascist” ideas were very nicely introduced by Plato. Other were developed by the British. After all, 5 years before Balfour declaration British Parliament passed South African Act that paved the way for Apartheid, and they were simultaneously pursuing similar projects in Rodesia and Kenia. They also invented concentration camps, and administrative detention. Balfour declaration has to be seen as an integral product of its time which was very, very racist. Since then the British realized that Irish are human beings too, and gradually it extended to hitherto “lesser races”.
You remarks come down to the question of why use Nazi analogies (which are inflammatory) when there are other comparisons readily available. Good question. A better question though is — why is verboten to use such an analogy?
The reason for using the Nazi metaphor is simple: The Nazi state has become the sine qua non of radical racist totalitarianism in the public’s imagination. It is also the exact antithesis of life for Jews everywhere. Making the analogy, finding the many correspondences dramatically affronts the complacency of so many Jews who accept and support the policies and practices of the State of Israel.
You will note that, despite the denial that there are any correspondences, “overlook” has not responded to the few correspondences I provide. The analogy to Nazi Germany exposes the visceral heart of Jewish support for Israel which is, in my view, neither rational nor informed, but utterly sentimental and sloppy. These sentimentalists do not wish to extend themselves by thinking hard thoughts. They wish to think that they are simply doing something religious and moral by sending money to Israel, and that they are good people for doing so. I am sure this is just the kind of thinking/feeling that makes TV evangelists rich.
In short, it is effective and upsetting whereas nobody feels anything much about Plato’s ideas for the state.
BTW — this blog is not morally bankrupt, but Israel has, shall we say, huge moral deficits.
and I don’t apologize for my remarks in the instance of “overlook.” I think the accusation of “anti-semite” is a sign of desperation and defeat. I usually earn this epithet quickly in discourse with uninformed “sentimenal” American Zionists, but it takes some doing with better informed and more ready interlocutors such as “overlook.”
I confess that I uncomfortable with the analogy I make, and I see many holes in it but I feel compelled precisely because the opposition has declared that this territory is verboten. I think now that it is “verboten” because it makes some Jews — even myself — real uncomfortable. Discomfort, however, is not sufficient reason to section off this area of discussion.
“Cosmic evil?” Give me a break.
Deïr Yassin says
A little background.
Shibley Telhami is a Palestinian Christian who grew up in a small village on the Mount Carmel close to Haifa.
He’s done studies on “Arabs” living in Israel too, and how they consider their cultural and political identity.
Clif Brown says
Regarding a war on Iran, I haven’t seen any comments or articles anywhere talking about how, once started, such a war is to stopped.
How does one surrender in wars where there are no neatly organized armies facing each other, which, when largely destroyed, leave one side unable to continue the fight?
These days war is a series of bombings and attacks that can come out of nowhere, and can take place anywhere by proxies, supporters, crazies, any one individual in fact can cause mayhem.
Iraq was/is an example of chaotic violence anywhere and any time by…by who knows? Explosives are available everywhere. If only matters were so simple as to be explained by “it’s al qaeda” that has been the generic administration response. Would that it were so simple!
The most fantastic idea is that war with Iran would be some clean attack and then back to normal with the supposed Iranian nuclear effort set back.
The most terrifying thing to me in all the talk coming from Netanyahu and supporters is that what they are saying is insanity, but is being taken as rational thinking. Bibi speaks like the patient in an asylum who is convinced everyone is out to get him (of course Israel IS an asylum by the admission of those who created and inhabit it – but not of the kind of which I speak).
Barak says 500 dead max – what more proof of magical thinking do we need. Yet these two have the United States in thrall! America wake up!
Instead of patiently attempting to sedate the patient, knowing he is mad, the President of the United States seems eager to go as far as possible to let the patient know he is right!
Barack Obama is a timid man. The correct thing to do is to say no, clearly and in a direct address to the American people. The result would be pandemonium in the lobby and it’s supporters – because Obama would be using his bully pulpit to call it’s bluff. In a frenzy the lobby would be labeling Obama in such outrageous terms that Americans would see immediately the monster that has been beneath the surface suddenly breathing fire. The GOP would be in a jam having to either join the crazed attack on Obama or back off from all the lobby money that supports it.
This would be a convulsion that would hark back to 1968, but it could shake this awful grip that could well put us in a war we cannot end.