Despite the P5+1 nuclear deal between Iran and western powers including the U.S., there are many members of the Chattering Classes–Jewish neo-cons, Israeli Prime Ministers, and the like–who cannot make peace with the fact that Iran is not the demon state they make it out to be. Among this lot are Jeffrey Goldberg and Aaron David Miller. Both are members of a hearty band of pro-Israel intellectuals and journalists. Both harbor deep hostility toward Iran which is nothing less than Iranophobia.
Aaron David Miller served in the State Department of several presidents, Republican and Democrat. He is a protegé of Dennis Ross, another member of the pro-Israel intelligentsia. Miller now resides at the Woodrow Wilson Center, which is headed by Jane Harman. Several years ago when Harman served in the House, she desperately wanted to be the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Apparently so did the Mossad and their good friend, Haim Saban.
Harman lobbied so aggressively for the job that she offended Nancy Pelosi, who refused to give it to her. It didn’t help her cause that she also drew Aipac and Saban into the fray, which the FBI didn’t like in particular. Saban is reportedly known in U.S. intelligence circles as an asset of Israeli intelligence. Another Hollywood mogul, Arnon Milchan, served a similar role. He stole US uranium that was used in building Israel’s first nuclear bombs. Milchan wrote a book about his exploits in which he bragged about the services he offered to his country. The fact that he betrayed US interests seems of minor import.
Goldberg has made his reputation as a journalist. In fact, he’s the leading Jewish journalist in the US media market. Whenever an Israeli prime minister or US president want to fire a shot across the bow of their counterpart they go to Goldberg. He’s a dutiful stenographer who puts the word out and gets them the attention they seek. He’s smart enough to know how to play the game. You take the middle ground. Don’t appear to side with one side or the other. An honest broker, right? Except that everyone knows where Goldberg’s heart is–in Zion. It’s just that he can’t be too obvious about it.
Goldberg’s past is not a pretty picture. Through his young adulthood, Goldberg was a devout follower of Meir Kahane. After Kahane’s funeral in 1992, Goldberg writes in his book, he comforted the murdered man’s children by telling them that their father was a great man.
After this, Goldberg decided to make aliyah. He joined the Israeli army and was assigned to an intelligence unit at Ketziot prison, a forbidding hellhole in the Negev desert. The facility holds Palestinian security prisoners. Goldberg doesn’t describe his job as intelligence, but that’s what he was. He got to know the prisoners, did favors for the cooperative ones. You know how that goes in prisons. You take advantage of someone’s needs or weaknesses in return for intelligence and other information.
He befriended one prisoner in particular and wrote a book about their relationship. The book, which attempted to portray the tension of being a liberal Zionist serving in the Israeli army, was well received at the time and made his career.
But Goldberg maintains all of the prejudices of the liberal Zionists. His outlook is narrow and confined when it comes to anything Arab, including the Palestinians. However, he reserves special animus for Iran.
Goldberg’s Special Brand of Iranophobia
The Iranian election was held a few days ago and resulted in resounding victories for the moderate and reformist forces allied with President Hassan Rouhani. The fact that Iran had an election that was credible, in which the vast majority of the nation voted, and that it was held under normal stable conditions, seems to have angered Iranophobes like Miller and Goldberg.
Totally spontaneous scenes from a Tehran petting zoo: https://t.co/hvCXMm30vn
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) February 28, 2016
The latter in particular published the above tweet last night. It linked to a Haaretz photos essay displaying photos of Iranian Jews happily voting in a Tehran synagogue. Jews living in a Muslim country may not be happy. They must be frightened. They must be exploited. They must cower in fear of anti-Semitism. In fact, they must leave. That’s the Goldberg Zio-narrative.
Goldberg says these Jews are voting in a “Tehran petting zoo.” The notion that anyone, least of all Jews, are animals in a zoo is beyond offensive. There have been so many provocative anti-Semitic memes in which Jews have been likened to animals of various species, that language of this sort is inexcusable.
Iranian Jews are normal citizens of Iran. They vote like everyone else. Though there are estimated to be under 10,000 Jews left in Iran from a height of 80,000 before the revolution, they enjoy the rights that other Iranian citizens do. They are even allocated a representative of their own in the Majlis, Iranian parliament.
Though it pains Goldberg to admit it, Jews are not hated in Iran. They are not merely tolerated in Iran. They live much the same as Iranian Muslims do.
In the Zio-world according to Goldberg, Iranian Jews should all have left and made aliyah to Israel when they had a chance. The fact that they chose not to violates The Code. Any Jew who remains in a Muslim state must have something wrong with him. Either he must be a Quisling, or he must be an anti-Zionist, or worse (is there worse?).
The fact that the Jews of Iran are none of these is terribly confusing to Goldberg. That is why he must liken to animals in a petting zoo. To him, these Jews are an anomaly. By all rights they should not exist. The only way he can explain why they do is by treating them as if they are an absurd artifact.
Jeffrey Goldberg personifies the racism and narrow-mindedness of liberal Zionism. Oh, and by the way, after pointing out the offensiveness of his tweet, Goldberg blocked me!
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.