Happy New Year! … Happy new enormous accusation against AIPAC!

It’s the first post of the New Year, Sullivan asks,

How much worse can it get? The neocons want a big, breast-beating, emotionally satisfying dispaly [sic] of righteousness.

That would be the pot calling the kettle black … (Yes, the Dish has become a pot in this cliche. The new decade is already full of wonders.)

[UPDATE: The Dish corrected Sullivan’s “dispaly” typo. I’m still noticing the ratio of typos-to-text in posts with “neocon” or “Israel” in it is much higher than the rest of the posts on The Dish. As Andre Gide said, in what should be Andrew’s mantra for posting about these topics: “I mistrust feelings that find their expression too quickly.”]

Sullivan is complaining about the Iran Sanctions Bill so he posts a segment of a bloggingheads diavlog between Gary Sick and Kelly Niknejad, where they are both very disappointed.

I am against this bill. I think a gasoline sanction is way too risky at this time. I have read interviews in which some Iranian opposition say they are in favor of this measure, and many other interviews where opposition figures say they are against it. Even if the Revolutionary Guard is the owner of the gas industry, I don’t know whether the Guard, as Gary Sick says, can find a way to use these sanctions to take money from the people’s pockets and put it in their own.

Gary Sick, however, accuses AIPAC of actually having a hand in writing the legislation. So I called the office of their (very brusque) spokesperson, Josh Block. He told me, “Of course not.” I’ve also read that the text of the bill dates back to a 2007 bill, co-written by Rep. Howard Berman.

AIPAC is one of many other organizations supporting this bill, so why does Sullivan, without bringing any facts to the table, take say it is the “central organization” for the Congress’ Iran policy? He seems to be content taking Gary Sick at his word. The Dish writes:

AIPAC, as usual, is at the center of it, although why the pro-Israel lobby should be the central organization for tackling Iran is beyond me. This is America

… So how’s that studying for the citizenship exam going? (Just kidding, Andrew. I think you’re going to make a great American.)

A few posts later on The Dish, I found a link to an article in the Jerusalem Post. At the end of the article, we hear from Rep. Howard Berman, who co-wrote the 2007 basis for this gasoline sanctions bill, and is a sponsor of the House version of the current one. He told the JPost that he wants to subordinate this measure to the international community’s threat of more narrow sanctions, targeting the regime leaders:

In addition, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, who sponsored the House bill, said he wanted to give time for the Security Council process to work before passing any law.

So, this is still America, I guess, Mr. Sullivan … despite the stimulating book by Walt and Mersheimer.

Anyway, Andrew’s interpretation of the Jerusalem Post article lost touch of any nuances. The article is about what Israel would like from America regarding Iran and what Obama and the Congress are thinking about Iran now. In Sullivan’s words, Oren wants sanctions “against the Iranian people” or else Israel will be “launching a fourth world war.” And Andrew says,

Oren is adamant that”there isn’t an Israeli view and an American view” on the Iranian question, but rather “one view.”

If you read the quote in the Jerusalem Post article, Oren doesn’t sound “adamant” at all. “Adamant” does not simply mean having an opinion, or not having a weak one. If Oren is “adamant” here, then over 75% of the posts on The Dish are “adamant.”

This is an example of Sullivan’s rhetorical tendency to charge words or gestures by other people with the energy of controversy, conflict and fervor … It’s part of what makes him both a good and bad journalist, I guess. A bad one here, since Oren has become “adamant” only because of Sullivan’s own feelings and meta-ideology.

Oren is giving the typical spin of an Israeli ambassador that Israel and America are unified and holding hands. But although Obama and Israel both want sanctions, he doesn’t want the gasoline sanctions right now, before trying a bunch of safer measures that might assist the Greens first. As served to us on The Daily Dish, Oren becomes “hardline” (with Sullivan mentioning the J-Street issue he has very sketchy knowledge of) and the post is called “Obama vs Oren.”

In another bloggingheads discussion, Spencer Ackerman and Eli Lake talk about which sanctions could be effective, and what kind of help the United States should now be giving the Green opposition, and what the Greens have told them they approve of. Their discussion is not critical of Obama’s strategy on Iran but doesn’t see it in the same open-ended way The Dish does or as in a  battle with some neoconservative ideology of Israel.

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One Response

  1. […] dealt with that Israelcentric reaction here, and then stated my concern that this was quite the wrong time for gasoline sanctions.  However, […]

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