Israelis criticize Mofaz’ machospeak on Iran

This video from the USA says about itself:

Colonel Ann Wright speaking at Brown University about the war in Iraq and the possibility of war with Iran. April 16, 2007. Filmed by Paul Hubbard.

This video from the USA is called Don’t bomb Iran.

From Reuters:

Israelis round on Mofaz’s “political” Iran threat

Sun Jun 8, 2008

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM – Israeli defense officials and political pundits rounded on Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz on Sunday after he threatened attacks against Iran, accusing him of exploiting war jitters to advance his personal ambitions.

Mofaz, a former armed forces chief and likely challenger to the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in their Kadima party, said in a newspaper interview last week that Israeli strikes on Iran looked “unavoidable” given progress in its nuclear plans.

The remarks helped drive up oil prices by nearly 9 percent to a record $139 a barrel on Friday and drew a circumspect response from Washington, which has championed U.N. sanctions against Iran and only hinted force could also be a last resort.

While the White House suggested Mofaz was giving voice to the Jewish state’s fear of the Islamic republic, officials in Israel’s Defence Ministry pointed to a power-struggle roiling centrist Kadima as Olmert tries to beat off a bribery scandal.

“Turning one of the most strategic security issues into a political game, using it for the internal purposes of a would-be campaign in Kadima, is something that must not be done,” Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told Israel Radio.

Israeli Van Creveld on war with Iran: here.

Jewish International Opposition Statement against Attack on Iran: here.

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert: here.

Olmert more pro peace after resignation: here.

Documents linking Iran to nuclear weapons push may have been fabricated: here.

13 thoughts on “Israelis criticize Mofaz’ machospeak on Iran

  1. Posted by: “Jack”

    Sun Jul 6, 2008 2:09 pm (PDT)

    New War Brewing: US, Israel Take Dangerous Steps

    by Eric Margolis
    The Toronto Sun
    Sunday, July 6, 2008

    GENEVA – The U.S., Israel and Iran are playing a very dangerous game of chicken that soon could result in a new Mideast war.

    U.S. intelligence has concluded that Iran is not working on nuclear weapons. But the Bush administration and Israel, recently joined by France, are issuing increasingly loud threats of military action to frighten Iran into halting its nuclear enrichment program.

    Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely for civilian use. Tehran is alternating between conciliatory statements and threats to retaliate against any attack by inflicting economic chaos on the global economy. Europe fears the economic damage a war against Iran would bring far more than Iran’s nuclear program.

    Senior Israeli officials are openly threatening to attack Iran’s nuclear installations before President George W. Bush’s term expires. Early, this month Israel staged a large, U.S.-approved exercise using F-15s and F-16s to rehearse an attack over 900 miles – precisely the distance to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

    The highly regarded American journalist Seymour Hersh just confirmed that the U.S. Congress authorized a $400-million plan to overthrow Iran’s government and incite ethnic unrest. This column reported a year ago that U.S. and British special forces were operating in Iran, preparing for a massive air campaign. Israel’s destruction of an alleged Syrian reactor last fall was a warning to Iran.

    This week a Pentagon official claimed an Israeli attack on Iran was coming before year end.

    Other Pentagon and CIA sources say a U.S. attack on Iran is imminent, with or without Israel. The Bush administration is even considering using small tactical nuclear weapons against deeply buried Iranian targets.

    Senior American officers Admiral William Fallon and Air Force Chief Michael Mosley recently were fired for opposing war against Iran. According to Israel’s media, President Bush even told Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that he could not trust America’s intelligence community and preferred to rely on Israeli intelligence.


    Intensifying activity is evident at U.S. bases in Europe and the Gulf, aimed at preparing a massive air blitz that may include repeated attacks on 3,100 targets in Iran. Other sources say Iranian Revolutionary Guard installations will be barraged by cruise missiles.

    In Washington, Congress, under intense pressure from the Israel lobby, is about to adopt a resolution calling for a naval blockade of Iran, an overt act of war.

    Pro-Israel groups have been airing TV commercials claiming Iran is attacking American troops in Iraq and threatens the U.S.

    The Bush administration’s last desperate act, its Gotterdammerung, could be war with Iran. UN weapons inspectors concur with U.S. intelligence that there is no proof Iran is working on nuclear arms, but the neocon war party in Washington is determined to loosen a final Parthian shaft by striking Iran.

    Israel asserts the right to maintain its Mideast nuclear monopoly by destroying all fissile-producing reactors in the region. Iran vows to retaliate against Israel with its inaccurate Shahab missiles, shut the Strait of Hormuz and mine the Gulf, producing worldwide financial panic, severe fuel shortages, and $400-$500 per barrel oil. Iran likely will attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait, and strike Saudi and Kuwaiti oil facilities. Canadians in Afghanistan could also become targets.


    The embattled Bush administration’s bunker mentality is leading to war that will gravely damage long-term U.S. Mideast interests. A single Iranian missile hit on Israel’s reactor would do more damage to the Jewish state than all its previous wars. Besides, Israel cannot destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. A U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran will guarantee Tehran decides to build nuclear weapons. Israel and Iran have turned their regional rivalry into a confrontation that threatens all.

    Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, not its bombastic President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, controls that nation’s military and insists Iran will not produce nuclear weapons. Israel claims it faces a second holocaust. Iran says Israel’s nuclear forces threaten its existence.

    The dogs of war are being unleashed.

    Eric Margolis is a columnist for The Toronto Sun.

    © 2008, Canoe Inc


  2. Uri Avnery

    Why Not?

    IF YOU want to understand the policy of a country, look at the map – as Napoleon recommended.

    Anyone who wants to guess whether Israel and/or the United States are going to attack Iran should look at the map of the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.

    Through this narrow waterway, only 34 km wide, pass the ships that carry between a fifth and a third of the world’s oil, including that from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

    MOST OF the commentators who talk about the inevitable American and Israeli attack on Iran do not take account of this map.

    There is talk about a “sterile”, a “surgical” air strike. The mighty air fleet of the United States will take off from the aircraft carriers already stationed in the Persian Gulf and the American air bases dispersed throughout the region and bomb all the nuclear sites of Iran – and on this happy occasion also bomb government institutions, army installations, industrial centers and anything else they might fancy. They will use bombs that can penetrate deep into the ground.

    Simple, quick and elegant – one blow and bye-bye Iran, bye-bye ayatollahs, bye-bye Ahmadinejad.

    If Israel attacks alone, the blow will be more modest. The most the attackers can hope for is the destruction of the main nuclear sites and a safe return.

    I have a modest request: before you start, please look at the map once more, at the Strait named (probably) after the god of Zarathustra.

    THE INEVITABLE reaction to the bombing of Iran will be the blocking of this Strait. That should have been self-evident even without the explicit declaration by one of Iran’s highest ranking generals a few days ago.

    Iran dominates the whole length of the Strait. They can seal it hermetically with their missiles and artillery, both land based and naval.

    If that happens, the price of oil will skyrocket – far beyond the 200 dollars-per-barrel that pessimists dread now. That will cause a chain reaction: a world-wide depression, the collapse of whole industries and a catastrophic rise in unemployment in America, Europe and Japan.

    In order to avert this danger, the Americans would need to conquer parts of Iran – perhaps the whole of this large country. The US does not have at its disposal even a small part of the forces they would need. Practically all their land forces are tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The mighty American navy is menacing Iran – but the moment the Strait is closed, it will itself resemble those model ships in bottles. Perhaps it is this danger that made the navy chiefs extricate the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln from the Persian Gulf this week, ostensibly because of the situation in Pakistan.

    This leaves the possibility that the US will act by proxy. Israel will attack, and this will not officially involve the US, which will deny any responsibility.

    Indeed? Iran has already announced that it would consider an Israeli attack as an American operation, and act as if it had been directly attacked by the US. That is logical.

    NO ISRAELI government would ever consider the possibility of starting such an operation without the explicit and unreserved agreement of the US. Such a confirmation will not be forthcoming.

    So what are all these exercises, which generate such dramatic headlines in the international media?

    The Israeli Air Force has held exercises at a distance of 1500 km from our shores. The Iranians have responded with test firings of their Shihab missiles, which have a similar range. Once, such activities were called “saber rattling”, nowadays the preferred term is “psychological warfare”. They are good for failed politicians with domestic needs, to divert attention, to scare citizens. They also make excellent television. But simple common sense tells us that whoever plans a surprise strike does not proclaim this from the rooftops. Menachem Begin did not stage public exercises before sending the bombers to destroy the Iraqi reactor, and even Ehud Olmert did not make a speech about his intention to bomb a mysterious building in Syria.

    SINCE KING Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire some 2500 years ago, who allowed the Israelite exiles in Babylon to return to Jerusalem and build a temple there, Israeli-Persian relations have their ups and downs.

    Until the Khomeini revolution, there was a close alliance between them. Israel trained the Shah’s dreaded secret police (“Savak”). The Shah was a partner in the Eilat-Ashkelon oil pipeline which was designed to bypass the Suez Canal. (Iran is still trying to enforce payment for the oil it supplied then.)

    The Shah helped to infiltrate Israeli army officers into the Kurdish part of Iraq, where they assisted Mustafa Barzani’s revolt against Saddam Hussein. That operation came to an end when the Shah betrayed the Iraqi Kurds and made a deal with Saddam. But Israeli-Iranian cooperation was almost restored after Saddam attacked Iran. In the course of that long and cruel war (1980-1988), Israel secretly supported the Iran of the ayatollahs. The Irangate affair was only a small part of that story.

    That did not prevent Ariel Sharon from planning to conquer Iran, as I have already disclosed in the past. When I was writing an in-depth article about him in 1981, after his appointment as Minister of Defense, he told me in confidence about this daring idea: after the death of Khomeini, Israel would forestall the Soviet Union in the race to Iran. The Israeli army would occupy Iran in a few days and turn the country over to the much slower Americans, who would have supplied Israel well in advance with large quantities of sophisticated arms for this express purpose.

    He also showed me the maps he intended to take with him to the annual strategic consultations in Washington. They looked very impressive. It seems, however, that the Americans were not so impressed.

    All this indicates that by itself, the idea of an Israeli military intervention in Iran is not so revolutionary. But a prior condition is close cooperation with the US. This will not be forthcoming, because the US would be the primary victim of the consequences.

    IRAN IS now a regional power. It makes no sense to deny that.

    The irony of the matter is that for this they must thank their foremost benefactor in recent times: George W. Bush. If they had even a modicum of gratitude, they would erect a statue to him in Tehran’s central square.

    For many generations, Iraq was the gatekeeper of the Arab region. It was the wall of the Arab world against the Persian Shiites. It should be remembered that during the Iraqi-Iranian war, Arab Shiite Iraqis fought with great enthusiasm against Persian Shiite Iranians.

    When President Bush invaded Iraq and destroyed it, he opened the whole region to the growing might of Iran. In future generations, historians will wonder about this action, which deserves a chapter to itself in “The March of Folly”.

    Today it is already clear that the real American aim (as I have asserted in this column right from the beginning) was to take possession of the Caspian Sea/Persian Gulf oil region and station a permanent American garrison at its center. This aim was indeed achieved – the Americans are now talking about their forces remaining in Iraq “for a hundred years”, and they are now busily engaged in dividing Iraq’s huge oil reserves among the four or five giant American oil companies.

    But this war was started without wider strategic thinking and without looking at the geopolitical map. It was not decided who is the main enemy of the US in the region, neither was it clear where the main effort should be. The advantage of dominating Iraq may well be outweighed by the rise of Iran as a nuclear, military and political power that will overshadow America’s allies in the Arab world.

    WHERE DO we Israelis stand in this game?

    For years now, we have been bombarded by a propaganda campaign that depicts the Iranian nuclear effort as an existential threat to Israel. Forget the Palestinians, forget Hamas and Hizbullah, forget Syria – the sole danger that threatens the very existence of the State of Israel is the Iranian nuclear bomb.

    I repeat what I have said before: I am not prey to this existential Angst. True, life is more pleasant without an Iranian nuclear bomb, and Ahmadinejad is not very nice either. But if the worst comes to the worst, we will have a “balance of terror” between the two nations, much like the American-Soviet balance of terror that saved mankind from World War III, or the Indian-Pakistani balance of terror that provides a framework for a rapprochement between those two countries that hate each other’s guts.

    ON THE basis of all these considerations, I dare to predict that there will be no military attack on Iran this year – not by the Americans, not by the Israelis.

    As I write these lines, a little red light turns on in my head. It is related to a memory: in my youth I was an avid reader of Vladimir Jabotinsky’s weekly articles, which impressed me with their cold logic and clear style. In August 1939, Jabotinsky wrote an article in which he asserted categorically that no war would break out, in spite of all the rumors to the contrary. His reasoning: modern weapons are so terrible, that no country would dare to start a war.

    A few days later Germany invaded Poland, starting the most terrible war in human history (until now), which ended with the Americans dropping atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then, for 63 years, nobody has used nuclear weapons in a war.

    President Bush is about to end his career in disgrace. The same fate is waiting impatiently for Ehud Olmert. For politicians of this kind, it is easy to be tempted by a last adventure, a last chance for a decent place in history after all.

    All the same, I stick to my prognosis: it will not happen.



  3. Posted by: “Compañero”
    Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:38 pm (PDT)
    US exports to Iran increase in Bush years AP
    Posted: 2008-07-08 03:38:08


    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. exports to Iran grew more than tenfold during
    President Bush’s years in office even as he accused Iran of nuclear
    ambitions and helping terrorists. America sent more cigarettes to
    Iran – at least $158 million worth under Bush – than any other

    Other surprising shipments to Iran during the Bush administration:
    brassieres, bull semen, cosmetics, fur clothing, sculptures,
    perfume, musical instruments and possibly even weapons. Top states
    shipping goods to Iran include California, Florida, Georgia,
    Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio
    and Wisconsin, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of
    seven years of U.S. government trade data.

    Despite increasingly tough rhetoric toward Iran, which Bush has
    called part of an “axis of evil,” U.S. trade in a range of goods
    survives on-again, off-again sanctions originally imposed nearly
    three decades ago. The rules allow sales of agricultural
    commodities, medicine and a few other categories of goods. The
    exemptions are designed to help Iranian families even as the United
    States pressures Iran’s leaders.

    “Our sanctions are targeted against the regime, not the people,”
    said Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury Department’s Office of
    Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the sanctions. The government
    tracks exports to Iran using details from shipping records, but in
    some cases it’s unclear whether anyone pays attention.

    Sanctions are intended in part to frustrate Iran’s efforts to build
    its military, but the U.S. government’s own figures show at least
    $148,000 worth of unspecified weapons and other military gear were
    exported from the United States to Iran during Bush’s time in
    office. That includes $106,635 in military rifles and $8,760 in
    rifle parts and accessories shipped in 2004, the data shows.

    Also shipped to Iran were at least $13,000 in “aircraft launching
    gear and/or deck arrestors,” equipment needed to launch jets from
    aircraft carriers, according to U.S. records. Iran’s navy is not
    believed to own or operate any carriers.

    Those numbers may seem small, but military items can sell for
    pennies on the dollar compared with what the Pentagon paid. Last
    year, federal agents seized four F-14 fighter jets sold to domestic
    buyers by an officer at Point Mugu Naval Air Station, Calif., for
    $2,000 to $4,000 each, with proceeds benefiting a squadron
    recreation fund. When F-14s were new, they cost roughly $38 million

    Szubin said it was unlikely exports of military gear occurred, but
    added that the government was looking into it to be certain after
    the AP raised questions. He said shipping records are subject to
    human error, such as citing wrong commodity codes or recording
    “Iran” as the destination rather than “Iraq.” The Treasury
    Department said Monday it was still checking to see whether it could
    offer an explanation.

    “That’s something that would obviously concern us greatly and
    concern the whole administration,” Szubin said in an interview with
    the AP. “And so when you presented us with the question in the last
    day we have called over to our colleagues in other government
    agencies and you can be assured they’re looking very carefully into

    Bush this year signed legislation prohibiting the Pentagon from
    selling leftover F-14 parts. The law was prompted by AP reporting
    that buyers for Iran, China and other countries exploited Pentagon
    surplus sales to obtain sensitive military equipment that included
    parts for F-14 “Tomcats” and other aircraft and missile components.
    Two men were indicted in Florida last week on charges they shipped
    U.S. military aircraft parts to Iran, including Tomcat and
    attack-helicopter parts.

    Iran received at least $620,000 in aircraft parts and $19,600 worth
    of aircraft during Bush’s terms. Iran relies on spare parts from
    other countries to keep its commercial and military aircraft flying.
    In some cases, U.S. sanctions allow shipments of aircraft parts for
    safety upgrades for Iran’s commercial passenger jets.

    The U.S. government seems uncoordinated on efforts to limit trade
    with Iran.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission sought to shine a light on
    companies active in Iran but stopped after business groups
    complained. The Treasury Department allowed some companies and
    individuals suspected of illegal trading with Iran to escape
    punishment. Yet the Bush administration also has collected millions
    of dollars in fines from trade-rule violators and pressed Congress
    without success to pass laws to strengthen enforcement.

    The fact that the United States sells anything to Iran is news to

    “Until you just told me that about Iran I’m not sure I knew we did
    any business with Iran,” said Fred Wetherington, a tobacco grower in
    Hahira, Ga., and chairman of Georgia’s tobacco commission. “I
    thought because of the situation between our two governments, I
    didn’t think we traded with them at all, so I certainly didn’t know
    they were getting any cigarettes.”

    The United States sent Iran $546 million in goods from 2001 through
    last year, government figures show. It exported roughly $146 million
    worth last year, compared with $8.3 million in 2001, Bush’s first
    year in office. Even adjusted for inflation, that is more than a
    tenfold increase.

    Exports to Iran are a politically loaded but tiny part of U.S.
    trade. The United States counted more than $1 trillion in world
    exports last year. The value of U.S. shipments last year to Canada –
    America’s top trading partner – was more than 1,000 times the value
    of shipments to Iran.

    Top U.S. exports to Iran over Bush’s years in office include corn,
    $68 million; chemical wood pulp, soda or sulphate, $64 million;
    soybeans, $43 million; medical equipment, $27 million; vitamins, $18
    million; bull semen, $12.6 million; and vegetable seeds, $12
    million, according to the AP’s analysis of government trade data
    compiled by the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research in
    Holyoke, Mass. The value of cigarettes sold to Iran was more than
    twice that of the No. 2 category on the export list, vaccines,
    serums and blood products, $73 million.

    Iran is a top customer of Alta Genetics Inc., a Canadian company
    with an office in Watertown, Wis., that sells bull semen, used to
    produce healthier, more profitable cattle. “The animals we’re
    working with are genetically superior to those in many parts of the
    world,” said Kevin Muxlow, Alta’s global marketing manager.

    Also getting Bush administration approval for export to Iran were at
    least $101,000 worth of bras; $175,000 in sculptures; nearly $96,000
    worth of cosmetics; $8,900 in perfume; $30,000 in musical
    instruments and parts; $21,000 in golf carts and/or snowmobiles;
    $4,000 worth of movie film; and $3,300 in fur clothing.

    Few people or companies asking U.S. permission to trade with Iran
    are turned down by the Treasury Department, the lead agency for
    licensing exports to sanctioned countries. During Bush’s terms, the
    office has received at least 4,523 license applications for Iran
    exports, issued at least 2,821 licenses and 213 license amendments
    and denied at least 178, Treasury Department data shows.

    Neither the Treasury data nor trade data compiled by the Census
    Bureau identify exporters or specify what they shipped. The AP
    requested those details under the Freedom of Information Act in 2005
    and still is waiting for the Treasury Department to provide them.

    Though some trade with Iran is legal, some businesses prefer that
    people not know about it.

    Citing corporate financial reports, the SEC published a list online
    last year of companies that said they had done business in Iran or
    four other countries the State Department considers state sponsors
    of terrorism. The SEC withdrew the list after business groups
    complained but is considering releasing one again.

    “There’s no question that people are looking for that kind of
    information,” SEC spokesman John Nester said. “But under the current
    disclosure regime, it’s beyond most people’s abilities and time to
    slog through every corporate report and find companies that make
    reference to one of those nations.”

    Business groups oppose publishing such lists. It “could
    inappropriately label companies with legitimate activities as
    supporters of terrorism,” the European Association of Listed
    Companies told the commission earlier this year.

    An AP photographer strolling through shops in Tehran had no problem
    finding American brands on the shelves. An AP review of corporate
    SEC filings found dozens of companies that have done business in
    Iran in recent years or said their products or services may have
    made it there through other channels. Some are household names:
    PepsiCo , Tyson Foods
    , Canon, BP Amoco, Exxon Mobil , GE Healthcare, the
    Fargo financial services company, Visa, Mastercard
    and the Cadbury Schweppes candy and beverage maker.

    Georgia led states in exports to Iran over the past seven years,
    with cigarettes representing $154 million of the $201 million in
    goods it exported there. Cigarette shipments to Iran peaked in 2006,
    apparently from a Brown & Williamson cigarette factory in Macon, Ga.

    When the plant closed, tobacco shipments to Iran fell dramatically.
    No U.S. tobacco shipments to Iran were reported for 2007 or the
    first quarter of this year, the most recent figures available.

    British American Tobacco began operating in Iran in 2002, producing
    most of its cigarettes under a contract with the Iranian tobacco
    monopoly, company spokesman David Betteridge said. B.A.T. shipped
    Kent cigarettes from the United States to Iran until 2006, he said.

    The factory in Macon closed after B.A.T.’s Brown & Williamson
    Tobacco Corp. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings merged their U.S.
    tobacco and cigarette businesses. B.A.T. said it now makes
    cigarettes for export to Iran in Turkey. It declined to say how much
    tobacco the company previously shipped from the U.S. to Iran, but
    said the U.S. government approved the shipments.

    The Bush administration’s record enforcing export laws is mixed. The
    Office of Foreign Assets Control let the statute of limitations
    expire in at least 25 cases involving trade with Iran from 2002 to
    2005, according to one internal department audit. The companies
    involved, disclosed to the AP under the Freedom of Information Act,
    include Acterna Corp., American Export Lines, Parvizian
    Masterpieces, Protrade International Corp., Rex of New York, Shinhan
    Bank, Phoenix Biomedical Corp., World Cargo Alliance and World Fuel

    Abdi Parvizian of the Parvizian Masterpieces rug gallery in Chevy
    Chase, Md., said his case was dropped because his business proved
    everything was imported from Iran legally. He bristled over current
    congressional proposals to ban imports from Iran, including carpets.

    “The problem with the rugs is it has nothing to do with the
    government of Iran,” Parvizian said. “This is something that is made
    by the very unfortunate people in the country, and those people are
    going to get hurt more than anybody else.”

    World Fuel Services said an employee fueled a ship out of Singapore
    that turned out to be Iranian-owned, and the U.S. government spotted
    it from a wire transfer. The company explained the mistake to
    Treasury with no repercussions, said Kevin Welber, general counsel
    of the company’s marine business. It has since put in place
    techniques to identify Iranian-owned ships, which Welber said can be
    difficult because some Iranian ships sail under Cyprus flags.

    Phoenix Biomedical acknowledged it shipped surgical shunts to Iran
    without a license. It previously was allowed during the Clinton
    administration to send them to Iran and sent replacement shunts
    without a new license, which was required, said Charles Hokanson,
    who sold Phoenix Biomedical to French-based Vygon and is now chief
    executive of Vygon USA. He said that was the last business it did
    with Iran.

    The other companies did not respond to requests by the AP for

    Failure to obtain export licenses has caused trouble for some
    companies whose products can legally be sold to Iran.

    Months after Zimmer Dental of Carlsbad, Calif., acquired Centerpulse
    Dental in late 2003, it learned Centerpulse had sold dental implants
    and related items to Iran without necessary export licenses, Zimmer
    spokesman Brad Bishop said. It voluntarily reported the violations
    to the Treasury Department, which announced in January that Zimmer
    Dental had paid an $82,850 penalty.

    Bishop said the company has since trained employees and also took
    the easiest solution to avoid such problems:

    It stopped doing any business with Iran.

    Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.


  4. From:

    Press Release

    Ad Hoc Group Against Israeli Attack on Iran

    More than 100 hundred Israeli academicians and peace activists have signed the following declaration:

    There is no military, political or moral justification to initiate war with Iran

    A constant flow of information bears witness to the fact that the Israeli government is seriously considering attacking Iran, in order to disrupt its nuclear plans. We do not disregard irresponsible actions by the Iranian government – we also oppose atomic weapons in principle and support the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction from the region. However, it is clear that the main source of the immediate danger of a new, widespread war stems from the policies of the Israeli government and the flow of threats from it, backed by provocative military maneuvers.

    After serious consideration, we reiterate our position that all the arguments for such an attack are without any security, political or moral justification. Israel might get caught up in an act of adventurism that could endanger our very existence, and this without any serious effort to exhaust the political and diplomatic alternatives to armed conflict.

    We are not certain that such an attack will occur. But the very fact that it is being weighed as a reasonable option, makes it imperative that we warn and caution against the destructive results of an offensive strike against Iran.

    Coordinating Group: Prof. Gadi Algazi; Judy Blanc; Prof. Rachel Giora; Prof. Anat Matar; Prof. Adi Ophir; Prof. Yoav Peled; Reuven Kaminer, Prof. Haggai Ram; Prof. Yehuda Shenhav; Prof. Oren Yiftachel.


    Tel: 972 2 6414632

    August 5, 2008


  5. Against attack on Iran – international Jewish reaction to Morris

    [The] clamour for war with Iran has met not only popular opposition but also runs counter to the quiet diplomacy that has engaged Iran in ongoing relations with the UN nuclear agency, as well as economic trade talks with the USA itself. Israel is also committed to a cease-fire that has held now for a month’s time, to the relief of both the populations of Israel and Gaza. In light of the developing political atmosphere of reason and negotiations, the militarist mindset has pumped up its rationale for war attempting to create the preconditions for a further war.


    The Israeli government’s decision to halt immigration from Ethiopia prompted angry scenes in Jerusalem. . . . “There’s racism everywhere [in Israel] — against Filipinos, and against Yemenis”. . . . [Ethiopians] complained of their lack of prospects in a country that simply “sees us as no better than the Arabs”.


  7. Uri Avnery


    Lonely Rider

    AT THE funeral of Abie Nathan, I said to myself: the Israel-as-it-is takes its leave from the Israel-as-it-could-have-been.

    From the state that we dreamed of when it was founded. A state where moral considerations govern both domestic and foreign policy. A state whose citizens take responsibility for their own actions and the actions of their country.

    Abie Nathan symbolized these aspirations, not in theory, but in practice – by his own deeds.

    I WAS an eye-witness to the birth of this Abie.

    At the end of the 50s, coming home from a few days abroad, I heard the latest news from the Tel-Aviv scene: some members of the air-crew of El Al had opened a new café in the very center of the city, at the corner of Disengoff and Frishman.

    We liked “California” from the beginning, not least because of the host, a pilot called Abie. It was said that he was born in Iran and had grown up in India, had joined the Royal Air Force there and had volunteered as one of our first pilots in the 1948 war.

    Abie was 33 at the time, with a dark complexion and a broad smile. He spoke mostly English, or Hebrew with a marked English accent. He was a perfect host and knew how to make his guests feel special, as if they were his personal friends. Within a short time, the place became the meeting-point of Tel-Aviv’s Bohemians – the group of artists, writers, media people, celebrities and night-lifers who had turned Tel-Aviv into the center of the country’s social life. Politicians, too, were attracted by the liveliness of the place.

    The restaurant ‘s life revolved around him: when he was absent for a few weeks, the clients, too, disappeared. He knew how to pamper people, offer drinks “on the house”, and prepare the special dishes people liked. There were also “regular tables”. (The table I joined on Friday afternoons still convenes to this very day.)

    The young state of those days was optimistic, fermenting, a paradise for young people. The new Hebrew culture with its authors, poets, theaters and satirical programs was flourishing, and the Bohemians of Tel-Aviv set the tone. Their organ was “Haolam Hazeh”, a radically anti-establishment weekly magazine, whose editor I was.

    One day in the summer of 1965 Abie took me aside and asked for my opinion. Some friends, he said, were urging him to run for the Knesset.

    Frankly, my first reaction was that it was a practical joke. But after some days, I realized that he was deadly serious. Abie, who saw the politicians at his tables and listened to their conversations, asked himself: Why are they any better than I?

    A small group of friends from among the clients of the restaurant gathered around him. They were “with it” people, and egged him on. What had started as a game was to have far-reaching consequences.

    I MUST confess that it made me angry.

    A short time before, the government had enacted a new press law that was quite openly intended to muzzle Haolam Hazeh. It mandated draconian punishments for newspapers that published “evil tongue” (Hebrew for libel), clearly intended to stop our revelations about government figures. In response, a group of peace and human rights activists founded a movement that represented the radical line of the magazine: peace with the Palestinians, the fight against corruption, separation between state and religion, social solidarity. They called it the “Haolam Hazeh – New Force Movement”. It was an audacious endeavor: until then, no one had ever succeeded in breaking into the Knesset with a new political force- at the time it an exclusive club of old-established parties and their splinter groups.

    Our movement appealed to the young generation that had grown up in the country. Abie’s list was liable to attract to itself parts of this public, the size of which was uncertain and perhaps too small to satisfy the minimum percentage clause. It seemed to me an irresponsible game.

    Abie’s friends, among them some public relations people, were looking for way to draw attention to his list. They hit upon a gimmick: some years before, Dwight Eisenhower had been elected after promising to “fly to Korea” in order to end the war there. Well, Abie was pilot, why not promise that he would fly to Egypt?

    Egypt was then the main enemy of Israel. Nine years before, Israel had attacked it in collusion with two colonial powers, France and Britain. Everybody understood that going there was a very dangerous undertaking.

    Abie acquired a small airplane, painted it white and named it “Peace 1”. It was displayed in an empty plot near the restaurant. One of his friends composed a popular jingle.

    However, the gimmick did not work. Abie’s list got only 2135 votes, far from the minimum required. The Haolam Hazeh list attained 1.5% of the vote throughout the country, and I was elected. If we had had the support of all of Abie’s voters, we would have won a second seat.

    That could have been the end of the story – but something had happened to Abie. The idea that had started as an election gimmick took hold of him. The extrovert, carefree restaurateur, the darling of the Bohemians, started to treat the matter of peace very seriously.

    A few months after the elections, in the middle of a meeting in the Knesset, somebody brought me the startling news: Abie was on his way to Egypt. In the morning he had climbed into his plane and just taken off. The whole country was holding its breath. And than the blow fell: the radio announced that his plane had been shot down, and that it was unclear whether Abie had survived.

    The public was shattered. Agitated people, some of them weeping openly, were glued to the radios. And then came another exciting announcement: Abie had not been shot down after all, but had landed safely in Port Said and been cordially received by the Egyptian governor.

    A brilliant playwright could not have wrung the public heart more effectively. True, the Egyptians did not take Abie to meet Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, the already legendary Egyptian leader, but they refueled his plane and sent him home with all respect.

    Nobody who lived through that day in Israel will ever forget the experience. As for myself, I stopped doubting Abie’s sincerity and started to see his actions in a new light.

    WE DID not become partners. Abie had no partners. He paid no attention to the views of others, doing everything according to his own lights. Like the first flight, all his actions were intensely personal: he took the initiative, he made the decision, he implemented it. He took personal responsibility for everything and took the consequences upon himself. But he had a very important talent: to infect others with his driving enthusiasm, even for tasks that seemed impossible and altogether fantastical. Some of those who accompanied him then remained faithful to him to his last day.

    His strength and his weakness was this “lone rider” style. He never founded a movement and never joined one. He never adopted a political program. These things did not interest him. He was not moved by the need for the creation of a political force that could have an impact on government policy. He left these tasks to others. He was a person of emotions, and all his actions appealed to emotions.

    That was a new thing. The Israeli peace camp, with all its factions, always appeals to logic. It tries to persuade the Israeli public that peace is necessary for the existence, the future, the security and the well-being of the State of Israel. But politics is not only a matter of logic. Emotions play an important role. As I insist again and again: in politics it is not rational to ignore the irrational. Abie acted from the heart, and thus touched the hearts of people.

    He also had another big advantage: he was an Oriental Jew. The Israeli peace camp is almost exclusively Ashkenazi (of European origin). In the annual 100,000 strong memorial demonstrations in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, the absence of the Oriental public is very obvious. Many Oriental people believe that the whole thing about peace is really only a matter for the “Ashkenazi elite”. And here comes a man born in Abadan, Iran, with a very pronounced Oriental appearance, and a down-to-earth approach.

    Abie became an authentic Oriental hero. One can argue about how many people the admiration for the man Abie has really attracted to the struggle for peace. But for some years, “peace” (four letters in Hebrew) stopped being a four-letter word for this public.

    MUCH HAS been written about his exploits, and I need not enumerate them here. His commitment to peace became wider and deeper. He sold his restaurant and bought a ship. It stood idle in New York harbor, was moved from pier to pier and rusted, until he had collected enough money to equip it, sail it to Israel and establish “The Voice of Peace”. It anchored off the shore of Tel-Aviv (and was for years the first sight I saw through my window in the morning). It became a part of Israeli life.

    This, too, was a typical Abie enterprise. There was no editorial staff, nor any clear political-educational program. The voice of Peace was Abie, and Abie was the Voice of Peace. A large audience of young people listened regularly to the station’s excellent music, and incidentally absorbed Abie’s sermons in English or English-accented elementary Hebrew. He voiced his musings any time and any way the spirit moved him, interspersed with interviews with peace activists. His voice became familiar to every Israeli. When Big Money moved into the advertising field and he stopped getting advertisements, he almost went bankrupt. As a protest, he sunk his ship in a ceremonial act.

    All along, Abie remained a very lonely person. Only after his death did I hear that he had parents and sisters in Israel and had broken off all communication with them. He also had two daughters from different women, but with them, too, his connection was fragile. Perhaps his character and stormy lifestyle did not allow him a family life, and perhaps the reason was that he had been sent as a child to a boarding school and until the end – as he told an interviewer – never forgave his parents.

    He compensated for his loneliness by inviting lots of friends to the big parties he held at home, pampering his guests with exotic Indian food which he spent hours preparing himself with his faithful Indian helper, Rada. It was during one of these parties in 1977, on the roof of his apartment, that we heard the bitter news that the Likud had come to power.

    AFTER THE Yom Kippur War he flew to Egypt again, this time on a commercial flight, hoping to meet the Egyptian President. Something in the preparations went wrong. On arrival at Cairo airport, he saw that there was nobody there to receive him. He made his way to a hotel in the center of the city, and, alone in his room, became more and more worried that he might be mistaken for a spy. He made a frantic call to Eric Rouleau, a well-connected French journalist in Paris who contacted his friends in the Egyptian government. Soon some senior Egyptian intelligence officers arrived, took Abie on a tour of the city and put him on a plane home.

    His lone-rider actions became wider and more frequent. He started a hunger strike against the establishment of settlements in the occupied territories and put up a tent in the center of Tel Aviv. It became a focus for celebrities who came to express admiration. Only with great difficulty was he persuaded to stop before some irreparable harm should come to him.

    He met with Yasser Arafat when this was absolutely forbidden and – unlike me – was twice sent to prison for this. The law under which he was condemned was enacted by the government of Shimon Peres, a fact that did not prevent Peres from eulogizing Abie last week with much emotion.

    During the Nigerian civil war, when it became known that people were dying of hunger in Biafra, Abie went there and organized a salvation effort. When hunger broke out in Ethiopia, he set up a tent city there and brought relief. On his return, he complained bitterly about the big bureaucratic international aid organizations, which wasted so much money and brought so little relief, because of their condescending attitude towards the natives.

    Another time he organized a children’s gathering, asking the children to give up their war toys in return for others. The tanks and warplanes were destroyed on the spot. His theatrical streak was in the foreground on all these occasions.

    At the time when the Israeli government was cooperating with the South African apartheid regime, Abie was one of the few people in the country to protest loudly against this abhorrent policy.

    All the actions that emanated from his fertile mind had much in common: they demanded personal courage, self-confidence, imagination and a gift for improvisation, and above all empathy with the suffering of others and a burning desire to help.

    SOMEBODY ONCE told me: But Abie is crazy!

    Better crazy for peace, was my answer, than crazy for war!


  8. Fly, Tzipora, fly!

    THE POLLS were wrong, as usual. And in a big way. As usual.

    Instead of winning by a huge margin, as predicted until the very last moment by all the polls, she just squeaked through. Of the 72 thousand or so registered Kadima members, only 39,331 troubled themselves to go to the polls, and among these she defeated Shaul Mofaz by just 431 votes.

    But a majority is a majority. Tzipi Livni was duly installed as Kadima chairperson.

    What does that say about the Israeli public?

    FIRST OF ALL: this is the victory of a person without a military background over someone with almost nothing apart from a military background.

    On the advice of his right-wing American political strategist, Stanley Greenberg, Mofaz emphasized the word “security” on every occasion, almost in every sentence. A popular talk-show turned this into a parody: Security, security, security, security.

    Well, it did not work. T-h-e general, the chief of Staff, the Defense Minister, was beaten by a mere woman devoid of any military experience (even if she did serve for 15 years in the Mossad.)

    That does not mean that Tzipi Livni may not turn out to be a warmonger, like Elisabeth I, Catherine the Great, Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi. But fact is fact: the Kadima voters have preferred a non-general to a general.

    MOREOVER, KADIMA is a party of the center. The very center of the center. Its members are not fervent about anything, neither on the right or the left, they have no strong convictions of any kind. So their decision can be regarded as a reflection of the general mood.

    Mofaz presented himself not only as Mr. Security, but also as a genuine right-winger, a man who opposes both peace with Syria and peace with the Palestinians, a leader prepared to set up a coalition with the Right, even with the extreme Right. He was the declared exponent of open-ended-war.

    Tzipi Livni presented herself as the personification of the peace effort, the woman who conducts the negotiations with the Palestinians, who prefers diplomacy to war, who points the way to the end of the conflict. All this may be sleight of hand, pure deceit. Perhaps there is no difference at all between the two. But even if this is so, that is not the most important aspect. The important fact is that the Kadima voters, the most representative group in the country, accorded victory – well, a tiny victory – to the candidate who at least pretended to favor peace.

    In his “The Second Coming”, the Irish poet W. B. Yeats describes utter chaos: “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold”. The metaphor is taken from military history: in bygone days, armies drew up for battle with the main force in the center, and lighter forces defending the two flanks. As long as the center held, everything was fine.

    In Israel today, the center is holding. The centrist party voted for the woman of the center.

    It can also be described otherwise: in Israel, 2008, the forces are divided equally between the “Right” and the “Left”, and the “Left” won this time by the smallest possible margin.

    I REMEMBER the elections nine years ago. In May 1999, Ehud Barak won a decisive victory over the incumbent, Binyamin Netanyahu: 56.08% against 43.92%, a difference of 388,546 votes. The public was just fed up with Netanyahu.

    The response was overwhelming. The general feeling in the peace camp was of a release from servitude to freedom, from an era of failure and corruption into an era of peace and well-being. Without any proclamations, without anybody planning it, masses of people streamed into Tel-Aviv’s Rabin Square, the place where a Prime Minister had been assassinated four years earlier. I was among them.

    In the square, the atmosphere was intoxicating. Delirious people danced, embraced each other, kissed. Tel Aviv had not seen anything like it since November 1947, when the United Nations General Assembly decided to establish a Jewish (and an Arab) state. I experienced a similar scene in April 1948, when I was part of the force that brought a huge relief convoy into beleaguered and starving West Jerusalem. A similar atmosphere was captured by film of Charles de Gaulle entering liberated Paris.

    Barak promised to be a second Rabin, only more so. He promised to make peace with the Palestinians within months. A rosy future was warming the horizon, “the dawn of a new day”.

    A year and a half later, nothing of all this remained. Ehud Barak, the hero of peace, brought on us the greatest disaster in the annals of the struggle for peace. He came back from the Camp David conference, which had taken place on his express demand, with a declaration that was to become a mantra: “I have turned every stone on the way to peace / I have offered the Palestinians unprecedented generous terms / Arafat has rejected everything / We have no partner for peace.”

    With 20 Hebrew words Barak destroyed the peace camp and brought about a public mood which even Netanyahu could not create: that there is no chance for peace, that we are condemned to live with an everlasting conflict.

    Therefore, no one got excited about Tzipi Livni’s victory. The masses did not stream into the square, did not dance and did not embrace – and not only because this was just a party-internal election. The general reaction was a sigh of relief and a shrug of the shoulder. So Kadima has voted. So it has a new chairperson. So there will be a new Prime Minister. Let’s wait and see.

    SO WHAT to expect, after all?

    There are already jokes circulating about “Tzipi and the Tzipiot” (a Hebrew word-play, “tzipiot” meaning expectations), a new rock-band which is about to take to the road. Nobody really knows what kind of a Prime Minister she will be. Strong or weak. Determined or open to pressures. Tough or compromising. Warmonger or peace-seeker.

    One can only point at her background, as I hinted last week, and perhaps go into some detail.

    On the eve of the elections, in one of those vapid questionnaires the media are so fond of, she was asked who was her hero. Her answer: Jabotinsky.

    That was the most predictable answer there could be. Tzipi Livni grew up in a Revisionist household. She is a Revisionist, model 2008. What does that mean?

    Her father, Eitan, who was born in Grodno (a town that has belonged variously to Lithuania, Poland, Russia and now Belarus), came to this country at the age of 6 and joined the Irgun underground in 1938 (the same year as I did), when he was 19 years old. He lived all his life under the influence of Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky and his teachings.

    Eitan Livni, as I knew him, was not a brilliant or exceptional person, but rather solid, loyal, as his name suggests. (In Hebrew, “eitan” means strong, steadfast). A person one could rely on. He served in the Irgun as an operational officer, and among other operations he took part in the daring break-out from Acre prison, where he was being held. As a Knesset member for the Herut Party, the predecessor of today’s Likud, he was rather inconspicuous and supported Menachem Begin through thick and thin.

    In order to understand Tzipi, one has to go back to Jabotinsky. His many enemies have often called him a Fascist, but that is inaccurate. He was born in the 19th century, and was a nationalist in the 19th century mold. Born in Odessa, he lived for some years as a young man in Italy, and his heroes were the leaders of contemporary Italian nationalism: the ideologue Giuseppe Mazzini and the fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi.

    Jabotinsky wanted, of course, all of Palestine to become a Jewish state. When he founded his party in the 1920s, he named it according to this vision: the demand was for a “revision” of the British decision to separate the land west of the Jordan river from the land east of the river, today’s Kingdom of Jordan, then called Transjordan. In her youth, Tzipi sang Jabotinsky’s most famous song: “Two banks has the Jordan – this one belongs to us and that one, too.”

    But Jabotinsky was also a real liberal, and a real democrat. He entered the political arena for the first time when he formulated the “Helsingfors (Helsinki) Plan”, which demanded human and national rights for the Jews and the other minorities in Czarist Russia.

    A PERSON educated according to these values is faced today with a tough dilemma.

    Years ago, the Revisionists used to tell this joke: rewarding David Ben-Gurion for founding the state, God promised to grant him one wish. Ben-Gurion asked that every Israeli should be honest, wise and a Labor Party member. “That’s too much even for me to grant,” God replied, “but every Israeli can choose two of the three.” So a Labor member can be wise but not honest, a Labor member can be honest but not wise, and somebody who is wise and honest cannot be a Labor member.

    Something like this is now happening to the Revisionists themselves. They ask for three things: a Jewish State, a state that encompasses all of historic Palestine and a democratic state. That is too much even for God. So a Revisionist must choose two of the three: a Jewish and democratic state in only a part of the country, a Jewish state in all the country that will not be democratic, or a democratic state in all the country that will not be Jewish. This dilemma has not changed over the last 41 years.

    Tzipi Livni, an honest to goodness Revisionist, has announced her choice: a Jewish and democratic state that will not encompass the whole of the country. (We leave open here the question of whether a “Jewish” state can be democratic.)

    In up-to-date Hebrew, we differentiate between “national” and “nationalistic” attitudes. A national view recognizes the importance of the national dimension in today’s human society, and therefore respects and recognizes the nationalism of other peoples, too. A nationalistic view says “we and no others”, my nation ueber alles.

    It seems that Tzipi, like her hero Jabotinsky, adheres to the national view. Hence her emphasis on “two nation-states for two peoples”. She speaks about a Jewish nation-state and is ready to sacrifice Greater Israel on this altar.

    That may not be an ideal basis for peace (what would be the status of Israel’s Arab citizens in this Jewish nation-state?) but it is realistic. If she has the power to implement her ideas, she can make peace. If.

    REACTING TO the election results, Gideon Levy wrote that the heart wants to hope, but the brain cannot. That is an understandable reaction.

    Since Tzipi, short for Tzipora, means bird, one wants to cry out: Fly, Tzipora, fly! Fly to heaven! After your election as Prime Minister, lose no time! Set up a government coalition with the peace forces, use the first few months of your term to achieve peace with the Palestinians, call new elections and submit yourself and the peace agreement to the public test! As Livni herself phrased it in her direct way: “There is no time for bullshitting!”

    That is what Ehud Barak should have done in 2000. He did not take the chance, and therefore he lost.

    Will Tzipora the bird reach these heights? The heart hopes. The brain has its doubts.



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