The Forward »

Trump Has Freed Progressive Democratic Senators To Finally Criticize Israel

May 15, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The Forward has learned that on Friday night, thirteen Democratic Senators—including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the Trump administration “to do more to alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.” Read more…

The Forward »

Israel’s Choice To Shoot Palestinians Should Horrify — But Not Surprise Us

May 15, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The other day, a thoughtful acquaintance, who is to my right politically, asked me a question. He asked what I’d advise Israel to do when faced with thousands of Palestinians, some likely bent on violence, who are trying to storm the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from the rest of Israel. (I say “rest of Israel” because I believe Gaza still remains under Israeli occupation). Read more…

The Forward »

How Racism Marred The Jerusalem Embassy Celebration

May 14, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

For more than a century, Palestinians have tried to convince the world (wrongly, in my view) that Zionism is inherently racist. Now they have a powerful new ally: Donald Trump. Read more…

The Atlantic »

‘All Is Shambles’: The Days After the Iran Deal

May 10, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Read some of the most prominent critics of the Iran nuclear deal and you’ll notice something: They seem to be preparing their alibis in case Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it proves a catastrophic mistake. Trump, wrote Bret Stephens on Tuesday in The New York Times, “was absolutely right” to leave the agreement, “assuming, that is, serious thought has been given to what comes next.” On Twitter, Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), perhaps the most relentlessly anti–Iran deal think tank in Washington, explained that, “I have concerns. It’s a high risk strategy with potentially big rewards if it can be successfully implemented but dangerous consequences if it isn’t.” Last week, near the end of a series of exchanges at The Atlantic with the former Obama administration official Philip Gordon, in which he repeatedly bashed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, Dubowitz’s FDD colleague Reuel Marc Gerecht declared that, “It isn’t that hard to devise a credible post-JCPOA approach to the clerical regime.” But he later added, “I do not know whether Trump is capable of pulling this off.” Read more…

The Atlantic »

The Iran Deal and the Dark Side of American Exceptionalism

May 9, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Who, or what, is to blame for Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Iran nuclear agreement? There are lots of candidates: Trump’s assumption that any deal not negotiated by him is a rip-off, his obsession with undoing Barack Obama’s legacy, Israel and Saudi Arabia’s desire to prevent any rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. These all surely played a role. But underlying them is something more fundamental. Trump is violating the Iran deal because of how he interprets American exceptionalism. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Iran Hawks Are the New Iraq Hawks

May 8, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Last week, while watching Benjamin Netanyahu unveil secret information that supposedly proved that Iran is deceiving the world about its nuclear-weapons program, I had a flashback. It was to February 5, 2003, when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell unveiled secret information that supposedly proved that Iraq was deceiving the world about its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs. Like Netanyahu’s, Powell’s presentation was dramatic. He informed the United Nations Security Council that some of the material he was about to present came from “people who have risked their lives to let the world know what Saddam Hussein is really up to.” He went on to play a secretly recorded conversation of two Iraqi officials supposedly plotting to mislead weapons inspectors. He later presented a photo of bunkers that allegedly held “active chemical munitions” but were “clean when the inspectors get there.” Saddam, Powell insisted, wants “to give those [of] us on this Council the false impression that the inspection process was working.” Powell’s presentation was designed to prove that it was not. Read more…

The Forward »

Abandoning Iran Deal, U.S. Joins Israel In Axis Of Escalation

May 8, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

After 9/11, a colleague turned to me and said, “We’re all Israelis now.”

Listening to Donald Trump announce that the United States will brazenly violate its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, I had a similar thought. In the outlooks of their governments, Israel and the United States are now one. Ideologically, it no longer makes sense to speak about “The West.” Read more…

The Atlantic »

Benjamin Netanyahu: TV Star

May 1, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Benjamin Netanyahu’s breathless presentation on Monday about Iran’s nuclear program didn’t reveal anything particularly surprising about Iran’s nuclear program. Using a batch of stolen Iranian documents that detailed the program, the Israeli prime minister purportedly proved that Tehran pursued a nuclear-weapons program before 2003, and has been lying about it ever since. Which is what most experts already assumed. Even Fox News anchor Brit Hume acknowledged that the “Netanyahu revelations, it seems, make clear Iran has repeatedly lied about its nuclear intentions, but do not establish violations of the Iran nuclear deal.” That’s right. They did not establish any violations because—according to 10 International Atomic Energy Agency reports, along with Trump’s own defense secretary and State Department—Iran (unlike the United States) is complying with the deal. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Trump May Already Be Violating the Iran Deal

April 29, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

As anyone who reads the news knows, Donald Trump will decide by May 12 whether to “withdraw from” or “pull out of” or “abandon” or “scrap” or “jettison” (the synonyms keep coming) the nuclear deal with Iran. Why May 12? Because last October, Trump declared that Iran isn’t complying with the agreement. Under a law passed by Congress, that “decertification” means Trump can reimpose the sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear activities that were waived as part of the deal. Trump hasn’t reimposed those sanctions yet. But he’s demanded that Iran make vast new concessions. And he’s threatened that if Iran does not do so by May 12, “American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume.” Read more…

The Forward »

American Jews Have Abandoned Gaza — And The Truth

April 26, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

“In our time,” wrote George Orwell in 1946, “political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.” British colonialism, the Soviet gulag and America’s dropping of an atomic bomb, he argued, “can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face.” So how do people defend the indefensible? Through “euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.” By obscuring the truth. Read more…