Friday, 24 January 2014

Comment is Judenfrei

For the president of an oil-rich, human rights-poor theocracy in search of a public relations re-launch, an invitation to hang out with world leaders, plutocrats and Bono at Davos is like a Gok Wan image makeover for tyrants. Jeffrey Goldberg was unimpressed by the emperor's new clothes:
In the course of the latest iteration of their charm offensive, [the Iranian regime have] made some inadvertently hilarious statements. My favorite might be this tweet yesterday that came from Rouhani’s account (which is apparently managed by aides): “Terrorism will come back to haunt those who sponsor it.If a govt thinks it can topple another govt by supporting terrorists, it's 100% wrong.”

This is from the president of a country that sits on the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, and that supplies skilled terrorists, financing and arms to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has turned Syria into hell itself. Iran also funds and supplies a Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, that murders its political rivals and is responsible for terrorist acts around the globe...

Another candidate for most galling statement made by an Iranian leader comes from Rouhani’s Twitter account last week: “Our relationship w/ the world is based on Iranian nation’s interests. In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.” This tweet was deleted by unknown hands -- it was probably seen as a bit too pushy (or a bit too close to the truth) by the Iranian foreign ministry.

Rouhani managed to be both impudent and on-message today in his address at Davos, where he announced “that one of the theoretical and practical priorities of my government is constructive engagement with the world.” By “world,” of course, he did not mean Israel, a member-state of the United Nations that Iran is seeking to annihilate. And he didn't seem to be referring to Iran’s many Arab neighbors, which the Iranian government has been seeking to destabilize and undermine for three decades.
Non-racists might disagree with Jeffrey Goldberg on several more or less reasonable grounds.You might, for example, argue that when dealing with a hideous regime, it's better to make concessions to the arguably less evil bastards, in the hope that they'll displace the completely evil bastards, rather than disengaging and giving the completely evil bastards no incentive to be less evil.

You could argue that the West's already perfectly happy to do business with vile, oil-rich regimes, like Iran's regional rival, Saudi Arabia, so boycotting Iran is a bit hypocritical. You might think that diplomacy, even with bastards, is better than the sort of confrontaion that leads to bombs being dropped on the innocent. You could argue that West inadvertently created the monstrous Iranian regime, by toppling Mosaddegh and installing a tyrant whose excesses triggered the Iranian revolution, so, like Dr. Frankenstein the policy wonks have a duty to make the best of their hideous creation, rather than rejecting it so completely that it goes off on a murderous, despairing rampage.

You could say that Jeffrey Goldberg's views are discredited by his previous hawkish support for a policy that resulted in the USA failing to catch a terrorist who attacked America, in favour of attacking a country which had nothing to do with the attack, on the basis of intelligence that always looked flaky and subsequently proved to be false.

Those are some of the ways a reasonable person might disagree. Quite a few of the comments on Goldberg's piece took a rather different tack. The first comment, (since deleted) was something along the lines of 'how dare you publish this vomit', which gives you some idea of the tone, but the real doozy hasn't been deleted at the time of writing:
Judges routinely recuse themselves from cases with less than obvious conflict of interest. Ethnic Jewish columnists should consider recusal when it comes to issues such as the Iranian Nuclear Agreement. No one outside the born again Bible thumpers in the U. S. take your comments seriously. Mr. Goldberg is nothing more than an apologist for the reactionaries currently in power in the Israeli government. The Israelis are no longer even pretending there will be a two party state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian issue and most of the world realizes it. I don't believe there is much more traction left in invoking history in the form of the regrettable Holocaust tragedy. Enough is enough. The Israelis and their apologists want to keep the U. S. in conflict with the Muslim word forever and, hopefully, bogged down in a war somewhere in a Muslim country. Ironically, virtually no one who professes to be Jewish serves in the current U. S. military. 
Yes, you read it right, this doofus (who apparently goes by the name of G Gibson), wants to racially profile journalists who write comment pieces, in order to weed out any Jews who might want to comment on the Middle East. Screenshot at the end of this post, in case this comment eventually gets deleted and, like me, you couldn't quite believe your eyes. Bonus fail points for mentioning that the Holocaust was 'regrettable', as if saying that somehow makes you look like less of a bigot. In the annals of 'I'm not racist, but...' the stupid is right up there with the Quenelle, that pitiful, half-cocked version of Dr Strangelove's poorly-repressed sieg heil salute, currently popular with anti-Semitic morons everywhere.

Unbelievably depressing.