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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/17/13

Clinton and Netanyahu Not Good for Obama

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Netanyahu's comments on the outcome of the election were reported in The Times of Israel:

"Let us not delude ourselves. The international community must not become caught up in wishes and be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program. It must be remembered that the Iranian ruler, at the outset, disqualified candidates who did not fit his extremist outlook and from among those whose candidacies he allowed was elected the candidate who was seen as less identified with the regime, who still defines the State of Israel [in an address last year] as 'the great Zionist Satan.'"

This from the leader of a state that spent eight years attacking Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as someone who wanted to "wipe Israel off the map," a phrase which was mistranslated, but used, nevertheless, to demonize Ahmedinejad in western political and media circles.

That false translation was exposed as early as June, 2007, by Juan Cole:

"Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for 'this occupation regime over Jerusalem' to 'vanish from the page of time.' ... It was apparently some Western wire service that mistranslated the phrase as 'wipe Israel off the map,' which sounds rather more violent than calling for regime change."  

Martin Indyk, who most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, took Netayahu's side, writing in the Financial Times.

"Mr Rohani has a long record of association with the moderate camp in Iranian politics, serving as national security adviser to the pragmatic President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and, subsequently, the reformist President Mohammad Khatami. In that capacity, he headed Iran's nuclear negotiations with the EU3 (Britain, France and Germany) a decade ago, and agreed to suspend Iran's enrichment programme during that period."

Like Netanyahu, Indyk argues that there is nothing new here:

"We should be careful, however, not to let our hopes get ahead of realities. The sanctions are indeed hurting; the Iranian people want an end to their isolation; and by winning a majority in the first round Mr Rohani has received a resounding mandate for change.

"But Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remains very much in command. Indeed, this election may have solidified his reign: rather than protesting against him as they did in such massive numbers four years ago, the people were celebrating in the streets after this election.

"And his radical regime now has a moderate, democratically elected president to cloak his own extremism and paranoia."

Reading the standard Netanyahu-Indyk rejection of signs of hope from Teheran, calls to mind a scene from Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake (one of several roles played in the film by Peter Sellers) rushes into the office of Base Commander General Jack Ripper (Sterling Hayden) with the good news that the base is not surrounded by enemy forces.

Ripper, who has just given the order for a fleet of U.S. planes to attack the Soviet Union, is the only person who can recall the planes. The general is no mood to listen to Mandrake's good news that there is no immediate threat from enemy forces. Instead, he informs a terrified Mandrake that "commies" are not to be trusted.

President Obama does not need friends who are afraid of fluoridation to tell him how to handle political decisions.

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)
 

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