|Southwest Asia News Digest
Siegman on Israel's Greatest Loss: Its Moral Imagination
June 12 (EIRNS)Henry Siegman, one of the elder statesmen of American Jewry, who served as national director of the American Jewish Congress from 1978-94, and now runs the U.S./Middle East Project, penned a devastating exposé of Israel's moral degeneration in the June 11 edition of Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper, under the headline, "Israel's Greatest Loss: Its Moral Imagination."
Siegman, who was born in Frankfurt in 1930, came to the U.S. from Antwerp, and served as an Army chaplain in the Korean War, recounted a conversation with a friend in Israel, days after the Israeli commando assault on the flotilla bringing aid to Gaza aid. The friend lamented that the international condemnation of Israel "was reminiscent of the dark period of the Hitler era."
Siegman wrote, "When I managed to get over the shock of that exchange, it struck me that the invocation of the Hitler era was actually a frighteningly apt and searing analogy, although not the one my friend intended. A million and a half civilians have been forced to live in an open-air prison in inhuman conditions for over three years now, but unlike the Hitler years, they are not Jews, but Palestinians. Their jailers, incredibly, are survivors of the Holocaust, or their descendants. Of course, the inmates of Gaza are not destined for gas chambers, as the Jews were, but they have been reduced to a debased and hopeless existence.... Particularly appalling is that this policy has been the source of amusement for some Israeli leaders, who, according to Israel press reports, have jokingly described it as 'putting Palestinians on a diet.' That, too, is reminiscent of the Hitler years, when Jewish suffering amused the Nazis."
Siegman clarified: "Of course, even the most objectionable Israeli policies do not begin to compare with Hitler's Germany. But the essential moral issues are the same.... So, yes, there is reason for Israelis, and for Jews generally, to think long and hard about the dark Hitler era at this particular time. For the significance of the Gaza flotilla incident lies not in the questions raised about violations of international law on the high seas, or even about 'who assaulted who' first on the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, but in the larger questions raised about our common human condition by Israel's occupation policies and its devastation of Gaza's civilian population. If a people who so recently experienced on its own flesh, such unspeakable inhumanities cannot muster the moral imagination to understand the injustice and suffering its territorial ambitionsand even its legitimate security concernsare inflicting on another people, what hope is there for the rest of us?"
Commentators Condemn Israeli/Neocon Drive To Kick Turkey Out of NATO
June 14 (EIRNS)An Israeli government campaign, run through U.S.-based neo-conservative operatives and organizations, to kick Turkey out of NATO, has drawn a serious reaction from U.S. military, academic, and intelligence veterans on the "Sic Semper Tyrannis" blog created by Col. W. Patrick Lang (U.S. Army, ret.).
On June 10, the blog headlined the following report: "In the aftermath of the Israeli armed assault on a Turkish-flagged aid ship, bound for the Gaza Strip, some of the more rabid American neocons have demanded, in no uncertain terms, that Turkey must be punished by being kicked out of NATO. Yes, you heard me correctly. Israel carried out an act of international piracy, and cold-blooded murder in international waters, and Turkey must be punished....
"It is pretty obvious that a talking points memo went out from the Israeli embassy or some other locale, because in a matter of days, many of the usual suspectsDaniel Pipes, Stephen Schwartz, Michael Rubin, and Victor Davis Hanson, not to mention the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)all came out with the identical, preposterous notion that Turkey is the perp and Israel the victim."
Former CIA analyst Phil Giraldi, who is well-known for exposing Anglo-Israeli-U.S. efforts to go to war against Iran, posted one response: "Editorials, op-eds, letters and what purport to be news stories have also been appearing" in major media, "either strengthening the narrative that Turkey is becoming dangerously 'Islamist' or calling for some kind of punishment for [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan. This is clearly a coordinated effort and I expect that congress will soon join the attack." He adds: "The US cannot unilaterally expel Turkey from NATO, nor can it exclude Turkey from the intel that is shared within the alliance."
Another commentator notes that a Brookings Institution academic recently compared the non-response by the U.S. to the Israeli attack on the flotilla, where an American citizen was killed by Israeli troops, to the lack of serious U.S. response to the June 8, 1967 Israeli sinking of the U.S.S. Liberty, in which 34 crew members were killed, and 171 injured.
London Times: U.S. Backs Israeli Strike on Iran; Overflights of Saudi Arabia
June 12 (EIRNS)The British are escalating the drive for a new Southwest Asian war. The London Times today writes that Saudi Arabia will allow the use of its airspace for an Israeli attack on Iran, and that this has the approval of the U.S. State Department. It even claims the Saudis have practiced standing down their systems to allow Israeli strike aircraft to fly over their airspace en route to Iran.
There is no reason whatsoever to believe that this is anything other than British psychological warfare disinformation. For months, other Rupert Murdoch-owned publications, like the Wall Street Journal, have been promoting an Israeli strike on Irancomplete with maps of the routes that would be taken. Not noted in the Times article is the fact that Israeli planes would have to have overflight permission from Iraq/U.S. after they overfly Saudi Arabia to hit the Iranian targets. On May 29one day before the Israeli commando assault on the Gaza aid flotilla, the Times published another war-mongering disinformation story, claiming that Israel now has permanently stationed submarines, armed with nuclear warheads on cruise missiles, in the Persian Gulf, as both a deterrent and as a platform for launching attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities."
The Times June 12 story says: " 'The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,' said a U.S. defense source in the area. They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren't scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [U.S.] State Department.'
"Sources in Saudi Arabia say it is common knowledge within defence circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran's nuclear ambitions. We all know this. We will let them [the Israelis] through and see nothing,' said one."
The Israelis will hit four main targets, including "the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom, the gas storage development at Isfahan and the heavy-water reactor at Arak. Secondary targets include the light water reactor at Bushehr, which could produce weapons-grade plutonium when complete."
The rest of the article rehashes the line that the Arabs, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, as well as Turkey, would turn a blind eye to an Israeli attack.