Iran: What Now? A Panel Discussion on the Nuclear Deal


 

The Jewish Journal held a debate on the Iran nuclear deal on Aug. 2, 2015.

Speakers

Mel Levine / Former U.S. Representative
Dalia Dassa Kaye / Iran Expert, RAND
Omri Ceren / The Israel Project

Moderator

David Suissa / TRIBE Media Corp. & Jewish Journal President

Sponsored by The Jewish Federation, Beth Jacob and the Jewish Journal

Once upon a time: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney agree on Israel


Israel had a starring role in the third and final presidential debate last Tuesday night. How big? China, a country of 1 billion people to which America owes $1 trillion and whose military and economic decisions will affect us for years to come, rated 32 mentions. Israel, a country of 6 million people that receives $3 billion in aid from America each year, received even more — 34 mentions, to be exact. The European Union, Latin America, Eastern Europe — in short, most of the rest of the world — got 18 mentions, total. Imagine a New Yorker cover showing a map of the world according to the candidates: There are only three countries — the U.S., China and Israel — with Israel slightly larger than the other two.

It would be flattering, all this attention for one little Jewish state, if it also weren’t so dangerous. The special attention is a direct consequence of what happens when Israel is used as a political wedge issue, a way to peel Jewish voters away from Democratic candidates.

The danger is that instead of enjoying the broad, bipartisan support it has long received, Israel will come to be seen as a one-party cause. In a country that’s frequently split down the middle, that can’t bode well for Israel.

As I watched the debate unfold — and the inexorable Israel question arise — I fantasized the way I’d like to see these candidates, and all future ones, handle it. What follows is that fantasy, in transcript:

Bob Schieffer: Would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States, which of course is the same promise that we give to our close allies like Japan?

President Barack Obama: You know, Bob, let me stop you there. Of course, I’m tempted to knock that softball straight over Miami Beach clear to Cleveland Heights. But I’m not going to do it.

Because this is what will most certainly happen. I will use the opportunity to boast about how much my administration has done for Israel, and about how much Israel means to me; I might even hum a few bars of “Hatikvah.” And then Gov. Romney will get his two minutes, and he will profess his love and support for Israel, and then accuse me of turning my back on Israel, of putting “daylight” between America and Israel. And then in my rebuttal I’ll call into question his ability to protect Israel, and our parties and our defenders will join in the accusations and defamations, and in all the noise, the American people will lose sight of the most important, essential truth: America’s support for Israel is bipartisan. It is good for America, and good for the world. And it is unshakeable. That is true whether you elect me or Gov. Romney, a Democrat or Republican.

Schieffer: Gov. Romney, your rebuttal?

Gov. Mitt Romney: I agree with the president. In fact, if you noticed when we walked out on stage to your applause, we exchanged a few words and smiled. I said to the president, “I won’t take the Israel bait,” and he said, “I’m with you there.”

We want to set an example for the American people that some issues are too important to politicize, and Israel is one of them. After all, what candidates argue over which party supports England more, or which of us has Brazil’s back? Earlier this year, the Senate passed the bipartisan United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act. The vote was 100-1. In August, the House voted to increase sanctions under the Iran Sanctions Act, by a vote of 421-6. And you expect me to stand here and accuse the leader of his party of endangering Israel? I guess what I’m saying, Bob, is the president and I want every American to know there is no daylight between Republican and Democratic support for Israel.

Obama: Look, this doesn’t mean the governor and I will approach every problem in the same way. And it doesn’t mean that we will agree with Israel on every issue. Anyone who tells you that both Republican and Democratic presidents haven’t had strong disagreements with Israel over the years hasn’t cracked a history book. Ronald Reagan fought with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin over the Lebanon war; Richard Nixon threatened sanctions, and George H.W. Bush denied Israel loan guarantees because of settlements. And don’t get me started on Jimmy Carter. We want a strong, secure Israel living in peace with its neighbors. Sometimes we may even disagree with whatever Israeli government is in power over how best to achieve that — but our genuine commitment and support does not waver.

Romney: That’s why we have both stressed the need for the Israelis and Palestinians to come to some kind of agreement. Presidents of both parties have tried — and failed — to broker an accord, not because we like the room service at the King David, but because we understand the status quo is unsustainable and a peaceful, just resolution is in Israel’s strategic interest.

Schieffer: Outstanding, gentlemen. In that spirit, can I suggest you also pledge to find bipartisan solutions to our country’s economic problems?

Obama: Bob, don’t push your luck.

At final debate, Israel and Iran take center stageā€”and the candidates find common ground


Israel, a heated issue throughout the campaign, finally took center stage at the final presidential debate.

It was mentioned a total of 29 times by President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney at Monday night's foreign policy debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. Actual policy differences, however, seemed to be in short supply.

Israel and the Iranian nuclear program were among the main topics in a debate that largely focused on the Middle East. But whether the subject was Iran sanctions, the need to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or the U.S. commitment to Israel, the clashing candidates sounded surprisingly similar notes.

Aaron David Miller, a vice president of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, said the broad areas of agreement on the Middle East reflected a growing consensus among both parties that any president's priority should be to focus on the struggling American economy and tread carefully overseas.

“There were tactical political reasons why the governor wanted to create the impression that he is a centrist,” said Miller, a former top Middle East negotiator in Republican and Democratic administrations, speaking of Romney. “But I think we are faced now for the first time since the end of the Cold War with a remarkable consensus on what we can do in the world. The public understands that we need to fix America's broken house, but that we are also stuck in a region of the world where we can't fix it or extricate from it.”

With sharp policy differences mostly missing, both candidates painted their support for Israel in personal terms. Romney cited the strength of his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama spoke of how he was affected by a 2008 visit to Israel, with stops at its national Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem and the embattled town of Sderot.

Romney's remark came as he dismissed out of hand a hypothetical proposal by the moderator, Bob Schieffer of CBS News, positing a last-minute warning call to the White House from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israeli bombers were on their way to Iran.

“Our relationship with Israel, my relationship with the prime minister of Israel, is such that we would not get a call saying our bombers are on the way or their fighters are on the way,” Romney said. “This is the kind of thing that would have been discussed and thoroughly evaluated well before.”

To draw a contrast, Romney accused Obama of saying that he wanted to “create daylight” between Israel and the United States. (The reference was to a 2009 meeting with Jewish leaders in which the president was pressed to have a policy of “no daylight” with Israel, to which Obama responded that such an approach had not advanced peace in the past. Obama, however, is not known to have called for a policy of proactively creating daylight between the two countries.)

Romney also criticized the president for not visiting Israel during his travels to the region. Obama responded by suggesting that Romney's recent visit to Israel contrasted unfavorably with his own 2008 visit to the Jewish state as a presidential candidate.

“When I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn't take donors,” Obama said. “I didn't attend fundraisers. I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.”

Obama went on to recount his visit to the southern town of Sderot, which is near the Gaza Strip.

“And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas,” he said. “And I saw families there who showed me there where missiles had come down near their children's bedrooms. And I was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids. Which is why as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles.”

The acrimony underlying the exchanges contrasted with the many overall agreements on policy that were acknowledged by the candidates a number of times.

Romney opened his statement during the Israel and Iran portion of the debate by seconding the president's response to a question about whether the U.S. should regard an attack on Israel as an attack on itself.

“I want to underscore the same point the president made, which is that if I'm president of the United States, when I'm president of the United States, we will stand with Israel,” Romney said. “And if Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily.”

Romney expressed support for Obama’s Iran sanctions, although he faulted the president for introducing them later rather than sooner and claimed credit for calling for tougher sanctions in 2007 — although lawmakers for years before had been pressing the Clinton and second Bush administrations to institute such sanctions.

More critically, Romney’s emphasis was on “diplomatic and peaceful means” — a posture that aligned with Obama’s preference for exhausting all options before considering a military strike to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

“It is also essential for us to understand what our mission is in Iran, and that is to dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means,” Romney said. “It's absolutely the right thing to do, to have crippling sanctions. I would have put them in place earlier. But it's good that we have them.”

A Congressional Research Service report published last week found that sanctions were seriously affecting Iran’s economy but had not yet stopped its suspected nuclear weapons program. The report held out the prospect of that happening soon.

“A broad international coalition has imposed progressively strict economic sanctions on Iran’s oil export lifeline, producing increasingly severe effects on Iran’s economy,” the report said. “Many judge that Iran might soon decide it needs a nuclear compromise to produce an easing of sanctions.”

At the debate, Obama argued that the sanctions on Iran have been a policy success, saying that his administration “organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy.”

Both candidates appeared to be on the same page when it came to adjudicating what circumstance would trigger consideration of a military strike.

“The clock is ticking,” Obama said. “We're not going to allow Iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere. And I've been very clear to them. You know, because of the intelligence coordination that we do with a range of countries, including Israel, we have a sense of when they would get breakout capacity, which means that we would not be able to intervene in time to stop their nuclear program.”

Romney agreed, saying, “Of course, a military action is the last resort. It is something one would only — only consider if all of the other avenues had been — had been tried to their full extent.”

The candidates also shared agreement on other Middle Eastern issues. Romney’s campaign has assailed Obama for months for not doing enough to intervene in Syria, but during the debate the Republican candidate made clear that he, like the president, opposed direct U.S. military involvement. Romney did favor arming some of the rebels.

Romney also accused Obama of failing to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace. Liberal critics of Romney had seized upon a secretly recorded meeting he had in May with Florida donors in which he expressed doubt that there would be any opportunities to advance the peace process in the near future.

But at the debate, Romney seemed to suggest that the failure to make progress for peace was not inevitable but rather a policy failure by the president.

“Is — are Israel and the Palestinians closer to — to reaching a peace agreement? Romney asked. “No, they haven’t had talks in two years.

Obama, Romney meet for final debate as race tightens


President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney face off in front of the cameras for a final time on Monday as opinion polls show their battle for the White House has tightened to a dead heat.

With 15 days to go until the Nov. 6 election, the two candidates turn to foreign policy for their third and last debate, which starts at 6 p.m PST.

The stakes are high, as the two candidates are tied at 46 percent each in the Reuters/Ipsos online daily tracking poll.

The debate will likely be the last time either candidate will be able to directly appeal to millions of voters – especially the roughly 20 pct who have yet to make up their minds or who could still switch their support.

Obama comes to this debate with several advantages. As sitting president, he has been deeply involved with national security and foreign affairs for the past three-and-a-half years. He can point to a number of successes on his watch, from the end of the Iraq war to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

But Romney will have many chances to steer the conversation back toward the sluggish U.S. economy, a topic on which voters see him as more credible. He will also try to use unease about a nuclear Iran and turmoil in Libya to sow doubts about Obama's leadership at home and abroad.

Romney launched his candidacy with an accusation that Obama was not representing U.S. interests aggressively enough, but after a decade of war voters have little appetite for further entanglements abroad. After a clumsy overseas trip in July, Romney will have to demonstrate to voters that he could ably represent the United States on the world stage.

“What he needs to do is get through this third debate by showing a close familiarity with the issues and a demeanor in foreign policy that is not threatening,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.

Presidential debates have not always been consequential, but this year they have had an impact.

Romney's strong performance in the first debate in Denver on Oct. 3 helped him recover from a series of stumbles and wiped out Obama's advantage in opinion polls.

Obama fared better in their second encounter on Oct. 16, but that has not helped him regain the lead.

The Obama campaign is now playing defense as it tries to limit Romney's gains in several of the battleground states that will decide the election.

Romney could have a hard time winning the White House if he does not carry Ohio. A new Quinnipiac/CBS poll shows Obama leading by 5 percentage points in the Midwestern state, but another by Suffolk University shows the two candidates tied there.

LAST-CHANCE DEBATE

More than 60 million viewers watched each of their previous two debates, but the television audience this time could be smaller as it will air at the same time as high-profile baseball and football games.

Much of the exchange, which takes place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, will likely focus on the Middle East.

Campaigning in Canton, Ohio, on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden reminded voters of Obama's pledge to pull troops out of Afghanistan in the next two years and pointed out that Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have made no such guarantees.

“They said, quote, it depends. Ladies and gentlemen, like everything with them, it depends,” Biden said. “It depends on what day you find these guys.”

At their second debate last week, the two presidential candidates clashed bitterly over Libya, a preview of what is to come on Monday evening. They argued over Obama's handling of the attack last month on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

The Obama administration first labeled the incident a spontaneous reaction to a video made in the United States that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad. Later, it said it was a terrorist assault on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

This shifting account, and the fact that Obama went on a campaign trip the day after the attack, has given Romney ammunition to use at Monday's debate.

“The statements were either misleading by intention or they were misleading by accident. Either way, though, he's got to get to the bottom of this,” Romney adviser Dan Senor said on NBC's “Today” show.

Obama and his allies charge that Romney exploited the Benghazi attack for political points while officials were still accounting for the wellbeing of U.S. diplomats.

Regarding foreign policy overall, Obama's allies accuse Romney of relying on generalities and platitudes.

“It is astonishing that Romney has run for president for six years and never once bothered to put forward a plan to end the war in Afghanistan, for example, or to formulate a policy to go after al Qaeda,” U.S. Senator John Kerry, the Democrats' 2004 presidential nominee, wrote in a memo released by the Obama campaign on Monday.

Romney has promised to tighten the screws over Iran's nuclear program and accused Obama of “leading from behind” as Syria's civil war expands. He also has faulted Obama for setting up a politically timed exit from the unpopular Afghanistan war, and accused him of failing to support Israel, an important ally in the Middle East.

The Republican challenger is likely to bring up a New York Times report from Saturday that said the United States and Iran had agreed in principle to hold bilateral negotiations to halt what Washington and its allies say is a plan by Tehran to develop nuclear weapons.

The 90-minute debate, moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS, will be divided into six segments: America's role in the world; the war in Afghanistan; Israel and Iran; the changing Middle East; terrorism; and China's rise.

Don’t dismiss Iran Holocaust conference as harmless fringe elements


Even Borat, the bumblingly anti-Semitic comic character, could not have contrived a more absurd and utterly offensive assemblage: David Duke, erstwhile Imperial
Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, alongside Robert Faurisson, the French pseudo-academic who argues that the Holocaust never happened, accompanied for dramatic effect by a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews whose anti-Zionist fanaticism motivates them to desecrate the memory of millions of murdered Jews.

On Monday and Tuesday, they and other likeminded sociopaths “debated” at the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran whether or not my grandparents and my 5 1/2-year-old brother were gassed at Auschwitz. And the sponsors of the “International Conference on ‘Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision'” are the very folks James Baker and Lee Hamilton, authors of a recent re-evaluation of U.S. policy in Iraq, want to enlist to stabilize the Middle East.

Other participants in this perversion included Australian socialite Michele Renouf, who explained that anti-Semitism is caused by “the anti-gentile nature of Judaism,” and Rabbis Moishe Arye Friedman from Austria and Ahron Cohen from England, who strutted through the conference halls and gladly posed for the cameras.

Friedman told the press that he believes that only about 1 million Jews perished in the Holocaust, and Cohen declared that he does not consider Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who sponsored the conference and who has called frequently for the Jewish state to be destroyed, an anti-Semite.

The Tehran reunion of misfits demonstrates conclusively why the Ahmadinejad government cannot be allowed anywhere near responsible political endeavors of any kind. If the international community ostracized South Africa during apartheid and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, it should isolate present-day Iran in the most remote diplomatic Siberia imaginable.

Ahmadinejad has made it clear that his espousal of Holocaust denial is a pretext for his desire to destroy the State of Israel. In response, a group of Iranian students showed tremendous moral courage by publicly demonstrating against their president, burning his picture and protesting the “shameful conference” which, in the words of one student, “brought to our country Nazis and racists from around the world.”

In contrast, the reaction of the U.S. government was surprisingly, even shockingly, subdued. Substantially after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Tony Blair all sharply condemned the Tehran conference, the White House issued a statement calling the event an “affront to the entire civilized world” and accusing the Iranian regime of providing “a platform for hatred.”

President Bush, however, has not personally spoken out on the subject, relegating his administration’s response to an institutional press release. The man who usually never misses an opportunity to bash one of the charter members of his Axis of Evil seems to have developed laryngitis.

So, apparently, have Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Their failure to use their bully pulpit on this occasion not only plays into Ahmadinejad’s hands, but serves to empower Holocaust deniers generally.

Why does the Tehran conference have ominous significance? Because Duke, who managed to get 43 percent of the vote in his unsuccessful 1990 U.S. Senate campaign from Louisiana, will now be able to tell students at colleges in heartland America with a straight face that his contention that there were never any gas chambers has international academic and institutional support. And because the noxious views emanating from the podium in Tehran are hardly unique.

Pat Buchanan, a former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan and now a well-paid television commentator, would have fit in perfectly. He once wrote that it would have been impossible for Jews to perish in the gas chambers of Treblinka and has referred to a “so-called Holocaust-survivor syndrome” which he described as involving “group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics.”

Professor Deborah Lipstadt has long maintained that while we should never engage Holocaust deniers in debate, we must nevertheless expose them at every opportunity. The Tehran conference is not just another gathering of skinheads in some obscure beer cellar; it is a government-sponsored effort to evoke and manipulate the darkest, most heinous impulses in society.

Every single one of us, from the president of the United States on down, must repudiate this inexorable obscenity publicly, unambiguously and in person.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, a lawyer in New York, is founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.

Critics Pound Paper Panning Israel Lobby


Two weeks after two prominent political science professors published a paper that they promised would expose the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, the collective reaction so far suggests they get a “D” for impact.

“The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” by John Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, a professor of international affairs at Harvard’s John. F. Kennedy School of Government, has been the subject of numerous Op-Eds — which generally have discredited it — but has been all but ignored in the halls of Congress, its purported target.

Among other assertions, the paper suggests that the pro-Israel lobby (especially the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has helped make the United States more vulnerable to terrorist attacks, steered the country into the Iraq war, silenced debate on campuses and in the media, cost the United States friends throughout the world and corrupted U.S. moral standing.

Walt and Mearsheimer portray as interchangeable the pro-Israel lobby and the neo-conservatives who have developed Bush’s foreign policy. Not surprisingly, this report got negative reviews from pro-Israel groups. The paper’s “disagreement is not with America’s pro-Israel lobby, but with the American people, who overwhelmingly support our relationship with Israel,” said an official with a pro-Israel lobbying organization in Washington.

The Anti-Defamation League called the paper “an amateurish and biased critique of Israel, American Jews and American policy.”

Especially outrageous, some said, are the paper’s insinuations that Jewish officials in government are somehow suspect.

“Not only are these charges wildly at variance with what I have personally witnessed in the Oval Office, but they also impugn the unstinting service to America’s national security by public figures like Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk and many others,” David Gergen, Walt’s fellow academic at the Kennedy School and a veteran of four administrations, wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Daily News.

One of the few positive reviews came from white supremacist David Duke, who said the authors reiterate points he has been making for years.

The controversy passed almost unnoticed on Capitol Hill. A statement from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) was typical of the few who bothered to pay attention to the paper, which Nadler called “little more than a repackaging of old conspiracy theories, historical revisionism and a distorted understanding of U.S. strategic interest.”

U.S. support of Israel was no mystery, Nadler said: “Israel is our only democratic and reliable ally in an extremely volatile and strategically important region. It is in our nation’s best interests to maintain that alliance.”

The authors said that they anticipated silence, arguing that the Israel lobby is “manipulating the media [because] an open debate might cause Americans to question the level of support that they currently provide.”

The problem with that theory is that some of the harshest criticism of the paper has come from individuals and groups who have long called for changes in how the United States deals with Israel.

“It was a lot of warmed-over arguments that have been tossed about for years, brought together in a rather unscholarly fashion and presented as a Harvard document, clearly not deserving of the title,” said Lewis Roth, assistant executive director of Americans for Peace Now, a group that has argued for increased U.S. pressure on Israel to achieve a peace agreement.

In fact, Mearsheimer and Walt have quietly removed the imprimatur of the Harvard and Kennedy schools that originally appeared on the paper. Walt holds the Robert and Renee Belfer professorship at the Kennedy School, and the paper appalled Robert Belfer, a major donor to Jewish causes, according to a report in the New York Sun. The chair is the equivalent of an academic dean at the Kennedy School, one of the most influential foreign policy centers in the United States.

“It read more like an opinion piece than serious research, and even as opinion it was so overreaching in some of its claims,” Roth said. “It didn’t have a lot of utility.”

One of the harshest critics of the paper was Noam Chomsky, the political theorist who routinely excoriates the U.S.-Israel relationship. He ridiculed the paper’s central “wag the dog” thesis, that the United States has “been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another state.”

Walt and Mearsheimer “have a highly selective use of evidence (and much of the evidence is assertion),” Chomsky wrote in an e-mail to followers.

One example, he says, is how the paper cites Israel’s arms sales to China as evidence that the Jewish state detracts from U.S. security interests.

“But they fail to mention that when the U.S. objected, Israel was compelled to back down: under Clinton in 2000, and again in 2005, in this case with the Washington neo-con regime going out of its way to humiliate Israel,” Chomsky noted.

One of the paper’s more curious conclusions is that “what sets the Israel Lobby apart is its extraordinary effectiveness. But there is nothing improper about American Jews and their Christian allies attempting to sway U.S. policy toward Israel.”

If so, it begs the question of why Walt and Mearsheimer set out to write the paper. Mearsheimer did not return a call for comment.

In other areas, the paper gets facts wrong, for example when it says Israel wanted to sell its Lavie fighter aircraft to the United States, when it was strictly a domestic project.

According to the writers, “pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the U.S. decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was a critical element.”

Off the record, Jewish officials here reverse that equation, saying their support for the Iraq war was necessary in order to curry favor with a White House that was hell-bent on war. In fact, the adventure unsettled many Israeli and Jewish officials because of concerns that the principal beneficiary would be Iran.

“That really jumped out at me,” Roth said. “Among nasty neighbors, Iran was clearly the greater threat.”

Jewish groups and individuals at first were reluctant to react to a paper they saw as impugning their patriotism, but in time they could not resist. Detailed debunkings of Walt and Mearsheimer have proliferated.

Some of these, notably by fellow Harvard professors Ruth Wisse and Alan Dershowitz, have likened the writers to Duke — a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan — and other anti-Semites.

For some Jews, however, the criticism proved that despite the paper’s flaws, it correctly identified a symptom afflicting discussion of Israel: a tendency to dismiss all criticism as anti-Semitism.

“Even if the paper is as bad as its critics say, that does not obviate the need to respond to the points it makes,” said Eric Alterman, a media critic for The Nation. “So far, most of what I am seeing is mere character assassination of exactly the kind I, also, experience whenever I take up the issue. This leads me to conclude the point of most — but not all — of the criticism is to shut down debate because AIPAC partisans are wary of seeing their arguments and tactics subjected to scrutiny of any kind.”

+