Sunday, October 07, 2007

Another Letter to Glenn Greenwald


This is extraordinary. Do you seriously believe that Ahmadinejad's exhortation -- "The regime currently occupying Jerusalem must be wiped from the pages of time" -- means something substantially different from the common translation that "Israel should be wiped off the map"? You may believe that neither phrase indicates bellicose intent on the part of a Holocaust denier who has called for Middle Eastern Jewry be relocated to Europe, but you can hardly claim the map phrase is a "manipulative mis-translation [sic]" by "neoconservatives". Even the Bronner article you cite but apparently didn't read concludes the same thing:

"So did Iran's president call for Israel to be wiped off the map? It certainly seems so."

Bronner does go on to wonder whether Ahmanidejad's words "amount to a call for war", and here you join a minority fringe -- Juan Cole, Jonathan Steele -- seeking to "[traduce] the meaning of ordinary words" to prevent, even by transparent mendacity, if necessary, our going to war with Iran. But it wasn't always this way. Back in June, you wrote:

"I don't think anyone can reasonably dispute the perception of the Israelis of Iran as a potential threat to its security."

So what's changed?

Your relentless calls for us to resist "Endless War on behalf of Israel" are rooted, at least, in the sensible proposition that we maintain a sober and proportionate view of our national security in relation to Israel's. Agreed. But your about-face into running cover for Ahmadinejad, a millenarian, Jew-hating crank, is appalling. It amounts to a meretricious display of unconcern for the security of Israeli Jews, in spite of your own Jewishness. You may not be quite the same journalistic force, but this is reminiscent of the New York Times' decision during World War II to back-page the stories it printed about the Final Solution, in order to combat the perception that it was a "Jewish" newspaper. The difference is the New York Times didn't plainly lie to accomplish this.

Please consider ceasing to smear those of us who are alarmed by genocidal anti-Semitism as "neoconservatives" and warmongers.

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