Friday, 19 November 2010

Ariel Sharon murdered 2 Palestinian toddlers George Sluizer

News You Need For Nov 19, 2010

Posted: November 19, 2010 by crescentandcross in Uncategorized
2 Votes

Israel says in talks on more F-35 fighter jets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israel is in talks with the United States to acquire an additional 20 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, a senior Israeli defense official said on Wednesday.
Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi said Israel would welcome another 20 fighter jets on the heels of a deal signed in October to buy about 20 of the radar-evading jets at a cost of about $96 million per aircraft.
“As I understand — and that’s the latest information I have on this issue — it’s still under negotiation between the Israeli government and the administration,” he said, speaking at a news conference alongside Admiral Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military officer.
“I don’t know the final decision,” Ashkenazi said.
Some media had reported the Obama administration offered the additional jets to Israel in exchange for a three-month freeze on construction of new settlements, a key issue in efforts to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Israel signaled on Tuesday it had delayed approving U.S. proposals for a freeze on West Bank settlement building so that peace talks can resume, saying it wanted the ideas in writing.
Israeli sources said the proposals, made verbally during a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York last week, included an F-35 offer worth $3 billion and pledges of enhanced U.S. diplomatic support at the United Nations.
Israel has said the first batch of jets, to be received from 2015 through 2017, would boost the country’s ability to defend itself against any Middle Eastern threat.

‘I saw Ariel Sharon murder 2 Palestinian toddlers in Lebanon’

Israel officials call report by Dutch director George Sluizer a ‘modern blood libel’ after he director claimed to have seen then Defense Minster shooting children from close range near the Sabra-Shatilla refugee camp in 1982.
Dutch media this month published articles accusing Ariel Sharon of murdering Palestinian children in Lebanon. Former officials who worked with Sharon said the publications were false. The Israeli foreign ministry called the claim “a modern blood libel.”
George Sluizer George Sluizer in Beirut, 1977.
Photo by: Courtesy of George Sluizer.
The claim first appeared in the Volkskrant, the third largest paper in the Netherlands, in an interview with the well-known Dutch-Jewish director George Sluizer. According to Sluizer, 78, he witnessed Sharon killing two Palestinian toddlers with a pistol in 1982 near the refugee camp Sabra-Shatilla while filming a documentary there.
“I met Sharon and saw him kill two children before my eyes,” said Sluizer, who lives in Amsterdam. Sluizer has made several documentaries about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but is best known for directing The Vanishing with Jeff Bridges and Kiefer Sutherland in 1992.
Sluizer repeated the accusation in an interview for Vrij Nederland, an intellectual magazine, published on November 13 ahead of a screening of his film at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. “Sharon shot two children like you shoot rabbits, in front of my eyes,” he said.
The children, according to Sluizer, “were toddlers, two or three years old. He shot them from a distance of 10 meters with a pistol that he carried. I was very close to him.” Sluizer added he thought this happened in November, when Sharon was Israel’s minister of defense, but he was not sure of the month.
His account was published in a special Volkskrant supplement for the film festival, which opened on Wednesday. The festival featured Sluizer’s fourth and most recent film about Israel, in which he is filmed telling a Sharon effigy that he wished Sharon would have died at Auschwitz.
Sharon’s successor as defense minister, Moshe Arens, said Sluizer’s account was “a lie.” According to Arens, “Sharon would never shoot a child and he was not in Lebanon in November of 1982. Thirdly, protocol prohibits ministers from wearing weapons. As civilians they are not allowed to carry firearms.”
Amram Mitzna, former chairman of the Israeli Labor Party who served under Sharon as head of the Syrian front during the First Lebanon War, called Sluizer’s account “total nonsense.” Mitzna added: “I attacked Sharon politically over his decisions, but Sharon would never do a thing like that. It’s completely ridiculous.”
Yossef Levy, senior spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called Sluizer’s account a “crude and disgraceful lie. It is hard to believe that any reasonable person would take seriously this kind of modern blood libel, which is not supported by a single shred of evidence.”
In an interview for Haaretz, Sluizer said his cameraman Fred van Kuyk, who died a few years ago, also witnessed the shooting. Sluizer also said he had personally filed two complaints against Sharon in 1983, with the International Court of Justice in the Hague and the European Court of Human Right in Strasbourg.
Mr. Andrey Poskakukhin, head of the ICJ’s information department, said the court had no registration of a complaint by Sluizer. An administrator for the court in Strasbourg said his institution had no record of such a complaint either.
“Any serious newspaper should be very careful in accusing a man who cannot defend himself of committing cold-blooded murder,” said Ronny Naftaniel, director of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel. He has written to Volkskrant’s editor-in-chief to ask if the paper had tried to corroborate Sluizer’s account before publication.
“Both papers seem to have published Sluizer’s account without fact-checking it,” Naftaniel also said. “It seems media tend to believe everything negative about Israel, not bothering to even check with their correspondents. In so doing, they are lending themselves to an anti-Israel witch hunt.”
Mischa Cohen, who interviewed Sluizer for Vrij Nederland, said he had “tried to corroborate Sluizer’s account” to the best of his ability. “There were some inconsistencies, but the article is mostly about Sluizer’s anger” in relations to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
“By the time my complaints arrived at their destination and should have been processed, minister of defense Sharon had become prime minister and therefore he was free of prosecution,” Sluizer said. Sharon became prime minister in 2001, 18 years after Sluizer said he filed his complaints. Sluizer says he never received a reply from either institution.
“I was busy doing other things then, finishing filming and traveling the Soviet Union and other countries,” Sluizer said when asked why he had not pursued the matter. He added he began thinking more about the shooting after surviving a near-fatal aneurism in 2007.
Jonathan Pollard

Congressional letter urges Obama to release Pollard

Letter signed by 39 Democrats says Pollard “has served a sufficient time from standpoint of either punishment or deterrence.
A congressional letter to President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard garnered 39 signatures, all Democrats.
In comments at a press conference late Thursday, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he initiated the letter, written in coordination with a broad array of Jewish groups, mostly out of humanitarian concerns for the convicted Israeli spy, imprisoned 25 years, but also as a spur in the peace process.
“My own hope is that if the president were to do this it would contribute to the political climate within the democracy of Israel to enhance the peace process,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in the past said that releasing Pollard would help secure support for concessions in peace talks with the Palestinians.
The letter’s emphasis is on what it says is the disproportionate length of Pollard’s sentence.
“We believe that there has been a great disparity from the standpoint of justice between the amount of time Mr. Pollard has served and the time that has been served – or not served at all – by many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations that, like Israel, are not adversarial to us,” it says. “It is indisputable in our view that the nearly twenty-five years that Mr. Pollard has served stands as a sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence.”
It also emphasizes that Pollard is guilty. “Such an exercise of the clemency power would not in any way imply doubt about his guilt, nor cast any aspersions on the process by which he was convicted,” it says.
Frank said he tried hard to solicit Republican signatories, but was turned down even by the most sympathetic GOP lawmakers for fear of political blowback from the Republican base.
“The current nature of the Republican party is that this is not the thing to do,” he said.
Frank did not elaborate but Jewish officials speaking off the record confirmed his efforts and said that national security sensibilities among some Republican officials have hindered efforts to garner support.
David Nyer, a grassroots Jewish activist who helped organize the effort, said the letter had the support of Gary Bauer, a Christian evangelist leader and onetime vier for the Republican presidential candidacy.
Among the Jewish groups backing the effort were the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organzations, National Council of Young Israel, B’nai B’rith International, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Zionist Organization of America, Agudath Israel of America and the Rabbinic Council of America.
Also supporting the effort were several Reagan administration officials who were at the center of Pollard’s  prosecution.

Israel: Freeze Would Not Include East Jerusalem

Officials Claim US Agreed to ‘Exclude’ East Jerusalem from Freeze
by Jason Ditz,
Israeli officials reiterated today that under no circumstances would the prospective 90 day settlement freeze include occupied East Jerusalem. Officials also claimed that the US was fine with this arrangement, and had also agreed to never again ask for a freeze after this one.
They have said this in the past, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming that East Jerusalem, though occupied in 1967 and not recognized as part of Israel, is part of their “eternal and undivided capital” and that government projects to oust Arabs from the region and build “Jewish only” neighborhoods don’t count as settlements.
US officials did not directly address the claims, but did insist that no final deal had been reached with Israel on the new freeze. Prime Minister Netanyahu seemed to confirm this, saying that such a deal was not necessarily imminent.
Securing enough political backing (or at least acquiescence) for the freeze has been difficult for Netanyahu, and he is expected to pledge massive settlement expansions in East Jerusalem in return for Shas not voting down the freeze.
The problem with this, of course, is that Israel is not, despite appearances, negotiating a peace deal with the US, but with the Palestinian Authority. The 90 day freeze is meant to coax the PA back to peace talks, but if it comes with major expansions in settlements in East Jerusalem it is unlikely to be welcomed as such, and even if the talks resume it seems 90 days is far too short to reach a deal.

Poll: US Support for Afghan War Plummets

Even Military Families Evenly Split on War’s Wisdom
by Jason Ditz,
Though a number of other polls have been showing popular opinion squarely against the Afghan War for awhile now, the well-respected Qunnipiac University poll had shown stubborn, albeit dwindling, support for the conflict through September.
But in a dramatic shift the new Qunnipiac poll also shows a firm majority of Americans, 50-44, opposing the wisdom of the conflict in general. Perhaps even more telling, the split amongst military families is a virtual dead heat, with 49-47 support. In general military families have overwhelmingly believed in the general concept of the mission, if they have not always agreed on tactics.
Americans are also roughly split down the middle on their view of President Obama’s general foreign policy, oddly split down party lines. This is odd because Afghanistan, President Obama’s centerpiece foreign policy, is still surprisingly popular among Republicans but overwhelming opposed among Democrats. Yet when the question shies away from mentioning Afghanistan and just mentions Obama, the split turns the opposite way.
For the first several years after the 2001 invasion, the Afghan War found itself largely off the American radar. Mutliple escalations by President Obama have led to a huge spike in death tolls however, putting the conflict more into focus for many Americans. So far however, the popular opposition to the conflict has not affected the overwhelming support it has in Congress, and Congressional efforts to end the war have stalled.

The Tea Party Moron Complex

By rallying behind dingbats and morons like Palin and Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party has made anti-intellectualism its rallying cry.
(Alternet) – -  If American politics made any sense at all, we wouldn’t have two giant political parties of roughly equal size perpetually fighting over the same 5–10 percent swatch of undecided voters, blues versus reds. Instead, the parties should be broken down into haves and have-nots — a couple of obnoxious bankers on the Upper East Side running for office against 280 million pissed-off credit card and mortgage customers. That’s the more accurate demographic picture of a country in which the top 1 percent has seen its share of the nation’s overall wealth jump from 34.6 percent before the crisis, in 2007, to over 37.1 percent in 2009.   Moreover, the standard of living for the  average American has plummeted during the crisis — the median American household net worth was $102,500 in 2007, and went down to $65,400 in 2009 — while the top 1 percent saw its net worth hold relatively steady, dropping from $19.5 million to $16.5 million.
But we’ll never see our political parties sensibly aligned according to these obvious economic divisions, mainly because it’s so pathetically easy in the TV age to set big groups of voters off angrily chasing their own tails in response to media-manufactured nonsense, with the Tea Party being a classic example of the phenomenon. If you want to understand why America is such a paradise for high-class thieves, just look at the way a manufactured movement like the Tea Party corrals and neutralizes public anger that otherwise should be sending pitchforks in the direction of downtown Manhattan.
There are two reasons why Tea Party voters will probably never get wise to the Ponzi-scheme reality of bubble economics. One has to do with the basic sales pitch of Tea Party rhetoric, which cleverly exploits Main Street frustrations over genuinely intrusive state and local governments that are constantly in the pockets of small businesses for fees and fines and permits.
The other reason is obvious: the bubble economy is hard as hell to understand. To even have a chance at grasping how it works, you need to commit large chunks of time to learning about things like securitization, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, etc., stuff that’s fiendishly complicated and that if ingested too quickly can feature a truly toxic boredom factor.
So long as this stuff is not widely understood by the public, the Grifter class is going to skate on almost anything it does — because the tendency of most voters, in particular conservative voters, is to assume that Wall Street makes its money engaging in normal capitalist business and that any attempt to restrain that sector of the economy is thinly disguised socialism.
That’s why it’s so brilliant for the Tea Party to put forward as its leaders some of the most egregiously stupid morons on our great green earth. By rallying behind dingbats like Palin and Michele Bachmann — the Minnesota congresswoman who thought the movie Aladdin promoted witchcraft and insisted global warming wasn’t a threat because “carbon dioxide is natural” — the Tea Party has made anti-intellectualism itself a rallying cry. The Tea Party is arguing against the very idea that it’s even necessary to ask the kinds of questions you need to ask to grasp bubble economics.
Bachmann is the perfect symbol of the Dumb and Dumber approach to high finance. She makes a great show of saying things that would get a kindergartner busted to the special ed bus — shrieking, for instance, that AmeriCorps was a plot to force children into liberal “reeducation camps” (Bachmann’s own son, incidentally, was a teacher in an AmeriCorps program), or claiming that the U.S. economy was “100 percent private” before Barack Obama’s election (she would later say Obama in his first year and a half managed to seize control of “51 percent of the American economy”).
When the Chinese proposed replacing the dollar as the international reserve currency, Bachmann apparently thought this meant that the dollar itself was going to be replaced, that Americans would be shelling out yuan to buy six-packs of Sprite in the local 7-Eleven. So to combat this dire threat she sponsored a bill that would “bar the dollar from being  replaced by any foreign currency.” When reporters like me besieged Bachmann’s office with calls to ask if the congresswoman, a former tax attorney, understood the difference between currency and reserve currency, and to ask generally what the hell she was talking about, her spokeswoman, Debbee Keller, was forced to issue a statement clarifying that “she’s talking about the United States . . . The legislation would ensure that the dollar would remain the currency of the United States.” 
A Democratic staffer I know in the House called me up after he caught wind of Bachmann’s currency bill. “We get a lot of yokels in here, small-town lawyers who’ve never been east of Indiana and so on, but Michele Bachmann . . . We’ve just never seen anything quite like her before.”
Bachmann has a lot of critics, but they miss the genius of her political act. Even as she spends every day publicly flubbing political SAT questions, she’s always dead-on when it comes to her basic message, which is that government is always the problem and there are no issues the country has that can’t be worked out with basic common sense (there’s a reason why many Tea Party groups are called “Common Sense Patriots” and rally behind “common sense campaigns”).
Common sense sounds great, but if you’re too freaking lazy to penetrate the mysteries of carbon dioxide — if you haven’t mastered the whole concept of breathing by the time you’re old enough to serve in the U.S. Congress — you’re not going to get the credit default swap, the synthetic collateralized debt obligation, the interest rate swap, etc. And understanding these instruments and how they were used (or misused) is the difference between perceiving how Wall Street made its money in the last decades as normal capitalist business and seeing the truth of what it often was instead, which was simple fraud and crime. It’s not an accident that Bachmann emerged in the summer of 2010 (right as she was forming the House of Tea Party Caucus) as one of the fiercest opponents of financial regulatory reform; her primary complaint with the deeply flawed reform bill sponsored by Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank was that it would “end free checking accounts.”
Our world isn’t about ideology anymore. It’s about complexity. We live in a complex bureaucratic state with complex laws and complex business practices, and the few organizations with the corporate will power to master these complexities will inevitably own the political power. On the other hand, movements like the Tea Party more than anything else reflect a widespread longing for simpler times and simple solutions — just throw the U.S. Constitution at the whole mess and everything will be jake. For immigration, build a big fence. Abolish the Federal Reserve, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education. At times the overt longing for simple answers that you get from Tea Party leaders is so earnest and touching, it almost makes you forget how insane most of them are.


Mystery of Who Funded Right-wing “Radical Islam” Campaign Deepens

A document obtained by Salon creates new speculation about who paid for a right-wing campaign to stoke Islamophobia

By Justin Elliott

November 18, 2010 “Salon” – - In the heat of the 2008 presidential election, an obscure nonprofit group called the Clarion Fund made national news by distributing millions of DVDs about radical Islam in newspaper inserts in swing states.
The DVDs, 28 million in all, were a boost to Republican candidates who were trying to paint Democrats as weak on terrorism — and they arguably helped fuel the anti-Muslim sentiment that boiled over in the “ground zero mosque” fight last summer. The film, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War With the West,” was widely criticized for its cartoonish portrayal of Muslims as modern-day Nazis.
But who put up the money to send out all those millions of DVDs?
Clarion, which has strong links to the right-wing Israeli group Aish HaTorah and is listed in government records as a foreign nonprofit, would never say.
Indeed, the group does not have to release detailed donor information because of its nonprofit tax status. We knew only that there was serious money behind the effort: Clarion spent nearly $19 million in 2008, the year it sent out the DVDs.
Now, just as Clarion is gearing up to release a new film hyping the threat of Iran, the money mystery has deepened: According to a document submitted to the IRS by Clarion and obtained by Salon, a donor listed as Barry Seid gave Clarion nearly $17 million in 2008, which would have paid for virtually the entire “Obsession” DVD campaign.
Nonprofit groups must submit financial information including the identity of donors to the IRS — but ordinarily only basic revenue and spending data are made available to the public. In the case of Clarion, an extra page with donor information seems to have been inadvertently included in its public filing. See it here. (It was previously available on public websites that collect IRS forms submitted by nonprofits.)
There’s only one Barry Seid Salon could find who might fit the profile of a $17 million donor to Clarion. That would be businessman Barre Seid (note the different spelling) of Illinois, a longtime contributor to right-wing and Jewish causes. But his representative flatly denied to Salon that he has ever given money to Clarion.
The elderly and press-shy Seid is president of Tripp Lite, a large Chicago-based manufacturer of power strips that got into the personal computer market on the ground floor back in the 1980s. Seid has personally poured millions of dollars into Republican campaigns and conservative causes, and his foundation has given generously to the Cato Institute, the Americans for Limited Government Foundation, and the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This year, Seid received an honorary degree from Bar-Ilan University outside Tel Aviv for his work “supporting those organizations which will fortify Israel’s position in the world.”
But Seid assistant Joan Frontczak told Salon in an e-mail: “Mr. Seid did not make any contributions to the Clarion Fund.” And she added: “Mr. Seid is a very private person and doesn’t seek publicity of any kind.”
Furthermore, Clarion Fund spokesman Alex Traiman denied that the inadvertently released document is accurate.
“The sources of anonymous donations to the Clarion Fund in 2008 have been incorrectly identified,” Traiman said in an e-mail to Salon. “As like many other not-for-profit organizations, we respect the right of private donors to remain anonymous.”
But there’s another wrinkle here. As first reported by Counterpunch, a right-leaning Alexandria, Va.-based outfit called Donors Capital Fund revealed in its 2008 IRS filing that it gave $17.7 million to Clarion that year, the same year the DVDs were sent out. Donors Capital Fund is what’s known as a donor-advised fund: It offers various tax and other advantages to people who want to make large donations to nonprofits.
Whitney Ball, president of Donors Capital Fund, told Salon that the group acts as a charitable vehicle for individuals who give Donors Capital Fund money and tell it where they would like the money to go. “One of our clients made a recommendation for Clarion and so we did it,” she said. Ball declined to identify the client or comment on Seid.
Seid’s private foundation has in the past made at least one donation to Donors Capital Fund. Seid’s assistant did not respond to a request for comment about whether he had made a donation to Donors Capital Fund and recommended that the money go to Clarion. So, for now, it’s impossible to say for sure why the name “Barry Seid” showed up on Clarion’s tax forms.

Do neoconservatives really care about the Iranian opposition?

( The rumblings of the largely underground Iranian Green Movement encourage neoconservative pundit Reuel Marc Gerecht. “I think it’s the most amazing intellectual second revolution…that we’ve seen in the Middle East,” he told a packed briefing room at Bloomberg’s D.C. headquarters last month. But even as he called on President Barack Obama to do more to vocally support the embattled rights movement — thinly veiled U.S. encouragement for regime change, in other words — Gerecht pushed for bombing Iran.
Yet Green activists who work on the ground in Iran roundly oppose a military attack precisely because it will undermine opposition efforts. Confronted with their warnings against strikes by his debate opponent, Gerecht was dismissive. He derided dissident journalist Akbar Ganji as “delusional” and spoke in dangerous innuendo about Shirin Ebadi, a human rights lawyer and Nobel laureate.”There is a huge difference between what some dissidents will say privately and what they’ll say publicly,” said Gerecht of Ebadi, “and I’ll leave it at that.”
In a phone interview, Ebadi couldn’t remember Gerecht by name (noting that she speaks to four or five journalists a day), but emphatically denied the charge that she talks out of both sides of her mouth. “Me, no! Everything I say, is exactly what I say,” she told me in Farsi. “Whoever said this, that I say different things in public and private, is wrong.” “I’m the same person in public and private,” she went on. “And I’m against war.”
Ebadi hasn’t been in Iran since the crackdown on demonstrators in the wake of the June 2009 elections, but she’s nonetheless a tireless advocate for reform and human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”The military option will not benefit the U.S. interest or the Iranian interest,” she said recently in an interview with Think Progress, a Center for American Progress blog. “It is the worst option. You should not think about it. The Iranian people — including myself — will resist any military action.”
Yet no neoconservative in punditry — the field to which the movement has been mostly relegated by electoral defeat — has been more strident in calling for an attack on Iran than Gerecht. A former C.I.A. agent and current fellow at the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Gerecht makes no secret of his ambitions. In the penthouse of the Bloombeg building, Gerecht boasted that he’d “counted up the other day: I’ve written about 25,000 words about bombing Iran. Even my mom thinks I’ve gone too far.” Gerecht’s disappointment that the administration of Barack Obama remains unlikely to strike was palpable, and he stated his unequivocal support for an Israeli attack, lamenting that if they didn’t act soon, the opportunity might be lost.
“I believe Obama’s Middle East policy is correct,” Ebadi told Matt Duss of Think Progress, noting that by offering engagement Obama reveals the Iranians as the intransigent party in talks. Ganji, the dissident journalist, has also chimed in on Obama’s policy. “[T]he mere fact that Obama didn’t make military threats made the Green Movement possible,” Ganji said at the National Press Club in Washington this summer. The following day, in his acceptance speech for the 2010 Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Award, Ganji also said military attacks were counter-productive for reforming Iran: “The Iranian regime will abuse the current emergency conditions — brought on by the threat of a military strike — to push the democratic Green Movement away from the center of world attention.”
Ganji, who spent six years in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison before leaving Iran in 2006, told me by phone that a military attack would hurt the middle class at the center of the Green Movement. For this reason, both Ebadi and Ganji have also opposed the escalation of broad economic sanctions advocated by Gerecht. (Ebadi supports political sanctions against officials responsible for rights abuses.)
“I have a great deal of respect for Akbar Ganji, but he’s delusional,” Gerecht said at the Bloomberg forum after Center for American Progress’s Brian Katulis mentioned Ganji as an opponent of belligerent U.S. rhetoric. “Ganji and the entire movement of the ‘liberal reformers’ — and I use that in quotes — were probably the most errant of the analysts on Iran in the 1990s.” “They really did think there was going to be a soft revolution,” he went on. “They really did think they could internally push the ball and that Khamenei would not crush them.” (The current incarnation of the “liberal reform” movement — the Green Movement that Gerecht so admires — was also crushed in the wake of the disputed presidential election.)
I described Gerecht’s comments and positions to Ganji, using the word ‘neocon,’ for lack of a better translation. Ganji recognized the word.”Those who try to see the world this way created the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “The work of these neocons” — Ganji used the word, too, amid his Farsi — “who are ‘not delusional’ have helped increase Islamic fundamentalism.”
Many other Iranian opposition figures and reform-aligned activists have publicly spoken out against broad-based sanctions, including movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi (and, more recently, one of his top advisers) and Mehdi Karroubi. “Human rights activists have been fighting for human rights for years and they consistently have gone on record opposing war and sanctions,” Sussan Tahmasebi, a women’s rights activist who’s worked in Iran for 11 years, told me. “I’m opposed to war and sanctions because it hurts Iranian people on the ground. It stifles the voices for change. It stifles the message for human rights inside Iran.”
Noting the rare opposition figures that have wondered if sanctions will pressure the regime, others have pointed out that perhaps Iranian activists can’t speak out publicly for concern out of their safety. But Tahmasebi, who came to the U.S. recently for a visit and was given an award by Human Rights Watch, said that Iranian activists’ opposition to war and sanctions are principled human rights positions.”Human rights activists have to be transparent to ensure that their voices are credible at home. And they have to be consistent with their message,” she told me. “In public and in private, they have been consistent in their opposition to sanctions and war because they are an extension of human rights abuses. They only serve to hurt human rights in Iran.”
Nonetheless, Gerecht called for communications support for Iran’s would-be opposition, and endorsed passive support for those who “are willing to risk their lives for the case of democracy.” But those same people who “risk their lives” on the ground are almost universally against Gerecht’s policy proscriptions for Iran. To couch one’s unabashed support for bombing Iran as a vital security interest for the U.S. and its allies despite the warnings of current and former top Pentagon brass is one thing (and raises issues not discussed herein). But to simultaneously endorse war and those who insist it will hurt them is quite another.
Gerecht can’t have his Keik-e Yazdi and eat it too.

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