Monday, November 25, 2013

Barry Lando Continues to Repeat Himself

I already commented once that Huffington Post blogger Barry Lando has a bad habit of repeating the same old arguments so often used by the anti-Israel crowd, and he's back to use those exact same arguments again in a column about the Iranian nuclear deal. Unsurprisingly, he starts off with the Jew card: "You want Chutzpah? This is Chutzpah..." before talking about how Israel and its supporters have been predicting an Iranian bomb for a long time. Like I said, an old talking point that isn't nearly as devastating as he likes to think it is. The world is taking Iran seriously, even if Lando refuses to.
"The nuclear weapons we're talking about are not Iran's feared-but-not-yet-existing devices, but Israel's very real nuclear arsenal. Somehow Shavit, like most Israeli and American commentators analyzing the standoff with Iran, never gets around to the fact that Israel has had nuclear weapons for the past half a century."
Yep, here we go again. No matter how many times Iranian apologists repeat the "Israel has nuclear weapons tooooooo" argument, it still doesn't work. Israel hasn't signed the non-proliferation treaty. Iran has. Israel hasn't threatened to destroy another UN member state. Iran has. Israel doesn't sponsor jihadist groups around the world. Iran does. Lando's ability to ignore all of these very pertinent counter arguments, and ignore them for months at a time apparently, is the real elephant in the room.

Shavit and Thomas Friedman are perfectly aware about Israel's "open secret" regarding their nuclear arsenal. It is just that, like the international community, they don't care. As Lando himself admits, Israel has had nukes for half a century and has never used them or given them to others (despite temptations on both counts). So the world has found Israel can be trusted with these weapons of mass destruction. Your precious Iran, however, not so much. Which is why we are where we are now.

Lando then returns to one of his favorite filler tactics, rehashing the history of Israel's nuclear development. Here's a short version: it involved a lot of clandestine work, which is exactly what you would expect from a secret nuclear program. But that doesn't have anything to do with the original argument: the times are different now and there are probably quite a few countries that probably shouldn't have nuclear weapons but they do and we can't change that. Lando's argument belongs on a playground. Then he goes after the USA:
""In response to U.S. carefully worried diplomatic queries about the sale, the government of Israel spent years dancing around any straightforward replies. The U.S. and its allies showed no appetite to seriously challenge Israel's on-going evasions. Theirs was the continuation of an ostrich-like policy that began under Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s -- and continues to this day."
(Yes, that is a hanging quotation in case you were wondering.)

Lando makes a classic mistake of "not knowing" versus "not caring." Lando thinks that the USA was intentionally looking away because they didn't want to know the truth (pushed by "The Lobby" of course, even though it didn't exist then), when what is more likely is that they knew and just didn't care. It's the same thing with Palsbarists whining "Why is the world blind to the suffering of GAZA?!!?!?!" The world isn't blind, they just don't give a shit anymore because there's only so much you can milk from a certain situation before people become apathetic to it and move on to something else.

Fortunately, Lando changes things up and actually addresses his critics rather than ignoring them as he has done in the past:
"The hard nosed attitude is: Yeah, OK, the Israelis have nukes. But, what the hell. They're threatened with extinction by their neighbors, like that half-crazed Iranian-leader whatshisname? Amunjihad?, and terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas, eager to wipe Israel off the map. 
The fact, however, is that Israel also has its share of political crazies, some of whom have been increasingly powerful over the last few years, crazies who have talked openly of using nuclear weapons on Iran, and continue to advocate a Greater Israel free of all Arabs. And as far as attacking its neighbors, Israel has invaded Lebanon twice over the past few years, swarmed into Gaza, bombed and carried out air strikes in Iraq and Syria,"
Interesting terminology there: "swarmed" like insects.

Anyway, not all "political crazies" are created equal. The "crazies" in Israel that he refers to are individual ministers among many: the "crazies" in Iran are the ones who would have their finger on the button in the case of a cold war. Benjamin Netanyahu has never threatened any country with destruction and Lando knows that, so he sidesteps the question in an increasingly dishonest manner. The last sentence is just lying by omission: Israel defended itself and stopped dictators from getting nuclear weapons. Lando either doesn't know that and is a moron, or refuses to share that pertinent information, which makes him dishonest. Either way he isn't coming off very well.

Finally he goes full MJ Rosenberg. You knew this was coming:
"But it's not just Israel's nuclear weapons that are only whispered about in Washington, there's another elephant in the room: the major force driving U.S. policy on the issue of Iran's nuclear program is not cool, rational logic, but the pro-Israel lobby."
I could debunk this with a long series of paragraphs, but let me make it shorter. Most of the world is very concerned by the Iranian nuclear program, and they don't have all have various versions of "The Lobby." China doesn't. Russia doesn't. France doesn't. Lando's arguments indicate that he has his own view of things, and rather than just come out and admit that there might be some people who have come to a different conclusion then him, his only possible explanation is that there's a shadow force making America behave "irrationally." I'm sure the Huffington Post readership would love to believe the same.

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