A Rare Admission From
With the P5+1 (the US, UK,
France, Russia, China and Germany) talks on Iran's nuclear programme
about to kick off, and the air thick with talk of a military attack
on Iran, it seemed appropriate to try to gain some perspective from
the Israeli establishment.
The minister spent much of
the ensuing conversation arguing that for Iran to simply question
Israel's long term future amounts to an existential threat; there
are many who agree with him.
But there's little doubt which opinion is most heard, and most listened to.
The Guardian of April 13, 2012, contained a remarkable example of this.
This article, questioning the legality of an attack on Iran, is unusual anyway, simply because it addresses the issue of international law at all.
But more surprising are the statements in it, made by some fairly learned lawyers, which are not so much legal analysis as verbal callisthenics.
That Alan Dershowitz gives Israel the legal green light to bomb Iran is to be expected, but here's Anthony D'Amato, a professor of international law at Northwestern University:
The combination of factual
error and partisan analysis here is remarkable.
If "Iran" (and he doesn't actually clarify who he means here) has ever actually said that it wants to "push Israelis into the sea" he doesn't point us to the source.
Secondly, he doesn't explain why such comments from Iran should cause more existential anguish than similarly belligerent comments made by Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in reference to Palestinians, or by Hillary Clinton in reference to Iran.
As for the concept of "preserving international law for future generations," he does not clarify his thoughts on whether Russia and China might also be justified in unilaterally attempting such a feat, or in deciding what can and cannot be allowed in international politics.
But what's most bizarre is his completely erroneous belief that Iran itself has said it's constructing nuclear weapons.
There's no reason to believe that a man of D'Amato's standing should lie, bare-faced, to an internationally respected newspaper; therefore it's more likely that he's simply accepted what someone with an anti-Iran agenda has told him.
So if a man who "has argued cases before the European Court of Human Rights" can fall prey to hearsay and mis-information, can we be surprised that the average consumer of mainstream media can buy into this "big lie"?
Let's hope, as the latest round of nuclear talks gets under way, the people around the table will, like Meridor, admit the existence of nuance and allow for alternate opinions.
Because if Harvard's
is right, and the P5+1 is intent on sabotaging the negotiations
before they start ... well ...
This article was first published at Al- Jazeera