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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roger Cohen, "Don’t Do It, Bibi": Cohen Confuses Obama With America

Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen is once again proffering advice concerning Iran, this time to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. In "Don’t Do It, Bibi" (, Cohen quotes a purported conversation between anonymous US and Israeli ambassadors in order to make the point that Netanyahu should be kissing the ground on which Obama walks. Never once does Cohen observe that Israel is facing an existential threat.

According to Cohen:

"Here’s the bottom line: an Israeli attack unites Iran in fury, locks in the Islamic Republic for a generation, cements the Syrian regime, radicalizes the Arab world at a moment of delicate transition, ignites Hezbollah on the Lebanese border, boosts Hamas, endangers U.S. troops in the region, sparks terrorism, propels oil skyward, triggers a possible regional war, offers a lifeline to Iran just as Europe is about to stop buying its oil, adds a Persian to the Arab vendetta against Israel, and may at best set back Iran’s nuclear ambitions a couple of years."

Goodness gracious, this is a truly horrifying set of repercussions. However, as noted by Cohen, "Israel, in such issues, has already gone it alone once, when it bombed a Syrian nuclear facility in 2007." If so, why didn't any of Cohen's litany of events unfold when Israel leveled the Syrian Al Kibar reactor in Operation Orchard? Moreover, Cohen is mistaken: Israel also bombed the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981, much to the world's relief, in Operation Opera.

Cohen claims:

"In an election year, with U.S. intelligence convinced Iran is not yet building a bomb, Obama will not send oil prices soaring and the Muslim world into another bout of anti-American rage."

Yet Cohen fails to mention that the Saudis and the UAE are even more anxious than Israel to curtail the Iranian effort to attain nuclear weapons.

US intelligence is "convinced Iran is not yet building a bomb"? Oh really? As observed by Cohen's own newspaper (

"The International Atomic Energy Agency released [in November 2011] a trove of evidence that they said makes a 'credible' case that 'Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device' and that the project may still be under way. The report said the I.A.E.A. had amassed 'over a thousand pages' of documents, presumably leaked out of Iran, showing 'research, development and testing activities' on a range of technologies that would only be useful in designing a nuclear weapon.

The report offered no estimate of how long it would take for Iran to be able to produce a nuclear weapon. But it laid out the case that Iran had moved far beyond the blackboard to create computer models of nuclear explosions in 2008 and 2009, and conducted experiments on nuclear triggers. The report said that starting in 2000, the Iranians constructed a vessel to conduct those tests, which was not shown to inspectors who visited the site five years later."

These experiments on nuclear triggers and the start of enrichment at the Fordow underground facility near Qum are merely part of what Cohen describes as Iran's "opaque nuclear program," and plainly have nothing to do with the construction of a bomb.

Cohen tells us that Netanyahu "has poisoned relations with Washington," and notes that the Israeli prime minister went over Obama's head to address a joint meeting of the US Congress in May 2011, where he received 29 standing ovations (see: It would appear that according to Cohen, Obama is synonymous with "Washington," whereas Congress is a mere Republican-dominated aberration which in no way reflects the opinions and beliefs of the American people.

Netanyahu "poisoned relations with Washington"? Yeah, right. I suppose the awkward relationship between Netanyahu and Obama has nothing to do with the fact that Obama began his first term in office by flying to Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but never visited Israel. I suppose it has nothing to do with the fact that much of Obama's foreign policy has been devoted to wringing concessions out of Israel without objecting to the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. I suppose it has nothing to do with Obama's efforts to placate Iran's mullahs -- Obama never objected when Ahmadinejad brutally subdued Iran's Green Revolution in 2009. I suppose it has nothing to do with Obama's prolonged courtship of Syria's tyrannical president, Assad. I suppose it has nothing to do with the fact that Obama is advised by a radical Israel-hater, Samantha Power. And I suppose it also has nothing to do with the fact that Obama listened over the course of 20 years to the "anti-Zionist" sermons of the Reverend Wright without once expressing his objections.

Cohen observes that "a re-elected Obama would, as a second-term president, have room to mark his displeasure if Israel was to go it alone." I would go one step further: Whether or not Israel goes it alone and attacks Iran, Obama, as a second-term president, will no longer disguise his ingrained enmity for Israel.

But is Israel concerned with the US elections? Sorry to disappoint you, Roger, but Israel is just too busy trying to survive another year.

1 comment:

  1. If I remember it correctly, the first international phone call (like a minute after becoming President), Obama made was to Abbas. It was like: "Oh, I'm President now, so I can make calls the UN, the Saudis, Pacifica (increasingly neo-Nazi) and I personally want. Yeah!!!" Forget about China, Russia, Germany etc.; forget about genocides in Africa, etc.
    Cohen with his pretentions and complexes is really, truly, utterly repulsive. Another "ashamed Jew." Britain is so full of them. Kudos to Howard Jacobson for not being one of them.