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Monday, November 11, 2013

New York Times Editorial, "Iran Nuclear Talks: Unfinished, but Alive": Israel No Longer an American Ally

New York Times editorials long ago lost any semblance of objectivity, as was best exemplified when the Times declared that Obama "misspoke" when he promised Americans that they could keep their existing health care plans following enactment of the Affordable Care Act ( Yes, the Times has become the unofficial mouthpiece of the Obama administration, and although this turn of events might be considered despicable and another tragic milestone along the Times's inexorable path to oblivion, it also provides us with a means of accessing what Obama thinks, but does not allow himself to say.

We recently learned from "Double Down," a new book by MSNBC correspondents Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, that Obama once declared, "We all know Bibi Netanyahu is a pain in the ass." Well, both Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry are now fuming with Israel's prime minister for interfering with the execution of an agreement with Iran, purportedly limiting its ability to continue to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Kerry made a special trip to Geneva last week to attend the signing ceremony and was particularly dismayed when France voiced last minute objections.

For his part, Obama cannot publicly vent his spleen regarding the failure in Geneva, but he can certainly ask a servile The New York Times to do his dirty business.

In an editorial today entitled "Iran Nuclear Talks: Unfinished, but alive" (, the Times launches a blistering attack against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for opposing the terms of the deal that Kerry had wanted to broker. The editorial concludes (my italics):

"Unfortunately, the inconclusive negotiations have given an opening to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who excoriated the proposed agreement as the 'deal of the century' for Iran before it is made public, to generate more hysterical opposition. It would be nice if Iran could be persuaded to completely dismantle its nuclear program, as Mr. Netanyahu has demanded, but that is unlikely to ever happen. The administration of President George W. Bush made similar demands and refused to negotiate seriously and the result was an Iranian program that is more advanced than ever.

The best way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is through a negotiated deal that limits uranium enrichment, curbs the plutonium program and allows for maximum international monitoring. Iran took a useful, if insufficient, step on Monday when it agreed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency access to certain nuclear sites. The opponents of a deal are energized and determined. The United States and its allies have to be united and smart."

And so we learn that Netanyahu is "hysterical," notwithstanding repeated Iranian threats to annihilate Israel.

We also learn that in the opinion of the Times, Israel is no longer an American ally. Regrettably, this is also what Obama believes.

In addition, the Times editorial would have us know that "France’s area of concern — reportedly involving a heavy water reactor, which can produce plutonium — was easily resolved." Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen, in a New York Times op-ed entitled "A Doable Iran Deal" (, similarly says that "President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president [sic], and Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, . . . are prepared to . . . find a solution on the heavy-water plant it is building at Arak that could produce plutonium."

Well, if halting construction of Iran's Arak IR-40 Heavy Water Reactor, designed to produce sufficient plutonium for two atomic bombs each year, is such an insignificant matter and "was easily resolved," why didn't it happen? Is this really something whose resolution should await a second agreement with Iran, after sanctions have been eased? I have news for Obama, Kerry and the editorial board of The New York Times: If this issue is not resolved pursuant to the terms of an initial agreement with Tehran, it will never be resolved.

John Kerry, who labelled Syrian mass murderer Assad his "dear friend," is a naif. Obama, who has no knowledge whatsoever of the way in which deals are negotiated in the Middle East (or in Washington), is also out of his depth.

Contrast the language of the Times's editorial with the conclusion of a Washington Post editorial entitled "No Iran deal, but a chance for a better strategy" (

"The second doubt is about Iran’s demand that its 'right' to enrich uranium be acknowledged. While acceptance of a residual enrichment capacity may be a necessary element of any permanent settlement, this should be contingent on the regime’s acceptance of stringent controls, including a significant downsizing of its nuclear infrastructure. Since it has not yet agreed to such steps, Iran should not be granted the principle.

Any successful negotiation with Iran will require distasteful concessions to a regime whose domestic repression and external aggression are repugnant and a menace to U.S. allies. But a deal that decisively curbs its nuclear capacity is preferable to military action. The Obama administration is right to move forward — but it should work harder to align any deal with its goals and to bring Congress and allies on board."
At least The Washington Post still recognizes that Israel is an ally, whose existential concerns merit consideration.


  1. Some google search led me to another local paper (New York Magazine) which recently declared Obama to be the best president ever. Frank Rich changed his outlet, but clearly kept his head (and total lack of ethics).
    I really, really, really don't know what to say - I am just so disgusted.
    I am a progressive (a Social Democrat), but I really, really, really have nothing in common with this highly immoral, opportunistic, monstrous crowd which tends to call itself "progressive" or "liberal."
    Just yesterday, I read that Khameini controls financial empire of 95 billion. It isn't surprising that the NYT sees problems with .... Netanyahu.
    Actually, the NYT is consistent.
    When my mother's family was starving in 1933 in Ukraine, the paper reported that they lived in paradise.
    When my father's entire extended Jewish family in Poland - babies, pregnant women, elderly, sick, the aunts, the cousins, the nieces, etc. - was exterminated, the paper was reporting about the important events, such as the Episcopalian marriages of the Ochses and the Sulzbergers and their moving up and up and up.
    I am embarrassed. For decades, I was a reader of the NYT. How did it happen that people who are formally much less educated knew better and rejected it as a rag?

  2. I know, I know, I know.
    Kerry can't have now nice dinners with his best friend Assad, so he switched to Khameini who with his control of 95 billions can probably serve dinners our Secretary deserves.
    But why doesn't he just say so? We will understand. Everyone likes a good dinner.