In September 2008, The Bipartisan Policy Center issued a report analyzing the Iranian nuclear program and offering recommendations for the U.S. strategic response. This neoconservative “roadmap to war,” as Jim Lobe referred to the report authored by numerous neocons and (troublesomely) Barack Obama’s National Security Council Mid East expert Dennis Ross, argued that diplomatic wrangling over Iran’s nuclear program is useless from the start. They laid out the U.S. preconditions that Iran can not enrich uranium on its soil — knowing enrichment on Iranian soil is a central tenet of that nation’s program. Likewise, they saw sanctions meant to pressure Iran into this position were unlikely to be accepted. So from the neocon perspective, diplomacy and sanctions appear to be mere checklist items on the real agenda of a campaign to bomb Iranian nuclear sites and, perhaps not that much further down the list, a wider campaign aimed at regime change.
Well, Jennifer Rubin, perhaps the most passionate blogger at Commentary‘s Contentions blog, is ready to tick those items off the list and move into the final agenda. This is not news, since she has been making essentially this proclamation for some time.
In “Keep Our Eye on the Ball — Iran,” Rubin picks up a New York Post editorial which accuses the UN of bashing Israel while soft-pedaling IAEA accusations by Iran. Rubin naturally agrees. In her mind, no one is harsh enough on Iran and everyone is too harsh on Israel.
Calling the “‘peace process’” — which is always in quotes — “a giant and dangerous distraction,” Rubin writes that “much of the media have lost track of what’s important: Iran and the mounting evidence that the sanctions have been, as conservatives predicted, useless.” She goes on to deride the UN as ineffective, before declaring it’s “[n]o wonder Obama loves the place.”
Then, she finally gets to the point:
[I]t might be a good idea for Jewish organizations to show the same focus as the Post. Forget the “peace process” sideshow and give up the fantasy that the UN or the IAEA will solve our national-security problem for us. The options boil down to : 1) The U.S. uses force; 2.) Israel uses force; or 3.) the Iranians get the bomb. The first is the best of the disagreeable options. It would be swell if American Jewish leaders started making that point.
In her overly-simplistic neoconservative worldview (recalling Dick Cheney’s 2003 proclamation “we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators“), there are only three options: U.S. bombs, Israel bombs, or Iran gets the bomb.
Most notable is her shot at Jewish organizations for being insufficiently hawkish. Rubin’s seeming disdain for Jewish group fits with here recent meme that American Jewish liberalism and its uncrititcal support of Democrats is a “sick addiction.” The phrase is borrowed from a blog post by Rachel Abrams, which Rubin has quoted at least three times. Yet the problem is while Jews have supported Democrats and Obama with overwhelming numbers, many mainstream Jewish organizations are not on board with this sentiment of liberalism. That was exactly the debate raised by Peter Beinart this summer in his New York Review of Books essay — “The Failure of the Jewish Establishment.”
Many Jewish organizations, particularly those with clout in Washington, indeed have a hawkish bent. Consider the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which releases among the most bellicose newsletters one can get in their inbox. Just this month, in fact, JINSA called on Obama to do almost exactly what Rubin prescribes — to “blunt Iran first.” To be fair, JINSA called for a “peace process” after that; Rubin obviously does not.
AIPAC, Washington’s more powerful and somewhat less neoconservative Jewish organization, takes on Iran on a near daily basis, devoting an entire section of its website dedicated to the topic. Rubin has been known to call out organizations and individuals, most recently Hilary Clinton, when the the buzz words she finds in others’ comments aren’t repeated in a way she finds acceptable. A few of those phrased: that an Iran with nuclear weapons is “unacceptable” and that “all options remain on the table” (a wink at U.S. military strikes on Iran). Interestingly, AIPAC uses exactly this language in two policy briefings on Iran.
So Rubin’s criticisms of Jewish organizations seems less sound than her haranguing of Jews in general. But the takeaway here is important: She is ready to call out anyone who is not for the immediate bombing of Iran as the way to go, the only way to go. If Commentary is a bellwether of the neoconservative movement — and it is — then their intentions are laid bare by Jennifer Rubin.
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