Iran Deal: Why doesn’t US Media interview Real Allies on American Policy?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

So after France and Britain and Germany conducted negotiations with Iran over its civilian nuclear enrichment program alongside the United States, you would expect American television news eagerly to seek out interviews on the deal from David Cameron, Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel– or foreign ministers Philip Hammond, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier. I.e., from American allies also involved in the negotiations.

The United Kingdom fought al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan alongside the United States, as a NATO ally. Article 5 of the NATO charter says that an attack on one is an attack on all, and Britain stepped up to fulfill its treaty obligation to Americans after they were attacked on September 11, 2001. The UK lost 453 troops killed in Afghanistan. Since its population is about a fourth that of the US, its losses were proportionally similar to those of the United States. That’s an ally.

France also joined the US to fight in Afghanistan, losing 86 men killed. Same deal. Ally. Its troops operated in provinces where the Taliban were weaker, but there were plenty of horrible attacks on the French.

Even though Germany sent a peacekeeping force rather than a war-fighting one, for constitutional reasons, it still lost 54 troops killed in Afghanistan. It was there for the same reason as the others– NATO ally pledged to defend the US when it is attacked.

It could be good television to interview politicians from among our allies. We know that Fabius had a lot of doubts and at one point seemed poised to torpedo the whole process. Shouldn’t someone, like, ask him what changed his mind and why he swung behind the deal? Likewise Merkel was quite hard on Iran and suspicious of its enrichment program. How was she convinced. Doesn’t anyone in American television news care?

Nope. As far as I could see, not one. We get to hear about the Iran deal from minor congressmen and senators who represent almost nobody, and who have not read it. We get to hear from Donald Trump, who has never been elected to anything and represents no one at all. We got to hear at great length from Likud officials and spokesmen from Israel. All of them fulminated against the Vienna diplomatic breakthrough.

Is this balanced journalism? Is it even journalism at all?

How can this serious defect in our news gathering be explained? Well, of course, our news in corporate news, aimed at making a profit. So things that don’t deliver eyeballs to advertisers are not categorized as news. Other things, like Arianna Grande licking doughnuts, which are not news, get to be classed as news because they will deliver the eyeballs to advertisers.

But I actually think Fabius or Merkel would be a feisty interview and compelling television.

Why Israel, a small country of 8 million with a gross domestic product the size of Portugal’s, which is not a treaty ally and lost no troops in Afghanistan or Iraq, gets right of rebuttal on American public airwaves to everything the president of the United States does is a great mystery.

Here’s one theory: The American public is only interested in potential enemies and in countries that might actually go to war. It isn’t interested in peaceful countries that can reliably be counted as American allies.

So Britain, France and Germany are discounted by audiences and therefore by networks (except when the British royal family has a photogenic member who gets married or has a baby).

It is a very odd situation. In all the 8 years of the Iraq War I don’t think American television gave an extended interview to the British minister of defense even once, despite the very important role the British army played there. Television news barely covered Afghanistan, but likewise US allies there were invisible.

I have concluded that with a few rare exceptions, US television news just isn’t very good because the editors and managers aren’t very good. (This is not a slam at the great journalists– Ben Wedemann, Richard Engel, Arwa Damon, etc.– it isn’t the correspondents’ fault if their editors won’t cover real news).

Tom Fenton made the point after 9/11 that the turn of US television news to infotainment and fluff, and its allergy to hard news gathering, is a security danger to the United States.

I think it has gotten worse.

And, certainly, if the Iran deal fails in Congress because, in part, of the way television news covered it, then we will owe the networks credit for fostering yet another major war, and bankrupting the country.

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Related video:

PressTV: “British foreign secy. says Iran agreement “victory for diplomacy”

56 Responses

  1. Does the PBS News Hour “interview Real Allies on American Policy?”

    I don’t know but I don’t think so. I stopped listening, watching and reading all major news media and magazines in the 1980’s since my experiences of working (1977-80) in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria and of four years(1963-67) in the Air Force did not agree with news and information from the US news media.

    In 1995 I stumbled across Cole’s Informed Comment and found real honest news and information agreeing with my experiences. After reading Cole’s long biography plus a week of Informed Comment I got addicted.

    I suggest that you commenters tell ten of your friends about Informed Comment and tell them to tell ten of their friends, etc.

  2. Good points. Although, in truth, Israel’s clout is not a mystery. Here’s another question I’ve wondered about for some time. What difference does it make (apart from domestic politics) if Congress approves the deal or not? I know, the U.S. confiscated some substantial bank deposits here that belong to Iran. Likewise, there are some U.S. companies that Iran would like to do business with. (Surely, Iran needs some repair parts for its aging airliners, which are unsafe due to the refusal to sell them parts.) But if the other nations involved in the deal think it is good, and if they resume trade with Iran, the impact of unilateral sanctions by the U.S. won’t amount to much.

    • In reality, congress critters are completely powerless. All they can do is belch hot air.

      – Iran no longer needs the money USA confiscated as they have long ago replaced it with many more assets and with virtually all sanctions disappearing by early 2016, they will just get wealthier.

      – USA companies are going to doing one of two things (a) severely beating up congress critters, some privately and some very publicly. (b) turning a blind eye to the inevitable smuggling and money laundering that get their products into Iran and the profits out. I noted several months ago, my experiences with “restricted products” being smuggled in to places we could not sell products – we just documented what happened to the USA government and quit doing business with the guilty non-US.companies. There was nothing the USA government could do about the smuggling because they could not tell us to not sell our products.

      – As for parts for the aircraft Iran already has, they have been getting them all along just fine. But now, there is a glut of used aircraft on the market, so Iran will be able to get newer models for bargain prices. If the USA aircraft leasing companies will not sell direct to Iran from the storage facilities in the USA, then Chinese or other business people will simply buy the aircraft, mark them up and re-sell them to Iran.

      So yes, the other ~200 countries on earth will just do the same thing with Iran that they have done with Cuba for over 50 years -make lots of money and laugh at the stupidity of the Americans. BTW – Iran has a LOT MORE stuff to trade than Cuba has had in the past, BUT interestingly now that there is a possibility of oil under Cuba, many in the USA want to open trade with Cuba.

  3. Your point was brought home yesterday when Lester Holt of NBC embarrassed himself during an interview he conducted with Netanyahu. Holt’s demeanor was subservient and meek and he even seemed to speak in a reverential tone when lobbing softball questions towards the Israeli warmonger.

    I was thinking what if Holt had surprised Netanyahu and actually asked something Walter Cronkite might have brought up…” Mr. Netanyahu, you have 300 nuclear warheads ready to be deployed towards Iran…and in the past you have threatened Iran by saying you might send your bombers in to destroy their laboratories. Shouldn’t Iran fear you and your nuclear arsenal rather than pretending Iran is a threat to Israel?”

  4. They are allies but they also have profound disagreements and certainly didn’t labour for this agreement because they were US allies, in fact they were never that happy about the sanctions in the first place. In his NYT interview on the subject, Obama admitted:

    Keep in mind it’s not just Iran that paid a price for sanctions. China, Japan, South Korea, India — pretty much any oil importer around the world that had previously import arrangements from Iran — found themselves in a situation where this was costing them billions of dollars to sustain these sanctions…

    …In some ways, the United States paid the lowest price for maintenance of sanctions, because we didn’t do business with Iran in the first place.

    Add to that still festering spying revelations etc. and I don’t imagine US media felt much inclined to open that particular box.

  5. Yes indeed Juan. In so far as journalists have a responsibility for continued education of the citizens of a democracy: the neglect of real news reporting ought to be a crime! The education of a public is the backbone of a civil society and ours is weak. We ought to ask more of our teachers and our journalists! Blogs such as yours fill the void somewhat but our majority remains and is kept busy with the impossible task of seeing the truth through smoke and mirrors.

    • The following is from ancient memory.

      Journalism is one of the great quasi-independent professions. In addition to some regulation by statute, they are subject to internal codes of ethics recognizing their obligation to the public. This is especially important as to the scribbling class and to our television talking heads because the accuracy of their work is critical to the public’s ability in a democracy to “get it right” in an objective sense. Aren’t they members of the fifth estate with obligations to the people?

      The journalism ethical codes are admirable in the black letter, but weak in practice as they are not applied to owners, the main source of self-interested distortion in what’s given to the public. There is no separate system for disciplining the mainstream media owner class other than their own codes of ethics. Why shouldn’t they apply? They forbid conflict of interest.

      If only based on Dr. Cole’s article above, most of the ownership and senior management of the MSM are acting out ethnic conflicts of interest on the subject of Israel and Palestine and on the nature of our relationship with Israel too. Conflict was forbidden in the codes of ethics when I last looked at them. There used to be several of them on the internet. They should still be there.

      Inside their particular news organs the investors with the conflicts seem not to fear running afoul of their own codes . Yet they are in a position to determine all major, sensitive assignments abroad. Sending senior reporters to Europe to inquire of opinion at high levels is likely to elicit unwelcome candor. So the reporters are not sent by any of them. Have they no obligation to the American people on matters of war and peace? Certainly the journalists themselves do.

      So, conflicts of interest being acted out *in unison* triumph over exploration of a very important news source, but they don’t tell their readers of that decision. Sins of omission can be as manipulative as lies. What we need is “the truth and the whole truth”. And our demand that they deliver both is both reasonable and ethically legitimate.

  6. The rest of the world recognizes US citizens as navel gazers with little education who know little about other countries and who are brainwashed with the self importance of the US to the rest of the world. So why bother interviewing notables from other countries who are of little interest to the US audience if they are not from the US and not talking about the importance of the US.

    • If Dr. Cole is correct it looks more like a covert MSM conspiracy to control the dialogue on Israel and Palestine here in the United States. If true it’s not frivolous to be concerned about it. It impacts matters of war and peace and involved a near national bankruptcy which set us back for many years. You can’t just blow this off as if it’s insignificant. That’s exactly what the MSM ownership appears to be trying to accomplish to say nothing of the Lobby as a whole. It is certainly worth investigating. Ha! Imagine the mainstream media having to cover itself on this question.

  7. My take is conflict increases viewers. Just like rubber neckers slowing down to look at a car crash, it seems to be hard wired in us. So GOP or Israel railing against the deal generates more profit than sober comments that everything will work out by UK etc. Mainstream media is about profitable news guided by the political views of the owners. It is not about being the whole truth or unbiased etc. Yes this is a problem and I see it only getting worse in the increasing quest for profits and power.

    • John, you imagine a garden variety scenario which doesn’t fit the the substance of the article.

      If “conflict increases viewers” then the routine response of owners to the divergence of Euorpean and American views is likely to generate just that. Accordingly, in this case the MSM is rejecting profit on the altar of something else.

      It’s most likely that that other consideration is the protection of Israel’s political power in the United States by reinforcing American provincialism and overall ignorance between the two coasts. I don’t know about you but I’d see conspiracy written all over the fact that they seem to have done it in unison.

      Do you deny that the MSM ownership have any obligation to provide coverage which is in fact fair balanced? And if you say “no”, don’t you think the American nation has an obligation to do something about it?

  8. You ask some very good questions here, ones that I have thought about as well. I would only add that we need to take a look at who’s watching tv news and who’s watching tv, period, these days.

    The news programs and channels have moved almost exclusively to celebrity watching or conflict and controversy-stirring coverage in response to changing audience demographics. Or more accurately, diminishing audience demographics.

    Nearly 30 million households would tune in to watch Cronkite nightly. Now Fox News tops the primetime cable news ratings with something approaching a tenth of that audience.

    People, especially men 18-54, have gravitated away from tv to other media (save for sporting events). What what seen by many execs as “saving” tv from totally cratering in recent decades was reality tv, which has drawn a female-skewed audience (both young and old). Reality tv is about creating celebrities from “ordinary” people (and then invariably tearing them down). It’s about conflict and controversy. News tv has in turn adopted a similar model to draw on this “dependable” tv audience.

    So when you watch the news, you need to keep in mind who’s watching. If tv execs believe that the celebrity obsessed and the paranoid and conspiratorial are their audience, then news coverage will reflect that.

  9. Ignatius, Ignatius on MSNBC. Bill Kristol on Morning Joe. Before the deal lots of General Hayden. Morning Joe had Israeli Ambassador Dermer on who of course slammed the deal. They did have the U.K’s ambassador to the U.S. on later. Forget his name..Westocott? Who said he would be lobbying congressional members to vote yes on the deal.

    Chris Matthews seldom stretches his guest list. He kowtows to Ignatius. Just this week Ignatius was going on and on about how Iran “destabilizes” the middle east. Not one challenge out of Chris Matthews like mentioning how the middle east has been totally destabilized by the U.S. invasion and support for proxy wars. Generally Matthews will mention this but not to who he considers big media shots like Ignatius.

    Going to be very interesting to watch to see if the MSM actually provides the American public a wider scope of opinions on this issue. We sure know they did not do their job before the immoral and illegal invasion of Iraq. A real tragedy.

    Several weeks ago was trying to get through NPR’s On Point screener. Which of course have done many times. When I mentioned the Leverett’s being guest he said Leverett’s have a “credibility problem” Yes we know what that is the I lobby hates them

  10. Canadian losses in Afghanistan were 158 killed. In the larger context, not a number to be proud of but why do you omit the ‘ally’ connection when the figure is close in proportional terms to the UK figure? How is it, also, that the current PanAm Games in Toronto, a mini-Olympics with the US contingent one of the largest and doing well, gets zero notice in the CNN and NBC website? Is it a symptom of a larger problem in which both you and the whole US media are guilty and perhaps complicit? Is ignorance the true face of hegemony and exceptionalism?

    • Hi, Tony. Full of admiration for Canada, but my discussion was of the P5 +1 negotiations with Iran, and I was saying that not only did Britain, France and Germany participate vigorously in that process but they are also military allies who have sacrificed for the alliance. It wasn’t a general discussion of US allies in Afghanistan.

  11. We get to hear from Donald Trump, who has never been elected to anything and represents no one at all.

    Given recent polling data, it appears The Donald does represent a sizable portion of the American people who should be a cause for concern.

    Given one commentator’s suggestion that the P5+1 should be relabeled P1(US)+5 and given Merkel’s submission to US spying and Cameron’s lapdog status, perhaps your speculation on a robust debate from that lot is unwarranted.

    • Keep in mind that trump only polls about 12% of the 30% of Americans that admit to being republican. In other words, trump has the attention of less than 4% of all Americans, which is well within the margin of error for any statistically valid poll.

      • To the 12% of Republicans supporting Trump it is probably a good bet that we can add a sizable number of working class Democrats and independents who fear immigrants taking their jobs.

      • Actually, Merkel’s comments did cause the girl to cry, but not because she told her that she was not welcome. I heard the entire exchange;once again,misrepresentation, or deliberate disinformation.She talked about the problem of refugees and asylum seekers and how difficult it is to live away from home. then she hugged her.

        • Follow up article: “Not everyone is allowed to have a ‘Good Life in Germany’” by Rebecca Burkert – link to mondoweiss.net

          It would be interesting to know how much the policies of Germany, the US, and other European nations and their corporations have contributed to this refugee crisis.

    • “Donald Trump’s demagoguery is a gauge of America’s demoralization”: Spengler By David P. Goldman – link to atimes.com … “A demagogue tries to sound as stupid as his listeners, so that they will think they are as smart as he is, quipped Karl Kraus, the fin-de-siecle Viennese gadfly. Donald Trump’s claim that illegal immigration into the United States is “decimating the country” is a case in point. Illegal immigration is a bad thing, and the social costs of a mass influx of poor and uneducated migrants from Mexico and Central America are significant, but that is not one of America’s bigger problems. Migration actually fell after the 2008 crash because construction jobs disappeared.”

  12. Just a note …. Canada, another NATO ally of the US, lost 158 men and women in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2012. I don’t think our military or political folks got many interviews on American TV either. Mind you, I don’t think you lost much by that neglect, but it’s apposite to your point all the same.

  13. My god Juan Cole…….you sound so innocent wandering all these issues when you know the reasons of the bias news. It’s Israel stupid….it’s the Corporations/Arms dealers/the Military/the corporate media/the rich/Wall Street/the 1% who benefits from news that are brainwashing (Chomsky’s words) the USA public towards untouchable Israel and permanent WAR….ANY WAR mind you, ANY. It’s all they care as the Military has the Media and the rest just mentioned in their pocket. It’s disgusting, shameful, illegal and immoral….but the USA has been doing this for a long time since WWII, before and in the future. I’m sick of it…..From a CHILENO/USA Citizen

  14. The national media is “owned” by War street and can’t make a profit if there is no war. Some things are that simple and pretty much have become that simple since 1898.

  15. Interestingly enough, Israeli cabinet minister Tzipi Hotovely called Iran part of the “Axis of Evil” in a statement denouncing the historic deal, and 69% of Israelis polled oppose the deal – but a majority of top Israeli military and intelligence officials that have spoken have expressed support for the pact.

    This historic deal will likely promote integration of Iran into the international community and strengthen the influence of moderates in the Iranian government. While celebrations have erupted within Iran, the recent weeks have seen Ramadan demonstrations there with the overly familiar “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” chants.

    This deal will be a win-win situation for all interested nations if observed in good faith. The losers will be the respective political hardliners in both Israel and Iran.

    • The IDF leadership is very well aware just how deadly any war with Iran would be for Israelis. They have seen all the simulations that show Israel and the USA getting severally defeated and just how little Israeli infrastructure would remain after the war started. Israel is has enough conventional weapons pointed at it, to turn most of the population centers into ruble and completely destroy the Israeli economy. The IDF leadership also know that once the extent of the damage starts becoming clear over half the Israelis will simply flee leaving no one to fight or keep the country functioning. BTW – the anti-missile technology that everyone is so hyped about, can only deal with about 5% of the missile pointed at Israel.

      The IDF and Mossad have repeatedly sharply rebuked the Israeli political leaders, but the Israeli political leaders are so full of hubris and hatred, they will not listen.

        • The simulations were done several years ago and were documented in non-US sources.

          The cautions by the IDF leadership have been documented in Israeli press.

          As Prof Cole points out, the USA press is extremely biased and most Americans are too lazy (or too delusional) to seek out other sources. Since every news source on the globe now has a web site and many have an English edition (English is the language of business), there really isn’t any reason to not have a better knowledge about what is happening. I follow multiple sources from Europe, the Middle east and Asia. I do not bookmark stories because over time I would just have a huge jumble of bookmarks that are impossible to find stuff in.

          But if you are convinced I just made up what I wrote, then try doing a little research on your own. Look for something like “Millennium Challenge 2002” (which the USA LOST) or the follow-on simulation done in 2007. Here is a non-US story about the 2002 simulation:

          link to al-monitor.com

          It is IMPORTANT to understand several things about Iran:

          – Because of over 150 years of brutal oppression by the UK and USA, Iran has been extremely paranoid about a USA attack for over 35 years.

          – Iran has a very large and deep knowledge base. That is, lots of creative engineers who are equal to any the USA or Israel has (basically all humans are equally intelligent no matter what egotistical Americans and Israel think)

          – Iran has carefully studied the USA and developed very deadly, but inexpensive defense strategies and weapons. Any attack on Iran will have a very HIGH COST.

          As for Israelis fleeing the war, that is just common sense based on over 1000 years of human history. Every time there is a war, as many people as possible flee and over half the Israelis have been planning ahead by getting a second passport so they have a place to legally flee to. Many Israelis appear to remember what happened during WW2 when non-citizens were refused entry into “safe” countries – now they will be able to enter as citizens of the “safe” country.

          As I noted, based on the publicly available information, the USA and Israel military and spy services are well aware just how bad a war with Iran would be, but the public does not and the political leaders just throw matches around to remain in power.

    • May we be mindful of Greece’s persistent failure to protect her economy from collapse with just a bit more discipline, or is that forbidden?

  16. I will print this article because as I began reading it I could not let it go.
    The media promoted the Iraq Invasion and are just as guilty of our losses as our leaders were.

  17. As we learn more of the agreement with Iran, we should have all comments from other countries published and known by the U.S. public.

  18. Good article, but I think you are being too kind to the US and its allies’ motives, as well as the deliberate role of MSM. Their joint goal is still EMPIRE, using all the tools at their disposal to control once sovereign nations as vassals for the sake of owning the world’s assets. While I am in favor of the Iran deal, I still don’t trust the West’s motives. Their history precedes them. I just hope that this is good for both the Iranian people who have suffered much, and for the people of the western nations who negotiated this agreement. I am mindful of Greece as I make these comments. And Gaza, as well as many other enslaved people’s in the world. May peace quickly come to them.

  19. The economic analysis concerning attracting eyeballs is right on. I would just add that it’s the capitalist, corporate media. And you’re right, they don’t care about providing information so that people can make important decisions about their lives. Profit is prioritized over all else.

  20. The reason for the skewed coverage is obvious: Israel is intent on picking a fight with Obama, and the MSM sees headlines in that bar-room brawl.

    Nobodies like Tom Cotton are determined to pick a fight with Obama and, again,such a brawl is ratings gold. Get him in the studio, quick!

    But the UK ambassador? The France FM? You know they agree with Obama, so where’s the headline in that?

    Shameful in it’s shamelessness. Which is precisely why The Donald gets airtime.

  21. Surprisingly, there was fairly unremitting coverage of anti-deal doomsayers on the BBC World Service this afternoon.

  22. Here are some other pertinent issues. Why does even MSNBC mostly interview politicians or other journalists on this issue? They bring in Colonel Wilkerson who is a sensible voice, but even he is a Republican. How about someone like Professor Cole or Professor Bacevich? Why don’t they talk to real foreign policy experts? As far as our allies and the deal, here’s something that has gotton very little notice. The sanctions aren’t effective without Russia and China and there is no deal without effective sanctions. So, it is really the position of Russia and China which drove this to fruition. Here’s the important question. Why was Putin willing to cooperate on an Iran deal, which helps the US, but does not do that much for them, since they could trade with Iran and ignore the sanctions? I think upon reflection people should be amazed that we got Russia to go along at the same time that we are imposing sanctions on them over Ukraine. I cannot think of a similar situation in history. This is diplomacy of the highest order by Obama and his team. My guess is that we are holding back vis-a-vis the Ukraine in exchange for Russian cooperation on Iran. There has to be some quid pro quo and I think it is a smart choice by Obama to make such a trade-off.

    • The answer to your first question is found in an old maxim of trial lawyers. Never ask a witness a question at trial to which you do not already know the answer.

  23. I don’t much mind that the MSM concentrates on getting opponents of this agreement in front of the cameras, precisely because “confrontation” makes much better drama than a group of talking heads all nodding in unison.

    What I don’t like is the unquestioned spin that is placed on Israel’s opposition to this agreement, which is this: Our Very Special Friends The Israelis Don’t Think This Is A Good Deal, So Maybe It Isn’t A Good Deal.

    There is an alternative, which is that this unrelenting opposition brings into question exactly how “special” this “friendship” actually is.

    Perhaps – just perhaps – Israel’s “friendship” is rather shallow, and is regarded by them as “special” only w.r.t. how much they are able to milk that cash-cow.

    I understand why the average American viewer might listen to Ron Dermer and think “Hey, he talks and acts just like an American!”.

    But perhaps they should be reminded of the reason for that i.e. Dermer was an American who renounced his citizenship in order to make common cause with a foreign country.

    Mr Joe Average might actually be willing to ponder the implications of that, but it does rather require someone to point that out to them.

    • The “special relationship” is coercive, imposed upon us by the brazen scofflaws of AIPAC and the rest of the Zionist Lobby. It’s our scarlet letter. It’s special alright. Every time it’s mentioned we are humiliated afresh, reminded of our servile status and of eternal obligations which never existed and still don’t.

      We’re closer now to being freed of it than we’ve ever been thanks to President Obama. There is only one major event left to turn the tide and reverse the the pressure. That’s the long awaited French resolution in the UNSC. If the Israelis continue on their present course it will become a platform for governmental and international BDS, joining that of civil society.

      The deal with Iran is in our interests and in those of our actual allies. That’s what matters.

      By the way, one heartening thing about this horrendous mess which Zionist Israel has made for us is the role of our young people, essentially of our current college generation. They and their predecessors have pulled our foreign policy chestnuts out of the fire for us three times now. They ended the Vietnam War, led the struggle against South African Apartheid with governments trailing along behind and are now shaming us again into action in the Middle East. It gratifies this old man to see them keeping our compass working generation after generation.

    • “What I don’t like is the unquestioned spin that is placed on Israel’s opposition to this agreement, which is this: Our Very Special Friends The Israelis Don’t Think This Is A Good Deal, So Maybe It Isn’t A Good Deal.

      “There is an alternative, which is that this unrelenting opposition brings into question exactly how “special” this “friendship” actually is.”

      One thing is certain. The nature of the relationship is nothing akin to friendship. It is not even what one might expect among colleagues. All the smoke and mirrors about that have been stripped away. It makes one think of Trotsky’s notorious article, “Their Morals and Ours”, which justified the standards of Marxist/Leninist totalitarianism as against those which had risen over thousands of years naturally as a product of the human experience.

      We know what our interests and those of our European allies are. They include but are not limited to questions of war and peace. They obviously diverge fundamentally from those of the present right wing regime in Israel. None of us should shrink from acknowledging it. It’s not Israel per se which is at issue, but the ideological nature of Israeli politics and foreign policy along with her grip on our Congress.

      Though I dislike Netanyahu’s banal term, the overall question is whether the Iranian agreement is a good deal for the Western Hemisphere. More particularly the question is whether it is a good deal for the United States. The idea that Israel’s Israel’s regional ambitions must trump our interests is simply too hard to stomach.

  24. Plenty of good points here, but there is a much simpler explanation, I think, which is not driven by Opinion: In the US, TV (News) is driven by advertising – Same applies to Websites, btw – i.e. the need to focus on and broadcast sharply antagonistic viewpoints – in this case, Obama vs. Netanyahu – in order to attract viewers, and make advertisers happy.

    In short, the vast majority of the US TV public is unserious. They can’t be bothered with what Hollande, Merkel or whomever thinks – btw, who are they? You might as well ask random people on the street what they think about any topic.

    Now, I am just waiting for the next UN general assembly, where it’s possible that Bibi might moon everybody during his speech. Now THAT would make the news, wouldn’t it?

  25. The hasbara manuals sent over here for the use of Zionists on campus advise them that when you can’t respond on the merits, you change the subject or make jokes.

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