Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alistair Lyon and Joseph Goebbels best of friends?

Reuters hardcore propagandist and "special correspondent" Alistair Lyon pens a foul piece of moral equivalency attempting to associate in the minds of readers, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Lyon's op-ed of over 800 words seeks to conflate both the political objectives and tactics of the two leaders by employing a host of logical fallacies and masking in euphemisms, Arab and Iranian designs for the destruction of Israel:
The hardline Israeli prime minister and the fiery Iranian president seem to feed each other rhetorical ammunition to whip up fears that bolster them in domestic politics and beyond.  Between them, they are stubbornly testing the limits of U.S. power in the Middle East and undermining the "new beginning" in relations between America and Muslims that President Barack Obama proposed in an eloquent Cairo speech nine months ago.  Netanyahu contends that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb to fulfill Ahmadinejad's declared wish for Israel's destruction. Confronting it, he argues, eclipses the importance of U.S.-led attempts to revive peacemaking with Palestinians and Arabs.  For Ahmadinejad, who says Iran's nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful, any breakdown of U.S. mediation backs up his doctrine that armed resistance, not negotiations, is the only way to regain Israeli-occupied land, especially Jerusalem.  [bold ours]
One may wish to remind Lyon that the "hardline" Israeli Prime Minister was democratically elected and commands the highest level of popular support of any Israeli leader in years while the "fiery" Iranian President holds power following a rigged election and murderous oppression of his opposition.  Indeed, Netanyahu was asked to form the government mainly because the Israeli public -- from one end of the political spectrum to the other (with the possible exception of Akiva Eldar and the rest of the crew at Ha'aretz) -- does feel threatened by repeated Iranian calls for genocide of the Jews ("armed resistance" in Reuters parlance) backed by a nuclear weapons program.  And of course, it's not just Netanyahu that "contends" Iran is seeking the bomb; even the traditionally pussyfooting United Nations IAEA has indicated as much in its latest report.

In an effort to argue that Israel's prioritizing of the Iranian nuclear threat is throwing a spanner in the (Obama)works, Lyon suggests:
a flare-up over Jerusalem can only make it harder for Washington to canvas Arab support for tougher sanctions on Iran. 
No evidence is offered for this assertion; however, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, i.e., the Arab states are clearly just as intent on seeing sanctions enacted which will dissuade Iran from producing a bomb -- irrespective of what is occurring in Jerusalem.

Lyon then attempts once again to paint the Israeli Prime Minister and Iranian dictator with the same brush:
But a row over Jerusalem that fuels the wider confrontation between Iran and Israel may suit Netanyahu and Ahmadinejad.  It may help the Israeli leader keep his rightwing coalition afloat and boost his appeal to Israelis who fear Iran -- though many would be alarmed if his policies damage ties with America.
Lyon's argument is utterly daft as the Israeli government, dependent on US goodwill and military cooperation, clearly has nothing to gain by inviting a dispute with the Obama administration.  Moreover, even if Netanyahu's rightist coalition partners were to bolt from the government, a new coalition with the leftist Kadima party would support the same priorities of stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and maintaining a united Jerusalem.

Finally, Lyon concludes with this whopper:
Netanyahu has also proved unbending. His stonewalling of Obama's demand last year that Israel halt all settlement building, in the interests of peace, only confirmed for many Arabs that the United States would not stand up to Israel.
With his acquiescence to a Palestinian state and unilateral concession to freeze all settlement-building in Judea and Samaria (also, the "West Bank") for 10 months, Netanyahu has amply demonstrated his flexibility.  Even while Lyon demonstrates his mendacity.

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