How are the Iranian nuclear talks really going? The answer is: very well, thanks for asking. By Shemuel Meir Contrary to what some in Israel would have you believe, the Iranian nuclear talks are not stalled and are proceeding full steam ahead. Between official meetings in Vienna, the technical talks are continuing – and those talks are building the framework for a permanent agreement, which will lead to a non-militarized nuclear Iran. High-level banter in Israel about “deceptive discussions” has no basis in reality. The sides may not yet have reached the stage of mutual trust (which is anyway not necessary;…Read More... | 3 Comments
I recently saw the above video of Prime Minister Netanyahu visiting a field hospital in northern Israel that treats the wounded from the war in Syria. As I watched, I realized something: there seems to be two recurring topics in the PM’s messages, two topics that are mentioned in just about every sentence he has uttered since taking office. I requested an interview with the prime minister to ask him about his focus on those two things, and was surprised to get a “yes” from his office. So, here it is, +972 Magazine’s exclusive interview with the Israeli prime minister:…Read More... | 20 Comments
There’s something that's bothering Israelis these days, besides the Iranian nuclear program. It’s the Iranian Smile Assault. I’m not kidding. That’s what the Israeli government and Israeli media are labeling the appearances of Iranian officials in various international forums. When it was Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the talks for curbing Tehran’s nukes, Israelis couldn’t stand the sight of him smiling. “The Smile Assault of Zarif,” the headlines shouted in Israel. And just yesterday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani got the same treatment in the Israeli media. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the goal of the "regime of the…Read More... | 21 Comments
Netanyahu did not take Israel's strategic interests into account in his latest confrontation with the United States. Will his decision cost him when it comes to the ballot box? Only time will tell. By Ilan Baruch Over the last several days, Prime Minister Netanyahu's sour face has peered over at us through the screen. While his mouth was busy berating the six powers and President Obama, his eyes betrayed exhaustion. Ever since Iranian President Rouhani appeared before the UN General Assembly on his "charm offensive" directed toward the West, Netanyahu has been leading a losing battle. Netanyahu's paradigm, which was based…Read More... | 3 Comments
The Israeli brass' stated view of the Geneva talks and Sunday's accord is plainly at odds with the loud, sustained 'gevalt!' coming from the Prime Minister's Office and cabinet. The news from Israel is that Israel hates the Iranian nuclear deal struck in Geneva – but the news is not entirely accurate. It’s true, of course, that Netanyahu and his government ministers (with the exception of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni) think the agreement is bad, very bad, very very bad, and that Obama and the West sold the Jews out to Hitler again. But there are some other extremely powerful…Read More... | 26 Comments
This time it's true: Israel really is trying to manipulate the U.S. into going to war. Who can disagree any longer that Israel is out to push America into war – and is putting on quite a show of it, too? The Obama administration is trying to neutralize Iran’s nuclear program diplomatically, and Bibi Netanyahu and the Israel lobby are the unquestioned, highest-possible-profile leaders of the campaign to stop them. Netanyahu is all over TV around the world, beating the drum against this “very, very bad deal” being put together in the Geneva talks, which resume Wednesday. His American-accented…Read More... | 46 Comments
With the U.S. once again failing to forge peace in Israel-Palestine, why not give someone else a shot? There’s been quite a bit of talk lately on how France and Russia are attempting to exert more influence in the Middle East. The claim is that the U.S. has shown weakness in the region, and there is a void that needs to be filled. The most recent example of this so called “weakness” was Washington's hesitant and clumsy reaction to recent events in Syria. French President François Hollande is just wrapping up a visit in Israel and the West Bank. During the visit,…Read More... | 10 Comments
A few days ago, Haaretz’s West Bank correspondence Chaim Levinson used his Facebook page to ask about the reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s success. Here is an excerpt from Levinson's post: What is in this man that Israelis cannot imagine life without him? […] In my opinion, [Netanyahu] does nothing. A coward pretending to be a leader […] he isn’t even trying to turn Israel into a better place. He doesn’t want to change a thing. He is the middle class of politics: trying to survive, day by day. If we can divide leaders into activists and those who refrain from action,…Read More... | 14 Comments
In the last week, things have changed between the U.S. and Israel. Kerry may have the guts to continue refusing to lie for Israel's occupation – which is all that’s needed to shake its foundations. This is no tiff. If it hadn’t happened on the same day, last Thursday, that the breakthrough came in the Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program, John Kerry’s joint interview on Israeli and Palestinian TV – and the chain reaction it would have set off – would still be dominating the news from the Middle East. Instead, it was a one-day story, overtaken by the chain…Read More... | 30 Comments
Netanyahu appears more and more confident that Iran's stated intentions are not its true intentions. Instead of making parallels to WWII, he should take some lessons from the overconfident, and ultimately catastrophic intelligence assessments that preceded the Yom Kippur War. By Shemuel Meir What can we learn from the Israeli intelligence failure, known in Hebrew as the “conceptzia,” which is generally accepted as the explanation for the Yom Kippur War’s strategic surprise? The term “conceptzia” refers to an all-encompassing preconception that determines our interpretation of reality. In the case of the Yom Kippur War, it refers to the axiomatic view which…Read More... | 5 Comments
With nuclear talks resuming Tuesday, the happy consensus is that the sanctions have forced Iran's regime to blink. But hardly anyone wants to think about the effect they've had on the country's 80 million people. If you Google "bringing the Iranian economy to its knees," you'll have a lot of reading to do. This is the new cliche regarding sanctions - they've brought the Iranian economy to its knees. And the United States, Europe and, of course, Israel are thrilled to hear it; to the leaders and no doubt the great majority of the public in the West (not…Read More... | 21 Comments
A. He's lying; B. He's reckless; C. He's both. If Netanyahu really believes the Iranian regime is another Nazi Germany, if he really believes its creed is “death to the Jews” as he said in his speech this week to the UN General Assembly, why does he heap contempt on the regime and its leaders, why does he threaten to bomb the country, when there are, depending on the estimate, between 15,000 and 35,000 Jews living there? In his speech, he named “Supreme Leader” Khamenei and his predecessor Khomeini as “dictators.” He called Rouhani a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”…Read More... | 16 Comments
To Israel's prime minister, 1.2 million of his own country's citizens do not exist. If that's not living in an alternate reality, then what is? By Amer Zahr It’s hard to describe what it felt like listening to Benjamin Netanyahu speak Tuesday at the United Nations. Many phrases came to mind: “alternative reality,” “parallel universe,” “clinical denial," and the list goes on. Then I remembered one of my favorite TV shows I used to watch as a kid: You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a…Read More... | 25 Comments
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