Guardian’s Simon Jenkins suggests Obama’s sanctions against Iran caused by Israel lobby

Simon Jenkins

Writers who chronicle the history and evolution of political thought may one day look back at our era and marvel over the increasing popularity, among presumably “enlightened” progressive voices, of narratives which impute to organized Jewry both immense power and disloyalty – tropes typically associated with traditional right wing Judeophobia.

 A case in point is the Guardian’s Simon Jenkins, who published an essay at CiF, Jan. 3, “Why is Britain ramping up sanctions against Iran?” – a title meant as a rhetorical question, a vehicle to decipher political phenomena he finds disagreeable in a manner consistent with his biases and lazy intellectual assumptions.

Jenkins introductory passages go beyond merely questioning the wisdom and efficacy of economic sanctions imposed by the US and UK to confront the Iranian nuclear threat, but suggests that any such attempt to coerce Iran is obviously doomed to fail.  

Having established what every sane, reasonable person must surely know – that attempts to thwart the Islamist state’s nuclear ambitions, and quest for regional hegemony, will not succeed – Jenkins then pivots to the question of why, precisely, the U.S. has announced new commercial and financial sanctions on Iran:

“President Obama must show America’s pro-Israel lobby that he is tough somewhere in the Middle East.” 

Of course, for Jenkins, the U.S. President’s policy towards Iran isn’t the result of in-depth analyses of the situation with his top foreign policy advisers. It also couldn’t possibly be dictated by national security interests, nor reflect the values of the commander-in-chief of the most power country on earth.

But, rather, such a sanctions regime must be the result of pressure exerted by pro-Israel American Jews, which, per Jenkins, represents “belligerence that makes some western leaders vulnerable to the inevitability of war.”

The Israel lobby isn’t merely behind Western sanctions against Iran. They’re prodding an unwilling, feckless American President to a disastrous military confrontation.

Adds Jenkins:

Economic sanctions are coward’s diplomacy. They purport to high moral stance but are merely a low-risk way of bullying the world. The danger is that they encourage militarist lobbies to escalate the steps that lead to open conflict.

Let’s be clear. By “militarist lobbies” he’s referring to organized American Jewry.  And, by advancing a canard regarding the injurious effects of such “lobbies” he veers directly into the territory of xenophobia and nativism which he, as a liberal, presumably opposes.

The  most prolific paleoconservative and unabashedly antisemitic voice in the U.S., Pat Buchanan, wrote in 2008 that “Israel and its Fifth Column in [Washington , DC] seek to stampede us into war with Iran”.

For the sake of clarity, a “fifth column” refers to a group of people (typically ethnic minorities) who are perceived as clandestinely undermining a larger a nation from within.

When it comes to employing tropes regarding the nefarious influence of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy, Guardian Left commentators such as Simon Jenkins are increasingly indistinguishable from the those who explicitly advance the classically antisemitic view that Jewish citizens of the U.S. (or other Western countries) are more loyal to Israel than to the interests of their own nations.

That Jenkins could simply be ignorant of the lethal history of this facile narrative about Jewish power is certainly possible.  

But, one thing is certain. Sixty-five years after the Holocaust, with Jews representing less than 2% of the American population, it is horribly dispiriting that the charge that organized Jewry is too powerful (and is pushing the United States unwillingly to war) is not only fashionable and respectable but, evidently, considered consistent with “liberal” thought.

22 replies »

  1. Adam, anti-Semites throughout the ages have always seen themselves as enlightened and progressive, representing the heroic vanguard of civilisation that wishes to vanquish its antithesis – the Jew. Jenkins is no different.

  2. Jenkins is a right wing bigot – the Guardian is offensively anti-Semitic. They are suited to each other.

  3. I agree that Jenkins’ comment re. “President Obama must show America’s pro-Israel lobby …” is dodgy.

    But By “militarist lobbies” he’s referring to organized American Jewry is going way too far. He is not referring to Jewish Americans in general, Adam.
    The reference to “militarist lobbies” could also include the likes of Haliburton. Plus bear in mind that there are plenty of non-Jews in the “pro-Israel lobby”.

    • Perhaps, perhaps not pretzelberg, but his words will be taken out of context and used in that fashion, you must know this.

      Yes, there are plenty of non-Jews sympathetic to Israel but it’ll not suit the unintelligent to remember that.

      • Yes, there are plenty of non-Jews sympathetic to Israel

        Yes, thank God. And of course there are certain CiF posters who would have any gullible idiot believe that said support is purely down to some kind of perfidious and omnipotent lobbying.
        But what we’re specifically talking about here are those in favour of attacking Iran. Not (in all cases) the same thing, surely.

  4. Simon Jenkins specifically refers to pro-Israel lobby not Jewish lobby. It is well known that the fundamentalist US Christians and neo-cons are very much pro-Israel and some of their number are in the pro-Israel lobby. CIF Watch are twisting and misrepresenting Jenkins’s words. I await without much hope for the day when CIF Watch actually agree with a single word that the Guardian writes instead of your automatic fail safe response of opposition and contradiction.

    • No Stephen they aren’t. Given where Jenkins is writing and the audience at which this is aimed – who incidentally often cannot or do not care to distinguish between “Jew” and “Israeli” very much in the manner of the Islamists for whom they are useful idiots – he, and we, know full well what he means, even if he confines himself to criticism of Israel and doesn’t mention Jews at all.

      And even if he doesn’t someone below the line at the other place will surely link them.

  5. It sounds like Mr. Jenkins is regurgitating what he read in Thomas Friedman’s infamous column. He doesn’t have an original thought in his body.

  6. Stephen<when the guardian write a word of truth about Israel and the jewish diaspora,there will be no need for cif watch,so until then keep up the good work adam

  7. A PS to Stephen

    “…It is also no coincidence that all that you accuse the Iranians of, is also applicable to consecutive Israeli governments, the current one of which is an alliance of Likud fundamentalist Jewish parties, which make a point of emphasizing Israel as the Jewish state. Thus effectively Israeli government is itself a form of “Theocracy”…..”

    Of course the poster is an ignoramus in more ways than one, not least because Israel is not a theocracy and cannot be compared with Iran, but when has that ever stopped them from mouthing off?

    And we have also had a reference to Israel being a “radical fundamentalist state” too!

    It bears out what CiF Watch has always argued that the Guardian attracts antipathy towards Jews if not outright Jew-hatred below the line by the obsessive anti-Israel rubbish it commissions above the line.

    It cannot be oblivious to this, or to the fact that its followers themselves are as ignorant as Islamists who don’t or cannot distinguish between Jews and Israelis.

  8. I recall Simon Jenkins from his university days. Believe me, his work as a journalist and editor has a shameless pedigree of trite anti-semitism.

  9. Nice article Adam. It does seem that the extreme left in the UK are scraping the barrel here.

    Never ever recognising the US as a ‘force for good’ in the world based on its desire to see democracy triumph throughout the world, they, (the looney left), are reduced to looking for something else. And here, Jenkins, a paragon of extreme left ‘virtue’, finds the ‘Jewish Lobby’ as an easier alternative.

    I feel sure that at other times, he will have accused the military industrial complex and at others, evangelicals.

    It’s a guess but I suspect that the Gay lobby or the Black lobby would never have been accused of anything in his rantings.

    The poor dear.

      • See my post to Stephen above, pretzelberg. Regardless of whether he actually mentions Jews or not, the majority of anti-Israel posters to CiF will link the two and not bother distinguish between them.

  10. Simon Jenkins, Guardian and Guardian TV Channel that is the BBC represents everything that has gone wrong with our society today. They work tirelessly to undermine our tolerant liberal Western culture and values by promoting totalitarian agenda in the hope that it will bring about the end of Israel as we know it and for good measure, the European Jewry.

    • It is sheer nonsense to claim that the Guardian and BBC want to “bring about the end of Israel as we know it”.

      • Alright, they merely seek to provide the justification (excuses, pretexts…) for Israel’s Islamic imperialist enemies to do that. Big diff, yeah.