The Obama administration’s point man on Iran, Dennis Ross, traveled to the Middle East this week to reassure Arab states concerned about U.S. overtures to Tehran and to stress America’s commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Ronen Bergman, an investigative journalist with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot, is the author of “The Secret War with Iran” (Simon & Schuster, 2008). He was in New York last week to discuss the Iranian crisis at the invitation of The Israel Project, an independent nonprofit that promotes Israel.
Q: What can you tell us about Mir Hossein Mousavi, the so-called pro-reform opposition candidate who spearheaded the protests over the election returns?
As Friday’s election in Iran led to charges of voter fraud after incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the landslide winner, Israelis were divided over their preferred outcome.
“There is a debate in Israel,” said Moshe Maoz, a professor emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Jewish leaders this week feared a collapse of the international consensus for sanctions against Iran after the release Monday of a National Intelligence Estimate concluding Iran had shut its nuclear weapons program down in 2003.
Disarray was evident as Jewish groups struggled to assimilate the new report and adjust their tactics in response.
“It will have an enormous impact because people will use it as an excuse to do nothing,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project, a group that has made Iran a top priority.
A majority of Americans, including Jews, now support military action to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program, according to a controversial new poll, reflecting what several Jewish leaders say are sharp shifts in Israel as well.
The national survey, conducted by Zogby International, shows that slightly more than half of Americans — and more than two-thirds of Jews — now favor a strike against Iran before it becomes a nuclear power.
Jewish groups applauded this week’s House passage of two bills seeking to ratchet up the economic pressure on Iran because of its ongoing nuclear weapons program and one encouraging divestment from Sudan.
Delegates to this week’s Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) plenum in Washington defied the Israeli government when they refused to adopt a last-minute resolution calling for tougher action against Iran and for its leaders to be indicted for inciting genocide.
At an annual convention once dominated by fierce behind-the-scenes politicking over controversial resolutions, the Iran resolution, proposed by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, provided the only real drama.
Just in case you don’t have enough to worry about, this week brought a number of polls that may send Jewish leaders to the neighborhood pharmacy for some extra Prozac.
While Jewish organizations have been working overtime to depict Iran as the ultimate menace to U.S. as well as Israeli interests, a new Gallup poll indicates that they’ve only been partially successful.