May 27, 2003

Buzz Machine

All in "an effort to keep the dialogue going here in the Blogosphere"...

Not surprisingly, my Abu Ammar post caused more than a few public and private discussions, some even taking place on other blogs and sites.

There was of course the usual name-calling and accusations, not only at myself but Arafat and others too. You saw a small sample of that here in my own comments section. I will not even validate those with a reply here, as such discussions are nothing but a waste of energy and will accomplish nothing. There are others however that I wish to address.

One is a rather lengthy post by Jeff Jarvis on his influential blog, BuzzMachine. Jeff expressed that he has “had a twinge of difficulty” linking to my blog because of my “anti-Israeli” comments, and also did not like it that I considered his rather tactless comment for the elected leader of a people to blow himself up, to belong to the “far right end of the political spectrum”.

He then goes on further and expresses his dislike of two of my other posts where I condemned the “pro-Israeli group in Washington DC" for meddling in Iran's affairs and then uses someone else’ comment about "hard-line American Jews” without pointing that it was not written by me but by somebody else and I only quoted him and included full details of where it came from as well as a link to the original source, to discredit my arguments.

I don’t think I need to defend myself against such false and dishonorable tactics. Other journalists and writers have also tried in the past to use similar strategy without much success as my stance regarding Israel and the people of Jewish faith is very clear and although attacked by both sides at times, condemning me on such bogus allegations will not work.

I will however give Jeff the benefit of the doubt since he mentions my Stop the Hate petition and remind him that I recognized Israel’s right of existence, under a fair and equitable arrangement for Palestinians, long before it became fashionable and even adopted by most Palestinian groups. I have also written extensively about the discrimination against various minority communities in Iran (particularly the people of Baha’i and Jewish faith) and paid for it dearly in the past. The last time a barrage of serious life-threats and personal attacks followed me was for defending the Jews on trial for bogus charges of espionage for Israel. So, I don’t think your tongue-in-cheek and sloppy references to the “Jewish” comments would work.

Not all Jews are Israelis, Israel includes many non-Jewish citizens, and there are no shortage of Israeli Jews who condemn the far-right conduct of Sharon and his Likud types and support underlying principles other than “God promised us this land, therefore it’s ours” logic of the fundamentalists. So, like I always do, I suggest for Jeff to separate other’s Jewish versus Israeli comments.

Jeff says not everything is about Israel. I agree. The unethical embargo against Cuba, the Zapatista struggle in Mexico and the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict in Sri Lanka have little to do with Israel, at least directly. However, every move the current U.S. administration is making in the Middle East is directly and unequivocally about Israel. With the installation and appointment of a fundamental Christian administration in Washington, or Zionist Christians as they like to call themselves, it is now officially and wholeheartedly the tail that wags the dog. Just look at the lobbying that took place to persuade the administration, our elected officials and then the general public to warn the world of the imminent catastrophe we were faced by Saddam’s WMD’s to pave the way for an illegal invasion of that country, or what is currently on the way to make Iran their next target.

Jeff offers the old arguments of invading Iraq was for Iraqis and to rid them of “Saddam’s tyranny”, so I’ll ask the same old questions; How about the tyranny of our ally and friend Pervez Musharraf? Why isn’t Pakistan, a dictatorship that took power with a military coup, openly taunts their nuclear ability and is the ideological hometown of many Islamists, including Taliban and Al-Qaeda, our “next target” instead of Iran? Why do we look the other way when tyranny is happening in Kuwait if without their help invading Iraq would not have been as easy, but insist on Iraqis suffering? Is the tyranny any different in our main regional “friend” Saudi Arabia? Why is the unofficial military rule in Turkey our symbol of democracy for the region? Obviously, picking our targets has little to do with tyranny, establishing democracy or even reducing the most prominent terrorist threat. Invading Iraq (Afghanistan is a rather different story because of the UN mandate and other factors) had many reasons, but as I described months before the actual invasion, it was mainly because of Israel.

Jeff then asserts that he would like for U.S. to stay out of Iran and Iranian affairs and leave it as “Iran’s issue”. In that case, I’d like to challenge him on that point. Let’s see him take a strong stand against the views expressed by current administration advisor Michael Ledeen of American Enterprise Institute (AEI) as well as others who openly and discreetly are advocating a broad and extensive targeting of Iran, including supporters of Coalition for Democracy in Iran (CDI); Jack Kemp, Paul Simon, Frank Gaffney and James Woolsey. Jeff heads a large publishing firm and his strong stand against such idiocy will carry some weight. Will he do it? The ball is now in his court per se, we’ll see.

Before I totally forget, all this does not take away from Jeff’s efforts in the past, including his coverage of Sina Motallebi’s case. Without his help, along with others, we would not have been able to gain so much attention to Sina’s plight and gather the support. Even if chooses to fail us on this current discussion, his hard work on that issue will not be forgotten.

Needless to say, regardless of his decision, I will still read Jeff’s blog regularly and will link to him, even if he continues to put out comments only fitting of the furthest right of the political spectrum, while disagreeing with him thoroughly.

Posted by Pedram at May 27, 2003 12:21 PM

If you're calling Jeff Jarvis a right winger, you're way off base. I also disagree with your statement that this is a fundamentalist Christian administration. I don't think you know what you're talking about, or have been reading too much liberal rhetoric.

I advocate US attention on Iran too, but I'm far from being a hawk. Are you going to tar me with the same brush?

I blame it on the fact that you're a Canadian and are getting a skewed view of US Politics. :-)

Michael Ledeen is a lobbyist. His voice is just one of many, and not a very important one. You can rage against him all you want, no one cares, because Micheal Ledeen isn't that important. You're picking a fight with the wrong guy!

The way it works inside the Beltway is that multiple groups with multiple points of view all compete with each other to set the agenda. Micheal Ledeen is a member of one of those groups, but ultimately its someone in the administration who sets policy. If you really want to know what the US policy towards Iran will be, check out the writings on That's where the foreign policy establishment debates what to do.

If you can find something in Foreign Affairs to critique, then you'll have some interesting things to say about US foreign policy. That's where the real action is.

Here's a link to an article about Iran from Febuary:

It's what got me interested in Iran in the first place.

Posted by: Pierce T. Wetter III at May 27, 2003 01:08 PM

Pierce - I read Pedram's post twice and still didn't find any reference to him calling Jeff a "right winger". Calling somebody's occassional comments or opinions right wing is far from labeling the person as such.

Quite honestly, I agree with him. It is rather childish and irresponsible, not to mention very in-line with the views of conservatives and right-wing fanatics to call Arafat to blow himself up.

Also, Ledeen is not just a "lobbyist" as you claim. He has served as an advisor to the administration and has extreme close ties to "hawks" like Wolfotitz and Rumsfeld.

Where you lose complete credibility is providing a link to Shah's former prime minister's opinion as to where Iran and it's revolution is heading. Jamshid Amuzegar can hardly be considered as an unbiased commentator due to his extensive links to the "Royals" and their close connection to the Republican party's elite.

I honestly (and without being sarcastic or making a smart ass comment) believe that if you are interested in the true nature of Iranian politics and learning of a more progressive viewpoint on such issues, you need to read more of articles by Pedram and others like him, as they will never be granted access to Foreign Affairs, Time magazine, CNN or MSNBC (not even mentioning FoxNews here).

Posted by: J. Jahromi at May 27, 2003 02:50 PM

I agree, Jarvis is way off base with his blow up comment, even if he doesn't mean it.

Also, have you noticed he only links to anything portraying Iran, it's people, government or religion in a negative light? What's up with that?

Jerry in Jersey

Posted by: Jerry at May 27, 2003 11:24 PM

>Jeff expressed that he has “had a twinge of
>difficulty” linking to my blog because of
>my “anti-Israeli” comments

I dont get it. Are Anti-Israelis (or more correctly being anti-occupationists) now considered bigots? Is it some sort of a discrimination?

Posted by: me at May 28, 2003 12:18 AM

Might be interested in reading these articles and which support the viewpoint that the U.S. is attempting to remake the Middle East to suit Israel. Although I agree getting rid of WMD is a good thing, nukes being WMD, and getting rid of Saddam was good for Iraq providing we can properly give Iraq back to the Iraqis, remaking the Middle East as outlined here won't work especially if it's stated or unstated purpose is to suit Israel. I am hoping this is just spin to placate the Israelis as it is an Israeli site and not Bush's true intentions. It won't work.

Re Arafat, yes he is ultimately responsible for the PLO so bears responsibility for the increase in terrorism. But both Arafat and Sharon have been known to pour oil on a fire so to speak. Blame goes both ways.

No changes in the Middle East have a chance of success without considering the sensitivities of the people living there. I do support democracy but if the people choose to live under a theocracy, that is their choice. The U.S. should respect that. And it would behoove us to act in a manner that wouldn't increase terrorism.

Posted by: mog at May 28, 2003 02:48 AM

I have been following Jeff Jarvis' weblog on and off. I had this impression based on his own word that he was a "liberal".

Sorry for my poor political knowledge, but I had a different impression from a liberal even though liberals make up a wide spectrum.

After reading more closely recently, he sounds everything to me but a liberal.

Pedram, there is nothing in your writings suggesting you're "anti-Israel". If you're anti-Israel, then many in Israel and many American Jews should be anti-Israel too.

Posted by: hooman at May 28, 2003 08:47 AM

You guys need to get out more if you think Jeff Jarvis is right wing. Jeff Jarvis found some quote from Arafat about suicide bombers needing to be necessary. Jeff then said something to the effect that if Arafat thought suicide bombers were necessary for Palestine, perhaps he should demonstrate. That's just sarcasm.

A right winger would have said, "These people are too stupid to live, lets just let Isreal do whatever they want." _That's_ right wing.

Personally, my own personal view is that both Sharon and Arafat are "war" leaders not "peace" leaders, and I don't hold much hope for the peace process with either of them in charge.

You don't like the article by Jamshid Amuzegar, because you don't like him. That is funny, because you obviously didn't read the article. It was far from promoting any sort of "Royalist" return, and talked about how Bush's efforts to "talk up" democracy in Iran had made both sides nervous. It made the point that just because the reformist government wanted more democracy, that didn't mean they liked America.

If you were a regular Foriegn Affairs reader, you could translate this as "The administration wants to do something to promote democracy in Iran. It probably should do something, but no one knows what yet."

As for Ledeen, here's a quote from him: "Needless to say--or maybe not; my calls for political support for democracy have been systematically distorted by slanderous critics into advocacy of all-out military assault--this urgency does not translate into a military campaign. We certainly believe that nuclear deterrence works, as it did throughout the Cold War, and as it has, at least thus far, in the India/Pakistan confrontation. Those of us advocating support for the democratic opposition in Iran have insisted that no military power need be used against the mullahcracy."

Even Ledeen, who you say is a hawk isn't advocating military action. What are you complaining about exactly? Here's the full article:

He's saying, as I do, that the best thing we could do about Iranian nuclear weapons is promote Iranian democracy. What's wrong with that again?

As far as reading Pedram to learn about Iran, that is why I come here. You're missing my point.

As a Canadian Iranian-exile, Pedram's knowledge of AMERICAN politics is minimal. He's had several postings about how the US is going to invade Iran next, but as someone who actively follows US foreign policy, I can tell you that nothing of the kind is brewing.

So I'll continue to read Pedram to find out about Iran, and I'll continue to give him a bad time when he says stuff about the US. :-)

Posted by: Pierce T. Wetter III at May 28, 2003 03:24 PM

Pedram has lived in U.S. of A. for several years now. I think his knowledge of U.S. politics is far more than you give him credit for.

Jerry in Jersey

Posted by: Jerry at May 28, 2003 04:39 PM

At the end of the day, no matter what is said here, I'd still be delighted to go to lunch with Pedram. When you get to New York, my friend....

Posted by: Jeff Jarvis at May 28, 2003 05:14 PM

There are accusations suggesting Pedram is anti-Israeli. Even if true, What is wrong with that? If being anti-Israel means being anti-occupation, anti- daily humiliation of Palestainians in their own homes, anti-killing of Palestinian children, anti-criminals such as Sharon, YES, I am anti-Israeli, as are many Israelis and Jews who value humanity.

Pierce Wetter,

I have the answer to your question of:" He's saying, as I do, that the best thing we could do about Iranian nuclear weapons is promote Iranian democracy. What's wrong with that again?"

The problem is the fact that undemocratic and criminal people such as current US administration, are not even capable of promoting democracy. They don't even believe in democracy and are even threatened by democratic values. We have not forgotten Pentagon breifings during Iraq war where Rumsfeld was not even willing to provide sincere answers to the questions of Pentagon selected journalists. As simple as that.

Posted by: Faramin at May 28, 2003 06:06 PM

okey he has difficulty linking to you because he considers you anti-israeli, i guess that makes him pro-israeli. no wonder he wants arafat dead. as for being a liberal, he probably thinks he is. i bet his buddies do too, while they are all having very deep conversations about how to support the illegal/immoral war on iraq. but i'd say if he looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, he probably is a duck. even if he thinks he is a rooster.

Posted by: NoName at May 29, 2003 12:44 AM

Jeff - I'm guessing the offer of lunch is your way of skirting the issue and refusing my challenge to take a stand against U.S. interference in Iran. Oh well.

I don't think I'd be in NYC anytime soon but if you are in this area, let me know. And unlike in your offer, I'll buy.

Posted by: Pedram M. at May 31, 2003 06:50 AM