Glenn Beck's Jewish Obsession Plus More On Iran Sanctions Idiocy

January 14, 2011 3:31 pm ET — MJ Rosenberg

It appears that not even historian Deborah Lipstadt's charges about Glenn Beck's Jewish problem are daunting him. He's on this like a dog with a chew toy. And it's not just about George Soros anymore (in fact, it never was).

Although Beck says that no one is more "pro-Jew" than him, last night he listed nine people — members of an "intelligent minority" — who are practicing some kind of mind-control on the American people. And, guess what, eight of the nine are Jews. Coincidence? I think not.

Per Media Matters:

According to Beck, during the past 100 years a loose association of shadowy figures who believed themselves to be the "intelligent minority" infected the country with their notion that the people are "animals" who can be controlled through propaganda. He further warned that this same elite was leading the modern progressive movement and would similarly seek to manipulate the masses in the twenty-first century.

Check out the list and the video.

Except for the Jewish thing, it's a pretty disparate group.

Of course, most American Jews are not paying attention; most of them wouldn't be caught dead watching Fox News. But isn't it time that the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Republican Jewish Coalition and AIPAC start paying attention to what one of the most influential media figures in America is saying about Jews? Or do they accept that Beck is, as he so delicately puts it, a "pro-Jew" who "loves Israel" and that therefore he gets a pass?

He sure wouldn't if his name was Mohammed Beck.

But here's some goods news. An up-and-coming Jewish group is taking Beck on directly. Like most Jews — but unlike the establishment Jewish organizations — Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ) believes in traditional Jewish values which are, as Beck would tell you, quite progressive. JFSJ has now become the first Jewish organization to demand that Glenn Beck be taken off the airwaves. Here is its latest video on Glenn Beck and Fox News.   

Our Ugly Iran Policy

Anyone interested in following the sheer lunacy of this country's policy toward Iran should follow the writing of Ali Gharib, a young Iranian-American from California who reports for Lobelog, which is affiliated with the Inter Press Service*. (Lobelog itself is an indispensable resource on foreign policy.)

Two of Gharib's recent pieces are particularly eye-opening.

The first addresses this week's plane crash in Iran, which took the lives of 77 civilians, including two children. Gharib asks if U.S.-imposed Iran sanctions caused the crash:

But one thing that is well known is that, generally speaking, Iranian commercial passenger airliners are in disrepair. (Reuters has a timeline of Iranian airplane crashes since early 2000.) One possible cause: sanctions. Iran is banned from acquiring parts and maintenance for its fleet of planes that carry nothing more than civilians.

The Washington Post also wonders if U.S. policy (pushed hard by AIPAC and enthusiastically adopted by the president and Congress) is at least partly responsible for all these deaths in plane crashes (at least a thousand over the last ten years of the sanctions regime). From the Post:

Iran has a history of frequent air accidents blamed on its aging aircraft and poor maintenance. Many of the Boeing aircraft in IranAir's fleet were bought before the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution, which disrupted ties with the U.S. and Europe.

Iranian airlines, including those run by the state, are chronically strapped for cash, and maintenance has suffered, experts say. U.S. sanctions prevent Iran from updating its 30-year-old American aircraft and make it difficult to get European spare parts or planes as well. The country has come to rely on Russian aircraft, many of them Soviet-era planes that are harder to get parts for since the Soviet Union's fall. [emphasis mine]

Gharib writes that American policy toward Iran has changed. Its goal is not just to inflict pain on Iranian officials but on ordinary people:

State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley basically admitted last fall that a shift had occurred wherein U.S. sanctions were no longer seeking to assiduously focus pressure on certain figures associated with Iran's leadership. In other words, innocent Iranians ... were now on the hook for the behavior of their government.

One may wonder whether this plane full of Iranians was dangling precariously from that hook before it broke in mid-air and fell to the ground.

Do American officials know that our Iran sanctions policy is causing innocent deaths in Iran? More importantly, do they care?

I'd say no. As Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman, the former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, puts it, "economic pain is not enough." He prefers "suffocating" sanctions.  

And so do most members of Congress who, guided by AIPAC, prefer "crippling sanctions" (or even war) to comprehensive negotiations with Iran, which could resolve the nuclear weapons issue but might also address Israel's nuclear arsenal. And America insists on pretending that Israel is not a nuclear state, an act of hypocrisy that does not go unnoticed in the rest of the world.

But, Gharib tells us, hypocrisy is the name of this game.

It turns out that Iran is blocking gas trucks from crossing the border into Afghanistan. And the United States doesn't like that one bit.

Here is State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley:

QUESTION: Some kind of economic tension is brewing up between Afghanistan and Iran. Iran has blocked the supply of gas to Afghanistan, which has led to increasing gas prices and shortages of gas in Afghanistan. What do you have to say about that — on that?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we are watching closely that development. Energy is a critical resource to any country and any economy, and it should be available at whatever the appropriate market price is. [emphasis mine]

And here is Gharib.

Just a week after an Iranian plan crashed, killing scores, which was quite possibly caused by the deterioration of Iranian commercial planes due to sanctions restricting spare parts, the U.S. is speaking about the right of every country to have access to energy. This comes while Congress and the Obama administration have put into place sanctions that specifically target Iranian access to refined gas. Do you see the irony?

America's sanctions policy is a moral disgrace — and it would be even if it could succeed. But it won't. If we want to ensure that Iran's nuclear program does not become a weapons program, the only way to do that is through negotiations — negotiations that acknowledge Iran's right to civilian nuclear fuel.

Another round of talks with Iran takes place next week in Turkey. Maybe this time the United States can leave the sticks and threats at home. Both sides can try negotiations in good faith. Thus far, neither has.

*Note: A previous version of this post mistakenly claimed that Lobelog is affiliated with the Institute for Policy Studies instead of the Inter Press Service.