The Only Thing about "The Rally to Stop Iran Now" That is Good for America is its Premature Failure

10/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations have been doing their part in escalating a conflict with Iran on fictitious pretenses by organizing an anti-Iran rally to protest the presence of Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the United Nations on Monday. And as proud members of the Israel Lobby, they decided to adopt a series of dishonest and sleazy tactics to promote their event.

One such sleazy tactic was to try to manipulate Senator Hillary Clinton by inviting her to the rally without telling her that Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee was also scheduled to be there. Senator Clinton, who was reasonably blindsided by Palin's expected presence, made the right decision not to appear at the event. Embarrassed by the new development, The Conference made the unusual decision to rescind Sarah Palin's invitation, erasing any doubt that the appearances of these two women were never really a coincidence or about protesting Ahmadinejad, but about stagecraft to politicize the event.

But this botched attempt to use Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin wasn't the only sleazy tactic of these organizers. When issuing a statement about the Palin disinvitation, they made a number of erroneous claims about Iran and Ahmadinejad that shows these two women weren't the only ones who were the target of manipulation.

The lies in the statement begin in line three, when the presidents of these Jewish organizations matter-of-factly refer to Iran's civilian nuclear program as a "nuclear weapons program." No international body, UN, EU, IAEA or domestic intelligence agency like the CIA or DIA has referred to Iran's nuclear program as a "nuclear weapons program." Why? Because there has been no evidence whatsoever that shows Iran has any intention of developing nuclear weapons except for neoconservatives' rhetoric.

Later in the same line, the presidents write an outright lie, saying Ahmadinejad has threatened "to wipe the United States and Israel 'off the map'" and that if Iran were to have a nuclear weapon, it would pose a threat to "this country, Israel and the world." First of all, Ahmadinejad has only once made a statement that distantly resembles part of the claim above. The true translation of that statement condemned not the people in Israel or Jews, but the "Zionist regime in Jerusalem." That was translated to "Israel." The original statement did not include "Israel," "wipe off" or "map."

Iran has been producing this kind of empty rhetoric for thirty years because as a matter of policy, Iran believes in a single-state solution where Arabs and Jews can live together in one country as opposed to having a theocratic Jewish state of Israel and millions of displaced Arabs with no place to call home. But the notion that Iran's rhetoric is now suddenly policy declaration is preposterous. A lot of people I talk to love to make the debate about Iran's nuclear program about some fictional anti-Jewish conspiracy. Don't buy it. Jews live like other citizens in Iran, and the Jewish population in Iran is the largest in the Middle East after Israel.

But did you notice what else they did? They added "the United States" to Ahmadinejad's mistranslated statement! Of course this is a classic tactic that the Israel lobby likes to use: to present the interests of Israel and those of the United States as one and the same. And they do this at all cost, even if it means to blatantly lie to you in your face. They must think you're stupid.

And finally in the last paragraph of the statement, they express hope that all nations "act decisively against the Iranian nuclear program by implementing UN and Security Council resolutions and sanctions." Of course they have no such hopes when it comes to tens of unanimous UN Security Council resolutions against Israel that have been vetoed unilaterally by the United States since Israel's creation. Hypocrisy is the word.

The First Amendment rights to free speech and constitutional right to organize are a part of what make the United States an amazing country. But with rights come responsibilities, and The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations has shown once again that they can take only rights, and recognize no responsibilities.