Pro-Israel advocates do not take kindly to having their activities denounced. Some were furious two years ago at how a then member of the European Parliament accused them of belonging to a “perverse lobby.”
The word “perverse” is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “showing deliberate determination to behave in a way that most people think is wrong, unacceptable or unreasonable.”
The behavior of a leading pro-Israel group – the AJC Transatlantic Institute – can be accurately described as “perverse.”
Serving as the Brussels office of the American Jewish Committee, this “institute” has long been engaged in warmongering against Iran. It will probably keep doing so, even if a full-scale US offensive no longer looks imminent.
Following a neoconservative script, the AJC Transatlantic Institute has been pushing Europe to treat Iran as a bitter enemy. To advance that objective, it has replaced reality with falsehoods.
Last week, the US resorted to extremely aggressive conduct by assassinating Qasem Soleimani, a senior Iranian general. Yet Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, depicted the killing as defensive and justified.
Schwammenthal went on to claim that Iran has “waged an open war” against the US for the past four decades.
His reading of recent history is willfully dishonest. It would be more correct to say that the US began waging war on Iran’s people more than 65 years ago.
The coup was a clear warning. Governments in the Middle East and beyond were, in effect, instructed that they should not prevent Western companies from exploiting their countries’ resources. No challenge to US dominance would be tolerated.
Following the coup, the US treated Iran – ruled by Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, better known by his title, the shah – as a client state. The US funded Iran’s secret police, the SAVAK, which rounded up, tortured and, in many cases, killed political opponents.
Schwammenthal is evidently alleging that Iran has waged war against the US since the 1979 Islamic revolution. The opposite is actually the case.
The US sided with – and aided – then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein when he attacked Iran in the 1980s.
In a 2018 article for The Hill – a Washington-based publication – Schwammenthal argued that Europe should unite with the US over Iran’s nuclear program. The plea for harmony was misleading.
Even before he was elected president, Donald Trump had threatened to withdraw from the deal on uranium enrichment reached with Iran in 2015.
Trump’s threats – subsequently carried out – were designed to please his top campaign donor Sheldon Adelson, a pro-Israel fanatic.
The deal was a success for diplomacy. Yet the very idea of having diplomatic contact with Iran is anathema to hardliners in the Israel lobby.
Schwammenthal is one such hardliner. He has repeatedly called on the European Union’s governments to expel Iran’s ambassadors from their capitals.
His calls have been accompanied with scaremongering about “terror plots” by Iran’s agents in Europe.
The “terror plot” claims echo those made by Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state. As Pompeo belongs to an administration that lies habitually, his comments should – at the very least – be treated with skepticism.
Almost all of the “plots” relate to attacks that were supposedly being planned but foiled by the authorities.
The only violent incidents blamed on Iran which did materialize in Europe over the past five years related to two assassinations in the Netherlands. Two Iranian diplomats were kicked out by the Dutch government in 2018 because of those allegations.
Assassination is, of course, a very grave matter. In the Dutch cases, it has only been claimed that Iran was involved.
The EU, therefore, has a golden opportunity to demonstrate its abhorrence of assassinations. It can demand that US and Israeli representatives in Brussels pack their bags immediately.
Just don’t expect Daniel Schwammenthal to appeal for such action. He is too busy beating the drums of war.