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What does it mean to identify yourself as “progressive”? To me, there is a smugness about the label – a sense that anyone who disagrees with someone who is “progressive” must automatically be labeled as a right wing reactionary fascist (and probably a racist, to boot).

I have a sense that “progressives” firmly believe that Western civilization, especially as represented by America (and, by extension, Israel) is the source of all evil while every other society in the world – no matter how repressive or bloody – can do no wrong.
Do you ever hear, for example, people with a “progressive” world view criticizing Saudi Arabia, which openly discriminates against non-Muslims, women, people who are gay or have a darker skin colour? Of course not. Saudi Arabia is a “Third World” country and is, therefore, immune to criticism, despite a justice system whose punishments include whipping, amputations and beheadings.
 And what about Iran? Iran executes more people per capita than any other country (with the exception perhaps of China). Iran has been fomenting terrorism worldwide for decades. Then there is the matter of Iran and the bomb.
Any “Progressives” calling for a boycott of Iran? Didn’t think so. How about an “Iranian boycott week” on campuses?
My apologies for the lengthy preamble as I attempt to deconstruct an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from two so-called American Jewish “Progressive” Zionists (what are “Progessive” Zionists anyway? They seem to be Jews who want to “give away the store – i.e. Israel – to those “peace loving” downtrodden Palestinians,) and whos letter appeared on the front page of the last Jewish Post and News.
The authors of this letter are Gideon Aronoff and Dan Fleshler, who are connected to an organization called “Ameinu”, which tries to promote “a Progressive Israel”. Fleshler also has written a book about America’s “Israel Lobby”. (Funny, I don’t ever remember anybody carping about the Saudi or Arab lobby, the Iranian Lobby or the Turkish Lobby, to list some examples, which pump tens of millions of dollars into American universities and politicians.)
Let me clear something up front about Iran and the bomb that “progressives” such as Aronoff and Fleshler (and many others in government and academia) don’t seem to understand.
Iran wants to have nuclear weapons. And Iran doesn’t need anyone else’s permission to build the bomb as long as it has the technology (which it does). That is the bottom line.
So Aronoff and Fleshler want to know what kind of negotiated deal Netanyahu could accept with Iran. There is no deal that Iran will accept that would prevent the country from developing the bomb. Nor can the Iranians be trusted – any more than the North Koreans (who have a bomb despite years of negotiation and blandishments) – to adhere to any deals the government may sign.
Iran is working toward building a bomb. The only way to stop the project altogether would be a military invasion. The only other alternatives would be limited military actions or tough international sanctions, which would slow develoment  of the bomb but not necessarily stop it.
Aronoff and Fleshler ask what alternatives Netanyahu would propose. The prime minister did call for tougher sanctions. Aronoff and Fleshler suggest that Netanyahu is trying to get the Americans to take military action and that most Americans are opposed to such action. However, polling over the past few years showed almost two-thirds of Americans consistently support military action to stop Iran from getting the bomb.
And Israel has never asked America to fight wars for Israel.
Aronoff and Fleshler cannot see how Iran is such a dire threat to America that military action is required. Well, let’s see. In 1979, Iran declared eternal war against the United States and holds regular rallies calling for “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”. Iran was behind the attacks on a marine barracks and the US embassy in Lebanon in the 1980s that killed several hundred Americans. Iran supplied the weapons that Iraqi guerillas used to kill thousands of Americans in Iraq in the 2000s.
(I know: “Progressives” felt that American had no business pushing out Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein just because he slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own people, used chemical warfare and attacked in turn his neighbours Iran and Kuwait and fired missiles into Israel. After all, that was none of America’s business, was it?)

Do the authors of this letter want to wait until Iran (or Hezbollah) is able to carry out attacks on the American homeland before further action is justified?
Aronoff and Fleshler charge that Netanyahu’s speech would only result in antagonizing President Obama and making it less likely that he will be willing to defend Israel in case of Iranian attack. This is another case of blaming the victim. Obama has been picking fights with Netanyahu and Israel and insulting him at every opportunity since he was elected President six years ago.
The two writers warn that a pre-emptive attack on Iran would cause Iran to use terror cells throughout the Middle East to attack American interest and American troops - as if they haven’t been doing that already (see above).
And this singular focus on the bomb ignores all of Iran’s other crimes, including: a brutal repression of its own people (a majority of whom oppose the regime); support for terrorism in Iraq (while the Americans were there), Syria (where Iranian soldiers are propping up the brutal Assad regime), Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen; and extending its tentacles into the drug trade along with terrorist activity in south America.
Iran is a danger to the world – and, if Iran gets the bomb, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and possibly Jordan won’t be far behind. But none of that is of any concern to “progressives”, it seems.

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