Guardian: The “So-Called Threat from Iran”

JonathanSteeleAs recently as May 2009, HonestReporting critiqued Guardian columnist Jonathan Steele’s justification for Palestinian terror against Israel and his tacit support for foreign leaders who give it their backing.

Continuing in the same vein, Steele now writes about US President Obama’s recent Mideast speech, stating that:

Short of helping to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, the biggest contribution Obama could make to Middle Eastern peace would be to end the unfounded perception of an Iranian threat.

According to Steele, in recent times, Iran:

has attempted to gain influence largely through the conventional routes of diplomacy, trade and investment.

Has Steele forgotten Iran’s intimate support for terror both in the Mideast and beyond? The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center highlights some of the key points from the US State Department’s most recent Country Report on Terrorism, published in April 2009:

The report indicates that Iran remained the most significant state sponsor of terrorism and that it has long employed terrorism to advance its key national security and foreign policy interests. The report further notes that Iran continues to rely primarily on its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps- Qods Force to clandestinely cultivate and support terrorist and Islamic militant groups abroad, including: Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, certain Iraqi Shi’a militant groups, and Islamic militants in Afghanistan, the Balkans, and elsewhere. Also according to the report, Hamas and Hezbollah continued to finance their terrorist activities mostly through state sponsors of terrorism Iran and Syria.


(Click on the above map to view in detail (PDF format). Source: JCPA)

Steele does not even begin to address the consequences of an Iranian nuclear weapon capability that would not only represent an existential threat to Israel, but also a dire threat to the international order as an Islamic revolutionary state seeks to become the Mideast hegemon and to export its ideology and terror beyond the region.

Not content with downplaying the Iranian threat, Steele whitewashes Hamas and Hezbollah, while labelling Israel as the real threat:

Hamas and Hezbollah officials have often indicated that resistance will end once a two-state solution, the principle of refugees’ right to return, and shared control over Jerusalem are agreed. The so-called threat from Iran depends intimately on the threat from Israel. Talk of an expansionist Iran is propaganda compared with the historical reality of a demonstrably expansionist Israel.

It is difficult to see how Steele could be more divorced from reality:

  • A look at the anti-Semitic Hamas Charter is enough to reveal the true nature of the terror organisation, including the refusal to recognise Israel’s very existence, calls for its destruction through violent means, and a rejection of all negotiations.
  • Hezbollah is also dedicated to Israel’s destruction despite Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, as verified by the UN, which should have put an end to any territorial dispute between Israel and Lebanon.
  • To claim that Israel is the real threat compared to Iran is patently absurd. Iran has called for Israel to be wiped from the map and is seeking the means to achieve this. Israel has never threatened any other nation with complete destruction and has always acted in self-defence.
  • While Iran has not physically invaded its neighbours, it has, instead, relied on proxies that allow it to operate well beyond its borders e.g. through Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel, rather than being expansionist, has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to give up territory in exchange for peace e.g. the return of Sinai to Egypt, the withdrawal from southern Lebanon, the uprooting of settlements during the 2005 Gaza Disengagement, as well as repeated offers to enable the creation of a Palestinian state, all of which have been rejected by the Palestinian leadership.

Jonathan Steele’s whitewashing of terror and the Iranian threat deserves a response. Please send your considered comments to The Guardian –


A warm welcome to the Community Security Trust’s new blog, which addresses issues of anti-Semitism in Britain, including within the media. One of the first posts deals with a recent article in The Independent:

A double page spread on President Obama’s Cairo speech is headlined, “President stings Israel with swipe at settlements”. The sub-title tells us how brave this is, “White House shows willingness to ignore US Jewish lobby by risking confrontation with Netanyahu over Palestinian statehood”.

The opening paragraph tells us breathlessly:

THE CORDS [sic] that connect Israel to the United States were under unprecedented strain last night after Barack Obama risked the wrath of the Jewish lobby in the US by publicly chiding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…

Two paragraphs later, we hear that “Mr Obama showed he is willing, perhaps more than any US president before him, to ignore the Jewish lobby domestically by getting firm with Israel. Thus he made public a festering and personal argument with Mr Netanyahu, who is refusing to heed his demands for a halt to all new settlements in the occupied West Bank”.

Read the full blog post here.