Emergency Committee for Israel calls for U.S. war on Iran now

Cutting-edge neocon group runs scare ad “It’s Time to Act” in presidential election campaign.

It doesn’t get any more blatant than this: The Emergency Committee for Israel, founded by the aristocrats of the “Commentary crowd,” the original Republican Likudniks, is now screaming for Obama to attack Iran.  ECI put out a press release yesterday announcing that “in light of yet another failed round of nuclear talks with Iran this week,” its 30-second, scare-the-shit-out-of-’em ad, “It’s Time to Act,” which began airing last week in New York and Washington, is debuting this weekend in the November election’s battleground states.  It’s running “on broadcast and cable in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, with dozens of spots featured in major markets during Sunday shows, Major League Baseball games, and cable news.” These guys are not poor.


Visually, the ad is basic black lit up with missile fire and bomb explosions; aurally, it’s got the announcer’s grave voice against the beating of drums. The co-stars are Obama, looking gentle, and Ahmadinejad, looking sinister. The punch line:

Obama is still talking – and Iran has enough fuel for five nuclear bombs. Talking isn’t working. It’s time to act. Before it’s too late. (Bomb explodes, drum roll, out.)

ECI’s board is made up of the supremely smug neocon arbiter William Kristol, Christian Right pill Gary Bauer, and frothing-at-the-mouth genocide freak Rachel Abrams. Its executive director is hit man Noah Pollak. This is not a marginal right-wing group. It represents the cutting edge of GOP Middle East policy, and its guiding principle is maximum war against maximum Muslims.

Until now, Republican Likudniks have stopped short of calling for an immediate  U.S. war with Iran. But the failure of the nuclear talks in Moscow last week gave them just the right opportunity to finally let it all hang out. I don’t know if other Republican (along with many Democratic) Likudniks are going to follow suit, or if instead the idea is to let ECI spell out what Mitt Romney and the others imply. Either way, the “drift to war” in America has just picked up speed and direction.

If it were only that this is what the great majority of Israelis at every level have always wanted – for America’s far superior military to “do the work” for them – then Israel’s hand in pushing the U.S. to war would be a matter of circumstantial evidence only. But when the Emergency Committee for Israel tells tens of millions of American TV viewers that “it’s time to act – before it’s too late,” then there’s nothing more to discuss.

One thing, at least, I’m happy about: Nobody can claim this is a “Jewish conspiracy.” While the people behind the campaign are predominantly, though not exclusively, Jewish, there ain’t nothing conspiratorial about it. This is as in-your-face as it gets.

And why not? There’s nothing “un-American” about what they’re doing; it’s not that these U.S. citizens’ first loyalty is to Israel. Rather, it’s that since 9/11, American nationalism has hooked up with Israeli nationalism – America’s new nemesis is Israel’s old one, the Arabs, the Muslims. There’s nothing more American now than being gung-ho for Israel.

The problem with ECI, AIPAC and the rest of the Israel lobby is not, as the anti-Semites say, that they’re disloyal to America. They’re not disloyal to anyone. They are, however, a menace – to America, Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish people by being pro-war, anti-Muslim, and very, very powerful.