Pat Buchanan has come in for quite a bit of criticism over the years for remarks about Israel and American Jews. He’s still a sharp observer of the political scene, though, which is why MSNBC hired him several years ago and why he is currently at Fox News. Once in a while, however, a bit of the old prejudice seems to creep through, as it apparently did on Saturday’s edition of The McLaughlin Group on PBS, in a discussion of Iran.
Buchanan said that “the Israelis and the neocons and McCain and all the Saudis and all the rest of them” share a common policy, namely: “They don’t want a deal; they don’t want a détente. They want the United States to maintain sanctions on them to break the regime and possibly go to war and finish off Iran.” By contrast, he believes that “[t]he Iranians want a deal…and I don’t think they want a nuclear weapon.”
In other words, Iran’s claim that it does not want a nuclear weapon is somehow more trustworthy than Israel’s claim that it would prefer to avoid war–even though Iran is in violation of binding UN Security Council resolutions and treaty obligations, even though Iran has previously lied to the international community about its nuclear enrichment, even though Iran is a devoted enemy of the United States.
You don’t have to think war with Iran is a good idea, or even to like a close U.S.-Israel relationship in general in order to realize that Buchanan is simply talking nonsense. The case against war with Iran does not require treating the murderous Iranian regime like angels and the democratically-elected Israeli government as devils. Nor does it require treating Obama’s preferred Iran deal as the only one possible.
The question, then, is why Buchanan trusts Iran more than Israel. I don’t think the answer can be very good.