On Andrew's Willful Misinterpretation of the Iran Documents

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Andrew continues to insist that it is of no consequence whatsoever that the leaders of nearly every Arab state seek a U.S. attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, and have lobbied successive American administrations to pursue the hardest line possible on Iran. Andrew's argument rests on the dubious assertion that the leaders of the Arab world are irrelevant to this process. Who is relevant, you ask? Their largely powerless subjects.

I simply don't understand why it is so difficult for Andrew to acknowledge the plain English of the Wikileaks documents. There is nothing in these documents to suggest that Israel and its supporters have not lobbied the Obama Administration to deny, by whatever means ultimately necessary, Iran a nuclear arsenal. But what these documents do show is that Bibi Netanyahu was just one of many Middle Eastern leaders lobbying the President on this issue.

And, by the way, in reference to Andrew's argument that the Arab "street" wants to see Iran armed with nuclear weapons, there is abundant evidence to suggest that the opposite is true:

Eighty percent of Arabs disbelieve Iran's assurances that it will not build nuclear weapons, according to a new region-wide poll commissioned by The Doha Debates.

Moreover, most Arabs in the Gulf see their region as a more likely target than Israel from an Iranian bomb.

The survey, conducted by YouGov, questioned more than 1000 people in 18 Arab countries between November 19 and 23.

The result significantly reinforces the vote at last month's Doha Debate where 52 percent of a mostly-Arab audience rejected the motion that Iran can be trusted not to build an atomic bomb. 



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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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