Two strong views on the Middle East: Jennifer Lowenstein teaches Middle East studies at U of Wisconsin; Trita Parsi is president of the National Iranian American Council. Lowenstein is also a board member of the Chomsky fund, and has lived and worked in Gaza. She questions the basis for the March 9 drone strike that killed a resistance leader in Gaza, and the assertion by Israel that Zuhair al-Qaissi was planning an attack on Israel–which PBC compares to the US drone strike in Yemen last September that killed al-Awlaki. She also notes that Israel tested its “Iron Dome” missile defense in this skirmish, which provoked the launch of about 150 rockets from Gaza. As we speak, a cease-fire seems to be taking hold; 24 Palestinians reported killed so far. Lowenstein also is sharply critical of Obama for failing to stand up to Netanyahu and allowing Israel to dominate aspects of US foreign policy.
At 29:50, Trita Parsi returns. His new book is A Single Roll of the Dice, where he reveals the missed opportunity in 2009 to engage Iran in a diplomatic process. Parsi is more generous than Lowenstein, praising Obama for preventing Israel from attacking Iran in the near future. Parsi argues that, while Obama made obligatory statements about the US and Israel, he set policy for US support for an attack on Iran that may preclude military action. He joins me in rejecting the false choice reflected in the notion “we can never allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon” and in expressing skepticism of the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to DC. Parsi appeared on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show on March 8; get more info at his website.