It is sad spectacle when a NYT columnist is reduced to responding to serious criticism by making a joke about a name rather than replying in substance. It becomes tragic when the columnist is behaving as a useful idiot defending a regime dedicated to the eradication of another state.
AT's news editor Ed Lasky correctly took to task NYT columnist Roger Cohen for writing an appalling column celebrating the relatively happy circumstances of Iran's Jewish community, and making the case that the mullahs were people we can deal with, if only America could learn to reason with them. Here is a portion of what Ed wrote last month:
Cohen averts his eyes from, and seems to dismiss, the jailings and executions of Jews for spying, the restrictions on emigration, the constant attacks on Israel, and various other officially sanctioned acts of persecution. Is he that obtuse that he does not realize that the Jews he interviews in Iran are conscious of the ayatollahs' surveillance and would be wary of expressing their true views?
For good measure, he criticizes American Jews for fear-mongering over Iran:
I'm convinced the "Mad Mullah" caricature of Iran and likening of any compromise with it to Munich 1938 - a position popular in some American Jewish circles - is misleading and dangerous
Why doesn't he interview Jews smuggled out of Iran (lately with the help of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews)? Or the flourishing community of Iranian Jews that have established themselves in America (Los Angeles, in particular)?
The Nazis had Theresientadt-their "model" concentration camp used to "persuade" the gullible that Jews and others who aroused the ire of the Nazis were being treated well. Would Roger Cohen have had no problem portraying that favorably, as well?
Here is what Cohen has written today in response to Ed in particular, among the many critics of his first column.
A conservative Web site called "American Thinker," which tries to prove its name is an oxymoron, believes I would have been fooled by the Nazis' sham at the Theresienstadt camp.
The indignation stems from my recent column on Iranian Jews which said that the 25,000-strong community worships in relative tranquility; that Persian Jews have fared better than Arab Jews; that hostility toward Jews in Iran has on occasion led to trumped-up charges against them; and that those enamored of the "mad mullah" caricature of Iran regard any compromise with it as a re-run of Munich 1938.
Cohen goes on to maintain:
Iran has not waged an expansionary war in more than two centuries.
Update: Andrew G. Bostom has written twice in AT on the treatment of Jews and other Infidels in Iran. See:
That is absurd. Iran has been waging proxy wars in Lebanon and Israel-Gaza; and add Iran's support of Al Sadr in Iraq, designed to cause civil war with the Sunnis. (Update: the recent terror attack in Egypt is now being blamed on Hamas (which means Iran). I might also add that Iran may be aiding subversive movements in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia among restive Shiite populations there (Bahrain is majority Shiite ruled by Sunni royals).There are also stories that Iran is expanding its influence in the southern rim of the former Soviet Union, especially the area around the Caspian Sea-rich with oil. The Russians are vying for influence there, as well.
Badging Infidels in Iran and The Yellow Badge of Denial.