Forward Thinking

Iraq War 'Godfather' Opposes Iran Strike

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

  • Print
  • Share Share
friends of tel aviv university
Bernard Lewis chats with Henry Kissinger

The man once known as the intellectual godfather of the Iraq war opposes a military strike on Iran.

Bernard Lewis, 96, the British-born expert on the Middle East who enjoyed exceptionally close ties to the Bush administration, told the Forward at a gala dinner held in his honor last night that he didn’t support military action against Iran.

“I don’t think it’s the right answer,” he said.

Lewis said that he supported regime change in Iran, but that it should be achieved through U.S. support of an internal Iranian opposition.

“We should do what we can to help the Iranian opposition,” Lewis said. “We could do a lot to help them and we’re not doing a damn thing, as far as I know.”

Lewis, an emeritus professor in Princeton’s Near Eastern Studies program and a highly controversial figure in his field, has been characterized as having provided the intellectual framework for the justification of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

More recently, Lewis has claimed that he opposed the Iraq invasion at the time. Still, his name is indelibly linked to the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration.

The gala was hosted by American Friends of Tel Aviv University.

Approached at his table during the dinner break at last night’s gala, where he was seated with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman, Lewis took a relatively dovish line on Iran.

“Iran is a great nation with a long and glorious history,” Lewis told the Forward. “When we say things like Iran must not have nuclear weapons, imagine how an Iranian patriot would react to that. What we mean is the gang of genocidal maniacs who are now dishonoring the name of Iran must not have nuclear weapons. I think we should make it quite clear that our hostility is not against Iran but against, as I said, this gang who are dishonoring their name.”

Though he said that he didn’t think a military strike on Iran was the right answer, Lewis conceded: “it may come to that.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: neo-conservative, mort zuckerman, iraq, henry kissinger, iran, bernard Lewis

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.