USF Prof. Stephen Zunes Still Shilling for Iran


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On August 5, 2012, Stephen Zunes—professor of politics and international studies and director of the Middle East studies program at the University of San Francisco—made his seventh appearance at the hilltop Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB) in the northern enclave of Kensington. Zunes is a regular at UUCB, no doubt because his views are in line with the church’s “Social Justice Council,” which, according to their website, “sponsors forums focussing [sic] on social justice topics” in pursuit of the quixotic goal of “working towards a better, more just world.” Accordingly, there were copies of the British-based newspaper Positive News in the vestibule with the headline, “U.N. Calls for Happiness-based Economy.”

The church may call for happiness, but as Zunes’s lecture demonstrated, it willfully ignores terrorists, who have been known to cause quite a bit of unhappiness, not to mention death. His topic was “The United States and Iran” and in keeping with his past talks on the subject, Zunes assured the audience of approximately fifty people that Iran is not a threat. He claimed that Iran’s nuclear weapons would not be ready for another four to five years; that Iran would never strike first with nuclear weapons; that there are no Hezbollah cells in South America and on America’s southern border; and that reports of Iranian-sponsored global terrorism are exaggerated.

He emphasized repeatedly that sanctions and threats are counterproductive because they increase the regime’s repressiveness. Attacking Iran, he claimed, will ignite Persian nationalism and cause dissidents to ally with the regime. Thus assured that no action is needed, the audience was visibly relieved.

The real point of Zunes’s talk, however, was not to encourage inaction, but to condemn the U.S. Congress for its alleged belligerence towards Iran and to encourage the United Nations to create a “Middle East nuclear-free zone.”

Referring to two bills supported in the House of Representatives by large bipartisan majorities, Zunes asserted that, “Congress is really pushing the United States to go to war.” He continued:

It’s a bipartisan calling for war. Never before has Congress forbid negotiations and deterrence. Obama’s threshold is Iran actually starting to build nuclear weapons. Congress lowered the threshold [to] Iran simply having the capability of developing nuclear weapons, which some in Congress say they already have.

In pushing for a “Middle East nuclear-free zone,” Zunes ignored the fact that Israel—surrounded by enemies sworn to its destruction—must maintain control of its own defense and could never trust such a zone. He alluded to the U.N. General Assembly’s push for a nuclear-free Middle East, which is simply a means of pressuring Israel to disarm unilaterally. Zunes urged the audience to contact their members of Congress for the same purpose.

Returning to the theme of downplaying Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Zunes displayed the usual apologist naiveté:

Iran really does have a nuclear program. At this point, however, no evidence suggests the current program is anything but peaceful. Even the U.S. government acknowledges that as far as it can tell it is an exclusively civilian nuclear program.

This fails to acknowledge International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano’s January, 2012 statement that the IAEA, “has credible information that Iran is engaged in activities relevant to the development of nuclear explosives.” Just this month, Haaretz reported that the Obama administration received a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report demonstrating that “Iran has made surprising, notable progress in the research and development of key components of its military nuclear program” and that “the Iranian development of a nuclear weapon is progressing far beyond the scope known to the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

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  • Marty

    This person is obviously a fool. Being a fool is certainly his choice and is afforded constitutional protections. Unfortunately, he infects students with distortions and lies, but, after all, he does teach in San Francisco. Happily, I don't and will continue to inform students in my classes of reality as well as illustrate the similarities between communism, fascism, and islam. There will be ample documentation that all three are genocidal, anti-semitic, and work relentlessly for the destruction of western civilization and democracy. In fact, I have an afternoon class to prepare for and the lecture will be about these three totalitarian nightmares.

    • Kufar Dawg

      Teaching the truth in an academic institution these days takes courage. Bravo to you Marty.

    • plaidsportcoat

      Mexican drug cartels will join just as quickly and easily with Christian Fundamentalist Extremeists – of which there are many more in the USA than Muslims. The Christian extremeists have plenty of money and that is all the cartels want.
      The drug cartels will surely be happy to make a liaison with Sheldon Adelson as well. He can buy anything he wants including the cartels' help. WHat is to sotp that? Nothing.

  • Schlomotion

    Reality check here. Cinnamon Stillwell vs. Stephen Zunes.

    Cinnamon Stillwell is a Hasbara blogger whose credentials list is nearly exclusively Hasbara blogging. By comparison, Stephen Zunes has a B.A. from Oberlin, an M.A. from Temple University, a Ph.D. from Cornell, was on the faculty of Ithaca College and two others, is a contributing editor of Tikkun, has received national endowments for humanities in Middle Eastern Studies and Arab Studies. He is opposed to Arab dictatorships. He is opposed to Israeli occupation. He is opposed to war.

    That is where he draws the foul. Because Mr. Zunes opposes the Israeli Occupation and opposes war with Iran, he has drawn the negative attention of Cinnamon Stillwell and Campus Watch, a sub-sub-subsidiary of Daniel Pipes, e.g. the xenophobic crazy guy in the new Dinesh D'Souza movie. Mr. Pipes employs really low grade tabloid bloggers, as evidenced by the "Previous Posts" section of Ms. Stillwell's blog, which generally try to relate elements of pop-culture to campus Zionist life. This article on Mr. Zunes doesn't have any of the references to Glee or Law and Order, from which she draws her political theories, and instead replaces them with blocs of grey quotation text that merely prove that Iran is seeking basic geopolitical parity in the region. Thus Ms. Stillwell undermines her own position that war is good, that Iran is crazy, and that Mr. Zunes is a shill. Daniel Pipes should have written the article himself.

    • Kufar Dawg

      The only occupiers of Israel are islamic, ditto for Lebanon. Jews were in Israel long before MuhamMAD molested his first little girl. The Arabs already have their homeland Saudi Arabia.

      • reasonableguy2

        In ancient times, Israel first came into existence around 1025 BCE when Saul became its first king. Israel ceased to exist in 722 BCE when Israel was conquered by the Assyrians. During that 303 year period Israel was inhabited by Israelites, not Jews. Following its annihilation by Assyria, for a period of 2141 years between 722 BCE and 1949 CE, Israel simply didn't exist. When the Irgun and other Zionist fanatics took over Palestine in the late 1940s, they deliberately drove out many indigenous Palestinian arabs, massacring the rest at places like Deir Yassin. israel is a vicious, extremely racist society whose Prime Minister, Netanyahu, has as his prime objective, the driving out of the last Palestinian arab from the territory between Lebanon on the north, Egypt on the south, and the Jordan or beyond, on the east. The Israelis justify their war on the Palestinians with the explanation that God (whom no one has ever seen or heard, other than Jacob who was physically stronger) gave them that land . . .

    • Drakken

      I still don't see you getting on a plane and protesting those mean Israelis? Why is that? Oh that is right, you will run your suck but you won't put your commi azz on the line, put up or shut up puzzy. I really hope your in Gaza when the balloon goes up.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Schlockmoron, Taqiyya, Islamist lying to advance Islamofascism is well known by Infidels.

      Arafat would say some conciliatory crap in broken English, and switch to his Islamofascist ideology when speaking to his Islamofascist grassroots audience.

      Schlockmoron, Don't be a Chickenhawk.

      Go to Syria – I recommend Aleppo.
      Go to Gaza or south Lebanon.
      Go to Egypt, the Coptic Christian quarter.
      Go to the Islamist Regime of Iran. I recommend Qom or any of the sites of the Iranian underground nuclear weapons program.

      Expect a personal Nakba.

  • marios

    Stop taqiyya schlomotion. There is no Israely occupation as it was no country except Jewish states on that land.
    Islamists openly proclaimed "Islam will dominate in the world". Patriots conservatives whose anscestors built Western world are their enemies. Leftists/socialists (read works of V.Lenin/Stalin…) have the same goal to dominate. That is why they have consider conservatives as their enemies too. Those "useful idiots" as prof. Zunes refuse to comprehend that as infidel he would be legitimate victim of Islamists. Or he is Muslim himself?

  • Ghostwriter

    Reality check here. Me vs. Schlomotion.

    I happen to like Jews and have met them. They are a warm and friendly people and want only to live their lives in peace. Schlockmotion on the other hand hates them with a passion and wants them wiped off the face of the earth. He share the views of the mad mullahs and A-jad who want to murder Israelis simply because they exist. Schlomotion isn't fooling anyone with his Jew hatred and his imbecilic tirades against "Hasbara writers,"whatever the heck they are. Me,I like Jews. I don't mind them. I wish Schlomind would get a life.

    • Schlomotion

      It is your pseudonym that permits you to lie against me. Personally, I think pseudonymous libel masquerading as "ghostwriting" is one of the more odious professions. My hope is that someday you are exposed to be someone who was thought to be an intelligent writer, but then when they yanked the Klan hood off, they found a guy like Spengler, hyping his own book.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        Schlockmoron, You've been exposed. Run back under your rock or refrigerator.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        "It is your pseudonym that permits you to lie against me. Personally, I think pseudonymous libel masquerading as "ghostwriting" is one of the more odious professions."

        "Schlomotion" is your real name?

        What an imbecile.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Anyone think that Stuxnet also reports the location of the infected equipment?

    That's perfect for a BUNKER BUSTER.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    What's happening in Syria will soon occur in the Islamic Regime of Iran.

    There is an overdue debt the Islamic Regime of Iran has to pay.

  • JFS

    The current affairs of Iran's pawn Syria should present some timely and unique opportunities for Israel, The IDF should consider planning the quick occupation and control (say for 72 hours) of a Syrian airbase for projection of a short duration air-bridge into Iran.

  • gary fouse

    I never cease to be amazed at people in the West who defend Iran, the world's biggest supporter of terrorism,a country that persecutes its Baha'i and hangs its gays. Add Schlomotion to the list of useful idiots like Rabbi Ysroel Dovid Weiss, Abdul Alim Musa, George Galloway and Yvonne Ridley.

  • Charles

    Cinnamon Stillwell and Rima Green are shilling for the psychopaths in Israel and the U.S. who are trying to pull everyone into WWIII. What a disgusting hit piece this narrow-minded article is.