Refuting Silvertein’s Accusations And Efforts To Silence Meir Javedanfar

Richard Silverstein

On Thursday 27th of December Richard Silverstein, the owner of Tikkun Olam website wrote a long piece. It included much name calling and accusations against me. I am writing to refute the accusations.

Accusation:

Meir Javedanfar has “meager credentials” and that he attended an “undistinguished provincial school”

Response:

According to the complete University Guide, Lancaster is in the top ten university in the UK.

Accusation:

“He has published in few, if any peer-reviewed academic publications”.

Response:

I am not an academic. I am a Middle East analyst who specializes in Iran and Israel affairs. I teach as an adjunct lecturer at Herzliya. My job nor my employees require me to publish academic papers. All my articles for Al Monitor, The Guardian, The Diplomat and op-eds for The Times of Israel are reviewed by editors.

Accusation:

“The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran is full of conspiratorial theories that paint Iran in the worst possible light and pose the nuclear threat in the most extreme terms.”

Response:

The book is footnoted and written in an academic style. It does not look favorably upon president Ahmadinejad’s policies and performance. It also looks at Iran’s nuclear program. Evidence on Iran nuclear program were either from IAEA reports, interviews with officials such as former IAEA deputy head Olli Heinonen and newspaper articles from reputable publications. It does not paint Iran regime as suicidal nor does it advocate war. It actually says that living with a nuclear Iran maybe one option to consider. Silverstein does not mention that. He also only includes one review of the book. He does not include another review which reviews the book positively and says that “the authors, Yossi Melman and Meir Javedanfar, have the distinction of being two of the best-informed observers you’ve never heard of.”

Accusation:

Falsely inferring affiliation with Columbia University’s School of International Studies by virtue of his membership in the Gulf 2000 Project

Response:

There is no false affiliation. A simple look at the Columbia University Gulf 2000 site under “About Gulf 2000” gives us the answer: “The Gulf/2000 Project is sponsored by the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York City.”

Accusation:

“Javedanfar typically exaggerates his bona fides”.

Response:

I have contributed to Gulf 2000 for the last 5 years and am proud it. Saying that I am a member is my right and my privilege and not an exaggeration.

Accusation:

Speaking for Israeli foreign ministry and attending 2007 Israel Project Conference makes me “right wing” and on the payroll of the Israeli government

Response:

The Israeli foreign Ministry as well as numerous other foreign ministries have asked me to speak at different events as an outside expert. I do not work for any government. I have spoken at events for more than 5 Jewish organizations including J street to whom I am very close as well as The Israel Project, ADL and others.

Accusation:

Worked with conservative PJM Media website

Response:

I left because my opinions were not in line with theirs.

Accusation:

Javedanfar has no strongly held views or discernible political orientation. His most distinct political standing is that he is anti Iranian regime

Response:

I try to be bipartisan and objective and am proud of it. I believe Iran regime to be a dictatorship. I am against all dictatorships.

Accusation:

He favors the harshest possible sanctions

Response:

I do not. I have maintained that sanctions should not impact sale of medicine and food to the people of Iran. I am also against war with Iran and have called for limited enrichment on Iranian soil as part of a step by step package so that war is avoided.

Accusation:

“he’s too smart to allow himself to be pigeon-holed. To do so would limit his value to his sponsors.”

Response:

I am proud of my efforts to look at policies as they are, and not because they are advocated by a particular party. I do not have any “sponsors”, this is a baseless accusation by Silverstein.

Accusation:

“falsely attributing a quotation from the New York Times to an IAEA report about Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons’ ambitions”. Silverstein quotes Nima Shirazi, a full time cinema usher who blogs in his spare time to say that I am lying and that the IAEA report does not say anything about Iran working on a nuclear trigger.

Response:

The New York times evidence which I linked to in my Guardian article is from the findings of the May 24 2011 IAEA report

Page 7, clause 35 of the IAEA report says:

“Iran is asked to clarify activities regarding “Neutron generator and associated diagnostics: experiments involving the explosive compression of uranium deuteride to produce a short burst of neutrons”.

These are parts of process involved in making a nuclear trigger and are directly referred to in the report.

Accusation:

In reality, Javedanfar–who, despite his claims to the contrary, has few if any contacts inside Iran–is not an authentic Iranian representative.  

Response:

I have never claimed to be an “authentic Iranian representative” nor does Silverstein show any evidence for this accusation.

I have never claimed to nor have I had any contacts with the Iranian regime. I believe it’s a regime that has brutally killed tens of thousands of its own citizens and abused human rights on a grand scale. I do not wish to have anything to do with the regime or its officials.

Accusation:

Javedanfar is not an “authentic Iranian representative.  Leaders of the Iranian-American community with whom I’ve consulted have scoffed at this notion.  They consider him, at best, an opportunist, and not a very convincing one at that.”

Response:

The US – Iranian community does not have any authentic representatives. There is not a single group which represents the community. I would like Mr Silverstein to name these individuals so that we can see on what basis they call themselves “authentic Iranian representatives”? He also says that they are upset because of my position and achievements in Washington DC.

As well as accusations and name calling, Richard Silverstein has taken it upon himself to try to force my out of my job. On his facebook page (right) he says: Richard Silverstein-132832

“I’ve urged liberal think tanks like Center for American Progress, and media outlets like AI Monitor, TalkingheadsTV, the Atlantic, and the Guardian not to taken in. But alas, they haven’t bothered to check his meager credentials & been hoodwinked.”

I am no longer living under the rule of the Iranian regime. I will not be silenced or forced out of a job because of self-declared  accusations of Richard Silverstein (which I have refuted) or wishes of a few unelected self entitled “authentic representatives of the Iranian people”.