Fidel, Israel, and Iran

Do not miss Jeffrey Goldberg’s continuing posts about his surprise command audience with Fidel Castro last week. First instalment here; second here.

fidel and goldberg-300Goldberg is a perplexing figure, a former member of the IDF, quick to call anti-semitism against anyone who balks at his lockstep advocacy of troubling Israeli policies. He caused a stir recently with an Atlantic cover story speculating about an impending Israeli nuclear strike against Iran. Many regarded the article as thinly disguised tub-thumping for such an attack (see here and here), while others demurred. In the end, the Atlantic held an extensive, online print debate about the issue — which may turn out to be the most important of the decade.

Turns out Castro was reading, and two weeks ago, Goldberg got a phone call from Jorge Bolanos, head of the US State Department’s Cuban Interest Section.

“I have a message for you from Fidel,” Bolanos said. “He has read your Atlantic article about Iran and Israel. He invites you to Havana on Sunday to discuss the article.”

Goldberg and Castro, who is clearly worried about the prospect of war in the Middle East, chatted for three days, and while he might not be my choice for an interlocutor, he was Fidel’s, and the results are fascinating.