Israeli Spy Chief Condemns Netanyahu for Iran Hype, Messianism

Former head of Israeli domestic intelligence (Shin Bet), Yuval Diskin, said Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are misleading the public about Iran:

“”They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won’t have a nuclear bomb. This is misleading. Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race…”

He said he had no confidence in Netanyahu and Barak:

“I don’t believe in either the prime minister or the defense minister. I don’t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings…”

He added,

“Believe me, I have observed them from up close… They are not people who I, on a personal level, trust to lead Israel to an event on that scale and carry it off. These are not people who I would want to have holding the wheel in such an event…”

Diskin was frank about Israel’s problem with racism:

“Over the past 10-15 years Israel has become more and more racist. All of the studies point to this. This is racism toward Arabs and toward foreigners, and we are also become a more belligerent society.”

He also expressed anxiety about the Israeli settler movement in the West Bank and its supporters inside Israel:

“Today there are extremist Jews, not just in the territories but also inside the Green Line, dozens of them who, in a situation in which settlements are evacuated… would be willing to take up arms against their Jewish brothers.”

Diskin joins Meir Dagan, former intelligence chief, in blowing the whistle on the erratic unreason of Netanyahu and Barak.

29 Responses

  1. Thank you Dr. Cole. In fact the racist and very dangerous “messianic feelings” of the likes of the Israeli Prime Minister is shared (in a co-dependent way) by their equally dangerous “messianic” brothers inside Iran, championed by the likes of Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, who is an arch enemy of the “republic” in what remains of the “Islamic Republic” after the “electoral” coup of June 2009. Both regimes need one another as the “enemy.”

    I think undermining the indigenous democratic capacity (preferably at the hands of “internal despotism”) of countries like Iran to resist “external colonialism” is the ultimate aim of the kind of sanctions/war that right-wing neo-con forces in US/Israel are fomenting.

    A so-called preventive “war” against Iran would not only be illegal under international law, it would also be a disaster for Iranians who are struggling nonviolently for indigenous change for democracy and human rights in their own country–and indeed it would be a disaster for the region in general. Not only would it result in loss of life on a horrific scale, it would be environmentally catastrophic given that nuclear power facilities would be attacked. Western officials admit that Iran does not have any nuclear weapons, nor even a nuclear weapons program, meaning that the country is not currently a nuclear threat to either the United States or Israel. Here in the U.S. we have already spent well over $1 trillion on wars since 2001, while vital social programs are cut. The last thing we need is yet another unnecessary war–one which would only benefit war profiteers–particularly when diplomacy is still very much an option.

    As Iranian thinkers have pointed out repeatedly, the country’s experience of modernity has been profoundly poisoned by “external colonialism” in mutual co-dependency with “internal despotism” in the past two centuries.

    Western imposed sanctions and threats are preludes to military aggression, which as President Obama has admitted have been “virtually grinding the Iranian economy to a halt.”

    They are creating or exacerbating environmental, health, and economic crises for the Iranian people, while actually helping the internal forces that need such external “enmity” as pretext to legitimize their despotism in the name of religion.

    This is why in Iran the green movement and other popular democratic forces struggling for nonviolent change have declared unequivocally that they do not want sanctions, outside intervention in their politics, or military threats or actual aggression against their country.

    In short, as we have seen in Iraq, Bahrain, Libya and elsewhere, the first casualties of sanctions and aggression are the lives and indigenous aspirations of the Iranian people, while such “external colonialism” would only provide the pretext that repressive forces inside and outside the government need to consolidate “internal despotism.”

    Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Continued sanctions and military threats or actual aggression against the country would be disastrous for the Iranian people and their nonviolent indigenous democratic struggles, as well as for the natural environment in Iran and the region.

    Peace and Justice,

    Moji Agha

    • The political noose is finally tightening around Netanyahu.

      Americans love the Iranian people!

    • Moji, I have known Iranians, since being in undergraduate school with a number back in the early 1970′s. And saw each of them as intelligent, civilized, cultured and quite sophisticated. That your people have suffered so for so long is a great shame. I pray and hope for your liberation in the near future. I think post the Arab Spring, it is going to become increasingly difficult for your current religious dictators to maintain their control.

      • “….and quite sophisticated.”

        How unbelievably arrogant and patronising. Iranians were sophisticated when we WASPS were running in goatskins banging people on the heads with clubs. Who would you define as sophisticated, the US, Europe, try listening to the videos from the grass roots of either and you will see we are far from sophisticated.

        Many years ago I hitch hiked through Iran and around Afghanistan /Syria / Iraq , and realised what a bunch of clods we were in comparison to ‘ordinary’ folk I met. Try reading the letters of Gertrude Bell or any of the explorers of the 19th / 20th century and you will find similar views.

  2. Dear Professor Cole

    Referring to both the above piece and the piece on CISPA, You might find this example of Blowback mentioned in Haaretz of interest

    link to haaretz.com

    “Stuxnet may be proof of Iran’s vulnerability and the effectiveness of other nation-states’ cyber-arsenals. However, it would also be possible for Iran to gain some knowledge for creating a Stuxnet-like virus from analyzing its effects,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D) of New York said at the hearing of the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee and the Cyber-security, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee, titled “Iranian Cyber Threat to the U.S. Homeland.”

    It is instructive to compare the reporting of a shift in US Nuclear policy vis a vis Iran from LAT Times with Haaretz

    link to latimes.com

    vs

    Breaking News
    Saturday, April 28, 2012

    09:01
    U.S. to agree to 5% uranium enrichment plan for Iranian nuclear program (Army Radio)

  3. Just the tip of the iceberg here. Diskin and Dagan reflect a widespread opinion within the ranks of the intelligence & military professionals, who are anything but bellicose nut jobs. There is sharp opposition within the IDF to the Bibi/Barak/Lieberman line on Iran.

    If the Iranian regime was wise, it would take the hint & tone down its rhetoric – especially Ahmadenijad’s despicable and utterly insane rhetoric about the Holocaust. That only serves to inflame public opinion & reinforce Israeli suspicion about Iran’s strategic aims.

  4. Today in Haaretz

    Former Shin Bet chief: Netanyahu not interested in peace talks

    link to haaretz.com

    First paragraphs:

    The harsh criticism sounded by former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the issue of Iran on Friday were only the tip of the iceberg.

    During the same speech in the “Majdi Forum” in Kfar Saba, Diskin blamed Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the freeze in the peace process.

    “Forget the stories they tell you about how Abbas is not interested in negotiation,” said Diskin, adding: “We are not talking to the Palestinians because this government has no interest in negotiations.”

  5. With whom will our presidential and congressional candidates align? The Netanyahu/Barak/settler cabal or Diskin, Dagan and others who have recognized that Israeli leadership is heading in the wrong direction with its Washington dogs in tow?

    • You already know the answer to your question. This has never been about what is good for “Israel”. Israel’s leadership, over generations of success, have turned their country into a kind of clearing house for dangerous right-wing ideas for the purpose of selling the legitimacy of those ideas to powerful allies in the West. In effect, they and the US neocons have put the “Holocaust Victim – Above All Criticism” brand on:

      militarism / expansionism at the expense of non-whites
      Friedmanite hypercapitalism
      military-industrial complex domination of policy-making
      the War on Terrorism as basis for government
      Orwellian surveillance
      torture
      nuclear proliferation
      Moslems as a unique evil who must be permanently defeated

      Then they’ve sold these now-protected doctrines back to right-wing bastards in the US, UK and Europe, so that the buyers can call any critics on the Left “anti-semitic” (ironically many of the critics are Jewish). They can also claim that these aggressive doctrines win wars, please Jehovah, and cure the common cold.

      The buyers: the GOP, the Christian Right, Tony Blair, all austerity pimps in Europe, and of course the war machine. When you see those charts showing the vast increase in inequality in the US over the last 30 years, a part of that wedge came from the use of Israeli legitimization of right-wing policies. Maybe not the biggest part, but then we’re talking about the theft of trillions.

      The payoff: the things Israel gets away with every day that drive us all crazy. For our engorged elites, it was a bargain.

        • The Democrats were in it simply (and stupidly) to hold on to the Jewish vote. They didn’t gain anything useful ideologically from Israeli extremism the way the Reaganites, neocons, and Christian nuts have. In fact, giving in to Israel has put the Dems in an impossible situation, since Israel is run by part of a global (but US-headquartered) right-wing movement that works to crush progressives in all countries. No matter how much any leader of the Left gives Israel, he gets screwed in return, and the bullies laugh and agree that they don’t have to bargain fairly with liberal softies. That is the utility of Israel’s warrior cult for the Right. Thus the intransigence of the Likud led to the intransigence of the Tea Party; they’ve proven the Right can take what it wishes over and over while the rest of us try to be “reasonable”.

      • don’t forget big oil. i think they’ve benefited the most from israel’s saber rattling.

  6. Diskin and Dagan exhibit the intelligence and courage that will be broadly needed inside both Israel and the United States in order for Israel to have a future.

  7. If Israel would be in peace with its neighbors, the Palestinian problem would be solved through the two state solution (67 borders), assuming there is no greater fighting (civil war) among Jewish subgroups and Israel would give up its nukes, Israel would become what it in reality is = a small and so less influential state. No more ability to steer US politics, no more visits in the White House every 3 to 6 months, no more VIP treatment in European capitals, no more US paid ultra modern military etc. Israel’s leaders influence is based solely on the present chaotic and tense situation. And they will not voluntarily give up that influence.

    The aggressive and non-constructive behavior and influence through chaos seeking strategy has been mutual to all top Israeli political leaders, from left to right. Netanyahu and Barak are not less or more “messianic” as their predecessor were. The basis of Israel’s policies and procedures has not changed for decades. Netanyahu and Lieberman express only less that for the western audience aimed empty “we want peace” propaganda. Iran has been in teeth of all Israel leaders since the beginning of 90′s. They all have been shouting that Iran will have nukes next year (month or week) for almost two decades.

  8. Dear SimoHurtta,

    Per my comments above, I fully agree with your analysis. However, one should not forget that what in part enables Israeli colonialism is the behavior of the regime in Iran, which is ANTI-Islamic and is certainly not “republican” (especially after the electoral coup of 2009) providing Netanyahu (and his ilk) with all the savage pretexts they desire–and vice versa–hence (per above) the co-dependence of extremists in “undermining the indigenous democratic capacity (preferably at the hands of ‘internal despotism’) of countries like Iran to resist ‘external colonialism’ [which] is the ultimate aim of the kind of [savage] sanctions/war that right-wing neo-con forces in US/Israel are fomenting.” As a green movement Iranian, I say: Shame on violent extremism, especially of the colonial/Zionist variety. Peace and Justice, Moji Agha [ Founder of IISCCIW.org ].

    • Iran is not “anti-Islamic” any more than any other self-identified religious regime is anti-religious. I find the Saudis an appalling regime, but I don’t consider them “anti-Islamic”. I find the Israelis an appalling regime, but I don’t consider them “anti-Jewish”. I find the Vatican an appalling institution, but I don’t consider them “anti-Christian”. We need to be able to recognize that religious states are just that: religious states. They will be flawed and fail to uphold their religious values, precisely because they are at once religious and nationalist. Those two ideologies will always be in conflict and frustrating. But those theological/political realities are the stuff of twenty-first century geopolitics.
      Let us try to get used to this reality.

  9. Dear Hugh,

    I understand your points, but respectfully disagree, especially as a nonviolent Green Movement reformist activist for civility, i.e., for real peace and true justice.

    Thus, the concept of the “consent of the governed” (in its Islamic context) is a definitional cornerstone of “Islamic governance,” at least as enshrined in Iran’s current constitution. So, when a so-called “Islamic” ruler (especially in Iran) steals the vote–and then tries to cover it up–that government becomes ANTI-Islamic, BY DEFINITION.

    Now the government of Saudi Arabia is a formal dictatorship AND it has been installed (and is kept in power) by “colonialism,” hence it is ANTI-Islamic on two “consent-of-the-governed” fronts.

    The Zionist state is clearly ANTI-Jewish because it is a political/nationalistic ideology that in an Orwellian way pretends/abuses a religion to get legitimacy–much like its “sister” regime in Iran, especially after the electoral coup of June 2009.

    As you say, these “theological/political realities are [unfortunately] the stuff of twenty-first century geopolitics.”

    I say however, per George Orwell’s advice, let us say that the various co-dependent Emperors (per my comments above) have no clothes, rather than “[trying] to get used to this [horrific kind of Orwellian] reality.”

  10. hey, was all this israeli saber-rattling yet more kabuki theater? did obama disingenuously play good cop to israel’s bad cop just to get iran to the negotiation table?

  11. diskin: Today there are extremist Jews, not just in the territories but also inside the Green Line, dozens of them…

    yes there are extremists, but to my surprise, upon learning this, they are a minority. let us also acknowledge the
    moderate majority:

    According to some polls, he said, 83% of settlers say “compensate us and we will relocate.”

    • This is the consequence of the government trying to pack the settlements with the only available immigrants, Russians who don’t give a damn about Judaism but do want wealth and power. This is Evigdor Lieberman’s gang, so I wouldn’t expect that he will define “compensation” in any reasonable fashion.

  12. We should be grateful that views like this from previous movers and shakers are getting into the public domain such as this site, but will they get into the popular media which the great majority take their views from, somehow I doubt it.

    One of the most disturbing elements of the Zionist right wing is that they have ‘shut down’ views like this, making the allegation that they own / control the majority of popular media not simply an unfounded myth, indeed, fascists like Lieberman even brag about it.

    • This story was broken by Haaretz, a liberal Israeli newspaper Saturday morning. The NYTimes covered it Sunday. It is very significant.

  13. A quiet side note that shoots holes in Bibi’s rantings …

    Pakistan has now successfully tested a MRBM that gives them the ability to reach Israel with the nukes that Pakistan openly acknowledges.

    So, while Iran also has missiles that can reach Israel, the missiles are NOT capable of lifting a nuclear warhead, NOR does Iran have a nuclear warhead NOR does Iran even have a nuclear weapons program.

    Bibi is just flat out crazy over something that is not a threat, while ignoring all the other threats to the future of Israel, such as the demographic time bombs of ultra conservatives Jews and Arabs between the Jordan River and the Med Sea and the replacement of the Arab dictatorships by democratic governments that can not be controlled by the USA.

    It appears that most of the military and intelligence leadership in Israel know that attacking Iran is suicidal, but so far the Israeli public still seems to be going along with Bibi, regardless how many sane people (both in and outside Israel) warn them that Bibi is just plain nuts.

  14. Dear Warren,

    Thank you very much for heart-felt response above. I wish Iran did not have oil.

    Peace and justice,

    Moji

  15. Is AIPAC aware of this Diskin fellow? He’s clearly anti-Semetic, based on his statements.[/snark] These are important views from prominent Israelis that need more publicity in the US. I would be particularly interested to find a US politician who would have the guts to reference those like Diskin and Dagan, although I will not be holding my breath.

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