It’s Psychological Warfare, Stupid: Why Netanyahu Really wants to Destroy Iran

The Israeli Likud Party’s cover story for why it wants to draw the United States into a war with Iran makes no real sense. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been predicting an Iranian nuclear bomb since 1992 (a time when Iran had no nuclear program at all), and he has been wrong for 15 years in a row. Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and other Israeli officials have said publicly that Iran has not decided to go for a nuclear weapon. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has given more than one fatwa or formal religious ruling that making and stockpiling nuclear weapons are forbidden in Islamic law. Netanyahu is in a position similar to that of someone who wants to argue that Pope Benedict XVI secretly has a condom factory operating in the Vatican.

Iran isn’t, contrary to what Netanyahu alleged, a year away from having a nuclear weapon. Iran can’t construct a nuclear weapon at all as long as it is being actively inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which it is (and yes, including the Fordo facility). There is no facility with uranium or enrichment facilities that is off limits to the IAEA inspectors. No country under active inspection by the UN has ever developed a nuclear weapon. Israel, which always refused such inspections, has some 400 nuclear warheads.

The dark green below is the Occupied Palestinian Territories that Israel controls:

So what is really driving all this noise about Iran? It is the Israeli right wing’s competition with the Palestinians. In the past few years, Israel has vastly expanded the number of Israeli squatters on Palestinian land in the West Bank:

Israeli squatters, backed by Netanyahu, are attempting to make a Palestinian state impossible. Netanyahu’s plan is to keep the Palestinians (some 12 million strong, 4 million of them in the Occupied Territories) stateless and without citizenship rights forever. People without a state have no institutions that would enforce their claims on property or on basic human rights, and so they are open to being treated, in a way, like slaves and constantly stolen from, as the Palestinians are.

Israel’s policy has long been to use its close relationship with the United States to domesticate or destroy any country in the region that gives hope to the Palestinians that they might one day get their own state. (Earlier in the conflict, maximalist claims against Israel were common, but for all practical purposes Palestinian statehood is what is at issue since the early 1990s). The Israeli military, backed and resupplied by the US, beat Egypt and Jordan into accepting a separate peace. Lebanon’s economy was destroyed more than once. Netanyahu argued hard for a US war on Iraq, and the American Neocons who fomented that war began by writing a position paper for Netanyahu himself arguing for an invasion of Iraq. Iraq was no match for nuclear-armed Israel, but it was perceived as giving moral support to and raising the morale of Palestinians resisting Israel’s vast theft of their lands. Iraq had to be broken.

Now, Iran is more or less the last man standing. Iran, and its unstable ally, Baathist Syria, are the only major Middle Eastern countries that strongly support the Palestinians, though admittedly more in speeches than practically. The rest have either given in (Egypt, Jordan) or de facto acquiesced in Israel expansionism into the West Bank. Iran’s defiance gives the Palestinians, especially those with a fundamentalist religious cast of mind, hope. (The extremeness of Iran’s position on Israel is unhelpful in fact to Palestinian aspirations, but it is a psychological plus for a beaten-down people).

Netanyahu wants to remove all hope from the Palestinians, so as to keep them permanently stateless and to ensure that their land is available for Israeli encroachment.

The Iran bogeyman is Netanyahu’s way of changing the conversation, of making sure that his Occupation of the Palestinian territories is never brought up. The US and Europe, who pay lip service to a ‘peace process’ in actual fact go along with the continued Occupation and ongoing expropriation of the Palestinians, and seem to fall for the Iran misdirection.

Likewise, an opinion poll some years ago found that a third of Israelis said they would emigrate and leave their country if Iran achieved a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu is in a demographic race with the Palestinians, and Iran as a rejectionist state is a negative in this psychological warfare. Ehud Barak once admitted his fears that if Israeli Jewish out-migration began exceeding Jewish immigration to Israel every year, it would endanger the Jewish character of the state. Iran’s nuclear enrichment program makes Israelis nervous.

The real struggle is on this psychological plane. There is little actual reason for Netanyahu to be as alarmed by the current Iranian civilian enrichment program as he professes to be. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly certified, and continues to certify, that Iran has diverted *no* uranium to a weapons program. It is all civilian. Most enriched Iranian uranium is only enriched to 3.5%, which is enough for fueling a power plant to generate electricity but not for a bomb, which typically needs 95% enrichment. Iran has also enriched some uranium to 19.75%, still considered low-enriched uranium, for its medical reactor, so that it can treat cancer patients. The stock of 19.75% enriched uranium makes Israeli hawks nervous because it could be fed back through centrifuges (assuming there were no UN inspectors or inspections) and enriched to 95% for a bomb more quickly than is the case with 3.5% enriched uranium. But Iran has just turned half of its 19.75% LEU into plates for fueling the medical reactor, actually reducing that stock (as Tehran all along said it would). As others have pointed out, that is not how a nation would behave if it was seeking a bomb.

So how will we know if Iran has decided to weaponize its nuclear enrichment program? We can at least be suspicious if they withdraw from the NPT and kick out the inspectors. That is the red line, not the one Netanyahu drew on his silly drawing of a cartoon bomb. There are no secret big enrichment facilities because they would require large amounts of electricity and water and could easily be spotted by US intelligence and satellites.

The arguments Netanyahu and his fellow traveling warmongers make are bewildering. They say Iran will give a bomb to terrorist organizations. Iran doesn’t have a bomb, so it can’t give one to any other group. But no nuclear nation has ever behaved that way anyway. Everyone knows that terrorists are flaky and sometimes turn on you. Iran would not risk such a thing and it is bizarre that anyone would allege it would. Tony Blair talked like this on CNN last night, but we know that he is a servant of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and of the oil giant BP.

Netanyahu even delivered an excursus on Shiite theology at the UN (yes):

“There’s a great scholar of the Middle East, Prof. Bernard Lewis, who put it best. He said that for the Ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement.

Iran’s apocalyptic leaders believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating Holy War, thereby ensuring that their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth.

That’s not just what they believe. That’s what is actually guiding their policies and their actions.”

I don’t know if Bernard Lewis really told Netanyahu that, but it is a shockingly ignorant and Orientalist thing to say. Imam Ruhollah Khomeini did not believe that the promised one of Shiism was coming any time soon, which is what created the need for an Islamic Republic run by clerics. They are to authorize religious practices until the 12th Imam, their messiah, comes.

The sayings in Shiism about the end of time are all over the place, but they typically predict that the Twelfth Imam will arise “when the world is full of injustice.” It isn’t an atomic explosion that would usher him in, but oppression and brutality.

While the current has-been, lame duck president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, probably does believe that the Twelfth Imam will come soon, he is not important (the Supreme Leader makes policy in Iran, and Ahmadinejad is more like a weak vice president). Moreover, he is disliked by the ruling ayatollahs for precisely this reason. The ayatollahs are in the business of taking up the slack from a missing Imam. If the Imam comes back, they risk unemployment.

Netanyahu has descended to the level of just making things up.

Posted in Iran | 34 Responses | Print |

34 Responses

  1. Is there any major US media source (even on the ‘left’) that doesn’t unquestioningly repeat the claim that the Iranian bomb is ‘imminent’? The Daily Show, for one, take this as a given. Their fawning interview with the King of Jordan this week repeated this very claim.

  2. Two thoughts on this insightful column:

    1) Would Israel be continuously threatening Iran if Iran already had nuclear weapons? In all probability the answer is “no” because an Israeli attack could trigger a response devastating the attacker. So a nuclear-armed Iran could contribute to a reduction, not an increase, in tensions (rhetoric is another matter). In other words it is the asymmetry which provokes the danger, not nuclear weapons.

    2) Everyone focuses on weapons that go “boom”. Were I advising the Iranians I would have them hard at work on chemical and biological weapons that could do terrible damage to Israel without the negatives of nuclear conflict. Or on air-borne radiologicals not requiring the sophistication of nuclear warheads. The Israelis created a nuclear weapons stockpile because they had access to American resources and because doing so established a threat capable of protecting them from their neighbors. What the Iranians need is a credible threat to protect them from the Israelis, and the capacity to sow Israeli cities with terrible toxins could be such a threat.

    All things considered I would prefer to see a nuclear-armed Iran constrained by the prospects of mutually-assured destruction to an Iran with a potent arsenal of CBR weaponry offering greater deniability and greater ease of deployment. A just resolution of the Palestinian situation might help us avoid either.

    • What is apparent is that Israel utilized chemical weapons illegally in Operation Cast Lead invasion.

      White phosphorus was dropped on civilians causing serious injuries that were well documented by Amnesty International and other international observers.

      The 462-page Goldstone Commission Report found credible proof of various multiple acts of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Israel on conduct that included the white phosphrus incident. For those who have not read the report, the lurid findings read like something coming out of Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII.

      In Iraq, the Halabja chemical attack was eventually prosecuted as a war crime and the infamous “Chemical Ali” executed.

      Israel’s use of white phosphorus and other war crimes and other infractions in Gaza has never been punished and the primary victims were helpless civilians while Hamas operatives generally avoided the fighting with most militia casualties being non-Hamas extremist groups. Israel hit “soft targets” in Gaza.

      Check out how legal loopholes and American diplomats at the U.N. obviated any accountability against Israel arising out of these incidents.

  3. Or that, even if they did produce one, an Iranian bomb would be some kind of catastrophe. I don’t see why Iran wouldn’t be deterred from using its bomb, just as every other nuclear power has been (except the USA when we had an atomic monopoly). I think the real fear of Likudniks and Neocons is that an Iranian bomb would oblige Israel and the USA to think twice about bullying others in the region and impinge on their power projection.

    I interpreted Bibi’s speech (in English, with 3rd grade-level visual aides) as being aimed mostly at an American audience.

    • you and former centcom commander John Abizaid.

      “ABC News’ Jonathan Karl Reports: In contrast to U.S. officials who have consistently called a nuclear Iran unthinkable, former CENTCOM commander John Abizaid told reporters Monday that he believes the United States could live with a nuclear Iran.
      “There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran,” Abizaid said. “I believe we have the power to deter Iran if they go nuclear” he said, just as we deterred the Soviet Union and China. “Iran is not a suicidal nation. Nuclear deterrence would work with Iran.”

      link to

      To me, it’s a clumsy distraction from the occupation of Palestinian land. But the world doesn’t seem to be able to think about two things at once when it comes to Israel.

      • Hence we hear the Likudniks develop the idea of Iranian “irrationality,” citing that well-known and objective (sic) expert bernard lewis, opining how Iran would “welcome” Israel retaliation that turned their country into a sheet of glass.

  4. Off topic but related.

    The discussion of Iran and Israel goes to the heart of US foreign policy.

    And US industrial policy as well because our industrial policy is the military.

    The pain on the US economy and US people from the government support of the 1%, including the military security complex, is not understood in the US.

    In other words, basic causality has been lost in the corporate media. They have failed on their main mission which is education of citizens rather than cheer leading for consumerism.

    One voice that many of the readers here have followed is Glenn Greenwald. He writes from the perspective of civil liberties and continues to demonstrate that both political parties are basically in agreement about war and the economy.

    As someone pointed out, rather than the 50 – 50% split of the electorate that the corporate media talks about, it is closer to 99% vs. 1%. In order to keep that story from taking away the power from the 1%, the US under Obama continues and enhances assault on free speech and whistle blowers.

    As this is written, his current post by Glenn Greenwald describes the chilling effect of any contact with wikileaks or engaging in dialog against the power structure is intimidated by the law. Another failed US institution.

    As most of you probably know, Glenn is now writing for The Guardian. Here is the direct link to Glenn’s posts because they don’t always show up on the home page. Juan has already posted this link but I am doing it again in case you missed it.

    link to

  5. Nothing new under the sun: “Carthago delenda est!” (the simplified version, for those not familiar with the arc of former empires: link to )

    And we have our very own senators and reps emitting the same flavor and color of BS, happy to carry the water for, and wash the feet of, Yahoo and the Likudniks. There’s a reason a lot of Israelis refer to the US as Uncle Freier (“Sucker!”)

    Again, the neocons and their shadow backers know that they can personally profit hugely from the miseries that are the real nature of the “policies” they peddle, and either be comfortably dead from old age, or like the Nazis in late 1945 or multiple recently deposed dictators, moved on to sunnier climes where fellow autocrats will give them a nice resort-like home, free from petty annoyances like extradition to face criminal charges “at home” or in the World Court.

  6. Professor, excellent article on a crucial subject. We can rely on you for information we (the American people) do not receive.

  7. I wonder if Netanyahu is playing the endgame in a battle that he knows is lost, desperately shooting for a near impossible victory. Israel was no doubt pleased with America’s invasion of Iraq. However they must be horrified by our defeat there. They would have no reason to doubt that an American war on Iran would also end in another messy defeat.

    Why would Israel want America to suffer another defeat in the Middle East? Surely that would expedite our exit from the region. Why would they want to risk such a thing?

    The only logical explanation is the reason a drowning man grasps at anything that might float. Israel is left with few, mostly bad, choices for the future. As America begins to see through Israeli propaganda, the Israelis find themselves in a race for time. When America finely sees the reality of Israel and the cost we incur in supporting Israel we will begin to re-think Israel. At that point Israel is done. That was the fate of Apartheid South Africa.

    But, what to do? An American war with Iran is not likely to come out well. But, those long odds are the best odds of any other choices for Israel. So, for Israel, war is the best policy!

    • There is a relationship between the declining white majority in America and the declining Jewish minority in Israel. Israel’s 1967 victory won the love of American whites across a scary swath of the political spectrum at a time when it was losing in Vietnam and seemed to be losing control of its own streets to minorities.

      With both our major parties infiltrated by the Lobby, we have no ideological line of defense against Israel’s appropriation of our own fears of blacks and Latinos.

      In the long run, an America with a mostly non-white electorate will simply not see the future apartheid Israel as anything to love. But aren’t our own whites being inspired by Israel’s “example” to find an infinitude of dirty tricks to disenfranchise and incarcerate minorities and cling to power just one more election? We might end up revisiting our own Jim Crow with the full support of the desperate Lobby, and both countries plunged into self-destruction hand-in-hand.

  8. Excellent analysis and makes perfect sense. Something I have long suspected as one of the motives behind demonizing Iran and a great way to distract an already dumbed down world from the atrocities being committed against the Palestinian people. Just one possible error I wanted to point out in your article. From my understanding of the religion of Islam, although the coming of the 12th Imam is of supreme importance, Jesus (not the 12th Imam) is believed to be the messiah in the Islamic religion as well.

    • @Colleen,

      No, Jesus is not the savior in Islam though his second coming along with the final Imam’s are considered to be eschatological signs in Shia Islam. The return of Jesus is a tenant of faith across branches of Islam.

      That said, doctrinally speaking no one in charge of Iran, assuming them to be self-interested, would want the 12th Imam to return. The concept of velayat-e-faqi, which empowers the Supreme Leader to act in place of the 12th Imam, would go moot and they’d have to cede power.

      It’s an odd world to assume things turning Biblical as it were, but who would want to give up divinely ordained power?

  9. Excellent article. One of the best I’ve seen so far, along with Gareth Porter’s continuing reporting on every aspect and false accusations that come along repeatedly in the MSM. Your title : It’s psychological warfare… made me think: Isn’t that what religion has become in our day and age – a kind of psychological warfare to rule over the people and create enemy-scapegoats who we must attack and destroy to save ourselves ? Or politics for that matter…

  10. Netanyahu warms that the Moslems believe “a medieval holy man will appear” in the wake of “a devastating holy war”? Funny, I thought he was talking about his fundamentalist Christianist backers in the US. Sounds like something out of the book of Revelations.

    There are apparently more people rooting for Armageddon than not…

  11. Let’s not forget Hezbollah, which blocks Israeli access to Litani River water. And it is Iran that supplies Hezbollah via Syria.

    And let’s not overlook the fact that “Iranian” seems to have replace “Shia” in the lexicon of Gulf Oil sheikhs who have oppressed Shia minorities.

    By demonizing Iran and joining the Sunni sectarian battle against Shia Islam, Netanyahu is making a concerted effort to become allies with petro-monarchs.

    By toppling the Iranian government, Netanyahu thinks he will achieve complete freedom of action in the Middle East without meaningful resistance from Syria and Hezbollah or anyone else, certainly not the petro-monarchs.

    Of course, the US has its own motives for not liking Iran, which limits its complete access to and control over Persian Gulf oil and gas. As such, the nuclear issue is just a PR show, exploiting a hot button that resonates among the ignorant American electorate and provides a ready causus belli.

    Best of all for American politicians, if something goes wrong on their Iranian calculations, they have a ready scape goat–the Jewish state. Strangely enough, Netanyahu glibly assumes that violent anti-Semitism will not arise from the ashes of an Iranian fiasco.

  12. The Israeli/Likud case really is bogus, and not to split hairs, but the more you look at it the more transparent it becomes. A few quibbles:

    1-The map shows what it shows. But draw-in where Israel is constructing its wall, which looks to be made of 40-50′ tall concrete slabs, and you have the outline for a future Palestinian reservation that is starkly barren are far smaller. This is the future vision being objectively demonstrated by Israel.

    2-Consolidation of a greater Zion along these lines is their evident agenda. But maintaining regional hegemony is also critical to Israeli security, relying on force rather than peace as it always has been. Iran’s economic development, aside from whatever it may develop militarily, becomes an threat (is there any other kind?), because it could be turned to a military capability at any point. Add that to Iran’s geographic positioning and the energy needs of the US/World really do become involved.

    3-So, Israel must convince the US/World that its problems are shared by the US/World. A tough sell, but the energy vulnerability of the West is real and does stand to be hijacked for their purposes. And after 15-20 years of crying Wolf, eventually the inevitability of action becomes something people are used used to. Its propaganda through insistence. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

  13. Hi Juan,

    First, thank you for informed comment.

    Reading it, I think of the dawn of the WWI. It had two causes: expectations and development of weapon technology. You could add German inferiority complex, which later propelled into the 20s and 30s, the Third Reich, and WWII.

    According to military sources past spring, all pieces are now in place for an attack on Iran. Step by step, all non-military options are eliminated.

    The history of both Israel and USA is full of examples of the search for causa belli, “reasons” for war. The Tonkin incident never happened.

    When the US illegally attacked Iraq, it changed the strategic balance in the Middle East. In one stroke, the Shite majority came to dominate Iraq, and to find common cultural and religious ground with Iran. And Iran, a former ally, became the regional superpower.

    Conclusion: military just have military solutions. And they usually don´t work.

    Israel is an army that have a country. All the top politicians are military.

    Will the israeli peace opinion wake up and change the destiny of their country and form a Middle East Union with their neighbors?

    Cheers, Björn Lindgren

  14. Juan, I love your image of the Vatican having a secret condom factory… is really apt to the situation you describe. As a native born Californian who spent time as a child in Detroit in the late forties and early fifties and happily returned to the west (and was so happy to get out of there) where I belong to matriculate at the University of California, you and Marcy Wheeler make me almost wish I had been a Wolverine.

    Of course you and Marcy would have been fellow students at best, or in elementary or secondary school when I went to college. But props for the post above, I really like your blog and the clarity it provides about the issues you care about and discuss.

  15. Minor correction to the article, you wrote “Ayatollah Ali Khomeini” where it should read “Ayatollah Ali KHAMENEI”.

    @Colleen Ross, yes you are correct Jesus Christ (pbuh) is indeed the Messiah in Islam just as in Christianity.

    The word “Messiah” comes from the semitic word “Masih” which means “Annointed”. The word Christ comes from the Greek “Christos” which also means “Annointed”.

  16. All this talk about Iran! Gee, I clean forgot about all those settlements, and their illegality, and UNSC 465 (1980) demanding that Israel remove all settlers and dismantle all settlements. Yup, I was so distracted it clean slipped my mind.

    Is it possible that Israel, SO BUSY expressing fear of Iran, could ALSO be doing something shameful and wants to prevent anyone’s talking about it?

    Gosh, clever, these Israelis.

  17. In fact not only has Iran converted half of its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium to fuel plates (thus making it nonusable for nukes) but Iran as forced to enrich to 20% in the first place by US sanctions, and has repeatedly offered to cease 20% enrichment if it can just buy the necessary reactor fuel again. Considering that this reactor is far too small to pose any weapons proliferation threat, then the US sanctions on refueling it served no non-proliferation purpose but actually backfired by encouraging Iran to further enrich uranium — a point the media seems to want to ignore.

    Former Iran nuclear negotiator Mousavian (now at Princeton) has explained this: “Iran had no other option but to increase the level of enrichment to 20%. Now people say that because we enriched up to 20%, we must want to build a nuclear bomb. This is the story you read everywhere in the media. But they don’t tell you the truth. In September 2011, the Iranian foreign minister and president came to New York for the United Nations assembly, and they made a proposal to the U.S. and the West. They said, ‘Now that we have 20%, we are ready to stop. We are ready to go back to 3.5% if you provide us with the fuel rods, because about a million patients with cancer need it.’ The U.S. declined.”
    link to

  18. I believe the effort to emasculate Hezbollah by emasculating Iran is as much of a motivation for the Isreeli government as the effort to complete the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinaians. Of course the two are interlinked, but Hezbollah is Israel’s only real military adversary in the region.

  19. It is interesting to note in this context that in his 1/13/12 interview with the New York Times Magazine, Ehud Barak admitted that the danger of a nuclear Iran was not so much from attacking Israel, but that a nuclear power could afford much greater protection to its allies, like the Hezbollah. “A nuclear Iran announces that an attack on Hezbollah is tantamount to an attack on Iran. We would not necessarily give up on it, but it would definitely restrict our range of operations.”

  20. The Second Intifada ended after Ariel Sharon had given the West Bank Palestinians a release of several hundered prisoners and withdrew the IDF from Gaza. These were important steps toward peace. He was an originator a political party that professed a goal of progress towrard peace in the region.

    The increasing of West Bank Jewish settlements reverses the conciliation process and helps make a future peace settlement with Palestinian negotiators next to impossible. This is the goal of the Likud Party and its allies in Homeland Party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

    Ehud Olmert and Mr. Netanyahu have been consecutive disasters to the goal of negotiating a lasting peace agreement in the region.

  21. Anyone ever thought, that Iran and North Korea co-developed sub design, as well as North Korea selling subs to Iran.

    North Korea was also one of Iran major arms suppliers during their Iran Iraq War. During the Iran Iraq war North Korea supplied Iran with Scud missiles, as well as helping Iran to set up domestic production of the missiles. North Korea was allegedly selling Syria a nuclear reactor as well as, the fuel.

    North Korea and Iran also appear to have co-designed similar tanks – the designs are similar.

    Who has nuclear weapons? North Korea. If Iran wanted nuclear weapons they would buy them from N. Korea, or they would enrich the uranium in North Korea.

  22. Excellent, factual and a moderate article by Professor Juan Cole. In an article in the bi-monthly July/August 2012 edition of Foreign Affairs, Professor Kenneth Waltz of Columbia University goes as far as advocating that Iran ought to possess nuclear arsenal for the sake of restoring stability to a Middle East went widely unstable for many decades since Israel developed, of all the countries of the region, it’s nuclear weaponry program.

    Netanyahu & his Likud adherents are riding the wave of a submissive US Polity still enjoying the privilege of a US leading in a unipoar universe.

  23. Very well written article…However I would like to add that the Islamic concept of leadership is contrary to what we adhere to in the West (and even in most Muslim Nations). In Islam, the leader must live a life lived by the lowest earning of his people…which is the reason as to why Imam Ali Khamenei, while holding the highest rank possible (Vali-e-Faqih) lives a very basic life! I would urge all to read into the concept of the Twelfth Imam…It is not merely a power struggle for the Ayatollahs; and thus to imply that the coming of the Imam would be highly undesirable by them…Second, the coming of Jesus is parallel to the coming of the Imam and it is reported that Jesus will support the Imam’s validity, thus removing all doubts!
    It is incumbent upon Muslims to believe, love, and respect all prophets, from Adam to Mohammad (peace be upon them)…Islamophobia is just a means to legitimize our military presence and economic gains in the region, an approach they (the policy makers) think, will work to gain support from the people…

  24. With the destruction of one third of the Jewish people within living memory, do you really think Israel should risk allowing a belligerent country of 70 million get even close to making a nuclear bomb? Do you think that Israel should trust the promises made by the mullahs in Tehran? Israel must take measures to prevent an Iranian bomb – this is the logical conclusion that any Jew would arrive at in light of the last 80 odd years of our history. The conflict with the Palestinians is manageable; the conflict with Iran is existential.

  25. Great Article Juan, and discussion afterwards.

    The side story, buried in MSM, of the LEM is fascinating, no?

    And then there’s the othe elephant in the room – last year Obama’s US actually had the temerity to suggest that Israel comply to the NPT, allow inspections of its nuclear program, etc. – and this monumental hypocrisy is overlooked. Not only does Israel have its own nuclear armaments, a history of full intent to use, alleged targeting on regional and European centres, and an open discussion of a first use of nuclear weapons vs Iran; it has also contriuted to spreading of nuclear weapons to (then also apartheid) South Africa.

    Then again, hypocrisy – the US, China and Russia are bound by the NPT, but India and Pakistan got their tech from somewhere.

    @Mark Koroi – you seem to forget that Ariel Sharon, the architect of the genocide of Sabra and Shatila, was responsible for starting the Second Intifade. He was also a die-hard settlement fanatic (‘run and grab the hilltops’). Framing him as a peace-maker is off the mark, to say the least.

    @Jack – you touch obliquely on another issue. There is no NBC attack on Israel that does not kill large numbers of Palestinians as well as pontentially Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, Egyptians. Is this something that Iran would seriously contemplate doing. Iran is not a desparate dictator like Hussein or Assad, but then again Iran can be made desperate…

  26. It really strikes me that a Scholar as Bernard Lewis would not come forward and cast an opinion on Netanyahu’s following quotation or misquotation as being, if untrue, being put out of context; the Onus falls on Bernard Lewis to approve or object to Netanyahu’s deployment of an intellectual scholar’s possible speculative renderings to serving a political agenda of potentially very ominous consequence.

    Bernard Lewis according to Netanyahu had allegedly stated:

    Netanyahu even delivered an excursus on Shiite theology at the UN (yes):

    “There’s a great scholar of the Middle East, Prof. Bernard Lewis, who put it best. He said that for the Ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement.

    Iran’s apocalyptic leaders believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating Holy War, thereby ensuring that their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth.

    That’s not just what they believe. That’s what is actually guiding their policies and their actions.”

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