Edition 2: No. 126
Israel and the Iran nuclear deal
Why does Israel so fear the Iran nuclear deal? Are Israel’s fears that Iran will now develop nuclear weapons well founded? With what face does Israel condemn the deal when Israel itself has a nuclear arsenal which is, by no means, insignificant? Why is nuclear apartheid permissible? Why must the world tolerate any nation on earth possessing nuclear weapons? If Israel were to choose a unilateral preemptive military attack on Iran, would it impede or prompt Iran to be belligerent and actually acquire weapons? Would it then not be entitled to make the claim that Iran must also have nuclear weapons as a deterrent against Israel? Why won’t Israel sign up to the proposal for a Nuclear-free Middle East?
The bogey of the Iran is a handy one for Israel to brandish about. It makes Netanyahu the reliable bully who can keep at bay any country that dares browbeat it? Netanyahu does this, while artfully exploiting the fears that leader after leader in Israel has cultivated in its people. Israelis live in a sense of self-imposed siege. Their own shadows have become potential enemies carrying weapons of annihilation of the Jewish nation.
With this wall of fear so firmly erected, Israel keeps alive the illusion, through propaganda, that anything Muslim is dangerous and must be stamped out- even, if it is but a shadow. The fear is simulated and it has, by and large, worked. The idea of Israel as a nation whose very existence stands threatened is taken seriously by the people.
The Peace Movement in Israel has, but, only a remote change of creating perceptional change, although its intent under hard circumstances are to be admired. Netanyahu has perfected the art of instilling fear through fabrication of misinformation and half-truths. It has worked in his favour. But even the political class is tiring of these antics. Those who are given him the thumbs down are growing gradually. This is borne out by the report that more than 50% of Israelis would rather withdraw from the settlements in the West Bank.
The article that follows “Netanyahu: Unserious leader of a fearful nation” was written by Jeffrey Rudolph, a Montreal college professor with rich credentials in researching and writing on international issues. His notes and references show Netanyahu isolating himself and his own people. Rather than bring security, he seemingly prefers war unmindful of the perilous consequences it could have on Israel and the region as a whole.
The question is being asked: Will Netanyahu opt for restraint or belligerence? The answer lies in the odd ways of international diplomacy. Netanyahu may still yield but not until he has milked utmost advantage from friendly countries that need, for their own illogical reasons, to gratify his political ego.
Netanyahu: Unserious leader of a fearful nation
By Jeffrey Rudolph*
25 July, 2015
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot be taken seriously when he talks about Iran. While Netanyahu is a master at exploiting fear in a particularly fearful society, the following points demonstrate that thinking people can ignore his claims dealing with Iran.
“Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders blasted the [July 2015 nuclear] deal even as negotiators in Vienna were still making the announcement and providing details.”
“[M]any former senior intelligence and national security officials in Israel disagree [with Netanyahu’s assessment of the July 2015 nuclear deal]. While they think the deal is flawed and that Netanyahu deserves credit for raising the alarm on Iran years ago, they also believe that the historic agreement is—on balance—in the national security interest of the State of Israel.” Ami Ayalon, “a former head of Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service, and a former chief of the Israeli Navy” can list numerous “former defense ministers and chiefs of Shin Bet and Mossad who agree with him that ‘when it comes to Iran’s nuclear capability, this [deal] is the best option.’ ‘When negotiations began, Iran was two months away from acquiring enough material for a [nuclear] bomb. Now it will be 12 months,’ Ayalon says, and the difference is significant to anyone with a background in intelligence. ‘Israelis are failing to distinguish between reducing Iran’s nuclear capability and Iran being the biggest devil in the Middle East,’ he says.” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/21/ex-intel-chief-iran-deal-good-for-israel.html
When Netanyahu was asked on television whether he would lobby the US Congress over the landmark [July 2015] nuclear deal with Iran, he replied: “I feel it’s my obligation as the prime minister of Israel to speak out against something that endangers the survival of my country, the security of the region, the security of the world.”
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/netanyahu-iran-nuclear-deal-israel-biggest-security-concern/ (19 July 2015)
“On the eve of the nuclear accord, Netanyahu warned on his Twitter account that Iran ‘is more dangerous than ISIS,’ a reference to the radical Islamic State group that has captured vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. He argued that ‘the true goal of [Iran’s] aggression…is to take over the world.’”
“Binyamin Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration [at the United Nations] in 2012 that Iran was about a year away from making a nuclear bomb was contradicted by his own secret service, [Mossad, which]…concluded that Iran was ‘not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons’.”
In 2010, Netanyahu wanted the Israeli military to prepare “for an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations…[Accordingly, he] convened the Security Cabinet, which then asked [former Mossad director Meir] Dagan, [former military chief of staff Gabi] Ashkenazi and several others for their views on military action. The generals argued against it. The cabinet duly voted the action down, infuriating Netanyahu and then-defense minister Ehud Barak. Within a year Ashkenazi, Dagan and their ally, Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, were all out of a job.”
http://forward.com/opinion/israel/309894/a-smackdown-in-new-york-over-the-decision-not-to-bomb-iran/# (12 June 2015)
Likudniks point to Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor as a successful example of what the Israeli Air Force can achieve. (Then-Prime Minister Begin disdained diplomacy as a route to deal with Iraq’s nuclear program.) However, “After [Israel’s 1981] attack…Saddam cranked up Iraq’s nuclear production several times over, putting thousands of new technicians to work on the project. This was only discovered when the Americans questioned the Iraqi nuclear scientists they captured during the 1991 Gulf War. It was that war, and the subsequent takeover of Saddam’s WMD, that prevented Iraq from getting the bomb – not the 1981 Israeli attack on Osirak.” There is no reason to assume Iran would not redouble its nuclear program after an Israeli attack.
http://972mag.com/the-myth-of-the-osirak-bombing-and-the-march-to-iran/36911/ (2 March 2012)
*Jeffrey Rudolph, a Montreal college professor, was the Quebec representative of the East Timor Alert Network and presented a paper on its behalf at the United Nations. He was awarded the prestigious Cheryl Rosa Teresa Doran Prize upon graduation from McGill University’s faculty of law.