Israel’s indispensable enemies

The brutality with which the Iranian authorities have suppressed political dissent since last June’s disputed presidential election has been widely reported. The Washington Post now reveals that the political turmoil has had another effect: it has resulted in a new supply of intelligence as disaffected officials leak information about Iran’s nuclear program.

As a result, a National Intelligence Estimate being prepared for President Obama which was due out last fall is not expected to be completed until August.

The revisions to the NIE underscore the pressure on the U.S. intelligence community to produce an accurate assessment of Iran’s nuclear ambitions as President Obama pursues a policy aimed at preventing the country from acquiring an atomic bomb. The community’s 2007 assessment presented the startling conclusion that Iran had halted its work on developing a nuclear warhead, provoking enduring criticism that the report had underestimated the Iranian threat.

Officials briefed on the new version, which is technically being called a “memo to holders” of the first, say it will take a harder tone. One official who has seen a draft said that the study asserts that Iran is making steady progress toward nuclear weapons capability but that it stops short of concluding that the Islamic republic’s top leaders have decided to build and test a nuclear device.

There is little question that Iran sees strategic value in making its nuclear intentions hard to decipher, but let’s for the sake of argument assume that its goal is to put itself in the same position as Japan: not to assemble a nuclear arsenal but to have the means to do so at short notice. Could such a capability pose an existential threat to Israel (or anyone else)?

Israeli leaders have already made it clear that they draw no distinction between a nuclear armed Iran and an Iran that has nuclear weapons capability, yet this may say less about the nature of an Iranian threat than it does about the nature of Zionism. Deprive Israel of its existential threats, and the necessity for a Jewish state becomes less imperative. Take away the fear of annihilation and Jewish identity will lose one of its most unifying attributes.

Israel might fear its enemies, yet can it survive without them?

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9 thoughts on “Israel’s indispensable enemies

  1. Lysander

    Paul, I think you may be relying too much on psychology for this. Granted Israel will exaggerate any threat to gain sympathy, aid, etc. But a nuclear capable Iran is a real threat to Israel’s room for maneuver, and same for the US for that . In such circumstance when a non-nuclear Iran is able to totally nuke up anytime on short notice, you will no longer hear much talk of military options. You will not likely see major escalations of border incidents such as 2006. There will be less tolerance for another massacre of Gaza. And Europe will know, along with the US, that a rogue Israel could cause Iran to take the final step from nuclear capable, to just plain nuclear. Nuclear with missiles that can reach Europe.

    While you read Israel’s psychology and propensity to exaggerate correctly, it is clear to me that an Iran with a Japan option changes the regional balance substantially to Israel’s disfavor.

  2. DE Teodoru

    Oh good. So now we’ll all be able to get a copy form the NYTIMES as it prints “all the news that’s FIT to print!”

  3. Emanuel Appel

    To all,

    There is one obsession that drives all enemies of the Jews – the desire to deprive them of nationhood.

    There is no drive to to dissolve Paraguay, Bosnia, Uganda, or Outer Mongolia. Only Israel, the State of the Jewish people, is deemed “unnecessary” despite the obvious desire of that nation for one.

    Failing the dissolution of Israel, the next step is to deprive her of a capital, Jerusalem. Thus, the call for the “internationalization” of the city while no one calls for the same in Mecca, Cairo, or Amman or Paris ( far more cosmopolitan than Jerusalem).

    This call for national suicide is an obsession or mental illness of those who propose it.

  4. DE Teodoru

    Well Mr. Appel, are you saying all Jews should all “go home”? Do you agree with Sharon that any Jew who does not by 2020 make the aliyah to Israel loses his Jewish soul? What kind of a Jewish Nation is it that murders the current occupants of the land as it expands claiming the right to “lebensraum” a la Adolph Hitler and other dictators (read Benny Morris, of all people) but then can’t even get 30% of world’s Jews to live there because they are loyal citizens of their other homelands? Why does Israel have to restrict its own natives so they don’t leave it desolate of Jews? Lastly, no one wants to kill Israel, not even the Arab League, so why do you need to argue a lie instead of arguing a peace that would make Israel prosper so it no longer hemorrhages its young?

  5. Emanuel Appel

    Dear teodoru,
    The liar is you. You know very well what the Ayrabs say and their record.
    By your name, I assume you are either Greek or Romanian. For someone belonging to those two nations with their history of Arab/Turkish/ native history to come to the aid of religious imperialists ( the Moslems) is shameful.

    Yes, I’m saying that ideally all Jews should go home. Those that don’t are forced to share the same air with you to their detriment.

    What kind of Jewish Natio kills Arabs/ Moslems? One that does a very poor job of it in comparison with Greeks or Romanians.

  6. Paul Woodward

    Mr Appel – You have a conception of a Jewish state that I haven’t come across before: not only a land for the Jewish people but its own atmosphere.

    On the planet I live on, we all breath the same air. If you find that fact repulsive, you must indeed be living a miserable life.

  7. Norman Morley

    The conception that I draw from this back & forth, is one that paints a picture this side of paranoia. I believe that the threat has been a lot of rhetoric not to different than a school yard blow. Granted the stakes are higher, because they are paid for in blood & tears. It’s not anti-Jewish, just because some people give out with slogans, but the actions, they are the ones that speak loudly. I don’t begrudge the Israeli’s for their reactions to the Suicide bombings in the past, That’s on the terrorists hands. I also don’t begrudge the Arabs as a whole, for the actions of individuals bent on violence, for those acts are cowardly. But so is the present action taken by the Israeli Military forces, both in Lebanon and in Gaza. The same can be said for what has/is taking place in both Iraq & Afghanistan to the civilian population. The casualties being insurgences, are but a small percentage, while the innocent are in the majority. The mind set of Military leaders today, leave an awful lot to be desired. Israel has no right to say that sitting down at the peace table hinges on this or that, as they have been saying all these years. The question that no one seems to want to ask, is why can’t the people of the region have peace, build on that peace for the betterment of the whole, which can only create a new powerhouse of Economic might, where all will prosper?

  8. pabelmont

    But back to a nuclear Iran. How does it change ANY picture except by depriving Israel (and USA?) of the freedom (certainly not a right) to attack Iran with nuclear weapons or to attempt to destroy Iran to a point where Iran would wish to “take Israel with it on the way down”.

    I doubt either Israel or the USA wishes to “nuke” Iran. And although Iran may hate USA and/or Israel, I doubt it would dare to “nuke” either. Come on. let’s make some sense here.

    Furthermore, although Iranian leaders make aggressive noises sometimes, can you imagine Iran exploding a nuclear bomb within range of the Dome of the Rock even if Iran could “win” the war?

    Suppose Iran has one or two or 20 “nukes” and Israel again attacks Lebanon as it has done twice already. can you imagine those “nukes” playing a role? Is Iran going to “give” a “nuke” to Hezbollah, to Hamas?

    I’d really like to hear a better explanation about why people profess to believe that a nuclear Iran is more a threat than a nuclear Israel (which has started more wars, including the war of 1945-50 than Iran, which has started none). “USA [policy elites] love Israel and hates Iran” may be true but is no explanation.

  9. DE Teodoru

    Norman Morley and pabelmont make a lot of sense, thank you so much! I confess to my impatience to see Israel begin to benefit from acceptance in its environs and give benefit to the Arabs around it that so fear Iran. No serious study I ever read– other than by End of Days Bible babble analysts– suggests that Iran wants to destroy Israel. Parsi’s book on Israeli-Iranian relations (even post-Shah) suggests that there’s a triangular aspect that makes each corner of the geometric figure need both of the other sides alive and kicking (RATIONALLY)—a great read:

    I fear no more an Israeli attack of Iran than an Iranian attack of Israel– especially not with Netanyahu in power. The Revolutionary Guards, on the other hand, are too dependent on specialized factions in the country to go too far against their own interests and against Iran’s security. I suggest we all consider the depth of history in the Israeli-Iranian relationship. Everyone is posturing because loose nukes seems kind of scary but no one can or will act upon Iran reaching technical nuclear capacity on demand. If anything, it may force a more mature diplomacy as the atom bomb forced on us all through the Cold War. Alas, bad people have to be accepted, but that’s nothing new for homo-sapiens. Thanks to Internet we are in an endless propaganda war that makes for employment in literate places where there would be chomage. Still, the hot air will rise to be replaced by cooler breezes.

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