Why do Israeli media keep predicting war with Iran?

Tony Karon writes: If the White House believes November will arrive without any nasty surprises in the Iran nuclear standoff, it is not taking seriously the feverish chatter throughout Israel‘s media positing an imminent Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic. The front pages of the four main Israeli dailies last Friday reflected what appeared to be a concerted campaign to create the impression that Israel is preparing itself to start a hot war with Iran sometime over the next 12 weeks, notwithstanding objections by the U.S. and other Western powers — and, indeed, by much of Israel’s security establishment. “[Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Ehud] Barak determined to strike Iran in the fall,” proclaimed Yedioth Ahronoth. Haaretz offered: “Senior Israeli official — The Iranian sword at our throat is sharper than the run-up to the war in 1967.” Maariv informed us in its banner headline that 37% of the Israeli public believes that “If Iran gets the bomb, it might result in a second Holocaust.” And Yisrael Hayom said: “Iran significantly speeds up its progress toward the bomb.” The following day, the latter paper included a headline claiming that, according to Israeli TV, a “Decision by Netanyahu and Barak to strike Iran is almost final.”

Haaretz seemed to suggest that part of the renewed urgency was a claim that new intelligence allegedly received by the U.S. ostensibly showed Iran making accelerated progress toward a capability to build nuclear warheads, although there was no U.S. confirmation of those claims. And others in the Israeli media were skeptical. One of Israel’s most senior columnists, Maariv’s Ben Caspit, sought to calm the media frenzy. “You can all relax,” wrote Caspit. “In the last two weeks, nothing new has happened with regards to an attack on Iran. The Cabinet hasn’t convened, the Defense Minister hasn’t summoned the IDF general staff, and no new information has been received. Everything that is known today was also known two weeks and two months ago.

Caspit suggested that the new “bomb Iran” talk wasn’t based on any qualitative shift in the nature of Iran’s nuclear work. The U.S. intelligence assessment until now has been that despite steadily accumulating the means to build nuclear weapons, Iran has not thus far moved to enrich uranium to weapons grade or to begin the process of actually building a bomb. Nor has it taken a strategic decision to do so as yet. The problem is that the “red lines” adopted by Israel and the U.S. for triggering a military response are different: President Obama has vowed to take military action to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, whereas Israel has insisted that Iran can’t be allowed to maintain the capability to build such weapons — a technological capacity it essentially already has. [Continue reading…]

It’s not really correct to say that Israel insists Iran can’t “maintain” the capability to build nuclear weapons. In one of his most recent statements, Netanyahu said: “I think it’s important to do everything in our power to prevent the Ayatollahs from possessing that capability.” Clearly, that wouldn’t be possible if in his view Iran already possessed this capability.

The problem is, there is no consensus on what nuclear capability means. As Mark Donig Jaclyn Tandler write:

In reality, possessing a nuclear capability could mean anything from having the infrastructure and know-how of a civilian nuclear program (like Japan) to possessing a dedicated nuclear weapons program just short of testing a nuclear weapon (like Pakistan before 1998). “Capability” is a spectrum, not a clear line that is either crossed or not.

Indeed, capability is a rhetorical red line imposed by those who want to sound emphatic but prefer not to be clear about what they mean.

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One thought on “Why do Israeli media keep predicting war with Iran?

  1. DE Teodoru

    The real problem is a repeat of Gaza right after McCain lost the presidency. Israel– especially the Revisionist Zionists– have every reason (so they think) to push the US into a hellhole. In doing so they FORCE Jewish Americans into the Leninist conundrum: polarize to mobilize. As Zionist Revisionists in America push for war with Iran, the mass majority of Jews are forced into consensus through silence, even though silence is motivated by “do no harm,” feeling like physicians put in an untenable position of act to treat and risk severe side effects vs. inactive watchful-waiting. But as the extremist voice gets louder (with cash-cows like Adelson calling in their markers), moderate American Jews are faced with tar and feathering for breaking silence while goyim candidates for Congress call for a radical position; hence the Revisionist’s reproach: “Brethren, do you want to be more anti-Israel than the dumb goyim legislators?” Eventually, in the face of Israeli media shouts of “Israel is about to attack,” American Jewish silence comes to be seen by goyim compatriots as compliance which, as things get hot, comes to be seen as consensus. Afterall, it’s hard to be a Jew LESS ZIONIST than the furkunkle Mormon Romney!

    As soon as Romney electorally becomes a lost cause, Israel will attack. But how it acts depends on how well its minions in America control in silence and incriminate the American Jewish community as the silent many for whom the few neocons pretend to speak. All this can only succeeds if the impression of military fait accompli solidifies in the media as the crisis narrows to inevitability.

    Some may recognize herein the “incrimination” tactics of the Bolsheviks. Revisionist Zionism’s strategists and tacticians may rebuke Communism but, since their old Red Days, never forgot the power of INCRIMINATION as a way to remove freedom of choice from the lumpen Jews.” How can a Jew turn on Israel in doubt in its win or lose and nothing in between moment? How can American Jewish disagreement be expressed any more strongly than through silence? And silence now has been painted as “YEAH” through the old Bolshevik tactic of incrimination….a tactic that requires polarization to where extremism seems all one can do because everything else seems absurd. And so, as American Jews are seen as war mongers, Republican candidates and many Democrats will comply and template accordingly because silence against a background of imminent invasion That makes all silent Jews seem of only one hue with warmongers who shout: Kill the shmucks before they kill us! And so, a Congress of whores for sale and a Mormon presidential candidate devoted to the tactics of be all things to all rich supporters, will shout as if at a Christian Revival Meeting: “In the name of God, stand behind the Chosen People as they collect for God millions of Iranian foreskins that, thanks to modern nuclear science, will glow in the dark.” Newtonian and atomic physics will thus politically become of one law of unified reaction. No one will realize that this time Mars in naked with no armor adorning him, just newspaper stories.

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