After rapid release of hot air, Israeli leaders may soon run out of cliches


The New York Times reports: Israeli leaders denounced the agreement reached Sunday in Geneva, saying they were not bound by it and reiterating the principle that Israel would be ready to defend itself without assistance against any threat.

After weeks of intense lobbying against any deal between the world powers and Iran that does not ensure the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called the agreement “a historic mistake,” saying in remarks that were broadcast from the start of his weekly cabinet meeting, “Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world has taken a significant step toward attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world.”

Mr. Netanyahu excoriated the world’s leading powers for agreeing to Iranian uranium enrichment for the first time and for relenting on sanctions “in exchange for cosmetic Iranian concessions that can be canceled in weeks.”

“Israel is not bound by this agreement,” he said. “As prime minister of Israel, I would like to make it clear: Israel will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability.”

The foreign minister of Israel, Avidgor Lieberman, told Israel Radio that “Israel will have to make a reassessment” and that “all the options are on the table.”

“We are talking about the greatest diplomatic achievement for the Iranians,” he said. “We have to take our decision in a cleareyed, independent manner, and we have to be serious enough to be responsible for our fate. Responsibility for the fate of the Jewish people and for the state of Israel lies with the Israeli government alone.” [Continue reading…]

Yada, yada, yada. What options on which table?

Jeffrey Goldberg is in no doubt that Israel no longer has any military options:

[Obama] boxed-in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu so comprehensively that it’s unimaginable Israel will strike Iran in the foreseeable future. Netanyahu had his best chance to attack in 2010 and 2011, and he missed it. He came close but was swayed by Obama’s demand that he keep his planes parked. It would be a foolhardy act — one that could turn Israel into a true pariah state, and bring about the collapse of sanctions and possible war in the Middle East — if Israel were to attack Iran now, in the middle of negotiations.

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4 thoughts on “After rapid release of hot air, Israeli leaders may soon run out of cliches

  1. hquain

    Another factor in Netanyahu’s failure to get an attack going over the last few years, if I remember correctly what I read here, was that the Israeli military was unenthusiastic about the venture.

  2. Paul Woodward

    Unenthusiastic because an attack of sufficient strength to significantly set back Iran’s nuclear program has long been beyond Israel’s military capabilities. (And just in case anyone pipes up with a comment about Israel’s nuclear arsenal, encouragement from Sheldon Adelson notwithstanding, Israel is not about to launch a nuclear attack on Iran.) The only plausible military scenario Israel could engineer would be one in which it was able to drag the U.S. in to finish what it had started — a wildly implausible scenario while the U.S. is in the middle of negotiations with Iran. When Goldberg says Obama has successfully boxed in Netanyahu, the columnist is nevertheless sustaining the myth that Israel really has military capabilities that in this situation needed to be restrained, yet Bibi’s warnings about reserving the right to strike Iran have always been bluster.

    It’s eight years since Netanyahu first declared, “It’s 1938. Iran is Germany.” In the alternate reality in which we apparently live, World War Three never showed up, nor another Holocaust. If I was Netanyahu’s speech writer tasked with finding yet another way of ramping up the apocalyptic melodrama, I’d say it’s not worth the effort. Come the convening of next year’s UN General Assembly, I doubt Netanyahu will have anything to say about “red lines” — I kind of doubt he’ll even be there.

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