Over the last week, prominent American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg and columnist
George Will each wrote that Israel is very likely to bomb Iran. Goldberg, in his
Atlantic cover story, “The Point of No Return,” bases his conclusion on
interviews with about 40 Israeli military and political leaders; Will, in his
Washington Post column titled “Netanyahu’s warning,” bases his partly on an
interview with the PM in Jerusalem.
I find this to be bracing
I know – Israeli leaders want the Iranians to be afraid and might
be inclined to rattle their sabers even if they didn’t really mean it, but
still: This isn’t altogether new – what Goldberg and Will, but most
authoritatively Goldberg, are saying. Everyone knows an Israeli attack on Iran
is at least a possibility. But when Goldberg talks to 40 bigwigs and comes back
saying “it is a near-certainty that Israel will act against Iran soon if nothing
or no one else stops the nuclear program,” and Will returns from an interview
with Netanyahu talking about “the potentially world-shaking decision that will
be made here, probably within two years,” then I think this counts as a wake-up
I don’t want Israel to bomb Iran, and until now I’ve thought it was
highly unlikely, but I can’t say that anymore. Now, given the terribly
slim chance that the Obama administration is crazy enough to do it, I’d have to
say that while an Israeli attack is not a fait accompli, it is materializing. It
is gathering momentum.
Do people see past their noses
in this country? Read what Goldberg says an Israeli strike stands a “good
chance” of doing, even if it does manage to set Iran’s nuclear program back a
few years, which, by the way, is no sure thing at all: “…changing the Middle
East forever; sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full blown regional war that
could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly
Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will
dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between
Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of
inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Teheran;
of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs…; of placing
communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger, by making them targets
of Iranian sponsored terror attacks…; and of accelerating Israel’s conversion
from a once admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper among
That’s some downside, isn’t it? I would add that if a regional
war is fought with weapons of mass destruction, which not only Israel but also
Iran and Syria possess, then the number of war deaths could go beyond the
AND WHAT’S the upside to an Israeli attack? Not an end to the
Iranian nuclear threat, just a breather for a few years. Meanwhile, after
we’ve counted our dead and other countries have counted theirs, life in Israel
and for Israel becomes absolute hell. Our enemies are bent on revenge more than
ever, our friends are down to a fringe element – and weapons technology marches
If and when the dust clears from the war that would likely follow our
attack on Iran, how long would it be before the next war? If we did manage to
put Iran’s nuclear potential on hold for a while, how many new “existential
threats” would rear up against us? How many more enemies would be devising
things that we would find intolerable, that we would feel impelled to destroy
for the sake of our survival?
Where would it end?
In the days, weeks, months and
years after we bomb Iran, imagine what the mood in this country will be. Myself,
Above all, remember: Whatever happens will have been put in
motion by an Israeli act of violence. We can call it a pre-emptive strike, but
that’s a term of art; if we hit Iran first, we are the
Goldberg’s sources say Israelis will flee the country if Iran
gets nuclear weapons; if that’s so, imagine how many will run from a bloodied,
shell-shocked, leper state. The powers-that-be say Israel cannot risk another
Holocaust; sounds to me like their Holocaust mania is creating what could become
a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Is this really what we’ve come to? Is this
all Israel can offer – to its citizens, to the Jewish people, to the Middle
East, to the democratic world? After all the doomsday weapons we’ve amassed,
must we be so afraid, must we hold onto the Holocaust for dear life? As weapons
technology moves ahead, is this the only future we have – one of fear rising to
aggression, which sets off enemy aggression, a future of one war after another,
with only dread in between?
With all its intimidating power, if that’s the best
Israel can do, then to hell with it. Let’s all start packing. Save
Israeli Jewry – help us emigrate.
One other downside to an Israeli strike
on Iran – it’ll cause a full-blown schism among Jews, both in Israel and the
It will turn Jews against Israel in droves.
us to build a Jewish state in the Middle East; we decided to come here. If we
can’t handle the stress, we should seek a calmer life elsewhere.
healthy-spirited Jewish state is good for the Jews, but a paranoid, incredibly
reckless Jewish state, a rogue Jewish state, would be bad for everyone.