Hysteria at Herzliya
When Congress finally decides on just the right language for its “non-binding resolution” deploring Bush’s leadership in this war, it might consider a resolution to keep us out of the next one.
For America is on a collision course with an Iran of 70 million, and the folks who stampeded us into Iraq are firing pistols in the air again.
At the annual Herzliya Conference, U.S. presidential aspirants, neoconservatives and Israeli hawks were all invoking the Holocaust and warning of the annihilation of the Jews.
Israel’s “Bibi” Netanyahu, who compares Iran’s Ahmadinejad to Hitler, said: “The world that didn’t stop the Holocaust last time can stop it this time. … Who will lead the effort against genocide if not us? The world will not stand up on behalf of the Jews if the Jews do not stand up on behalf of the world.”
Said former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz: “Iran is the heart of the problem in the Middle East. It is the most urgent threat facing the world, and needs to be dealt with before it’s too late.” After meeting with the Department of State’s Nicholas Burns, Mofaz called 2007 “a year of decision.”
Richard Perle assured the conference that Bush will attack Iran rather than see it acquire nuclear weapons capabilities. Newt Gingrich also brought his soothing touch to the proceedings: “(C)itizens who do not wake up every morning and think about possible catastrophic civilian casualties are deluding themselves.
“Three nuclear weapons are a second holocaust. … I’ll repeat it. Three nuclear weapons are a second holocaust. … Our enemies are fully as determined as Nazi Germany and more determined than the Soviets. Our enemies will kill us the first chance they get.
“If we knew that tomorrow morning we would lose Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, what would we do to stop it? If we knew that we would tomorrow lose Boston, San Francisco or Atlanta, what would we do?”
Mitt Romney agreed. Ahmadinejad’s Iran is more dangerous than Khrushchev’s Soviet Union, which put missiles in Cuba. For the Soviets “were never suicidal. Soviet commitment to national survival was never in question. That assumption cannot be made to an irrational regime (Iran) that celebrates martyrdom.”
Ehud Olmert, mired in scandal, his popularity in the tank after the Lebanon fiasco, was as hawkish as Bibi: “The Jewish people, with the scars of the Holocaust fresh on its body, cannot afford to let itself face the threat of annihilation once again. … We will stand up against nuclear threats and even prevent them.”
Came then U.S. peace candidate John Edwards. Keeping Iran from nuclear weapons “is the greatest challenge of our generation. … To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep all options on the table. … Let me reiterate – all options.”
Wrote the Financial Times’ Philip Stephens of Herzliya, “I gave up counting the times I heard the words ‘existential threat’ to describe Iran’s nuclear program capability.”
A few weeks back, according to UPI’s Arnaud De Borchgrave, Netanyahu declared that Israel “must immediately launch an intense, international public relations front first and foremost on the United States – the goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make clear to the (U.S.) government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world, not only Israel.”
Israel’s war is to be sold as America’s war.
The project is under way. According to Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor of the Guardian, Israeli media are reporting that the assignment to convince the world of the need for tough action on Iran has been given to Meir Dagan, head of Mossad.
Listening to the war talk, Gen. Wesley Clark exploded to Arianna Huffington: “You just have to read what’s in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided, but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office-seekers.”
The former supreme allied commander in Europe was ordered out of ranks and dressed down by Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. But Matt Yglesias of American Prospect, himself Jewish, says Clark spoke truth: “(I)t’s true that major Jewish organizations are pushing this country into war with Iran.”
Yet is the hysteria at Herzliya justified? Consider:
Not once since its 1979 revolution has Iran started a war. In any war with America, or Israel with its hundreds of nuclear weapons, Iran would not be annihilating anyone. Iran would be risking annihilation.
Not only has Iran no nukes, the Guardian reported yesterday, “Iran’s efforts to produce highly enriched uranium … are in chaos.” That centrifuge facility at Natanz is “archaic, prone to breakdown and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production.”
There is no need for war. Yet, Israelis, neocons and their agents of influence are trying to whip us into one. Senators who are seeking absolution for having voted to take us into Iraq ought to be confronted and asked just what they are doing to keep us out of a war in Iran.
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