The Los Angeles Times reports on Israel’s shrill rhetoric over Iran and the establishment’s insistence of discussing a second “Holocaust” (Iranians themselves are also worried, but for very different reasons.)
Gabriel Kolko, leading historian and author, refutes the hype and argues that now is the time to stop the potential of further Middle East conflict:
Richard Boudreaux’s summation of what Israeli hawks said about Iran and another Holocaust is not an accurate account of Israeli views today. Olmert and those like him are politically motivated and they hope that spreading fear will help them ride out an astonishing number of scandals and corruption cases which have seen him plummet in the polls.
There are serious Israeli strategists who believe, to cite Reuven Pedatzur in Ha’aretz last November, that “mutual assured deterrence, can be forged, with high degree of success, between Israel and Iran.” Israeli strategic thinking-notwithstanding Boudreaux’ account of it-is highly realistic. On February 7 a large-scale study released by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University predicted that Iran would behave rationally with nuclear weapons and “that the elimination of Israel is not considered to be an essential national interest” for it.
Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad whom Boudreaux cites out of context, explicitly told the Israeli Knesset last December that diplomatic efforts were “far from being over”-and that an Iranian nuclear bomb was at least two years or more off. Many Israeli strategists regard Bush’s war in Iraq as a destabilizing disaster for the region, and war would Iran would be far more dangerous. Only 36 percent of the Jewish population of Israel polled last month thought an Iranian nuclear attack the “biggest threat” to Israel.
The only security Israel can have will be a result of its signing peace accords with the Palestinians and the neighboring countries. At the present time the Israeli press is full of details of a Syrian detailed offer of a far reaching and equitable peace treaty that would provide Israel security and is comprehensive-and divorce Syria from Iran and even create a crucial distance between it and Hezbollah and Hamas. Most of the Israeli Establishment favors it but Olmert has explicitly said that the Bush Administration opposes a negotiated peace with Syria-negotiations that the Baker panel urged upon it. Therefore he is opposed to it also.
These opinions and trends are far more accurate of Israeli opinion than the hysterical pronouncements of the hawks-both Israeli and American-discussed in this article.