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Bibi: Israel Will Raise ‘David’s Sword’ Against Iran

david's sword

Will Bibi's sword slay Iran?

While Yisrael HaYom may be the best paper Sheldon Adelson’s money can buy on behalf of his political fixer, Bibi Netanyahu (and Bibi may be the best Israeli politician Adelson’s money can buy), there are sometimes benefits to reading it.  You do get to read the unfiltered Bibi, unfettered by concerns for the sensitivities of his western audience.

For example, after his UN speech he gave an exclusive interview to the newspaper in which he waxed eloquent on the imagined accomplishments of his UN speech.  First, he (almost single-handedly to hear him tell it) stopped Palestinian statehood.  Second, the rest of the world now “understands” Israel’s views on these matters.  Note, he didn’t say “agrees” with Israel, because he knows that would be a lie.  But in his skewed view just having the world “understand” Israel’s hard right nationalist outlook is a genuine achievement.  Third, Bibi believes, with a straight face no doubt, that he’s done more for peace than Yitzhak Rabin.  Don’t ask me how he determines this.  I don’t recall any peace treaties he signed, any international agreements he initialed, all of which Rabin did.  I suppose Bibi may mean that he kept Israel more secure than Rabin in terms of few terror attacks.  But this is a cold peace, not a true peace.  Rabin aimed for a true peace and didn’t get there because one of Bibi’s supporters assassinated him.

Later, Bibi clarifies his claim and seems to undermine it completely when he says:

Someone compared the last speech Rabin gave in the Knesset a month before his murder to mine and said I went farther toward peace.  In a certain sense this is correct because there is a great willingness within Israeli society to make real strides toward peace.

This is either a total non sequitur or Bibi is admitting that it is not HE who is doing anything for peace, but Israelis themselves who are ready to take steps toward peace.

Bibi pointedly in the interview does not claim that Pres. Obama supports Israel or the Israeli leader’s views.  Instead he describes Obama and any American president as a captive of American public opinion which is supposedly completely pro-Israel.  In this view, a president could not, even if he wanted to, abandon Israel or even oppose Israel.  As proof of that fact, Bibi points to a walk in Central Park with his wife in which not a single person who approached him (through the thicket of his security agents no doubt) had anything but effusive praise for him and for Israel.  That’s how Bibi feels the love for Israel in the American body politic–through a walk in the park.

But the most interesting and frightening element of the interview was his comments about Iran.  Other reporters have been noting that Bibi lately has been waxing apocalyptic and mystical about the possibly oncoming war with Iran.  In this interview he says:

Iran’s nuclear programs are turning it into an existential danger to the State of Israel.  The question is not just what Israel is doing to stop it, but what the world is doing.  The awareness by the world community that Iran is progressing on a track toward developing a nuclear weapon obligates it to act so that Iran does not get this weapon.  With every day that passes, Iran gets closer.  The obligation of the international community to act grows as the fear [that Iran progresses toward a bomb] does.

You must keep in mind: that we aspire toward peace; but at the same time we must wield the sword of David to defend the Jewish State.

Of course, in Bibi’s skewed world-view, David’s sword was raised only to defend his people, not in aggression against a victim.  But we should keep in mind that David’s sword slew an Israelite enemy and led to the killer’s annointment as King of Israel.

Amos Harel in Haaretz Magazine writes (Hebrew) similarly about Ehud Barak, who would be Bibi’s close partner in any such Iran assault:

Several of those who’ve conversed with him [over the past few months] were shocked by his apocalyptic tone [regarding Iran].  In the case of Barak, the question always arises whether he really means what he’s saying…does he believe that if Israel prepares a military option and threatens persuasively enough, that the world will awaken and take action on its [Israel's] behalf.  But nevertheless, more and more people are worried that Barak is serious, and they are frightened by this.

Bibi (and to a lesser extent, Barak) have a very complicated complex that is little short of messianic and frightening.  In the past, I’ve written dismissively about Bibi saying he has no principles and that even his so-called Jewish values appear to be manufactured.  Now, I’m not so sure.  And I don’t know which is worse, a megalomaniac with no principles or values; or a Jewish megalomaniac with religious-nationalist principles and values.  They both scare the living hell out of me.

You’ll recall a blog post I wrote about a column by Shalom Yerushalmi in which he warned Bibi not to engage in any military adventures that would divert attention from the political threat the J14 posed to him.  The Eilat terror attack was manna bestowed on the Israeli leader from on high, which did just that.  Now, given the disastrous developments Bibi’s faced over the past few months on the world stage, could he use an Iran adventure to divert the world’s attention from his failures?  Would such a attack relieve some of the pressure being brought to bear on Israel’s prime minister to compromise on multiple fronts in order to achieve peace in the region?

Now for a dose of reality.  Reuters published an evaluation of various sources which gauge how close Iran is to getting a nuclear weapon.  The most pessimistic forecast comes from a neocon think tank, whose analysis is disputed by other researchers.  It claims that Iran could have enough fissile material to create a bomb in two months.  Let’s put aside the fact that this claim is seriously disputed by others.  What it also neglects is that having enough uranium to make a bomb is only the first hurdle to surmount.  You have to weaponize it, figure out how to detonate it, then figure out how to get it to your target.  These are all serious impediments to developing a usable weapon.

In this report, the most balanced observers believe it would take Iran about two years to get to the point where it has not only the enriched uranium, but a detonator, and missile delivery system.  So the question needs to be asked: what is so urgent from Bibi and Barak’s point of view that the issue must be dealt with now?  Other than the fact that Bibi has driven Israel into a ditch on the world stage and may be desperately searching for a way to distract the world from the fact that he’s made a fool of Israel and himself over developments concerning Palestine, Turkey and Egypt.   I’ll leave you to ponder the answer in the comment threads.

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{ 15 comments… add one }
  • George Polley September 29, 2011, 12:00 AM

    Richard, Bibi Netanyahu reminds me of a severely delusional person on a suicidal mission. His delusion renders him impervious to input and causes him to rant against his detractors, and his mission — whether to attack Iran, take over all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem through cultural drowning (the Chinese are experts at it) and persecution, and leave Gaza as it is (or all of the above), the end result seems to me will be the destruction of Israel itself. Which just might fit into his warped ideological view of things. I think he is seriously sick. Does this make sense to you?

  • dickerson3870 September 29, 2011, 12:49 AM

    RE: “we must wield the sword of David to defend the Jewish State.” ~ Netanyahu
    & RE: “Bibi (and to a lesser extent, Barak) have a very complicated complex that is little short of messianic and frightening. ~ R.S.

    MY COMMENT: I guess it all comes down to the difference between “illusions of grandeur” and “delusions of grandeur”. In Bibi’s defense, at least he did not refer to Israel as “The Realm” like Perle, Wurmser, and Feith did in their über-grandiose manifesto prepared back in 1996 for Netanyahu, and titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”.
    P.S. For some strange reason, I keep having these stroboscopic mental images of the parade grounds at Nuremberg. Go figure.

    • yankel September 30, 2011, 2:50 AM

      The reason isn’t strange and your mental associations are unavoidable.

      All we can hope is that these grandiose schemes get nipped before they lead to what such schemes inevitably lead to.

  • john buckley September 29, 2011, 2:38 AM

    you may wish to scrutinize the following attempt to connect the (domestic and regional) dots. how exactly to stop this process is a topic that is hardly discussed seriously.

    Unparallel Universes: Iran and Israel’s One-state Solution

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13600826.2011.577031

  • Nick G September 29, 2011, 4:27 AM

    Israel will always find the existential threat around the next bend. The question is only, After Iran, who?

    Political scientists would do well to group Israel in the Fragile States category.

  • weindeb September 29, 2011, 5:43 AM

    I assume Bibi and company will do all in their power, both open and above and sub rosa, to bring the U.S. into a state of war against Iran, thus providing further assistance to our military-industrial obsession and pulling from out the slimy caves where they dwell and plot their various harms our nation’s neocons, Jewish and otherwise, deeply patriotic in the shedding of other people’s blood, to bring death and destruction to any who defy us.

    • David September 29, 2011, 4:58 PM

      I agree. It seems to be just another crafty way of pushing on the US to blow up Iran, to demonstrate that they (Ehud and Bibi) are in fact crazy people and may really precipitate war no matter what the US does or thinks policywise. So, the US and the WEst are nudged a bit closer to the brink. It was these guys take for “strategy.” They’ve been successful with this in the past, that is, with conning the opposition and the allies. So, it’s a con and I think they enjoy energizing the issues with their craziness.

      Bibi’s reference to “David” is consistent with the pattern of using biblical references to justify Israel’s appropriation of other people’s land. As cited elsewhere, the Holocaust just can’t work for these remaining vestiges of mandated Palestine.

  • PersianAdvocate September 29, 2011, 2:39 PM

    I don’t think even David would raise David’s sword against Iran. How quickly Bibi forgets that a medium forest fire nearly burned down his entire country, and that he was helpless before the world. Israel was humiliated by the immediate offer of help by Turkey, a country who’s citizens Israel massacred on the high seas illegally and then falsely (and idiotically) told the world that these humanitarians were terrorists. Israel was supposed to learn its lesson then the hard way. Humility is a mark of experience and wisdom. It is not a mark of shame, lest you not learn anything from it.

    But nothing was learned. We see again, the same lunatic ranting and raving with religious references, telling us that there’s a 15th in Command in Iran (I’m referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) that is planning the Fourth Reich.

    But who has the comb over?
    Who commands a world class military that engages in wars only beyond its borders?
    Who is highly financed by war profiteers?
    Who sits at the head of a country that sells arms as its number one export?
    Who has the atomic bombs?
    Who tries to create legislation all around the world to advance racist agendas?
    Who is scapegoating Judaism (you’re an anti-Semite because you criticized Israeli wrongdoing!) and Islam (countless examples – let’s go with USS Liberty here) for their wrongs?

    I may not like Ahmadinejad, I may think he’s unappealing in looks as far as leaders go, and he may creep me out every time he begins to speak with his Islamic prayer (Iranians by the whole are NOT that into indoctrinated religion), but when I listen and read what he says, he happens to resonate truth when it comes to foreign policy.

    Here are the facts (and if someone asks me for links, I can provide them – just too lazy right now!) :
    (1) he never said he wanted to kill any Jews and has back pedaled on any rhetoric that could be mistaken for it and also clarified his position;
    (2) he never came to the UN podium to wax poetic about his own 9/11 theories – he didn’t even mention the specifics of any branch of those theories, he merely spoke about how the official government narrative of 9/11 and what a lot of Americans believe is not the same, and that a REAL investigation must be had. This is true, the 9/11 commission members themselves admit the investigation was completely whitewashed (no proper corralling of evidence, depositions, nothing).
    (3) He never denied the existence of gays in Iran. His approach at Columbia was to give a wink, nod and advance to a different topic, but of course, the mainstream media trumpeted it into something far more sensational. He didn’t want to answer the question, in other words. But it was a tacit admission in that sense. Why is the mainstream media ridiculous? The same papers print false (and one or two, not 1000!! true) stories about Iran executing people for being homosexual. You can’t have it both ways;
    (4) He never denied the Holocaust. The official Iranian stance has been that the Holocaust was one of the greatest human tragedies ever. Indeed, when he had a conference, it was actually entitled, “A World without Zionism”, not a holocaust denial conference. If you define holocaust denial as claiming that people like Abe Foxman exploit it for political gain, then you are correct – he is a holocaust denier and a truth teller. This is precisely what he was saying, the same thing that a lot of others say, that the Holocaust is wrongfully being used as a crutch to commit, basically, mass murder, land stealing and collective punishment.

    Finally, I hate defending a government that treats its citizens so poorly. Mahmoud knows well that the morality apparatus is a complete offense to any human dignity. Indeed, if you all read Farsi you would know he panders to audiences in North Tehran by telling them that the apparatus must go. Of course, as a politician, I’m sure he says something completely different at the next stop in Qom. Israel (and Bibi et. al. – let’s not forget the PNAC members here like Bill Kristol) have effectively silenced the Iranian ability to dissent given the looming outside threats of war.

  • Piotr Berman September 29, 2011, 4:03 PM

    John: sorry, I am too cheap to pay 24 bucks for your wisdom, so I will venture a guess.

    If Israel continues with the policy of one state between the see and the river that is securely dominated by Jews then it has to commit a steady stream of atrocities, perhaps minor in isolation but in aggragate, deeply unpopular in the region. Thus leaders seeking agrandisement, either personal or on behalf of their nation, or state or ideology will crave to engage in a humanitarian intervention of some sort, say, inspired by NATO experience in Libya. Such endavor requires a leader willing to spend a considerable amount of money, lives etc. At the moment, only Iran is a plausible candidate — but it is quite plausible.

    Hence a natural obsession of Israeli leaders with Iran. However, I do not see how Iran’s role is dependent on the development of nuclear weapons as opposed to a program of mass production of missiles and mass construction of bunkers. Those bunkers would have to be in Lebanon and Syria, and it is hard to see how to put them out of the equation.

    Iran’s ace is clearly the capacity of stopping traffic in and out of Persian Gulf. And for the putative intervention they need 50-100,000 missiles in, say, 5-10,000 bunkers. Too many to dispatch from the air. And to well defended on the ground to dispatch by tanks and infantry without appalling losses. We are talking about the template of the last Lebanon war, but with retaliatory capacities of the “occidental axis” increased by a factor, say, 100. This is what they can realistically plan to do. Rather slow, but realistic plan that does not require any “suicide” or “insanity”.

    It is hard for me to see how nukes could improve the strategic prospects of Iran. Instead, I think that this program indeed does not lead to any weapon, but is a gigantic, and effective, diversion and distraction, and perhaps a trap.

    Right now, I think that Iran is prepared like that: in the case of a small attack, they will issue defiant proclamations and declare victory, and promise quick replacement of whatever would be destroy, or claim that only decoys were destroyed by the foolish Zionist entity (the entire program is a decoy, so there). In the case of a large scale attack they will close Strait of Hormuz, and offer to re-open it, conditional on apologies and promises to never do it again. Israel may be defiant, America, baffled and holders of the American debt, not amused at all (given their preference for oil under 200-300 dollars per barrel).

    Israel has a problem that on the ground chosen by Iran, IDF has no superiority. US military has no clear superiority.

  • Piotr Berman September 29, 2011, 4:04 PM

    Sorry, “oriental Axis”.

  • David September 29, 2011, 5:02 PM

    Could you repeat that, please?

  • Simone September 30, 2011, 12:10 AM

    Richard, you have quoted Israeli newspaper reporters Amos Harel and Shalom Yerushalmi to imply that under the leadership of Netanyahu and Barak, Israel might attack Iran (and even more despicably, you have implied that Bibi would do so in order to bolster his popularity at home and divert attention from the social justice protest). Yet you are on record as predicting that Israel will capitulate to Turkish demands because (and I quote):”Israel doesn’t like facing long odds. It prefers a sure thing like fighting poorly armed Hamas militants to fighting a well-armed nation whose population is ten times larger than its own.”

    (See: http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/09/08/turkey-lays-down-gauntlet-to-israel-will-provide-armed-escort-for-future-turkish-gaza-flotillas/)

    What, then, makes you think Israel will attack Iran? I fear you are guilty of inconsistency.

    • Richard Silverstein September 30, 2011, 8:11 PM

      You as usual get most of yr contentions wrong. I didn’t “imply” that Yerushalmi and Harel said those things. I explicitly said that they did.

      And it was not ME who said that Bibi threatened war to divert attention fr political problems at home & abroad, it was Yerushalmi, Harel & other Israeli reporters who reported this. I merely said what they reported & you need to take up your problem with them.

      As for attacking Iran. Iran is a lot farther away fr Israel than Turkey. The only direct way Iran can attack Israel is with missiles. Turkey can damage Israeli interests in varied ways. Also, an Israeli attack on Iran will have at least tacit support of the U.S. Not so an Israeli altercation with Turkey, which is an important U.S. ally.

  • Kyle September 30, 2013, 5:51 PM

    The ghoulish Netanyahu seems to slid further off the deep end as of late.

    Here is a picture of him meeting with Obama, looking as though he wants to drain his (Obama’s) vital juices from the back of his neck.

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