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IDF Chief Calls Iran “Rational,” Barak Disagrees

benny gantz

IDF chief Benny Gantz hoping to stave off an Iran attack sought by his bosses? (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)

Israel continued its self-portrait as a government in disarray as its military chief, Benny Gantz called Iran “rational” and said he believed that nation would not build a nuclear weapon (a position fully in accord with U.S. views). The next day, Ehud Barak took pains to divorce himself from his subordinate by saying of Iran:

[Barak] did not see Iran as “rational in the Western sense of the word, meaning people seeking a status quo and the outlines of a solution to problems in a peaceful manner.”

This of course is a delicious bit of irony because most observers of the Israeli-Arab conflict believe precisely this about Israel’s approach.  It seeks, not a sustainable status quo, but a status quo that offers it supreme advantage and dominance over its neighbors.  Nor does Israel seek solution to these problems in a peaceful manner.  It’s saber-rattling toward Iran itself is but one example.

In truth, what Barak is complaining about is that Iran refuses to accede to a dictat set before it by the western powers.  If you’re the majority, a resistant minority is always going to appear as ungrateful, even irrational.  Because what other reasonable solution is there than the one you maintain?  The problem with Israeli policymakers is that they’re beset by a grave case of narcissism, and a profound inability to view matters as their enemy might see them.  This is a fatal combination in a region so prone to cataclysm as the Middle East.

Gantz also mysteriously suggested that other military forces than Israel were prepared to attack Iran.  Most likely he was referring to the U.S.  But he could’ve been making a sly reference to Iran’s regional enemies joining in the fight.  This might mean an outright contribution of forces to an attack or it might mean a less visible role say, in offering Israel the right to overfly Saudi Arabian airspace in order to attack Iran.

Dore Gold laugably tried to square the “rationality” circle with this near non sequitur:

“The Iranians have irrational goals, which they may try and advance in a rational way.”

Makes perfect sense to me if you’re as out of touch with Iran and reality in general as Gold is.

In one of her first published reports since assuming her new assignment running the Times Israel bureau, Jodi Rudoren is hewing to the same establishmentarian approach of her predecessors Steven Erlanger and Ethan Bronner.  She called Haaretz “left-leaning,” which is a tad too charitable since there is hardly a cogent “left” to speak of in Israel.  I’d far prefer Haaretz be called “liberal” or “independent,” since it’s certainly not “left” any more than the Times itself is.  She also consulted the same grey figures as sources, who hew to the rightist security consensus: Dore Gold, Amos Yadlin and Ephraim Inbar.  No surprises there, but precious little illumination either.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • pabelmont April 27, 2012, 5:16 AM

    Did she call the bozos (a/k/a “same grey figures”) “right-leaning” ??

    She trot out any other code/color words like “rational”, “moderate”,
    “immoderate” besides “left”?

  • Liron April 27, 2012, 5:34 AM

    Thousands of words have been written on the subject of the Iranian’s rational. As an example to the Iranian being rational people bring the fact that the Ayatollah Khamenei declared that developing nuclear weapons is against Islamic values, and Iran will never seek to develop one.

    I would like to bring the attention to the following from IAEA:

    “The Agency [IAEA] was informed that in April 1984 the then President of Iran, H.E. Ayatollah Khamenei declared, during a meeting of top-echelon political and security officials at the Presidential Palace in Tehran, that the spiritual leader Imam Khomeini had decided to reactivate the nuclear programme. According to Ayatollah Khamenei this was the only way to secure the very essence of the Islamic Revolution from the schemes of its enemies, especially the United States and Israel, and to prepare it for the emergence of Imam Mehdi. Ayatollah Khamenei further declared during the meeting, that a nuclear arsenal would serve Iran as a deterrent in the hands of God’s soldiers.”


    The statement appeared in the book Peddling Peril by David Albright, 2010, p. 71.

    • Richard Silverstein April 27, 2012, 1:12 PM

      You peddled this nonsense to me in a private e mail now you try to peddle it in the comment threads.

      As I wrote to you, Khamenei made that statement nearly 30 years ago when he had a political, & not a religious position as he does now. Further, even in this statement Khamenei doesn’t say he intends to have a nuclear weapon. It only notes that he reactivated the “nuclear programme,” which could mean virtually anything. Finally, since the fatwa against nuclear weapons is more recent and also a religious legal decision, it has far more weight than a passage from a book by a figure who’s been known to be anti-Iranian.

    • fail unsafe April 28, 2012, 9:19 PM

      David Albright ain’t exactly da most unbiased sauce. Do ya suppose dis stuff came from da Moose-ahd or from Bill Casey, (bless his perverted soul)?

  • blu April 27, 2012, 8:54 AM

    It cannot be underestimated the degree of disarray Israel and her Israel Lobby are in at present, after the disastrous series of events over the last days and weeke

    The Israeli Meltdown has been practicularly obvious since the watershed of the Istanbul talks with Iran when it has become obvious that Israel is not going to get the war with Iran – or rather, to shove the US into a war a Iran – she so desperately wants and needs

    Bamboozling the US into a war with Iran was Israel’s last best hope for staving off the relentless Chinese process of dismantling Israeli Apartheid – Israel simply shot her wad on Iran and lost

    Israel is in utter disarray – just in the last weeks , one after the other, between Don Meridor and Meir Dagan and now the coup d’grace with Benny Glantz, Israel just they can’t keep her ridiculous lies straight anymore and their talking points are completely off message – – it’s like a ‘who’s on first’ comedy skit.

    Not that Netanyahu and Israel don’t already need a couple of Cray mainframes to keep their lies from stumbling over themselves anyway, most of them are so ridiculous and outrageously false or illogical to begin with, and really getting away with it by having their paid representatives in the US Congress cheer the most bald-faced errors and lies as some sort of special gospel, AIPAC-Gospel

    What a spectacularly risky gamble to make and lose – perhaps having successfully pulled off shoving the US into the Iraq war by means of her Neocons and Lobby must have given her just enough rope to try it again with the same ridiculous lies and the same cahoots with the Neocons and Israeli Lobby in the US

    How close Israel actually got to getting away with her agenda is absolutely and spectacularly sobering

    After the unretractable comments by Gen Gantz yesterday, with Panetta saying today those remarks are now ‘on the record’, the Israeli case for Iran has been thrown out of court by … Israel

    What’s left for the Israeli propaganda machine to discuss or foment regarding Iran, after this?

    Now Israel is open not only to more and more pressure for the 2012 Nuclear Weapons Free Middle East, but the NPT and IAEA supervising and overseeing Dimona as well (not that Israel will not give up everything, once again, to make sure none of that ever happens)

    For the first time in 10 years I think we may make it through all this and Israel actually be stopped – their figleaf of a fairy tale war with Iran gambit has gone up in smoke and now is the time to stop Apartheid, get a new regime in Israel, hopefully a One State regime, and get on the business of the world

    • chet380 April 27, 2012, 6:01 PM

      blu – from your keyboard to God’s ear :-)

      However – how do you deal with the 900 lb. gorilla that is AIPAC and its Congressional lackeys w.r.t. to yr good hopes?

      • blu April 28, 2012, 12:44 PM

        I think it would have to be a 2nd American Revolution –

        The ‘purge’ could be started simply by forcing the nest of spies known as AIPAC to register as an agent of a foreign government, just like every other lobbying group from every other country, or just arrest them all and charge them with the outstanding crimes on the books that have already been discovered

        Force to register and/or prosecute – and not necessarily in that order. haha

        • Bob Mann April 28, 2012, 4:11 PM

          You think that every member of AIPAC should be arrested? Do you really mean that?

          • chet380 April 28, 2012, 5:46 PM

            Hyperbole in aid of humor – take a pill, Bob.

  • Kalea April 27, 2012, 9:31 PM

    Permit me to use this 2003 documentary to demonstrate who’s really irrational.

    15:13 to 15:42 Nobel Prize Winner Peres dodges question on how Israel fooled nuclear inspectors during Kennedy’s Presidency.

    21:05 to 21:40 Journalist asks where are you dumping nuclear waste? Israeli Minister replies: In a “good” place.
    Huh? By “good” he must mean someone else’s property. Bedouin, Palestinian? Who cares about them. But the fact is that Zionists threaten even their own: Minute 26:05 to 16:16

    Minute 30:30 “The entire world knows that Israel is a vast nuclear, biological and chemical warehouse that is used as an anchor for the nuclear arms race in the Middle East”.

    32:15 Again Peres plays the artful dodger pointing at Iraq that had no WMDs with the exuse that Saddam killed many Kurds. What about Sabra & Shatilla…Cast Lead and all the other massacres Israel is responsible for throughout the years in Palestine and Lebanon and Israel’s experimentation camp…Gaza?


    It’s a pity the BBC has fallen under the Zionist spell and hasn’t delivered journalism of this calibre since. I suppose it’ll take less than 5 minutes to midnight after Israel strikes Iran for them to deliver again.

    • Kalea April 27, 2012, 9:36 PM

      Correction 26:05 to 26:16 punctuated by “Israel’s supposed to be a democracy”.

      Oh hell…just watch the whole thing if you’ve never seen it; it’s worth it!

    • Piotr Berman April 28, 2012, 3:40 PM

      I personally think that the problem of dumping nuclear waste is not particularly worse than, say, cadmium waste. However, once you dump something like that, it is hard to see how the place remains “good”.

  • Bob Mann April 28, 2012, 4:42 AM

    Have you revised your predictions of an imminent attack by Israel on Iran? It seems from your recent posts that you are more bearish on this – a very good thing! Perhaps you even played a role in that?

    • Richard Silverstein April 28, 2012, 6:50 PM

      Don’t know if I played a role, but I sure tried.

      As for the likelihood of an attack, unfortunately I think it’s still high. I think it becomes much more likely the closer we get to Israeli elections which should happen within the next year.

  • fail unsafe April 28, 2012, 9:30 PM

    So,maybe Iran doesn’t have a “Masada complex”- they just want to develop their country without being under a constant “existential threat” from Benny, Ehud and Shimon (the almost unholy three)?

  • tony roma May 1, 2012, 9:07 PM

    IDF chief Benny Gantz
    is a traitor he needs to be stripped of his position and taken to gitmo for a long holiday.
    he is clearly a paid agent of iran as he seems hell bent on protecting the carpet makers than his own flesh and blood.
    soldiers need to obey orders.
    the idf roll is to protect through fighting and killing the enemy.
    why buy a car and not drive.
    it seems to me bibi and ehud.
    david cameron and william haig and maybe sarkozy are the only ones with the balls to crush iran.
    Benjamin Netanyahu has some press problems at the moment.
    in the future like churchill he will be seen as the greatest hero and leader for many generations

    • Richard Silverstein May 2, 2012, 12:51 AM

      Normally, I wouldn’t publish this screed, but I thought it so hilarious I just had to. I’m hoping this is actually a parody written by someone who isn’t quite as idiotic as the commenter makes himself out to be.

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