8 thoughts on “As Olmert Flies to Washington, Sneh Rattles Sabers Against Iran – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard,

    Shavuah Tov. The events of the past week really got me thinking in a personal way about my anger and rage at the injustice in Palestine and ME in general. I wrote a bit about it last nite – ‘White Man’s Truth’ – and would appreciate your perspective. I know that many of my usual readers – Israeli and American family and friends – are going to have a particular reaction and maybe feel a bit uncomfortable with it. So if you have time.. thanks.

    Regarding Sneh’s comments, Phrases like ‘trial balloon’, ‘lets throw it against the wall and see if it sticks’ and ‘lets run it up the flagpole and see who salutes’ come to mind. Not a surprising comment coming from Israel but that doesn’t make it any less worrisome.

  2. Richard,

    I’d dispute your comment that Iran’s statements about Israel and the nuclear issue haven’t won it many friends. To the contrary in the Middle East, even in Sunni countries where the schism between Sunni and Shi’i schools of thought has been played up in the past, developments in Iran and the recent attack on Lebanon have made the Shi’i unexpectedly popular. Where you’d never have expected it you hear talk of a rapprochement.

    In the face of open conflict between Sunni and Shi’i communities in Iraq, a few weeks ago a meeting was held in Makkah involving Iraqi scholars from both sects, that resulted in the issuance of a religious ruling that attacks on either community were forbidden (given the reasons behind the attacks, and their authors, it’s doubtful that will have an immediate effect, but the significance of it, given past history of relations between the two communities, is huge).

    As for what you mention about the bellicosity of Israel’s neighbours, don’t forget that Egypt and Jordan have (admittedly ‘cold’) peace treaties with Israel, Syria has been asking for talks (rejected by Israel), and the Saudis have had a solid peace offer on the table (rejected off-hand) for some time. As I mentioned to you in private correspondence, even Iran is more misquoted than malign, though they’re not exactly the greatest fans.

    Still, if Israel really wants peace, it seems to me the door is more than a little ajar. If they really want to put an end to this seemingly endless conflict, the logical thing is to start talking. Unfortunately Israel and America seem to be graduates of the same school of ‘diplomacy’, which taught them that ‘negotiation’ only begins after the other side capitulates to a long list of pre-conditions.

  3. I think that if Israel withdrew to the 1967 borders, Iran would still be a foe of Israel. Iran, like Venezuela, needs a bogeyman to keep its population diverted from its failures at home. This is why Chavez and Ahmadinejad have focused on Jews. Why did Iran bomb the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires? Was it Zionist occupation of Argentina? I think that 5 minutes after Iran had nukes, they would launch them at Israel. Even if Israel retailiated, it would provide Iran street cred and if Iranian civilians were killed in nuclear retaliation, the mullahs would rationalize it in A) The unemployment rate would go down, and B) The old saying “Allah knows his own”, in which people who are destined to become martyrs eventually become martyrs

  4. I’d dispute your comment that Iran’s statements about Israel and the nuclear issue haven’t won it many friends.

    I was referring to the long history of deep mistrust & animosity between Saudi Arabia & Iraqi Sunnis on the 1 hand, & Iran on the other. There are also large swaths of non-Shiite Lebanon that have no great love for Iran. If there is a rapprochement bet. Sunnis & Shiites that leads to Iran maintaining a stronger role in the Arab world, then Israel & the U.S. have only themselves to blame for this as their hostility has driven the various Muslims sects into ea. other’s arms.

    Not sure what you’re referring to regarding the “bellicosity” of Israel’s neighbors. I certainly concede that the front line states have by no means been bellicose (except for Hezbollah). But Hamas & Hezbollah have certainly made bellicose statements which fuel anxiety among Israelis about their long-term goals & intentions. And you are perfectly right about Syria opening the door wide to negotiations. I’ve written about this here & taken Olmert to task for missing yet another opportunity for peace.

  5. I think that 5 minutes after Iran had nukes, they would launch them at Israel.

    I don’t have much more faith in Iran’s present government than you. But this is preposterous. If Iran had nukes it is certainly much more likely that either Iran or Israel or both would use them. But that by no means guarantees that such a catastrophe would happen.

    if Iranian civilians were killed in nuclear retaliation

    You, sir, are entirely naive when it comes to understanding the impact of nuclear attack. There would be millions of victims on both sides and the nations’ economies would take years, probably decades to recover if they ever did.

  6. The difference is that what happened in Beit Hanoun was an accident for which Israel apologized for and is reviewing procedures to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. While Iran is developing news with the explicit goal of destroying Israel.

    It is not alarmism or improper to point out the genocidal threat that is Iran.

  7. I’m not sure where Beit Hanun fits in this.

    I’m not claiming that Iran is not a threat to Israel or that saying so is alarmist. But claiming that Iran will get nukes in months or a few years and that it must be attacked now rather than waiting for diplomacy & negotiations to take their course IS alarmism. About the worst thing that either Bush or Olmert could do right now is attack Iran.

  8. Richard Silverstein’s critique is no less than brilliant, but who will see it, much less heed it, as we seem to be moving inexorably toward yet another tragic confrontation in the Middle East, spurred on by the usual war-drum beaters in Israel and the United States? It is insane and it is evil, what is now happening. As Richard Silverstein has so succinctly put it, “…we must ensure Israel’s long term survival through peace, rather than war.“ This strikes me as so obvious that speaking and working against its premise seems utterly insane. Remember the child who proclaimed that “The Emperor has no clothes!”? And yet insanity seems to me to be the path we are pursuing in this latest example of the symbiotic dance macabre of the Israeli/American Axis. Israel, if not all Israelis, certainly since the ascendancy of the Likud, seems bent on chasing after its own Manifest Destiny, just as the United State pursues its own peculiar 21st Century brand of that evil expasionist philosophy, which brooks no opposition and indeed today condemns those who oppose it as Chamberlains, traitors and cowards. The recent elevation of Avigdor Lieberman in Israel is alarmingly suggestive of the spirit of Ehud Olmert’s present visii to this coutry, immediately following Israel’s latest outrage against the Palestinian people. My God, but the protagonist of THE KING OF HEARTS at the end of that movie was totally sane and logical to enter the insane asylum bare-assed naked in order to escape the world of the sane ones. Thank you, Mr. Silverstein, for so bravely declaring that, indeed, “The Emperor has no clothes!” Whether PNAC’s mantras or the all-of-Judaea-Samaria-is-ours chant, it all boils down to an über-alles philosophy.

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