46 thoughts on “Barak Says, Unconvincingly, Israel Hasn’t Yet Decided to Attack Iran – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. “Defense Minister Ehud Barak tells Army Radio that all options are on the table in terms of dealing with Iran; says that Israelis should not fear the Iranian threat” – That is the headline of “Ha’haretz” article. I can’t understand what is the connection between this headline and the headline of your article (“BARAK SAYS, UNCONVINCINGLY, ISRAEL HASN’T YET DECIDED TO ATTACK IRAN”). As you said, Israel is preparing to attack. So? Maybe it should consult you or others if and when to do it in times that nuclear Iran will rise?

    Furthermore, I think you should listen to interview by yourself (and not by cutting and pasting the “Ha’haretz” articles because there are some mistakes in it).

    1. Just to emphsize my argument, Barak didn’t deny that maybe Israel will attack Iran. Therefore, he can’t be held as a liar.

  2. “I refuse to be intimidated, as if Iran could destroy Israel, ” Barak said.

    But, but, but Iran is an esxistential threat to Israel. The Hasbara trolls say so, so it must be true. I’m so confused.

    1. LOL. You too should listen to the original interview and not live on dubious articles from the left-wing “Ha’haretz” newspaper… Really you should.

      1. What, it’s only “left-wing” papers that keep saying, “Persia delenda est”, oops, I mean “Iran is an esxistential threat to Israel”, flying holocaust, blah blah? Now I’m confused, too.

        1. Maybe you should read alizabeth’s comment below. Maybe you should listen to the full interview and not rely only about soundbytes made by “Ha’haretz” which put the comment out of context.

  3. I took the second statement too as saying that Israel should not be worried about retaliation from Iran after the attack.

  4. That many in Israel are even thinking seriously of this is very revealing as to the militaristic mind set that deals with all issues by force.

    1. (Almost) Everyone in Israel sees the military option as an ultimate final resort that must be used when all else fails. As an Israeli, I recognize the fact that if Israel does eventually attack Iran, all hell will break loose – and many lives will be lost. It is not something we take lightly or gladly rush into, but Israel cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran that constantly threatens us with destruction.

      As a general note, the Israeli public is rather weary of wars, having lost many of our sons, parents and siblings in pointless warring. I know that the usual bunch will scream about the “Zionist bloodlust” or some such nonsense, but frankly we’re quite sick of having to fight for our basic right to exist in the region.

      1. I have yet to see an Iranian threat to nuke Israel, whereas I have often seen not-too-veiled threats to nuke Iran coming from Israelis, sometimes quite high-ranking ones.

          1. When people said they wanted the Apartheid regime in South Africa destroyed they were not threatening the whites or South Africa as a state with annihilation. You conflate everything: Zionist regime = Israel = the Jews.
            Ahmadinejad and his rethoric apal me but he is not threatening you with annihilation. That is your fears speaking.

          2. Iran is deeply involved in the financing and training of terrorist organizations that are responsible for many heinous attacks. Iran’s leader held holocaust denial conferences, blamed the Zionists of controlling the world media and being responsible for all the world’s racism. He once commented that “Israel should be wiped off the map”, a comment which in no way can be interpreted as peaceful. Also, the term “Zionist regime” does not refer to this government or the other, but to the essence of Israel being a homeland for the Jews. The dissolution of the “Zionist regime”, means the destruction of Israel.

            What I find absurd is that while this monster is stoning gays in his own country, enforcing oppressive Shar’ia rule, threatning to destroy other nations, promoting conspiracy 9/11 theories, destabilizing Iraq – he is absolved of any criticism. On the other hand, Israel, the only country in the middle east with proper gay rights, equal womens rights and freedom of speech for all – is denigrated as the “new Nazi state” by radical left activists.

            By choosing to align yourselves with the evil forces in the region, you are revealing yourselves as biased hate-mongers who instead of seeking peace and stability, merely seek the destruction of Israel.

            By the way, here’s an interesting commentary by Judge Richard Goldstone rejecting the claims that Israel is a racist state:


          3. Israel is involved too in many heinous attacks on Palestinian civilians.

            If you repeat the lie about wiping Israel off the face of the map one more time it may be yr last time commenting here. Read the comment rules.

            I don’t permit commenters to use histrionic or racist language when describing other ethnic groups or nations. For violating another comment rule you will be moderated.

            Israel has gay rights except when settlers nutcases engage in serial murder of them or when a haredi nutcase stabs one. Women have rights & freedom except when one is raped by a powerful man who gets a gag order preventing anyone in Israel from hearing the story & judging his guilt. Free speech for all? Really? You must be joking.

            By choosing to align yourselves with the evil forces in the region, you are revealing yourselves as biased hate-mongers

            You mean by not giving Israel a pass on all its vices & by not holding a diff. view of it than you we’re fellow travelers of radical leftists screaming “Nazi” at Israel. You’re so transparent & so patently hasbarist any reasonable person sees through you in a second.

          4. I am not aligning myself with evil forces when I oppose what Israel does to the local population. And what does the lack of gay rights in Iran have to do with anything? My government (Dutch) does not support Iran. It supports Israel.

            The statement “Israel should be wiped off the map” was never made.

            Ahmadinejad quoted an unfulfilled wish by Komeini:

            “Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”


            Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).

            “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.”

            This passage does not call for war, at the most for regime change, and seems to leave that to the will of God or fate at that. It has been isolated and twisted and you have fallen wholesale for this nonsense.

            Israeli and Western leaders have called many times for the disappearance of the regime in Teheran. But are the Iranians yelling and screaming that they are facing a Holocaust? No. So quit the hysteria.

          5. The “wiped off the map” comment was actually printed in English by the Iranian government. It was the Iranian press agency itself that translated his phrase that way. The fact that it may not literally be an exact word by word match does not mean that it wasn’t said. The Iranian press agency determined that the phrase the president of Iran used was translatable as “wiped off the map” in English. Euphemisms in one language are often translated into similar but more familiar and comprehensible euphemisms in another language. Regardless, it was the Iranian press that made and published the translation. And also, he was simply quoting the words of the Supreme Leader who has explicitly and repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction. The Supreme Leader and the president of Iran have both made it clear that they believe Palestine should include not only the West Bank and Gaza, but also the land that is currently Israel. Thus, wiping Israel, as a country, off the map, and replacing it with Palestine.

          6. Yes printed by the Iranian govt based on the NYT reporter’s erroneous reporting & translation. Even Iran makes mistakes in crediting sources as I did in believing Uri Davis as a source.

          7. Yup, but Iran’s Foreign Minister soon attempted to clarify the statement. So the rest of what you say is nonsense.
            The quote has started to lead a life of its own.

          8. The Iranian news agency that published the “wiped off the map” quote did so before the NY Times article came out with the same translation.

            And this is an excerpt from a later article discussing the merits of the various translations:

            But translators in Tehran who work for the president’s office and the foreign ministry disagree with them. All official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement, including a description of it on his Web site (www.president.ir/eng/), refer to wiping Israel away. Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran’s most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say “wipe off” or “wipe away” is more accurate than “vanish” because the Persian verb is active and transitive.

            The second translation issue concerns the word “map.” Khomeini’s words were abstract: “Sahneh roozgar.” Sahneh means scene or stage, and roozgar means time. The phrase was widely interpreted as “map,” and for years, no one objected. In October, when Mr. Ahmadinejad quoted Khomeini, he actually misquoted him, saying not “Sahneh roozgar” but “Safheh roozgar,” meaning pages of time or history. No one noticed the change, and news agencies used the word “map” again.


            And here is the original article from IRIB News (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) from 10/26/2005:

            Tehran, Oct 26 – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

            “The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world,” the President told a conference in Tehran entitled ‘the world without Zionism’.

            “The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land,” he said.

            “As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,” said Ahmadinejad, referring to the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini.


            The article in the NY Times citing “wiped off the map” appeared a day later.

          9. With all due respect, there is no “lie” here (certainly not a deliberate one) as I am simply presenting to you the first known article where I believe the translation of the speech was published – which is an Iranian source.

            Even those who are critical of the translation and believe it to be inaccurate have noted that the first appearance was in the Iranian source.

            In Arash Norouzi’s piece entitled “Wiped Off The Map” – The Rumor of the Century” wherein he attempts to prove that Ahmadinejad never said “wiped off the map” – he includes this comment:

            “One may wonder: where did this false interpretation originate? Who is responsible for the translation that has sparked such worldwide controversy? The answer is surprising.

            The inflammatory “wiped off the map” quote was first disseminated not by Iran’s enemies, but by Iran itself. The Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran’s official propaganda arm, used this phrasing in the English version of some of their news releases covering the World Without Zionism conference.”

            If you can show that this is, in fact, a lie, and that the information in that article is wrong – that the quote did not in fact originate with Iran’s news agency, but with the New York Times, I would not only apologize to you but would also make sure to correct the record on Wikipedia and other internet sources that led me to believe that the quote originated from the Iranian source.

            Please understand that if the information I thought was accurate is actually not, I would be just as interested as you in making sure that I had it right and wasn’t repeating something that wasn’t correct.

            My understanding of the facts is as follows:

            The first appearance of “wiped off the map” in the NY Times was in an article by Nazila Fathi published Thursday, October 27, 2005.

            In that article, the reporter cites the Iranian press agency as being the source of the quotation.

            Here is the first paragraph of that article:

            Iran’s conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be “wiped off the map” and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.

            There is no NY Times article that I can find or am aware of previous to this date that mentions the phrase “wiped off the map” with respect to the Iranian president’s remarks.

            One day prior to this, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcast Agency published an article (that I cited and linked to above) reporting (in English) that Ahmadenijad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” (using those exact words in the article).

            This article is dated October 26, 2005.

            I believe that there is evidence, therefore, to suggest that the NY Times picked up the “wiped off the map” phrasing from an Iranian source which translated it that way initially.

            This conclusion is shared by those who consider the translation to be dubious and/or completely inaccurate such as Arash Norouzi as cited above.

            I know that you are someone who is absolutely committed to accuracy and is willing to make corrections when appropriate. I have tried to do the best job possible in researching this question, and it is in the spirit of due diligence, then, that I ask you to consider this information that I have collected.

            Thank you for taking the time to do so and thank you for all the work you put in to this informative and thought-provoking website.

          10. I really could care less about all this nonsense. We all know the exact translation of what was said in that speech & it wasn’t what you claimed. I don’t care who reported the speech after the fact & whether they translated it wrong or right or whether Fathi mistranslated it herself or derived her own error from an Iranian mistranslation. Anyone who continues down this path is acting in bad faith & I will not permit it here.

            I’m simply not going to go into hermeneutics & fine tooth analysis on the matter as it doesn’t deserve the time, energy or attention. If you want to continue the mistranslation meme, be my guest, but not here.

      2. Israel cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran that constantly threatens us with destruction.

        First of all, sure it can. YOu tolerate a nuclear Pakistan & the world tolerates numberous nuclear states. Second, you don’t have to tolerate an Iran that threatens you with destruction because Iran threatens you w. destruction even less than your leaders threaten it with destruction.

        The Israeli public isn’t wary of getting into wars. It does so regularly & willingly. Once the killing starts though (of Israelis, that is) it gets a tad uncomfortable & starts pointing fingers at everyone but itself for allowing them to begin in the first place. You’re not sick enough of wars apparently if you get into the next one as it appears is just around the corner.

        1. To come to Israel’s defend, it does not stand alone in it’s love of wars as they begin. More than 60% of the American public was supportive of Bush’s murderous stupidity in Iraq when it started. This is about the percentage of the public support for the American wounders in Vitenam, even during Kennedy’s administration. Not to mention the so called “good war” which kinda destoryed Europe while killing millions for nothing.

          All in all, we are only humble students of the American dream.

        2. Pakistan, India and other nuclear nations do not finance terror organizations operating in Gaza. Nor do their leaders frequently threaten to “wipe out the Zionist regime” and hold holocaust denial conferences. Iran’s leadership is obsessed with Israel and its destruction, and we would be incredibly foolish not to heed those threats, especially given our dismal past.

          1. But Pakistan, India, North Korea etc all HAVE nuclear weapons & Iran does not. So you’re more frightened of a state like Pakistan which hates Israel & has one than a state like Iran which doesn’t.

            You have inaccurately quoted Iranian leaders a 2nd time. You will be moderated. Accuracy is very important here & I don’t accept lies or mischaracterizations passed off as truth.

            Israel’s leadership too is obsessed with Iran and its destruction (at least of the current regime). Iran btw is not obsessed with Israel’s destruction, though it certainly opposes the policies of the current gov’t as they apply to Iran & Palestine.

            You ARE incredibly foolish for turning Iran into a monstrous bogeyman just as some Iranian leaders are foolish for doing the same concerning Israel.

      3. Israel is, and has been for a long long time, the main source of instability in the Middle East. With nuclear force, Israel regularly threatens its neighbors and actually precipitates one war after another. Your basic right to exist has not been threatened since 1948. Not even then. If it was a serious threat, how did Israel dispatch such a serious threat in just six days in 1967? Some threat, huh? It was empty dramatic propaganda then and it is empty dramatic thinking now from you, even more so. You certainly give me no reason for hope for reason and moderation on the Israeli side at all. You are wrong about everything.

        1. How can one be so one-sided?

          1948 was a live-or-die war. Israel lost 1% of its population during the war – 6000 people out of 600000. Not an existential threat? Can you imagine a war in which 1% of the American population perishes? The Arabs could not tolerate a Jewish state, and simply put – they tried to drive us into the sea. They were unsuccessful, and this is where the story begins.

          in 1967 Israel was attacked, but preempted and managed to gain a swift victory. Should Israel apologize for having such a decisive victory?

          1973 – Israel is attacked once again in a brutal war. The existence of Israel was hanging by a thread, with at some point having only a handful of tanks defending the northern front and preventing Syrian tanks from marching onto Tel-Aviv.

          Even the later wars, 1982, Lebanon War, Cast Lead were defensive wars that Israel engaged in against terror organizations. These organizations, of course, are always absent from your arguments or are automatically absolved of their sins.

          1. “in 1967 Israel was attacked, but preempted ”
            That is an idiotic statement and you know it. You are either attacked or you attack first.
            As Begin said in 1982:

            “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

          2. As to 1948:
            During this civil war period (so BEFORE the Arab armies attacked on may 15 1948) Jewish military organizations forced more than 400,000 Palestinian Arab inhabitants from their homes in about 225 villages. That amounts to approximately half of the total number of Palestinians made refugees during the creation of the State of Israel.
            When you look at the scale of the expulsions prior to May 1948, the Arab intervention might more accurately be described as a long overdue intervention.
            NATO intervened in Kosovo in 1999 after only a fraction of that amount of people had been driven out by the Serbs, remember?

            “The Arabs could not tolerate a Jewish state, and simply put” is just blahblah that has been spoonfed to you since you were a child.

          3. If the Arabs can tolerate a Jewish state, why did they reject the partition plan of 47′? Why did the Mufti reject the possibility of a Jewish in the Peel commission?
            Why does Hamas have a charter that calls for the genocide of Jews?

            I’m not saying that peace isn’t attainable, but ignoring the very basic facts and letting your hate guide you is just a twisted way of looking at reality. Also, I myself belong to the Israeli left, and I harbor no ill intentions for the Arabs. For all I care, they can have a state today – if they stopped shooting rockets at us and accept that Jews have a place in this region.

          4. If the Arabs can tolerate a Jewish state, why did they reject the partition plan of 47′?

            If Israelis can tolerate a Palestinian state why have they rejected the Saudi peace plan for the past 10 yrs?? As for the Peel Commission. Really? If I wanted this blog to deal with ancient Zionist history I would do so. But I don’t. This is OFF TOPIC. Stay on topic & stay in this century as much as possible. The Hamas charter is not just off topic but a comment rule violation.

            I myself belong to the Israeli left,

            You’re a bald faced liar. You’re not even remotely on the Israeli left. What is this? A Hasbara 101 technique? First of all, claim to be of the political persuasion of whatever website you comment upon. It throws ’em off & makes ’em take you more seriously. Is that the doctrine & thinking? If so, write home to your bosses & tell them you come across as a lame-faced liar.

          5. I can tell you one thing: If a people had immigrated to the Netherlands from other parts of the world, saying that they claimed part of, or the whole of the country, as a national homeland, because some of their ancestors had lived here long ago, that idea would have been rejected too at a referendum.

            NO people on earth would have been that altruistic. To hold the ‘no’ vote of the Palestinians at the time against them is silly. You would have done the same in their place.

            It does not at all mean that “the Arabs” cannot tolerate a Jewish state in principal. (Please refer to them as ‘Palestinians’, people with a history in the land and a personal stake at what goes on there. By calling them by the generic name ‘Arabs’ you deny them their identity and swipe them together with people in Iraq or Saudi Arabia or elsewhere, creating one big imaginary enemy world.)
            The Palestinians have suffered so much since 1947 that they have been willing to make a great sacrifice by accepting the state of Israel on almost 80 percent of the territory. But the Israeli side has not taken up their offer, not being willing to give up the lands conquered in 1967.
            Israel could have had peace and continued international support, but land hunger was stronger.

          6. I’m glad we’ve reached the heart of your thinking –

            According to you, the Palestinians were right in rejecting a two-state solution in 1947 as proposed by the UN. They were right in starting a war which ultimately led to their demise.
            Let me ask you this – you are championing Palestinian self-determination, namely a Palestinian country with a Muslim Palestinian majority. I also support this notion, and believe that a Palestinian state should exist in the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

            Would you agree, then, that Jews also have that same right of self-determination, a country in which they can exist as a majority and be entitled to security, free from discrimination, suicide bombings and rocket attacks? Do you agree that Israel is that country?

            As for your portrayal of Israel as a country which rejected peace, it is simply wrong. Israel made three different offers to end the conflict (Camp David, Clinton parameters, Annapolis).
            I refer you to Saeb Erekat’s own admission that Olmert had agreed to give all the territories back, but Abu-Mazen rejected his offer.

          7. Also, your portrayal of the Jews “taking ownership by force” of Israel is misleading. The right of Jews to live in Israel, while influenced by our deep connection to this land – is not divine or holy and is certainly not a “godly right”
            It stems from the promises of the Balfour declaration and later on from the UN resolution that gave both Jews and Palestinian the right to their own sovereign states – a first in Palestinian history. Had the Palestinians agreed to this, not a single soul would have been dislocated.

            But this is a matter of the past, and important as it is to the understanding of the conflict today, pragmatic forces must have the wisdom to put this anger aside and try to reach a solution that would secure the rights of both nations.

          8. “They were right in starting a war which ultimately led to their demise. ”

            They did not start anything. They were unorganized and driven out by Jewish militia.

            “Would you agree, then, that Jews also have that same right of self-determination, a country in which they can exist as a majority and be entitled to security, free from discrimination, suicide bombings and rocket attacks? Do you agree that Israel is that country?”

            Calm down. I am not denying Israel’s ‘right to exist’, so dont demand all kinds of eclarations from me. If you want to be a majority, make peace soon. And if you want the rockets from Gaza to stop, think of ways to make amends to the people of Gaza, 70 percent of whom descend from people that were driven out of Israel.

            Have you ever thought of that? How do you think they must feel? Or does the history of the Palestinians start after 1948, while the history of the Jews goes back thousands of years?

            Finally: Memri is not a reliable source. Get me some back-up for your claim from other sources.

          9. 1948 was a war which Israel possibly could’ve avoided. It was brought on by Ben Gurion’s declaration of statehood & might’ve been avoided by further negotiation with the Arab parties as Judah Magnes advocated. As much as any Arab wanted to drive Jews into the sea (please what a lame old warhorse) Israel actually did drive 1 million of its residents from their homes into permanent exile.

            In 1967 Israel wasn’t attacked. It attacked, which is what the term “pre-empted” means. You attacked first. Israel doesn’t have to apologize for anything except the Occupation & conquering land & refusing to return it for decades.

            In 1973, Israel was attacked because Golda Meir refused Anwar Sadat’s approach to negotiate for the return of the Sinai & a peace agreement. Once again, if Israel’s existence was hanging by a thread (more melodrama on yr part) it was Golda’s fault.

            No Israeli was since has been defensive. None.

        2. “With nuclear force, Israel regularly threatens its neighbors” – Do you have credible sources for you arguments? I don’t think so.

          “Your basic right to exist has not been threatened since 1948. Not even then” – I think you should open your history books again.

          “You are wrong about everything” – Say who? One who lives outside Israel and fed by the Arab and pro-Palestinian media?

  5. Iran is busy coaxing Israel into making its final mistake. Hubris is a weakness, and while Israel thinks it has made way into a grand bargain, the arrogant State doesn’t realize it is willfully helping the last nail in its coffin.

    Go ahead, Ehud. Make our day. Make everyone’s. It’s time the arrogant child got a spanking.

  6. I think he is saying quite clearly that they do not plan such an attack in the near future. I don’t think he is lying on this matter. Barak is many things, but not a liar. this fine quality usually belongs to our prime minister.

    funny thing is, I think most of the Israeli media based it’s stories on your blog, which was then again based on the Israeli media’s stories.

    I myself saw some refrences to my post regarding this matter, which was also basically based on the assumptions made here.

    It seems your writing is very influential within the Israeli media, which is a blessed thing on the one hand. but this is why I said you should be very carful with making assumptions. They tend to become news very quickly, and worse – they can give bad ideas (such as an attack in Iran) to the wrong people.

    1. It’s a bit much to suggest that the Israelis are deriving their idea to attack Iran from Richard Silverstein. Wish it were so.

      The terrible reality of long term Israeli policy is that is based on the fracturing, instability and economic degradation of all its neighbours. That is the simple truth, and to see it is to understand the coherence of its actions.

    2. I think Silverstein is mostly a “Kuriuz” and a tool for leaking information when necessary.

      He is definitely not seriously regarded by the mainstream Israeli media. His own analytical skills are quite childish and filled with conspiratorial nonsense that warp the very fabric of reality (e.g., “IDF provokes violence to stifle protests”)

      He’s a bored adolescent housewife, and should be exposed as such.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link