Ynet reportsthat an advisor of Bibi Netanyahu has suggested that the world starve Iran into submission:
Iran’s citizens should be starved in order to curb Tehran’s nuclear program, officials in Jerusalem said Wednesday ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to Washington.
“North Korea is halting its nuclear program in order to receive aid in food, and this is what should be done with Iran as well,” one unnamed official said.
“Suffocating sanctions could lead to a grave economic situation in Iran and to a shortage of food,” the source said. “This would force the regime to consider whether the nuclear adventure is worthwhile, while the Persian people have nothing to eat and may rise up as was the case in Syria, Tunisia and other Arab states.”
“The Western world led by the United States must implement stifling sanctions at this time already, rather than wait or hesitate,” the official said. “In order to suffocate Iran economically and diplomatically and lead the regime there to a hopeless situation, this must be done now, without delay.”
While it appears true that North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and announced a moratorium on nuclear tests, it has not cancelled or ended its nuclear program as the Israeli official says. In fact, while the U.S. welcomed the announcement, it said it said it was “limited.”
As for starvation, it has been a North Korean fact of life for two decades or more. Chances are this change of policy has a lot more to do with a new leader taking over the country, than starvation proving an effective strategic tool. Besides, North Korea has entered into such talks before and then deserted them only to resume enrichment and testing. So gloating over this development is premature until we see whether it will produce long-term results.
Besides being a massive violation of international law, starvation as a tactic simply doesn’t work. Anyone remember the hundreds of thousands of children dying of malnutrition in Saddam’s Iraq? That worked pretty well there, didn’t it? How about the Nazi siege of Leningrad that killed millions and led to longstanding hatreds between Russia and Germany? How about the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto and starvation there, which led to the uprising and eventual extermination of the entire Jewish population? Or the Roman siege of Jerusalem during which starvation and various plagues took many Jewish lives? Not to mention the Roman siege against Masada, that led to the greatest act of self-martyrdom in Jewish history? Those were all stellar examples of humanity in the history of our species, weren’t they?
Keep in mind, this particular gem of an Israeli isn’t advocating merely putting Iran “on a diet” as Dov Weisglass, Ariel Sharon’s advisor, did toward Gaza. He’s advocating death, malnutrition, pestilence: the whole nine yards of incremental genocide.
It’s especially telling that this genius came up with such a policy proposal on the eve of Bibi’s trip to Washington to meet with Pres. Obama, who will certainly warm to such an idea. I guess the Israelis must see this as an ice-breaker to bring the two leaders, who have a history of icy relations, closer.
I don’t know which butcher came up with this cracker jack idea, but my money would be on someone like Moshe Yaalon, who has Pharaoh’s cold-heartedness and ice-water running through veins where warm blood should be. If it was Yaalon, I look forward some day to seeing him in the dock at The Hague.
Now let’s talk Jewish morality. After all, Israel does claim to be the state of the entire Jewish people, right? Mass starvation is a hillul Ha-Shem, a desecration of God’s name. Any Jewish person or state which advocates such a policy has defiled Judaism. Unfortunately, few in Israel and certainly few rabbis there will take such a position, which is all the more reason for Israel NOT to deserve to be the state of the Jewish people. Israel is a state like any other (worse than some admittedly), some of whose citizens happen to be Jewish. When it makes monstrous statements like the one offered in Ynet, Israel loses any moral claims to represent Jews or Judaism as a whole.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.