UPDATE: I was also reminded by a reader that MK Danny Danon, when interviewed on BBC Newshour (program audio file), treated the Iran war document as an authentic government document.
Amidst the barrage of hostility and derision here (in the comment threads) and elsewhere that greeted my publication of an Israeli government plan for an attack on Iran, I had one response which clinched my case that the document was genuine: no Israeli official had denied its authenticity. It turns out that while I was right in principle, an Israeli official had commented on the document. I didn’t discover this until tonight.
In the Jerusalem Post last Wednesday, its far-right columnist, Herb Keinon, wrote this on the subject:
One government official said there is “a lot of press speculation out there, and everyone has their ‘secret source.’ It is not the government’s policy to comment on any piece of speculation.”
Keinon actually wrote that this constituted a “dismissal” of my report. But that’s not so. If you review the statement, the official refused to comment at all and merely called a great deal of commentary about Israel’s plan regarding Iran “speculation.” He lumped my report in with all the rest using that term. But this is by no means a denial or dismissal. At most you could call it a non-denial denial.
So I put it again to those who accuse me of plagiarizing a purported Fresh fantasy post: let me know when an Israeli official directly contradicts my source and says this document is a fake. Till then, you’re whistlin’ in the wind.
In the past year, I’ve reported that Yossi Melman was likely fired from Haaretz, possibly due to being a paid informant for Stratfor. Prior to that I noted that he’d flatteringly profiled Raymond Tanter, the MEK’s leading U.S. academic acolyte and a former teacher. I also criticized Melman’s new book about Israel’s vaunted intelligence capabilities as being a fictionalized, sensationalized, romanticized mess. So it should surprise no one that he’s taken to his new home, Walla, to offer payback. There he’s denounced me and the credibility of my Iran plan document. The idea that he would rely on the Fresh forum, Israel’s equivalent of the Drudge Report, to attempt to prove his claim, is not only laughable, but should be beneath the dignity of a serious journalist, which Melman clearly is no longer.
I’d also remind him that not so long ago he wrote about me in Haaretz:
Silverstein’s blog is important because he exposes the security services and the courts in all their nakedness.
Once I began goring his ox, my blog suddenly became far less important and it was payback time.
In the midst of writing last night’s post about attacks on me from the left, I came across a powerful quotation from a leading British politician, Enoch Powell. While no one in their right mind admires Powell flirtation with English fascism, he did say something wise on an entirely different subject relating directly to those on the left who deny the possibility that Israel will attack Iran:
History is littered with wars which everybody knew would never happen.
This also reminds me in a peculiar way of Winston Churchill’s lonely pre-WWII campaign demanding that Britain recognize the danger posed by the Nazi menace. When the UK political leadership was mollifying Hitler and denying the certainty of war, Churchill said Britain was delaying the inevitable. The goal of those like me who warn of the likelihood of war is to stop one. But we can’t stop it till we recognize, as Churchill did, that one may be right around the corner.
In other ways this is the opposite of Churchill. We don’t want a crusade against Iran or Israel, as he crusaded against Nazi Germany. We want to warn the world that Israel’s leaders are hell-bent on a path that will be destructive for the entire region, including Israel. There are those on the left who argue that anyone who talks of war against Iran, even those who oppose it, are somehow doing Israel’s bidding. I summarily reject this claim.
Mitchell Plitnick is one who says that for years he’s denied that Israel would attack Iran. But recent word from his own high level and trusted sources have convinced him that such a catastrophic outcome is more likely than he believed. Plitnick’s source added a new element to the mix that I hadn’t heard before. He claimed that Bibi not only wanted to destroy Iran as a rival power, but he wanted to use this opportunity to remake Israel politically. His ultimate goal was to emasculate all the democratic structures that had undergirded Israeli society. In the past, I’d called this guaranteeing a permanent right-wing majority. Netanyahu has already done much to dismantle any semblance of democracy. A war, with the attendant national unity expected from every citizen, would offer further opportunities for Bibi to consolidate power and turn Israel into an authoritarian state:
The idea is horrifying. This would be an Israeli police state…While this seems much bolder than anything I’ve come to expect from Bibi, it could be seen as a natural outgrowth of the growing fascist tendencies he has displayed in his second go-round as Prime Minister.
…Are Bibi and Barak so reckless and hungry for power that they will…destroy Israeli democracy just to set back Iran’s nuclear program for a few years?
I don’t think so. But credible and concerned Israelis do. If Israel does go to Iran alone, I’ll know they were right.
One of the key warnings I offer in this blog is that Israel, as a national security state, is on a slippery slope towards the abyss. It has slipped the bonds of its former democratic values. The more wars it fights the more liberties and freedoms it loses. Fighting yet another war could seal the nation’s flight toward the authoritarianism and eventual oblivion (not a fate I relish at all).
Thanks to all those, both readers, authors of blogs like Velvet Underground, and media outlets like the BBC, who have understood the value of what I’ve been doing and stood by me and my credibility.
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.