Yossi Melman wrote in Maariv recently that from 2011-13, when Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak were pounding the drums of war against Iran, they were engaged in an elaborate fraud. In 2011, Israeli secretly decided not to mount a military assault on Iran to degrade its nuclear program. Instead, it decided to implement a plan that included continued covert sabotage of the nuclear facilities along with a grand campaign to rattle sabers and convince the world that if it didn’t take concrete, aggressive action against Iran, that Israel would. Though Israel never intended to go to war, it used such a conviction to isolate Iran diplomatically and economically–putting in place punishing sanctions that would be only one step short of war itself.
Israel prides itself on driving its enemies back to the Stone Age, whether it be Lebanon or Gaza. It couldn’t do this precisely to Iran since it couldn’t go to war. But reports like this, which pointed to an Iran whose industrial methods retreated to those of the early 20th century, were music to the ears of the Israeli regime. Israel doesn’t believe in constructive engagement or carrots. It believes in massive punitive measures to keep opponents in line.
Returning to the military option hoax, Bibi and Barak gave convincing interviews and planted leaks with journalists inside Israel and around the world designed to persuade the world that baal habayit hishtageya (the “homeowner’s gone mad”). Many journalists aided and abetted this hoax. Most unintentionally and some who just didn’t care. Journalists with a far larger audience than I have. But I’m sorry to say that I was used as part of the hoax as well. Stories were planted and published. They appeared credible at the time. Now, they are no longer so.
A highly-placed Israel source with knowledge of intelligence matters went farther than Melman. He says there never was a valid military option and that the dramatic security cabinet meeting at which the three military-intelligence chiefs dissuaded the ministers from commencing a war was really a carefully orchestrated good cop-bad cop routine. Bibi and Barak played the warmongers and the three chiefs the peacemakers.
They continued this elaborate charade in internal deliberations amongst the two of them, as well as my source confirms:
What I don’t understand is why a senior IDF officer would bother with planting such stories. I not only rejected the military option against Iran. I rejected sanctions as well. How would planting a story with a total Israel-skeptic like me persuade anyone that Israel was prepared to go to war? And why would any Israeli intelligence officer believe my audience was a desirable one to fool or influence?
It is true that some of my Iran reporting did earn interviews with major international media outlets like the BBC. But in those interviews I made abundantly clear not just my skepticism of the military option, but my absolutely derision regarding it. I suppose the Israeli intelligence services believed just having the war plan mentioned there was enough. Perhaps they believed listeners would only hear the reporting about the military option, but not listen to my own commentary on it. I hope they were wrong.
Further, though Israel engages in such fraud believing the world has a short memory, that’s not so much true of people like me or the good journalists of the world. We remember such things. We don’t like being burned. It makes us churlish and downright mean-spirited. Though we never put much stock in the credibility of Israeli government officials, such a fraud would send their stock even lower.
So let’s let everyone reading this blog know that Israel has engaged in yet another act of deception. It makes you wonder when you can ever trust Israel’s leaders to be forthright, honest and straight-forward.
Speaking of Ehud Barak, my Israeli source notes this report in Israel’s News1 which says that Barak has been uncharacteristically silent over the past weeks. He didn’t have a word to say about Operation Protective Edge and not even when allies of his arch-enemy Gabi Ashkenazi were being raked over the coals in the media. Though News1 didn’t say what was wrong, my source tells me that Barak has Alzheimer’s. It seems a harsh judgment for someone so full of vigor, bluster, and political energy; someone who reached the heights of political power. It reminds one of Ariel Sharon–one moment prime minister and at the pinnacle of Israeli politics and another moment lying comatose in a hospital bed. Someone less charitable might speak of the chickens coming home to roost regarding Barak’s terminal illness. Whatever the case, history will appraise him and if there is any justice in it, will find him as wanting as most other Israeli prime ministers who preceded him.
He was the Israeli leader offered the chance to end both the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Syrian conflicts, and he flinched each time success was handed to him on a silver platter. He was also the Labor Party leader who led it into oblivion as the lapdog of the Likud-dominated governments.