AIPAC’s Doomsday Conference: It’s the End of the World Again

aipac conferenceThe American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) recent convention in Washington produced the usual Doomsday talk concerning Iran’s imminent possession of nuclear weapons and with calls to bomb that country before they nuked Israel and/or the United States. So once again I have to remind everyone that these people – Israeli and American officials – are not really worried about an Iranian attack. Here are some of their many prior statements:

In 2007, in a closed discussion, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that in her opinion “Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel.” She “also criticized the exaggerated use that [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears.”

2009: “A senior Israeli official in Washington”, reported the Washington Post(March 5), asserted that “Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation.”

In 2010 the Sunday Times of London (January 10) reported that Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, war hero, pillar of the Israeli defense establishment, and former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, “believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons.”

January 2012: US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a television audience:

“Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No, but we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability.”

Later that month we could read in the New York Times (January 15) that “three leading Israeli security experts – the Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, and a former military chief of staff, Dan Halutz – all recently declared that a nuclear Iran would not pose an existential threat to Israel.”

Then, a few days afterward, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in an interview with Israeli Army Radio (January 18), had this exchange:

Question: Is it Israel’s judgment that Iran has not yet decided to turn its nuclear potential into weapons of mass destruction?

Barak: People ask whether Iran is determined to break out from the control [inspection] regime right now … in an attempt to obtain nuclear weapons or an operable installation as quickly as possible. Apparently that is not the case.

In an April 20, 2012 CNN interview Barak repeated this sentiment: “It’s true that probably [Iranian leader] Khamenei has not given orders to start building a [nuclear] weapon.” 

And on several other occasions, Barak has stated: “Iran does not constitute an existential threat against Israel.” 

Lastly, we have the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in a January 2012 report to Congress: “We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.” … There are “certain things [the Iranians] have not done” that would be necessary to build a warhead.

So why, then, do Israeli and American leaders, at most other times, maintain the Doomsday rhetoric? Partly for AIPAC to continue getting large donations. For Israel to get massive amounts of US aid. For Israeli leaders to win elections. To protect Israel’s treasured status as the Middle East’s sole nuclear power.

wiliam blumListen to Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at America’s most prominent neo-con think tank, American Enterprise Institute:

The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don’t do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, “See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn’t getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately.” … And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem.

William Blum
Anti-Empire Report

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

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Comments

  1. JoeWeinstein says

    I share prior commenter Jay L.’s concerns.

    The precise scope and stage of Iran’s nuclear program at any time is at best only partly known to outsiders. Careful readers will notice that the article cherry-picks self-serving oft-outdated partially informed quotes from just one side of ongoing discussions and speculations in both the USA and Israel.

    One interesting question is why this and other articles in various USA media
    - especially in would-be progressive media – are so keen to suggest that we not
    take at their word the genocidal passions and threats of the leaders of Iran’s
    repressive terror-exporting Islamo-nazi regime.

    Here are three reasons; maybe you can suggest others.

    First, progressive Americans deem themselves ‘sophisticated’ in the ways of
    political leaders. Nowadays in the USA such leaders are seen to be cynical and maybe materially greedy actors and puppets – ready to say or fake anything to win votes and plutocrats’ donations – but otherwise largely lack fanatic passions or hatreds. So – despite clear and disastrous examples abroad given by history and current affairs (Nazi Germany, Islamic ‘Republic’ of Iran, etc.) today’s USA ‘sophisticates’ can’t be bothered to take note of – let alone worry about – regimes abroad run by racist or religious fanatics who don’t care much about merely material payoffs. It’s ‘unsophisticated’ to admit that such regimes exist, and it’s doubly ‘unsophisticated’ to believe that their leaders strongly mean what they say. And – on account of the next reason – it would be even more ‘unsophisticated’ to suggest that the USA has any duty or even right to intervene to obstruct these regimes’ plans.

    Second, many progressives find – and stress – that the US government is the
    world’s prime enabler of over-exploitation of scarce resources and of their
    diversion to destructive war and to plutocratic greed. (This view seems not only factual but flattering: it gives USA progressive dissidents a special role in world affairs.) Therefore – based on the dubious but popular idea that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ – some progressives try hard to justify various regimes – like in Iran or N. Korea – precisely because they are implacable enemies of the USA. Never mind that these regimes’ enmity owes largely to their rejection of those American practices, ideals or policies that progressives presumably highly endorse – basic civil liberties, human rights, nuke non-proliferation.

    Third, after the 1967 war, when Israel turned the tables on her would-be
    annihilators, USSR and China policies opportunistically switched from sympathy
    for ‘fraternal socialist’ Israel to sympathy for ‘victimized’ Palestine. Much as for Islamic supremacists, for the USSR and China the ‘Great Satan’ USA was joined by ‘Little Satan’ Israel. True-believer party-line ‘progressives’ followed suit, and have done so ever since. For them, the Iran regime – no matter its tyrannies and threats – is doubly heroic because it fights both the USA and Israel.

  2. Jay R. Levenberg, Esq. says

    I pay little attention to the intelligence reports about whether or not Iran has the bomb yet. At some point,sooner or later they will have it.What disturbs me is how few people remember their history and those that don’t know their history are doomed to see it repeated. Hitler wrote a book in 1933 outlining exactly what he would do if he ever came to power. People thought he was crazy and ignored him. We have the same situation in Iran. The leader there has made it clear what he will do to Israel when he is able to do it. The world and particularly this President, have ignored him, instead hoping that reason will overcome a madman. I fear greatly not only for Israel but for all the countries that surround it. The nuclear fallout will not just affect Israel but all the surrounding countries that Iran supposedly supports. You can never ignore a crazy leader because you can’t assume anything.

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