Barack Obama (R) and Benjamin Netanyahu (Reuters / Jason Reed)
It seems Israel’s leadership considers that its strategic, military, diplomatic
and political ‘window of opportunity’ to make war against Iran is fast closing.
Israeli and US leaders seem united in their strategic goal of destroying Iran –
as they were in destroying Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan – but they’re also
at loggerheads as to which tactical road to tread.
The US prefers more economic and diplomatic pressure, coupled with
continued covert operations inside Syria until the Assad government
collapses and then Iran can be dealt with.
Israel favours unilateral all-out military attack against Iran now.
Either way, this week may mark the final days of very intensive talks
between US leaders and Israeli leaders. Last week, Israel’s president
Shimon Peres and ultra-right Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
were in Washington putting pressure on US authorities, calling for
immediate military action against Iran. Then, on Monday President
Barack Obama welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
at the White House, reassuring him that “the United States will always
have Israel’s back” and that whilst the United States “would prevent Iran
from acquiring a nuclear weapon”, he added that, “we do believe there
is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution to this issue.”
Still, tensions have been running high between the two countries. When
US General Martin Dempsey called for moderation over Iran, it earned
him Mr. Netanyahu’s accusation of being “a servant of Iran”.
Whatever finally happens, it will have to happen soon, because Israel,
the US and the UK are very much aware that like the proverbial boy that
cried “Wolf!” until nobody believed him anymore, they just cannot
continue crying“We’re gonna take out Iran over its nukes!” and then
Last week’s meetings in the US were particularly important. They had
President Obama visiting for the Nth time the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC –
American Israeli Public Affairs Committee – an organization that wields
tremendous political, economic, financial, media and military leverage
inside the US. So much so that at times it seems that AIPAC and the
intricate network of pro-Zionist organizations it is part of, literally run
the country. For AIPAC is the key transmission system whereby
Israeli objectives and interests are imposed upon the US
government, Congress and its media; and they do this in no
Anybody who dares criticize AIPAC will immediately be struck by its Olympian
bolts of lightning and branded an “Anti-Semite”, which is the very worst thing
that can happen to any politician, diplomat, military officer, academic or
journalist in the United States of America.
Among those hit by such Israeli lightning, are former president Jimmy
Carter, his National Security Advisor and Trilateral Commission ideologue
Zbigniew Brzezinski, and academics Stephen Walt of the Kennedy School at
Harvard University and John Mearsheimer of Chicago University.
Former president Carter wrote a book in 2006 called Palestine: Peace not
Apartheid in which he highlighted the glaring similarities of gross racial
injustice that exist between today’s Israeli ethnic cleansing in Palestine
and yesterday’s South African Apartheid. That got put him in AIPAC’s
line of fire.
In 2007 Professors Walt and Mearsheimer published a book, The Israel
Lobby and US Foreign Policy, focusing on the excessive clout and
leverage that pro-Israel lobby organizations like AIPAC have on US
foreign policy, and that earned them their share of Israeli ire.
The authors describe the Lobby as “a core consisting of organizations
whose declared purpose is to encourage the US government and the
American public to provide material aid to Israel and to support its
government's policies, as well as influential individuals for whom these
goals are also a top priority", adding that the "loose coalition that
makes up the Lobby has significant leverage over the Executive Branch”.
AIPAC, they say, has a veritable "stranglehold on the US Congress" due to
its "ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who
support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it."
Considering that Zionism is basically a political ideology, the authors
explained that although "the bulk of the lobby is comprised of Jewish
Americans there are many American Jews who are not part of the
lobby…which also includes many Christian Zionists.”
Walt and Mearsheimer explained that "No lobby has managed to divert
U.S. Foreign Policy as far from what the American national interest
would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans
that US and Israeli interests are essentially identical…What sets the
Israel Lobby apart is its extraordinary effectiveness."
They conclude that when the Lobby succeeds in shaping US policy in the
Middle East, then "Israel's enemies get weakened or overthrown, Israel
gets a free hand with the Palestinians, and the United States does most
of the fighting, dying, rebuilding, and paying.”
Today, in what appear to be final talks between the US and Israel before
war is unleashed, Mr. Netanyahu emphasized that “Israel must have the
ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.” And then thanked
president Obama for affirming in his speech before AIPAC that, as he
himself put it, “Israel has the sovereign right to make its own decisions.
” According to Monday’s New York Times, Israeli officials interpreted
this to mean that the United States would not try to block a preemptive
Will it be war, then? Let’s hope not, but very dark and heavy clouds have
certainly gathered on the horizon.
It may just be a coincidence, but interestingly, in recent years key foes of
Israel have been destroyed by the US and UK on dates that coincide with
the Jewish Festivity of Purim that falls every year on the 14th of the
Hebrew month of Adar. Based on the Old Testament Book of Esther,
Purim celebrates the slaughter of 75,000 enemies of the Jews throughout
the Persia Empire (modern Iran, of all places!)
Purim falls on a different date each year in our Western calendar: in 1991
it fell on 1st March (actually it started at sunset on 28th February) which
was the exact day the Bush I administration called victory in Iraq. In
2003, Purim fell on 19th March which is when Bush II invaded Iraq. Last
year it again fell on 19th March, marking the first massive NATO attack on Libya.
This year Purim falls on 8th March. Will Israel and the US go into War Mode this week?