I have little to add to this terrific post by Steve Clemons at TPM Café. Short version: it seems that while U.S. hawks are worried about a nuclear Iran, Israeli hawks are more worried about the consequences of a deranged U.S. attack on Iran.
This morning’s New York Times contained an alarmist, and charmingly old-fashioned, concentric-circle ad by the American Jewish Committee. (Sorry, I can’t find a link to the ad itself, but a low-res version is on the AJC home page. The basic idea is that Iran’s projected missiles could carry its hypothetical bomb to all kinds of places.) The ad, it’s worth noting, shows Iran potentially threatening some of the biggest military powers in the world, including many with their own piles of nukes—Britain, France, China, Russia, India—but is for some reason running in the newspaper of a country that nobody thinks will be in range. Now that we know that the main country that Iran really might threaten seems more worried about destabilizing Yanks than about nuclear mullahs, there’s even less reason to act as the world’s pre-emptor.
To be sure, Israel’s defense minister took the opposite tack at an AJC fundraiser (if one believes that the AJC’s brief summary is unbiased, which one is free to do). But that doesn’t impress me. In fact, if Clemons is right, then the fundraising speech saddens me. Israel has to keep its own U.S. supporters happy by hyping threats that Israeli experts themselves aren’t all that worked up about. Israelis long for a world in which Israel is secure. Israel’s U.S. supporters, to keep their purpose in life, long for a world in which it is ever more threatened.
P.S.: Yes, I’m fully aware that making fun of the AJC on this, and trusting Israelis instead, makes both me and Clemons objective anti-Semites, credits to Hitler, and all that. Any comments to that effect will be utterly logical and highly original.