I suggested recently that once the US begins negotiating with Iran, regardless of the small probability that talks would lead to the end of Iran’s nuclear program, Israel would be constrained from acting on its own. Any Israeli strike, I said, would be portrayed as “sabotaging diplomacy.”
It’s starting already. And not only is Israel constrained from taking military action, its Prime Minister is not even allowed to talk about keeping sanctions in place.
Here is a snippet from an editorial in Tuesday’s New York Times, Obama’s Pravda:
Mr. Netanyahu has legitimate reasons to be wary of any Iranian overtures, as do the United States and the four other major powers involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. But it could be disastrous if Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters in Congress were so blinded by distrust of Iran that they exaggerate the threat, block President Obama from taking advantage of new diplomatic openings and sabotage the best chance to establish a new relationship since the 1979 Iranian revolution sent American-Iranian relations into the deep freeze. … [my emphasis]
So PM Netanyahu’s words of caution at the UN that Iran’s President Rouhani is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and his warning that if Israel is forced to confront Iran alone it will, constitute ‘sabotage’! And US congresspersons who support Israel are saboteurs too.
Strong words indeed, in response to a speech that simply stated facts about Iran’s behavior that any high school student could verify, and which promised that the Jewish state would not allow itself to be sacrificed for the sake of a very chancy diplomatic process.
The Times, however, isn’t finished. The editorial continued,
Mr. Netanyahu has hinted so often of taking military action to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon that he seems eager for a fight. He did it again at the United Nations on Tuesday, warning that Israel reserved the right to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities if it deemed that Iran was close to producing nuclear weapons. “Against such a threat, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself,” he said.
The insinuation that PM Netanyahu would welcome a war in which thousands of Israeli civilians and soldiers might die is more than just offensive, it is obscene. He is well aware of the likely response to an Israeli strike, and he has made it quite clear that he views military action as the last resort if Iran cannot be stopped peacefully. In his speech, he described how the international community could do this:
First, keep up the sanctions. If Iran advances its nuclear weapons program during negotiations, strengthen the sanctions.
Second, don’t agree to a partial deal. A partial deal would lift international sanctions that have taken years to put in place in exchange for cosmetic concessions that will take only weeks for Iran to reverse.
Third, lift the sanctions only when Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons program. My friends, the international community has Iran on the ropes. If you want to knock out Iran’s nuclear weapons program peacefully, don’t let up the pressure. Keep it up.
The key word here is ‘peacefully’. But the Times prefers to paint the PM, who has the responsibility of protecting his people against a regime which repeats over and over that Israel will be destroyed while it develops the weapons to do it, as a warmonger.
The concluding paragraph of the Times editorial is perhaps the most offensive:
Both Mr. Obama and Mr. Rouhani have hard-line domestic audiences and allies that they will need to consider and cajole as they undertake this effort to resolve the nuclear dispute and develop a new relationship. For Mr. Obama, that means working closely with Israel and helping Mr. Netanyahu see that sabotaging diplomacy, especially before Iran is tested, only makes having to use force more likely. That would be the worst result of all.
In other words, Obama and Rouhani, both ‘moderates’ who want a new relationship, need to overcome “hard line” opposition, which apparently includes Netanyahu and his US lobby as well as Iranians screaming “death to Israel,” who want to “sabotage” their peace offensive!
But nothing reveals the Times’ attitude — and probably that of the administration for which it speaks — more than the last sentence.
Using force against the Iranian nuclear facilities would not be the “worst result of all.” That would be atomic bombs exploding over Israel’s cities.