Despite the hysterical (and strikingly racist and Islamophobic) claims of opportunistic serial liars like Goldberg (who has warned of Iran’s “theologically driven, eliminationist anti-Semitism”), Netanyahu (who accused Iran’s leaders of belonging to a “messianic apocalyptic cult”) and Alan Dershowitz (who claimed Iran had “demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice millions of their own people to an apocalyptic mission of destruction”), even the United States government concurs with assessments that Iran is a rational actor on the world stage, concerned only with national self-defense rather than aggressive military offensives.

Israeli Fear-Mongering about Iran Faces a Barak-lash
By Nima Shirazi

Sometimes Ehud Barak has trouble staying on message.

Last year in Herzliya, he warned of Israel becoming an apartheid state like South Africa, a usually verboten analogy among Zionist officials, unless a viable Palestinian state is created soon. “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,” Barak said. “If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.” Whoops.

This time around, however, Barak pulled the rug out from under Israel’s favorite scare tactic. The former Israeli Prime Minister/current Minister of Defense/Deputy Prime Minister told Ha’aretz today that even “[i]f Iran succeeds in developing nuclear weapons, it is unlikely to bomb Israel,” thereby undermining one of the Netanyahu administration’s main propaganda lines that a nuclear-armed Iran (if one ever were to exist) would represent an immediate “existential threat” to the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

According to Ha’aretz, Barak voiced his opinion that “Israel should not spread public panic about the Iranian nuclear program and responded to a question about whether he thought Iran would launch a nuclear attack on Israel by saying, “Not on us and not on any other neighbor.”

Just a few days ago, on May 1, both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres repeated their dire warnings and tired talking points about the supposed Iranian threat. Speaking at the opening ceremony of Holocaust Memorial Day at Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to Jewish victims of Nazi genocide, Netanyahu and Peres both “stressed Iranian nuclear aspirations as an existential threat to Israel,” with Netanyahu declaring that “Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas are working openly for the destruction of our people.” He continued, “We cannot place our fate in the hands of others,” and then warned that, “when Israel and the Israel Defense Forces say, ‘Never Again,’ they mean precisely that.”

Peres went even further, stating, “Iran’s fanatic leadership is a danger to the entire world. It is not only a threat to Israel. It is a threat to any household, anywhere. It is a real risk to the fate of humanity.”

Drawing a bogus parallel from Nazi intentions to Iranian ones has long beena mainstay of Israeli fear-mongering despite its obviousabsurdity.

Meanwhile, during his Ha’aretz interview, Barak explained, “I don’t think in terms of panic,” continuing,

“What about Pakistan, some political meltdown happens there and four bombs wind up in Iran. So what? So you head for the airport? You close down the country? Just because they got a shortcut? No. We are still the most powerful in the Middle East.”

This is not the first time Barak has made such comments. In April 2010, Barak told Israel Radio, “Right now, Iran does not pose an existential threat to Israel. If Iran becomes nuclear, it will spark an arms race in the Middle East. This region is very sensitive because of the oil flow; the region is important to the entire world. The fact that Iran is not an immediate threat, but could evolve into one, means that we can’t let ourselves fall asleep.”

Still, in his remarks to Ha’aretz today, Barak made sure to tread familiar fear-mongering ground by stating his belief that the Iranian leadership could not necessarily be trusted not to do something crazy (they are bearded Muslims after all).

“I don’t think that anyone can say responsibly that these ayatollahs, if they have nuclear weapons, are something you can rely on, like the Politburo or the Pentagon,” Barak said. “It’s not the same thing. I don’t think they will do anything so long as they are in complete control of their senses, but to say that somebody really knows and understands what will happen with such a leadership sitting in a bunker in Tehran and thinking that it’s going to fall in a few days and it is capable of doing it? I don’t know what it would do.”

Clearly, according to Barak, only governments run by Western white people are mature and rational enough to have nuclear weapons. Also, the idea of the Iranian leadership “sitting in bunker in Tehran” is ridiculous enough without Barak’s wishful thinking about the potential collapse of the Islamic Republic thrown in (though it is clear that the deliberate inference is to make a mental connection with the Führerbunker beneath Hitler’s New Reich Chancellery in Berlin). Additionally, the idea of the Iranian leadership detonating a nuclear weapon (that they don’t even have) in order to fend off regime change in a blaze of radioactive glory is complete nonsense. “I think we are seeing the beginning of the end of the dictatorships in the Arab world, including the Iranian one,” he said, demonstrating his apparent misunderstanding of how the Iranian governmental system actually works.

Beyond that, there is ample evidence that Iran, which maintains a strict “no first strike” policy, is not prone to act rashly with regard to military aggression, especially against countries with superior capabilities and nuclear arsenals. In October 2008, Congressional foreign policy advisor Gregory Aftandilian, speaking at a Center for National Policy event titled “A Nuclear Middle East,” noted that Iran is “not stupid” and “has a long history, thousands of years, of statecraft,” concluding simply, Tehran is not suicidal.”

In a reasonable and realistic critique of Jeffrey Goldberg’s Israeli propaganda puff piece, Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation wrote last year, “Iran has shown itself to be a strategic, rational, albeit ruthless, calculator of its interests — not an irrational, suicidal nation.” Center for American Progress reporter Matt Duss and national security analyst Andrew Grotto also agree that Iran is neither a “suicide nation” nor a “martyr state.” Late last year, a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks revealed that Australia’s top intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments (ONA) viewed “Tehran as a sophisticated diplomatic player” which was not “liable to behave impulsively or irrationally.” A report in the Sydney Morning Herald quoted ONA chief Peter Varghese as saying, “It’s a mistake to think of Iran as a ‘rogue state’.”

Iranian government and military officials have long stated that they will act militarily in self-defense only if their country is attacked, never preemptively or preventatively, and have never issued threats about initiating aggression against another nation.

Despite the hysterical (and strikingly racist and Islamophobic) claims of opportunistic serial liars like Goldberg (who has warned of Iran’s “theologically driven, eliminationist anti-Semitism”), Netanyahu (who accused Iran’s leaders of belonging to a “messianic apocalyptic cult”) and Alan Dershowitz (who claimed Iran had “demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice millions of their own people to an apocalyptic mission of destruction”), even the United States government concurs with assessments that Iran is a rational actor on the world stage, concerned only with national self-defense rather than aggressive military offensives.

In April 2010, in a statement before the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, Defense Intelligence Agency director Lieutenant General Ronald L. Burgess stated, “Iran’s military strategy is designed to defend against external threats, particularly from the United States and Israel. Its principles of military strategy include deterrence, asymmetrical retaliation, and attrition warfare.” He added that Iran is “unlikely to initiate a conflict intentionally or launch a pre-emptive attack.”

The intelligence report delivered to Congress that day in conjunction with Burgess’ testimony also revealed the assessment that Iran maintains a “defensive military doctrine, which is designed to slow an invasion and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities,” and followed that “Iranian military training and public statements echo this defensive doctrine of delay and attrition.” This identical position was reaffirmed this past March in Burgess’ 2011 testimony before the Armed Services Committee.

A month earlier, in his “Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper declared that the official judgment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies is that “Iran’s nuclear decisionmaking is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran. Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran‟s security, prestige and influence, as well as the international political and security environment, when making decisions about its nuclear program.”

Furthermore, an Iranian official was just arrested for supporting a film “that proposes the Twelfth Iman in the Shiite faith, the supposed initiator of judgment day, would appear soon” after “Iranian authorities put the film’s producers under investigation.” This hardly seems like the action of an “messianic apocalyptic cult.”

So, will Barak’s candor temper Netanyahu’s rabid bellicosity in days to come? Unlikely. But are his comments a welcome break from the constant Chicken Littlesque doomsday hysteria that seems to define Israeli hasbara? Yes, they are. As such, get ready to see a whole new level of fear-mongering trotted out by both Israel and the U.S. in the near future in order to wash away the frustrating and inconvenient truths spoken by Barak today.

Over the past four months, I have been adding updates to my article, “The Phantom Menace: Fantasies, Falsehoods, and Fear-Mongering about Iran’s Nuclear Program,” whenever new predictions and allegations about Iran’s nuclear program are released.

To read them all, click here.

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  1. May 5, 2011 at 21:52

    […] ZIOLIES ABOUT IRAN « Desertpeace. May 5th, 2011 | Category: Uncategorized | Leave a comment | […]

  2. I am not amused said,

    May 5, 2011 at 22:12

    Have you ever heard of a transference of aggression?

    Is there such a thing as a transference of insanity?

    If there in reality is a suicidal apocalyptic suicide cult it would be some of those damn so called Zionist Christians which include Hagee ect. There it this never discussed issue of a plane of nukes, 6 went missing (Broken Arrow). Dead service personnel and there are still two missing nukes and they seem to be intricately involved.

    The people in reality they are describing are Hagee and his cronies in crime. Not Iran. I am very serious and it is serious. They don’t seem to know where two of those damn two nukes are so if we have one go off in American City; those are probably your real terrorists. False Flag operation to get The American War Machine on the roll in some poor country.

    Hagge – You were warned not a good idea and I will walk away from your damn grave and you know exactly what I am talking about. Buddy – Your already in a hell of allot of trouble if you get my point. I will hunt you down like the dog you are if I ever get half the chance.

    There is always that all attractive option of Jesus permanent city joint hell for murderers and that is exactly what you monsters seem to be. I know damn well you know who I am and if your worried yep. Furious buddy. MURDERER
    You seem to be in collusion to some very criminal activity and that pulpit does not grant you insanity (er- immunity) in reality added culpability. I am not making this up in the Bible; check it out for a damn change. There has been a significant Satanic infiltration of The :Christian Church. No – I am not making it up. It is that damn bad.

    Tragic but true.

    and so the lying game goes

  3. Osama's been laden said,

    May 5, 2011 at 22:50

    Iran is not a threat to anybody. The USA really needs to kiss and make up with Iran but as long as they are buddy-buddy with the Zionists that is unlikely. Still, as irrational as the US foreign policy has been nobody believes Israel anymore when it comes to crying wolf about Iran. Why are they so upset about Iran? A lot of their neighbors don’t recognize Israel as a state either and fund Hezbollah and Hamas. I sill think it’s just because Khomeini made a statement about Israel disappearing from the pages of history (which Israel interprets as a threat to their existence) that often gets repeated by Iran. That and the fact that Iran and the USA are not on good terms so they think we’re easier to persuade and fight another war for them.

    Zionists are insane and they do insane things like even kill their own when their legitimacy as a state is questioned. Iran has cooperated with the UN regarding their nuclear energy program. Israel NEVER HAS cooperated when asked about theirs. They determined if Iran was developing a nuke that it would take several years to finish which is contrast to Israel’s years-old claims that they’d be ready ‘by 2008’ or whatever.

    The one thing I honestly fear is a Mossad false flag to provoke Iran or come up with a reason to attack them. Mossad has a history of doing such things. Israel also has a history of destroying their neighbor’s nuclear energy facilities. If they do that to Iran, it will provoke Iran but Iran might fear Israel’s nukes in retaliation. Either way Israel is on their own. During Desert Storm I remember watching Israel get hit by missiles and they didn’t retaliate. I remember my grade school teacher saying that if Israel retaliated they would use nukes and the US would be forced to attack Israel. That was a grade school teacher, I know but I hope he’s right.

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