REPRINT: Are the American and Israeli Strategies Diverging?
A hen and a pig were good friends for many years.
One day the hen had a great idea:
“Let’s open a restaurant and serve an American breakfast of ham and eggs, and make some money,” the hen said excitedly.
“Great idea,” said the pig, “except that what is only a contribution for you is a total sacrifice for me!!”
The stakes are not the same for the United States and Israel if Iran develops operational nuclear weapons.
On numerous occasions, radical Iranian clerics have expressed their morbid intention to wipe Israel off the map. Can Israel take a chance and assume they won’t? What price would it pay if its assumption turns out to be wrong? Will Israel be willing to take the chances of a second Holocaust?
When you do not have a choice, you do not have a problem to ponder. You just have to act; and Israel has no choice. It has to do whatever it takes to stop Iran from building a nuclear arsenal.
For the United States, however, to attack Iran – to open a third front – the stakes are too high. To be openly belligerent toward Iran, and to support Israeli actions against Iran, also has the political cost of further angering radical Muslims.
So, what is the best strategy for the United States?
Tell the world that you are for diplomacy, for continuous negotiations. Send Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to Israel and have him tell the media that he has strongly suggested to the Israeli leadership that they should have patience and do nothing etc. But do nothing drastic, like threaten with sanctions, to stop the Israeli from attacking Iran.
The United States will appear in the world’s opinion polls as peace-loving, while Israel fearing for its existence will do what needs to be done.
A perfect scenario for the United States, but a public relations disaster for Israel. Once more, Israel will be seen as the aggressor, the uncontrollable bully of the Middle East, the ungrateful ally who rejects the advice of its benefactor and decides to use force, even though even the mighty United States claimed there was no need to do so.
Not heeding to USA prescriptions will weaken any claim Israel might try to make that it HAD TO act.
Israels unilateral action will weaken Israel politically enormously and American Jewry will be Immobilized to support Israel because it will fear being accused of lack of allegiance to the USA.
Israel already has very few friends left among the family of nations. The Left, worldwide, harbors anti-Israeli sentiment, because it always supports the underdog. Anti-Semites are enjoying endless opportunities to justify their hate. The only supporters Israel has left are radical Christians. They support Israel because according to the Bible, God promised that land to the Jews. Their support is solid, because God’s promise is solid -but how many votes do radical Christians have now? Didn’t their political power wane since George W. Bush left the White House?
The above scenario calls for Israel to massively increase its strategic public relations efforts. Israel, however, is not particularly preoccupied with the anti-Israeli sentiment. Israeli strategic PR is less than mediocre. They preach to the choir, making their presentations mostly in synagogues.
Why is that?
When, years ago, I tried to convince a very senior member of the Israeli cabinet to invest major resources in strategic PR, he said: “It won’t help. They’ll hate us anyway.” And he was not alone in feeling this way.
For thousands of years, the Jewish people have been accustomed to being rejected, criticized, and hated. So what else is new? Jews just accept rejection as a fact of life and do not allow it to hamper what they are doing.
But right now, this imperviousness to criticism and hatred could be fatally dangerous.
Isolated, Israel will be a pariah to the world. I can imagine, not only academic and cultural, but also economic sanctions being levied against Israel.
Israel is in a lose -lose situation: lose if it acts, and lose, maybe even more, if it does not act.
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes