Will Israel Attack Iran?
It is not advisable to predict anything in this turbulent world. One cannot even trust what one reads in the newspapers or hears in the media. But I can’t resist analyzing the current standoff between Israel and Iran, and sharing my insights, wrong as they may be.
I believe Israel will attack Iran.
Not because attacking Iran would stop them from developing nuclear weapons—when there is the will there is the means, and Iran has the will.
Not because an attack would stop a nuclear armageddon by preventing Iran from using the bomb—just the opposite. An attack might start a devil’s dance with disastrous repercussions not just for Israel, not just for the Middle East, but also perhaps for the whole world.
Iran is not alone. It has supporters in the Arab-Muslim world who would seek revenge, and not against Israel alone. Iran has already announced that if Israel were to attack, Iran considers the United States an accomplice (Israel will be using US made planes, no? And Israel has forever been an ally of the US). Iran and its Muslim supporters will release an unprecedented wave of terror on U.S. soil and for that matter on Europe too; What a great excuse to attack the West with no restraints. I would not take this threat lightly.
So, why does Israel not wait and see whether Iran will, indeed, launch an attack? True, it might cost several thousand lives if Iran moves first, but if Israel attacks first, and the revenge is unleashed against the western world, there might not be fewer casualties either.
I have spoken with some knowledgeable Iranians who told me that Iran is too smart to use the bomb. It is a poorly kept secret that Israel, too, has a nuclear arsenal and could strike back. Iran knows there will be retaliation and it will cost them in too many lives to deliver on their threat.
The bomb, those Iranians claim, is a defensive vehicle, not an offensive vehicle.
So why would Israel attack first?
Because of the mythos of “never again!”
The memories of the Holocaust are still driving Israeli military and foreign policy: “We will never again be taken like lambs to the slaughter. Never, never, never again.”
It is like a mantra many Israelis repeat when asked what Israel should do about Iran.
It is what children in Israel learn even as kindergartners.
It is an oath most Israeli select military units take when graduating from basic training.
This is the conclusion one arrives at in history classes in Israel: We are not Diaspora Jews anymore. When attacked we will not suffer quietly anymore. We will fight back.
Israel applauds Mordechai Anielewicz, who led the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during the Second World War. There was no chance the revolt would succeed, but he and his people would rather die fighting than wait to be slaughtered.
Israelis climb Mount Masada and identify themselves with the Jewish zealots during Roman times who committed suicide rather than die as slaves.
This is the mythos that will drive Israel to attack.
I believe the decision to attack will not be driven by logical, cold, rational deliberations but by this cultural mythos Israelis cannot resist.
Neither Bibi Netanyahu nor Ehud Barak, his defense minister, would like to go down in history as the leaders who behaved like Diaspora Jews, who sat there watching the Iranian threat advancing like a dark cloud and not proacting against it.
Even if taking action would bring disaster upon their country.
Even if waiting and doing nothing is the more rational decision.
And what will the United States do?
It is in the United States’ interest to see Iran lose its capability to have nuclear arsenal but at the same time to appear to be against military action, and for peaceful diplomatic efforts instead.
In order not to turn the wrath of the Muslim world against it. Yet, at the same time, the U.S. will quietly encourage, or at least not prohibit, Israel from launching an attack.
Let Israel do the dirty work. USA and the rest of the world will keep its distance and purity.
After the attack, after its interests were well served, the world can accuse Israel of being aggressive, irrational, a warmonger, etc. It is nothing new. Jews have been used as scapegoats before….
Ah, the dirty politics.
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes