This Can’t Be Happening
By John Grant
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or AIPAC) is having its three-day annual meeting in Washington DC beginning Sunday March 4th. AIPAC is arriving in an atmosphere of beating war drums and rattling sabers against Iran.
Israel preemptively starting a war with Iran would be bad enough, but the assumption that the United States will be part of that war should be very disturbing to Americans — who are just getting over one misguided, costly war in Iraq and are still involved in another in Afghanistan.
In an election year with such cynicism about government in the air, one might think more Americans would question the propaganda for war that AIPAC represents and that sadly goes so hand-in-hand with the uncritical pandering too many American politicians and mainstream journalists engage in.
Most Americans are sheep when it comes to criticizing Israel. A tax-paying American has to be a particularly willful contrarian — be willing to be called “unpatriotic,” an “antisemite” or a “terrorist” — just to raise even a reasonable question in the face of this PR juggernaut for Israel.
President Obama is to speak Sunday before the AIPAC meeting, and he has scheduled meetings with both Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As Peres told a New York Times reporter, while the prime minister rules, his role as president of Israel “is to charm.” He then lectured the reporter and Americans that we needed to be tough and establish “red lines” that Israel approves of.
“We need a total and clear commitment that the catastrophe of Iran will not create an impossible situation,” he said, ignoring what many see as the catastrophe of Israel’s dogged implacability. “If the White House was not resolute, Israel might have to go it alone,” Peres said. In his meeting, Netanyahu will also push the red lines on Obama, emphasizing the need for US resoluteness in face of Iran hardening the defenses of its nuclear plants. Then, Netanyahu will go over and report to the AIPAC convention.
But here’s the catch: Implied in such Israeli bravado is the sure knowledge that if and when Israel does “go it alone,” its military will be inadequate to the task, Iran will respond and the United States will be drawn in.
It all seems such an internalized delusional process dependent on metaphors from World War Two projected on Iran as a society of insane, suicidal monsters intent on initiating a new holocaust. Reality does not bear that out. While they may not be our friends, the leaders of Iran are not fools. For example, can anyone explain why Iran’s leaders would do such a suicidal thing as drop a nuke on Israel?