“Yes, many Americans will die in a war against Iran . .. as in Iraq.
But that is a sacrifice Israel is willing to make.”
LD: This Haaretz article, by two highly respected Israeli reporters, speculating that the unscrupulous warmonger Benjamin Netanyahu might start a new war with Iran simply to get himself reelected as prime minister next year, has caused considerable controversy because of the refusal of the New York Times to republish it. They don’t wish to upset and alarm American Jews or give Netanyahu a bad press in America. It seems Jews in Israel are far more open to free discussion than Jews in America are.
According to Mondoweiss:
Here, yet again, is an article you can read in an Israeli newspaper that you will never see in the New York Times.
The Haaretz headline tells it all: “Netanyahu should not be allowed to start a war with Iran to save himself.” The two authors note that Israel’s prime minister goes into his third election campaign in a year facing three criminal indictments, and “The concern is that he could initiate a major armed conflict with Iran in the hope of convincing the Israeli electorate that there is no substitute for his leadership in spite of the costs to Israel of such a war.”
What makes the article even more compelling is that its authors are hardly left-wing extremists. Shlomo Brom is a retired Brigadier General in Israel’s army, and Shimon Stein is a retired ambassador who is a senior fellow at the Institute for Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Here is the Haaretz article which is being kept from Jews in America:
NETANYAHU SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED
TO START A WAR WITH IRAN TO SAVE HIMSELF
By SHLOMO BROM and SHIMON STEIN
December 26, 2019
The prime minister needs a win in the next elections, and initiating a
major conflict with Iran may be his only hope to convince Israelis that
there is no alternative to his leadership
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to place Israel’s conflict
with Iran at the center of his recent election campaigns has been
causing much concern that his rhetoric might further inflame tensions
with Tehran. Netanyahu presents himself as the only one who can protect
Israel from what he describes as an existential threat posed by Iran and
believes this could help him garner more support in the March 2 elections.
This time, Netanyahu is running his third election campaign in a year
while facing three criminal indictments that could end his political
career, and he assumes that a victory at the polls might help him gain
immunity from prosecution. The concern is that he could initiate a major
armed conflict with Iran in the hope of convincing the Israeli
electorate that there is no substitute to his leadership in spite of the
costs to Israel of such a war.
Indeed, Israel’s military operations in Syria and Iraq aimed at stopping
Iranian forces and proxies from arming Hezbollah with modern strategic
weapons, as well as the build-up of Iranian strategic infrastructure in
those countries, may eventually escalate into a vaster military
conflict. But Iran’s attempts to retaliate against these strikes have so
far been relatively weak and very unsuccessful. An escalation is not
inevitable and goes against Israeli interests, so the country should
avoid initiating a conflict for internal political reasons.
Most Israelis understand that such a conflict is not in their interest.
In recent years, public opinion polls on security matters have
repeatedly indicated that a majority of Israelis does not perceive Iran
as an existential threat as long as it does not acquire nuclear weapons.
Even then, the majority believes that Iran can be deterred from using
nukes, and therefore when an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear
installations seemed imminent in 2011-2012 public support for such a
strike only went down.
Against this background, the mere existence of public suspicion that
Netanyahu could initiate a military escalation to serve his political
purposes in the lead-up to the elections may be enough to deter him from
entertaining such ideas, because he understands that war with Iran would
be a very risky gamble. The odds that he would be hurt politically by a
costly campaign with inconclusive results and no unambiguous victory are
The escalation can also be avoided because both states have nothing to
gain from such a scenario. It is true that Iran is hostile to Israel and
this hostility also serves its ambitions in a Middle East with Arab
populations that traditionally oppose Israel, but a major conflict with
Israel would not be to Tehran’s advantage.
Iran is currently facing many other issues that are higher on its
agenda. It is struggling with U.S. sanctions and domestic instability
while trying to retain its influence in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, protect
Shi’ite minorities abroad and oppose Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf
On the other hand, Israel’s security and political echelons are indeed
determined to prevent Iran from arming Hezbollah and building up Iranian
strategic capabilities in Syria and Iraq, but believe this can be done
cautiously and without a major escalation.
Mutual understanding of the thinking on both sides could be helped by
delivering messages between them through third parties and would be very
useful in preventing an escalation from becoming inevitable.
This still leaves open the possibility that Israel might initiate a
major conflict as a result of a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear
infrastructure. But it does not seem that in the few months leading to
the Israeli elections Iran will take steps in the nuclear area that
would justify such a strike.
Tehran will probably continue to cautiously violate the provisions of
the nuclear deal that the United States withdrew from, without creating
a perception that it is really resuming its military nuclear program,
thus denying Netanyahu a real excuse for a major escalation also in the
In summary, an escalation is far from inevitable. Toning down the often
arrogant and insulting rhetoric used to threaten Iran (Israel’s strikes
deliver the message clearly enough) and continuing to carefully plan and
consider the steps aimed at countering the Iranian build-up in Israel’s
vicinity should be enough to stop an all-out war.