Gideon Levy: Insanity, not logic, guides Israel’s leadership

The mens’ men who are threatening Iran now are the real cowards’ cowards. The brave ones are in fact those who are trying to thwart the insanity, from former Mossad chief Meir Dagan to Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

 

Haaretz Wed, November 09, 2011

 

IfIrandares mount a nuclear attack againstIsrael,Iranwill be committing public, painful, mass suicide.Israelwill respond, and the world will not be silent.Jerusalemknows that and, more importantly, so doesTehran. But inTehran, so we are told from morning to evening, the “crazy” leadership could shuffle the deck.

 

And soIsraelis threatening to bombTehranbefore it is too late, and many Israelis are even in favor of doing so. But the debate now underway, with terrifying seriousness, about the possibility of bombingIranmakes one suspect that it is actually here, inIsrael, that lunacy prevails. The Iranian lunacy has yet to be proven; inIsrael, it is already as plain as day.

 

Israeldoes not have rational leadership. Most of its moves cannot be logically explained. It is not logic that dictates continued construction in the territories; it is not logic that explains the war that the government ofIsraelhas declared on the Palestinian Authority, without considering what will come instead. Neither is there logic inIsrael’s Hamas-strengthening moves, from the continued siege ofGazato the release only of Hamas prisoners. There is no logic in continuing to imprison Marwan Barghouti; there is no logic in causing relations withTurkeyto deteriorate, and there was no logic in Operation Cast Lead, which damagedIsraelmuch more than it benefited it. There is also no logic in the fearmongering against the Arab Spring, which actually could ensureIsraela few quiet years from countries whose armies have crumbled, whose societies are preoccupied with domestic matters and whose regimes are on the rocks. And, of course, there is no logic in the continued occupation, which endangersIsraelmore than anything else.

 

Something else is guiding the Israeli leadership, and it is not called logic. Israeli public opinion also cannot be suspected for a moment of conducting itself rationally: Most Israelis believe that bombingIranwill spark a regional conflagration, and yet more Israelis favor such an attack than are against it. If that is sanity, what is insanity?

 

There is no way to rationally explain the beating of the drums of war againstIran. The risks of an Israeli attack are clear, and they are horrific. The danger ofIranusing a nuclear weapon is nil, and yetIsraelis playing with the fires of hell. Israelis, in fact, are saying they prefer a barrage of thousands of missiles – which will bring blood and destruction now – to the future imaginary risk of the suicidal weapon by “crazy”Iran; that they prefer system-wide insanity, with clear threats and open preparations for what could become an Israeli suicide mission.

 

Even if all the well-orchestrated statements, maneuvers and billowing smoke are only intended as threats, they lack all wisdom. A threatenedIranis also dangerous. It might launch a desperate preemptive strike onIsrael.

 

Iranwants nuclear weapons to protect its regime. It saw former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein andLibya’s Muammar Gadhafi bombed and it understands – very logically, it should be said – that if it possessed a nuclear option, the world would not touch it, as it touches neitherNorth KoreanorPakistan.Iranalso wants to be a regional power in the newMiddle East, and it knows that one way of doing so is by means of centrifuges. It would be preferable, of course, if it did not get its wish, preferable that the world exert pressure so that it does not attain nuclear arms, but it is clear to all that no bombing will keep them from Iran forever.

 

The only conclusion from all of the above is that there is an illogical leadership in the Middle East, but it is not necessarily inTehran. Fear, partly false fear, dwells inJerusalem, the outcome of the fearmongering and demonization that is always present here, regarding everything from swine flu to the Iranian nuclear program. Alongside it is the megalomania that says thatIsraelcan call the shots in the region as it sees fit. The mens’ men who are threateningIrannow are the real cowards’ cowards. The brave ones are in fact those who are trying to thwart the insanity, from former Mossad chief Meir Dagan to Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/insanity-not-logic-guides-israel-s-leadership-1.393940#.Trf87w4cC9M.gmail

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