Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Obama did not say about Iran and Israel

Ami Isseroff
Israel News
25 April '10

An article by Judea Pearl cites the following imaginary quote of Barack Obama:

I am prepared to live with a nuclear Iran, but, to contain it, I need the cooperation of the Arab rulers. As you know, cooperation in this part of the world sways with street tantrums and news broadcasts — this is the reality on the ground. We lost the war of ideas to Al Jazeera rhetoric, and we must pursue an appearance of an ongoing peace process.

"I said 'appearance' because I am not naive, and I know that the Arabs are not prepared to accept the idea of a permanent Israel; perhaps they never will -- it goes against everything they have been taught.

Still, I now need their support and your cooperation.

"You see, the only thing that will tame anti-American sentiments in this part of the world, at least partially, is the prospect that American pressure will bring about a Palestinian state and the delusion that such a state will become a sheltered launching pad for a renewed armed struggle against Israel, for the 'liberation of all of Palestine.' I read what they are saying, and I will not let this happen, but, in the meantime, we need to act as though a peace process has a chance to succeed."

The author confirmed that the somewhat appealing quote is imaginary. It is a touching testimonial to the faith of the author, and of other American Jews, in the good intentions and benign nature of the American government, and of the Democratic party. Obama's policies are portrayed as a test of faith, like Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. Be prepared to sacrifice Jerusalem, which is dearest to thee, but have no fear, for God is with thee, and thou shalt gain the kingdom of heaven by thy show of faith in the Lord. None of it is true. Obama never said it, it doesn't represent US policy and doesn't represent a reasobable view of the Middle East. It serves nobody's interest and there is nothing to be gained and a great deal to be lost by believing it.

It is interesting not as a "quote" of Obama but as a projection on Obama that encapsulates several dangerous delusions entertained by many American Jews about Iran, the "peace process" and Israeli-Arab relations.

The first delusion is that it is OK if Obama is "prepared to live with a nuclear Iran" and to "contain" it. Nobody knows for certain what Obama is thinking about Iran. The best guess is that at present the Americans have no strategy at all, as was pointed out by Secretary of Defense Gates. Obama might really think he is prepared to live with a nuclear Iran. Israelis can only be prepared to die with a nuclear Iran. The decision will be made in Tehran, not in Washington or Jerusalem (or by the "Tel Aviv government").

By "nuclear Iran," I mean an Iran that at least makes a convincing case that it has or could have nuclear weapons - that it has completed the fuel cycle. They needn't test an actual bomb.

(Read full article)

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