Israel’s Pompous Posturing and Idle Threats

There are few things Israel and its war-mongering supporters here in the United States hate more than not being taken seriously as a fearless and invincible military powerhouse, able to threaten and destroy its perceived adversaries at will and with totally impunity and unaccountability.

One of those things is being considered weak, tentative, and incapable. Another is not being considered at all.

It is no wonder, then, that recent comments by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan about Israel’s inability to attack Iran have been met with frustration and consternation by those hoping for a military strike, or at very least, the credible threat of one.

In the wake of Israeli cabinet minister Moshe Ya’alon’s call this week for the “civilized world” to collectively launch an illegal assault against Iran on Israel’s behalf, Dagan – who has recently been playing the role of Hasbara Spoiler Extraordinaire by referring to the advocacy for such an attack as “the stupidest thing I have ever heard” – again spoke up, saying that Israel would be unable to withstand the potential blowback from such an action.

Ha’aretz reports:

Speaking during a conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Dagan continued his public rejection of a military move against Iran, saying that Israel didn’t “have the capability to stop the Iranian nuclear program, only to delay it.”

“If anyone seriously considers [a strike] he needs to understand that he’s dragging Israel into a regional war that it would not know how to get out of. The security challenge would become unbearable,” Dagan said.

The former Mossad chief reiterated his position, saying that the “military option is the last alternative, not preferred or possible, nut a last resort. Every other alternative must be weighed before the use of force.”

Referring to those who criticized him for speaking out on these matters soon after his retirement, Dagan said: “I feel obligated to express my opinion on certain matters. The prime minister and defense minister are the ones in charge, but sometimes good sense and a good decision don’t have anything to do with being elected.”

Dagan’s comments, and willingness to challenge the conventional wisdom, bellicose posturing, and aggressive overconfidence of the Israeli establishment, is reminiscent of statements made by then-outgoing Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert during a much-lambasted “legacy interview” with Yediot Ahronot in September 2008.

With reference to the constant Israeli threats and rumors of a unilateral and unprovoked assault on Iran (often issued by the Prime Minister himself), Olmert revealed the hollowness of such rhetoric by admitting, “Part of our megalomania and our loss of proportions is the things that are said here [in Israel] about Iran. We are a country that has lost a sense of proportion about itself.”

Towards the end of the interview, Olmert said, “What I am saying to you now has not been said by any Israeli leader before me.” He concluded, “The time has come to say these things.”

It appears that, in his retirement, the time had finally come for Dagan as well.

The increased Bomb Iran hysteria over a newly-released IAEA report which, in truth,says nothing new, enlightening or damning about the Iranian nuclear program has been countered this week with the publication of Seymour Hersh’s latest New Yorker article debunking claims about the Iranian nuclear threat and, now, Dagan’s new comments.

As the likelihood of either a U.S. or Israel attack on Iran becomes more and more absurd (despite what career war-mongers would have you believe), it is instructive to recall what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had to say about this matter during an interview with Charlie Rose in May 2010:

Charlie Rose: Do you fear that war may come?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Who would attack Iran?

CR: No one, I assume.

MA: I mean, you can’t just assume. Assumptions aren’t made in the heavens. They’re made on earth. Who’s going to — on this earth, who’s going to attack Iran on this planet?

CR: Do you believe Israel —

MA: Russia?

CR: No.

MA: China?

CR: No. The United States, no.

MA: Then who?

CR: Would Israel attack Iran?

MA: Israel isn’t even counted. It doesn’t even factor into our equation. It’s not even counted.

So who’s going to attack us? There’s no one there to attack us so there will be no war. We don’t think about war. We think about peace. We think about friendships. We think about cooperation, not about war.

Later in the year, Ahmadinejad again addressed the suggestion of an Israeli attack during an interview with the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq. “I believe that some think about attacking Iran, especially those within the Zionist entity,” he said. “But they know that Iran is an indestructible bulwark and I do not think their American masters will let them do it.”

Despite the war-mongering and empty threats, the truth is clear. And whatever their myriad differences, Dagan and Ahmadinejad (along with anyone else who’s paying attention) can surely agree on one thing:

There is absolutely no chance Israel will launch an attack on Iran, this or any other year.

And neither will the United States.

Nima Shirazi is a writer and musician from New York City. Contact him at: Read other articles by Nima, or visit Nima's website.