War of perceptions

Israel Hayom | War of perceptions.

The conflict between Israel and Iran is approaching the point of no return. Iran’s nuclear development efforts are pressing forward, bringing with them a sense among Israel’s leaders that, just as the Allies knew exactly where the Nazi concentration camps were in 1944 but refrained from bombing them, the state of Israel and the Jews will be abandoned once again.

In two weeks’ time we will mark Holocaust Memorial Day, during which we will remember the third of the world’s Jewish population that was murdered at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. In fact, if you consider the potential offspring of those murdered Jews, the demographic catastrophe of the Holocaust would actually account for half of the world’s Jewish population today. And the highest concentration of Jews, today, is in Israel.

Israel is facing the nuclear efforts of a regime bent on destroying it. Just as the Nazi leader wrote “Mein Kampf,” so Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his buddies have sworn to destroy the state of Israel and the Jewish people. These threats must not be taken lightly. Any country that wants to survive must take preventive measures in the face of this kind of policy.

Today, just like during the years of the Holocaust and the Second World War, the world is standing by. No sanctions can possibly deter a regime that is so set in its ways. It is a convenient delusion for those who prefer to avoid military conflict, which could devolve into an all-out regional war. This is obviously a legitimate course of action for external players, but it is not an appropriate response for a people that experienced extermination and wants to live.

In light of all this, it appears that the declarations coming from world leaders, even – ironically – the German defense minister, on the dangers of an Israeli attack on Iran, are problematic to Israeli ears, to say the least.

Over the course of the last week, a wave of leaks starred in the headlines in the world press. The U.S. secretary of defense consequently declared that an Israeli attack could be premature. A previous report in a respected magazine allegedly exposed Israel’s planned course of action for a potential attack on Iran. All this, whether it will or will not deter Israel from carrying out the attack, provides Iran with information on Israel’s plans and could help Iran effectively protect itself if and when Israel decides to strike.

These leaks, together with the diplomatic, but stern, message to Israel – don’t attack – run contrary to the U.S.’s policy under which Israel is permitted to attack Iran if it feels an existential threat. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said so to ABC in the summer of 2009, as did other American officials since. But that didn’t stop the U.S. from consistently trying to prevent an Israeli military offensive in any way possible.

The leaks, which are getting more and more detailed, and the mounting hints directed at Israel urging to refrain from launching an attack, could actually backfire and trigger an Israeli attack earlier than planned. The more pressure is exerted on Israel, the more plans of attack are likely to be exposed; the more methods and styles that are exposed, the fewer the options that remain viable. As a result, Israel could be forced to take more and more extreme measures to overcome Iran’s preparedness for an Israeli attack. Foreign policy is often based on perceptions and appearances rather than actual facts.

The frequent leaks and the inefficient sanctions in the face of a determined Iranian leadership could lead Tehran to believe that they can press on with plans to annihilate Israel without interference – neither international nor Israeli. This perception is not only dangerous for Israel – it is also dangerous for the U.S.

Professor Alexander Bligh is the director of the Center for Middle East Research at the Ariel University Center of Samaria.

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One Comment on “War of perceptions”

  1. boudicabpi Says:

    Reblogged this on Boudica BPI Weblog and commented:
    With Obama in office Israel should not count on the United States.

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