This article in today’s Forward (“the most influential nationwide Jewish media outlet today”) sums up what many of us who strongly support Israel, but who think the right wing is leading it to disaster, have been thinking. A few highlights.
*First, the headline: “What Israel’s Chief of Staff Is Worried About – No, It’s Not Iran.” That’s right, Iran isn’t even on the list (!) “of the main strategic threats facing Israel in the foreseeable future and its plans to meet them,” as seen by Israel’s military General Staff and intelligence services.
*Instead, what the Israeli intelligence and military services believe is exactly what President Obama, and most pro-Israel progressives like myself, believe: “the likelihood that the emerging nuclear agreement between Iran and the major powers could minimize the Iranian threat for an extended period, allowing the military to redirect budgets and resources toward areas of more immediate concern.”
*What most concerns the Israeli military? Hezbollah and Hamas, of course; also “the growing threat from global jihad movements, led by Al Qaeda and ISIS;” and the growing threat of cyber attacks.”
*Now here’s the best part for those of us who think that right wingnuts claiming to be pro-Israel are actually a serious menace to Israel’s future:
Looming above all the border concerns is a clear but unstated nervousness within the military and the intelligence community over the yawning gap between their professional assessments of Israel’s strategic posture and the agenda of the country’s elected political leadership. It emerges in the nervous snickers of ranking IDF strategists in response congressional efforts, like the New York lawmakers’ bunker-buster proposal, to bolster what the military command considers the fantasy of an Israeli attack on Iran. It emerges, too, in a growing curiosity tinged with alarm among current and retired military commanders over the influence in Washington of American Jewish conservatives who claim to be defending Israeli security but have little grasp of Israeli strategic thinking.
So yeah, I find myself in full agreement with the Israeli military and intelligence services (also with President Obama and most Democrats), and in full disagreement with the likes of Lindsey Graham, John McCain, John Bolton, and many other right wingers here and in Israel. Which would you believe?