Reading the American Jewish press is instructive. 'Trends not in Israel's favour' is an assessment of Res, General Danny Rothschild, former head of Israeli military intelligence, which appeared in a recent issue of the 'Jewish Week'.
General Rothschild is a star for the more liberal Jewish lobby J Street, which the 'New York Times Sunday Magazine' featured recently. J Street 'introduced' the general to members of the two houses of Congress, the White House, and the liberal think tanks and chatting classes.
Nonetheless, he sang the old refrain that Israel needed iron clad guarantees of defence, in order to settle the Israel Palestine question, and create conditions of peaceful relations with the Arab and Muslim world.
Is Israel which is armed to the teeth-- and what's more has a large nuclear stock pile [but not a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and publicly boasts that it will never sign it!], and has a state of the art military industrial complex, seconded by very active intelligence services, which engage in propaganda and black arts--so absolutely unsure of its ability to defend itself? You would be led to think so by General Rothschild's patter.
Israel has engaged in at least 5 wars, mostly preemptive, against its Arab neighbours and the Palestinians. Only once it was caught napping. And that was 35 years ago in what is known as the 'Yom Kippur War', from which it emerged victorious. Its recent war in Lebanon and Gaza have serious damaged its reputation. Furthermore, as the fortune's of its superpower protector the US has changed, for Washington the once ultra strategic role of Israel has diminished; yet its largess in unstintingly lavishing us$ billions in military and economic aid to its client in Jerusalem has not lessen an iota. Nor has it stopped forgiving the loans which if repaid would greatly benefit the health and welfare of the American rate or tax payers.
Thus, in the larger scheme of things, Washington's interests are less parochial than Israel's concerns for remaining the bully in the Middle East. And here the we have the nub of General Rothschild's presence among the movers and shakers of US policy. His bag of tricks are shop worn, but they have lost the power to influence and twist one way or the other Americans around Israel's fingers!
Israel has grown increasingly concerned about the rise of Iran at a time US president Obama [BHO]c and his major allies in Europe are preparing to enter into direct negotiations with Tehran. Its partisan US president George Bush rebuffed its plans for the stealth bombing of Iran's burgeoning nuclear programme, which from all accounts is centred on the development of the peaceful use of the atom for electricity, and under the watchful eye of the IAEA. Even a hawk as Mr. Bush realised the geopolitical catastrophe an Israeli preemptive attack on Iran would obtain. And he was a president who never shied away from pushing the envelope on war and skating on the dangerous and more oft than not reckless edge of foreign policy.
BHO offers a challenge to Israel. On one hand a sympathetic US president to the concerns of Israel and its survival as a state; on the other, a president aware of the need to broaden US policy in the Middle East and Muslim world. BHO has committed the heresy of mild slapping Israel's hand on illegal settlements in the Palestinian west bank, now 42 years under Israeli occupation, and rcalling for the recognibtion of and a peace treaty with the Palestinians. Suddenly,
BHO is cast as the devil incarnate, as an avatar of Adolph Hitler, as an anti Semite, so on and on. And suddenly, too, Mr. Obama not only has fallen out of favour with Israelis, but his policies in the Middle East must be undermined, sabotaged through misinformationt, guile, and other dirty tricks, in order that Israel's 'defence' remains under a seamless American protective sky.
Here the role of General Rothschild comes in. He will stoke American Jewish opinion to pressure BHO and Congress; for Israel realises that among American Jewry, its appeal has tarnished. He will stroke the ego of US lawmakers to continue the generous support of Israel that it receives; he will appeal to the Christian right to second loudly its continued favouring of Israel's aims of preeminence and domination in the Middle East. As a former head of military intelligence, he will feed America's paranoia of an Iran with nuclear bombs which a much detested Irani president Mahmoud Ahmadi nejad will lob at Israel [even though historical evidence shows that Tehran is not an aggressor state, but one who will resist invaders, to wit Saddam Hussein's war against Iran].
Mr. Rothschild's task is not difficult. Consider the Israeli intelligence misinformation campaign against Iran's 'hidden' uranium enrichment plant, which is hardly a secret. Satellite photographs which the 'New York Times' put on its front page [29 September 2009] shows that it was obvious what Tehran's intentions were when they began building the facility. Israeli intelligence poured oil on the fire by saying, ah, yes, uranium enrichment for nuclear bombs, and a plant built next to a military installation.
Well if you were a country that Israel kept pushing to bomb for years, wouldn't you build a public utility providing cheap electricity for your people next to a military facility, in order to protect it from hostile foreign forces intent on destroying you!
The retired Israel general of military intelligence 'expertise' will make his appointed rounds, but with small influence. For BHO and his allies will began discussions with Iran within the week. Each side is posturing to influence the other. BHO bangs the drum loudly on suspicious exaggerated Israeli and perhaps US intelligence estimates, threatening harsher sanctions which are easily flouted; Iran has tested short range missiles as a warning against any preemptive strike against it, translation if Israel attacks which it is chomping at the bit to do, Tehran's bombs, not with nuclear warheads, but standard ordinary warheads, would rain down on every Israeli town and city, and bring a wider war in the Middle East, damaged the hardly sterling performing US economy, and lead to vast ruin and global warfare.
Yet, Israel is intent on invading Iran preemptily. For the moment, it seems, BHO will stay its hand, as George Bush did. US cable television talking heads are flashed across global networks; they wearily admit an Israeli invasion is in the cards, yet they won't criticise Israeli policy.
General Rothschild will make his case; he will find sympathetic ears, but Israel's wishes are and should continue to be resisted.