Avnery on Iran’s Theoretical Bomb

avneryUri Avnery
April 4, 2015

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Bomb?

I MUST start with a shocking confession: I am not afraid of the Iranian nuclear bomb.

I know that this makes me an abnormal person, almost a freak.

But what can I do? I am unable to work up fear, like a real Israeli. Try as I may, the Iranian bomb does not make me hysterical.

MY FATHER once taught me how to withstand blackmail: imagine that the awful threat of the blackmailer has already come about. Then you can tell him: Go to hell.

I have tried many times to follow this advice and found it sound. So now I apply it to the Iranian bomb: I imagine that the worst has already happened: the awful ayatollahs have got the bombs that can eradicate little Israel in a minute.

So what?

According to foreign experts, Israel has several hundred nuclear bombs (assessments vary between 80-400. If Iran sends its bombs and obliterates most of Israel (myself included), Israeli submarines will obliterate Iran. Whatever I might think about Binyamin Netanyahu, I rely on him and our security chiefs to keep our “second strike” capability intact. Just last week we were informed that Germany had delivered another state-of-the-art submarine to our navy for this purpose.

Israeli idiots – and there are some around – respond: “Yes, but the Iranian leaders are not normal people. They are madmen. Religious fanatics. They will risk the total destruction of Iran just to destroy the Zionist state. Like exchanging queens in chess.”

Such convictions are the outcome of decades of demonizing. Iranians – or at least their leaders – are seen as subhuman miscreants.

Reality shows us that the leaders of Iran are very sober, very calculating politicians. Cautious merchants in the Iranian bazaar style. They don’t take unnecessary risks. The revolutionary fervor of the early Khomeini days is long past, and even Khomeini would not have dreamt of doing anything so close to national suicide.

ACCORDING TO the Bible, the great Persian king Cyrus allowed the captive Jews of Babylon to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. At that time, Persia was already an ancient civilization – both cultural and political.

After the “return from Babylon”, the Jewish commonwealth around Jerusalem lived for 200 years under Persian suzerainty. I was taught in school that these were happy years for the Jews.

Since then, Persian culture and history has lived through another two and a half millennia. Persian civilization is one of the oldest in the world. It has created a great religion and influenced many others, including Judaism. Iranians are fiercely proud of that civilization.

To imagine that the present leaders of Iran would even contemplate risking the very existence of Persia out of hatred of Israel is both ridiculous and megalomaniac.

Moreover, throughout history, relations between Jews and Persians have almost always been excellent. When Israel was founded, Iran was considered a natural ally, part of David Ben-Gurion’s “strategy of the periphery” – an alliance with all the countries surrounding the Arab world.

The Shah, who was re-installed by the American and British secret services, was a very close ally. Teheran was full of Israeli businessmen and military advisers. It served as a base for the Israeli agents working with the rebellious Kurds in northern Iraq who were fighting against the regime of Saddam Hussein.

After the Islamic revolution, Israel still supported Iran against Iraq in their cruel 8-year war. The notorious Irangate affair, in which my friend Amiram Nir and Oliver North played such an important role, would not have been possible without the old Iranian-Israeli ties.

Even now, Iran and Israel are conducting amiable arbitration proceedings about an old venture: the Eilat-Ashkelon oil pipeline built jointly by the two countries.

If the worst comes to the worst, nuclear Israel and nuclear Iran will live in a Balance of Terror.

Highly unpleasant, indeed. But not an existential menace.

HOWEVER, FOR those who live in terror of the Iranian nuclear capabilities, I have a piece of advice: use the time we still have.

Under the American-Iranian deal, we have at least 10 years before Iran could start the final phase of producing the bomb.

Please use this time for making peace.

The Iranian hatred of the “Zionist Regime” – the State of Israel – derives from the fate of the Palestinian people. The feeling of solidarity for the helpless Palestinians is deeply ingrained in all Islamic peoples. It is part of the popular culture in all of them. It is quite real, even if the political regimes misuse, manipulate or ignore it.

Since there is no ground for a specific Iranian hatred of Israel, it is solely based on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No conflict, no enmity.

Logic tells us: if we have several years before we have to live in the shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb, let’s use this time to eliminate the conflict. Once the Palestinians themselves declare that they consider the historic conflict with Israel settled, no Iranian leadership will be able to rouse its people against us.

FOR SEVERAL weeks now, Netanyahu has been priding himself publicly on a huge, indeed historic, achievement.

For the first time ever, Israel is practically part of an Arab alliance.

Throughout the region, the conflict between Muslim Sunnis and Muslim Shiites is raging. The Shiite camp, headed by Iran, includes the Shiites in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. (Netanyahu falsely – or out of ignorance – includes the Sunni Hamas in this camp.)

The opposite Sunni camp includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf states. Netanyahu hints that Israel is now secretly accepted by them as a member.

It is a very untidy picture. Iran is fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, which is a mortal enemy of Israel. Iran is supporting the Assad regime in Damascus, which is also supported by Hezbollah, which fights against the lslamic State, while the Saudis support other extreme Sunni Syrians who fight against Assad and the Islamic State. Turkey supports Iran and the Saudis while fighting against Assad. And so on.

I am not enamored with Arab military dictatorships and corrupt monarchies. Frankly, I detest them. But if Israel succeeds in becoming an official member of any Arab coalition, it would be a historic breakthrough, the first in 130 years of Zionist-Arab conflict.

However, all Israeli relations with Arab countries are secret, except those with Egypt and Jordan, and even with these two the contacts are cold and distant, relations between the regimes rather than between the peoples.

Let’s face facts: no Arab state will engage in open and close cooperation with Israel before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ended. Even kings and dictators cannot afford to do so. The solidarity of their peoples with the oppressed Palestinians is far too profound.

Real peace with the Arab countries is impossible without peace with the Palestinian people, as peace with the Palestinian people is impossible without peace with the Arab countries.

So if there is now a chance to establish official peace with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, and to turn the cold peace with Egypt into a real one, Netanyahu should jump at it. The terms of an agreement are already lying on the table: the Saudi peace plan, also called the Arab Initiative, which was adopted many years ago by the entire Arab League. It is based on the two-state solution of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Netanyahu could amaze the whole world by “doing a de Gaulle” – making peace with the Sunni Arab world (as de Gaulle did with Algeria) which would compel the Shiites to follow suit.

Do I believe in this? I do not. But if God wills it, even a broomstick can shoot.

And on the day of the Jewish Pesach feast, commemorating the (imaginary) exodus from Egypt, we are reminding ourselves that miracles do happen.

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1 Response

  1. Poo says:

    Why am I not surprised? What passes for a “shocking confession” in Avnery’s mind and mirror is just more of the same. Ho Hum. I am so shocked.

    The difference between Israel and Iran, the world’s largest supporter and exporter of terror, having nuclear bombs would be fundamentally obvious to a grain of Iranian sand. It is to Avnery too but he needs to be a crank except when it comes to his own defence, of course. There he trusts Netanyahu. Oh please.

    Still, he can’t help but call those that dare disagree with him “Israeli idiots.” Imagine the whining were he called out in similar language. He is as he always has been, a preening hypocrite.

    The leaders of Iran are “very calculating politicians.” This much is true but it is instructional that he needs to travel back to the Babylonians to cite an example of “happy years for the Jews” with Iran. Yes, Iran was once a friend. They’re not anymore. Sure, they can negotiate the Eilat-Ashkelon oil pipeline. It makes money for both sides. It is a business transaction not a relationship and certainly not a peace agreement.

    The Iranian hatred of the “Zionist Regime” may derive from the fate of the Palestinian people but the solution does not require wiping Israel off the “face of the earth.”

    “They (Iran) don’t take unnecessary risks.” Does this mean that the export and finance of terror is necessary?

    It is also true that Iran has links that go back some 4,000 years. Sad that all that culture should evolve into terrorism, don’t you think? Even odder that Avnery fails to mention the exportation and financing of terrorism. I guess it doesn’t fit his narrative. Why bother with facts when you’re on a roll?

    Do not forget that Iran is still allowed to keep a small nuclear program. Some uranium enrichment will be done at Iran’s facility at Natanz. This is the hardened, reinforced-concrete structure that was once used for covert enrichment. The US had hoped to close it. Oops. Iran is not closing a single nuclear facility. Their entire nuclear infrastructure will be left intact. Some research will also be allowed at Fordow. They don’t need the Iraq reactor but they will keep and “update” it. Hmmm. They don’t need the advanced centrifuges since they will be developing new ones in the Fordow reactor. So, the infrastructure will be in place for a breakout when the agreement expires or before when they have enough money due to the lifting of sanctions. By the way, Fordow is another hardened facility the US wanted to close. They had their reasons but……..oops again.

    And please, can we stop with this “Persia.” Iran and Persia are often used interchangeably. They shouldn’t be. Iran is the legal name, a modern construct albeit but the name of the country all the same. Persia was an ancient kingdom within larger Iran. It was the classical Greek authors, during whose time Persia was the dominant kingdom in Iran, who gave us the name. Enough. It was a long time ago. To call all of Iran ‘Persia’ is tantamount to calling all of Britain ‘England’ or calling Canada Kanata.

    “Under the American-Iranian deal, we have at least 10 years before Iran could start the final phase of producing the bomb.” And, according to the Narcissist in Chief (the NIC), we would have “one year’s notice” before they could deliver a bomb. This is good news? How about NEVER! That would be good news. Avnery would not have to rely on Netanyahu to protect him. That would be his preference, don’t you think?

    So many other bad deals come to mind. In 1938, Neville Chamberlain declared that he had achieved “peace for our time” after signing a non-aggression pact with Germany. Apparently Adolf Hitler told him he would “never to go to war with Britain again.” Sounds like a deal the NIC would sign.

    And speaking of the NIC, how about his self-delusional deal with China to cut greenhouse gas emissions? This “epic” climate deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping resulted in the Chinese laughing at the US. I mean there is nothing to prevent China from moving ahead with its economic development plans. Remember, they rely heavily on cheap and abundant fossil fuels. From 2005 through 2009, China added the equivalent of the entire U.S. fleet of coal-fired power plants (510 new 600-megawatt coal plants). From 2010 through 2013, China added half the coal generation of the entire U.S. again. From 2005 through 2011, China added roughly two 600-megawatt coal plants a week, for 7 straight years! China will add yet another U.S. worth of coal plants over the next 10 years, the equivalent of a new 600-megawatt plant every 10 days for 10 years. They are not alone. Research has revealed that more than 1,000 new coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide. Coal plants are the most polluting of all power stations and China is the world’s biggest emitter. India is planning 455 new plants compared to China’s 363. China is slowing down after its massive building programme in the past decade. Where else can they build?

    It didn’t take long for the South China Morning Post to announce that Chinese negotiators have “rejected the scrutiny of (plans) to limit carbon emissions.” What a surprise. The Chinese refuse to agree to measurable and enforceable carbon reduction targets. China keeps as many promises as Iran and look who our side has negotiating with them, the feckless NIC. Even Reuters ran the headline: “Obama’s China Deal Backfires.” How long till they run the one about Iran who stand to make billions from their deal? Ask Avnery.

    It turns out that Beijing is more interested in money. It wants the Western nations to pony up $100 billion in aid to developing countries to fight global warming more than it wants to cut emissions. And they want it now. Both India and China have said no to emissions caps. But like China, they’ll take the cash.

    The NIC has struck an “historic climate change deal” with himself. The US will lose jobs, potentially trillions of dollars and pay higher energy prices. China and the rest of the world? Nothing. What a negotiator. He has achieved less with Iran. True, they don’t have a bomb today but they didn’t anyway. They will get billions to fund their terror campaigns, build infrastructure and still get their bomb later. Another NIC triumph!

    Avnery counts on someone who has exhibited little skill for negotiation. Just look at the world: Russia and Ukraine, most of the Middle East, Africa, North Korea and on and on it goes. Even the NIC’s friends know he is weaker than even a lame duck should be. The NIC lead US resistance to a Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) but no one listened as nearly all of his alleged Asian and European allies have joined. How do you say loss of face?

    Avnery’s solutions are always those of a Utopian Socialist mixed in with equal doses of hugs, kisses and playing nice. How lovely. With Hamas or Abbas in charge the Palestinians will declare peace with Israel when there is no Israel. No Hamas or Abbas? Call me.

    The deal is not just a crap shoot, it is crap period. Like all the NIC’s deals, the other guy gets money and opportunity. The U.S., not so much. Iran gets total relief from sanctions perhaps as early as June. That is worth tens of billions of dollars to build its nuclear facilities and use for the proxy wars around the Middle East and elsewhere. So what if they break the deal. Would the Chinese, Russians or Europeans ever put the sanctions back? Iran certainly won’t give the billions back and they’ll still have a bomb. Oh yes, they’ll have their terror operations too, only they will be richer, much richer.

    Economists like to say that even a dead cat will bounce. I guess that is Avnery’s theory.

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