Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is the Israeli leadership losing its mind?

You know, the media and blogosphere have been ranting for months about the madness of the Iranian leadership: Ahmadinejad's intemperate pronouncements, the fiasco of the summer 2009 elections, the repression of the Green Movement.  These people are nuts, irresponsible, irrational actors - runs the mantra - time for regime change!  And Netanyahu and his ilk are screaming the loudest.

Hey, nobody would be happier than would I to see a more liberal, human-rights-conscious regime established in Iran.  But when you look at what the Israelis have been up to in recent weeks . . .  Just who is it who's crazy?

Let's be specific:

  • Sending Mossad agents into Dubai, with fake British passports, to assassinate a Hamas official?  This is the action of a rational, law-abiding, respectable member of the world community?  Even the Israel-defending NY Times has highlighted the "mystery"over the affair, and the evidence of "skullduggery.".  Now The Guardian reports that PM Gordon Brown is voicing his concern, even as "demands were made for the Israeli ambassador to be summoned to the Foreign Office to answer allegations that the Mossad security service was behind the assassination."  Notably, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman says there's no proof the Mossad was responsible; but he's not denying it either.
  • The threat of war between Israel and Lebanon grows larger by the day - and Israel is doing absolutely nothing to dampen down the fears.
  • There's talk of a new Intifada in the West Bank, yet rather than calm the waters, the Israelis are pushing the Jewish colonization of East Jerusalem, and Netanyahu is inflaming tensions over prerogatives around the Temple Mount.
  • Israel's foreign ministry has already insulted the government of Turkey with its shameless denigration of the Turkish ambassador.  Now, it's a US congressman (William Delahunt of Massachusetts) who's been dissed, evidently because he's leading a congressional delegation hosted by the un-AIPAC US Jewish lobbying group J-Street, which supports Obama's stance on the two-state solution.
  • Finally, you know that things are spinning out of control when the Israeli government's Information and Diaspora Affairs Ministry (the department of hasbara) has launched an advertising "blitz" to (as the NYT's Ethan Bronner phrases it) turn every Israeli — and ultimately every Jew — into a traveling public relations agent.
This is the same government that has been bringing you unending demands for crippling sanctions on Iran, regularly threatening to launch an airstrike on Iran's nuclear facilities (an act that, according to virtually every war-game devised to simulate its effects, would plunge both the region and the global economy into turmoil), - and, meanwhile, continuing an inhumane blockade of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians trapped in Gaza, all the while defying the facts, and world opinion, by insisting that its military forces conducted their devastation of Gaza last year in scrupulous accord with international law and moral principle.

If so much of the world is going to point its collective finger at the madness in Iran, how can it not do the same for an Israeli government that so brazenly flaunts world opinion, and conducts its foreign affairs with all the grace and nuance of a bull in a china shop?

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