The pro-Israel credibility gap on Iran starts with Pakistan
05/16/2011 - 10:24
James Besser

A nuclear Iran is clearly a danger to the world and a particular threat to Israel, but I've always wondered: how much of the intense focus on Iran among pro-Israel groups here is the result of a sober analysis of the threat, and how much is about finding a good organizing and fundraising focus for groups that do the best when they confront a dire menace and a clear cut villain?

May I suggest a test?

Jewish groups that pound away at the Iran issue but ignore Pakistan aren't serious. Because if you're concerned about Israel's survival in this perilous century, Pakistan could be a much bigger menace.

Yes, Iran seems well on its way to building its first nuclear bomb, and it is led by a fanatic who has said Israel should be wiped off the map.

But Pakistan already has a substantial nuclear arsenal. Moreover, it has a largely dysfunctional government with myriad ties to Islamic extremists and terrorist groups.

This week Newsweek is reporting a dramatic expansion of its nuclear capacity. We’re not talking one or two bombs here, we're talking hundreds, and the raw materials for simple dirty bombs. 

Iran is a nation; its leaders, though religious extremists, want to hold on to power. I've heard the claim that they are apocalypse-minded fanatics who wouldn't mind committing national suicide in the interests of an Islamic messianic age, but I can't find any serious Iran experts who believe that.

With Iran, there is a reasonable probability an updated version of the Cold War doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD) would protect an Israel with – allegedly – a much bigger nuclear arsenal than Iran is likely to have for decades, and an extensive second strike capability.

Any Iranian nuclear attack would guarantee the destruction of the nation, and Iran's leaders know it.

The threat from Pakistan is different. Its leaders are not threatening to destroy Israel, but it's hard to imagine that some of its bombs or dirty bomb material won't eventually end up in the hands of terrorists bent on destroying the hated Zionist entity.

And those terrorists aren't a country; MAD doesn't work against diffuse groups that operate across nation borders.

I'm not suggesting Iran isn't a threat, or that Jewish groups shouldn't worry about it. By all means toughen sanctions and work to isolate the Tehran regime, and while we're at it, let's do more to support Iranian dissidents who want a government that takes care of its people instead of spending billions on crazy dreams of regional hegemony.

I am suggesting that if they're serious, they should be just as active in pressing for some kind of solution to the problem Pakistan. If they don't, it's going to be harder and harder to take them seriously as we learn more about the political chaos in that country and what could be the lack of clear lines of control over its substantial nuclear arsenal.

What I hear, mostly, is silence.

Comments

How about with start with Israel's lack of credibility with anyone?

Israel needs to shut its nuclear weapons program with its 5 submarines supplied by Germany, that carry nuclear missiles.

Israel is the cause of world's instability.

Israel must be subject to international sanctions for its nuclear weapons programs.

I got up to here:

> Yes, Iran seems well on its way to building its first
> nuclear bomb, and it is led by a fanatic who has
> said Israel should be wiped off the map.

Ahmadinejad never said "Israel should be wiped off the map". This is just pure propaganda, which is still being repeated year after he said the regime in Jerusalem needed to be changed.

The exact translation is:

"this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)"

Who are the fanatics that repeat these lies, years after they've been exposed? Whoever they are, they won't let the truth and facts get into their way. Seems to indicate low moral standards to me.

Iran seems well on its way to building a bomb? What complete rubbish and nonsense. There is in fact ZERO evidence of any nuclear weapons program in Iran, and even US intelligence agencies agree to that. Indeed, they have even stopped referring to a potential Iranian nuclear bomb (See Bill Gertz in Washington Times.) Israel needs to stop trying to constantly monopolize the victim status. Israel needs to create foreign menaces for itself not only for fundraising but to keep its own problems under a lid. Remember, it wasn't an Iranian or an Arab or a Muslim or a Palestininan who killed Rabin.

It seems that the author has not stepped out of the Cold War age; my suggestion - step out of it as it's never too late.

Pakistan's entire defence is India centric including its nuclear arsenal. Former President Musharraf already made it clear that if there is an independent Palestanian state then Pakistan will have diplomatic terms with Israel.

I am sure that Israelis would also like to have a working relationship with Pakistan instead of having another 63 years of animosity.

Why does the author have to repeat the phony and completely false charges against Iran? I guess the brainwashed American populace believes whatever it is told repeatedly by the media. Basic Facts:

1. The US 2011 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which is a consensus of 16 US intelligence agencies, has stated that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and the NIE did not even say that Iran is "leaving open the option" of developing any in the future.

2. The president of Iran has NOT said that, "Israel should be wiped off the map." He has only predicted or has expressed the wish that the Israeli "regime" will disappear like the Soviet Union, the Roman Empire or Yugoslavia. He has never suggested that Iran would have anything to do with this potential event. In particular, Ahmadinejad has never suggested that the people of Israel should be killed in the process.

It is time to stop this silly nonsense and concentrate on the real issues in the Middle East. The mere repetition of these lies detracts from the credibility of the other statements in this article, some of which may be true.

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