Sunday, July 1, 2012

Who’s Afraid of Moshe Ya’alon?

Two weeks ago when I read Moshe Ya’alon’s interview and saw the Ha’aretz Magazine cover page with the red BOMB OR BE BOMBED I was convinced that it probably must have  nearly given heart attacks to the foreign diplomats  accredited in Israel and must have caused a flurry of encrypted cables to their respective governments.   

But how will the US press handle this?, I asked myself. Now I know. Two weeks have passed and now I know. The US press has completely ignored it.

It is not that American columnists did not write about Iran and Israel the last two weeks. They did, but when they did  they either quoted Meir Dagan and Ehud Barak  ( Jeffery Goldberg in the Atlantic  ),  Efraim Halevy and   Ehud Barak  ( David Ignatious in The Washington Post ),   Shaul Mofaz ( Daniel Halper in The Weekly Standard , Robert Wright in The Atlantic  and Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post blog).  None mentioned Moshe Ya’alon. 
What is going on?

How is it that this watershed interview given by a member of the Israeli cabinet at a time when the threat of war with Iran is looming went completely unreported in the US press?  Here is an excerpt from the interview:

But the Iranians are rational, and the use of nuclear weapons is an irrational act. Like the Soviets, they will never do that.

“A Western individual observing the fantastic ambitions of the Iranian leadership scoffs: ‘What do they think, that they will Islamize us?’ The surprising answer is: Yes, they think they will Islamize us: The ambition of the present regime in Tehran is for the Western world to become Muslim at the end of a lengthy process. Accordingly, we have to understand that their rationality is completely different from our rationality. Their concepts are different and their considerations are different. They are completely unlike the former Soviet Union. They are not even like Pakistan or North Korea. If Iran enjoys a nuclear umbrella and the feeling of strength of a nuclear power, there is no knowing how it will behave. It will be impossible to accommodate a nuclear Iran and it will be impossible to attain stability. The consequences of a nuclear Iran will be catastrophic.”

In contrast, the Israeli press noticed:

Moshe Ya'alon: Strategic thinker and leader  by  Isi Leibler:

A major component is devoted to the Iranian nuclear threat. Ya’alon stresses that we must not, under any circumstances, stand by and enable “the apocalyptic-messianic regime of the ayatollahs” to obtain the bomb. Although hopeful that Israel will not be obliged to go it alone, Ya’alon insists that “we are not bluffing” and that despite the likelihood of considerable Israel casualties should armed conflict ensue, it is unquestionably preferable for us to bomb rather than to be bombed

I can only conclude that the American press is just incapable of handling the truth about the Iranian threat and chooses to ignore it. The frankness displayed by the Ya’alon interview in Ha’aretz is just too much for the uninformed and sleepwalking US public to handle.