"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What is the difference between Israel and Iran???


I would hazard a guess that if one polled the people of the United States about what to do about the dreaded Iranian nuke threat, thanks in large part to the corporate media hype, a large percentage of people would recommend sanctions and direct military action and God knows what else. I have not heard one peep in the corporate press questioning the legitimacy of any of the claims made by the U.S. government, even the highly questionable hoopla over the planned enrichment facility near Qom, which the Iranian government announced to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a few days ago, or Monday's missile tests.

Tomorrow in Geneva, Switzerland, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States), hold talks with Iranian officials, led by Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. The P5+1 members will be wagging their fingers and, as they have for many years, chastise Iran for enriching uranium, something the nuclear nations have been doing since the dawn of the nuclear age.

Yes Virginia, uranium, if enriched well (and I mean really well) beyond the level required to produce electricity, can be used to make bombs. The jury is out on this one so far in terms of Iran. What is relevant, however, is why we are so focused on Iran as a potential proliferator of nuclear weapons when we have turned a blind eye to Israel's nuclear program for decades.

As with everything else with Israel, the U.S. continues to avoid the topic of its decades old nuclear program that has produced anywhere from 100 to 200 nuclear weapons that it continues to pretend it does not have. In the big picture of disarmament and nonproliferation we cannot isolate and focus on one politically expedient country (Iran) while ignoring (or should I say catering to) others that have flaunted the idea of nonproliferation (like Israel, India and Pakistan) and hope to acheive success.

Above all, until the longstanding members of the nuclear club demonstrate sincere efforts to cut back their arsenals as they work towards disarmament, they have no moral standing to call on other nations to abstain. The myth of deterrence is so strong that it continues to seduce otherwise sane people to lust after nuclear weapons. Even the vice president of Brazil said (in a recent interview) that "nuclear weapons would be a boon to the security of Brazil," and spoke of how they could be "used as an instrument of deterrence."

History makes dealing with Iran problematic, particularly in terms of U.S. engagement. The United States' significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Massadegh, and the subsequent rule by Shah Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi didn't help, and U.S. military aid to Saddam Hussein during Iraq's war with Iran was icing on the cake of bad foreign relations. It is easy to see how a sovereign nation such as Iran may be reluctant to want to listen to the U.S. on any level.

One final matter of critical importance is Israel's itchy trigger finger. They are ready to attack anything remotely resembling an Iranian nuclear facility, and such an action would not only be imprudent, but destabilizing to the Middle East. This is not the time for the United States to maintain its usual "hands off" stance with Israel. Allowing any military action by Israel would be tantamount to Israel acting as a U.S. proxy; not a good idea!!!

Commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, in the last paragraph of her September 28 commentary in The Independent, "Don't Israel's Weapons Count?", quoted Israeli human rights activist Gideon Spiro: "Rein in Israel, compel it to accept a regime of nuclear disarmament and oblige it to open all nuclear, biological and chemical facilities and missile sites to international inspection." Alibhai-Brown then summed things up: "The US has leverage because it maintains and funds Israel. If Obama shies away from this, there can be no moral justification to go for Iran or North Korea or any other rogue state. And the leader whose election and dreams gave hope to millions thereby hastens the end of the world."

Let's hope that President Obama takes the moral high ground.



1 comment:

  1. The difference between Israel having a nuclear program, and questioning Iran is found in the actions of the governments themselves. Other middleastern countries have nuclear weapons as well, yet the US has not bullied Pakistan and has approved Turkey's pursuit for nuclear weapons. The reason why Iran is targeted is because of a direct result of the actions of their government. Not only has the president himself condemned Israel and wished for the annihilation of the people of Israel, but he has also been known to lend support to terrorist groups/cells. This is not some conspiracy against the state of Iran or some way of "siding" with Israel, it's the actions and words of Iran which have created fear over their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

    Anyway, when Israel obtained nuclear weapons, public and global policy was much different than it is today. There isn't much we can do about a country that already has them and has had them for a long time. If They were just now trying to obtain nuclear weapons, I imagine there would be a huge global outcry in that situation as well.