I've missed this important story entirely. But last week Meir Dagan, the head of the Israeli Mossad, pooh-poohed the Iranian threat in a briefing with journalists by saying that the Iranians wouldn't have a bomb for many years. The statement has pulled the rug out from under Netanyahu's feet-- and not just his. It has made Jeffrey Goldberg look even more like a pliant stenographer to Netanyahu (as Roger Cohen labelled him) in his willingness to pipe Netanyahu's urgency about the alleged threat and urging to the U.S. to take action. Remember, The Atlantic ran Goldberg's alarmist piece, "The Point of No Return," last September.
Didi Remez reports that Dagan's defection has enraged Netanyahu. He picks up Sever Plocker from Yediot:
Plocker, hardly a knee-jerk leftist... explains the drama:
'[With] Dagan, a suspicious super-cautious individual who routinely prefers to err on the side of pessimism…The Iranian nuclear threat died. It keeled over. Because, if the director of the State of Israel’s Mossad is prepared to risk saying that Iran won’t have even a single nuclear bomb “at least until 2015,” that means that Iran is not going to have a nuclear bomb. Period.'
He also helps us understand Netanyahu’s fury:
'For more than a decade, Israel has been living under the thickening cloud of the Iranian nuclear bomb. The military, economic and even the social agendas in Israel have been directly influenced by it. The election of Netanyahu as prime minister (and Barak’s joining the coalition) were explained by the need to place at the head of the state and the security establishment people who would be capable of leading the people and the army in this decisive year in dealing with Iran. From time to time, in light of the foolish things that the two of them have done, public opinion was asked to be forgiving of them because of the weight of the Iranian threat that lay on their shoulders.'
Recall that Goldberg's piece was published in the U.S. but written from the heart of the Israeli security establishment (by a former Israeli soldier, now a U.S. journalist). And the demurrals had to published in Israel by the likes of Noam Sheizaf (an Israeli journalist who has refused to serve in the occupation)... Crazy world.