A Bloomberg editorial lays it on the line: Israel is threatening to attack Iran because it has the upper hand on the US government during the election season, because of Jewish “donors,” among other factors, and can therefore compel American complicity in such a disastrous move.
What is the sudden urgency?… If Israel is about to attack Iran (and this time the threats are backed up by distribution of gas masks and other civil defense preparations), then using the campaign season to pull in the U.S. makes tactical sense. Neither President Barack Obama nor Republican candidate Mitt Romney would want to alienate Jewish or evangelical Christian voters and donors by failing to support Israel. But it would also damage Israel’s most important strategic partnership. Nobody likes getting blackmailed.
The threats could, of course, be another bluff, designed to pressure the U.S. and Europe into quickly putting in place tougher sanctions. If so, that seems unwise, too. After so many unfulfilled warnings of an imminent attack on Iran, Israel’s credibility is eroding, not to mention the destabilizing effect on oil and other global markets.
Isabel Kershner at the New York Times certainly knows about blackmail. She writes that Israel wants to strike before November, “while Israel’s limited military capabilities might still have an impact.”
The president [Shimon Peres's anti-war] comments came amid a wave of speculation in Israel and abroad that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, might be weighing the option of a unilateral strike even before the American presidential elections in November, while Israel’s limited military capabilities might still have an impact.
But what does this mean? Why would Israeli threat of a strike have “impact” before the election season? Well, because the Israel lobby has a lot of sway over Obama now, and a lot less come November. But the Times can’t go where Bloomberg goes.
Note that even John Hannah, a neoconservative at Foreign Policy, can talk about the power of the Israel lobby to pave the way in the election season for a strike:
Could [a strike] come before November’s elections in the U.S.? The Israelis I asked were strident in emphasizing that a move of such national importance would be based entirely on Israeli security interests and the state of Iran’s nuclear program, not America’s electoral calendar. But when pushed, a few reluctantly acknowledged that securing maximum U.S. support for Israeli military action would be an important variable. And there’s no doubt that many further believe that, all else being equal, securing the full-throated backing of the Obama administration is far more likely before an overwhelmingly pro-Israel American electorate goes to the polls than afterwards.
As if the American electorate is dying for another war! But the Times can’t address the real forces at work here. It has an editorial called, In Thrall to Sheldon Adelson, that essentially deceives a reader about Adelson’s real interest. It says that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are going to be beholden to Adelson’s gambling interests in Macao.
Does anyone really believe this is Adelson’s game? Adelson is pro-choice. Do you think that matters to Paul Ryan?
The Times is less honest about the Israel lobby than Newt Gingrich, Adelson’s last pony.
“He knows I’m very pro-Israel, and that’s the central value of his life,” Gingrich told NBC News back in January. “He’s very worried that Israel is going to not survive.”
Reminder: we’re talking about war. We’re talking about something that could devastate hundreds of thousands of people. And our political system can’t be honest about what’s going on? Writes a friend: If there’s an attack between now and the elections it will be incontrovertible proof of a dysfunctional political system here and in Israel. The question then will be whether Americans will do anything about it. I’d like to think so but rather doubt it with most of our news media mindlessly and “patriotically” stoking the hysteria. I do think a greater percentage of Americans will see the problem than ever.