Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Disagreeing with MJ Rosenberg On Iran

MJ Rosenberg has written a new article on the HuffPo with his usual choice of topics: AIPAC, "neocons," the Netanyahu government, Israel, American politicians, etc etc. This time he is attacking certain politicians for referencing the Holocaust in talking about why Israel must defend itself against Iran. I wouldn't have a problem with someone complaining about that, but from Rosenberg it's pretty hypocritical considering his love affair with Philip Weiss and other anti-Zionists Jews who have exploited the Holocaust to justify their points of view as well.

But I didn't want to talk about that so much, instead I simply wanted to disagree with a couple of points that he made on the subject of an Israeli attack on Iran. Let's start with this point:
"After all, no country in history has ever committed suicide in order to destroy another. And Israel, with 200 nuclear weapons and air, sea and land launchers, could easily destroy Iran if it was attacked."
Countries haven't committed suicide, but people have. This isn't to say that I entirely believe what Rosenberg refers to as "the absurd argument by neocons" that Iranian leadership would be willing to sacrifice their own lives to destroy Israel, but I also can't ignore statements like this in which they say they wouldn't mind sacrificing their own people to achieve their goals. And also, this thing about Israel "easily destroying Iran?" Come on. Not only do we not know that for sure, but this is Israel we're talking about. Would they commit Iranian genocide even with a perfectly good reason to do so? They're not even willing to do what it takes defend themselves against Hamas. Ultimately though this point is debatable. What I really wanted to get to was this:
"As for a Holocaust, the main threat to Israel from Iran would come from the regional war that would inevitably follow any Israeli (or U.S.) attack on Iran. Every major Israeli city is within range of Hezbollah's missiles and it has tens of thousands of them. How many innocent Israelis would die in a missile onslaught produced by Netanyahu and Barak's obsession with maintaining Israeli hegemony? How many is it worth?"
I've criticized Mr. Rosenberg before for not thinking about more than the imminent future, and it applies even more clearly here. Yes, it's probably safe to say that an Israeli attack now would set off a war and Israel would get pounded by rockets. Which would probably result in people getting killed.

But what happens a year from now, when Iran does have the bomb? Does Mr. Rosenberg think that Hezbollah will just toss their missiles in the garbage? Or maybe they'll decide to turn over a new leaf and make peace with Israel? Or will they wait until Iran has a nuclear weapon and then start the regional war, this time protected by an Iranian deterrent? How many innocent Israelis will die then, Mr. Rosenberg? Did you ever stop and think about that? Obviously you did not, and it's fortunate for the Israelis on the ground that their government is.

Next up we have this questionable paragraph:
"A war with Iran would end any possibility of Israel ever achieving either peace with the Muslim world or any semblance of security. Forever. The dream of a secure Jewish homeland, a dream that took 1900 years to achieve, would be over....It is hard to imagine that any Jew would wish that on Israel. But clearly some do."
I hate to interrupt this self-flagellation but I have a tiny little question:


Why would a strike on Iran prevent Israel from having peace at any point in the future? Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor and was thanked for it ten years later. Israel hit Syria's too and their security situation didn't fall apart. Let's not forget either that a great many Arab nations want Israel to attack Iran, very very badly. So what makes Iran different, exactly? Is it just that MJ Rosenberg really doesn't want Israel to attack them, so he says whatever he wants in order to make people listen to him, no matter how illogical?

And I don't say this because I want a war with Iran, because I don't. But unfortunately the situation is more complicated than "war is bad so let's not do it." Israel has many factors to consider in the process of making this decision, and the MJ Rosenberg method of "just ignore the inconvenient facts and wave your arms a lot" won't solve any of their problems. If he thinks Israel shouldn't attack, then argue on the merits. And while he's at it, maybe he can teach his followers on the Huffington Post to do the same.


  1. No matter how much spin you wrap it in

    If you attack someone, you are the bad guy

    claiming they have weapons, which not only do they not have, but which you do have, is a ridiculous justification for your violence

  2. An easy way to tell if your policy is evil or not is to switch it around

    So then, would you consider it ok for the Iranians to bomb an Israeli nuclear facility? Keep in mind some Israelis might die from the bombing itself as well as from the radiation poisoning that would surely be produced by an attack on such a facility.

    So is that justified?


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