Arnaud deBorchgrave wrote this article detailing Israeli concerns about Iran and how Bibi Netanyahu has been using his influence in Washington to press for an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Netanyahu then said Israel "must immediately launch an intense, international, public relations front first and foremost on the U.S. The goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make clear to the government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world, not only Israel."
The article also quotes Oded Tira, who is the the chairman of Israel's Association of Industrial Manufacturers as saying:
As an American air strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party, which is conducting itself foolishly, and U.S. newspaper editors."
Leaving the propriety of the idea that US newspaper editors and political candidate may be influenced to urge war against Iran for the benefit of Israel entirely aside, who are the elements that are most in support of an attack? Former General and prospective US presidential candidate Wesley Clark (who is of Jewish ancestry himself) let it slip recently to Arianna Huffington that he has concerns against the push for an attack on Iran.
"How can you talk about bombing a country when you won't even talk to them?" said Clark. "It's outrageous. We're the United States of America; we don't do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the military option is off the table -- but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It's not, What will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq? It's sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships."
Clark also let it slip that the pressure against candidates urged by Tira is already in full swing, despite the fact that many Israelis have concern about the wisdom of an attack.
When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: "You just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers."
The balance of power in Washington between the right wing hard line neocons and more moderate elements may have changed somewhat, but the Israeli hard liners still seem to have the ear of monied Zionists in New York who seem to have the most influence on US policy. The more moderate Israelis seem to be frozen out of the process. The risks of a backlash against Israel in the wake of a failed attack on Iran (and there are so many ways it could backfire miserably) are considerable.
According to the present National Intelligence Estimate, Iran is in fact years away from having the possibility of building a nuclear weapon. Its economy, although growing, is a tiny fraction of that of the US. It military budget as a fraction of that of the US is even smaller. All indications are that Iran is being portrayed by the hard liners as a much more clear and present danger than it actually is.
All of Israel and in fact the Jewish community at large has a tremendous stake in the outcome of whatever decision is made. I would suggest that the community as a whole should make its voice heard to the hard liners and opponents of an attack on Iran should speak out and let their voices be heard as soon as possible.