Some ex-CIA officials warned President Obama that Israel may raid Iran this month. They worried that such an attack may set off a wider war involving the U.S., at least as supplier, and possibly ending in Israel’s destruction. They chided Obama as having encouraged it by praising Israel. The letter demands that Obama discourage such a raid by condemning it in advance.
Obama’s praise was his statement that Israel does not surprise the U.S.. The letter disagreed sarcastically: “’You may wish to ask Vice President Biden to remind you of the kind of surprises he has encountered in Israel,’ the letter states – implying that the announcement of progress in a Jerusalem housing project without informing the visiting Biden beforehand is equivalent to a surprise attack on Iraq.”
Another alleged surprise was “’feign[ing] fear of an imminent Arab attack as justification for starting [the Six Day War] war to seize and occupy Arab territories.’” Actually, “Then-Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s closure of the Straits of Tiran, his frequent calls to ‘throw Israel into the sea,’ and his amassing of 1,000 tanks and nearly 100,000 soldiers on the Israeli border are overlooked in the memorandum, as are the signing of a Jordanian-Egyptian defense pact and Iraqi deployment in Jordan of troops and tanks at Jordan’s invitation a week before war broke out. Forgotten, as well, was the Egyptian Army’s Order of the Day two days before the war plugging ‘Holy War’ and the re-conquest of ‘the plundered soil of Palestine.’”
The letter accuses Israel of knowing that it need not fear Iranian nuclear power, but just wants regime change. The ex-CIA officials accuse PM Netanyahu of having contempt for the U.S., and of having learned it from predecessors (Arutz-7, 8/5/10).
Concern that an Israeli raid may set off a wider war is valid. That concern should be judged against the effect of not destroying Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran could blackmail countries and wage a more horrible war causing the destruction not only of Israel but of other countries, eventually the U.S..
The valid concern should be debated without regard to the CIA letter, which is obviously misinformed and biased. The U.S. knew that Israel had some housing projects in various stages of approval, the announcement was minor, it did not contradict known Israeli policy, it is not U.S. business, and the whole incident was blown up by the Obama administration then seeking to impugn allies.
The claim that Israel feigned fear of an Arab attack as an excuse to attack the Arabs is false and defamatory. The corrections of the claim show that the war had started by those several Arab acts of war. The whole world thought that Israel would lose that war. Israel would have lost, if not for its pre-emptive air raid. Nor did Israel seek territory. Indeed, it did not let Israelis settle in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza for years, hoping to exchange them for peace.