Israel succeeded in turning the Iranian nuclear program into a top priority for the American presidential candidates. The annual conference of the largest Jewish forum in America, the AIPAC committee, turned into a competition platform for who will shed the highest amount of tears over the future of the Hebrew state in case Iran succeeded in producing its so-called nuclear weapons.
Thus, President Barack Obama was standing there, begging for the Jewish votes in a pathetic scene that stirred sorrow for the state of the man who came to the White House with high hopes for the future of the USA and its relations with the world. The same man ended up begging a group of Americans (with renowned power) to show understanding of his circumstances and “to watch his deeds instead of just listening to his statements.” This was a clear reference from the president himself to the major gap between his actions and his statements. This gap appeared clearly during the past three years through Obama’s positions concerning the Palestinian crisis. This position also clearly appeared through his oscillating positions concerning the different events of the Arab Spring.
Obama reminded the Jewish Americans of what he did for Israel during his possibly renewable term. Such actions included the increase of the military support, mainly represented by the support provided to the defense system against the Iron Dome missiles; and his famous voting against Palestine’s membership at the UN; as well as the shameful modification of his position that opposed the politics of settlement and Judaization in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied lands.
And unlike last year’s AIPAC conference when the Palestinian issue constituted a priority, the Palestinian cause seemed inexistent or resolved this year. The entire attention shifted to the Iranian file. Israel, along with the largest American Jewish group, succeeded in giving the impression that the Iranian missiles equipped with nuclear heads will be falling tomorrow on the Israeli cities; or that the military strike constitutes the only option for the USA and the international community to confront this “Iranian threat.” Nevertheless, the American intelligence reports assert that any strike of this kind is not guaranteed to succeed. In addition, it will slow down Iran’s nuclear progress at best or it will lead to a more dangerous reaction as it will push Iran to progress on this road assuming that it is currently hesitant or incapable of doing so.
Through these politics, Israel is imposing its political priorities on the American presidential battle. On the one hand, it has dropped the Palestinian cause from the candidates’ programs; and on the other hand, it has pushed the world to stand by its side in an issue that led to a major international sympathy with Israel unlike the Palestinian issue that brought nothing but criticism to it.
In this sense, the Iranian nuclear program would have done a major favor to the Hebrew state. Indeed, this program offers no tangible contribution to the project of Israel’s confrontation or to the Palestinian rights. Its only “achievement” consists of the media intimidation and internal mobilization in a country suffering from dismantlement under the mask of a fabricated union as demonstrated by the latest parliamentary elections. Most of the Iranian affairs’ experts do not expect Iran to rush into any kind of confrontation with Israel despite the resonant speeches since the Iranian leaders are well aware of the major power imbalance between the two countries and since they are pragmatic enough to know when to back away when the very existence and fate of the Islamic revolution are threatened.
The writer is a prominent columnist. The article was published in the London-based al-Hayat on March 6, 2012