Moral Outrage
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Mossad says a nuclear Iran not existential threat to Israel

A nuclear-armed Iran wouldn’t necessarily constitute a threat to Israel’s continued existence, Mossad chief Tamir Pardo reportedly hinted earlier this week to an audience of about 100 Israeli ambassadors.

The intelligence chief said that Israel was using various means to foil Iran’s nuclear program and would continue to do so, but if Iran actually obtained nuclear weapons, it would not mean the destruction of the State of Israel.

“What is the significance of the term existential threat?” the ambassadors quoted Pardo as asking. “Does Iran pose a threat to Israel? Absolutely. But if one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an existential threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop and go home. That’s not the situation. The term existential threat is used too freely.”

Pardo’s remarks follow a public debate in recent months over a possible Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Pardo’s predecessor as Mossad chief, Meir Dagan, has argued that Israel should only resort to military force “when the knife is at its throat and begins to cut into the flesh.” He has also criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, accusing them of pushing for an Israeli attack on Iran, and warned that such an assault would have disastrous consequences.

For the past several years, Netanyahu has characterized a nuclear Iran as an existential threat to Israel. The prime minister has even compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler and argued that Iran should be treated as Nazi Germany should have been dealt with in 1938, just before World War II.

[Read the full Haaretz article]

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One Response to “Mossad says a nuclear Iran not existential threat to Israel”

  1. Meanwhile the Obama administration is trying to assure Israel privately that it would strike Iran militarily if Tehran’s nuclear program crosses certain “red lines”—while attempting to dissuade the Israelis from acting unilaterally.

    With Republicans lining up to court Jewish donors and voters in America in 2012, Obama faces a tricky election-year task of ensuring Iran doesn’t acquire a nuclear bomb on his watch while keeping the Israelis from launching a preemptive strike that could inflame an already teetering Middle East.

    All the while, secret sabotage initiatives like a computer worm known as Stuxnet that infected the Siemens-made logic boards at the Natanz centrifuge facility in Iran, continued apace. (New U.S. estimates say that Stuxnet delayed Iran’s nuclear enrichment work by at most a year, despite earlier estimates that suggested the damage was more extensive.)

    The stakes are immensely high, and the distrust that Israelis feel toward Obama remains a complicating factor.


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