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AIPAC and the alleged ‘Iranian threat’ to stability in the Middle East

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has renewed his commitment towards military aggression against Iran. In the light of recent talks about Iran’s uranium program, Netanyahu addressed the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) through video conference from Jerusalem, stressing the importance of not ruling out military aggression against Iran. “Sanctions must be coupled with a clear and credible military threat if diplomacy and sanctions fail.” Plans to strike Iran have made up the bulk of discourse against Iran last year, with Israel asserting that the country’s programme was a ‘threat to stability in the Middle East’.


During the conference, US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor described Israel as a state based on humanitarianism. He described news as misleading and a reminder ‘of the threat Israel faces, and why Israel needs our friendship’. Jews faced difficulties prior to 1948 in defining themselves and the state of Israel provided protection against the homeless wanderer. Within this propaganda, Palestinians threatened and massacred by Operation Pillar of Defence were described as terrorists firing ‘deadly rockets’ at Israeli homes. Cantor’s view of peace is equivalent to subservience, requiring Palestinians to renounce resistance and accept oppression.

The conference’s agenda focused on the possibility of enacting legislation declaring Israel ‘a major strategic ally’ of the US. If approved, the law would sanction Israeli military action against Iran and its purported hostile nuclear programme.

While Joe Biden affirmed that there was ‘no debate’ regarding US support to Israel during the AIPAC conference on Monday, a small group of rabbis from ‘Jews United Against Zionism’ held a protest, holding placards reading ‘Judaism rejects the state of Israel’ and ‘Authentic rabbis always opposed Zionism and the state of Israel’. AIPAC supporter Michael Benzikri accused the rabbis of ‘collaborating with Ahmadinejad’ while the group reiterated that Zionism had ‘hijacked the Jewish name’.
 
Netanyahu alleged that Iran would be close to amassing enough enriched uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons by spring or summer of this year. Concern for Israeli security has once again distorted the actual issues at stake, that of Israel being the tangible threat to security in the Middle East owing to its nuclear programme. Israel has refused to allow UN inspectors in the territory and have still not ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Apparently Netanyahu is seeking ‘credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.’ President Shimon Peres has also made clear the intent to strike Iran. ‘Peace is our first option but if we are forced to fight, trust me, we shall prevail.’

The concept of peace according to Israel should be translated into a quest for supreme power in the Middle East. While Israel’s widely known, albeit undeclared, nuclear weapons can constitute a threat to countries opposed to its policies, international focus is shifted elsewhere on a country surrounded by US military bases. While US president Barack Obama so far has not endorsed Israel’s outright declarations of war, reiterations about diplomatic efforts and sanctions are still shielding Israel from international responsibility.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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