AIPAC American foreign policy American Jews Iran Israel Israel lobby Mossad

Which Israelis should we believe on the Iranian bomb?

There are probably 25 people in the world who have enough information and experience to gauge the likelihood that Iran will develop a nuclear bomb, and –if it is intent on nuclear weapons– when the warheads will be ready. I’m certainly not one of them. Neither are the leaders of all the American Jewish groups who have been citing the most alarmist Israeli estimates, discounting other perspectives and ratcheting up tension and fear. I wonder if the following dash of cold water from Haaretz will be reflected on their web sites:

For 15 years the Military Intelligence has been changing its assessment on when Iran’s nuclear program becomes operational. The deadline has been constantly pushed back, from the late 1990s, to the beginning then the middle of this decade, and finally 2009-2010. That changed this week.

On Tuesday, Mossad chief Meir Dagan suddenly came along and dismissed the assessment of the agency officially in charge of intelligence strategy. In saying that the deadline for an Iranian bomb is 2014, Dagan aligned himself with the CIA, that has repeatedly determined that Iran will reach the point of no return in 2015.

These frequent fluctuations damage the reputation of Israel’s intelligence agencies. They, in turn, can always say in their defense the assessments are changed in light of the new information that becomes available, but these inconsistencies nonetheless confuse the public.

If the date of the completion of Iran’s nuclear program is not that critical, there was no reason to spend so much time on it in the first place.

Given this news, will AIPAC and its allies stop trying to orchestrate mass panic attacks at their conclaves? Will their leaders stop trying to convince their troops that it is 1939? What if there is still A LOT OF TIME to try diplomacy and dialogue? Will the “experts” feeding information to the get-even-tougher-with-Iran crowd in the American Jewish community take a step back and reassess their positions? Will they invite Trita Parsi to their forums instead of Richard Perle? I guess anything is possible. Maybe soon my cats will sprout wings and fly away.

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