Friday, July 20, 2012

McReynolds: The Bulgarian terror attack and the danger of the Israeli response

From: David McReynolds []
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 12:29 PM
Subject: EdgeLeft: the Bulgarian terror attack and the danger of the Israeli response

This goes to the EdgeLeft list and my Middle East list without the usual notes about the EdgeLeft site - time
is short, the situation is very serious.

As I assume people know, on Wednesday an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria was hit by terrorists, seven killed
(including the terrorist), a number wounded. The event is shocking, as one is always shocked when non-combatants
 suddenly find themselves on the front line of conflict.

It should go without saying that I condemn such an attack, without reservation. But I'm writing this because the
statements of Michael Oren, the "American speaking" Israeli Ambassador to the US, and Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, have rushed to condemn Iran and pledge drastic action.

What not all of you will know, unless you follow Israeli politics, is that Netanyahu is in some trouble at home, since his grand coalition collapsed this week when Kadima withdrew. There is discussion that a general election may be in the offing. The danger, in politics, is that a war is always a convenient way to distract the public from more immediate issues. (In Israel there is sharp tension around the fact the ultra-orthodox men are exempt from military service, and the collapse of the coalition was due in part to a failure to find a fair way of having the ultra-orthodox share in military service).

In any discussion of terrorism it is useful to have a broader view than simply the tragedy in Bulgaria. On July 22, 1946. Zionist extremists blew up the King David Hotel in Cairo, killing 91 people. As with the tourist bus in Bulgaria this week, the target wasn't military, those who died were, for the most part, civilians. And on September 17 of that year
   Zionist extremists murdered Count Folke Bernadotte who was in Palestine on a peace mission for the UN. (Count Folke Bernadotte had played an important role in Sweden in aiding the escape of thousands of Jews from Germany). One of those Zionist extremists was Yitzhak Shamir, who later became the Prime Minister of Israel. So Israel is familiar with the pattern of terrorism - it is a part of the history of Israel.

These actions are in the past. So too was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolutin, passed in August of 1964 by the US Senate in response to an alleged attack by the Vietnamese on US navy ships. That attack had not occurred, Lyndon Baines Johnson rammed through the resolution as an excuse to expand the US role in the war.

One could go back a bit farther to the start of World War II when the Nazis alleged that Polish troops had opened fire on the Germans. In fact the Germans had created a bit of fiction, with German troops dressed in Polish uniforms and filmed attacking the German positions. No one was fooled - except, perhaps, briefly the German public.

The government of Israel should be warned that the world will not look kindly on the use of the tragedy in Bulgaria being used as an excuse for military action either against Lebanon (on which Israel has placed primary responsibility)
or Iran, which Israel accuses of being the real agent in this case.

Sadly the game of terror is played by all governments, and in this case Israel has, by common agreement, been responsible for the murder of several Iranian physicists in Tehran, in an effort to slow the Iranian drive to acquire
nuclear weapons. Iran has warned Israel against the kind of terror attacks to which its scientists have been subjected
 and I fear it is quite possible Iran may have reached out to strike at Israeli targets elsewhere in  response to the murders of some of its people in Iran.

What is very worrisome is that within Iran there is a substantial Jewish population, and that to the degree the
authoritarian government of of Iran feels that the murders of its physicists has been linked in any way to the Jews in Iran, that community will suffer. (This is not a matter which would concern Israel - historically it has tended to
welcome - quietly, and "off camera" - repression of  Jewish communities in North Africa or the Arab world because
 it has meant a flow of Jews to Israel).

We must urge an end of the use of terror by all governments, our own, the Iranians, the Israelis, and reject all efforts by Israel to "settle the matter" by an attack either on Hezbollah in Lebanon, or, more dangerously, on Iran.

David McReynolds
(as always, these comments can be used and reprinted without permission, and I can be reached at:

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