Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Israel’s Nuclear Closet

Andrew Sullivan joins the debate on Israel’s declared nuclear status, and although he professes not to find any insight from reading Contentions, I must admit I find even less from reading him.

From the point of view of, say, Iran, it seems perfectly reasonable for them to ask why they can’t have a couple of nukes when their chief regional rival, Israel, has scores.

But Israel isn’t Iran’s rival — Iran is Israel’s. Can Andrew name any acts of unprovoked bellicosity Israel has committed against Iran? During the reign of the shah, the countries were quiet allies and Israel maintained a diplomatic delegation in Tehran. The post-Islamic Revolution history of terrorism and weekly “Death to Israel” chants needs no elaboration.

Sullivan’s logic works something like this: Iran is pursuing a campaign of terrorism and annihilation against Israel that is entirely of its own choosing; because of this confrontation, Iran demands nuclear weapons to bring it closer to military parity with Israel; and the United States — Israel’s ally and Iran’s enemy — should respond to this unilateral belligerence by saying: your nuclear program is understandable, because Israel has one too.

What has become telling is that Andrew doesn’t seem able to write about Israel without gratuitous elbow-throwing:

But it begins to look once again as if Israel is privileged not as normal allies are privileged, but as a very special case which has … the right to launch wars and threaten wars against its neighbors, but its neighbors have no right to do the same.

This cheap and preposterous assertion should tell you everything you need to know about the reliability of his analysis.



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