by: Rabbi Michael Lerner on August 7th, 2012 | 3 Comments »
As you may know, Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives (www.spiritualprogressives.org) bought a full page ad in the New York Times signed by 3,000 Americans urging both Israel and the U.S. to use the deterrence strategy we used against Stalin’s nuclear-armed Russia during the Cold War to head off nuclear war, namely to assure Iran that if it ever uses its nuclear capacity it would face massive nuclear retaliation. Let Iran have its nukes, just as Israel has its nukes, and India, Pakistan, North Korea, and China have theirs–and lets instead adopt a strategy of generosity (including a Global Marshall Plan –www.tikkun.org/GMP) to end the hostilities, something that might actually be possible were Israel to end the Occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza and in a spirit of open-hearted generosity acknowledge its partial (not total) responsibility for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem and follow the detailed path put forward in my new book Embacing Israel/Palestine (North Atlantic Books, 2012), and were the U.S. to acknowledge its mistake in supporting the Shah of Iran’s dictatorship and repressive regime toward Muslims. The current leadership in Iran is awful and we hope it is overthrown by its own people, but they are not self-destructive: they want an Islamic society and understand that it would be bombed into smithereens should it ever start a nuclear war. So Israel and the U.S. should take a peace-and-generosity oriented strategy which will undermine the Iranian regime’s hold on its own people, whereas a military assault will force all Iranians to back its repressive government in the name of national pride and solidarity.
Unfortunately, both Israel and the U.S. are preparing for a first strike against Iran, the U.S. reluctantly, because Obama doesn’t really want a war, Israel enthusiastically–except for a majority of its own people who don’t really want a war either but are willing to trust Netanyahu and Israel’s military (though its intelligence community has been doing all it could to warn their fellow Israelis that the path of war is insane). Initiating a war because of a fear that the other side might get the same weapons you hold is immoral, a violation of international law, and stupid as well. That’s why I pray everyday that Israel and the U.S. will switch from the strategy of domination to the strategy of generosity to handle “the Iran problem.” If you agree, please JOIN the Network of Spiritual Progressives and help us promote the path of peace and generosity at a time when everyone from Obama to Netanyahu talks as if the big powers have the right to do whatever they want as long as they are militarily more powerful–a vision of the world which will come back to haunt us and our children in decades to come when it is China that is the biggest power! The only path to world peace is a path of peace and non-violence. But Netanyahu is seeking military superiority, not peace, and he knows that if he starts a war before the elections, President Obama may feel that he must show that he is “tough” and hence not vulnerable to Republicans’ traditional attemtps to portray the Democrats as weak on defense of this country, so that electoral concern may drag the U.S. into the war as well (and of course Netanyahu realizes that after the election he has considerably less leverage unless Romney wins).
We have to thank the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz for publishing three articles which, when read together, give you some idea of how completely irrational the government of Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu, cheered on by Mitt Romney and American Jewish conservatives, has become. You may have to register with Haaretz to read these articles – however, registration is free and simple. Please take the time to engage with this important material.
The first is by David Grossman, Israel’s preeminent writer whose son was killed in another irrational war–Israel’s attack on Lebanon in 2007. If you have never read his masterpiece “See Under: Love” you are in for an amazing experience–brilliant and profound, if you find and read it soon. Here’s a clip of what Grossman has to say in, “As Netanyahu pushes Israel closer to war with Iran, Israelis cannot keep silent“:
Why aren’t ministers and defense officials standing up right now, when it is still possible, and saying: We will not be a party to this megalomaniacal vision, to this messianic-catastrophic worldview?
F0r the rest of the article, please follow the link above. The second article I’d like to share is ”Another Avoidable War,” by Gideon Levy. Finally, I’d like to share Chemi Shalev’s ”Before attacking Iran, Israel should stop shooting itself in the foot,” in which Shalev convincingly asks,
What rational explanation is there for the fact that Netanyahu and others in the Israeli government have made no effort whatsoever to dispel the widespread notion that they are rooting for a Romney victory, when there is a at least a 50% chance – 72%, according to the New York Times’ widely respected Nate Silver – that it will be Obama who will be called upon, before, during and after November, to stand up in Israel’s defense? And why is it that at a time of such great national peril, Israel has made no effort to blunt the Republican attempt to turn Israel into a “wedge issue” with which to pry Jewish voters away from the Democrats, even though this divisiveness alienates a large part of America’s liberal elites and Democratic voters?