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Israel and Netanyahu, Pipe Down the Threats of War on Iran

Author: Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow
February 6, 2012
Daily Beast


Bibi, Israel, curb your over-the-top war rhetoric toward Iran. I urge this as one who cherishes Israel and values military power. But you've got to understand that your constant threats to attack Iran to stop its nuclear program aren't working. Unending military threats unite Iranians and fire up their resistance. Economic sanctions weaken and divide them—and often produce constituencies for compromise. Give sanctions time to play out.

You cannot actually believe Iran will prostrate itself in the face of your threats. As Amos Yadlin, a retired Air Force general and former head of Israeli military intelligence, said Sunday: "These statements have reached the point where they have crossed the line from bringing benefit and are beginning to cause damage." Your warnings will ignite war and will not foster Iran's abandoning its nuclear program. Did Saddam Hussein kneel before George W. Bush's threats? Did the Taliban handcuff itself when faced with America's military might? Has Kim Jong-un bowed before his Western master? None capitulated even to the American superpower. Thus, it's hard to believe that you truly calculate that Ayatollah Khamenei will cry "uncle."

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