With Iran Deal, Israel Turns a Day of Celebration Into a Day of Mourning

The people have been brainwashed by so much intimidating propaganda that any agreement achieved by diplomatic efforts is seen as illegitimate.

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu illustrates his concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions during a UNGA address, Sept. 27, 2012.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu illustrates his concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions during a UNGA address, Sept. 27, 2012.Credit: AP
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

An intelligent Israel, one not brainwashed and angst-ridden, would be happy this week. The day the agreement was reached with Iran should have been a holiday celebrating the prevention of the next war, the worst of them all. When a country claims to face a threat to its survival, what should make it happier than a chance to prevent war?

But it turns out that in Israel the very chance to prevent war is a disaster — another Holocaust. An apocalypse has been averted, certainly delayed by a decade, and Israel has declared a state of emergency. Help, there’s no attack on Iran! Our clever plans are doomed to the wastepaper basket.

How Israel craved to see the planes taking off at dawn and bombing, bombing, bombing, as they’ve practiced for years. How Benjamin Netanyahu and his media mouthpieces lusted to see that — preferably American bombers, but Israeli ones would be okay too.

What an exhilarating bombing that would have been. What a reception we would have given our boys on their return from the daring operation over Bushehr. And what a terrible disaster could have ensued. But in Israel, the averting of all this is a catastrophe.

The collaborators Isaac Herzog and Yair Lapid have already been mobilized. The Israeli response to the nuclear agreement with Iran reveals the inner workings of the Israeli soul. Israel has been corrupted so badly over the years, the people brainwashed by so much intimidating propaganda that any agreement achieved by nonviolent diplomatic efforts is seen as illegitimate.

We have been trained so well to think everything should be done by force, only force, that we’ve forgotten there are other ways to do things. But these ways are no longer in the Israeli vocabulary.

That’s what happens when a country lives by the sword and is convinced there is no other way to do things. That’s what happens when any danger, real or imagined, is immediately met with violence.

A brigade commander who shoots to death a stone thrower and an Israel eager to bomb Iran speak exactly the same language. When this language is the only one spoken here and Israel refuses to hear about other languages — not to mention try to learn them — Israel has a problem. Maybe this is the threat to its survival — no country in history has lasted long living only by the sword.

Israel has plunged into disaster jitters not over the details of the Iran deal, which few have read. It’s acting this way because of the very achievement of a deal. Any agreement, even one stipulating Iran’s surrender, would have met with a similar Israeli response.

Try to maintain that bombing wouldn’t have gained the 10 to 15 years like the agreement has. Try to argue that Iran’s return to the family of nations and its economic growth are much better than pushing it to the wall and isolating it.

These opinions are seen in Israel as delusional. After all, everyone here is an expert who knows that Iran — unlike Israel by the way — flouts international resolutions and does not adhere to agreements.

The name of our game is always “suspect that everyone is guilty until proven innocent.” When we have nothing but endless suspicions — the whole world is plotting our destruction and has nothing else to deal with — then we’re dealing with paranoia, at an advanced and alarming stage. Ask any Israeli backpacker who returns from the end of the world. You can bet he’s seen anti-Semitism.

Things are especially serious when the response becomes a chorus that leaves no room for other voices. Whether it’s against Iran or against Gaza, it’s a song that never ends — let’s bomb them.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


בנימין נתניהו השקת ספר

Netanyahu’s Israel Is About to Slam the Door on the Diaspora

עדי שטרן

Head of Israel’s Top Art Academy Leads a Quiet Revolution

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

Skyscrapers in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv.

Israel May Have Caught the Worst American Disease, New Research Shows

ג'אמיל דקוור

Why the Head of ACLU’s Human Rights Program Has Regrets About Emigrating From Israel


Netanyahu’s Election Win Dealt a Grievous Blow to Judaism