Feeling Alone

Tuesday's World Events   —   Posted on September 15, 2009

(by Emily Belz, WorldMag.com) WASHINGTON — Dore Gold has spent most of his career worrying about threats to Israel-as the former Israeli ambassador to the UN and as a senior advisor to two Israeli prime ministers, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon. In a private dinner with several journalists Monday he voiced his mounting concern that Israel will be alone in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.

The Obama administration, along with most European governments, has opened the door to talks with Iran without preconditions, which contrasts with the Bush administration’s policy. But Gold said both Republican and Democratic administrations have failed to seriously deal with Iran over the course of many years.

“Our biggest problem is up here,” he said, pointing to his head, “The arguments we make to ourselves for accepting this reality that is about to be imposed upon us.”

He can’t believe the Obama administration really expects that diplomatic engagement will quell Iran’s nuclear program: “So the question is, what’s Plan B of the West with Iran? And I suspect Plan B is no good.”

Having stronger deterrent nuclear power isn’t a solution like it was in the Cold War, Gold said, adding that he’s afraid that the nuclear program can be used as an “umbrella” for global Islamic terrorism. The current Israeli government, led by Netanyahu, has indicated that it is considering a preemptive military strike on Iran.

“The Israeli public at least senses increasingly that Israel will have to deal with this on its own,” Gold said. “It’s a period where we’re feeling very much alone.”

Newly reelected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will travel to New York in a couple weeks to attend the UN General Assembly. The head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Said Jalili, said Tuesday that the country is willing to open negotiations again over its nuclear program.

Gold said this means little, referring to the Shiite [denomination of Islam] doctrine of taqiyya, where one can lie outwardly as long as he believes what is true in his heart. He added that a Shiite government [like Iran’s] opening new rounds of negotiations would be simply an outward gesture that Iranian leaders can exploit to continue their nuclear ambitions.

“For the Iranians, strategic deception is a key portion of their approach to diplomacy,” Gold said. “It will be a disaster. It will be an utter disaster.”

He pointed to evidence that Ahmadinejad’s belief in a certain doctrine regarding the end of days explains some of his actions. According to Gold, the Iranian leader believes that one day a ninth-century imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi al-Ḥujjah, will have a messianic return. But Ahmadinejad and his senior advisers also believe that the return of this “hidden imam” can be sped by “the creation of global chaos,” Gold said.

International reports on Iran’s nuclear program indicate that it could produce an atomic bomb in two years, but U.S. and Israeli reports have indicated that a bomb could be built, in the worst-case scenario, within a year, though that is unlikely.

“Everyone’s very complacent,” Gold said.

Copyright ©2009 WORLD Magazine, Web Extra posted September 1, 2009.  Reprinted here September 15th with permission from World Magazine. Visit the website at WorldMag.com.

Questions

1. Who is Dore Gold?

2. Why is Mr. Gold currently worried about threats to Israel? Be specific.

3. What is taqiyya?

4. What evidence does Mr. Gold give for his assertion that the Iranian government’s offer to negotiate about its nuclear weapons program is just a sham?

5. Read the “Background” below and visit the websites under “Resources.” How reasonable do you think Mr. Gold’s concerns are? Explain your answer.


Free Answers — Sign-up here to receive a weekly email with answers.

Background

THE SIZE OF ISRAEL:
263 miles long – North to South
Width: between 9 and 71 miles wide (East to West)
Comparison: Israel Area – slightly smaller than New Jersey

ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM:

  • Iran’s 20 year secret nuclear program was discovered in 2002.  Iran says its program is for fuel purposes only, but it has been working on uranium enrichment which is used to make nuclear bombs.  Under the  NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) countries are not allowed to make nuclear weapons (except for the 5 that had nuclear weapons prior to the treaty – the U.S., Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom).
  • The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, issued a report on September 15, 2008 that said Iran has repeatedly blocked an investigation into its nuclear program and the probe is now deadlocked.
  • The U.N. Security Council has already imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear defiance.  Despite the sanctions, Iran has refused to end its nuclear program.
  • France called the Sept. 15th findings “very worrisome” and is calling for new U.N. sanctions against Iran, and the U.S. spoke of “the possibility of new sanctions” if Iran continues to defy the U.N.
  • However, Russia and China, who like the U.S. and France have veto power over U.N. Security Council resolutions, would likely resist a fourth round of sanctions against Iran. Britain, the fifth veto-wielding member of the Security Council, is aligned with the U.S. and France.
  • The Iranian government has called for the destruction of Israel on numerous occasions.  It is believed that once obtained, Iranian President Ahmadinejad would use nuclear weapons against Israel.

Resources

For a map of Israel, go to worldatlas.com.

Find Israel and Iran on the worldatlas.com map of the Middle East.  Consider the size of Israel (the only Jewish state) compared to Iran and the rest of the Middle Eastern (Muslim) states.

Visit Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party website at en.netanyahu.org.il. (Scroll down for a map of Gaza and Israel.)

Read a June 2008 article posted at StudentNewsDaily “Attack Iran? Experts Differ on If and When

Read about Dore Gold at jcpa.org/dgold.htm.