Emanuel Shahaf

The day after

The epic US movie “The Day After” described a world in the wake of a nuclear holocaust. Israeli responses to the Iran agreement appear to reflect that this is the expectation…

Official Israeli reactions to the signing of the agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran range from total hysteria to just plain apocalyptic with nary a sane voice inbetween. The loyal opposition tried to play catch-up by blaming Netanyahu for ruining relations with the US while at the same time lamely supporting his over-the-top opposition to the deal.  Rare sane voices included former National Security Advisor Prof. Uzi Arad who mentioned, almost in passing, that when we will be checking ourselves some time from now in retrospect on the Iran agreement we are likely to discover that we scored a few own goals. The former head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin opined that indeed not all is lost and we are better off now than without an agreement and leading opposition MK Shelly Yechimovich stated that it’s a new ball game from now on and we better get with it, first of all by restoring our relationship with the US.

The almost complete and across the board political support against the agreement with Iran is a clear indication that the State of Israel has lost its way. No more optimism, no interest in looking for solutions, engagement with the world or with adversaries. No, nothing of the sort. This government is leading Israel to confront, to fight, to argue, to disavow, to contradict, to interdict, to intercept to interfere, no matter what. We don’t do compromise, we take no prisoners, we trust no one. If things aren’t going our way, and lately very few are, we’ll damn make sure that everybody else bears the brunt of our displeasure and we’ll let them know that these Jews aren’t having any of it. The Jews in Israel that is. No Siree, no more Mr. Nice Guy. We have had it. We are on the warpath, for real, now, with everybody who doesn’t agree with us. Because we are right. Totally. No matter what. We are right and the world is wrong on the Palestinian issue, and we are right and the world is wrong on the Iranian issue. And everybody who thinks otherwise can go to hell.

Needless to say, there is no introspection, no thought of the other, there is only us, the Jews of Israel, all on our own against the world with our back to the wall. Back to the ghetto, back to 1938, back to Chamberlain, back to Munich, back to Auschwitz back to our worst of times, seeking comfort in our total victimhood.

The Americans ? Who are they ? Those wishy-washy wimpy naifs whose Muslim President doesn’t know what he’s talking about ? And if he does, he’s anti-Semitic anyway. And if he isn’t anti-Semitic, he’s a bleeding heart leftist liberal who has no notion about how things are done in the Middle East.  No, the Americans couldn’t care less about the world. They are only interested in their own narrow interests. They can’t even negotiate out of strength. We know how to handle negotiations – the adversary must be reeling on the ground, with the neck exposed, and we, sword in hand will now dictate the tems of the agreement. Nothing but total surrender will be acceptable. Nothing. Woe the vanquished. That’s how you negotiate around here…

Netanyahu, are you for real ? There is no agreement  in the realm of the possible that would have been acceptable to Israel’s present government. None. And to suggest an alternative ? A better agreement ? Who ruined the chances of us having a voice on finalizing the    agreement ? Who made absolutely sure that the Amercians kept us away as far as possible from the negotiations with Iran ?

Netanyahu’s unbridled attacks against the agreement and his tweets in Parsi are the clearest indication of what kind of reality the man lives in. He has no notion of who he is, where he is, what his real position is. He has no vision, all he has is an anti-vision. He wants to destroy the agreement with Iran even though anybody in his right mind who heard President Obama speak about the agreement and has an understanding of realities in Congress understands quite clearly that this agreement is a done deal. Not only is it a done deal, it’s the only deal and there likely is no better outcome that could have been achieved under the circumstances.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu doesn’t care what the consequences of his manic destructive activity will be. He has already pulverized the trust between the White House and the Israeli government and relations with the Democratic party in the US are about to crumble into the dust. The Europeans haven’t been talking to him for quite a while and aren’t about to.  At least he can still feel wonderfully comfortable basking in the warmth of the public consensus in Israel, a consensus he has largely created himself through misrepresentation, manipulation, fear mongering, sheer demagoguery and his deep antipathy towards President Obama which is amplified in the public by no small amount of racist undertones. And on the Iran agreement he even has the support of our loyal opposition. After all, we are all fighting for Israel…


About the Author
The author served in the Prime Minister’s Office as a member of the intelligence community, is Vice Chairman of the Israel-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chairman of the Israeli-German Society (IDG), Co-Chair of the Federation Movement (, member of the council at and author of "Identity: The Quest for Israel's Future".
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