Trita Parsi’s farcical claim

First the good news. It would seem, as Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council, would have us believe, that in these exceptional days before Tisha B’Av, the exceptional has happened: Sacrifices are once again burning at the behest of the Jewish people’s highest office in Jerusalem. The charred carcasses, however, are not Paschal lambs, sheep bulls or rams burning on the temple altar, but the ordinary, innocent Israelis condemned to sacrifice upon Netanyahu and Barak’s alter of political expediency.

In a column in the Daily Beast, Parsi notes that Netanyahu wasted no time in fingering the Iranians and Hezbollah for Thursday’s attack on Israeli tourists in the Bulgarian resort of Burgas. But the rub was the devious plot through which Israel would finally hatch its own the equivalent of the “shots in Sarajevo in 1914” — an excuse to bomb Bushehr, Natanz, Fordow, and all the other Iranian nuclear sites, happily bringing about the great war of Gog and Magog.

He quotes American officials who have apparently expressed grave concern that “one of the purposes of Israeli attacks in Iran has been to generate an Iranian response that could serve as a casus belli for Israel. That way, Israel could target Iran’s nuclear facilities without paying the heavy political cost of starting a preventive war.”

With the visits paid Israel by a series of senior US officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to coordinate American and Israeli national security strategies, it’s hardly believable that time was set aside in the discussions for Mr. Parsi’s absurd Sarajevo circumstance. Though we are — in Iranian terms — talking about the great Satan and the illegal Zionist regime, we need to base our  arguments firmly in reality. And the reality is that the bombings in Bulgaria had more to do with the 18th anniversary of the Argentine bombings and exacting revenge for Imad Mughniyeh than with hoping for a new war started by a Jewish black hand. The Iranians, like everyone else, understand that when you kill Israelis there is a consequence. A consequence — not a world war.

Ehud Barak has a long, difficult, and at times humiliating history with Hezbollah. He was the IDF chief of staff who authorized the hit on Abbas Mussawi, which resulted in the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in the ’90s. He was also the prime minister who ordered the full withdrawal of the IDF from Lebanon in 2000 — much to the delight of the Lebanese terror organization. But for the man in charge of an army that has released thousands of convicted terrorists, some with blood on their hands, for just a few names — Regev, Goldwasser, Shalit, Tannenbaum — a terror attack is not an opportunity to gain pretext to settle a score.

Tehran’s mission in the Bulgaria capital attributed Bibi’s assertion that Iran was behind the attack to “a familiar method of the Zionist regime, with a political aim,” while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gloated that “the enemy believes it can achieve its aims in a long, persistent struggle against the Iranian people, but in the end it will not.” But even in the shadowy state of war in which Israel and Iran have been engaged for the past 30-odd years, the assertion that Israel would be prepared to lower its defenses and allow Israelis to be murdered in exchange for a smoking gun is awful, and not one befitting a respectable scholar.

About the Author
Yaniv Salama-Scheer is a Canadian-born journalist who has reported on the Middle East from Israel and the region for The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel