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Every recent US administration has performed a perverse ritual as it has come into office. All have agreed to undermine US law by signing secret letters stipulating they will not acknowledge something everyone knows: that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal.

Part of the reason for this is to stop people focusing on Israel’s capacity to turn dozens of cities to dust. This failure to face up to the threat posed by Israel’s horrific arsenal gives its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a sense of power and impunity, allowing Israel to dictate terms to others.

But one other effect of the US administration’s ostrich approach is that it avoids invoking the US’s own laws, which call for an end to taxpayer largesse for nuclear weapons proliferators.…  Seguir leyendo »

A protester holds a picture of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during a demonstration against the nuclear scientist’s killing in Tehran on Saturday. Credit Wana/Reuters

When Israel engineered the assassinations of a half-dozen Iranian nuclear scientists from 2010 to 2012, supporters of these killings argued that they would help slow a nuclear program at a time when multilateral diplomacy was showing little progress.

The killing on Friday of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, comes in a very different context.

Iran is again producing a large amount of uranium, but it is not close to the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon. Its actions are largely driven by the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which was intended to put a lid on Iran’s ability to amass enough highly enriched uranium for a single weapon until January 2031.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is no amateur when it comes to appearing on live television. In a televised speech Monday, Netanyahu made bold accusations about Iran’s nuclear record. The speech came ahead of President Trump’s expected announcement about whether the U.S. will continue to participate in the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, on May 12.

Not one to shy away from props, Netanyahu dramatically pulled a curtain to reveal bookshelves containing dozens of files and CDs, copies of original Iranian documents secretly removed from Tehran by Israeli agents in recent weeks.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Monday discussing a covert Israeli operation in which documents about Tehran’s nuclear program were smuggled out of Iran.CreditAmir Cohen/Reuters

On Monday morning, Middle East watchers awoke to astonishing news from Israel. A headline in The Jerusalem Post read, “Netanyahu to Address Country with ‘Dramatic News About Iran.’” As the day passed, details remained sparse, but it became clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to unveil secret evidence of Iranian cheating on the nuclear deal. The timing of the announcement, right after the new American secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, met with Mr. Netanyahu, accentuated its gravity.

Monday afternoon, just a bit behind schedule, Mr. Netanyahu took to the stage next to an enormous screen. The headlines had suggested he would be in his office at a desk or podium to share news of existential importance.…  Seguir leyendo »

Illustration on Israel’s nuclear strategy in light of use of nuclear weapons by other actors by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The first post-World War II employment of nuclear weapons will probably be launched by North Korea or Pakistan. Should circumstances actually turn out this way, the resultant harms would impact not only the aggressor state and its victims, but also selected strategic nuclear policies in certain other states. The most significant example of such an impact would likely be Israel.

Israel’s nuclear strategy remains “deliberately ambiguous.” This “opaque” posture has endured because Jerusalem has never yet had to worry about confronting enemy nuclear forces. This durability would almost certainly need to change, however, if Iran — the July 2015 Vienna pact notwithstanding — were sometime perceived to have already become “nearly-nuclear.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Israel y el pacto con Irán

Con la reanudación de las sesiones del Congreso de Estados Unidos después de la pausa veraniega, el presidente Obama ya dispone de los votos suficientes para llevar a la práctica el pacto nuclear firmado con Irán el 14 de julio. El primer ministro israelí, Benjamín Netanyahu, que encabezó la campaña para impedir el acuerdo —a veces hasta extremos melodramáticos—, ha sido derrotado, al menos por ahora. Pero es necesario conocer los fundamentos de esa campaña, porque tiene connotaciones no solo para EE UU sino también para Europa, que no se limitan a la cuestión nuclear iraní.

Resulta cómodo explicar la posición israelí como una combinación de dos factores: que Irán es una amenaza especialmente peligrosa para Israel, y que ese es el estilo personal de Netanyahu, un político neoconservador del ala más dura, propenso a las exageraciones y el alarmismo.…  Seguir leyendo »

The day after six world powers reached a nuclear agreement with Iran in July, the Israeli Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committee called on Israel’s government to “continue to closely follow the precise and strict implementation” of the agreement “to ensure that Iran is not continuing to fool the international community as it did in the past, while strengthening the historic alliance between the United States and Israel.”

In early August, nearly 70 former senior members of Israel’s defense community, myself included, published an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to accept the nuclear deal as an “accomplished fact.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Few states face the kind of complex, sustained security challenges that Israel does.

Israel has not enjoyed one day of peace with its neighbors since its independence in 1948. Many Arab and Muslim states have maintained an economic and political boycott against Israel for decades.

There is an automatic majority against Israel in the United Nations, leading often to perverse outcomes in which Israel's human rights record is condemned by states whose violations of human rights are far worse. Terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas target Israel with rockets and suicide bombers. And today, Iran seeks nuclear weapons capability even as some of its leaders call openly for Israel's destruction and deny the genocide of the Holocaust.…  Seguir leyendo »

El acuerdo nuclear alcanzado por Irán y los cinco miembros permanentes del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas (China, Francia, Rusia, Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido), más Alemania, no supone la capitulación de Irán, como deseaba el primer ministro israelí Binyamin Netanyahu. Y es casi tan imperfecto como puede serlo cualquier acuerdo negociado entre partes en disputa. Sin embargo, crea un marco sólido para impedir que Irán produzca armas nucleares en los próximos 10 a 15 años, y eso es un cambio muy positivo.

Netanyahu podría, si quisiera, declararse uno de los principales artífices de este avance. Si no hubiera alimentado la histeria mundial respecto de las ambiciones nucleares de Irán, es probable que el paralizante régimen internacional de sanciones que llevó a Irán a la mesa de negociaciones jamás se hubiera implementado.…  Seguir leyendo »

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, responded to the Iran deal as expected: It is bad, endangers Israel, he argued; we are against it and will be the only American ally not only to oppose it, but to go down gloriously, fighting a battle in Congress that we are destined to lose.

Mr. Netanyahu often warns that Iran is like Nazi Germany in 1938, fooling naïve appeasers even as it plans a cataclysm for Jews. But only those who never see merit in any proposal and never initiate their own could respond as the Israeli leader has.

Not that the agreement is without faults.…  Seguir leyendo »

If you scan the headlines, you may have seen that I've written a new book, "Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide." Clearly, it has touched a nerve.

This is hardly surprising. The book is out precisely when the United States looks poised to sign a nuclear deal with Iran -- a deal that is bad for Israel, bad for America and bad for the world.

For Israel, Iran's nuclear program poses not one, but several existential threats. The first and most obvious is that Iran will develop nuclear warheads and will place them atop one of the many intercontinental ballistic missiles it has built, missiles whose sole purpose is to carry such warheads.…  Seguir leyendo »

Notwithstanding the polls, the valiant efforts of the Obama White House, a new unity on the Israeli left and a controversial term, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party appears to have swept to victory in Tuesday's Israeli elections.

For many in Israel, the election turned on domestic economic issues and on personality. Pollsters had believed that the combination of rising prices, slowing growth and a controversial leader at the helm of the incumbent Likud would finally doom the man who was looking to notch a historic fourth term as premier on his belt. Not so much.

While it will likely take some time for Netanyahu to form a new government, the reverberations of his victory will be felt fast in Washington.…  Seguir leyendo »

On March 3, Washington witnessed political theater at its most distasteful. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came not to praise President Barack Obama but to bury a nuclear deal with Iran.

The political party that prides itself on being more patriotic than its rival produced the spectacle of genuflecting to a foreign leader who used his podium in the U.S. Congress to criticize the U.S. president. Extraordinary!

The rest of the world shook its head in collective disbelief. History is littered with the corpses of those who were too clever by half for their own good.

Netanyahu presumably intended his speech to harden U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

El primer ministro israelí, Benjamin Netanyahu, es una persona a la que le gusta ver siempre el peor escenario. Ante un dilema, siempre ve el fracaso que está por venir. A veces acierta pero, en general, se equivoca. Es un hombre de discursos, y el hecho es que saber darlos, especialmente, en inglés, y le gusta hacer declaraciones rotundas, de las que en ocasiones luego se desdice. Así, por ejemplo, en un libro suyo escribe que un Estado palestino supondría una catástrofe para Israel, pero después en un discurso habla sobre el derecho de los palestinos a tener un Estado. Una vez declaró que no se debía liberar a presos palestinos a cambio de israelíes secuestrados, pero siendo primer ministro ha liberado a más de mil prisioneros palestinos como intercambio de un soldado israelí capturado.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the address on Tuesday to the United States Congress by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, we witnessed a new peak in the long-running hype over Iran’s nuclear energy program. Yet all his predictions about how close Iran was to acquiring a nuclear bomb have proved baseless.

Despite that, alarmist rhetoric on the theme has been a staple of Mr. Netanyahu’s career. In an interview with the BBC in 1997, he accused Iran of secretly “building a formidable arsenal of ballistic missiles,” predicting that eventually Manhattan would be within range. In 1996, he stood before Congress and urged other nations to join him to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capability, stressing that “time is running out.”…  Seguir leyendo »

The controversy over Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress has had the ironic effect of diverting attention from the very topic the Israeli prime minister wants to discuss: the problems with a potential deal on the Iranian nuclear program. Although everyone debates the propriety of the Israeli prime minister challenging President Obama’s policy in such a setting, the partisan nature of the invitation and the timing of the speech — just two weeks before an Israeli election — the substance of the issue has been pushed aside. Why is there such a divide between the United States’ and Israel’s positions, and can they be bridged?…  Seguir leyendo »

A sea-based nuclear deterrent for Israel

For Israel, an overriding long-term security requirement must be to deter future attacks with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by enemy states, especially Iran. Israel will need to fashion a comprehensive and calibrated strategic doctrine that identifies and correlates all available options (deterrence, pre-emption, active defense, strategic targeting and military use of nuclear weapons) with enumerated national-survival goals.

The challenges of an Israeli nuclear-deterrence posture needs discussion, with special reference to twin requirements of perceived ability and perceived willingness. Before any rational adversary could be deterred by an Israeli nuclear threat, that enemy would first need to believe that Israel had both the capacity to launch a nuclear-weapons response for any WMD aggression, and also the will to take such an action.…  Seguir leyendo »

The recent interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the so-called P5-plus-1 countries, led by the United States, has provoked unprecedented criticism of U.S. policy from two of its strongest Mideast allies: Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on his ministers and his supporters in the U.S. to lobby Congress to oppose the agreement. Meanwhile, Saudi officials have accused the U.S. of selling out its allies for little security in return.

The apparent coincidence of Israeli and Saudi interests over Iran has fueled media reports that the two countries are coordinating strategies to confront the Islamic Republic.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Geneva Interim Accord on Iran’s nuclear programs may trigger Israeli military action.

As these talks continue and drag on, look for a startling development: Israel may attack Iran’s heavy-water reactor — now being completed near Arak — arguing that Iran does not need to manufacture weapons-grade plutonium if its nuclear programs are truly peaceful as claimed. Not being involved in the interim agreement, Israel would be free to act, points out 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in a recent interview.

Former U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz wrote in a Dec. 2 opinion article in The Wall Street Journal that six U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

The interim nuclear agreement with Iran, touted by its proponents as a "historic deal", has been described as a "historic mistake" by Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. How will Israel react in the months ahead? The answer is to be found in the struggle to shape the endgame deal.

The six-month deal is a mixed bag. On the positive side it stems the tide of Iranian nuclearisation by setting its clock slightly back, temporarily capping Iran's nuclear facilities, array of centrifuges and stockpile of low-enriched uranium, and improving the monitoring regime. On the other hand, Iranian enrichment has been accepted as part of the endgame; the clock in the uranium and plutonium tracks continues to tick, albeit at a slower pace; Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium (enough for at least five bombs) remains intact; Iranian concessions are all reversible; and International Atomic Energy Agency concerns about military dimensions have not been addressed.…  Seguir leyendo »