No More Victimhood
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
There is a curious sidebar to the entire growing flap about Michael Oren. Like Bibi, Oren now is actively espousing the historical idea of Jewish victimhood and aggressively following Bibi’s trail into Israeli politics. Menachem Begin, who survived the Holocaust could legitimately relate from his own personal experience to being a victim; of Jews being singled out as victims. Netanyahu and Oren had and have an alternative narrative as espoused by Ben-Gurion. The defiant picture– “Masada will not fall again”—the classic image of the Israeli sabra, but they do not.
What is most disturbing is that Israel’s perspective that Iran poses an existential threat is totally legitimate. The needs to understand this as it considers the very serious decisions about to be made in Geneva concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons. What is ignor4ed by Israel in this thinking is that it is being presented in the most cataclysmic manner imaginable. There is a fatalistic tinge to this position which is not present among most Israelis, but Oren–like Netanyahu– is exercising the fear mongering option to arouse his public and the international community.
Israel is a very advanced modern society which is militarily confident, strong, and resolute. It is not going to disappear were Iran to become a nuclear power. In fact the proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the Middle East–which is a likely consequence of Iran becoming a nuclear power–presents a dramatic threat to the entire Western world. The potential threat to Western economic and geopolitical interests in the region is enormous. The military dangers from nation-states are obvious; but it is stolen nukes in the hands of totally irrational terrorists who are running loose in the region which are really the West’s concern.
Oren like Netanyahu is screaming wolf and turning a serious security consideration into a personal political attack. Like Bibi, Oren needs to focus on dealing constructively with the national security issue—with the nuclear threat–and stop trying to score points against the President. Sadly for Israel both Netanyahu and Oren might win their political game but it is an extremely dangerous strategy. Are they truly so arrogant and confident that they can control the geopolitical situation for the next 18 months; that the world will stand still until that time; and that the election results in November 2016 will produce a result that they believe will be willing to acquiesce to Israel’s view of the world?