Mossad Head: Ahmadinejad Good for Israel

Meir Dagan, supreme cynic, tells a Knesset committee that the demonstrations in Iran will cease in the coming days, and a good thing, too, because Ahmadinejad is an easy foe to explain to the world:

"The reality in Iran is not going to change because of the elections. The world and we already know [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. If the reformist candidate [Mir Hossein] Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived internationally arena as a moderate element...It is important to remember that he is the one who began Iran's nuclear program when he was prime minister."

I understand his point, and yet am repulsed by it at the same time, perhaps because I care mainly about which Iranians have the bomb, rather than whether Iran has the bomb. Maybe this is naive -- and maybe I'm caught up, as a suspected neocon fellow traveler, in the excitement of watching Middle Easterners attempting to free themselves from such an obviously tyrannical regime -- but I have to think that the people flooding the streets in protest are not the sort of people who would want to see their country enter a nuclear confrontation with Israel. Not, God forbid, because they like Israel, but because they're rational enough, and interested enough in the betterment of their own lives, to demand a government that puts a limit on Iran's foreign adventures. I recognize that the people of Iran do not currently shape their country's nuclear policy -- and their country's policies to Israel and the West -- but one can hope for better days, when they do.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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