Joe Klein joins the debate with Noah Pollak. Is Israel always the victim of threats? And Iran always the belligerent?
How about Israel's constant threats of military action against Iran's nuclear program? How about the disproportionate bellicosity Israel visited upon Iran's Hizballah surrogate in 2006? Which is not to say that Hizballah is anything other than a group of extremist thugs--but southern Lebanon and, more recently, Gaza are the battlefields where Israel's rivalry with Iran has been playing out. (Add: Indeed, given the state of hostilities--for which Iran is almost totally responsible--the very existence of Israel's nuclear arsenal can be seen as an existential threat to Iran.)
I want Israel to survive and prosper. I just don't think treating it as an exception to every other rule we apply to the world helps in the long run. I want the Iranian regime to fall. I just don't think pushing the entire country into a corner helps in the short run. Maybe Iran will give us no choice (although there are some hopeful signs that Obama is already scrambling internal Iranian politics). But even so, a less cloying and franker relationship with Israel will be good for all parties.