October Surprise: Netanyahu Reportedly Wants to Attack Iran Before U.S. Presidential Election

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly wants to attack Iran before the U.S. elections. If true, it is a demonstration of the predictability of U.S. politics. Netanyahu knows that both Romney and Obama are seeking the support of Jewish voters and would be less likely to denounce such a unilateral attack before November. Indeed, they might even help fund the war with additional U.S. loans and military support. What is equally bizarre is the scene of top Israeli officials going to the ranking Rabbi in Israel to get his approval for the attacks. We are accustomed to seeing such influence by religious figures in Iran, but officials have been shuttling back and forth to get the nod from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The attack on Iran could unleash a regional conflict and cause widespread destruction. Israel clearly expects that the U.S. will be forced to support it with the likely supply of billions of dollars of loans and replenishment of weapons. Even if Obama had the courage to denounce the attack, Congress would make certain that eventually Israel would be given the financial and military support that it needed.

The very public courting of Yosef to approve the attack included a briefing from National Security Council head Ya’akov Amidror, Interior Minister and Shas political leader Eli Yishai. Israel has long struggled under a political system that gives small religious parties virtual control of the Knesset and does not have the separation of church (or temple) and state that we have in this country. The result is that orthodox parties have radically inflated levels of power in the country and citizens live under laws which openly advance religious practices.

Yosef has criticized secular courts and leaders, including the Israeli Supreme Court which has struggled with the mix of religion and law in the country:

These call themselves the Supreme Court? They’re worthless. They should be put in a bottom court. They, for them [God] created all of the torments in the world. Everything that [the people of] Israel suffer from, is just for these evil people. Empty and reckless… What do they know? One of our children of 7–8 years knows better than they how to learn Torah. These are the people who have been put in the Supreme Court. Who chose them, who made them judges, but the Justice Minister, persecuter and enemy he liked them and he recommended that the President would appoint them as judges. What, were there elections? Who says that the nation wants such judges, such evil [ones]… They have no religion and no law. All of them have sex with Niddot. All of them desecrate the Sabbath. These will be our judges? Slaves rule over us.

The most interesting aspect of these stories however is the alleged timing of the attacks to the U.S. election. The American people could now find themselves clipped for billions more to support yet another war without any meaningful debate. Indeed we may end up an active participant if Iran attacks U.S. assets in response to the Israeli attack. It is the crushing predicability of it all that is so disturbing. The American public has long been opposed to the two current wars, but it has made little difference. There remains a disconnect in the political system as members pursue the course of least risk to themselves and their own reelection. That concern is only magnified by the lingering image left by these reports that we could end up in a new full-fledged war based on the inclinations of an ultra-Orthodox Rabbi in Israel. Hopefully he does not have a veto on the war but this is clearly a decision being made far from our shores.

Part of the concern is that President Obama and his predecessors have gradually gutted the constitutional requirement of congressional approval for wars as reflected in the Libyan War (for full disclosure, I represented the members opposing that war in court). If we were to enter such a conflict against Iran either indirectly or directly, the President has claimed the right to do so unilaterally and many members would privately support the action.

In the meantime, our leaders are reportedly accepting free trips to Israel paid by an affiliate of AIPAC, the powerful Israeli lobby, to skinny dip in the Sea of Galilee
It could be a perfectly symbolic moment as our leader frolic with abandon in the Sea of Galilee as the country is moved closer to a third war.

What do you think?

Source: Haaretz

110 thoughts on “October Surprise: Netanyahu Reportedly Wants to Attack Iran Before U.S. Presidential Election”

  1. People that are incapable of forgiving have committed blasphemy a long time ago. Claiming Gods name shaking a weapon at however is what I would call oxymoronic.

  2. Mike S, yes thanks. But in addition to realizing that the coercive conversation was rude, I am also realizing that since I will not attend any more religious festivals at their house (in fact, I will not be receiving invitations, probably), there’s a real freedom in my having just concluded, “Wow they were rude to me; who needs THAT?”

  3. Mike, It seems in my experience the more they profess their christianity the less they practiceit (I wear earrings I made that read “Obama” A woman in
    church hates the pres and has been nasty to me about it. Despite the minister’s last 2 sermons talking about accepting one another’s positions with equanimity and being openminded this lady has ignored me even when we are to give the “Peace of Christ” to one another after the service. She is an Elder in this church and pious, but Jesus would not recognize her based on her behavior.)

    1. LeeJ & Malisha,

      Those that believe they are speaking for God are usually the biggest blasphemers, becsuse of their hubris.

  4. Oh, Mike S, I just now saw your latest comment to me, and I have to tell you, I had a conversation about this evening’s experiences with a friend of mine who is a psychiatrist. (He was seeing me socially, not professionally, but I spoke about this matter because we speak all the time and it was interesting.) He agrees with you 100% and although he doesn’t read the Turley Blog (or any other blog) I have told him some of the things you said and he generally agrees.

    He suggested that I did not want to admit how rude they had been because they were my friends from a long time ago and I didn’t want to feel mistreated by my good friends. I go for that explanation. It still doesn’t tell me how to feel, but it does explain why I felt as I did. 😕

    One thing I CAN tell from this: they won’t be including me in religious observances in the future. This is OK with me. I have come to be almost allergic to most really religious experiences. I’m even a little itchy with the “new agey” spiritual stuff. Perhaps I am really ready for my “crotchety old woman” i.d. card now. :mrgreen:

    1. Malisha,

      I’m glad you’ve resolved this to your comfort. One point does occurs to me about regarding the rude thoughtlessness of “true believers”. Most people who are caring about others feelings, would not intentionally want to attack someones faith. So that leads us secular types to be disadvantaged in a discussion with them, because we don’t want to denigrate their faith. Having known many truly pious people in my life the one quality I’ve seen was thst they were non-judgmental of others. The pretenders to piety on the other hand are quite judgmental.

  5. Theophilous,

    You are either ‘taking the piss’ or you on a mission to make bat-shit-crazy people look normal.
    This is not ‘ad hominem’. This is my sincere opinion.

    If you are serious about the latter, then I would suggest that you campaign to have nukes dropped along the Mexican border on an ongoing basis.
    That way, if the Iranians shave their legs and attempt to infiltrate while dressed as maids – they won’t make it across the black glass craters.

    Man up.
    If you really believe that nukes should be dropped, then have them dropped closer to the problem. Don’t waste them in some desert on the other side of the planet. Drop them where they will have real effect.

  6. Iran has been at war with us since 1979. We just refused to recognize it. They have been backing up every thing from massive counterfieting of US currency to funding mexican warlords on our southern border. They have been paying proxies to attack us and our interests for decades.

    The sooner we eliminate them from positions of power or influence, the better off the world will be. They are as much a threat to us today as Imperial Japan was in 1939. It will take the same weapons that ended that war to end this one. We can, whe should, and we must, recognize them for the threat that they are. They are already attacking us, both with infiltrated revolutionary guards across the southern border and by cyber attacks on our critical assets.

    We should remove from them all connection to the internet. We should destroy their ability to generate or transmit electrical power. We should destroy their military capabilities. And we should let them starve in their own dark, feces filled hovels.

  7. Right, Mike, especially about most Jews being liberals. In fact the recent trend of hyperreligious Jews going right-wing is weird to me. I can’t relate to it. Last night was an example of a few of these folks explaining
    why THEY believed such an affiliation was OK. It was kind of appalling to me but I was on their turf, religiously and geographically.

    Strictly speaking, I did not feel that I was being treated rudely because I recognized an underlying “good intention” on the part of the most coercive person; she wanted to bring me in for my own good, and also, she wanted me to come around to convincing my son not to assimilate, feeling that he was in danger of doing so. OY. Imagine me ever trying to tell my son whom to marry or not marry! NOT.

    Anyway, what it illuminated for me was the desire of the very religious people for a more domineering government, a government that can define all “GOOD” and all “EVIL” for them. That is what draws them toward Bibi and his ilk. Of course, it is so dangerous that it can lead straight to Hell without passing GO and collecting your $200 (although nowadays you’re more likely to collect your $200 by siding with the Bibi’s than by resisting them). But the final theorem before reaching the QED was: “If this is not explainable by you in terms I can agree to, then there is a God and I win.”

    I dodged the bullet by saying, “I don’t know how it happened but it doesn’t move me to any conclusions.”

    About 3/4 the way through the long evening, the eldest member of the family stood unsteadily, right in front of me, and told me the following story, at much greater length than I retell it here:

    “Parents had a child with a very rare disease; his arteries were crumbling and the doctors could do nothing and he was dying. The parents went to a Rabbi who said, ‘Try obeying all the laws’ so they went home and began to obey ALL the laws, for Sabbath, for food restrictions, everything. And the boy got healthy! But two years later the mother went to the Rabbi and said, ‘I can’t do this any more; I can’t stand it!’ and she stopped and the boy got sick again. So the father divorced her and started to follow the laws himself and the boy got well again. And he kept following all the laws and the child grew up in perfect health, as soon as they got rid of the mother who had stopped obeying the laws.”

    I sat there. The woman who had been most seriously trying to reel me in suddenly declared, “If my son [name omitted] heard that story he would say he did not believe it!”

    I said, “I have no problem believing it. There are billions of people in the world. Odds are that something like that can happen, who am I to say that it cannot be true?”

    Silence in the room.

    My own son, of course, hearing that story, would have probably said, “Bad mother, Bad God.”

    1. Malisha,

      You have the right to feel as you will but to me, now even including your further amplification of the evening, I call it rude. As for their good intentions mitigating it, my Father’s favorite quote to me about whatever misbehavior I had done was “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Experience has proven the truth of this cliche, at least to me.

  8. Mike Spindell, although I’m a secular Jew and would not object to my son marrying a non-Jew, were he so inclined, I do attend some religious functions at the homes of co-Jews who are religious, and when I do so, I do what amounts to observance so long as I’m not asked to be the “big macher.” So last night I went to Shmini-Atzereth at the home of an Orthodox friend of mine. Her sister (ultra-O) had it in mind to bring me “home” to a greater devotion — what they call “baal teshuvah” I believe (“return”) and the main reason was that I did not go whole-hog Netanyahu with them. The presumption was that if I could accept God, I would then accept that God wanted everyone to do what Netanyahu thought was godly. How, then, could I possibly resist?

    It brought home to me how dangerous is blurring the line between religious belief/observance and political power.

    Something in me [UNFORTUNATELY] made me enter into the discussion with that degree of honesty that I find myself regretting afterwards, as in, “Why in Hell did I keep saying my piece when I could have shut up and gotten home three hours earlier?”

    Here was the trajectory of the “argument” — mind you I was not arguing at all, merely stating and repeating that the Q.E.D. didn’t make me want to either worship God, support Bibi or vote for Mitt.

    ➡ Some three, four thousand years ago God gave Moses the law.

    💡 That book predicted that the Jews would be disbursed out of their land and then miraculously returned.

    ➡ In 70 BC, the first temple was destroyed and the Jews were chased out.

    😕 They returned at some point and I can’t remember what else.

    🙁 Then ten northern tribes were vanquished and driven out again and they assimilated and vanished.

    ➡ Then the rest were there until the destruction of the second temple.

    😡 Then everybody persecuted them and a bunch assimilated.

    🙂 Then they returned.

    😕 That was a miracle of history; nobody else ever did that; there are no Hittites around, are there?

    😉 How could that book from so many thousands of years ago have predicted something like this? It’s not possible using logic and so forth; it must be supernatural.

    Q.E.D. That proves there is a God.

    😮 So we need to do right by him now because he done right by us all those thousands of years and now…

    And I offered a few little comments, such as “if you can’t eat with other folks you generally do not marry them” and “persecution doesn’t generally make you assimilate; it makes you circle the wagons and become more insular and parochial” and such-like. But I liberally admitted not knowing history, not knowing cultural anthropology, not knowing psychological sociology, and not knowing the religion itself very well. In the end I left as I had arrived, a Jew but one who did not believe in the religious stuff and who did believe that Israel must negotiate a two-state solution and must not be part of war with Iran. At one point, in fact, when I was informed that the assimilated Hebrews in Babylon had become part of the Iranians, I said, “Then the remnant must not fight against the remnant of the remnant at this point in time!” :mrgreen:

    But just as a substantial portion of super-religious Israelis (aligned with Netanyahu) may have come to some conclusions that a more earthly, less “inspired” statesman could not support, while believing that their extraterrestrial statesman actually decrees it, the super-religious right-wing Evangelistic contingent of this country may find the same kind of motivations very compelling. 😈

    1. “Mike Spindell, although I’m a secular Jew and would not object to my son marrying a non-Jew, were he so inclined, I do attend some religious functions at the homes of co-Jews who are religious, and when I do so, I do what amounts to observance so long as I’m not asked to be the “big macher.””


      I grew up in an environment where it was a large family and both sides of Grandparents were Orthodox Jews, as were many of my 16 Uncles and Aunts, not too mention the Aunts/Uncles who married the original 16. My parents kept kosher and styled themselves Conservative, but in fact they were fairly secular with warm feelings for their heritage. They never joined a Synagogue and my Hebrew Education was sketchily taught by a private tutor.

      Personally, I grew up loving that I was a Jew and feeling warmly towards traditional Jewish practice, but never really religious. When I got married I started to go to Synagogue with my father-in-law, who was a wonderful, intelligent man who went to Synagogue every week. When my kids were born and old enough, my wife and I joined a Synagogue and both were sent to Hebrew School and Bat Mitzvahed. In our home we celebrated all the Jewish Holidays and I attended Synagogue, with the kids on Saturday, almost every week for 18 years. I must say that aside from having to dress up I enjoyed it because if one allows it there is a wonderful opportunity to meditate during a Jewish religious service. Yeah I was the type of guy who shushed people who would have conversations when they were supposed to be “Davening”. They broke my meditative contemplation We also believed that our children needed to be exposed to their heritage, but we never insisted on their piety, that was a choice for them to make. One Daughter is quite religious and speaks fluent Hebrew. My other daughter is probably at least an agnostic, but probably an atheist, yet knows Hebrew far better than I.

      Since my daughters have grown I’ve attended Synagogue rarely, or on major holidays. At times though I have prayed and on some occasions my prayers have been answered. Coincidence, or the Deity, who knows? I respect my religious daughter’s practice and can see there is beauty in it for her and her family. She is, however, a politically active Democrat and liberal. Although some would have you believe otherwise, many religious Jews are liberals because viewed correctly our is a liberal religion.

      Fundamentalists of any religious stripe tend to be authoritarian personally and believe that their ideas are the only ones of merit. Sounds like you ran into a few last night. From my perspective they were being rude and you were trying to be accepting/patient. I feel that anyone who would accost me at my age and try to change my religious beliefs is rude. This is actually counter to traditional Jewish belief, but when it comes to present-day fundamentalists most of them in any religion knows the “rules”, but are ignorant when it comes to the philosophy/religion.

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