Gilad Atzmon: Israel’s Last War

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by Gilad Atzmon

In my 2011 book, The Wandering Who, I elaborated on the possible disastrous scenario in which Israel is the nucleus of a global escalation over Iran’s emerging nuclear capabilities. I concluded that Israel’s PRE Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PRE-TSS) would be central to such a development.  “The Jewish state and the Jewish discourse in general are completely foreign to the notion of temporality. Israel is blinded to the consequences of its actions, it only thinks of its actions in terms of short-term pragmatism. Instead of temporality, Israel thinks in terms of an extended present.”

In  2011 Israel was still confident in its military might, certain that with the help of America or at least its support, it could deliver a mortal military blow to Iran. But this confidence has diminished, replaced by an existential anxiety that might well be warranted. For the last few months, Israeli military analysts have had to come to terms with Iran’s spectacular strategic and technological abilities. The recent attack on a Saudi oil facility delivered a clear message to the world, and in particular to Israel, that Iran is far ahead of Israel and the West. The sanctions were counter effective: Iran independently developed its own technology.

Former Israeli ambassador to the US, and prolific historian, Michael Oren, repeated my 2011 predictions this week in the Atlantic and described a horrific scenario for the next, and likely last, Israeli conflict.

Oren understands that a minor Israeli miscalculation could lead to total war, one in which missiles and drones of all types would rain down on Israel, overwhelm its defences and leave Israeli cities, its economy and its security in ruins.

Oren gives a detailed account of how a conflict between Israel and Iran could rapidly descend into a massive “conflagration” that would devastate Israel as well as its neighbours.

In Israel, the term “The War Between the Wars,”  refers to the targeted covert inter-war campaign waged by the Jewish State with the purpose of postponing, while still preparing for, the next confrontation, presumably with Iran. In the last few years Israel has carried out hundreds of  ‘war between the wars’ strikes against Iran-linked targets in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Oren speculates that a single miscalculation could easily lead to retaliation by Iran. “Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time. And it’s not hard to imagine how it might arrive. The conflagration, like so many in the Middle East, could be ignited by a single spark.”

Until now, Iran has restrained itself despite constant aggression from Israel, but this could easily change. “The result could be a counterstrike by Iran, using cruise missiles that penetrate Israel’s air defenses and smash into targets like the Kiryah, Tel Aviv’s equivalent of the Pentagon. Israel would retaliate massively against Hezbollah’s headquarters in Beirut as well as dozens of its emplacements along the Lebanese border. And then, after a day of large-scale exchanges, the real war would begin…”

Oren predicts that rockets would  “rain on Israel” at a rate as high as 4,000 a day.  The Iron Dome system would be overwhelmed by the vast simultaneous attacks against civilian and military targets throughout the country. And, as if this weren’t devastating enough, Israel is totally unprepared to deal with precision-guided missiles that can accurately hit targets all across Israel from 1000 miles away.

Ben Gurion International Airport would be shut down and air traffic over Israel closed. The same could happen to Israel’s ports. Israelis that would seek refuge in far away lands would have to swim to safety

In this scenario, Palestinians and Lebanese militias might join the conflagration and attack Jewish border communities on the ground while long-range missiles from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran land. Before long, Israel’s economy would cease to function, electrical grids severed  and damaged factories and refineries would spew toxic chemicals into the air.

In the Shoah scenario Oren describes, “Millions of Israelis would huddle in bomb shelters. Hundreds of thousands would be evacuated from the border areas as terrorists attempt to infiltrate them. Restaurants and hotels would empty, along with the offices of the high-tech companies of the start-up nation. The hospitals, many of them resorting to underground facilities, would quickly be overwhelmed, even before the skies darken with the toxic fumes of blazing chemical factories and oil refineries.”

Oren predicts that Israel’s harsh response to attack, including a violent put down of likely West Bank and Gaza protests, would result in large scale civilian casualties and draw charges of war crimes.

As Oren states, he did not invent this prediction, it is one of the similar scenarios anticipated by Israeli military and government officials.

If such events occur, the US will be vital to the survival of the Jewish State by providing munitions, diplomatic, political, and legal support, and after the war, in negotiating truces, withdrawals, prisoner exchanges and presumably ‘peace agreements.’  However, the US under the Trump administration is somewhat unpredictable, especially in light of the current impeachment proceedings against Trump.

In 1973 the US helped save Israel by providing its military with the necessary munitions.  Will the US do so again? Do the Americans have the weapons capability to counter Iran’s ballistics, precision missiles and drones?  More crucially, what kind of support could America provide that would lift the spirits of humiliated and exhausted Israelis after they emerge from underground shelters having enduring four weeks without electricity or food and see their cities completely shattered?

This leads us to the essential issue. Zionism vowed to emancipate the Jews from their destiny by liberating the Jews from themselves. It vowed to bring an end to Jewish self-destruction by creating a Jewish safe haven. How is it that just seven decades after the founding of the Jewish state, the people who have suffered throughout their history have once again managed to create the potential for their own disaster?

In The Wandering Who I provide a possible answer: “Grasping the notion of temporality is the ability to accept that the past is shaped and revised in the light of a search for meaning. History, and historical thinking, are the capacity to rethink the past and the future.” Accordingly, revisionism is the true essence of historical thinking. It turns the past into a moral message, it turns the moral into an ethical act.  Sadly this is exactly where the Jewish State is severely lacking. Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture,  the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn’t really grasp the notion of the ‘past’ as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.


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Author Details
Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer.

Atzmon's album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. Playing over 100 dates a year,[4] he has been called "surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz." His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a "devoted political artist." He supports the Palestinian right of return and the one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on The Holocaust and Jewish history have led to allegations of antisemitism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists. A profile in The Guardian in 2009 which described Atzmon as "one of London's finest saxophonists" stated: "It is Atzmon's blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read."

His new book The Wandering Who? is now availble at Amazon.com

7 COMMENTS

  1. The ignorant, stubborn, selfish…. folks in Israel can’t get this simple rule through their thick skulls:
    “Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto You”. It is called “The Golden Rule” for good reason.

  2. With the exception of the hasbara “The recent attack on a Saudi oil facility delivered a clear message to the world, and in particular to Israel, that Iran is far ahead of Israel and the West,” the rest of the article is accurate. That attack was done by the people of Yemen. But it’s hard for an Israeli to grasp that a Yemeni could possibly fight back.
    The only other thing that one could add to this writeup is that the animosity of Iranians towards the Israeli regime for the imposition of 40 years of illegal sanctions on the country making millions of innocent people suffer is more powerful than the vengeance of an innocent defenseless Palestinian child who has greatly suffered at the hands of the European racist settlers who never considers an Arab as a human.

    The past 30 years of Iran militarization after its declared “Never Forget, Never Again” a plaque at the Holy Defense Museum in Tehran in remembrance of the eight year Reagan imposed war with Iraq causing a million casualties, should be enough warning for anyone like Trump and his Likudnik friends to think twice before a stupid move.

  3. Good article (although the last sentence escapes me…), good comments.
    Israel has failed to implement a rational political program and is reaping the consequences. The fact that Israel is controlled by international bankers, media moguls, multinational corporate chiefs and various jewish organisations abroad (AIPAC), doesn’t help. The other fact that these people are mostly shabbatean frankists is the clinching factor – that is, Israel is not allowed to have a rational political program ensuring its survival and existence is some kind of harmony with its neighbours. It is a massive grinder created to put the jewish people in a disastrous circumstance. All the talk about holy land and the ancient homeland was just a cynical trap to get them into the grinder.

  4. Well, maybe the super smart Zionist with self-inherited Maccabean genius might consider other nations and countries, and their rise to creation, independence and survival, instead of trying to level other’s history with their short own, uncompromisingly. By others, I mean, look beyond the neighbors, seek other role models instead of British or American, as they are top anthropological failures themselves, that have cut out the hearts of entire continents (North America and Australia). There are nearly 200 countries out there besides USA. Israel indeed does have unique position, especially because they claim all those 200 countries Jewish population that all don’t claim Israel back, well, certainly among all these Jewish there must be some Israel-friendly genius as well that don’t involve Maccabean fiery from Euphrates to Nile, that don’t involve labeling Arabs or containing them, but that are nonetheless bulletproof and survive including with Arab/Muslim population (or any religion or ethnicity) and in cohabitation. Birobidzhan or New South Wales, is there really a difference? Why couldn’t there be multiple Jewish states? Which earthly Sanhedrin Yahwee
    can unclaim this?

  5. Peace for Israel lies in its own hands, at its own hands and is available through its own hands. And they have an army and air force to defend that peace. Anyone researching the idea of Greater Israel is led to believe it merely entails the takeover of all Palestinian lands which sadly for them is already a fait accompli in effect as Palestine is a state in the throes of rigor mortis. However, lurking behind the convenient ruse of the Palestine-centered takeover lies the deadlier Oded Yinon Plan, which pushes the Lebensraum idea of complete takeover of neighboring countries to achieve some brutal biblical prophesy from the Nile to Euphrates. Millions have already died under that blanket deception of the true Greater Israel project since 9/11 and therein lies a reprehensible Zionist policy that may well lead to war and ultimately Israel’s demise. That Israel even considers retrenchment is a blessing in disguise and augurs well for peace at least in the short term. Long may it continue.

    “Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water.
    Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea.
    Take a look at yourself, and you can look at others diff’rently.
    Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.”

    And no Israel, “Donny Hathaway” should not be misconstrued for any political slogan that the other Donny Hath A Way … He doesn’t even if the english of the St. James Bible would indicate otherwise.

  6. If they introduced an actual democracy in “Israel” FKA Palestine instead of this fraud of theirs which they have the audacity to call “the only democracy in the Middle East” which is such an obvious lie. The state of Israel would cease to exist without a single shot being shot in anger then all the Ashkenazis and Khazarians would have to move back to Ukraine if they wanted their “Jewish State”.