ABCTV News24’s The Drum on Israel/US/Iran and Syria

Last night I appeared on ABCTV’s The Drum (video here) discussing both domestic and international affairs.

The key part of the show began when this week’s meeting between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu was discussed. The New York Times tells the world that, “Israel should not doubt this president’s mettle. Neither should Iran.” Netanyahu, speaking at the Zionist lobby AIPAC conference, used the Holocaust analogy to argue that, “Never again will ”¦ the Jewish people be powerless and supplicants for our fate and our very survival. Never again.”

I argued that a military strike against Iran would be illegal, counter-productive and unsuccessful. Most importantly, there’s no hard evidence that Tehran is actually building a nuclear weapon. This is the assessment of America’s intelligence agencies rather than the clueless rantings of neo-conservatives, mad Zionists and the Israelis.

Too much of the public debate around this issue involves arguing when Israel would have the right to attack a sovereign nation such as Iran. It’s vital to re-frame the discussion and question who is seriously threatening whom. Obama apparently wants to avoid direct military contact. For now, anyway. But what a sight, I said, for the mainstream Jewish community to back Israel in yet another military adventure in the Middle East. This is how us Jews are seen; constantly desperate for war.

The debate then shifted to Syria. The humanitarian situation there remains dire, to be sure, but foreign military intervention is a mistake. Too many people are keen to be seen to “do something”. Let’s not forget that Libya, the latest so-called noble war, has turned into a conflict between brutal militias.

Too much talk about foreign affairs ignores the locals directly affected. Leave the Middle East alone for a while, I stated, haven’t we caused enough mayhem over the last decades?

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