Since publishing his long piece about the likelihood of a preemptive Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, “The Point Of No Return,” Jeffrey Goldberg has been accused by foreign policy writers from Hillary and Flynt Leverett to Stephen Walt to Tony Karon of using his access to top Israeli officials to promote Israeli military aggression. That was transparently obvious to me after reading his piece.
But what struck me as even more striking was the extent to which Goldberg’s writing reminded me of the screeds of rapture-ready Christian Zionist fanatic Pastor John Hagee, who has lusted for an Israeli attack on Iran for years and has used his access to figures like Netanyahu to sell his flock on the war. Indeed, Goldberg and Hagee have shared many of the same high-level Israeli sources and appeared to accept their dire predictions at face value; both Goldberg and Hagee predicted an Israeli strike on Iran by the spring (Hagee issued his brilliant prophecy in 2006); and both accepted and appeared to promote the Israeli view that Iran poses a grave threat not just to Israel, but to all of Western civilization.
Is there any significant distinction between Goldberg’s analysis and Hagee’s? And are either reliable? Compare Goldberg’s latest piece with statements made by Hagee in an interview by conservative activist Robert Bluey and you be the judge:
Israel will attack by the spring…
Jeffrey Goldberg, 9/10: What is more likely, then, is that one day next spring, the Israeli national-security adviser, Uzi Arad, and the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, will simultaneously telephone their counterparts at the White House and the Pentagon, to inform them that their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has just ordered roughly one hundred F-15Es, F-16Is, F-16Cs, and other aircraft of the Israeli air force to fly east toward Iran.
Pastor John Hagee, 3/16/06: Israel will engage Iran before the end of May!
Bibi told me some frightening things in a special meeting…
Goldberg, 9/10: I have been exploring the possibility that such a strike will eventually occur for more than seven years, since my first visit to Tehran, where I attempted to understand both the Iranian desire for nuclear weapons and the regime’s theologically motivated desire to see the Jewish state purged from the Middle East, and especially since March of 2009, when I had an extended discussion about the Iranian nuclear program with Benjamin Netanyahu.
Hagee, 3/16/06: Several years ago, former Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, sat in my office and told me that when he was Prime Minister he gave to America’s intelligence community photographic proof that Russian scientist were helping the Iranians develop medium range missiles that had the ability to reach Europe and Jerusalem.
Iran is a threat to “to western civilization…”
Goldberg, 9/10: In our conversation before his swearing in, Netanyahu would not frame the issue in terms of nuclear parity… Instead, he framed the Iranian program as a threat not only to Israel but to all of Western civilization.
Hagee, 3/16/06: Iran is a threat to western civilization … not just to Israel. Iran with nuclear weapons will be the world’s worst nightmare.
Boogie Ya’alon is a reliable source…
Goldberg, 4/09 (from his first account of his interview w/Netanyahu): One of [Netanyahu's] chief security advisers, Moshe Ya’alon, told me that a nuclear Iran could mean the end of American influence in the Middle East. “This is an existential threat for Israel, but it will be a blow for American interests, especially on the energy front. Who will dominate the oil in the region—Washington or Tehran?”
Hagee, 3/16/06: Former IDF Chief of Staff, Moshe Ya’alon, expressed confidence [in an interview with me] that Israel’s anti-missile systems could protect the country, whether missiles are fired directly from Iran, by the Hizbullah launchers amassed along Israel’s northern border or through Kassam rockets being amassed within Judea and Samaria. “Israel is able to strike at Iran in a number of ways, not just through air strikes,” Ya’alon added.