The “nuclearization’ of Iran and its potential military use is one of Israel’s two greatest challenges, moving further into the 21st century, according to chief political correspondent and reporter for the Jerusalem Post Gil Hoffman.
Hoffman gave a lecture called “Politics, Peace and Plutonium” at McGill last week, during which he mentioned the other challenge of Palestine, but focused on solutions to the Iranian issue, and how these options were limited by international pressures.
“Being Israeli is about hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst,” said Hoffman, explaining that this sense of identity helps one understand Israel’s approach to this challenge. Israel’s demands appear hypocritical as they themselves are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and are believed to possess nuclear weapons, he said.
Hoffman listed four ways to address and ultimately stop the problem: the democratic, the diplomatic, the economic, and the military. He asserted that currently the world strongly pushes for the third method, economic sanctions, because in the eyes of much of the international community, and even the Israeli people themselves, the democratic and diplomatic methods have thus far failed.
“Iran is complaining of the cost of imports rising. So all of [the sanctions] are having an effect,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman himself advocated the last solution, military action, but noted that international opinion of this option has been negative. President Obama has not been clear about his stance on Iran and has so far resisted efforts to use the threat of military force. Hoffman believes that removing the military option from the table makes it impossible to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
“The United States wants to have an open-ended engagement with Iran, talking to Iran forever, no military option. And that’s something that really worries [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu because Iran is moving full speed ahead to obtain a nuclear capability”
Hoffman argues that is should be easy to see why preventing the nuclearization of Iran is a top priority for Israel, especially considering that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust. Hoffman even claimed that “(Ahmadinehjad) wants to initiate a new (Holocaust) by obtaining the nuclear capability Hitler never did.”
Not everyone agrees with this conclusion, however. Dr. Julian Schofield, an associate professor in Concordia’s political science department and an expert in the field of arms control, says “There is no official government evidence that Ahmadinejad or Iran wants to destroy Israel. This is widely alleged from his speeches but has no foundation.”