Last night I heard a representative from AIPAC
, the pro-Israel lobbying group, discuss (among other things) the impact of the 2006 elections on Israel. He didn't seem worried about any changes in US policy, although some Israelis
are. I suppose that, given the absence of a Cynthia McKinney
this campaign season, there won't be any such changes next year when the Democrats reclaim Congress.
He discussed the current situation in Israel. One big item in the news is the Israeli artillery barrage
in the Gaza Strip that left 18 Palestinians dead. Seems like this is the first big story from the region since the Israel-Hezbollah war
What concerned him most? I would say Iran. He brought up Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments
about eliminating the Zionist state.
Is Ahmadinejad as big a threat to the Jews as Adolf Hitler was? For all the Iranian leader's braggadocio, I don't think he (or the real power broker in his country, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
) would dare to attack Israel. The reasons are twofold: An American response, and a risk of creating Palestinian casualties.
There are objections to this second item. After all, Iran fought a war with other Muslims, namely those in Iraq, for eight years. And how much identification would the Persians of Iran feel toward the Sunnis of Ramallah, East Jerusalem, and Gaza?
The Palestinians, though, have become a cause celebre in the Islamic world, and a key part of the Muslim ummah
. Their proximity to Israel may ironically prove to be a sort of protection for the Jewish state from the greater threat of a nuclear Iran.