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I am Jewish and I can’t understand why attacking Iran over the threat of nuclear is a great idea. It’s not that I believe what Iran says. Of course they will develop nuclear weapons, but also Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And Pakistan is a very unstable country and we live with them and their weapons. And India, a country which most of us find easier to live with, has had to live with Pakistan, their weapons and their terrorists.

Pakistan is a country ruled by people who like us but populated by people who mostly hate us, and I don’t mean hate Jews, but the whole West, India and China. Polls show that in the mid 00s most Pakistanis liked Bin Laden as a leader. And some clearly liked him enough to give him shelter for so many years. And this is a country has nuclear weapons and we tolerate it. And Israel and maybe EU and USA are planning to go to war with Iran because they may have nuclear weapons and be where Pakistan is today. Going to war with a country because it will have nuclear weapons is hardly a way to increase world security. Why didn’t USA go to war with USSR when they developed nuclear weapons? Why didnt we go to war with North Korea whose lunatic leadership is far worse than the Iranian leadership. In each of those circumstances we estimated the cost of war to be greater than the cost of preventing nuclear proliferation. North Korea for example, could already wipe out a third of South Korea with conventional artillery, in the face of that threat, we let them go nuclear. I am sure the South Koreans would prefer another neighbor, but they do what they can given the circumstances. Even after a nuclear Iran, Israel’s situation won’t be as bad as that of South Korea at war with a nation that borders it and can destroy it with conventional and nuclear weapons and threatens to do so very frequently. Plus Iran is a threat to Israel already through its proxy armies of Hezbollah and Hamas. But Syria was partners with Iran and another serious threat to Israel under the leadership of Bashar Al Assad and look at where he is now, exterminating his own people, hated by his own people. Qaddafi said there was going to be a Middle East without Israel and we ended having a Libya without Qaddafi. I think there is enough evidence that Iran is going in the same direction. Preventive warfare is flawed. It’s a doctrine that says that because you may not like war in the future you start a war now. We squandered trillions of dollars of USA and EU money with this doctrine, and precious human lives, and achieved nothing. Anyone doubts that Saddam Hussein would have survived the Arab uprisings? If we intervene we should so so to tip the balance, not to go as an invasive force trying to conquer, police and rebuild a nation for a decade. It’s wrong and we can’t afford it.

Nuclear weapons have this weirdly positive aspect to them that their utilization is so serious, so incredibly harmful, that those who have them so far in history have stayed put. It’s as if their owners developed a deep sense of nausea just about having them. The only exception in history, is of course USA, who whether we like it or not, was the only nation brutal enough to overcome their nausea and use them. Probably because nobody had used them before and the images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not on anyone’s minds.

I think that we should all put more hope in the people of Iran. Iran is the opposite of Pakistan, a country ruled by people who hate us but populated by people who are fed up with them and like us and our lifestyle. Every protest in Iran seems to be about people who want to be free and a government who puts them down. So we should not give these freedom seeking people who almost overthrew Ahmadinejad, a real reason to hate us. And let’s remember that under attack everyone becomes a nationalist and sides with whoever is the dictator who rules the country. From a Jewish point of view, now that the Muslim world is finally focused on their problems attacking Iran would be to go for the limelight at the worse possible moment.

We should accept that this situation is ugly, confusing, tough to deal with and there no easy answers. And for Israel attacking Iran a country of 80 million people that is twice as big as France and far away is a daunting task, nothing like the Operation Babylon of 1981. Israel, USA, EU, should continue with covert operations and other tactics that are short of war, and put all sorts of pressures to show how great life would be for all if Iran stops. But at the same time we have to learn to live with our fears, accept that Iran may go nuclear, and focus on promoting a change of leadership that is more aligned with the Iranian people and our interests.

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Joe on February 10, 2012  · 

Hi, Do you plan living in Israel or just giving advice from a comfortable position which will be anyway safe even if Iran will have a bomb or two? Will be interesting to see whether you will agree taking the same risk with your own family.

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Martin Varsavsky on February 10, 2012  · 

I have many friends who live in Israel and I think there is a greater chance that some will die from the shower of rockets that will come from Hamas and Hezbollah after an Israeli attack of Iran than of a nuclear attack. I truly don’t think Israel will be safer by attacking Iran. And there are many Israeli experts who agree with what I say.

Ouriel Ohayon on February 10, 2012  · 

Martin there is a huge major difference between Pakistan and Iran. Iran publicly over ad over said they will destroy Israel. YouTube will help you find this information

So what do you do? Wait for the united nation reacting just like they do watching the bloodshed in Syria ?

Or do something else?

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Martin Varsavsky on February 10, 2012  · 

Does Iran repeatedly say that it wants to destroy Israel? I think if Ahmadinejad wanted to destroy Israel he would clearly say so.

Ouriel Ohayon on February 10, 2012  · 

I know those references just as well as the way he plays with double meaning. Someone needs to be blind not to realize the clear danger Iran represents to the existence of Israel. Oh yes. There are a lot more countries and even Jewish people who want Israel off the map

But waiting for diplomacy to solve that is just a joke. Iran makes a fool of every single country in the world trying to police their attitude to nuclear weaspon

And there is not a single doubt what they will do once they get it

So martin. Would your post be the same if you and your family lived in Israel?

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David Viñuales on February 10, 2012  · 

Using your exact words, but thinking on Iran people:

“Someone needs to be blind not to realize the clear danger USA and Israel represents to the existence of Iran. Would your post be the same if you and your family lived in Iran?”

Who should be afraid? Israel?

Holy Land (a sacred territory for both) won’t be devastated by a nuclear weapon.

There are several countries with nuclear weapons, but only one used them with that purpose.

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XL on February 10, 2012  · 

Ahmadinejad can not have nuclear weapons.
I don’t care about Israel, I care about the rest of the world.

You can not equipare Pakistan to Iran.

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Joe on February 11, 2012  · 

Most of my family was murdered by the Nazis. Even near the end there were the blind ones that kept saying it will never happen. Any nation should be able to defend itself especially with such threats.

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Jose on February 13, 2012  · 

No entiendo mucho del tema, pero lo que creo es que son fanaticos, tanto por la religion como por las costumbres y machistas dialectos que hasta hace poco creia que todos los arabes se entendian entre ellos; Alguien me dijo que no es asi. En cuanto a lo nuclear, lo encuentro lejano y exagerado. Pagarian justos por pecadores.Eso creo.

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worried neighbour on February 19, 2012  · 

Trusting the people of Iran is good, there are more surpressed intelligent and empathic people in Iran than the West like to think.

Also, it is weird that nobody is concerned about another country in the Near East having a religious extremist group on the rise, a right-wing leadership which is ignoring the peoples will and an arsenal of hundreds of atomic bombs – Israel.

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felipe on February 19, 2012  · 

Can anyone imagine an article “on why Iran should not bomb Israel”?
And then lines and lines about how much it deserves to be bombed mixed with others saying that it would be bad PR. This is what this article is but the other way around.
I find it amazing that Israel talks openly and constantly about bombing other country while Iran does not talk about bombing no one. The real danger is obviously the one that threats others. That does not mean that it has to be bombed, but it certainly means that is a threat to peace.


So you are saying that Iran has the right to defend itself. Good.

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Martin Varsavsky on February 19, 2012  · 

The best world is a world without nuclear weapons. Now if somebody has to have them I would prefer countries like North Korea or Iran not to have them. Especially because if Iran has them it will be the Shia nuclear weapon and then there will be many more Suni nuclear weapons. The Shias and the Sunis have killed each other to the tune of millions, it is a much bigger conflict than the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Look at what happened after the USA EU invasion of Iraq, instead of fighting the occupying force the Sunnis and Shias fought each other, killed each other, massacred each other in each other Mosques, it was and it is horrendous. Please read this Wikipedia article on the Sunnis and the Shias

Santos Renda on February 22, 2012  · 

“Israel, USA, EU, should continue with covert operations and other tactics that are short of war…”
I wonder how someone able to say this can end up being the president of the Safe Democracy Forum.

Shame and not Shalom, Martin.

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Martin Varsavsky on February 22, 2012  · 

It is called SAFE democracy. I have little doubt in my mind that an Iran with nuclear weapons makes for a less SAFE world. And not just for Israel but because of the Sunni Shia war that has killed many, many more people than the Israel Palestinian conflict. Can you imagine the Middle East with most countries having nuclear weapons? So I prefer tactics to war, it’s a lesser evil. And I am not ashamed to say it. Moreover I am fed up of people, especially in Spain who are horrified at what Israel does and forgets that Spain was part of the armies that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and are responsible for far more death and destruction that Israel ever was. Lastly I was agains the last two invasions of Israel, Lebanon and Gaza.

Santos Renda on February 22, 2012  · 

DEMOCRACY is, by definition, a system based in a process in which the voting public takes part in elections and chooses politicians to represent them in a Legislative Assembly. This happened in Palestine in 2006 and Hamas was elected with 57% of the vote. This happened in Iran in 2009 and Ahmadineyad got 62,63% of the vote. Yes, there were some accusations of fraud, which is probably true, but this doesn’t make any difference with the 2000 US elections and the Jeb Bush Florida affaire, for example, just to mention one of the honorable countries that should be in charge of those democracy seeking covert operations you´re encouraging.

Do I have to remember the effects of the Bush Administration in the global social/economic/politic map?

I guess that the SAFE part of your concept of DEMOCRACY is quite related to INTEREST. You´re a jew, and its quite normal that you take care of Israel interests in the first place. I just wonder, nevertheless, your legitimation to rule a Foundation linked to democracy when you’re clearly declaring yourself not ashamed of promoting selective killings of physicians linked to democratic governments.

PS: Its quite logical that Spain is responsible for far more death and destruction that Israel ever was. Spain is 3000 years old. Israel was founded in 1948.


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Martin Varsavsky on February 23, 2012  · 

The whole point of my article is that USA EU and Israel should NOT attack Iran which you agree with. And I also completely disagreed in this blog with the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. In any case please leave room for other debaters I will not publish you anymore on this article because I don’t have time for trolls.

Santos Renda on February 23, 2012  · 

Sorry Martin. I thought I was debating part of your post.

Just a last thought: Imagine how would have the US Space Program developed if they had selectively eliminated its father, Wernher Von Brau, when he was one of the Nazi top physicians.

Kindest Regards,

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Jib Abel on February 29, 2012  · 

Of all the articles I have read and point of views on this issue, yours comes as very lucid to me. Every time you hear about the subject in the news it comes from a military point of view as if there are no other choices left but to strike, except for how. I understand people’s comments in here who happen to live in Israel and the fear they feel for their families. But Martin’s parallels and examples are nicely drawn with the Pakistanis and North Koreans. The thing is each and every time you open a front for war it’s like opening a box of pandora not really knowing what’s going to happen next. We can only rely on suppositions.

I think Iran is wise enough to know that it will never attack first knowing it would trigger a massive justified invasion against it that not even the Chinese nor the Russians will back. BUT if Israel were to attack first, I think it would send first of all the wrong message to all those people uprising in Egypt, Lybia, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, etc. to side with the Muslim Brotherhood local clubs. Second, it would isolate an economically-stretched US ally from China and Russia, and weaken a solid backup. Third, it would give Hamas and Hezbollah the green light to launch a retaliation and very possibly open a front with Lebanon similar to 2006. The US and EU will not be able to provide a backup right away and will leave Israel to deal with the issue on its own.

This scenario is very plausible and extremely dangerous because from there the whole region can easily be engulfed in chaos. It could be the missing link the Brotherhoods are waiting for to rally all into one singular meaning for the arab spring : islamise the Middle East and exterminate the Jews once and for all.

Please understand I also have family living in Lebanon and do not want this kind of insane events to unfold. No body can garantee they wont. After all I have seen the atrocities in the civil war and a downward spiral of violence has no end. Please understand that war is archaic and has never ever solved anything since the Romans but keeps adding-up to that perpetual hate cycle.

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Ziggy Efrat on March 4, 2012  · 

I resent your statement that only the US used nuclear weapons against the Japanese as if this was unnecessary. My uncle served on over 25 bombing runs over Nazi Germany and was sweating bullets he would next be sent to the Japanese theater. Defense estimates were that over 1 million casualties would have occured had te US be forced to invade the Japanese mainland. The Japanese did not surrender after the first bomb. It took TWO to get their attention and end the war. Even after Hirohito surrendered to save his own ass, there was an attempted coup by Japanese military officers to keep the war going. The Japanese atrocities, abuse of prisoners, genocide in China were all on a par with the Nazis. How dare you suggest the US used the bomb unnecessarily? Honestly, people like you live in never-never land and give succor to the worst totalitarians in the world. Viva the USA for dropping the bomb that ended WW2. If the Germans and Japanese developed it first, rest assured they’d have used it on US.

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