Richard Silverstein – Tikum Olam October 27, 2011
For those of you seeking a comparison in the U.S. media that does justice to the role Nahum Barnea plays as Israel’s leading political columnist, you might go back to Walter Cronkite or Walter Lippman. In terms of today’s media, you could compare him to Tom Friedman, though Barnea is far more read, known and popular in Israel than Friedman is here.
In the past weeks, I’ve described an increasing chorus of media warnings from other newspaper columnists that Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak had come to a decision to attack Iran. Not to mention the well-known and repeated warnings of former Mossad chief, Meir Dagan. Though I found them convincing then, the fact that Barnea adds his own crediblity and voice in support of the warnings is critically important. I also note that his newspaper, Yediot Achronot, made this story its lead for the Friday afternoon-Erev Shabbat edition (equivalent to the Sunday paper), a further indication of the importance it gives to it.
We’re on the road to war, I’m afraid. We have to begin thinking which side are we on, as the old union song goes. There are liberal Israeli parties like Meretz and Labor which always support Israeli wars no matter what. I call on them to determine what their stance will be now and not to dither as Meretz did during Cast and the last Lebanon war. Quick and early denunciation counts far more than faint hearted criticism that comes too little too late. It would be even better for them to announce their views even before an attack so that they lay down a political marker which they may refer back to after war begins. There is nothing like credibility in politics. Most Israeli political parties have little or none. Will they show any backbone now or behave in the same spineless way they have during past military adventures?