The criticism former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin leveled against current government leaders Friday, April 27, was intensely blunt and personal. “I don’t believe in either the prime minister or the defense minister,” he told a small gathering, and went on to accuse Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak of misleading the public by telling them that an Israeli attack would keep a nuclear bomb out of Iranian hands.
debkafile’s military experts divide Diskin’s words into two parts: factual and political or personal. It is true that an Israeli or American strike against Iran may indeed be too late to pre-empt a nuclear capability, they confirm. Some sources believe Tehran had already reached this goal in the autumn of 2011.
But the ex-Shin Bet chief’s claim that “many experts” maintain an Israeli attack would accelerate an Iranian nuclear race is itself misleading. It implies that the Iranians have been idling until now and would step up their tempo justifiably only if attacked, whereas the truth is that they never slowed their momentum in the years in which Israel held back from an offensive.
In the past year, Tehran has transferred accelerated uranium enrichment to the underground Fordow facility near Qom, was able to double the pace of its progress and is believed to be close to producing dirty bombs (radioactive material combined with conventional explosives for spreading pollution).
So the connection Diskin drew between an Israeli attack and the pace of Ian’s nuclear progress is artificial.
His choice of phrasing was however a giveaway on the personal and political issues he has with Netanyahu and Barak.
“I have no faith in the current leadership, which must lead us in an event on the scale of war with Iran or a regional war,” he said, adding, “I don’t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings.”
The ex-Shin Bet chief made no reference - any more than the two leaders he targeted - to the failures of Israel’s intelligence community, to which he and the ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan belonged, to make any real headway towards stalling the Iranian program in 12 years of covert activity, excepting only for short-lived, marginal delays.
His reticence is not surprising. What is, is the use of the term “messianic,” because it is a favorite insider word bandied about in far-left fringes to stigmatize any group which does not agree with its pro-Palestinian agenda. It is therefore revealing as to the former Shin Bet chief’s political leanings and bias.
Diskin, like Dagan, will no doubt deny that he has any political ambitions and insist his assault on the prime minister and defense minister is motivated purely by genuine concern about their ability to conduct a large-scale conflict.
At the same time, his comments “happened” to coincide with the campaign launched by the opposition Labor’s new leader Shelly Yacimovitch to bring general elections forward by a year to September or October, 2012. She seems to believe she can buck the polls - the latest of which forecast 15 seats (out of 120) for Labor compared with Likud’s 31 (up from 27) - by bringing in new faces to replace the five members who followed Ehud Barak out of the party last year. Labor was left then with only six members of Knesset.
Yacimovitch’s platform highlights social and economic issues. She is strikingly wanting in security credentials. This dimension, Diskin may have been chosen to provide by means of spanner in a works of a potential Israeli preemptive strike against a nuclear-armed Iran.
Israel’s leftist camp, including Labor, is scrambling hard to arrest its steep plunge in recent years by injecting new blood into its upper ranks. Diskin himself, like Dagan, former chief of staff Gaby Ashkenazi and heads of last year’s protest movement, may still be floating between Labor, far-left fringes, Kadima and the new party ex-broadcaster Yair Lapid is trying to assemble.
debkafile has no problem with new faces rising on the political scene and would welcome the spontaneous appearance of authentically popular movements.
But the trouble with left-wing activists, new and established, is their boast of generous funding from likeminded overseas sponsors. Questions must therefore be asked about the loyalty of political groupings whose activities are financed by foreign political interests – most of them pro-Palestinian - and at least one known to be based in London
It is odd to find the successful terrorist fighter Yuval Diskin and other high security and military achievers in this company. It is even stranger to hear them lending their voices to imported sentiments even in relation to the Iranian nuclear question which bears heavily on Israel’s future.